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Latest by Paul Ballas, D.O.

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Funding For Postpartum Depression and Education: It's Not What You Think

There’s an interesting news article making the rounds. Amy Philo is a new mom who, like many others with postpartum depression, had feelings to harm her child and others around her. She even thought to throw the baby down the stairs. While thoughts t...

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Who Are We? Coming of Age on Antidepressants

Richard Friedman, MD, recently wrote an article in the New York Times about our troubled relationship with antidepressants. He opens his article by asking how antidepressants might affect a patient’s psychological development and core identity. It’s ...

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Understanding Panic Attacks

Many of the questions that have come over this blog have been about the origin of, or the “why” of anxiety. In the last blog, we discussed panic disorder. Before we discuss the treatment of panic attacks, lets at some of the underlying physiologic ph...

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The Belmont Report and Modern Clinical Trials

In my last entry, I discussed some of the many ethical problems with the design and implementation of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study and how it came to an end when these issues were brought to national attention in the late 1970’s. This was a historic s...

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Why is ADHD a Syndrome?

Once the diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is suggested in a child, many parents scrutinize the 18 DSM-IV criteria and reflect that many of these symptoms could be describing ordinary childhood behavior. A common discussion I have ...

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Anxiety and Guilt

There are many sources of anxiety. One interesting psychodynamic source of anxiety is guilt. What is guilt? This is not an easy question to answer. The concept of guilt is an elusive one. The best answer I have come across, and one that fits with wha...

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ADHD's Dynamic History: The Effects of Continuously Changing Diagnostic Criteria

For over 100 years, the symptoms that constitute ADHD have been continuously refined by the scientific community. Many researchers note that one of the earliest scholarly papers on symptoms consistent with ADHD was written in 1902 by George Still, in ...

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Doctors Do What Their Patients Ask Of Them

USA TODAY is running an article concerning direct to consumer ads about medications. Patients see the ads, and then go to the doctor requesting that or a similar medication, and the doctor feels some pressure to prescribe something. The result is tha...

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Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT): Do the Risks Outweigh the Benefits?

When does a doctor recommend ECT? Unfortunately, the answer depends much more on who the doctor is than what a clearly defined hierarchy of treatment modalities might suggest. Generally, ECT is considered to be efficacious, but with numerous limitati...

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Acute Stress Disorder (ASD) vs. ADHD

When children come to a child psychiatrist for the first time, very often it is right after some major trauma or change that has happened in the child’s life. Sometimes what has happened to the child is something that most adults would agree is a tra...