Tag Archives | Mental Health

The Creative Gifts of ADHD

 Duncan Hull (CC BY 2.0)

Duncan Hull (CC BY 2.0)

via Scientific American:

“Just because a diagnosis [of ADHD] can be made does not take away from the great traits we love about Calvin and his imaginary tiger friend, Hobbes. In fact, we actually love Calvin BECAUSE of his ADHD traits. Calvin’s imagination, creativity, energy, lack of attention, and view of the world are the gifts that Mr. Watterson gave to this character.” — The Dragonfly Forest

In his 2004 book “Creativity is Forever“, Gary Davis reviewed the creativity literature from 1961 to 2003 and identified 22 reoccurring personality traits of creative people. This included 16 “positive” traits (e.g., independent, risk-taking, high energy, curiosity, humor, artistic, emotional) and 6 “negative” traits (e.g., impulsive, hyperactive, argumentative). In her own review of the creativity literature, Bonnie Cramond found that many of these same traits overlap to a substantial degree with behavioral descriptions of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)– including higher levels of spontaneous idea generation, mind wandering, daydreaming, sensation seeking, energy, and impulsivity.

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Creativity, Madness and Drugs

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via Scientific American:

Would we have Poe’s Raven today if the tormented author had taken lithium to suppress his bipolar illness? Not likely, considering the high frequency of psychiatric illnesses among writers and artists, concluded psychiatrist Kay Jamison of Johns Hopkins Medical School speaking last week at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego. Madness electrifies the creative process, Jamison concluded, but this difficult drug-use dilemma raises an even more provocative question:

Would we have Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds had the Beatles not taken LSD?

Lord Tennyson, Virginia Woolf and Vincent Van Gogh are familiar examples of artists and writers who suffered serious mental illnesses, but Jamison explained that psychiatric illness was the cruel engine of their creativity. Tracing their family pedigrees, she showed that many of these artists’ siblings, parents and descendants were institutionalized in mental hospitals, committed suicide, or endured life-long struggles with mania, despair, schizophrenia or other mental disorders.

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Stalking My Psychiatrist

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By Emily Maloney via The Atlantic:

Even now, I adjust the image in my head, the term. Not stalked. Researched, I preferred to say. I knew where she lived and how many children she had. When she got a divorce, and the kids’ names and ages appeared in the court records, I felt a tingle of glee, just for knowing, which made me feel a little sick. My heart sped up as I scrolled through those records or ones from the county recorder’s office online. Available for anyone to see, I told myself. Public records.

I was seeing Dr. Smith—Karen, I called her, later—because I had bipolar disorder, she claimed, and maybe something more drastic and dark, like a smidge of a personality disorder. Mental illness tended to run in my family in the way kudzu covered everything south of the freeze line. I wondered if I had some illness: anything to explain my way of existing in the world.

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Men, masculine pride and how to cope with depression

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
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By Jason Spendelow, University of Surrey

Masculinity plays an important role in dealing with problems such as depression. Men often don’t feel able to reach out for assistance because both the symptoms of depression and the act of seeking help goes against a stereotypical view of how us blokes should or shouldn’t behave.

Of course, traditional masculine characteristics are not necessarily “good” or “bad”. Stereotypical male traits such as self-reliance and independence can be very valuable in life (for both men and women). But when demonstrated through unhealthy and over-used psychological practises, they can spell trouble for well-being and mark seeking help as off-limits.

For example, adherence to “strait-jacket” masculinity, might not only prevent getting treatment but also intensifies tactics such as hiding depressed mood and increasing risk-taking behaviours such as substance use.

Different strategy needed off the pitch.

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Yoga helps war veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

By Flora Lisica, The Conversation

It’s no secret that yoga can aid mental well-being. What is more, it can help soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, according to new research.

Some of the most damaging consequences of seeing combat can happen in the mind. Of the 2.3m American veterans who returned from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, up to 20% go on to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some point. In a report published by the US Department of Veterans Affairs at least 22 American veterans take their lives every day.

The effects of PTSD can include intrusive memories, heightened anxiety and personality changes. Individuals can also experience hyper-arousal, where they are easily startled, feel “jumpy” and constantly on guard. Standard current treatment for PTSD generally involves prescriptions for antidepressants and psychotherapy, with mixed results.… Read the rest

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Robin Williams, Mental Health, and Social Insanity

A make-shift fan tribute to Robin Williams at the steps of the San Fransicso house used for Mrs. Doubtfire, taken on August 13, 2014. By rulenumberone2 via Wikimedia Commons

A make-shift fan tribute to Robin Williams at the steps of the San Fransicso house used for Mrs. Doubtfire, taken on August 13, 2014. By rulenumberone2 via Wikimedia Commons.

Michael K. Smith writes at CounterPunch:

“We are made miserable . . . not just by the strength of our beliefs, but by the weight of hard and all-too real situations, as they bear downward, robbing us of control . . . unhappiness treated by clinicians has much more to do with the sufferer’s situation than with anything about themselves, and for those with few privileges, this unhappiness is pretty well beyond the reach of therapeutic or any other conversation.”

– Paul Moloney “The Therapy Industry”

Robin Williams’s body was scarcely cold when liberal commentators began using the tragedy of his death as publicity for suicide hotlines and professional mental health intervention in general.  He had long-standing depression, we were told, and his “mental illness” was manifest in his decision to take his own life.

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A Buddhist Perspective on Suicide

Happy Feet Two Australian Premiere With Robin Williams And George Miller At Entertainment Quarter In Sydney. By Eva Rinaldi via Wikimedia Commons

Happy Feet Two Australian Premiere With Robin Williams And George Miller At Entertainment Quarter In Sydney. By Eva Rinaldi via Wikimedia Commons.

One of the most effective ways to combat depression is to do the exact opposite of what you feel like doing: taking care of yourself.

via The Huffington Post (please click through to read the entire piece):

The news of Robin Williams’ passing is shocking and touching so many of us. I was waiting for a friend at a bar when I first heard. All around me people erupted in a variety of emotional reactions as the word quickly spread. In the time since, a common reaction has been deep sadness, often paired with a sentiment of “I never thought someone like him would kill themselves.”

What we mean when we say “I never thought someone like him…” is that we can’t wrap our minds around certain people whom we deem successful or joyful or wise suffering from the same sorts to the demons that we ourselves face.

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Twenty Percent of US Soldiers Had Mental Illness Before Enlisting

120117-A-0000X-771 (7016614597)Some people might say you’d have to have a mental problem to enlist in the military, but that’s not exactly the point of a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry as reported in The Guardian:

The first three studies in a large research initiative to better understand US military suicides indicates that some patterns in military suicide are reflective of mental health problems in the civilian population.

The Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers (Army Starrs) uses data from existing army systems and what researchers can collect from soldiers to better understand why soldiers might be at an increased risk for suicidal behavior compared to the civilian population.

Two of the three papers, published Monday in Jama Psychiatry, show the results of surveys and interviews with 5,428 soldiers which looked at theprevalence of mental disorders among non-deployed soldiers and suicidal behavior among currently deployed soldiers. The third study tested common theories about military suicide using historical data.

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