Dr. Kowal’s Required Reading
Dr. Cory Kowal
I would like to introduce a new ongoing series to the Resident Psyche, “Dr. Kowal’s Required Reading” or “stuff Cory reads to stay smart”. During this series I will introduce you to guidelines, texts on various important topics, books concerning psychiatry, and (when I start running out of ideas) apps and online resources I find valuable. My hope is to share resources that I’ve found helpful with everyone else on the same journey to become a Canadian psychiatrist!
I think starting this series off with some of the basic need-to-know information makes the most sense…so current guidelines it is!
- Schizophrenia – In 2017 the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry (CJP) released their new comprehensive guidelines on Schizophrenia. This took up the whole issue of the journal (Volume 62, Issue 9, September 2017) and if you are a CPA member you may have a paper copy of this lying around your house! The guidelines themselves are split into 10 different documents, including psychopharmacological treatments, coexisting substance use, community treatment, and separate documents for children and youth.
- Major Depressive Disorder – In 2016 the Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety (CANMAT) published their update to their 2009 Major Depressive Disorder guidelines. Again, this took up a whole issue fo the CJP (Volume 61 Issue 9, September 2016). What can I say? This has all the updated information concerning epidemiology and treatment of MDD. The usual suspects are here, pharmacology, therapies, neurostimulation, special populations and complementary and alternative medicine treatments.
- Bipolar Disorders – In 2018 CANMAT is back at it again with a big update to their Bipolar guidelines. I have to say I really like how this guideline is organized. First off, its one big document and its main sections are the different phases of treatment: depression, mania, and maintenance. Of course, epidemiology, special populations, and all that other important stuff is in there. Two things I really like about this one: the little pie’s that show how effective different medications are in different phases of illness, and how some of the more controversial information is presented as question and answer.
- Anxiety, PTSD, and OCD – I hope no one got anxious thinking I forgot about this section. In 2014 Katzman et al., published the Canadian clinical practice guidelines for the management of anxiety, post traumatic stress and obsessive-compulsive disorders in BMC Psychiatry (2014, Volume 14 Supplement 1). Along with all the important info we need to know (for practice and our exams) there are some very helpful tables. Specifically Table 5 and Table 8, screening questions and key features respectively. I’ve found these really helpful when teaching medical students about the anxiety disorders, PTSD, and OCD. The screening questions are great and basically put the A criteria of most of these diagnosis in a couple easy to understand questions!
That’s four of the big ones out there that, at the very least, we need to know for our exams. A great resource for finding guidelines is on the Canadian Medical Association website. The link below takes you to the 65 different guidelines they have on file!