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Tag Archives: psychiatry

Why Is Clozapine So Great?

[Epistemic status: Very speculative; I don’t fully understand a lot of the studies involved] Clozapine is an antipsychotic drug sometimes used to treat schizophrenia. Like most antipsychotics, it works by blocking dopamine receptors in the brain. Conventional wisdom among psychiatrists … Continue reading

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Why Are Transgender People Immune To Optical Illusions?

[Epistemic status: So, so speculative. Don’t take any of this seriously until it’s replicated and endorsed by other people.] I. If you’ve ever wanted to see a glitch in the Matrix, watch this spinning mask: Source: http://hearingthevoice.org/2013/11/14/predictive-coding-masterclass/ Did you see … Continue reading

What Is Depression, Anyway?: The Synapse Hypothesis

I. The problem with depression research isn’t that we don’t have any leads on what causes depression. It’s that we have so many leads on what causes depression that we don’t know what to do with all of them. For … Continue reading

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Is Pharma Research Worse Than Chance?

[Epistemic status: very speculative] The two most exciting developments in psychopharmacology in the 21st century so far have been ketamine for depression and MDMA for PTSD. Unlike other antidepressants, which work intermittently over a space of weeks, ketamine can cause … Continue reading

Postmarketing Surveillance Is Good And Normal

I. Scientific American notes a recent study saying that a third of drugs approved by the FDA over the past ten years have since been recalled, been given new boxed warnings, or been given new “safety communications”. A few people … Continue reading

Anorexia And Metabolic Set Point

[Content warning: fat, anorexia, dieting] [Epistemic status: crazy speculation from someone who isn’t an expert in the field. Please don’t take too seriously.] Some anorexics I talk to describe their condition as falling into two phases. In Phase 1, they’re … Continue reading

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SSC Journal Club: Childhood Trauma And Cognition

This month’s American Journal of Psychiatry includes Danese et al, Origins Of Cognitive Deficits In Victimized Children. Previous studies had found that abused children had lower IQ. They concluded that the severe stress of being abused must decrease brain function. … Continue reading

The Case Of The Suffocating Woman

[Content warning: panic, suffocation] I. I recently presented this case at a conference and I figured you guys might want to hear it too. Various details have been obfuscated or changed around to protect confidentiality of the people involved. A … Continue reading

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Antidepressant Pharmacogenomics: Much More Than You Wanted To Know

[Epistemic status: very uncertain. Not to be taken as medical advice. Talk to your doctor before deciding whether or not to get any tests.] I. There are many antidepressants in common use. With a few exceptions, none are globally better … Continue reading

Book Review: Mount Misery

[Content warning: psychiatric abuse (especially around borderline personality), rape, spoilers for Mount Misery] I. Last month I reviewed Samuel Shem’s House of God. The sequel, Mount Misery, is about his time training in psychiatry. This is obviously relevant to my … Continue reading