Dr Kaleem Arshad MD

M. Kaleem Arshad MD

M. Kaleem Arshad MD | Marijuana and Psychiatry

By | Dr Kaleem Arshad MD, M. Kaleem Arshad MD

M. Kaleem Arshad MD discusses controversies regarding Marijuana and Psychiatry

M. Kaleem Arshad MD

M. Kaleem Arshad MD

M. Kaleem Arshad MD, former President of Louisiana Psychiatric Medical Association, addresses the issue of marijuana in the mental health arena. There is an ongoing heated debate concerning the controversies about the issue.


There is also a passionate discussion within the field of medicine and the general public about marijuana use by psychiatric patients, the role of marijuana use in causation or exacerbation of psychiatric symptoms, and the therapeutic role of medical marijuana in the treatment of certain psychiatric conditions.


M Kaleem Arshad MD states marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the USA.

About 22 million people use marijuana at least once a month. Men use marijuana twice as often as women, and marijuana use is widespread among adolescent and young adults. The increasing legalization of both medicinal and recreational marijuana has to lead to the public perception that it is a generally a harmless substance.


M. Kaleem Arshad MD, who is a Distinguished Life Fellow of American Psychiatric Association (APA), states that APA’s official stance continues to be that marijuana has no legitimate role in the treatment of any psychiatric condition. This conflicts with the generally more positive and favorable attitude from the public and patients about marijuana. Marijuana use is not uncommon amongst psychiatric patients, and many patients openly claim that marijuana helps with symptoms of anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder.


More and more states are including post-traumatic stress disorder as a qualifying condition for treatment with medical marijuana. Psychiatrists, at times, have shied away from addressing marijuana use by patients.


There is a need for psychiatrists to have a more frank interchange with their patients regarding this issue


M. Kaleem Arshad MD indicates that the US Federal Government still classifies marijuana as an illegal drug with no legitimate medical use. In the United States, federal and state laws regarding the medical use of cannabis and cannabinoids are in conflict and have led to confusion among patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers.


More than half of the states in the nation have enacted laws to legalize medical marijuana. Several states including the District of Columbia have legalized adult recreational use.


M. Kaleem Arshad MD added that there have been studies linking marijuana to increased risk of psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse disorder. Again, there have been inconsistencies as the extent of such a correlation. Yet, the risks may vary depending on the extent of use and age when the user started. There is a strong genetic component to this vulnerability, as to how the use of marijuana can progress to the usage of other illegal drugs.


Recent research indicates that patients who have a certain variant of a specific gene have seven times more risk of developing psychosis when engaging in the frequent use of marijuana. The onset of marijuana use in adolescence also may increase the risk of psychosis.


Usage of marijuana has been known to produce an acute psychotic reaction in some non-schizophrenic patients. Moreover, in some patient populations, marijuana can adversely affect the course and prognosis of schizophrenia.


M. Kaleem Arshad MD | Marijuana & Amotivational Syndrome.

Through which there is a decreased drive and motivation in certain typically rewarding and pleasurable activities.


This may be related to certain brain changes connected to early onset and consistent marijuana use. Many of these changes are connected to the neurotransmitter dopamine. Playing a major role in the motivational component of reward-motivated behavior. Dysregulation of dopamine in the brain has long been known to be related to psychiatric illnesses, such as schizophrenia and depression. More studies and research are needed to further validate this hypothesis related to the amotivational syndrome and the use of marijuana.


M. Kaleem Arshad MD says the acute heavy use of marijuana can lead to an intoxicated state, in which there are observable adverse effects on short-term memory, attention span, judgment, heightened anxiety and paranoia. Intoxication also affects muscular balance, coordination, and reaction time.


There is a direct relationship between blood marijuana concentration and impaired driving ability. Frequently found in the blood those in vehicular crashes, including fatal ones. Since 1990, there has been an almost fourfold increase in the potency of marijuana available to the public. About a half a million medical emergency visits per year involve marijuana use. Even if the emergencies may not be directly related to marijuana intoxication.


Furthermore, eating and drinking marijuana delivers marijuana to bloodstream at a slower rate. It can inadvertently lead to more use than intended. Persistent and long-term use of marijuana can lead to impaired learning, a decline in IQ, and distorted sleep structure.


M. Kaleem Arshad MD talks about the debate as to whether marijuana is addictive.


There is a clear indication of the addictive potential of marijuana. People continue to use marijuana even when it is clearly affecting their personal and professional lives in a negative way. Halting the use of marijuana can have repercussions. This would include withdrawal symptoms like irritability, restlessness, disturbed sleep and irregular appetite.


Therefore, these factors validate marijuana’s addictive qualities.


M. Kaleem Arshad MD states medical marijuana treats several medical conditions. Including, migraine headaches, epilepsy, muscular spasticity, movement disorders, and AIDS. Acting as an appetite stimulant for those with anorexia.


In conclusion, marijuana reduces the symptoms of nausea and vomiting related to chemotherapy in cancer patients. To connect and learn more, click here!

Arshad M Kaleem MD discusses mental illness in United States

By | Dr Kaleem Arshad MD

Arshad M Kaleem MD, former President of Louisiana Psychiatric Medical Association. Reflects on the tremendous negative impact mental illness has on the country’s economy and citizens

Over 65 million, one in five people, in the USA suffer from diagnosable mental illnesses, says Arshad M Kaleem MD. Mental illness in the most common illness during the working age years and accounts for half of all the illnesses.

A Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. Arshad M Kaleem MD states that mental illness costs the US economy billions in lost taxes and welfare payments. It accounts for close to half of disability benefits. Mentally ill patients consume disproportionally more health care resources in the treatment of physical illnesses. They typically use 60 percent more in physical health care than equally ill patients without mental illness issues. Treatment of mental illness will reduce the annual cost of treatment of physical illnesses by 20 percent.

Depression and Anxiety

Arshad M Kaleem MD says that depression and disabling anxiety accounts for most economic loss in employable patients. He emphasizes that just proper and timely treatment of these two disorders will boost the country’s GDP by 4 percent. Gains from the treatment of mental disorders far exceed the cost of treatment. Treatment of mental illness will bring up the employment rate in the USA. By over 4 percent adding billions to the economy.

Arshad M Kaleem MD, who is board certified in Adult, Geriatric and Addiction Psychiatry, states that unfortunately only a minority of the patients with mental illnesses, even in an advanced country like the USA, receive adequate and timely treatment for their ailments. Mental health costs are the largest single source; larger than cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, cancer, or diabetes. Mental illness alone will account for more than half of the projected total economic burden.


Arshad M Kaleem MD who served as medical director at Seaside Behavioral Center and Oceans Behavioral Hospital of Greater New Orleans. He states that awareness and proper training and education regarding mental illness will go a long way in not just alleviating tremendous human suffering but will have a positive impact on the country’s economy.

Arshad M Kaleem MD, who has been certified in forensic psychiatry. He indicates that involvement of mentally ill patients with the criminal system is also costly as well as an economic burden on society. Jails and prisons in the country are filled with patients who have mental illness or have a dual diagnosis with substance abuse disorders. It is not human to incarcerate the mentally ill but also would lighten the burden on the economy. All if they received treatment in the community to avoid incarceration.

Abuse and Economics

Arshad M Kaleem MD addresses the issue of substance abuse and economics. The immense physical effects of drug abuse have long been established.  Addictive disorders have devastating effects on one’s social and emotional well-being. But an often overlooked result of substance abuse is the financial burden inflicted on addicted individuals, their families, and society as a whole. People with these disorders frequently lose employment and productivity and end up needing government assistance or social services. In 2002, the cost of substance, in lost productivity and healthcare was estimated to be almost $180 billion. Also, the cost has substantially increased over the last 15 years. In total, the U.S. economy loses an estimated $185 billion each year to alcohol-related problems, according to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The cost can include drunk driving costs, medical and social costs, workplace costs and cost of treatment and prevention.

Arshad M Kaleem MD has been closely involved with the care of the elderly and had directed geriatric hospitals and programs in the New Orleans area. He touched on the devastating economic effects of depression in the elderly and dementia including Alzheimer’s Disease.


Dementia dramatically changes the lives of people who live with it. Together with their families, friends, as well as the community. Above all the estimated prevalence of dementia among persons older than 70 years of age in the United States in 2010 was 14.7%. These individual costs suggest that the total monetary cost of dementia in 2010 was between $157 billion and $215 billion; Medicare paid approximately $11 billion of this cost. There are also economic impacts of unpaid caregiving which the elderly with dementia and depression frequently need by family and friends. Above all These caregivers frequently have to leave their jobs or reduce work hours. Also, patients who suffer from dementia consume disproportionately more healthcare resources.

Consequently, Arshad M Kaleem MD has practiced psychiatry in New Orleans area for 30 years and is a strong advocate for proper access to treatment of mental illnesses.  

M kaleem Arshad MD

M Kaleem Arshad MD recognized as Distinguished Life Fellow of American Psychiatric Association

By | Dr Kaleem Arshad MD

As a Distinguished Life Fellow M Kaleem Arshad MD has achieved the highest honor bestowed upon the psychiatry profession.

M Kaleem Arshad MD  has attained the American Psychiatric Association’s Distinguished Life Fellow status. Kaleem Arshad served as Medical Director and Chief of Medical Staff both at Seaside Behavioral Hospital. He also served at Oceans Behavioral Center of Greater New Orleans. M Kaleem Arshad MD, a assistant Clinical Professor at Tulane University. Also at Louisiana State University Schools of Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana. Also Visiting Professor at St Martinus University School of Medicine in Curacao, Virgin Islands. M Kaleem Arshad MD became a diplomat of American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. He is also board certified in Adult, Geriatric and Addiction Psychiatry. He also held board certification in Forensic Psychiatry. M Kaleem Arshad MD, former President of Louisiana Psychiatric Medical Association.

As a Distinguished Life Fellow M Kaleem Arshad MD has achieved the highest honor bestowed upon the psychiatry profession. Awarding outstanding psychiatrists who have made significant contributions to the psychiatric profession in at least five of the following areas. Administration, teaching, scientific and scholarly publications, volunteering in mental health and medical activities of social significance, community involvement, as well as for clinical excellence.

The APA, founded in 1844, is the world’s largest psychiatric organization. It represents a growing membership of more than 36,000 psychiatrists. The Distinguished Life Fellowship was established by the APA as its highest membership honor to recognize those who have made a significant contribution to their profession and to the public good. Distinguished Life Fellows are leaders in their fields, whose scientific achievements and dedication to their patients have set a standard of excellence for the profession of psychiatry.

M Kaleem Arshad MD was formally recognized at the 2018 Convocation of Distinguished Fellows during the APA Annual Meeting in New York City .

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Dr Kaleem Arshad MD

Dr Kaleem Arshad MD looks at elder suicide intervention and prevention

By | Dr Kaleem Arshad MD

Learning to identify elder patient profiles at greatest risk of suicide has been proven to save lives.

Dr Kaleem Arshad MD. Profound changes in the U.S. economy, culture, and perspectives on aging have led to an increased rate. Also alarming prevalence, of geriatric suicide. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, those aged 65 and over currently represent approximately 15% of the population. By 2040, however, expectation are to increase to as much as 22%.

While no demographic group is immune to suicide, by understanding at-risk patient profiles, both doctors and caregivers are in a much better place to implement interventional strategies and save lives, according to M Kaleem Arshad, MD. “For example,” he explains, “suicide rates among men are four times higher than what becomes seen among women. In fact, male suicide deaths represent 79% of all U.S. suicides. With the worst affected group being men aged 75 and older.”

Suicide Rates

He continues, “Furthermore, suicide rates among the elderly are highest where an individual, either divorced or widowed, for example.”

Paradoxically, according to Dr Kaleem Arshad MD, numerous studies have also shown much. Some of the oldest Americans are also some of the happiest. “The University of Chicago recently found that 33% of Americans reported being ‘very happy’ at the age of 88. Only 24% of young adults reported the same,” he reveals.

“Unfortunately,” he continues, “many events commonly associated with getting older are known to increase the risk of depression, and thus suicidal tendencies.”


According to Dr Kaleem Arshad MD, these include managing chronic conditions and disabilities, handling social isolation, experiencing financial difficulties, facing mortality, coping with major life changes, and combinations of prescription medications which can cause imbalances in brain chemistry.

Dr. Arshad believes that intervention is vital. “Among older adults who die by suicide, approximately 77% visited a primary care provider within their last year of life. Also 58% also doing so within their last month of life,” he reveals.

Because of this, physicians, nurses, case workers, and other healthcare professionals are uniquely positioned to curb rates of suicide among the elderly and limit self-inflicted deaths, according to Dr Kaleem Arshad MD.

He goes on to highlight behaviors such as increasing use of alcohol or drugs, acting anxious or agitated or behaving recklessly, sleeping too little or too much, withdrawing from social settings, becoming isolated, showing rage or talking about seeking revenge and displaying extreme mood swings.


With this in mind, Dr Kaleem Arshad MD explains that prevention is key, adding, “While the rates of geriatric suicide are currently high, prevention programs can significantly reduce suicide among the elderly.”

He continues, “It’s important to consider the increased risk of depression and suicide for patients later in life. Clinicians can make a difference and help save lives by understanding the red flags for suicidal tendencies.”

“With early intervention,” adds Dr Kaleem Arshad MD wrapping up, “older patients at risk of committing suicide provides access to the help they need within inpatient and outpatient care facilities, potentially saving lives which may otherwise be lost to suicide among this demographic.”