Today I went to the 29th Annual Mood Disorders Symposium: Back to the Basics. I somehow have missed the first 28, but this one was really excellent. Let me give you the quick recap:
Karen Swartz, MD talked about "Reasons to Still Love Lithium." The upshot-- it's very effective in treating and preventing manias and hospitalizations, and it has some anti-suicide properties that hold even for those people where it's not terribly effective as a mood stabilizer. It works for depression as well. You need to monitor kidney and thyroid function. It doesn't work for everyone and everyone doesn't tolerate it. And we're still learning how to best dose it.
Rosalyn Walker Steward, MD, MS, MBA talked about "The Recognition and Treatment of Depression in Primary Care Settings." She discussed how most depression is treated in primary care settings and discussed the differential diagnosis for major depression versus grief/demoralization and how a primary care doc approaches diagnosis and treatment.
Lisa Townsend, PhD gave a quick introduction to "Dialectical Behavior Therapy: The Basics and Beyond." She focused on the importance of recognizing and validating the patient's emotional experience.
Mr. & Mrs. Jones talked about the patient's perspective of depression. I have to say, I love when successful people talk about their struggles -- it does so much towards getting rid of stigma. When psychiatrists and politicians talk about the need to decrease stigma...well, I find it a bit hollow. So Mr. Jones is very articulate, and very successful despite his difficulties with major depression.
Kay Redfield Jamison, PhD gave a talk called "Writing a Life" and talked about the research she's doing for a book on poet Robert Lowell. She always has interesting stuff to say.
And finally, poet/historian/atheist Jennifer Michael Hecht, PhD talked about the history of suicide and how she has been impacted by it.
Some quotes I liked:
Dr. Swartz: "If someone is taking lithium, you want them to be a partner with you in their treatment."
Dr. Steward: "SIGECAPS" Really, there's a mnemonic I'd never heard of? To assess for major depression: Sleep/Interest/Guilt/Energy/Concentration/Appetite/Psychomotor changes/Suicidality. It needs an "L" for Libido. Or two "S's" for Sex.
Dr. Townsend: "Your response is understandable and real but it isn't getting you where you want to be."
Dr. Jamison: "People get treated but they don't necessarily get healed." It might have been worth the whole day for that one sentence.
Dr. Hecht: "Poetry is the queen of places to expore new ideas."