Australian politics, society & culture

Medicine

Are GPs prescribing too many antidepressants?
By Karen Hitchcock
I was at a party. The host stood up, thanked everyone for coming, toasted his family and then told us he had been diagnosed with depression. He turned his head away and pressed his fingers into his eyes. No one moved. “But it’s OK,” he said. “I understand that what I have is a disease, caused by a chemical imbalance
Our obsession with vitamins is getting out of hand
By Karen Hitchcock
Last summer I was swimming at my local pool. It was almost midday and I knew I should get out and under cover to protect my skin, but the cool water and warm sun felt good, and I reasoned that I could probably do with a dose of vitamin D. I saw a woman in a full-body wetsuit make her way to the edge of the pool. She
Dying with dignity means different things to different people
By Karen Hitchcock
Before I started studying medicine, my grandmother was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. I had no idea what that was. “Scarring of the lungs,” she said. When I announced my plan to become a doctor, she was ecstatic with pride. She’d tell anyone who listened. Like the person scanning our
What is sickness, and how much of it is in our heads?
By Karen Hitchcock
I was recently asked to give a presentation about “what makes us sick”. Thinking about that question nearly made my head explode. It’s more like “What doesn’t make us sick?” My big inner-city hospital is overflowing with the sick. There are people who are in the orthopaedic ward
How doctors deal with drug companies
By Karen Hitchcock
It was midnight and I was lying awake in bed, thinking that I should have been a surgeon. If something went wrong, I could cut it out. No nonsense, a clear cut. We physicians just sit around trying to protect organs with a bunch of drugs. Protecting organs is like being a soldier in peacetime. You hang out, doodling
Can antibiotics really cure back pain?
By Karen Hitchcock
Why doctors second-guess themselves
By Karen Hitchcock
By Karen Hitchcock
Mental disorders are messy amalgams of biology, psychology and culture / ‘The Extraction of the Stone of Madness’ (c.1494), Hieronymus Bosch
Modern madness
By Nick Haslam