The Internet contains a huge library of information on almost every topic of interest in psychopathology. By accessing any of the usual search engines, like Yahoo or Google, entering a diagnosis or symptom and clicking the Search button, you will receive long lists of possible links that present everything from the latest research results to personal stories of patients, self- testing to on-line therapy, support groups to news of the current favorites in medications.
Remember, however, that just because something appears on the computer screen, it is no guarantee of its reliability. You need to weigh carefully the source of the information, the point of view that is being presented, and the possible alternatives to this particular message. The wonderful democracy of the Internet does not guarantee any uniform level of truth, accuracy, or importance. Enjoy the search and the ride- but always with a critical eye.
The following are a few of the links that can get you started:
Medline is the database of the National Library of Medicine in Washington, D.C. It provides titles and abstracts from the medical, psychiatric, and (some) psychological literature. Another important database is PsycInfo, the computerized version of Psychological Abstracts. It is not available on the Internet, but CD-ROM and ERL versions can be found in the major university libraries in Israel.
The American Psychological Association offers a list of all its psychological journals which includes current table of contents, back issue contents, abstracts of articles, and occasional full text of selected articles. Of particular interest are the Journal of Abnormal Psychology and the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. Check the News Releases page for stories of new research findings and other important items.
NetPsych (www.netpsych.com). Gateway to many different resources on depression, self-testing, victims of abuse, etc.
The National Institute of Mental Health . Latest research and treatment findings for a number of syndromes presented in pamphlet form for the general public.
Internet Mental Health Encyclopedia. Large collection of both technical and general information on diagnoses, treatments, drugs, magazine stories, latest news, etc. (www.mentalhealth.com). This site also offers a comprehensive collection of links to sites specifically concerned with different diagnostic categories (www.mentalhealth.com/fr13.html).
Recovery Online. The past decades have witnessed a major growth in self-help groups- organizations of individuals suffering from various forms of disorders, meeting together for mutual support and help. These groups are usually based on the twelve-step Alcoholics Anonymous model. A comprehensive gateway to information about these groups can be found at Recovery Online.
Anxiety Disorders.The National Institute of Mental Health offers a general package of educational materials on this subject. Note: changes in diagnostic approach found in DSM-IV have focused attention on Social Anxiety Disorder. The American Psychiatric Assn. and other sources provide background and details of this interest, including the role of drug companies in promoting this category. Is shyness a form of pathology ? See this article for an alternate view.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder. Try Mental Health Matters and the OCD Foundation for some of the latest approaches to this subject. Drug companies are also advertising their own view of this disorder.
Post-traumatic stress disorder. The National Center for PTSD is a major clearing house for information, research, and treatment issues.
Multiple Personality (Dissociative Identity) Disorder. Once a textbook rarity, recent years have witnessed an "outbreak" of multiple personality disorders. See an overview of the different approaches to this subject, and an interesting historical and treatment critique by a prominent psychiatrist, Prof. Paul McHugh.
Mood disorders/depression. See Depression Central for well-maintained list of internet resources on this subject. See also The Depression and Related Affective Disorders Association. For an iconoclastic look at the value of anti-depressant pills, see: Kirsch and Sapirstein: Listening to prozac but hearing placebo: a meta-analysis of anti-depressant medications.
Suicide. Good starting point is www.metanoia.org/suicide.
This is a long page that offers several important informational links toward
the end. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is another useful resource.
Schizophrenia. Health Center.Com offers both a summary of the current psychiatric view of the disorder and links to additional information. The Schizophrenia Home Page offers a wide-ranging collection of use to professionals, students, patients, and their families. The current struggle over competing paradigms of mental illness, and schizophrenia in particular, is reflected in the growing political impact and pressure of non-professional organizations. See The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill that supports a medical-biological point of view, while The Support Coalition represents a significant counter-movement of "psychiatric survivors." And...could schizophrenia be a viral disease transmitted by cats ? See the discussion of E. Fuller Torrey's ideas and work. Can one live "normally" with symptoms ? Hearing Voices offers a unique perpective.
Autism. The puzzling behaviors associated with this term have been regrouped under the heading of Pervasive Developmental Disorders. The Autism Society page offers diagnostic catgories and research links. Information for parents, teachers, and others can be found at Amug. A comprehensive collection of resources has been compiled by the Northern Lights staff. For a first-person account of the autistic experience, see the article by Temple Grandin. Finally,The Geek Syndrome offers a disturbing look at an "outbreak" of autism among Silicon Valley children.
Inventing the New. The newer versions of the DSM (III, III-R, and IV) have consistently grown in size and scope. The number of categories and syndromes has reached almost 400, covering almost every conceivable aspect of "problem" behavior. Interestingly, the push for inclusion often comes from a combination of public interest in a "new" disorder, and clinical eagerness to define and treat. Some of these "new" syndromes are often surrounded by a great deal of controversy about their validity, and whether or not they should be officially recognized. Included one can find Chronic Fatigue Syndrome; Pre-Menstrual Syndrome; Internet Addiction Syndrome (see also:Center for On-line Addiction); Exercise Addiction; and Children and Adult Attention Deficit Disorder. A significantly new area of concern is Sexual Addiction. Some extraordinary variations on PTSD can be found in the Gulf War Syndrome and the trauma of Abduction by Aliens. Moreover,there is renewed focus on a variety of dissociative reactions, such as those connected with Satanic Ritual Abuse. See the article"A New Way to be Mad" for a strange new addition to the list, and a discussion on how these disorders arise.
The Repressed Memories Controversy. The subject of how "real" repressed memories may or may not be has become a major issue in the definition and treatment of PTSD, multiple personality disorder, possible long-term effects of child abuse, etc. The American Psychological Assn. provides a summary page on the controversy. There is also a comprehensive site with summaries of many studies and reports that support the actuality of repressed memories. See the RMT page for references, research and discussion about using therapy to recover repressed memories.
Psychotherapy. Entering "psychotherapy" as a keyword in any search engine will bring up a wealth of material of all kinds and value. Use your own judgement and interest. For those who would like to try a "computerized" therapist, ELIZA is available in 1) an interactive web version 2) a downloadable MAC version and 3) a downloadable DOS version.
Drug Treatment. A summary of information on effects and side-effects of many drugs used in psychiatric treatment can be found at the MentalHealth.com site. See The Psychopharmacology Algorithm Project for an illustration of the decision process in choice of drug treatment. The Hastings Center Report of March/April 2000 (available in the Proquest database accessable in university libraries) contains an lively debate on the philosophical and treatment pros and cons of Prozac and similar drugs (articles by Kramer, deGrazia, Elliot, Edwards, and Healy). See also: L.Diller."The Run on Ritalin: Attention Deficit Disorder and Stimulant Treatment in the 1990's" in the March/April 1996 issue of the Hastings Center Report.
Prepared by Prof. Zev Klein (firstname.lastname@example.org)
for Hebrew U. course in Psychopathology