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Introduction: Early Career Psychiatrists September 2014

Erika F. H. Saunders, MD

Published: September 25, 2014


I am pleased to take over the reins of the JCP Early Career Psychiatrists section from Dr Marlene Freeman. Dr Freeman pioneered this section to highlight outstanding work of psychiatrists who are beginning their careers. In addition, she provided a forum for essays and commentaries from leaders in the field on topics of interest to early career psychiatrists. We see this forum as a way to communicate our enthusiasm for the opportunities for discovery and to excite and energize those who look to this field for a career.

Psychiatry is driven by the urgent need to improve care for people with mental illness, which has implications for the health of individuals and the health of our society. A dynamic, exciting field, Psychiatry is particularly important today, when the explosion of knowledge about the brain that has characterized the past century allows integration with medicine, psychology, behavioral sciences, and philosophy. Sitting at the intersection of a number of fields, Psychiatry brings scientists, clinicians, patients, families and the public together to improve the well-being and mental health of people.

The articles highlighted in this month’s section provide a snapshot of key questions in Psychiatry at the moment. Corp et al consider the evidence for use of stimulants or stimulant alternatives as adjunctive antidepressants. Sharma and coauthors investigate the long-term outcome of obsessive-compulsive disorder in adults, using meta-analytic techniques to estimate rates of remission.

In our online section, we offer 3 articles focusing on the treatment of depression. Ionescu and colleagues test whether the subtype of anxious depression affects the outcome of ketamine treatment in treatment-resistant depression. Lin et al describe a nationwide population-based study of the effectiveness of second-generation antipsychotics for augmentation treatment of major depressive disorder. Finally, Gerra and others describe the role of negative affectivity as a predictor of treatment response in major depressive disorder.

Together, these articles demonstrate the work of promising psychiatrists, representing the future of our field. People who live with psychiatric illness and those who are helping loved ones live with these disorders face many, many challenges. Winston Churchill, who suffered his own psychic demons, once said, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” With the difficulties of living with mental illness comes opportunity for clinicians and scientists to help people and, in turn, to advance science. Welcome to the future.

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Volume: 75

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