Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Catch-22 for the Mentally Ill

The Hopeworks Community blog has a provocative entry on "Psychiatric Anosognosia," a catchall explanation that can be used to nullify any observations on the part of a person diagnosed with mental illness (even though severe cases are not dysfunctional 100% of the time) and justify forced hospitalization/medication.

We are reminded of this useful observation on "confirmation bias":

“Confirmation biases contribute to overconfidence in personal beliefs and can maintain or strengthen beliefs in the face of contrary evidence. Hence they can lead to poor decisions, especially in organizational, scientific, militiary, political and social contexts.” 50 years of social psychology research clearly prove that personal blindness (confirmation bias) is a normal, regular, predictable characteristic of “normal” human beings that influence all areas of human life including “scientific” endeavors.

Friday, October 21, 2011

How Pornography Can Induce Sexual Dysfunction

We only occasionally refer to Psychology Today, but there is one article that spotlights another objection to pornography in addition to the usual (i.e., moral standards, exploitation of its subjects, its addictive nature, and raising unrealistic expectations in the consumer).

"A growing number of young, healthy Internet pornography users are complaining of delayed ejaculation, inability to be turned on by real partners, and sluggish erections.

"Lots of guys, 20s or so, can't get it up anymore with a real girl, and they all relate having a serious porn/masturbation habit. Guys will never openly discuss this with friends or co-workers, for fear of getting laughed out of town. But when someone tells their story on a health forum, and there are 50-100 replies from other guys who struggle with the same thing. This is for real.

"Threads relating to this issue are springing up all over the Web on bodybuilding, medical help, and pick-up artist forums, in at least twenty countries...."

Misuse of Mental Health Terms

The BBC News Magazine (U.K.) raises an excellent point: When psychological terms with scientific definitions are casually bandied about, does it contribute to our understanding of mental illness or reduce the stigma associated with the diagnosis? You know what the answer to this rhetorical question is.

"The neighbour who keeps his house tidy has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). A socially awkward colleague is autistic. The weather isn't just changeable, it's bipolar.

"Such analogies are so familiar they surely qualify as cliches. They are also inaccurate and, to many, deeply offensive.

"Campaigners are targeting what many say is an increasingly common practice - deploying the language of clinical diagnosis to describe everyday personality traits.

"Using these terms metaphorically is just a joke, not to be taken seriously, argue some. Others, however, warn that this serves to further obfuscate conditions that are widely misunderstood and stigmatised...."

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Antidepressant Use Has Risen Sharply Over Past 20 Years

USA Today cites a U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey that chronicles the increasing use of antidepressants in the United States.

Here are some of the major points:

1. Antidepressants are the third most common prescription drug.
2. Less than one-third of people taking one antidepressant and less than half of those taking multiple antidepressants had seen a mental health professional in the past year.
3. Women are 2.5 times more likely to take antidepressants than men and 23 percent of women aged 40 to 59 take antidepressants, more than in any other age/sex group.
4. Fourteen percent of white people take antidepressants, compared with 4 percent of blacks and 3 percent of Mexican Americans. The researchers found no association between income and antidepressant use.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cortisol Injection May Prevent PTSD reports that a new study indicates that an injection of the steroid hormone cortisol within 6 hours of a traumatic event may reduce the possibility of PTSD. The sample was rather small (17 persons), but has the promise of leading to a way to prevent post-traumatic stress disorder.

"The findings suggest there may be a 'window of opportunity' immediately following a trauma during which action can be taken to prevent PTSD, said the researchers, who are now conducting a wider study.

"'One can think about it as the morning-after pill for PTSD,' said study researcher Joseph Zohar of Tel Aviv University in Israel. Doctors call such precautions that are taken after the fact, such as the contraceptive pill ingested after sex, 'secondary prevention.'"

"If the findings are confirmed, 'this will be the first time that there is secondary prevention in psychiatry,' Zohar said.

"The study will be published in the October issue of the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology."

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Not All Who Hear Voices Are Mad

Hearing Voices Network USA Launches Website

On September 14, 2011 (World Hearing Voices Day), the Hearing Voices Network USA launched its website at “We are joining countries across the world – including Australia, Greece, England, Wales, Denmark, the Netherlands and more – in finding a way to recognize this important date and celebrating the diversity of our human experiences,” the announcement states. It adds that World Hearing Voices Day “. . . challenges the negative attitudes towards people who hear voices and the incorrect assumption that hearing voices, in itself, is a sign of illness.”


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Mental Health Day

OK, Monday is World Mental Health Day and would like to invite to it's blog party... Here is the Info - If you don't have a blog but still want to be part of it let me know and I'll post your story as a guest blogger. If you do post on your blog about World Mental Health Day 2011. Hat tip: Chato B. Stewart.

"The World Health Organization (WHO) designated October 10 as World Mental Health Day to help spotlight the lack of care mental disorders often receive around the world. We hope to help increase awareness of these disorders and their treatment through hosting this blog party."

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It's Mental Illness Awareness Week

NAMI has announced Mental Illness Awareness Week (Oct. 2-8). This year’s theme is “changing attitudes, changing lives.”

Like National Recovery Month, Mental Illness Awareness Week chips away at destructive ideas that tell us having bipolar is something to be ashamed of or we can “just get over it” if we only had the right moral fiber.

The National Alliance for Mental Illness coordinates Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW). Although activities vary from community to community, MIAW events range from art exhibits to workshops with mental health professionals, from library displays to health fairs.

The National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding on Tuesday, Oct. 4, aims to bring the discussion into faith communities.

National Depression Screening Day on Thursday, Oct. 6, an initiative of Mental Health America, also falls within this week of outreach and education.