Articles, Reviews, and Press

Bush Official John P. Wheeler Murder Case Deepens
The Daily Beast | by Pat Wingert & Christine Pelisek | January 5, 2011

Paul is quoted in this article saying “Friends of Wheeler's told The Daily Beast that they were unaware of any health problems that might be related to such uncharacteristic and bizarre behavior. Paul Linde, an emergency psychiatrist at the University of California San Francisco, said that disorientation that lasts for days can be caused by any number of medical or mental issues, including heart problems, stroke, stress, past mental illness, or a problem with medication.
But Linde said he didn't think that someone Wheeler's age was a likely candidate for a first-time psychotic episode. "It sounds like he had a break from reality, but it is hard to speculate on what could have caused it," he said. While Wheeler's death has been ruled a homicide, police say they are waiting for the results of toxicology tests before announcing a specific cause of death.”

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“Danger to Self” was named on the San Francisco Chronicle's list “Best of 2010 -- Books by Bay Area Authors”.
S.F. Gate.com | December 19, 2010

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Danger to Self: On the Front Line with an ER Psychiatrist Review
By Mark H. Fleisher, MD - University of Nebraska College of Medicine, Omaha
JAMA Journal of the American Medical Association
Wednesday, August 10, 2010

In DANGER TO SELF psychiatrist Paul Linde takes readers to places few have been. In a book that may humor, shock, or enlighten, readers are taken into the jails and emergency departments that deal with the interface between the institutions of society and citizens in emotional crises or on the slippery slope of mental illness or those playing the role of being danger to themseslves for personal gain. Few psychiatrists are exposed to the near-constant stress of emergency psychiatry. Far fewer still choose these unique theaters for their clinical practice, as Linde did because it suited his temperament. Thankfully some physicians thrive on that life.

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The Other ER: Human tragedies unfold in the psychiatric emergency room.
By By Anneli Rufus, East Bay Express
Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The young man had just had his stomach pumped after downing a hundred ibuprofen and untold quantities of alcohol. The previous day, he'd been dumped by his girlfriend during a transatlantic call. At San Francisco General Hospital, the young man promised Paul Linde that he wouldn't try to kill himself again. Linde, a psychiatrist tasked with deciding whether patients should be retained or released, let him go. Three days later, the young man hanged himself.

Viewing this tragedy through what he sardonically dubs a "retrospectoscope," Linde airs his regrets in Danger to Self: On the Front Line with an ER Psychiatrist, a moving memoir that offers a rare look at SF General's psychiatric emergency room, where Linde and his colleagues strive to help those he calls "society's most disenfranchised and hopeless."

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‘Danger to Self’ a wild yet poignant look into the life of an ER psychiatrist
By Tom Larson, Morris Sun Tribune
Thursday February 19, 2010

Paul Linde still wonders why he does what he does. In the myriad medical careers he had to choose from, why psychiatry? And as his career in the field unfolds, why, in middle age, does he still venture daily into the chaotic, soul-chilling and often dangerous world of a big-city hospital’s psychiatric emergency room?

Linde’s book, “Danger to Self -- On the Front Line with an ER Psychiatrist,” is a vivid look at the patients, staff and politics alive in an environment most people can scarcely imagine, much less ever experience first-hand.

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Paul Linde captures ER buzz in 'Danger to Self'
Katherine Seligman, Special to The Chronicle
Monday, February 8, 2010

The first thing you notice about Paul Linde's small writing office is the quiet. It is the antithesis of the noisy chaos in the psychiatric emergency room at San Francisco General Hospital where he tends to the city's most gravely mentally ill. "It's a struggle to maintain sanity and balance, to be compassionate and not burn out," he said one day recently, sitting in the communal kitchen at the Sanchez Writers Grotto in San Francisco. "I exercise, I spend time with my kids and I write."

Linde's book, "Danger to Self: On the Front Line With an ER Psychiatrist," published recently by University of California Press, is an attempt to make sense of a world that few people see, or want to, he says. The stories are dramatic - so much so there already has been interest from Hollywood. One patient openly declares he wants to kill his boss with a car bomb; another who has slashed her wrist talks about the self-hatred created by her stepfather's sexual abuse. Together the stories narrate Linde's coming of age as a psychiatrist, work that challenges and sometimes overwhelms him and which he views ambivalently enough to start his book by admitting, "I love my job when I'm not there."

"There is a buzz," said Linde, who is a clinical professor of psychiatry at UCSF's School of Medicine. He's drawn to the adrenaline rush, an immediacy that demands that he be present, both in heart and mind. Besides, he said, it's work that is practically part of his genes.

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Book Review: Crazy Like Us
Paul R. Linde, Special to The Chronicle
Sunday January 31, 2010

Book Review: Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche
by Ethan Watters | Free Press | 306 pages | $26

In his latest book, "Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche," San Francisco writer Ethan Watters sheds light on an interesting and important global phenomenon, the exporting of the Euro-American conceptualization of psychiatric diagnoses to the rest of the world.

To its credit, the book raises public awareness of the important role of local culture and the social frameworks of extended families in the natural course of both medical and psychiatric illness.

Watters is best known as co-founder of the San Francisco Writers' Grotto, with Po Bronson and Ethan Canin, and as the author of "Urban Tribes," his 2004 book about young people who stay single and choose to build families with friends.

Watters' writing style is persuasive and lucid. Perhaps because of this, "Crazy Like Us" reads more like a lengthy opinion piece instead of a work of comprehensive reportage on the issue.
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Crystal Meth and Senior Housing
Scott James, New York Times Bay Area Edition
Friday, November 13, 2009

While doing the reporting for this week’s Barbary Coast column—about a housing project for seniors invaded by meth—I interviewed the executive director of the San Francisco Housing Authority, Henry A. Alvarez III.

Mr. Alvarez has been on the job since July of last year, so he’s relatively new. But I have to admit that I was stunned when he said three times during a 25-minute interview that he does not know what crystal meth is.

That’s quite a statement coming from someone responsible for running housing projects in a major American city, especially in San Francisco, where meth use is a crisis.

So for Mr. Alvarez’s education, and others who might not know the scope of problem, I asked an expert to offer some insight. San Francisco psychiatrist Dr. Paul Linde treats people addicted to meth. He’s written a new book about this troubling netherworld called “Danger to Self: On the Front Line with an ER Psychiatrist.” (Full disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book, was fascinated, and gave it an endorsement blurb.)

Dr. Linde: Crystal methamphetamine, aka “meth” has destroyed the minds, bodies, and lives of hundreds of people in San Francisco over the past several years. The slang term “speed” refers exclusively to the substance and effect of illicit methamphetamines, which can be used in several different ways—swallowing, snorting, smoking, or injecting intravenously. Addiction to crystal is difficult to treat because the high of intoxication is so intense and the withdrawal symptoms so debilitating.

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Book Review: Sounds Like Crazy
Paul R. Linde, Special to The Chronicle
Friday, November 6, 2009

Sounds Like Crazy by Shana Mahaffey | New American Library | 367 pages | $15 paperback

So, you think you've got problems?

Consider the plight of Holly Miller, protagonist of Shana Mahaffey's debut novel, "Sounds Like Crazy," a young single woman who struggles to make ends meet as a lonely, befuddled and quixotic waitress in a Manhattan diner.

Yeah, so what? A lot of folks have it tough.

But not many operate with five, count 'em five, alternate personalities residing in their heads daily. Occupying Holly's skull are Betty Jane, coquettish Southern belle; Ruffles, the morbidly obese voice of reason; Sarge, gruff protector; the Silent One, an ascetic; and the Boy, a seeming cipher. Collectively, they are referred to as "the Committee."
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Book Review: The Soul of Medicine
Paul R. Linde, Special to The Chronicle
Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Soul of Medicine Tales From the Bedside by Sherwin Nuland | Kaplan Publishing | 232 pages | $26.95

The latest book by retired surgeon and award-winning author Sherwin Nuland, "The Soul of Medicine: Tales from the Bedside," is a collection of 19 brief narratives told from the perspective of his medical and surgical colleagues.

Spanning nearly 40 years of practice, the mostly first-person accounts spring from Nuland's deceptively simple query of his peers to tell him about their most memorable cases.
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Book Review: 'The Other Side of Desire,' Daniel Bergner
Paul R. Linde, Special to The Chronicle
Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Other Side of Desire: Four Journeys into the Far Realms of Lust and Longing
by Daniel Bergner | Ecco | 208 pages | $24.99

What constitutes "kinky" is in the eye of the beholder.

The American Psychiatric Association defines paraphilias as "recurrent, intense sexual urges, fantasies, or behaviors that involve unusual objects, activities, or situations and cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other functioning."
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A Day in the Life of PES: Twenty-Four Hours at the Psychiatric Emergency Services Department of San Francisco General Hospital
David Elkin, MD; Paul R. Linde, MD; and Eric Woodward, MD | San Francisco Medecine, Journal of the San Francisco Medical Society | "Extreme Medicine" Vol. 82, No. 2 | March 2009


Excerpt:
It's 7:00 a.m., and a group of a dozen men and women-psychiatrists, social workers, nurses, and other mental health personnel-are gathered around a desk in the staff room, per- forming the daily ritual of the morning report in the Psychiatric Emergency Service (PES) at San Francisco General Hospital. A glowing LCD screen-one of few high-tech devices in an otherwise outdated and unadorned space-displays patients' names, diagnoses, and lengths of stay. Almost all of the twenty patients (an average case load) are in PES on an involuntary basis.

The State of California's Welfare and Institutions Code 5150 provides the legal justification for a person to be involuntarily taken into custody for up to seventy-two hours for an evaluation on the basis of being a danger to self, danger to others, and/or gravely disabled on the basis of a psychiatric illness. The PES at San Francisco General is open for business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. It is the only designated receiving facility in the city for people placed on 5150 psychiatric holds.

Often, working in PES can be compared to diving into the swirl of a cyclone and hanging on for dear life. The staff adjusts to the velocity and spin enough to manage as many as four equally compelling tasks at the same time. It helps to come equipped with an unusual combination of keen diagnostic skills, a sense of humor, tolerance for ambiguity, and the ability to react quickly to changing circumstances.

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Paul Linde captures ER buzz in 'Danger to Self'
Katherine Seligman, Special to The Chronicle
Monday, February 8, 2010

The first thing you notice about Paul Linde's small writing office is the quiet. It is the antithesis of the noisy chaos in the psychiatric emergency room at San Francisco General Hospital where he tends to the city's most gravely mentally ill. "It's a struggle to maintain sanity and balance, to be compassionate and not burn out," he said one day recently, sitting in the communal kitchen at the Sanchez Writers Grotto in San Francisco. "I exercise, I spend time with my kids and I write."

Linde's book, "Danger to Self: On the Front Line With an ER Psychiatrist," published recently by University of California Press, is an attempt to make sense of a world that few people see, or want to, he says. The stories are dramatic - so much so there already has been interest from Hollywood. One patient openly declares he wants to kill his boss with a car bomb; another who has slashed her wrist talks about the self-hatred created by her stepfather's sexual abuse. Together the stories narrate Linde's coming of age as a psychiatrist, work that challenges and sometimes overwhelms him and which he views ambivalently enough to start his book by admitting, "I love my job when I'm not there."

"There is a buzz," said Linde, who is a clinical professor of psychiatry at UCSF's School of Medicine. He's drawn to the adrenaline rush, an immediacy that demands that he be present, both in heart and mind. Besides, he said, it's work that is practically part of his genes.

Read the Full Article


Author and emergency room psychiatrist Dr. Paul Linde reflects on his book Danger to Self, being in the public eye, and the craft of writing. Read the Blog Post
University of California Press Blog | Monday, February 1, 2010

"Danger to Self feeds our fascination with the world of medicine and our interest in the lives of others. . . . Linde's fast-paced but well-detailed accounts supply the wild, loud, chaotic, smelly and dangerous but also mostly moving "scripts" that could easily be a TV show." Read the full review
Herbert Schreier, Special to The Chronicle | Sunday, January 3, 2010

Linde writes with grace, honesty, and humility about the psychiatrist's task of judging the mind and heart of another human being. . . . Those who enjoy the writings of Oliver Sacks and Sherwin B. Nuland will be enlightened by Linde's compassion and carefully wrought prose. Read the full review
From LIBRARY JOURNAL, November 15, 2009

Linde performs a remarkably successful balancing act by presenting both the theory and practice of emergency room psychiatry in a compelling manner... He's a talented writer and a compassionate doctor who understands what works best for him and his patients: "while my head works pretty well, my real strength as a physician comes from the heart."
Publisher's Weekly | November 2, 2009