What Is the DSM, And Why Do We Need It?

June 12, 2013 DSM

I recently attended the 166th annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in San Francisco.  The 5th version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), the DSM-5, was officially released at this meeting.  Earlier…

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PTSD and the DSM

May 16, 2013 PTSD and the DSM

     Recently it has become fashionable to criticize the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) as psychiatry is about to switch over from DSM-4 to DSM-5.  Certainly the DSM has its limitations, but these are the limitations of…

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Dreaming and Habit Formation

May 7, 2013 Dreaming and Habit Formation

The caudate nucleus of the brain, part of the basal ganglia buried beneath the cerebral cortex, is known to be involved in habit formation.  An example of habit formation comes from the field of navigation.  When we travel to a place…

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Why We Dream: Future, Present, or Past

April 2, 2013

One of the continuing mysteries about human existence is the topic of “why we dream”.  Dreaming is not unique to humans.  Mammals and birds probably dream as well, though we can’t be certain what they dream about.  The same is…

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Truth and Fiction

March 28, 2013

At first glance, truth and fiction appear to be opposites, but if we think of Fiction, including novels, plays, poems, then truth and (great) fiction may actually be synonyms.  Certainly there is truth in Tolstoy’s War and Peace,…

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Spirituality and Dream Revision

March 22, 2013

Self-awareness — our sense of who we are — is one of our most prized possessions.  Our well-developed sense of self may historically have led human beings to create and embrace the major world religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam,…

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Take Control of your Triggers

March 11, 2013

In the world of PTSD sufferers, a “trigger” is a sensory experience (a sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, or pain) that brings back (or “triggers”) memories of their original trauma.  The memories, in turn, trigger flashbacks, and…

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Moral Injury and PTSD

March 7, 2013

A recent article by Pauline Jelinek, Associated Press,  draws attention to “moral injury” from warfare.  My own experience working with Vietnam War veterans in San Diego supports many of Ms. Jelinek’s observations and conclusions….

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Guns and Suicide

February 22, 2013

Mass killings have been in the news recently, as I discussed in an earlier blog.  Suicide rates are also up dramatically, for a variety of reasons.  One of these reasons is posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury…

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Dissociation and Dream Revision

February 11, 2013

Dissociation, in the realm of psychology, refers to detachment from one’s immediate surroundings.  Dissociation can range from mild to severe.  Mild dissociation takes the form of distractibility.  Severe dissociation may involve…

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