medications being poured into a glass bowl

The role of medications in borderline personality disorder

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a difficult to treat condition that can cause significant distress for those living with it.  While the gold standard for treatment is psychotherapy, specifically dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), medications may also play a supporting role, and that's what this post will focus on. Antidepressants Antidepressants, particularly SSRIs, are some of … Continue reading The role of medications in borderline personality disorder

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Should pharmaceutical advertising be banned?

In many countries, direct to consumer advertising (DTCA) of prescription drugs is either prohibited or tightly restricted.  The United States is a notable exception, along with New Zealand.  For tv ads, the standard pattern is to talk about the illness, talk about the amazing benefits of the drug, and then provide the required long list … Continue reading Should pharmaceutical advertising be banned?

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Dead if you do, dead if you don’t? Weighing the risks & benefits of medications

I recently watched the documentary Letters From Generation Rx on Amazon Prime, which looked at instances of people experiencing significant side effects while on psychiatric medication, including people who took the lives of either themselves or others while on psychiatric meds. One man featured in the film was a Canadian Member of Parliament whose teenage … Continue reading Dead if you do, dead if you don’t? Weighing the risks & benefits of medications

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Evidence-based treatment of anxiety

In this post I'll take a look at some of the available treatment guidelines for anxiety disorders.  While psychotherapies are extremely important in the management of anxiety disorders, this post will focus only on anti-anxiety medications.  The treatment guidelines I refer to come from the British Association for Psychopharmacology and the World Federation of Societies … Continue reading Evidence-based treatment of anxiety

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What the STAR*D study means for depression treatment

The Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D) trial studied 2876 people with major depressive disorder to evaluate their response to depression treatment in a real-world setting.  Unlike the randomized controlled trials that are often used to evaluate a drug's efficacy, there were few exclusion criteria, the patient and their physician knew which drug they … Continue reading What the STAR*D study means for depression treatment

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Our complicated relationships with medications

I can't think of any other type of health condition that has as polarized a relationship with medication as mental illness.  In some ways, to medicate or not to medicate has become a moral issue, with various involved parties taking a stance based on principle.  Often this stance is very broad, making sweeping generalizations.  I … Continue reading Our complicated relationships with medications

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Evidence-based treatment of bipolar disorder: The CANMAT/ISBD guidelines

In 2013 the International Society for Bipolar Disorders and the Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments combed through the scientific literature and put together these guidelines for the pharmacological treatment of bipolar disorder.  Treatments are classified as 1st, 2nd, or 3rd line based on the strength of existing evidence to support their effectiveness.  Also … Continue reading Evidence-based treatment of bipolar disorder: The CANMAT/ISBD guidelines

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Netflix Take Your Pills

Why is Netflix jumping aboard the stigma train?

Sigh.  This again?  I've written before about documentaries that portray psychiatric medications in a problematic way that tends to promote stigma (A Prescription For Murder and Stigma and the Pathologization of Normal).  Now Netflix has come out with Take Your Pills, which looks at the use of stimulant drugs like Adderall and Ritalin for mental … Continue reading Why is Netflix jumping aboard the stigma train?

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