Podcast: Bizarre Questions Psychiatrists and Therapists Have Asked

There is an assumption among many Americans that doctors are pretty darn smart and always know what they’re talking about. Psychiatrists work with the mentally ill, so they are certainly smarter than their patients. Because, after all, their patients are “crazy.” Right?

In this episode, our hosts discuss all the times that psychiatrists and therapists didn’t live up to the hype – or stereotype. 

Narrator: [00:00:09] For reasons that utterly escapes Everyone involved. You’re listening to A Bipolar, A Schizophrenic and A Podcast. Here are your hosts, Gabe Howard and Michelle Hammer. Thank you for tuning into A Bipolar, A Schizophrenic and A Podcast.  more

Why do there seem to be so many mentally ill people in French cities?

One hundred French psychiatrists have written to the health minister to highlight the problems with mental healthcare in France, with one doctor saying it is “not normal” to see so many mentally ill people on the streets.

So, why does the situation seem so bad?

It is not uncommon to see people who seem to be suffering from serious mental health issues on the streets of major cities but in Paris and other large cities in France the situation seems to be even more acute than you might expect.
A letter sent from 100 French psychiatrists to health minister Agnes Buzyn on Tuesday and revealed by Le Parisien explains why this might be the case.
According to the health professionals, patients with mental disorders, sometimes of a serious nature, are not being treated because the country’s psychiatry services are overwhelmed.   more

How A Wooden Bench In Zimbabwe Is Starting A Revolution In Mental Health

In the early 2000s, when there were just two psychiatrists serving over 12 million people, Zimbabwe had to get creative to treat depression. Now, one bright idea — the Friendship Bench — is spreading far and wide.

Dixon Chibanda spent more time with Erica than most of his other patients. It wasn’t that her problems were more serious than others’ — she was just one of thousands of women in their mid-20s with depression in Zimbabwe. It was because she had traveled over 160 miles to meet him.  more

Therapists anonymously open up about the funniest and most moving things patients ever said.

Apparently, therapists and psychiatrists also go online, and even these professionals can’t resist throwing their anecdotes into the fray for upvotes.

Below are highlights from several incredible AskReddit threads asking mental health workers to share stories from their patients. Most of the responses are from two threads that ask psychiatrists or psychologists to share “the most profound and insightful comments” they’ve heard in the line of work.

Many of them also made clear that they had changed enough details to keep anyone from identifying patients. Enjoy, and hopefully you don’t realize yours is the psychologist who goes by the username Dr. PonerBenis.  more

13 Gift Ideas for a Friend Who’s in the Psychiatric Hospital

When a friend or family member has been hospitalized for a mental-health related difficulty, sometimes loved ones may feel at a loss of what to bring when they visit. While it’s important to remember people who’ve been hospitalized for a mental illness often appreciate many of the same gifts you might give to someone hospitalized for a “physical” condition, restrictions on items brought into the psych ward can making choosing a gift a little trickier. A good rule of thumb is to avoid items with sharp edges (like scissors or shaving razors) and strings (on hoodies or drawstrings on pants). Mental hospitals have different rules and restrictions, so before you bring anything with you, it’s a good idea to check out the hospital policy online.

In addition to these restrictions, every person is different, so what one person wants might be different than what another wants. Keep your loved one in mind, and think about what they might find useful or comforting while in the hospital.  more

An Inner Look into the Minds and Brains of People with OCD

Complex computer modeling demonstrates that obsessive-compulsive disorder patients learn about their environments but don’t use that information to guide their actions

About 10 years ago David Adam scratched his finger on a barbed wire fence. The cut was shallow, but drew blood. As a science journalist and author of The Man Who Couldn’t Stop: OCD and the True Story of a Life Lost in Thought, a book about his own struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder, Adam had a good idea of what was in store. His OCD involved an obsessive fear of contracting HIV and produced a set of compulsive behaviors revolving around blood.

In this instance he hurried home to get some tissue and returned to check there was not already any blood on the barbed-wire. “I looked and saw there was no blood on the tissue, looked underneath the fence, saw there was no blood, turned to walk away, and had to do it all again, and again and again,” he says. “You get stuck in this horrific cycle, where all the evidence you use to form judgments in everyday life tells you there’s no blood. And if anyone asked, you’d say ‘no.’ Yet, when you ask yourself, you say ‘maybe.’”  more

How Good Is Hollywood at Portraying Mental Illness?

Not great, says psychologist and film buff Danny Wedding.

Look at any classic horror film—Nightmare on Elm StreetFriday the 13thThe Shining—and you’re likely to find mental illness. It’s a convenient, if inaccurate, explanation for the maniacal violence that makes up the backbone of these stories. But in most films portraying mental illness, especially violent and bloody horror films, real life pathology is willfully abandoned in favor of melodramatic storytelling. At best, it’s lazy; at worst, it publicly and repeatedly demonizes the people who need the most help. In a recent article I wrote about the mentally ill being killed in disproportionate numbers by police, many people commented along the lines of “Well, of course, they’re much more dangerous,” which anybody working in mental health can tell you is not only untrue, but is the direct result of the media’s focus on a fictitious link between mental illness and violence.

I spoke with Dr. Danny Wedding, a former director of the Missouri Institute of Mental Health and co-author of Movies and Mental Illness: Using Films to Understand Psychopathology, to learn more about some of the more common movie myths.  more