Doctor Background Checks; ECT in Film; New Borderline Criteria – 3 New Things

Doctor Background Checks; ECT in Film; New Borderline Criteria – 3 New Things

Today we return to my 3 New Things series so I can touch on three new pieces of information I’ve found this week. This week I talk about:

  • How to get a background check on a doctor
  • The sorry portrayal of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in film
  • The newly-proposed diagnostic criteria for personality disorders in the DSM-V

1. Background Checks on Psychiatrists

Recently a psychiatrist contacted me about a research opportunity. I’m very excited to participate in anything that furthers the knowledge of bipolar disorder, but I did want to check out the doctor to find out a bit more about him.

That’s when I came across HealthGrades.com. Now, there are many sites that provide a place for patient feedback on doctors and I recommend you check more than one when considering a psychiatrist; however, the reason why I like HealthGrades.com is because they provide background check information. Specifically, in addition to standard doctor information they provide:

  • Malpractice information
  • History of sanctions
  • History of medical board actions

This is an amazing resource for anyone researching a doctor and it’s free. Not all information is available on all doctor due to state reporting laws, but it’s well worth checking out. And if you do find something in the background check you should probably be able to find the associated court records for it online as well.

2. The Sorry Portrayal of Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) in Film

[Note: I am running a survey on real patients’ experiences with, and perspectives on, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). If you’ve had ECT and want your voice heard, please take the survey here. More detailed information on the ECT survey can be found here.]

Those of you who know me know I stick up for ECT as I consider it to be a much-maligned but life-saving treatment. And one of the reasons people are so against it is due to its portrayal in the media and in films. This article: About To Have ECT? Fine, but Don’t Watch It in the Movies: The Sorry Portrayal of ECT in Film details how incredible the shameful its portrayal in film really is.

3. New Diagnostic Criteria for Personality Disorders

If you happen to be like me, you know that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) has a new version due out soon. The DSM outlines the method to recognize and diagnose all mental illness. The DSM current version is the DSM-IV-TR and version V is up soon.

Unfortunately, the professional opinion of the DSM-V seems to be that it’s a bit of a cluster. While well-meaning, the folks that have updated the DSM seem to have done so in a way that is so complex the diagnoses are incredibly difficult to implement.

And personality disorders is an excellent example of this complexity. Personality disorders are now to be diagnosed by category, subcategory and sub-subcategory. It’s just too much for the average clinician, I dare say.

Take a look: The Great DSM-5 Personality Bazaar

OK all, until next week when I will try to learn more and do better.


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