DAILY / MAY 18, 2013, VOL. 3, NO. 20   Send Feedback l View Online
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2013 APA's Annual Meeting Special Edition
APA President Reflects on Landmark Year, Psychiatry's Future

Dilip Jeste“Positive psychiatry”—promoting resilience, wisdom, and optimism, as opposed to merely treating symptoms—is the psychiatry of the future. That’s what outgoing APA President Dilip Jeste, M.D., said in his presidential address at the Opening Session of APA’s 2013 annual meeting in San Francisco.

Jeste reflected on events of his presidential year, including most prominently the publication of DSM-5. He hailed DSM-5 Task Force Chair David Kupfer, M.D., and Co-Chair Darrel Regier, M.D., and noted that the new manual involved years of work involving hundreds of individuals. “We hope that DSM-5 will lead to more accurate diagnoses, better access to mental health services, and improved patient outcomes,” he said. “Of course, with scientific advances, it will need revisions. Science should never be stagnant, and neither should medicine.”

Jeste also remarked on the accomplishments of outgoing Medical Director James H. Scully Jr., M.D., saying that “Jay has done a better job of balancing the budget than our government and Congress have” and noting that he “leaves APA in a much stronger position than when he joined.” Jeste also welcomed incoming medical director Saul Levin, M.D., saying his expertise in electronic health information exchanges and implementation of the Affordable Care Act, “plus his proven leadership of large organizations, will come in handy as we adapt to and take a leadership role in mental health care reform.”

Jeste concluded with his belief as a geriatric psychiatrist that successful aging is not an oxymoron but a scientific fact and said that a “positive psychiatry” of the future will be essential in an aging population. “I am convinced that life begins at age 50,” he said. “Studies show that quality of well-being follows a U-shaped curve. It is pretty high in the early 20s, then starts going down and hits the rock bottom around 50—that is the time of midlife crisis. But then people change their jobs or partners, or just their attitudes and behaviors, and the well-being starts going up progressively into their 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s. Quality of life and psychosocial functioning depend less on physical health and more on positive psychological traits like resilience, optimism, social engagement, and wisdom….Some of the most exciting neuroscience research during the past two decades has shown conclusive evidence of neuroplasticity of aging….I expect that the future role of psychiatry will be much broader than treating psychiatric symptoms. It will seek to enhance the well-being of people with mental or physical illnesses. That is Positive Psychiatry. We will learn more about brain processes responsible for these traits, and we will seek new ways to promote resilience, optimism, and wisdom, through psychotherapeutic interventions.”

Psychiatric News Editor-in-Chief Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D., interviewed Jeste before the Opening Session about his presidential year. Click here to listen to the interview.




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