Articles on psychiatry

Psychiatry and Mental Health Related Myths Busted !

Dr. Darpan Kaur, Psychiatrist
Psychiatry is a branch of medical science that deals with the treatment of psychiatric disorders. Psychiatrists are specialist medical doctors who deal with treatment of psychiatric disorders. Delirium, Dementia, Schizophrenia, Substance dependence, Bipolar Affective Disorder, Psychosis, Depression, Anxiety Disorders , Stress and Somatoform disorders, Personality disorders, Sleep disorders, Eating disorders, Sexual Dysfunctions, etc are classified under the DSM and ICD  classificatory systems in Psychiatric disorders. Despite modern advances in psychiatry globally and nationally in research and clinical care, there still exists lack of knowledge, misconceptions, stigma and discriminatory attitudes towards psychiatric disorders in the community. I have attempted to write this psycho-educative  perspective in form of myths and reality which I hope can be helpful in reducing stigma and creating awareness towards psychiatry and psychiatric disorders in the community.Myth 1: Only a mad person visits a psychiatrist!Reality: This is a common myth held in certain societies that only mad people visit psychiatrists. Although it is true that psychiatrists do treat patients with certain chronic psychiatric illness who can  appear emotionally, behaviorally and socially abnormal in society, however a lot of mental health has moved towards positive preventive mental health as well . Psychiatrists nowadays, cater towards all groups of patients such as children, adolescents, adults, elderly, etc. for mental health problems. Exam stress, financial stress, family stressors, relationship stressors are very common nowadays and can occur to anyone. Stress can lead to depression, stress disorders, anxiety disorders, addictions, etc. It may be a prejudiced and negative view to hold that only mad people visit a psychiatrist. Consequences of long standing untreated mental health problems could be even worse, if one ignores mental health issues and does not seek professional help at the right time from mental health care professionals just because of the stigma attached to it. Myth 2: Psychiatry is an old outdated forsaken branch of medicine dealing with crazy people all the time!Reality: Psychiatry has really advanced with Neuropsychiatry, Addiction Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Consultation Liasion Psychiatry, Geriatric Psychiatry etc. are emerging as sub and super specialty clinical care.  Medically sick patients such as those with Cardiac Illness, Hypertension, Diabetes, Thyroid Dysfunction, Vitamin Deficiencies, Tuberculosis, Bronchial Asthma, IBS, Cancers, HIV AIDS, Epilepsies, etc can have psychiatric disorders because of their medical illness.  There has been a broadened scope of mental health where today mental health plays an important role along with one’s physical and cosmetic health. It may be incorrect to hold a negative stereotypic attitude in today’s world towards psychiatry as a field and psychiatric disorders at large in the face of global and national advances in research and clinical care in mental health!Myth 3: ECT( Electroconvulsive therapy) is given to all psychiatric patients regardless of their disorder! Reality: This myth that the common man can sometimes have could be because of lack of awareness or hearsay stuff from his friends or relatives or an unfortunate unintentional  depiction of such stuff which he may have come across  from other sources of information. Psychiatric treatment has evolved globally and nationally. There exists proper guidelines and protocols for giving ECT . Psychopharmacology, Psychotherapy, Counselling, Occupation therapy and Rehabilitation are all modalities of care in mental health.  ECT is a modality of treatment which has its own specific indications, advantages and disadvantages. ECT is certainly not given to each and every patient who presents to a psychiatrist for treatment.  It is reserved for its specific indication when needed and clinical expertise as per school of training with proper protocol followed.Myth 4: All that Psychiatrists do is to put their patients to sleep with medications! Reality: Psychiatrist do a detailed history taking, clinical examination, and then plan some tests and assessments and make a clinical impression of the patients problem from a psychiatric and psychological perspective. Psychiatrists prescribe medications and also, do counseling and psychotherapy to patients and their families. The Psychiatrist uses his best knowledge to treat the disorder as well as take care of side effects. In today's generation, most people are working and a steady job forms an important part of everyone’s life, hence the psychiatrist will preferably choose medications that give less or no sedation Although it is true that for a lot of psychiatric conditions like Schizophrenia, delirium, substance withdrawal, depression, anxiety disorders problems in falling asleep (insomnia) can be a part of the disorder or a chief complaint and certain medications do cause excess sleep, it is untrue that all that psychiatrists do is to put all patients to sleep. Nowadays, there are so many advances in psychopharmacology, psychotherapy, counseling, all of which holistically work towards helping patients recover. However, when there is a serious psychiatric disorder, certain medicines may be given which can cause excess sleep to help the patient recover from the serious problem in the best way possible as per guidelines and expertiseMyth 5: All Psychiatric medications have to be taken life long for all psychiatric disorders!Reality:  Different psychiatric disorders have different course and duration of treatment as per guidelines. It is incorrect to consider that all psychiatric medications have to be given life long for all psychiatric disorders. It depends on the expertise, guidelines, type of disorder, severity, relapses and there are well formed guidelines on duration of treatment and tapering and stopping the medications for the psychiatric disorders for holistic care of the patients. Myth 6 : All Psychiatric patients are dangerous and harmful!Reality:  Kindly note that many patients with psychiatric disorders can be the nicest, respectful and kindest people on earth. Society may wrongly judge them as being weird and misfitted . People can sometimes unknowingly hold discriminatory negative attitudes towards all patients with psychiatric disorders, because of lack of awareness and negative attitudes and tend to change their mindset only much later when they themselves or someone in their families gets affected with some problem. Remember depression, stress disorder, OCD, anxiety disorder, psychosis, delirium, addictions can happen to anyone anytime! Although a certain group of patients with psychiatric disorders can have some dangerous behaviors, it is untrue to hold a prejudice that all patients with psychiatric disorders are dangerous. However with proper treatment consisting of psychopharmacology, psychotherapy, family therapy, rehabilitation, outcomes may be improved holistically!Myth 7: If  someone is facing a psychiatric or psychological problem, it is failure of their will power!Reality: It is sad that when  people blame a person suffering from a psychiatric disorder that it has happened to him only because of failure of his will power and that he was not strong enough, etc . There are many psychiatric disorders such as Schizophrenia, Bipolar Affective Disorder, Depression, Anxiety Disorders, OCD, etc which maybe due to chemical abnormality in their brain such as their neurotransmitter systems and there maybe absolutely no role of will power failure in that. It would be incorrect to blame the person for something which may not be totally in their control!Myth 8: If someone is facing a psychiatric problem, they and their family must feel ashamed and hide it and feel stigmatized about it!Reality: In certain societies, because of misconception, the stigma can be very high! It is our duty to keep fighting the stigma!  There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of if you or your family member suffer from a psychiatric disorder. Nowadays, there are many support groups available online consisting of patients and caregivers. Kindly do not let the stigma affect you!Myth 9: If your friend or relative  is having some psychiatric problem, one must avoid them and stay away from them!Reality: If you genuinely care for your friend, you must help your friend and be there for them always irrespective of them having a psychiatric problem or not. Infact, your friend or relative may need your support and care and friendship even more when he or she is depressed, anxious or fearful. You must help them recover better by including them in your conversations, valuing their opinions, emotions and thoughts and avoid judging them as they are also a part of the same world that you live in!Myth 10 : If your friend is having a psychiatric problem, its okay to make fun of them and crack jokes on them even when u know it is a problem.Reality: Its often sad that some people make fun of patients with psychiatric problems and make jokes on them and their behaviors. Certain psychiatric illness can have associated deficits and disabilities in their speech, social behavior, emotions, intellect, etc. Certain disorders can have certain disability in social life, educational and occupational life. It would be wrong to make fun of them as they too have their dignity! One must give them their deserved respect and dignity in our family and work towards rehabilitating them in society!

5 Common Myths About Psychiatry and Psychiatrists

Dr. Era S. Dutta, Psychiatrist
MYTH#1– Everyone who goes to a psychiatrist is MAD/INSANE/PAGAAL.FACT- Psychiatry is the branch of medicine focused on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental, emotional and behavioral disorders. Psychiatrists are DOCTORS who specializes in mental health,including substance use disorders.MYTH#2- A psychiatrist only TALKS. How is that treatment?FACT- The great leaders of the world make big decisions by TALKing.Talking is one of the tools that psychiatrists use to treat. In fact as a specialty, a psychiatrist is likely to give you far more time to Talk your heart out and unburden your mind.MYTH#3- Psychiatrist will give me pills that will surely make me groggy and sleepy all the time.FACT– As doctors we take oath to do the best for our patient. We never prescribe sleeping pills to those who don’t require it. It is true that a lot of medications have the side effects of making you slightly groggy, but these can be circumvented with small tips from the doctor.MYTH#4- “Once on psychiatric medication, always on psychiatric medication.”FACT– Suppose if you had Tuberculosis (T.B) tomorrow, would the doctor keep you on medication forever? NO. There is a specific course of treatment.Similarly if you suffered from Diabetes or hypertension, there are more chances that you would be prescribed life long medications.Psychiatric medications need to be prescribed for a stipulated period of time. The duration varies from case-to-case, based on many factors. Few chronic conditions may need treatment life long (just like diabetes or high B.P), but not all.MYTH#5- “I stopped the medication and my problems came back. It’s the doctor’s fault as he/she has made me dependent on medicines.”FACT– Suddenly breaking the car can lead to accidents, hence we avoid doing it. Similarly, psychiatric medications are to be tapered or switched gradually which only a qualified psychiatrist can help you with. Managing your own medications and stopping them may cause this problem.

Myths About Psychiatry

Dr. Kiran Shandilya, Psychiatrist
1. MENTAL ILLNESS DIAGNOSES ARE LABELS FOR NORMAL BEHAVIORWe have been asked quite often over the years, where Psychiatrists draw the line between normal behavior and mental illness. Where someone who is a little shy, becomes a case of anxiety, or where someone who gets sad, has depression. Much like a benign tumor, vs. cancer, we determine a diagnosis when the behavior becomes debilitating and the patient can no longer go about their daily lives as they have in the past.2. PSYCHIATRISTS WILL FORCE MEDICATION ON YOUEvery patient is different, as are his or her needs. A good Psychiatrist will never force medications on their patient. Patients should have a treatment that is completely unique to them, and a practiced Psychiatrist will work with them to find that exact treatment they need.3. PSYCHIATRY ONLY INVOLVES ‘CRAZY’ PEOPLEActually, the majority of patients we see have an actual illness or imbalance (much like diabetes), that with the proper treatment, the imbalance is corrected and they are no longer ill. Another large portion of patients for Psychiatrists are people who have a mental illness as a side effect to another condition, like Asperger’s causing a diagnosis of anxiety. While we can not treat the Asperger’s, we can work with the patient to manage and treat their anxiety.4. PSYCHIATRISTS DON’T OFFER ‘TALK THERAPY’‘Talk Therapy’ can arguably be one of the most effective treatments used by Psychiatrists. In fact, many Psychiatrists, our staff included, use this method of treatment – sometimes solely, and other times in conjunction with other forms of therapy and treatment.5. THE MENTALLY ILL WILL NEVER RECOVERAs we discussed in our 3rd myth, many patients that see a Psychiatrist actually have an illness or imbalance that is causing a mental discrepancy. Once this imbalance is corrected, they are, in fact, cured of their mental illness. However, there are still some cases that involve life-long treatment and monitoring.6. MENTAL ILLNESSES ARE PURELY BIOLOGICALWhile there are some mental illnesses that have a high chance of reoccurring in your gene pool, like schizophrenia, not all mental illnesses are spurred by genetics. Environment, trauma, and other illnesses are just a few of the many factors that can bring forth mental illness in an individual.7. ASKING FOR HELP MEANS YOU ARE ‘CRAZY’ OR ‘WEAK’We want to be abundantly clear here to begin; you are never weak or crazy by acknowledging that you can’t go through a mental illness or debilitating issue, alone. Asking for help is actually a very brave and empowering thing because you are acknowledging your own human, natural limitations (which we all have) and are looking for ways to better cope with them.8. MENTAL ILLNESS CAN BE TREATED BY A PREFERRED MEDICAL DOCTORWe have actually gone over this topic in more depth in a past blog, and it is true, a PMD has vast knowledge and treatment options for the body. However, they do not have the extensive years of training, nor the background in the ‘science’ of prescribing medications to be able to properly help a patient with a mental illness.9. MENTAL ILLNESS IS UNCOMMONThis is one myth we wish were true. However, one in every five Americans will be diagnosed or touched by a mental illness in their lifetimes, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.10. PSYCHIATRIC DRUGS WILL CHANGE YOUR PERSONALITYAny medication out there can cause negative effects for a patient if taken too long or given the wrong dosage. The way we see it, is this; if someone with depression overcomes it through their medication, their personality will be changed, yes – they will be free from negative thoughts, anti-social behavior, and feelings of defeat, which is a definite change in personality – a positive change. The same can be said for an illness like Schizophrenia, with the right treatment plan, their minds will become less consumed by hallucinations, delusions, and irrational anxieties – another healthy and positive personality change.-By,Dr. Kiran's Mind Center.Please connect with us on Facebook page: blogspot :

Psychiatry and Siddha Medicine

Dr. Jerome Xavier, Siddha
சித்த மருத்துவமும் மன நோய்களும் psychiatry and siddha medicine           சித்த மருத்துவமும் மன நோய்களும்சித்த மருத்துவத்தில் மன நோய்களுக்கான முழுமையான சிகிச்சை முறைகள் உள்ளன என்பதை அறிமுகப்படுத்தவே இந்தக் கட்டுரை.பொதுவாக மன நோயாளிகள் தொடர்ந்து மருந்துகள் சாப்பிட்டுக் கொண்டிருக்கும்வரை சரியாக இருப்பார்கள். மருந்தை இடையில் கொஞ்சம் நிறுத்தினாலும் மீண்டும் பிரச்சனைகள் உருவாக ஆரம்பிக்கும்.அப்படியானால் மன நோயாளிகள் அனைவரும் வாழ்நாள் முழுவதும் மருந்துகள் எடுத்துக் கொண்டேதான் இருக்க வேண்டுமா?இல்லை.அப்படியானால் ஏன் பெரும்பாலானவர்களுக்கு மன நோய் முற்றிலுமாக குணமாவதில்லை?சித்த மருத்துவத்தில் மன நோய்கள்:சித்த மருத்துவம் மன நோய்களை பல்வேறு விதமாக வகைப்படுத்துகிறது.மன நோய்கள் ஒரு தனி பிரிவாக(Psychiatry) சித்த மருத்துவத்தில் உள்ளது. கிரிகை நோய்கள் என இவை வகைப்படுத்தப்படுகின்றன.யூகி, அகத்தியர் போன்ற சித்த மருத்துவ அறிஞர்களின் நூல்கள் மன நோய்களைப் பற்றி விளக்குகின்றன.சித்த மருத்துவத்தில் மன நோய்கள்:-               கிரிகை-               பிரமை-               உன்மத்தம்-               மதஅழிவுஎன பலவிதமாக வகைப்படுத்தப்படுகின்றன.மன நோய்களுக்கான அடிப்படை காரணங்கள்:மரபணு ரீதியாக வருபவை(Genetic)உடலில் இயங்கும் இயக்கங்களை வாதம், பித்தம், கபம் போன்றவற்றில் மாறுபாடுகளால் ஏற்படும் மன கோளாறுகள்.உடல் தாதுக்களான சாரம் (fluid part of all tissues), இரத்தம், தசை, எலும்பு, கொழுப்பு, நரம்பு, விந்து அல்லது அண்டம் ஆகிய ஏழு உடல் தாதுக்களில் ஏற்படும் பாதிப்பினால் உண்டாகும் மன நோய்கள்.நச்சுக்கள் மற்றும் மருந்துகளால் ஏற்படும் பாதிப்புகள்(Toxins).புற காரணிகள் (Social factors).மன நோய்களுக்கான சிகிச்சை:நான்கு நிலைகளாக மன நோயாளிகளுக்கு சிகிச்சை அளிக்கப்படும் போதுதான் முழுமையான விடுதலை கிடைக்கும்.முதல் கட்ட சிகிச்சை:உடலில் மாறுபாடடைந்த இயக்கங்களான வாதம், பித்தம், கபம் என்பவைகளை சரியான அளவுக்கு கொண்டுவர வேண்டும்.இதற்கு முதலில் நோயாளியின் நாடிநிலையை (Pulse reading) கணித்து அதற்குரிய சிகிச்சையை செய்ய வேண்டும்.இரண்டாம் கட்ட சிகிச்சை:பலவீனமடைந்த உடல் தாதுக்களை பலப்படுத்தும் விதத்தில் மருந்துகளையும், உணவுகளையும் கொடுக்க வேண்டும்.மூன்றாம் கட்ட சிகிச்சை:என்ன நோயினால் பாதிக்கப்பட்டிருக்கிறார் என கண்டறிந்த அதற்குரிய மருந்துகளைக் கொடுக்க வேண்டும்.இதில் உள் மருந்து மற்றும் புற மருந்துகளைக் கொடுத்து சிகிச்சை அளிக்கப்படுகிறது.நான்காம் கட்ட சிகிச்சை:மேற்கண்ட மூன்றும் உடலை சரிசெய்வதற்கான சிகிச்சைகள். இதனை அடுத்து மனதை சரிசெய்வதற்காக சில பயிற்சிகளை கொடுக்க வேண்டும்.இதற்கு அட்டாங்க யோகம் எனும் எட்டுவித பயிற்சிகள் உள்ளன.இயமம்நியமம்ஆசனம் – யோகாசனம்பிரணாயாமம் – மூச்சுப்பயிற்சிபிரத்தியாகாரம்தாரணைதியானம் – Meditationசமாதிபோன்ற மனதை நிலைப்படுத்தும் பயிற்சிகள் உள்ளன. இவைகள் நோயின் தன்மைக்கும் நோயாளியின் தன்மைக்கும் ஏற்றவாறு பரிந்துரைக்கப்படுகின்றன.ஆற்றுப்படுத்துதல் (Counseling):மேற்கண்ட நிலைகளின் நோயாளியின் உடலையும் மனதையும் சரிசெய்த பிறகு அவர்களின் பிரச்சனைகளுக்குத் தக்கவாறு அவர்களை ஆற்றுப்படுத்துவது அவசியம்.இவ்வாறான படி நிலைகளில் மன நோய்களை சரிசெய்யும் போது முற்றிலுமாக அந்நோயிலிருந்து விடுபட முடியும்.மருத்துவ ஆலோசனைக்கு:Dr. ஜெரோம் சேவியர் B.S.M.S., M.Dசித்தமருத்துவ மையம்,டாக்டர்ஸ் பிளாசா,சரவணா ஸ்டோர் எதிரில்,வேளச்சேரி பேருந்து நிலையம் அருகில்,வேளச்சேரி, சென்னை.அலைபேசி எண்: 9444317293

Myths About Psychiatry Medication

Dr. Kiran Shandilya, Psychiatrist
Dear Friends, We have very interesting topic this week and on request from many people we putting up the Myths behind the Psychiatric Medication. We are here to help you and please meet us before taking any decisions. Below are few Myths about the Psychiatry Medications.MYTH: Medication can’t really help a “mental” problem.FACT: The illness of depression may have symptoms related to emotions and thoughts but it is nonetheless a very physical illness with often-disabling bodily symptoms. Antidepressants help alleviate those symptoms as well as work on the neurotransmitters that influence both the physical and psychological symptoms.MYTH: Even if they can help, antidepressants are a “quick fix” or a “crutch” which don’t get at the root of the problem.FACT: While it is true that antidepressants won’t do much to alleviate the environmental circumstances that cause situational depression, they can be “enabling” medicine that alleviate symptoms of major depression enough to enable a person to pursue and receive more benefit from lifestyle changes, support groups, and counselling techniques.MYTH: Antidepressants are addictive.FACT: No. Unlike sleeping pills and some anxiety medications, antidepressants are not addictive. However, you should never just stop a course of antidepressants on your own without the supervision of a treating physician; while your body will not crave the medicine, it will be affected by a sudden stop, particularly at higher doses.MYTH: Once on antidepressants, I’ll be on them for life.FACT: Not true. A general rule clinicians often use is that a person should be treated with antidepressants at least one-and-a-half times as long as the duration of the depressive episode before they can begin to be weaned off. Longer-term antidepressant usage is considered only for a smaller percentage of people who have two or more relapses of major depression.MYTH: Antidepressants are “happy pills”FACT: Antidepressants are often called “drugs” in slang but they have no relation to amphetamines (“uppers”) or euphoria-inducing recreational drugs. Antidepressants are designed to correct imbalances in certain brain chemicals and get you back to feeling like yourself, not merely a happier self. A person without those imbalances, who is not depressed, will feel no effect from antidepressants and may even feel ill.MYTH: Antidepressants will change your personality or prevent you from feeling “normal” moodsFACT: Many people are nervous when taking any kind of psychotropic medication (medication for a mental illness) because they feel anything affecting the brain—the very heart of our humanity—may interfere with their identity and feelings. Actually quite the opposite: antidepressants are designed to return you to your former demeanour or personality, not create a different one.MYTH: If the first antidepressant I try doesn’t work, others won’t work either.FACT: There are currently a few dozen antidepressants on the market, and while they have a lot in common they’re not all identical. Add to that varying dosage levels and combinations of antidepressants and it is clear that there are countless variations within antidepressant treatment. Finding the right one is largely a process of trial and error. Many people have to try several different medications before they find one that works. Augmenting antidepressants with another mood stabiliser (e.g., lithium) or augment agent (e.g., thyroxin) may also help.MYTH: If someone I know has done well with one type of antidepressant, it’ll probably work on me tooFACT: Everyone’s body is unique—including the way our brains are wired. Therefore, medication targeted at chemical messengers will work differently in each person just like the same perfume can smell nice on one person and not quite right on someone else. Trial and error is still the best process we have to find out which medicine will work for someone. Patience during this process is key.MYTH: Antidepressants have horrible side effectsFACT: Like other medications, antidepressants carry the risk of side effects. These range from fatigue to dry mouth to sexual side effects. Fortunately, newer brands of antidepressants have relatively few or mild side effects. Many of these lessen or disappear with time, or can be corrected in other ways. Be sure to talk to your doctor and pharmacist to learn more about what you can expect.MYTH: I’ll probably know right away if the antidepressant is working.FACT: Unfortunately, no. It takes about four to six weeks at a clinically effective dosage to be able to determine if the antidepressant is alleviating symptoms. You’ll feel the side effects much sooner, however. Stick it out the six weeks though before you pass judgement.MYTH: Once I start feeling better, I can stop taking the antidepressants.FACT: The evidence is clear: just like you shouldn’t prematurely discontinue a course of antibiotics even if you feel better, clinicians recommend that you stay on antidepressants for the prescribed amount of time, even when you’re already feeling recovered. This will prevent a relapse. Then your doctor will instruct you on how to gradually wean off the medicine.Myth: It’s no problem to stop treatment with antidepressantsFACT:A Danish professor of psychiatry said this at a recent meeting for psychiatrists, just after I had explained that it was difficult for patients to quit. Fortunately, he was contradicted by two foreign professors also at the meeting. One of them had done a trial with patients suffering from panic disorder and agoraphobia and half of them found it difficult to stop even though they were slowly tapering off. It cannot be because the depression came back, as the patients were not depressed to begin with. The withdrawal symptoms are primarily due to the antidepressants and not the disease.Myth: Psychotropic drugs for mental illness are like insulin for diabetesFACT: Most patients with depression or schizophrenia have heard this falsehood over and over again, almost like a mantra, in TV, radio and newspapers. When you give insulin to a patient with diabetes, you give something the patient lacks, namely insulin. Since we’ve never been able to demonstrate that a patient with a mental disorder lacks something that people who are not sick don’t lack, it is wrong to use this analogy. Patients with depression don’t lack serotonin, and there are actually drugs that work for depression although they lower serotonin. Moreover, in contrast to insulin, which just replaces what the patient is short of, and does nothing else, psychotropic drugs have a very wide range of effects throughout the body, many of which are harmful. So, also for this reason, the insulin analogy is extremely misleading.Myth: Psychotropic drugs reduce the number of chronically ill patientsFACT: This is probably the worst myth of them all. US science journalist Robert Whitaker demonstrates convincingly in “Anatomy of an Epidemic” that the increasing use of drugs not only keeps patients stuck in the sick role, but also turns many problems that would have been transient into chronic diseases.If there had been any truth in the insulin myth, we would have expected to see fewer patients who could not fend for themselves. However, the reverse has happened. The clearest evidence of this is also the most tragic, namely the fate of our children after we started treating them with drugs. In the United States, psychiatrists collect more money from drug makers than doctors in any other speciality and those who take most money tend to prescribe anti-psychotics to children most often. This raises a suspicion of corruption of the academic judgement.The consequences are damning. In 1987, just before the newer antidepressants (SSRIs or happy pills) came on the market, very few children in the United States were mentally disabled. Twenty years later it was over 500,000, which represents a 35-fold increase. The number of disabled mentally ill has exploded in all Western countries. One of the worst consequences is that the treatment with ADHD medications and happy pills has created an entirely new disease in about 10% of those treated – namely bipolar disorder – which we previously called manic depressive illness.Leading psychiatrist has claimed that it is “very rare” that patients on antidepressants become bipolar. That’s not true. The number of children with bipolar increased 35-fold in the United States, which is a serious development, as we use anti-psychotic drugs for this disorder. Anti-psychotic drugs are very dangerous and one of the main reasons why patients with schizophrenia live 20 years shorter than others. I have estimated in my book, ‘Deadly Medicine and Organised Crime’, that just one of the many preparations, Zyprexa (olanzapine), has killed 200,000 patients worldwide.Myth: Happy pills do not cause suicide in children and adolescentsFACT: Some professors are willing to admit that happy pills increase the incidence of suicidal behaviour while denying that this necessarily leads to more suicides, although it is well documented that the two are closely related. Suicides in healthy people, triggered by happy pills, have also been reported. The companies and the psychiatrists have consistently blamed the disease when patients commit suicide. It is true that depression increases the risk of suicide, but happy pills increase it even more, at least up to about age 40, according to a meta-analysis of 100,000 patients in randomised trials performed by the US Food and Drug Administration.Myth: Happy pills have no side effectsFACT: At an international meeting on psychiatry in 2008, I criticised psychiatrists for wanting to screen many healthy people for depression. The recommended screening tests are so poor that one in three healthy people will be wrongly diagnosed as depressed. A professor replied that it didn’t matter that healthy people were treated as happy pills have no side effects!Happy pills have many side effects. They remove both the top and the bottom of the emotions, which, according to some patients, feels like living under a cheese-dish cover. Patients care less about the consequences of their actions, lose empathy towards others, and can become very aggressive. In school shootings in the United States and elsewhere a striking number of people have been on antidepressants.The companies tell us that only 5% get sexual problems with happy pills, but that’s not true. In a study designed to look at this problem, sexual disturbances developed in 59% of 1,022 patients who all had a normal sex life before they started an antidepressant. The symptoms include decreased libido, delayed or no orgasm or ejaculation, and erectile dysfunction, all at a high rate, and with a low tolerance among 40% of the patients. Happy pills should therefore not have been marketed for depression where the effect is rather small, but as pills that destroy your sex life.Myth: Happy pills are not addictiveFACT: They surely are and it is no wonder because they are chemically related to and act like amphetamine. Happy pills are a kind of narcotic on prescription. The worst argument I have heard about the pills not causing dependency is that patients do not require higher doses. Shall we then also believe that cigarettes are not addictive? The vast majority of smokers consume the same number of cigarettes for years.Myth: The prevalence of depression has increased a lotFACT: A professor argued in a TV debate that the large consumption of happy pills wasn’t a problem because the incidence of depression had increased greatly in the last 50 years. I replied it was impossible to say much about this because the criteria for making the diagnosis had been lowered markedly during this period. If you wish to count elephants in Africa, you don’t lower the criteria for what constitutes an elephant and count all the wildebeest, too.Myth: The main problem is not over-treatment, but under treatment FACT: Again, leading psychiatrists are completely out of touch with reality. In a 2007 survey, 51% of the 108 psychiatrists said that they used too much medicine and only 4 % said they used too little. In 2001–2003, 20% of the US population aged 18–54 years received treatment for emotional problems, and sales of happy pills are so high in Denmark that every one of us could be in treatment for 6 years of our lives. That is sick.Myth: Anti-psychotics prevent brain damageFACT: Some professors say that schizophrenia causes brain damage and that it is therefore important to use anti-psychotics. However, anti-psychotics lead to shrinkage of the brain, and this effect is directly related to the dose and duration of the treatment. There is other good evidence to suggest that one should use anti-psychotics as little as possible, as the patients then fare better in the long term. Indeed, one may completely avoid using anti-psychotics in most patients with schizophrenia, which would significantly increase the chances that they will become healthy, and also increase life expectancy, as anti-psychotics kill many patients.Please visit a Doctor before using any medications. If you think you are getting addicted to the medication speak your doctor. Take care and Stay Blessed !!!

Is Your Child Inattentive, Hyperactive and Impulsive?

Dr. Darpan Kaur, Psychiatrist
Children and adolescents can have symptoms of inattentiveness, hyperactivity, lack of concentration, impulsivity, etc. Many a times, children experience some amount of inattentiveness and hyperactivity in the context of normal development . However, when these symptoms become severe, excessive, persistent, seen across multiple situations of classroom  setting ,  home setting , social setting, etc and the child is experiencing problems in his academics and social functioning because of these symptoms, then the child  may be having a disorder called ADHD ( Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).Children can have an Inattentive Type of ADHD where inattentiveness is the main symptom or they can have Hyperactive - Impulsive Type of ADHD where excessive hyperactivity  and impulsive behaviors are  the  main symptoms or they can have Combined Type of ADHD which has all features of  inattentiveness, hyperactivity and impulsivity. It is found in both boys and girls, but reported to be more common in boys than in girls.There are standard clinical criteria in psychiatry classification systems such as DSM-V and ICD- 10 for diagnosing ADHD which are used by psychiatrists in evaluating whether your child is just experiencing some symptoms or a full blown disorder based on symptoms, settings, severity, developmental age, etc. There are  clinical rating scales which may be used to for additional assessments and plan interventions accordingly. ADHD can lead to problems in academics and education as the child faces significant problem in focusing in the classroom, paying attention, gets distracted easily while studying and hence it can reflect in day to day school work and even affect his or her performance in exams. A child with ADHD can also have problems in social behavior because of inability to sit in one place and impulsivity in behavior and can appear disruptive in classrooms. They can also have problems with their peers and can have problems in friendships because of their impulsivity, hyperactivity and behavioral overlay.Kindly consult a psychiatrist if your child is experiencing symptoms of ADHD. It may be preferable to consult a psychiatrist with expertise/ training in child and adolescent psychiatry if resources are  available  who can evaluate your child clinically, plan some assessments for ADHD, advise you certain blood tests and electrophysiological investigations as per expertise, guide you regarding role of medications to improve child’s attention and concentration  and role of therapies such as Behavior therapy, Parent management training therapy, etc . The psychiatrist will counsel your child to deal with his problems in studies and behavior and  suggest some therapeutic  tips to improve your child attention and concentration,  do psychological therapy for your child as per  clinical expertise and school of training in child and adolescent psychiatry. Parents  also be need to be taught positive parenting practices to improve the child's overall behavior and techniques to improve the child's attention and reduce problematic behaviors of hyperactivity and impulsivity.The psychiatrist may refer your child for a Neurologist consultation, preferably a Pediatric Neurologist if there are any neurological signs and symptoms in the child as per clinical expertise to rule out any neurological conditions which can have symptoms of inattentiveness, hyperactivity etc. Certain conditions like seizures and nutritional deficiencies can have inattentiveness and hyperactivity as symptoms which may need to be evaluated.  Multidisciplinary approaches comprising of child and adolescent psychiatry, pediatric neurology, child psychology, OT and educational liasion  are  useful for comprehensive assessment and holistic  management of the child with ADHD. 

Clinical Psychologist vs. Psychiatrist, Who Should You See?

Ms. Aarathi Selvan, Psychologist
Clinical Psychologists and Psychiatrists often work together to ensure the mental health and well-being of a client is taken care of. While their job descriptions often overlap, there are many crucial differences between a psychologist and psychiatrist. The most important difference is the nature of treatment within the two professions. Treatment differences between Psychologist and Psychiatrist:PsychiatristA psychiatrist is a trained medical doctor. In India, a psychiatrist completes MBBS degree and additional gets trained in psychiatry at a post graduate level. Psychiatrists prescribe medication for mental illnesses like Major depressive disorder, Bipolar disorder, Schizophrenia, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,  Anxiety Disorder and more. They spend much of their time on medication management as the primary course of treatment. Psychiatrists are medical doctors first. Most of them do not have additional training in counselling or talk therapy as a clinical psychologist. It is important to understand this: I have had several clients reach out to me and express that when they went to a psychiatrist, the doctor did not spend time listening to their deeper issues which lead them to the mental illness (like depression/anxiety,etc). Psychiatrists focus on the presenting symptoms of the patient. In conditions where the mental illness is severe and basic self care is impossible, taking medications to stabilize becomes necessary. They are not trained as clinical psychologists to approach mental illness with talk therapy.Clinical PsychologistIn India, clinical psychologists have a license by the Rehabilitation Council of India to practice professionally. They typically have a Bachelors & Masters in Psychology and an MPhil in Clinical Psychology.  A PhD in clinical psychology/psychology is not a licensing degree for practicing as a psychologist.Clinical Psychologists are trained to understand a variety of aspects of mental health and are also trained in different evidence based therapies to work with clients with mental illness or difficult life situations.Clients with severe mental illness will be concurrently seen by both Psychiatrists and Clinical Psychologist for best results. Often times clients/patients with less severe kinds of mental health problems don’t like to use medications, they’re afraid they’re going to get addicted. These clients are more likely to see a psychologist first.Clinical psychologists help clients learn different tools to help transform their attitudes, behaviours, thoughts and emotions into those that support optimal well-being. As opposed to a psychiatrist who may spend less than 15 minutes in medication management with a patient per session, clinical psychologists typically spends over an hour per session in working with the client. Clinical psychologist are additionally trained in Testing and Assessment, that helps in diagnosing clients with mental illness. Clinical psychologist also work with individuals with normal life issues that seem to cause stress, anxiety and depression.  Talk therapy is the most effective for clients in these situations.I am a National Certified Counselor in the US and a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in India with additional certifications in Evidence Based Therapies. If you are still wondering who you should see in therapy, get in touch with me to help you assess your situation and recommend to you the accurate form of therapy for your situation.

Starving vs Eating Healthy

Ms. Silky Mahajan, Dietitian/Nutritionist
You study one night before the exam but you manage an all nighter, thus you manage to pass. You study for a week for your SAT exams but you manage a score little over 1800. You sit down for a few hours and you manage to finish the work your boss asked for a week ago. You push yourself and get the desired results. These results keep you happy, get the work done (in a long term successful manner) and turn out to be fast as well as effective! But, can you say the same in relation to starving to lose weight? Yes it’s fast, but is it effective? Yes you might look thin, but internally are you happy when you’re hungry? Yes it’s got the job done but will it be a long term success? The answer is NO. Starving yourself to lose weight isn’t the solution. WHY, you ask? Well here’s a piece of my mind.Metaaabolismmmm vs METABOLISM:Well the first ones an example of how slow your metabolic rate will be when you starve! Since glucose and insulin play a major role in your metabolism levels, insufficient consumption of food will lead to a fall in their levels, eventually causing a decline in your metabolic rate. Then comes the second kind, that fast paced metabolism – that’s because regular meals keep your digestive system running which in turn paces up your metabolic rates.No water vs no water weight:When you decide to starve yourself, you say no to almost any item going into your mouth. You cant live on a peanut for lunch and one fruit for dinner! Instead you need to trim the excess weight by getting rid of the water weight by cutting your carbs! For every gram of carb that you consume, your body retains 4 grams of water. No carbs, no retention. .no water weight? That’s right! Say no to carbs, yes to healthy food and bye bye to water weight.Malnutrition vs nutrition:After a few months of starvation, there is a major cut in your staple food which leads to insufficient nutrients, vitamin and minerals. Without all the essentials for a “balanced diet” your body cannot function properly which could lead to serious illnesses and problems. On the other hand, if you eat right your body improves its immunity and keeps even the smallest cough away.To sleep or not to sleep:Those who starve themselves tend to get hungry (well, duh) during the odd hours of the night. This either keeps them up late at night or keeps waking them up every few hours. OR, even worse – you binge eat at like 3 am.. carbs, fat and dessert! Whereas those who eat a well balanced healthy meal end up getting a good night’s rest since their body isn’t short of food aka energy deprived!Lethargic lump vs energizer bunny:After you skip some meals, your body is really low on energy so it uses stored fat as a replacement ie muscles. You’ll notice your muscles slowly start to fade away to compensate for the lack of energy in your body. Eventually you won’t have the energy to do anything, not even eat (not as good as it sounds!). Actually no energy and no muscle might just make you fat and lazy. If you decide to get off your lazy lump and cook breakfast, you will actually help kick start your body into fat burning mode! Also you’ll have the energy to exercise – which definitely provides better results than starving.

Kids - Are They Really Affected by Parents' Addiction?

Ms. Raisa Luther, Psychotherapist
In our experience, parents usually think that their addiction has not really impacted their children in any significant way. Also, in our experience, this is not true – actually believing in the lie that the child is not affected by addiction in a family, is part of the addictive denial.Addicts' children are most affectedKids are highly sensitive, their growth process is dependent on it. They feel, taste, absorb and internalize what’s around them, including the toxic soup of addiction. Kids love their parents. Since they sense that the parents are not in control, they begin to take ownership of the problem believing it’s their fault. Shame, blame and guilt rule in addicted households. And addiction is cunning: the desperate and repeated attempts by family members to ‘fix’ the problems are doomed to fail, over and over again.A simple yet powerful exercise we use at Hope Trust’s Family Support Program to help children is we ask them to write a letter to addiction, not to the parent(s). Children share this letter with parents and it’s often the first time parents understand how damaging addiction has been in the lives of their most cherished ones.Children are explained that addiction is a disease and their addicted parent is not bad, but sick. Surprisingly, children accept this fact readily and are on the path to recovery themselves by forgiving the huge ‘betrayals’ by the parent. A rehab is a place to heal, not a punishment – this they can actually see and feel as they visit their parent and also interact with other members. They can sense the sincerity and genuine help being extended by the professional yet friendly counsellors at Hope Trust. They begin to understand that recovery is the gift of freedom, not a label suggesting you’re broken or faulty.And they discover the joy of having their parents back in the family – a truly priceless gift!