Addiction treatment training

Given the prevalence of addictive disorders, it was wonderful to see treatment effectiveness highlighted in the June Monitor. The article asks: "What can psychologists do to help?" While the article focuses on treatment, its final section cuts to chase when describing David Scheff taking his son for help. "We were sitting in a room with this esteemed psychologist, and the guy didn't know" what he would later discover was his son's meth addiction. This scenario is more typical than we recognize. A person (or family) seeks help for what appears to be a psychological problem when in reality the psychologist is seeing an addiction masked by its psychological side effects.

As the article argues, psychologists need better training in addictions, but this training needs to be uniquely suited for mental health providers. We need to become more attuned to the subtle signs of addiction in patients seeking mental health treatment. Only with accurate assessment can our patients benefit from effective treatments.

Marilyn Freimuth, PhD
De Pere, Wis.

Bittersweet article

Your May article, "The military opens up" was bittersweet for me. I have served for seven years as a queer person in the U.S. military, five of which were under Don't Ask Don't Tell. I cannot describe to you how moving it is to see openly LGB service members changing the culture of military service.

I am transgender and an officer in the Army National Guard. After being accepted into a PhD counseling psychology program in 2012, I decided to pursue a career in the Medical Service Corps as a behavioral health officer trainee. As part of the process, I was required to undergo a physical. This led to a nurse questioning my haircut and slightly lower voice, resulting in an informal investigation of my identity as she labeled these traits to be "symptoms of female transsexualism."

After passing the final board, the recruiter told me I was eligible, but that I would have to serve alongside the nurse who went out of her way to have me discharged. I turned down the offer. I am intending to come out and leave the service after my promotion this fall.

Thinking about leaving the military is incredibly sad. Being a soldier and leading soldiers have been a significant part of my life and my identity. Reading articles like this give me hope that through the efforts of young LGB service members, military culture will eventually shift toward one of greater understanding and acceptance.

Name withheld for privacy

More to learn about ADHD

I feel it is important to comment on the place of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) reported in the May Monitor article "Five major psychiatric disorders share genetic links." This Monitor article was a brief summary of a study recently published in The Lancet (2013, Vol. 381, pp. 1371–1379) that identifies common genetic risk factors across five psychiatric disorders: autism, ADHD, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder and schizophrenia. I would like to point out that among the five disorders, it appears that ADHD shares the least variance with the other four. In more than one analysis, the role or place of ADHD was non-significant and at times appeared as an outlier. True, it is the case that ADHD was significant in some analyses, the ADHD sample size for this study was small, and there are overlapping familial risk patterns between ADHD and depression found in other research. Nevertheless, in the context of the mixed results, there is clearly more to learn as we seek to better understand the place of ADHD relative to other psychiatric disorders.

Andrew Martin, PhD
Sydney, Australia


The May Monitor article "APA's Annual Convention in Honolulu" incorrectly described a talk by Craig Haney, PhD. He will discuss among other topics the psychological factors that influence the imposition of the death penalty and the psychological effects of incarceration.