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Sep 29, 2016

The RANZCP has recently adopted a more strategic approach to recognise and encourage leaders from within its fellowship, to ensure ongoing improvement in the management of mental health and general wellbeing in Australasia. In the October podcast, I speak with Associate Professor Greg De Moore of Westmead Hospital about his book “Finding Sanity: John Cade, lithium, and the taming of bipolar disorder”. Professor De Moore describes John Cade as the most influential psychiatrist in Australia’s history due to his role as the herald of the age of psychopharmacology. John Cade's demonstration that lithium could greatly improve the symptoms of patients with bipolar affective disorder was a necessary first step towards the end of the asylum system, as well as the development of more effective and humane alternatives for serious mental illness than older treatments such as psychosurgery, early electroconvulsive therapy, and psychoanalysis. Professor De Moore also discusses how the art of biography allows him to use the story of a fascinating life to reach beyond the academic psychiatric audience to engage the general population in a greater awareness of the history of psychiatry and the nature of mental illness.