Talk doesn't pay: Comments on the NY Times article

I’d like to take this opportunity to comment on the article that appeared in today’s New York Times: “Talk doesn’t Pay, So Psychiatry Turns to Drug Therapy.” Gardiner Harris writes about psychiatry’s shift from talk therapy to drugs, and profiles psychiatrist Donald Levin of Doylestown, PA (a suburb of Philadelphia), who felt financially unable to […]

Psychiatry and ethics: A whirlwind tour

The following is my article originally published in San Francisco Medicine (Vol. 83 No. 10, December 2010), the monthly journal of the San Francisco Medical Society. This issue was devoted to “Psychiatry for the Nonpsychiatric Physician.” Reprinted by permission.

The practice of psychiatry is rife with ethical issues. Some critics, such as author-psychiatrist Thomas Szasz, […]

Embracing psychiatric uncertainty

I always get troubled looks from psychiatry residents when I point out that our field is the domain of the uncertain and the not-well-understood — and that it will always remain so. As soon as the cause of a disease is known, it automatically leaves psychiatry for another specialty. General paresis (advanced syphilis), once identified […]

Dollars for Docs

I apologize to my loyal readers for not posting in a long while. Fortunately, I was awakened from my torpor by an eye-opening new database that lists some of the money paid to specific doctors by pharmaceutical companies. The Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalists at ProPublica tapped the public disclosures of seven companies that have […]

Psychiatric holds and refusal of medical treatment

I apologize for the stagnant blog of late. I’ve been working on an idea or two that hasn’t jelled yet. Meanwhile, I ran across a familiar yet troubling occurrence the other day: The use of a psychiatric hold on an inpatient with no psychiatric disorder but who was refusing life-saving medical treatment.

My comments are […]

Carlat on mindless psychiatrists

My fellow psychiatrist and blogger Dr. Daniel Carlat has an article in this weekend’s New York Times Magazine. “Mind Over Meds” is a memoir of Dr. Carlat’s growing realization that psychiatry can’t be done well in 15-20 minute medication visits, that talking to patients as people is important too.

I’m generally a fan of Dr. […]

CME in California

Last weekend I attended the annual one-day conference for providers of continuing medical education (CME) in California. Presented in Sacramento this year by the Institute for Medical Quality (IMQ), a division of the California Medical Association, there were talks on documentation requirements and updated accreditation criteria. There was praise and support for the majority of […]