Tag Archives | Mental Health

Daily diary reveals how cannabis use affects people with bipolar

Experiences in real-time. Rafael-castillo, CC BY

Experiences in real-time. Rafael-castillo, CC BY

By Elizabeth Tyler, Lancaster University

Rates of substance use are higher in people with mental health problems compared to the general population and particularly in people with bipolar disorder, with cannabis the street drug most frequently used. Estimates suggest that up to 64% of this group have tried cannabis at least once in their lives, against about 30% of those without the disorder, despite only being about 2% of the overall population.

Specific reasons for the high levels of cannabis use in bipolar disorder are not yet fully understood. Retrospective studies (using case histories and qualitative interviews) suggest that individuals see cannabis as sometimes useful for managing symptoms of mania and depression. However, a number of large scale research studies have found that cannabis use is associated with significantly more manic and depressive episodes.

The daily experience

A study we published in PLOS ONE is the first to explore the use of cannabis in bipolar disorder in daily life.… Read the rest

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“Raping the Gods” Examines the Question: Is Sex Addiction Real?

71dlVRUUuSL._SL1315_Although author Brian Whitney is, without a doubt, a sex addict, he doesn’t like the term.

“I hate it when people call me an addict. Some people think sex addiction doesn’t exist, that it is just a made-up term to excuse bad behavior. Another group thinks that a sex addict is a crazy, out-of-control freak who thinks of nothing but getting laid every second of every day. Then there is a third group that thinks it sounds fun: ‘What are you complaining about, man? You get laid all the time and you think it’s a problem?’”

“I could tell a lot of stories about what I was doing, but I’d rather just say I was really fucked up. My major issue was infidelity. I was often involved in three or four different relationships at once. I got an enormous rush from having multiple sexual partners and lying to all of them.… Read the rest

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Criminologist’s study shows lack of mental health care for prisoners

[AndreasS] (CC BY 2.0)

[AndreasS] (CC BY 2.0)

via ScienceDaily:

New research by a UT Dallas criminologist has found that a substantial number of prison inmates have not received treatment for mental health conditions.

Dr. Nadine M. Connell, assistant professor of criminology in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences (EPPS), analyzed data from 18,185 inmates in state and federal correctional facilities for the study, published in the American Journal of Public Health. Connell worked with co-author Dr. Jennifer M. Reingle Gonzalez, an assistant professor at The University of Texas School of Public Health in Dallas.

Their findings include:

  • 1 in 4 prisoners had been diagnosed with a mental health condition in their lifetime.
  • Fewer than 1 in 5 of those inmates were taking medication for their conditions when they were admitted.
  • Of those, fewer than half of the inmates who reported taking medication at intake were receiving medication for their conditions in prison.
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Nine Myths About Schizophrenia

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Despite investment in research and treatment, the outcomes of patients diagnosed with the most severe psychiatric disorders have not improved since the Victorian period. Where are the flaws in our understanding? Mental health treatment needs a radical overhaul to bring it into the 21st century – but what needs to change?

… get up to speed with what’s fact and what’s fiction about schizophrenia with Professor and Clinical Psychologist Richard Bentall as he debunk the common myths in this free online course: Nine Myths About Schizophrenia.

The details of the course can be found here – or see the whole list of IAI Academy courses here.

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Depression may result from “hyperactivity” in “the disappointment circuit” of the brain

Gerald Gabernig (CC By 2.0)

Gerald Gabernig (CC By 2.0)

Dr Jeremy Dean writes at PsyBlog:

People who are depressed may have hyperactivity in a part of the brain known as ‘the disappointment circuit’, a new study finds.

Scientists led by Professor Roberto Malinow of the University of California, San Diego, found what could amount to an antidote to feeling let-down.

The study focused on a part of the brain called the lateral habenula, which has been linked to the feeling of disappointment which follows from the absence of an expected reward.

Professor Roberto Malinow, who led the study, said:

“The idea that some people see the world as a glass half empty has a chemical basis in the brain.

What we have found is a process that may dampen the brain’s sensitivity to negative life events.”

The neuroscientists found that this area, unlike almost any other in the brain, produces neurotransmitters which both ramp up and damp down brain activity.

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‘My Baby Turned into a Python’, says Killer Mom

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Roberto Verzo (CC BY 2.0)

I’m guessing that this isn’t a tale of shapeshifting as much as a tragic case of mental illness…

via Cryptozoology News:

SOUTH AFRICA– A woman who killed her baby states that the infant had previously turned into a large snake and attempted to eat her.

The unnamed 27-year-old Kwamhlanga resident told the court on Monday that her 5-month-old baby had “repeatedly turned into a python” and that she was forced to kill the girl in order to avoid “being eaten alive”.

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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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