Category Archive: Psychiatry

How opioids can destroy the most beloved of personalities

“I feel like a caged animal” — My patient offered me this lens through which to view his life seeped in chronic pain. For him, pain dictated his entire sense of being — it was something that simply could not be distilled down to a single value on a 10-…

How opioids can destroy the most beloved of personalities

“I feel like a caged animal” — My patient offered me this lens through which to view his life seeped in chronic pain. For him, pain dictated his entire sense of being — it was something that simply could not be distilled down to a single value on a 10-…

The questions clinicians never think to ask

The chief complaint was belly pain. He described the pain as both dull and crampy. It came and went, but bothered him the most on the same night of each week. The notes from the primary care doctor show a thoughtful search for the underlying cause. The…

When you identify your Lyft driver as potentially having bipolar disorder

I remember September 27, 2018 like it was yesterday. When Ashley* picked me up from my apartment Thursday morning, I thought it would be like the 138 past Lyft rides I’ve taken since 2017. I was wrong. After I waived to Ashley from the curb, I got sett…

Is gaming disorder a real addiction, and how can I tell if it’s affecting my child?

Studies have shown that video games and other addictions, such as alcohol and nicotine, affect neural pathways in similar ways: They all lead to an increase in dopamine levels in specific pleasure centers of the brain. While drugs increase dopamine lev…

I lost my attending to suicide: a story of loss and ladybugs

I lost my attending to suicide. A lot of things about life changed that day. In the days of grief that followed, I was consoled by my mentor who suggested we meet outside on a patch of grass near the hospital. As we shrinks say, we needed time to emoti…

How many beers is too many?

“I drank beer with my friends. Almost everyone did.” Alcohol has become constitutional to American culture: “grabbing a drink” after work, happy hour, cheers before meals, on New Year’s, or just because. Our society’s normalization of drinking creates …

Do whatever it takes to conquer this depression. Now and forever.

“Ms. Taylor*?” “Yes, it’s me. I’m so deeply sorry to you and the team. You all helped me so much when I was here. But I started drinking a day after I left and blacked out.” Two weeks ago, Ms. Taylor was found by her…

How to talk with a struggling physician colleague

My friend, Lello Tesema, and I were sitting in a restaurant in Harvard Square. It was the first, feverish bit of spring when it seems like the entire city has emerged en masse from their winter dens. We were sitting outside under patio lights, wearing …

The problem with high-potency marijuana

Advocates for the legalization of medical and retail marijuana are quick to point out all the possible benefits that a community might see from such a venture. These include increased jobs, increased tax revenue, possible medical benefits and they adve…

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