Posts Tagged ‘mental health education’

Empathy and Stress Illness (2)

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

A great work of fiction is not only a pleasure but also can expand the breadth and depth of your empathic skill.  In the last post I wrote about a non-fiction book and a film.  Today I want to look at a novel and in the next post a collection of short stories.


Empathy and Stress Illness (1)

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Empathy, the ability to feel what it is like to be another human being, is a key diagnostic tool in the arsenal of clinicians who diagnose stress illness.  (You can read a series of posts about this by clicking on the tag ’empathy’ below.)


Stress Illness and The Health Care System (4)

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

After 4.5 hours of instruction, two dozen mental health clinicians (MHCs) with varied training and experience were able to find the diagnosis in a half-dozen simulated stress illness patients.  So I also talked to them about reaching out to medical clinicians to teach them how to explain the following concepts to their patients: (more…)

Stress Illness and The Health Care System (3)

Monday, April 26th, 2010

After four and a half hours of instruction in how to do a Stress Check-Up (which is an Illness Chronology plus a Stress History), my next question was whether my audience of two dozen mental health professionals could use it to diagnose a “real patient.”  So I tested them.


Stress Illness and The Health Care System (2)

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

I am slowly figuring out how we might move the existing health care system toward better care of stress illness patients.  I learned a lot more yesterday when, for seven hours, I shared ideas with two dozen mental health clinicians who came from a wide range of training backgrounds and professional positions.


The Rosie Factor

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Rosie O’Donnell has been a stand-up comic, television actress, film actress, adoptive mother and daytime television talk-show host as well as a singer, author, gay rights activist, magazine editor and philanthropist, giving millions of dollars to a children’s foundation and other charities.  Since last November she has hosted a radio show on Sirius/XM where, this morning, I had the chance to inform her listeners about stress illness.


Closing the Blind Spot

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Kauai is a wonderful place to talk about stress, primarily because it is difficult to have any while you are there.  Last week I went to the Garden Isle to present my lecture on stress illness to clinicians of a variety of specialties from the Pierce County (Washington State including Tacoma & Mt Rainer) Medical Society.  They asked a number of thoughtful questions.  They were clearly interested in diagnosing stress illness but felt the need for greater support from mental health clinicians (MHCs) than was available in their community.  This referred to the limited number of MHCs and also to MHCs experience evaluating patients with unexplained physical symptoms.


When Stress Causes Pain

Monday, March 29th, 2010

I don’t recall ever encountering a conference that included internists, psychologists, psychoanalysts, a gastroenterologist (myself) and a public relations expert all addressing the same clinical issue.  Yet this is what came together at UCLA this weekend to address physical symptoms caused by psychosocial stress.  Nearly 200 attended and it was remarkable to see the consensus that grew out of such disparate clinical experience.


American Psychosomatic Society (3)

Monday, March 15th, 2010

I attended so many presentations at the annual APS meeting last week that I had no time left to post an entry here.  I also presented my talk on diagnosing physical symptoms connected to psychosocial stresses though only 20 people attended out of several hundred at the meeting.  One possible reason for that became apparent as I attended other symposia since most focused on the impact of stress on disease of body organs.  For example, numerous studies were presented or referred to that measured cortisone (a stress hormone) in saliva in various situations or showed images of brain activity.  There was far less about diagnosis and treatment of people whose symptoms are not explained by diagnostic tests, even though (as my readers know well) this is the largest single group of patients in all of primary care.


5. Medically Unexplained Symptoms in DSM-5

Monday, March 1st, 2010

In the last post, I proposed a revision of the Somatoform Disorders section for the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) of the American Psychiatric Association.  The DSM-5 group has proposed changing the name from Somatoform Disorders to Somatic Symptom Disorders (SSD) but this term neglects the central role of psychological or cognitive factors.  It will also cause confusion with the DSM-5 group’s other new proposal, the term Complex Somatic Symptom Disorder (CSSD).  The term CSSD suggests that it is simply a complex form of SSD but that is not at all how the DSM-5 group has defined it.  This is why I suggest replacing Somatoform Disorders with Psychosomatic Disorders, not as a diagnostic term (patients consider it stigmatizing) but as a name for this category that is well understood by mental health practitioners, medical clinicians and the public.