Past events

Symposia at the Royal College of Psychiatrists International Congress


2015 Birmingham

Building winning teams – Sport and Psychiatry by Allan Johnston

Many successful sports teams have attributes that are generalisable to other settings including business and commerce. There exists a healthy cross-fertilisation of ideas between these two fields. Healthcare teams and especially mental health teams could also learn valuable lessons from the world of sport.

Conversely whilst the sports world is used to drawing on the expertise of a range of medical and paramedical professionals there is less clarity on the potential role of the Psychiatrist. What contribution can s/he make to the mental health, wellbeing and performance of the athlete or sports team? Importantly, how do we persuade the world of sport of the value of our professional contribution?

Stigma and mental health – collaborations with sport by Malcolm Rae

There is large demographic group (young adult males) that does not readily access mental health care when needed. However with increasing recognition of conspicuous psychiatric morbidity in sportsmen and women sport becomes a potentially powerful means of educating and reaching out to those who need help and support. By this means several highly innovative projects around the UK have developed to provide information, tackle stigma, improve access, care and treatment for a vulnerable group.

Learning the language of sport – how sports medicine sees eating disorders by Alan Currie

A plethora of terms have emerged in recent years to describe the grey areas on the fringes of clinical eating disorders. Within sport these terms include ‘anorexia athletica’, ‘the female athlete triad’ and since 2013 ‘relative energy deficiency in sport’ (RED-S for short). Whilst these terms have common usage in sports medicine they are not always well understood in the psychiatric world. A successful approach to eating disorder morbidity in sport demands that the worlds of sport and psychiatry understand each other and are able to collaborate.


London 2014

Exercise Addiction by Caroline Meyer

Optimum physical exercise supports mental and physical well-being but a minority of those who exercise do so compulsively and occasionally as a symptom of another psychiatric condition (e.g. an eating disorder). The clinical features of a behavioural addiction to exercise were discussed along with the psychological, and neuro-biological correlates. Comparisons were drawn between this and other addictions.

Addiction in sport by Dr Henrietta Bowden-Jones

Dr Bowden-Jones defined the addictions, their clinical features and the clinical approaches and services that have been developed to help sportsmen and women with addictions. The use of sport as an intervention in addictions was also be discussed.

When athletes retire – problems leaving the sporting arena by Dr David McDuff

A professional sporting career is usually brief and intense and frequently ends abruptly (e.g. through injury) and with little preparation for life afterwards. This is fertile ground for subsequent problems with adjustment and even frank psychiatric morbidity.


2013 Edinburgh

Psychiatric aspects of doping by Alan Currie

Complex interactions between the athlete’s mental state and an unusual psychological environment can lead an athlete to dope. Providing appropriate psychiatric treatment not only supports a return to psychological health but also can contribute to a cleaner sport.

Addictions in sport –

Problems with alcohol, substance misuse and other addictions are found in many sports. The individual and contextual factors that contribute to this were reviewed along with a discussion of how vulnerable groups can be supported to access treatment.

Psychopharmacology in Athletes – Hamish McAllister-Williams

Psychiatric morbidity in sport participants is significant and may warrant pharmacological intervention. There are a number of underexplored considerations when prescribing for this group including tolerability, exercise related physiological changes and, in the case of elite performers, the need to seek ‘therapeutic use exemptions’.


2013 Edinburgh

Psychiatric morbidity in sport – Bob Factor

An extensive review of the epidemiology of mental illness in sports participants with discussion of the more common psychiatric illnesses in this population.

Meeting the mental health needs of elite performers – Steve Peters

There are many challenges in providing adequate mental health care to elite sportsmen and women. The unusual lifestyles of this group not only make access to treatment difficult but can in themselves contribute to psychiatric morbidity.

Olympics 2012 – Philip Hopley

Dr Hopley, lead Sport Psychiatrist at LPP Consulting, shared his experience of planning the provision and co-ordinating his team on-call for the 10,000 plus athletes competing at the Games.


Brighton 2011

Sport, social inclusion and recovery by Helen Killaspy.

Eating Disorders in sport by Alan Currie.

Depression and athletes by Valentin Merkser.

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