Volume 1, Issue 5                                                                                                May, 2015


Welcome to the May issue of
The Psychiatry Letter!

Personality examined

This month, PL examines the topic of personality in a special article that contrasts the concept of personality "disorders" with personality traits.  This was a major issue of some debate in the DSM-5 process.  

The concepts of borderline and narcissistic personality also are examined in the classic study and case of the month.  The classic study demonstrates how acute depression can be mistaken for borderline personality, and the case shows how manic symptoms can be mistaken for narcissistic personality.  The importance of distinguishing personality from other psychiatric symptoms is highlighted in these discussions. 

The drug of the month examines a commonly used anticonvulsant, oxcarbazepine.  Clinicians seem attracted to it because of limited side effects, and it is commonly used for nonspecific mood swing symptoms, either as part of personality disorder diagnoses or as a putative mood stabilizer for bipolar illness. The article emphasizes and examines the evidence that this drug is either proven ineffective, or insufficiently proven effective, for mood states.  The notion that its clinical efficacy is analogous to carbamazepine, due to chemical structure similarity, is challenged.  

We appreciate your continued interest in the Psychiatry Letter and we encourage questions, comments, and cases directed to us.

Thank you for your continuing to read and follow PL. 

  Nassir Ghaemi MD, Editor

May 2015
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New truths begin as heresies and end as superstitions - T. H. Huxley

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