May 2011  << Back  

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Choices clinicians must make: When to intervene and how to help

Donald W. Black, MD


I just returned from Chicago where I attended the annual meeting of the American Academy of Clinical Psychiatrists (AACP) held in collaboration with Current Psychiatry. This was an outstanding meeting. A highlight was the “point/counterpoint” exchange between Drs. Henry Nasrallah and Rajiv Tandon on whether efficacy or tolerability trumps physician choice for antipsychotics.

We begin this issue of Annals with a contribution from Simha E. Ravven, MD, and colleagues presenting epidemiologic data from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication on the use of herbals for treating mental illness. These and other forms of alternative care have become mainstream and psychiatrists, like other physicians, are not well informed about what our patients are taking. Sydney Chiu, MA, and colleagues test a brief self-report screener for posttraumatic stress disorder. Their work involved retired firefighters exposed to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001.

Other articles include contributions from Tami Argo, PharmD, MS, BCPP, and colleagues who assessed prevalence and risk factors for diabetes in schizophrenia patients; Sergio Paradiso, MD, PhD, and colleagues report on alexithymia—difficulty expressing emotion—in cancer patients; Rif S. El-Mallakh, MD, and colleagues report on sleep disturbances in euthymic bipolar disorder patients; and Brian L. Odlaug, BA, and colleagues examine strategic vs nonstrategic gambling in 440 pathological gamblers. James L. Megna, MD, PhD, and colleagues review the literature on obesity, which is prevalent among psychiatric patients, and Melanie L. Zupancic, MD, examines use of atypical antipsychotics for rapid cycling bipolar illness.

I have sad news to report. We have lost 2 long time AACP members, both of whom contributed greatly to the organization and served on the Board of Directors.

John B. Reichman, MD, of Pocatello, ID passed away August 28, 2010. He was one of the first AACP members I befriended. John was born in St. Louis, MO and received his medical degree from the University of Missouri at Columbia. He completed his psychiatry residency at Washington University, and felt honored to have been mentored by Samuel B. Guze, MD, Donald W. Goodwin, MD, and Paula J. Clayton, MD. John was one of the earliest AACP members and faithfully served the organization in many roles, most recently as Vice President. He and his wife Mary raised their children in Idaho, a location selected in part for its downhill skiing. During his 32 years of private practice he was regarded for his compassion and medical skill. He is survived by his wife Mary and their 2 children.

JCN (“Noel”) Brown passed way on January 13, 2011 at his home in Iowa City, IA. Born in Friars Walk, Ireland, he relocated to Iowa for his residency after receiving his medical degree from the National University of Ireland. Noel became a good friend, and I and everyone he knew were greatly cheered by his presence. As an Adjunct Professor, he donated time from his busy Iowa City practice to teach at the University of Iowa. As a resident I had the pleasure of observing his gracious bedside manner, and learning his practical patient care wisdom. I still recall his sage advice such as “If the green pill doesn’t work, try the blue pill.” He was past president of the Iowa Psychiatric Society, and was one of the founding AACP members. He is survived by his wife of more than 50 years, Mona, 4 children, and 2 grandchildren.

Both men will be greatly missed.

Donald W. Black, MD