World Notes

Your inner child still lives - Your outer child still acts out.

04/07/2011

Baby_Blue_Adult_Pacifer While many think childhood ends at eighteen, new research shows it is still very alive at any age—and is a contributing factor in your everyday life.

Author Leon Seltzer explores the evolution of self and personality in Self-Sabotage and Your "Outer Child" speaking to an “outer-child” in adult personalities that is characterized by impulsivity, carelessness and limitlessness. The Outer Child, Seltzer points out, acts impulsively out of a need for instant gratification from tension, anxiety and other negative feelings. Its motto: at all costs – avoid pain, pursue pleasure.

Sounds good – but there’s an inherent problem in instant gratification.

Turns out, it makes us feel worse about ourselves. Sure, we feel better in the moment, our tension relieved (or at least ameliorated). But eventually we feel worse about ourselves because we’ve sacrificed our values, wishes, or ethics to the moment. It’s self indulgence at its most unhealthy level, and for it we sacrifice our deepest need, self-nurturance.

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Social services beware: Addressing poverty alone can't undo the effects of poverty

04/07/2011

627px-HN99~Worker_4xKidsWork You wake up in the morning after spending the night sleeping in your car. Your two children are awake in the back seat and both are looking pretty hungry, although they’ve learned that food may not around today. How do you feel at this moment?

You’d probably the same way that many people who are living at or below poverty level are feeling everyday; stressed, anxious, depressed and possibly even suicidal.

A report in the April issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry by Dr. Jitender Sareen and others presents data from a 3 year study citing the connection between poverty and mental disorders. This isn’t news, there has been a considerable amount of research on this issue, but it is further proof that there is a clear relationship between having basic needs go unfulfilled and anxiety, substance abuse, and psychological pain.

According to this report the participants with a household income of less than $20,000 annually had a greater risk for experiencing mood disorders, depression and anxiety. The risk was much lower for those with incomes higher than $70,000.

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The federal government has a great plan to address mental health needs - but do they have the right model?

04/06/2011

SAMHSA banner Should substance abuse recovery and mental health care have as much government attention as physical diseases like arthritis and appendicitis?

Last month the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) published its strategic initiatives paper for its roles and actions for 2011-2014. The paper includes the focus, goals, and action plan for carrying out its mission—of reducing the impact of substance abuse and mental illness in American society.

From months of public discussion and stakeholder contributions, eight strategic initiatives have resulted—on how to best utilize SAMHSA’s resources and improve the behavioral healthcare system in America. It’s focus? The Mental Health Parity, Addiction Equity Act and the Affordable Care Act—to put mental healthcare and substance abuse recovery on equal footing with all other physical aliments.

The initiatives include the following:

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Is the media portrayal of disasters itself disastrous?

04/05/2011

www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], from Wikimedia Commons">TV-camera Weeks after a disaster, such as in Japan or Christchurch, we are inundated with imagery and new stories. Tucked in between the sound bites of horror, grief and sadness were a few stories highlighting heroism, altruism and empathy. 

A recent study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology shows a direct link between watching these media reports of selfless actions in the face of tragedy our own behavior. People who observe such acts are more likely to help others – and this has big implications for the way the media portrays human behavior day in and day out. 

Lead author Karl Aquino at the Sauder School of Business and co-author Brent McFerran, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Michigan, wanted to know whether or not we experienced what they termed a “moral elevation” after seeing others perform an act of kindness. 

The participants were randomly assigned to read one of two news stories. One described the 2006 school shooting at the Amish schoolhouse and the parents’ act of forgiveness and gift of money to the shooters family. The second story was about a couples’ experience of watching a beautiful sunset together. They found that those who already had a stronger sense of moral identity were more likely to give more to others after watching a news story about altruism.

This may explain the surges of giving after a disasters, especially after all of the bad news has given way to stories of triumph. 

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Getting your groove on is good medicine

04/04/2011

Finnerud_dancing Anybody want to dance? 

Dancing has never been a fad … indeed it’s likely one of the first arts human beings created … but even so it seems like there’s a lot of it coming up today.  Turn on your television and what do you see?  Dancing with the Stars, America’s Best Dance Crew, So You Think You Can Dance …

Much of this has the reputation as being just reality TV, but could it also be an expression of something joyful, even healthy? 

In a recent article, Psychology today spoke to the mounting and compelling evidence suggesting that “getting your groove on” is psychologically, physically, and spiritually invigorating. 

Researchers at the University of New England looked at the effects of “tango dancing” over a period of six weeks with people diagnosed with depression and other mental health issues. Researcher Rosa Pinniger found that tango dancing with a partner is an effective alternative therapy for those suffering from anxiety and depression. Tango dancing was found to interrupt the negative cyclic thought patterns through the practice of “mindful awareness” and connection with one’s partner and the dance routine. Through the mindfulness practices that the tango dance requires, participants experienced freedom from their detrimental thought patterns that led to the symptoms of anxiety and depression.

The expressivity inherent in tango and other dance exercise regimens help people release emotions that have been “stored” in the body; keeping it all in the body can have deleterious health effects.  Indeed, Zumba, body movement, and other creative arts practices are increasingly becoming part of the realm of psychotherapeutic practice under the umbrella of expressive arts therapies. Leading the revolution in training expressive arts therapists is Dr. Natalie Rogers, daughter of the late humanist Carl Rogers.

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The best treatments for Borderline Personality Disorder are deeply personal

04/01/2011

It’s a diagnosis that ravages two percent of the general population and twenty percent of patients in psychiatric inpatient facilities. Characterized by frantic efforts to avoid abandonment, intense patterns of idealization and devaluation of interpersonal relationships, high levels of impulsivity in spending, sexuality, or eating-- all with deleterious effects—and this is only the beginning.

Welcome to the world of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).

The fragile realm of BPD is rapidly changing in treatment and diagnosis. Changes to the upcoming Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) are heralding the most prominent adjustments to psychiatric diagnosis in some thirty years. Personality disorders are taking the biggest hit – half of personality disorders in the current manual getting the “boot.” All these changes and more are preliminary and awaiting field trial.

While diagnosis is an important part of the mix of modern medical and mental healthcare, it does little to directly help treatment and recovery. For those effected by BPD – it’s ravaging. For those that treat it – taxing.

But advances in treatment have occurred:  you just won’t find them in the DSM.  Research-based humanistic person centered treatment methods provide a beacon of hope for those with BPD.

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Heartache HURTS! Science catches up with a thousand sad songs to prove it

03/31/2011

Billie_Holiday_1949_b “The blues aint nothin' but a pain in your heart” Billie Holiday Lady Sings the Blues

She was right – and science has now caught up with a million songs of rejection to prove that love hurts. 

40 people graciously volunteered to share their pain for an experiment conducted by social psychologist Ethan Kross, the lead author of an article to be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

All the volunteers shared a common story, they were broken hearted and had experienced this loss within the past six months.  Even thinking about the break up would bring about intense feelings of rejection. A very sad group.

Previous research had shown that yes, that there is an area of our brains that activates when we are in deep emotional pain. Physical pain and social rejection show up here as well. These researchers wanted to find out if there was a connection or neural overlap between emotional and physical pain.

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Women over 40 get eating disorders too; they just don't get treated very much

03/30/2011

Gull_-_Anorexia_Miss_A Do you ever outgrow eating disorders?  Do seniors and people later in life even develop them?

The answer is yes - but a lot of people don’t believe it.  Despite research and a mountain of anecdotal evidence suggesting that women over 40 are just as interested in their body images as younger women, plenty of people assume no older woman can develop an eating disorder. 

A research study looked at 48 published studies of eating disorders in people over the age of 50. They found that 88% of the cases were female, 81% had anorexia nervosa, and 10% had bulimia nervosa.

The New York Times recently featured an woman who suffered from anorexia until her 40s.  She’s recovered and at the 58 she is telling her story of healing. It's a stark narrative that is present in her story, that despite having all of the symptoms no one said anything to her. She was praised for her focus on exercise and eating “right.” Friends and family thought she looked great. They believed that she was successful, when in reality she was in pain.

Her story is supported by a small research study published in 2010 that looked at 32 patients over the age of 50 that were being treated at a national eating disorder clinic. The found that many of the patients had a history of eating disorders and that at the time of treatment they were in relapse.

For women both old and young, the signs of anorexia are still the same:

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Depression rates in men are going to rise - and we're not handling it well

03/29/2011

IdahoStumpFarmerLange For some of us depression is a hard subject to talk about with others. It has been described as the “Dark Night of the Soul”. But that darkness is certainly not a place that anyone would want to spend their lives, let alone spend that time alone without anyone else knowing or helping.

In an editorial published in the March 2011 issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry, Boadie Dunlap wrote that the rates for depression in men will increase. Why? Men are under the shadow of long term unemployment and recovering from the violence of war. Much like their fathers, they are confronted with their own sadness, grief and pain as a result of dealing with these struggles. But unlike their fathers, they have access to services, treatments and support for their depression.

Yet even with all of the education, outreach and support, many men are facing depression alone. Why?

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Deceptive advertising, unethical research practices, "brain shrinkage" -- have we had enough of Big Pharmacy yet?

03/28/2011

Seroquel BigPharma hasn’t admitted doing anything wrong – but their mask got pulled off all the same this month.

Drug company AstraZeneca agreed to settle lawsuits brought by 37 states – effectively they’re paying $67.5 million to avoid having to go to court and defend themselves against charges that their marketing was deceptive and their research practices unethical. 

The lawsuits centered around AstraZeneca’s illegal business practices with the antipsychotic medication Seroquel:  the company marked the drug for conditions including depression and anxiety, both of which were used it was not approved for by the FDA.  Further, AstraZeneca failed to publicize three studies showing mixed results on the effectiveness of Seroquel overall. 

It is not the first time a major drug company has been rightly accused of such wrong doing (AstraZeneca alone agreed to a $520 million settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice last year) and it won’t be the last. 

In fact, the lawsuit comes in the backdrop of

  • Research that proves the efficacy of psychotherapy without psychotropic medications for folks with schizophrenia
  • dramatic increases in physician’s prescribing patterns (estimates suggest that twenty-five percent of patients in nursing homes have been prescribed antipsychotic medications!)
  • disturbing “off label” uses of antipsychotic medications—all with perilous and anti-human side effects.

For many who walk into their doctor’s office, brain shrinkage and weight gain were not on their “to do” list for the day. Recent research proves that in a few years time these side effects become the reality for many who fall for the hidden research and deceptive Big Pharma tactics. Clearly, you are not the “patient” with an issue to them – you are a client with a bank account at your local pharmacy, a number with a money sign.

See for yourself.  Here’s the research, you be the judge. 

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