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Compassion for Syrian refugees

Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 11.43.34 AMCMBM Founder & Executive Director James S. Gordon, MD, writes to The New York Times in support of hosting more Syrian refugees in the United States, suggesting that the refugees we welcome can teach us more about generosity and compassion: “…getting to know the refugees, seeing and feeling their tragedy, and acting with generosity toward them could help open the hearts of Americans — hearts that have been tending these last few months to close in fear.”

Read his entire Letter to the Editor here

You can also share the image below with your friends & leave a comment with your thoughts on our Facebook page and tweet to us at @MindBodyMed:

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On Being with Krista Tippett: Download & listen to “Transforming Medicine”

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Click here to view a Google Map for your local station & times 

You can listen anytime to the edited, and unedited, podcast on the On Being web site. The transcript is available here.

A transformation of medicine is underway — a transition from a science of treating disease to a science of health.

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During the conversation, Krista Tippett – a Peabody Award-winning broadcaster and a New York Times bestselling author – explored such topics as food as medicine, altruism, the importance of compassionate health care, spirituality and healing, and more.
Mark Hyman is a family physician and a pioneer in the new discipline of functional medicine. James Gordon is an expert in using mind-body medicine to heal depression, anxiety, and psychological trauma. Penny George became a philanthropist of integrative medicine after she experienced cancer in mid-life. With Krista, before a live audience at the University of Minnesota, they discuss the challenge and promise of aligning medicine with a twenty-first century understanding of human wholeness.

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A Letter to the Editor

nyt_logo_transparent_v3A couple of weeks ago, Richard Friedman, a Columbia Medical School psychiatrist wrote an op-ed for the New York Times in which he put forward anti-depressant drugs as the treatment of choice for depressed and suicidal college students who felt themselves under “toxic social pressure.” I was troubled by the article and the authority that appearing in the pages of The Times gave it and wrote a Letter to the Editor. The Times didn’t print it, but I wanted to share it with you. I’d suggest you read Dr. Friedman’s article first and then my letter. I would welcome your sharing your thoughts about the issues raised with others and also with me. This is an important topic. The distress and dilemmas these young people face require a solution that is far more integrative and compassionate than the one they are ordinarily offered.


 

To the Editor:

Richard Friedman’s plea (Teenagers, Medication and Suicide, August 3, 2015), for mental health services for depressed and potentially suicidal adolescents is appropriate and well intentioned. His focus on psychopharmacological treatment is, however, dangerously narrow and based on a  selective reading of the science. Nor does it recognize and respect the great capacity that all of us, including young people, have to understand and help ourselves.

Comprehensive reviews of the evidence (unpublished as well as published) on antidepressants in The New England Journal of Medicine, The Journal of the American Medical Association, and PLoS Medicine tell a story quite different from Dr. Friedman’s. They reveal that antidepressant drugs, which are burdened with such depressing side effects as weight gain and sexual dysfunction are, at best, only marginally more effective for mild to moderate depression than placebos. Moreover, the FDA data that Dr. Friedman cites clearly indicates that, though the rate of suicidal thinking and behavior was low, it was twice as high in people taking antidepressants as in those receiving placebos (4% vs. 2%).

Even more important, Dr. Friedman completely neglects the various forms of psychotherapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy which appear to work as well as anti-depressants and also make young people active partners in their own care. He also ignores meditation, exercise, and other powerful, evidence-based self-care tools for reducing stress—a primary cause of depression– as well as the small group interventions that may be critical to transforming “toxic social pressure” into life giving social support.

Jim blog response to Friedman
James S. Gordon, a psychiatrist who has worked with adolescents for 45 years, is the author of
Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey Out of Depression.

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