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A closer look at the most impactful topics from the Annual Psychiatric Times World CME Conference.
In late 2019, Physicians Education Resource®, LLC (PER®), set out to meet a critical need. The goal was helping psychiatrists apply new evidence-based clinical concepts to their practices across a broad range of conditions. The solution came from deep collaboration between PER®, Psychiatric Times®, a diverse physician leadership committee, and an esteemed faculty of 30 presenters. The Annual Psychiatric Times® World CME Conference™ launched in October 2020, offering three days of virtual learning that covered PTSD, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, psychedelics, and more.
The virtual format, agenda, and faculty were well-received by participants. One learner noted, “This conference was one of the best and one of the most unique ones I have ever attended. I hope it keeps its variety of topics and speakers.” Over the course of the conference, two sessions generated particular interest and engagement from the psychiatrists in attendance: A Glimpse Into the Future of Psychiatry: Educator of the Year Award and Are Antidepressants for Bipolar Moot?
A Glimpse Into the Future of Psychiatry: Educator of the Year Award
Sidney Zisook, MD, director of the Residency Training Program and distinguished professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, began his Educator of the Year lecture by suggesting that the future is a reflection and refinement of the past. Colleagues came from across the country to share their hopes, fears, and predictions. They noted that more residents are choosing psychiatry as a specialty, and are hopeful that collaborative and integrative models of care will provide new opportunities for prevention.
In terms of training, Zisook believes that cutting-edge research and innovative treatment are imperative, but the doctor-patient relationship must be prioritized in order to attract top talent to the specialty. A major concern voiced by Zisook is burnout, and the accompanying fear of documentation that often keeps psychiatrists from seeking help for their own personal struggles. He concluded by reminding learners that the past is not so different from the future, and the future is more likely to be similar to 2020 than differing wildly, predicting that “psychiatry will continue to be a rewarding and essential calling.”
Are Antidepressants for Bipolar Moot?
Roger McIntyre, MD, moderated a Medical Crossfire® panel discussion, asking, “Are Antidepressants for Bipolar Moot?” He was joined by Chris Aiken, MD; S. Nassir Ghaemi, MD; and Joseph F. Goldberg, MD, in a lively exchange where they highlighted that there are no short answers to this question. Aiken shared that, “In bipolar depression, about 90% of the responses you see with antidepressants are due to the placebo,” and recommended mood charts to detect the subtle changes in episode frequency.
Ghaemi addressed the topic by looking at the past, noting that since the shift toward psychopharmacology in the 1980s, it has become difficult to speak out about certain drugs not being effective. Goldberg countered that antidepressants can be effective for certain cases, and called for research to better characterize who responds to antidepressants and who gets worse on them. After much discussion, the panel came to a unified conclusion: The benefits of antidepressants in bipolar disorder are often slim and the risks are clear, so a more personalized approach to individual treatment is needed.
Bringing Data to Life Virtually—And in the Future
The Annual Psychiatric Times® World CME Conference™ was originally envisioned as an in-person event, but transformed into a premium virtual experience for 2020. According to program co-chair and Psychiatric Times® Editor-in-Chief, John J. Miller, MD, “The range of material covered was very impressive, and the Q&As and Medical Crossfires brought the audience right into the conference.”
PER® is committed to meeting the ongoing need for high-impact, clinically focused CME for psychiatrists. The next Annual Psychiatric Times® World CME Conference™ will take place Sept. 30 through Oct. 2, 2021, as a live event in San Diego and will continue to provide unparalleled interactivity and actionable insights on the latest advances in mental healthcare to the psychiatric community.