The Riggs Blog

The Riggs Blog

The Riggs Blog is a mix of news about clinical work, research and educational activities from the Austen Riggs Center, as well as a source for information beyond our walls that we find interesting and thought-provoking.

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    Psychiatric testing

    Treatment of bipolar disorder begins with careful diagnosis. Because bipolar disorder frequently presents first with depression, or because patients with manic or hypomanic states frequently do not recognize themselves as having a problem, accurate diagnosis is frequently delayed. Though historically under-diagnosed, recent research suggests that bipolar disorder is currently over-diagnosed almost half of the time. There are no laboratory tests for bipolar disorder. Diagnosis is made by a detailed appraisal of symptoms and of family history, and by ruling out other conditions that present in similar ways.

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    Andrew J. Gerber, MD, PhD, Medical Director/CEO

    On behalf of the Board of Trustees of the Austen Riggs Center, Lisa A. Raskin, PhD is pleased to announce that Andrew J. Gerber, MD, PhD, will be the next medical director/CEO for the Austen Riggs Center. Dr. Gerber will begin his appointment on July 1, 2015.

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    Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 poster

    Accepting an Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject) at the 87th Academy Awards,  for their film, Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1, Ellen Goosenberg Kent (director) and Dana Perry (producer) highlight how important awareness and discussion about suicide are in helping counter associated stigma and loss.  After receiving the Oscar on Sunday night for their HBO documentary detailing the emotional strain faced by trained hotline responders as they work to provide support and intervention for troubled veterans calling the Department of Veterans Affairs’ 24- hour call center, Ms. Perry states, "We need to talk about suicide out loud to try to work against the stigma and silence around suicide because the best prevention for suicide is awareness and discussion and not trying to sweep it under the rug."

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    Bipolar disorder

    Bipolar disorder, also called manic-depressive illness, is a serious mood disorder characterized by wide swings in mood, energy and activity levels.  Though most patients with bipolar disorder experience depressions as a part of their illness, a manic, hypomanic, or mixed-manic episode is required to make the diagnosis of bipolar disorder. 

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    Austen Riggs Center

    Austen Riggs held a blog competition among staff members where we asked them to answer the question: “What does the open setting mean to you?” Elizabeth Weinberg, MD, Staff Psychiatrist, wrote the blog entry below. 

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    Therapeutic Community Program Manager at the Austen Riggs Center, Cornelia Kalisher, LSW

    In this six-part series exploring trauma, we will present excerpts from a longer interview with E. Virginia Demos, EdD, a member of the clinical staff at the Austen Riggs Center and an authority on trauma. At the end of the series, we will make the interview, in its entirety, available in our Resource Center. 

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    Building a relationship

    Over the last two decades, there have been considerable pressures across American mental health care, to close and lock psychiatric facilities.  This has been driven by reimbursement models that hold hospital treatment to be unnecessary, unless the patient requires incarceration.  Further pressure to close treatment settings derive from a litigious culture which promotes a defensive practice of medicine.  In the face of these pressures, however, we at Riggs have maintained the highest commitment to the preservation of a completely open setting.  Why take these risks?

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    Consultation

    The final stage is a very cautious, slow, opening up of hope for something different, namely to come out of hiding, and trusting that maybe, just maybe they can be safe in the world beyond the therapy. That can be a terrifying moment, because they have spent years protecting themselves, by not allowing themselves to hope for something, or to trust someone in an intimate relationship.

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    A multi-disciplinary treatment team

    At the time of admission to the Austen Riggs Center, each patient is assigned to a multi-disciplinary treatment team that follows them through to discharge. 

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    Mariel Hemingway

    The Erikson Institute for Education and Research of the Austen Riggs Center along with the Berkshire International Film Festival are excited to announce an important community event on suicide, stigma and mental health, featuring mental health advocate Mariel Hemingway and the documentary film about the Hemingway family, Running From Crazy, on Saturday, March 28, from 2:00 to 5:00pm at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, MA. 

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