A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey through the Past and Future Mental Illness and Addiction By: Patrick J. Kennedy and Stephen Fried This is a story, told in the first person of Patrick J. Kennedy. It is really two stories presented to us simultaneously. It is about Patrick Kennedy, son of Edward Kennedy and nephew […]
Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death among persons over age 10. Patients with Major Depression or Bipolar Depression have a 20-60 fold increase of mortality rate over the general population. The role of medication and psychotherapy is can be important in preventing suicides. This topic will be discussed in future blogs and is the theme of the annual meeting of the
American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry which will be held in San Francisco Aug 16-18 2012.
This blog discusses how the understanding of the human genome and the construction of the human chromosome may be able to influence psychiatric care. Psychiatrists have previously relied on history ( including family history ) with a mental status evaluation to make a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan. Unless the patient had an identical twin with similar symptoms, family history only has a limited value in providing assistance in making the diagnosis or in predicting response to medication. The author originally hoped that this would radically change with the breaking of the genetic code and the human genome project. However thus far the research has limited value in the application to current psychiatric care. There is some promising research in regard to schizophrenia and genetics as well as some recent work concerning bipolar disorder and post partum depression, which is reviewed. The use of biomarkers particularly in brain imaging and the use of the EEG for the prediction of effectiveness for antidepressants are discussed. Several ethical considerations related to this type of research are also raised.