Table of Contents

Volume 4, Issue 12                                                                                 December, 2018


A final farewell

The mission of the Psychiatry Letter 
By Nassir Ghaemi 


When I started PL, I felt that there was information that I wanted to share with the clinical community in a way that I could not share in scientific articles or books. I realized that many clinicians turned to newsletters for guidance, and after some consideration of the effort in time and cost, I decided to try this mechanism of communication.  I had some things I wanted to say. Over the past four years, I have said those things. Now, I’m finished.

Over half a century ago, one of the core founders of psychopharmacology in the United States, Frank Ayd MD, decided to start a newsletter.  He described the plan to another key founder of the field, Harvard psychiatrist Gerald Klerman.  Klerman predicted the newsletter wouldn’t last long, because Ayd would run out of things to say.  Ayd recalled this discussion 40 years later, in the 2000s, when his International Drug Therapy Newsletter had outlived Klerman and would soon outlast its founder Ayd too. Klerman’s prophecy applied to me, not Ayd. 

I wanted to present a new approach to psychiatry, one that was not present in any other newsletter, and in fact not present in any textbook, nor in most books or scientific articles. This is an approach that is disease-oriented, not symptom-oriented, in treatment as well as in diagnosis.  It rejects 20th century American psychiatry’s emphasis on DSM for symptom-based diagnosis and standard neurotransmitter-based  psychopharmacology for symptom-based treatment.  It goes back to the 19th century for an emphasis on disease and forward to the 21st century for an emphasis on non-neurotransmitter-based psychopharmacology.

Four years of PL archives will remain available on the PL website to allow all visitors to find and read the articles that lay out this approach. Further, these PL articles laid the basis for much of the material in my new textbook of psychopharmacology.  In that sense, the material of PL will live on.  Further, in the website, we plan to make e-books available so that this material is accessible more easily, and I plan to continue to provide analyses and commentary on new scientific articles as they are published. 

PL never was destined to continue just for the sake of continuing.  It didn’t exist, like other newsletters, just to fund itself. Recently, another newsletter approached PL to buy its subscriber base. PL wasn’t for sale. 

It had a mission. 

Mission accomplished. 

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