Surgeon’s Hall: ‘Improving our understanding and treatment of depression’

As a Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists I have received an invitation to the Autumn Meeting of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland. This is to be held in Surgeons Hall, Edinburgh, on the 21st of September 2018. It was in this Hall that the one-eyed Anatomist Dr Robert Knox collected a huge array of pathological specimens and around the back of the Hall he paid resurrectionists, and later Burke and Hare, for bodies.

The afternoon session includes talks by two medical professionals whose academic careers have been an inspiration to me. Dr Allan Beveridge is giving a talk on the portrayal of alcohol in the modern Scottish novel and the psychiatrist and poet Professor Femi Oyebode is giving a talk on the nature of reality in Pirandello’s literary works.

The morning session has this introduction:

This is the morning programme:

It will be interesting to hear the strength of the arguments supporting the hypothesis that depression may be an “inflammatory disease” as this subject has been attracting a lot of media attention.

There has been similar media attention in relation to the use of ketamine for depression and in terms of its “deployment” it would be helpful to hear considerations of the balance between benefits and risks. Just recently I heard a talk by addiction specialists on the misuse of ketamine by young women which in some led to irreversible bladder damage.

The other talks appear to be focussing on bio-medical and surgical approaches relevant to a small group of patients who have very serious depression. Easing the suffering of those living with severe depression is a very important matter. It is important to bear in mind that most people with a diagnosis of depression do not come into this group and so we must be careful to avoid encouraging super-specialist approaches in a more general population.



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