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Saturday, December 31, 2011

A documentary about Mental Illness in Ethiopia

After the Italians left during their occupation of Ethiopia, Amanuel Hospital was used as an asylum for the mentally ill. There were no psychiatrists or nurses; the patients were just locked up. 

However, Amanuel Hospital has changed alot over the last few decades, in large part due to a collaboration with the University of Toronto. Here, you get a close look into this beautiful country and how a psychiatry residency was established. 

The stigma of mental illness remains one of the main obstacles in treating mentally ill patients. Seeing a psychiatrist is often the last resort in Ethiopia, where the majority believe that mental illness is caused by spirits. People usually seek a number of traditional healers before even considering seeing a psychiatrist.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Psychiatry Career Paths

The few short videos featured above give you a picture of the breadth of psychiatry.

The following are featured: addiction psychiatry, military psychiatry, child & adolescent psychiatry, emergency psychiatry, and resident mentorship.   

Friday, December 9, 2011

Synesthesia: senses linked together

Synesthesia is a condition where people are born with 2 or more of their senses hooked together, making them see sounds, taste colors, hear smells, etc.

It is estimated that 1 in 90 people have synesthesia, and if you have one type of synesthesia, you have more than a 50% chance of having another type of synesthesia.

This video is one of the best I've seen about this unique condition! Take a look!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Jerusalem syndrome

From the youtube summary: 

The Jerusalem syndrome is a group of mental phenomena involving the presence of either religiously themed obsessive ideas, delusions, or other psychosis-like experiences that are triggered by a visit to the city of Jerusalem.
It is not endemic to one single religion or denomination but has affected Jews, Christians, and Muslims of many different backgrounds.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Rare and Unusual Psychiatric Syndromes

Great find by Deb!

Number 2 explains Capgras syndrome, a disorder which is characterized by a person's delusional belief that an acquaintance (usually a spouse or close family member) has been replaced by an identical looking imposter.

Here's a clip of a patient with Capgras syndrome:
David even believed the house he was living in was an imitation of his real house!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Telepsychiatry in Australia

Telepsychiatry is the use of communications technology to provide psychiatric services from a distance. 
Its application has provided a tremendous boost in mental health services to remote communities. 

Here, you get glimpse of telepsychiatry in Australia, an international leader in the field. The limitations and advantages of using telepsychiatry were well explained here (click the red title to access it)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Daniel Tammet- The boy with the incredible Brain

Here’s part 1 of 5 about Daniel Tammet. He is one of a handful of prodigious savants in the world. It’s remarkable what he’s able to do. He’s able to learn a language in 1 week. He was also able to recite “pi” from memory to 22 514 digits. 

Daniel suffered from epilepsy as a child and also has Asperger’s syndrome. He says that researchers believe that his seizures and autism combined have caused him to have these exceptional mental abilities. 
Here he is on David Letterman talking about being a savant:

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Interview with Professor John Nash

This is an interview with Professor John Nash, the man who was the inspiration behind the film “A Beautiful Mind.” He speaks a bit about his experience with paranoid schizophrenia and his son with schizophrenia. 
Interesting to note that his son (John Nash III) was also a mathematical genius who eventually received a phd in math. During his battle with schizophrenia however, he lost his ability to think rationally and only received his phd after subsequent treatment. 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Expert on Mental Illness Reveals her own Fight

Here's another great video & article from Deb. 

Marsha M. Linehan works with seriously suicidal people, having faced the same struggles when she was younger. She has developed new ways of treating the most serious of suicidal patients.

Marsha was diagnosed as having borderline personality disorder when she was younger. 

Personally, I know someone with BPD with most of the classic signs of cutting, suicide attempts, chronic emptiness, impulsive behavior, etc. Unfortunately, I've seen first hand how this disorder, like most mental illnesses, can destabilize an entire family. With a strong support system, psychotherapy, and medication, these patients can often have a significant reduction in symptoms. 

Borderlines are perhaps the most difficult patients to deal with in medicine, mainly due to a lack of understanding and patience from the healthcare professional. Some shrinks even give up on them entirely.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Married to a mannequin

This is a great find by Deb. Ned is married to a mannequin whom he met 25 years ago, when she was just a head. He then built her a body. To Ned, his relationship with his mannequin wife is as real as any relationship gets.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Secrets of the Austrian Cellar- The Story of Elisabeth Fritzl

This was the case heard around the world a few years ago. Still brings shivers down my spine.
Here’s a brief summary: Joseph Fritzl, Elisabeth’s father, built a cellar and trapped Elisabeth inside for 24 yrs. 
During this time, Elisabeth was raped every few days and gave birth to 7 children. 
Some of the children spent their entire life in the cellar. 
After 24 yrs of incarceration, Elisabeth and her children were hospitalized in a psychiatric facility to start their lengthy recovery. 

Joseph Fritzl is currently serving a life sentence.  

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mentally Ill have reduced life expectancy

Here's an interesting read!

I guess it's not too surprising, but the difference compared to the average population is larger than many experts once thought. 

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Dr. Phil- Extreme Hoarding

This clip shows the repercussions associated with Nancy’s compulsive hoarding. 

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Here, you get a glimpse of all the other turmoil going on in Nancy's life. She had her nursing license revoked due to stealing painkillers and forging prescriptions. Nancy admits she has an addictive personality and also opens up about her volatile relationship with her boyfriend Bob.  

Nancy explains how her setbacks in life have caused her to place a strong personal attachment to her items.  

Part 4

Part 5

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Doctors’ Toughest Diagnosis: Own Mental Health

This article is about the high rate of depression and suicide among physicians. As the article states, “physicians are trapped in a culture which discourages them from discussing their illness openly.” 
On page 2, you can read about the story of Dr. Hansbrough, a renown burn surgeon who ended up committing suicide. He is also featured in the documentary “Struggling in Silence: Physician Suicide and Depression”
There’s also a third page, even though it says there’s only two. 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Woman who can't forget

Here's the other extreme!
Jill Price in unable to forget anything in her life. Here, she explains how it paralyzes her because she feels her memories of the past with debilitating intensity.  
Scientists have found similarities between Jill’s brain and patients suffering from OCD.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Living without Memory

Alot of you were really curious to learn more about Clive Wearing, so here are some more clips from "The Mind". 

I thought part 2b was particularly interesting because it starts off with Clive describing his experience of “waking up”.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Man with a 30 second memory

Clive Wearing is considered to have perhaps the most severe case of amnesia ever known. His memory only lasts between 7 and 30 seconds, so every time his short term memory lapses, he essentially "restarts" his consciousness.

You can read more about him on Wikipedia.

I find it neat how despite his situation, he still has a great sense of humor, can remember his wife, and play the piano just like the good old days!

Sorry for the double send to those who received the clip earlier ; )

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Story of David Reimer: Born a boy, Raised as a girl

A bunch of us were talking about the topic of sex reassignment surgery the other week, so I thought I’d dig this one up. 
It’s a story about twin boys born in Winnipeg, Canada. 
A few months after birth, the twins went to the hospital to get circumcised. 
Using electrical circumcision machinery, an accident occurred and David’s penis was burned off. 
With the help of Dr. Money, the family decided to raise David as a girl. 
The ending is quite tragic as you'll see. 
Despite the tragic ending, there is still more emphasis on nurture over nature today!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Dr. Phil: Body Obsessed Boys

I'm a big fan of Dr. Phil. Thought I'd share this.

The episode is about Eric, a 15 year old boy with an eating disorder. He has a phobia of gaining body fat.

Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:

If you want to see the entire episode, you can find the other parts on youtube as well.

In Part 6, you get to see Troy, a physical education teacher who doesn't practice what he preaches.

Eating disorders are much more common in women which often causes physicians to fail to diagnose these problems in males. Also, the stigma inherent in having an eating disorder as a male causes most men to delay treatment. 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Tanzanian Girls Risking Rape for an Education

Another interesting read about how girls in Tanzania risk living in nearby ghettos which are closer to school than their home towns. Harassment and rape in the ghettos have increased school drop out rates. Those who haven’t dropped out have a difficult time studying and learning due to their constant fear of being harmed.  

Friday, March 4, 2011

Kenya’s Mentally Ill Locked up and Forgotten

This is a great video and article Deb sent me. Thanks Deb!!
The 10 mins documentary “Locked up and forgotten”:
In developing countries, the mentally ill are often locked up, forgotten, and neglected.

Here, you see Thomas Matoke’s home where he has been tied up to a bed with limited activity for over 30 years.

There are 2 additional short clips at the bottom of the article:
1) Joseph’s grim story
Joseph was severely disabled at birth. His condition has deteriorated throughout the years due to neglect. Joseph’s mom has been consumed by his care for over 40 years.
2) Rare glimpse of Mathari hospital in Kenya 
Patients are crammed in small dorms. Some patients claim to have been raped by other patients while the hospital staff does nothing.  

Saturday, February 19, 2011

6 year old Girl with schizophrenia loses touch with reality

This is from an episode of Oprah. I was quite skeptical before seeing this since kids often have imaginary friends. But it seems like this family was quite resistant to treating their daughter Jani, and only started to get help when her hallucinations started to cause her to become violent (at age 5). Jani has already tried to kill herself and harm others. She is on the treatment of last resort for adult schizophrenics! 
In part 2, you get to see her psychiatrist describe her schizophrenia. 
In part 3, you get to see Jani’s best friend, another young girl suffering with schizophrenia. They met in the psyche ward. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Battling the Booze

This is a 45 mins documentary following the lives of Australians battling the addiction. Only the first 10 mins are available on youtube. It’s just enough time to get a glimpse of Ian Dickson’s battle with the booze (he’s one of the judges on Australian Idol). 
The damage alcohol causes far outweighs the combined effects of all illicit drugs.  Studies show that like most addictions, it is highly correlated with a family history of addiction. Alcohol contributes to 12% of suicides and 25% of mental illness.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Sybil- A true story about an extraordinary young woman

It’s a true story about a girl who endured a traumatic childhood resulting in her developing 16 different personalities, each with a different name, age, and attitude. Some of her personalities were male as well!
The clips above give a good synopsis of the movie if you don’t have the time to watch the entire film. 
You can find the complete film with divided parts here: 
There’s an older version of the movie made in 1976 which can be found on youtube as well. 
Beware, the music is somewhat creepy! 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Rape- Caring for the Adult Female Victim

This is an educational video about how to care for a victim of rape. Notice how the nurse and doctor communicate to try to restore a feeling of control in the victim. 
Much of the first part of the video focusses on the physical examination and how the medical team gathers evidence. 
Starting at 26:30, you get to see the counseling portion of the victim’s treatment
I think this part is particularly helpful to watch! 
It is estimated that 1 in every 5 women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime. However, I've seen some sites showing even higher estimates. The rate is often higher in developing countries! 

Many victims only open up about it years after the rape has occurred, in part because the victim often feels ashamed and embarrassed. 
I hope this gives some insight into how to communicate with a victim of profound psychological harm.