A twenty year cohort study in The Australian And New Zealand Journal Of Psychiatry looked at overweight and obese children and their risk of developing of a mental illness later in life. The research found that obese and overweight children have an increased risk for the development of a mood disorder in adulthood when the same overweight trends continued. The research included both sexes; however overweight and obese girls were found to have an even higher risk than boys for developing mood disorders and other mental health issues when the obesity continued on into adulthood.
A first of its kind, the research looks at the psychiatric risk factors associated with obesity and overweight children. While more research is needed—one conclusion can be made. Obesity in American youth is a risk factor for the development of a mental disorder later in life.
You might be surprised.
In the latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences researchers showed (yet again) that we make many of our decisions around money and overall trust based on our unconscious racial bias.
Psychologists have generally agreed that we have explicit and implicit thoughts that inform our day to day experience. Explicit refers to intentional thinking, decisions and judgments. Implicit thoughts are hidden behind all those good intentions. These implicit biases, or the more technical term for this implicit social cognition have an impact on how we live and work.
To many of us have done it anyway.
Vincent Iacopino and Stephen Xenakis reviewed Guantanamo Bay (GTMO) medical records and case files of nine prisoners. The records showed that the detainees did tell GTMO medical staff that they were being tortured, tortured with abusive interrogation methods that are clearly defined by the UN as being torture. What they went through was even beyond the Bush administration lax definition of torture.
Despite witnessing the physical and psychological wounds of these nine detainees, medical staff took no action to report the violations. They patched them up and sent them back in.
It gets worse. Medical records show that the detainees were showing signs of psychological problems. Yes, being imprisoned is going to take someone to an edge of psychological despair, but the records showed that there was much more going on. One of the detainees was having nightmares, memory lapses, loss of appetite, depression and suicidal thoughts. He was treated with antidepressants and a chilling recommendation of “You…need to relax when guards are being more aggressive.”
Is heroin still heroin when it’s prescribed?
Alleviating pain was the original intent behind the design, creation and prescribing of pain medications. A well-used type of pain killer is the powerful class of narcotics called opioids. Oxycodone is essentially pure version of heroin develop in 1916. Of course its purity adds to its’ addictive quality. The number of prescriptions for opioids has gone from 74 milligrams in 1997 to 369 milligrams in 2007.
Where are all these drugs going? These drugs are going to mothers, fathers, their children and even our elders; to the homeless and the owner of the penthouse on the corner. It’s easy to get these drugs and doing so is even validated by the fact that many people are getting them from physicians.
The Food and Drug Administration is taking one small step towards helping end opiate addiction.
The latest efforts by the FDA and supported by the Whitehouse are an attempt to stop the flow of the drug. They are recommending a four part approach:
Are women who choose to breastfeed their babies seen as less competent?
The surprising answer is yes, according to the latest research. In the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Researchers Smith, Hawkinson, and Paull report findings that suggest prejudice against women who choose to breastfeed their children. The research findings report that women who breastfed were viewed as less competent, capable and intelligent. They were less likely to be hired, to be viewed as competent in analytical disciplines, and more likely to be viewed in a sexualized manner.
Furthering this research, researchers Schooler, Ward and Merriwether found a link between risky sexual activity, decision-making processes and feelings regarding women’s reproductive capacities. Published in the Journal of Sex Research, researchers found that greater societal shame and ignominy regarding natural menstruation cycles led to higher levels of sexual risk taking. Essentially, the shame a woman has regarding her body increases her willingness to take risks in sexual activity.
We have a big societal problem. Women’s natural reproductive and physiological functions have become the scapegoat in society’s messed-up psyche, causing the self-esteem of individual women to plummet.
We need to take action: but we don’t need new tools. A pioneering psychologist has already developed them.
Human beings are social creatures, and so it’s no surprise that when we’re not trying to get in relationships we’re managing relationships, and when we’re not managing relationships we’re complaining to our friends about how we need to be in one.
What is surprising is that for all the time, energy, and thought we put into our relationships, most of us are not very good at getting them right.
Admit it. Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
An article in Psychology Today, entitled A Message of Hope for Anyone Seeking a Relationship, looks looks at three core constructs that form the basis of all growth facilitating relationships.
Here’s a glimpse of what relationship guru Ken Page suggests:
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati have found that children with asthma are successfully managing their symptoms using complementary and alternative medicines and practices like prayer and relaxation.
This research adds to a growing body of research that could help doctors and community health care providers gain insights in to helping a community of children self-manage their asthma.
Children living in urban centers in the United States are more likely to suffer from asthma than their suburban or rural peers. The field of pediatrics has been working on ways to help these youth live better lives despite their condition. Traditional treatment methods such as using inhalers or the pill form of asthma medications are effective at dealing with the physical symptoms.
But we also know that asthma can undermine a child’s experience of daily life. Every day they are burdened with the need to manage their physical health. They must live in complete awareness of what’s happening in their bodies at all times because they may or may not know when or where the next asthma attack may happen. The need for coping skills is critical for their overall well-being – and spiritual and alternative approaches were found to have significant benefits for asthmatic children.
We’d better have a talk about empathy, before it’s too late.
A meta-analyses study published in the August 2010 issue of Personality and Social Psychology Review looked at research empathy dating from 1979-2009, including over 13,000 college students. The researchers were looking at the personality quality referred to as dispositional empathy – which is what students display when they say that they care about the homeless man who sleeps in the park near campus.
Konrath and colleagues found that students were less likely to agree with statements such as “I often have tender, concerned feelings for people less fortunate than me” and “I sometimes try to understand my friends better by imagining how things look from their perspective.” That last statement is critical to empathy.
The research indicates that a particular type of empathy has been lost. There has been a steady decline in the ability to imagine another person’s point of view and to sympathize with them.
We all wish for a good life – and we try to imagine what a good death would be.
A good death may be one where we are able to have some control over how we die. What would be a part of a good death? What would you want to do with your last moments of life? There may be so many things running through your mind … but would one of them be sharing time with your family and friends?
How, and when, would you want to say goodbye?
NPR recently featured as story about a hospice in St. Louis that gives clients the opportunity to not only say goodbye but to leave a legacy of their lives, their stories.
A recent article in the New York Times gave an example: a middle aged woman suffering a debilitating illness, facing the fear of surgery. She undergoes four hypnotic sessions at the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Integrative Medicine. The result—a calm surgery and speedy recovery.
The reintegration of hypnosis into society is part of a bigger societal transformation. Indeed it is the forerunner of a more complete and wholesome methodology of care: a revolution of mind-body and integrative medicine. It’s catching on like wildfire – with some of the biggest and best hospitals offering integrative medicine focused on mind-body techniques akin to hypnosis. Among them: Stanford Hospital, Beth Israel Medical Center, and Mount Sinai Medical Center.
In recent years, integrative medicine has seen greater credibility and wide-spread acceptance as research proves its efficacy. Its selling point for many: It’s a combination of conventional treatments combined with complementary and alternative treatments.
In these turbulent times, there are plenty of problems to go around. Families, businesses, governments—you name it and issues abound, and it seems like for decades we’ve been stuck.
But it may be that these seemingly insurmountable issues facing businesses, society, and government can be solved by tapping into your everyday genius; Reports are suggesting that “creativity” may well be the new form of pragmatism.
That’s what Mark Batey proposes in Is Creativity the Number 1 Skill for the 21st Century. Batey, a creativity researcher and editor of the International Journal of Creativity and Problem Solving speaks to “creativity” as being an essential facet of personal skill sets in the future.
So imagine, if you will, a job where you can decide when and where you work. The only requirement is that you complete all of your assigned duties. If you had it, you would be working in a ROWE or results-oriented work environment.
Employees at the Best Buy Richfield, MN offices didn’t have to imagine this scenario. It was their real life work experience, beginning began back in 2005 thanks to two Best Buy employees Jody Thompson and Cali Ressler. Studying this experiment, sociology professors Erin Kelly and Phyllis Moen found that it worked better than expected.
Maybe more of us should get to ROWE.
Most of the debate has centered on specific techniques – sleep deprivation? Stress positions? Water boarding? The endless ways we can do one another harm seem to have created an endless shade of gray, because we’ll never have a checklist big enough to cover every scenario … or exactly how they can be applied.
But what if that’s the wrong way to approach the question? Is there a better way to determine what is and isn’t torture?
Well not exactly. The actual quote is “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil…” -- Timothy 6:10
The world is still reeling from the disastrous collapse of worldwide financial markets all fueled by that toxic love for money. A lot has been written over the centuries about the problems of desire, greed, and evil; and you’d think that with all the knowledge of history to draw upon, we’d know that it’s not a good idea to put others in harm’s way for profit.
Sadly, a recent study has shown that we’re just as eager to make the same old mistakes one more time if there’s a buck in it.
At the April 2011 annual meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society co-author Oriel FeldmanHall presented a study that showed that even with our best spoken intentions, sometimes we will do the very opposite, especially when it comes down to money.
Participants were initially asked if they would give another person an electric shock in order receive a cash payout. When presented with that option as a purely hypothetical situation, most people said no.
Then they were given a chance to do it for real.
“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself,” states Anna Quindlen, best selling author and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary.
It’s ok to make mistakes. Stop striving for perfection.
Easier said than done, I know. We have a strange relationship with the need to be perfect. In society, children are told its ok to make mistakes. But not adults. As soon as we join the “real world,” mistakes stop being okay.
Well, new literature suggests that mistakes ARE ok – even for adults. In fact, they can help facilitate growth and it might just well be the foundation of psychological health.
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.
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.
The federal government has a great plan to address mental health needs - but do they have the right model?04/06/2011
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:
www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], from Wikimedia Commons"> 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.
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.
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.