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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Inspired by Books

Are you looking for a superb book to read? 

I led a non-fiction book club for several years. This group met together at a cafe on a monthly basis and we read one book per month. My interest in psychiatry does not end at my place of employment. The following books inspired me to write my own book (in no particular order). 

  • The Psychopath Whisperer: The Science of Those Without Conscience, by Kent A. Kiehl
  • On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Combat in War and in Peace, by Dave Grossman, Loren W. Christensen, and Gavin de Becker
  • Crazy: A Father's Search Through America's Mental Health Madness, by Pete Earley
  • The State Boys Rebellion, by Michael D'Antonio
  • Emptying Beds: The Work of an Emergency Psychiatric Unit, by Lorna A. Rhodes
  • The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales, by Oliver Sacks
  • Treating the Poor: A Personal Sojourn Through the Rise and Fall Of Community Mental Health, by Matthew P. Dumont
  • P.C., M.D.: How Political Correctness Is Corrupting Medicine, by Sally L. Satel
  • The Insanity Offense: How America's Failure to Treat the Seriously Mentally Ill Endangers Its Citizens, by E. Fuller Torrey
  • Weekends at Bellevue: Nine Years on the Night Shift at the Psych E.R., by Julie Holland
  • After Her Brain Broke: Helping My Daughter Recover Her Sanity, by Susan Inman
  • Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness, by Susannah Cahalan
  • Total Eclipse of the Mindby Vicki McDuffie Ferrara
  • American Psychosis: How the Federal Government Destroyed the Mental Illness Treatment System, by E. Fuller Torrey
  • Shrinks: The Untold Story of Psychiatry, by Jeffrey A. Lieberman and Ogi Ogas
  • A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy, by Sue Klebold
  • by Xavier Amador with Anna-Lisa Johanson

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Motivation to Help

As far back as I can remember, I've always been fascinated with extreme physical and mental states. The Guinness World Records was one of my favorite television shows as a child. I own four books that were published by the Guinness World Records. I watched every television episode of Taboo that premiered in 2002 on the National Geographic Channel. I enjoy watching videos of extreme sports, such as wing suit flying and free solo climbing.

Psychosis, especially untreated, can be considered an extreme state of mental dysfunction. Psychosis is a loss of connection with reality and a core feature of schizophrenia. Helping patients with psychosis, with or without mood instability, is invigorating. In my experience, whenever patients with psychosis ask me to help them improve the quality of their lives, they're usually genuine. Whenever they present to emergency services reluctantly or involuntarily, their lack of insight into psychosis is startling. Among the countless patients with delusions, medicated or unmedicated, whom I've interviewed, seeing a patient who has insight into being delusional is rare. In fact, I am only able to recall one such case. I'm surprised it's not part of the DSM-5 criteria. Psychiatrists and psychologists advocated for the addition of this in the development of DSM-5 to no avail.

I have no problem taking a patient-directed treatment planning approach with a patient who is high functioning and well enough to understand her or his mental illness and need for treatment. Logically, this method is deficient for other patients. When I am limited in the ability to help patients with schizophrenia because of either overly restrictive law or the absence of law, this motivates me to act abundantly on their behalf.

Our broken system sparks outrage. The greatest expression of passion for a subject matter is teaching it to others and asking for legislative reform.

To read the petition and letter to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), attached to a video approximately ten minutes long, that I helped create with other advocates, please click on the following link:

To get a sense of NAMI's response to this, as indicated in the second letter that I helped create, please click on the following link: