On Nov. 17, 2022, the country will mark the Great American Smoke-Out, an event organized by the American Cancer Society to encourage people to quit smoking. Despite overall drops in tobacco usage over the past few decades, smoking still kills nearly an estimated 480,000 people a year.
Psychiatrists in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have the distinct honor of serving America’s veterans and the privilege of practicing in a functional federal healthcare system. While rewarding, the job is simultaneously an experience of perpetual demand to ensure time is most efficiently spent treating a panel of patients within a population-based care model.
Many people suffer with chronic pain, and it is a leading cause of disability worldwide. The typical treatment has involved the use of opioids, but they have well-established drawbacks and risks, including the risk of dependence. Many alternatives are being explored and there is increasing research and evidence of the effectiveness of mindfulness interventions in reducing pain.
On Sept. 20, 2022, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) released a draft statement recommending that U.S. adults under the age of 65 should be screened for anxiety 1. This recommendation underscores the emerging need for the inclusion of mental health screens as a part of everyday clinical practice and not simply reserved for behavioral health settings. More widespread screening will better inform treatment decisions, lead to referrals for care, and slow down, or in some cases even stop, the revolving door too often experienced by patients with anxiety.
A conversation with Monica Taylor-Desir, M.D., M.P.H., a member of the board of the APA Foundation, and Petros Levounis, M.D., M.A., APA president-elect on what addiction looks like, what treatment looks like, and how family and friends can help a person in recovery.