Hello and welcome to another edition of Best 5 Reads. Lets begin!
My patient and I both knew he was dying.
Not the long kind of dying that stretches on for months or years. He would die today. Maybe tomorrow. And if not tomorrow, the next day. Was there someone I should call? Someone he wanted to see?
Not a one, he told me. No immediate family. No close friends. He had a niece down South, maybe, but they hadn’t spoken in years. For me, the sadness of his death was surpassed only by the sadness of his solitude. I wondered whether his isolation was a driving force of his premature death, not just an unhappy circumstance.
Every day I see variations at both the beginning and end of life: a young man abandoned by friends as he struggles with opioid addiction; an older woman getting by on tea and toast, living in filth, no longer able to clean her cluttered apartment.
In these moments, it seems the only thing worse than suffering a serious illness is suffering it alone.
The accelerating embrace of diagnostic algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) in psychiatry offers both promise and peril, highlighting the need for psychiatrists to stay patient focused and not let technology displace the human element.
Machines that can learn and correct themselves already perform better than doctors at some tasks, says Jörg Goldhahn, but Vanessa Rampton and Giatgen A Spinas maintain that machines will never be able to replicate the inter-relational quality of the therapeutic nature of the
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Nietzsche’s influential ideas about what it means to be moral.
People with severe mental illness (SMI) consume diets that are more energy-dense, highly processed, higher in salt and contain less fruit and vegetables, compared with the general population. People with SMI also engage in lower levels of physical activity, and have higher rates of smoking and substance use.
Antipsychotic medications induce greatly increased hunger, decreased satiety and increased cravings for sweet foods and drinks.
Additionally, a number of adverse eating styles have been observed, including fast-eating syndrome, disordered eating habits (e.g. only eating one main meal daily), increased consumption of junk food and low food literacy. Although the poor physical health of people with SMI is well established, consensus on the appropriate prevention and/or treatment interventions is in evolution, with calls for increased emphasis on lifestyle interventions aimed at reducing overweight/obesity and consequent metabolic abnormalities in established SMI.
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