Tag Archives: psychiatry psychology

Emptiness Melancholia: depression sweet depression

Camila Machado Minas Gerais, Brazil   The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality.i – Andrew Solomon   Ophelia, 1851 John Everett Millais. Oil on Canvas. Tate Britain, London, United Kingdom Vitality had seemed to seep away from me through the years, stopping me from feeling  joy, sadness, affection, and love. I felt empty but […]

The 1960s in North American Psychiatry

Mary Seeman Toronto, Ontario, Canada   Rhonda’s “Monks” 1963 Private collection of Mary V. Seeman When I graduated from medical school in 1960, an unprecedented wave of optimism was sweeping the field of psychiatry. Effective antipsychotic medication, the offspring of chlorpromazine,1  was clearing out mental asylums.  New antidepressants, such as imipramine and its many progeny, […]

Listening to the patient

Marina Maffoni Francesca Dionigi Pavia, Italy   Death and Life by Gustav Klimt Alex was a smart thirty-nine year old man with drug-resistant lymphoma. In four years he had undergone two unsuccessful bone marrow transplants. That is all my senior psychologist tutor and I were told by the referring clinician, except that the patient himself […]

Medical murder

Susan Jacob Australia   Archangel Michael reaching to save souls in purgatory, 17th century, Jacopo Vignali Medical murder or clinicide is defined by the psychiatrist Robert Kaplan as the “unnatural death of multiple patients in the course of treatment by a doctor.”1 Medical murder must be distinguished from euthanasia in that patients do not request the termination […]

Dr. Meadow’s Munchausen syndrome by proxy: the history and the controversy

Nereida Esparza Chicago, Illinois, United States   Münchhausen rides a cannonball August von Wille (1828-1887) Munchausen syndrome is a severe psychiatric disorder described in the DSM-IV. In 1951 Dr. Richard Asher named the illness after Baron Munchausen (full name Karl Friedrich Hieronymus, Freiherr von Münchhausen, 1720–1797).1 The German-born baron served in the Russian army until […]

“Hills Like White Elephants” and the collusion of non-communication

Clayton Baker Rochester, New York, United States  Photography by Vanessa p.     There is a particular type of dysfunctional communication that can occur between doctor and patient, a sort of a temporary folie-a-deux. This “collusion of non-communication” happens when a doctor-patient interview reaches a topic that one or both parties find particularly distasteful, frightening, […]