There is one thing I feel absolutely secure in saying after spending the last forty-four years of my life conducting parapsychological research; that the paranormal attracts more emotionally disturbed people than any other area of human interest or endeavor. The chronic encounters with such psychotic people never seems to end. The question is why?
Men or women, tall or short, thin or fat, rich or poor, educated or ignorant, beautiful or ugly, they appear to be everywhere, and growing in numbers. Perhaps many such troubled individuals enter this field with the hope of resolving their own emotional demons? Perhaps others are seeking the greater truth that underlies our presence and reality? And yet perhaps others, enter it because it requires absolutely no formal education whatsoever to explore, unlike any other discipline of science?
Tag Archives | Mental Illness
Graham Brown writing at Bipolar World, from 2005:
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In this article there is summarised the results of just a few studies regarding mental illness and violence from a number of very respectable sources to allow a fair and unbiased assessment of the risk posed by those with a mental illness for you, the reader, to consider.
Firstly, from the Canadian Mental Health Association and it’s pamphlet – “Violence and Mental Illness”,
”In today’s media reports about mental illness, there is a tendency to emphasise a supposed risk between violence and mental illness. News stories regularly suggest that there is a strong connection between mental illness and crime. In fact, people with a mental illness are more likely to be the victims, rather than the perpetrators of violence.”
“Recent studies have showed that alcohol and substance abuse far outweigh mental illness in contributing to violence. A 1996 Health Canada review of scientific articles found that the strongest predictor of violence and criminal behaviour is not major mental illness, but past history and criminality.”
On the question of does mental illness cause violence? The CMHA does go on to say:
“Mental illness plays no part in the majority of violent crimes committed in our society. The assumption that any and every mental illness carries with it an almost certain potential for violence has been proven wrong in many studies.
Quinn O’Neill writes at 3quarksdaily:
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Given the amount of senseless and stupid behavior that we perceive, it might seem outrageous to claim that people – all people – make perfect sense. The crux of my argument rests on the idea that behaviors are caused, and to the extent that they are caused – fully, I believe – they will always make sense if the causal factors are understood.
This seems to be the approach that we intuitively take when we observe unusual behavior in animals. We don’t blame the animal and label it a dumbass, we assume there’s something causing the behavior, like an illness, the presence of another animal, or the animal’s having been trained by humans. A bizarre behavior could also have a strong genetic component; maybe it’s evolved because it’s adaptive or maybe it’s the result of a spontanteous deleterious mutation. In any case, we’re likely to attribute the behavior to material causes rather than to blame the animal.
Ryan Hurd recounts a strange tale of lucid dreaming and mass murder, at Reality Sandwich:
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I got the weirdest phone call last week. The editor of Gawker, A.J. Daulerio, contacted me, requesting information on lucid dreaming. (Lucid dreaming is knowing you’re dreaming while firmly in the dreamstate). He said he’s doing a new piece on lucid dreaming and Jared Loughner, who was sentenced yesterday with life in prison without parole for his deadly rampage in Tuscon, AZ in January 2011.
Turns out, Gawker had got a hold of some emails from Jared Loughner, and Daulerio has been going through them looking for new insights in the horrendous mass shooting that left six dead and wounded 14, including U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords. It got weird when Daulerio asked, “So, you talked to Jared, right?”
“Nope, never spoke with him,” I replied.
“But you emailed with him, right?”
“No, never did. Uh…why?”
“Because we have an email from him to you.”
That’s when my nervous laughter began.
So says a new review in the journal Science, which declares that the club drug is vastly more effective than the serotonin-boosting antidepressants typically prescribed for mood disorders. Via TIME Healthland:
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It didn’t seem likely that a drug could repair brain cells within hours, but new research explored suggests just that. Ketamine rapidly spurs the growth of new synapses, the connections between brain cells, and is associated with “reversal of the atrophy caused by chronic stress,” the authors write.
Unfortunately, the hallucinogenic effects of ketamine mean that it can’t be used in the same way typical antidepressants are, and fears about its potential for misuse also hamper its development. Researchers are frantically trying to develop compounds that have the same effects as ketamine without producing a “high.”
In the meanwhile, however, ketamine is already FDA approved […] But clinical use of the drug in the community remains rare. Fears about abuse continue to run high, though ketamine has never caught on as a major street drug.
John Mariani reports for syracuse.com:
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Dr. Thomas S. Szasz, a psychiatrist who questioned the existence of mental illness and fought against the forced treatment of patients, died Saturday at his home in Manlius. He was 92 and died from complications from a fall and a spinal compression fracture, his family said.
In “The Myth of Mental Illness,” published in 1961, Szasz argued that behaviors that colleagues attributed to diseases of the brain actually described “problems in living.” He called treating people against their will “a crime against humanity” in a 1992 profile in The Post-Standard.
“I am probably the only psychiatrist in the world whose hands are clean,” Szasz told the newspaper. “I have never committed anyone. I have never given electric shock. I have never, ever, given drugs to a mental patient.”
The approach Szasz rebelled against treated people as patients whose behavior somehow failed to meet the expectations of government or some other authority, said Dr.
Newly published findings by the Centre for Adolescent Health at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute in Melbourne and published in Addiction show that heavy marijuana use by teenagers is likely to result in later adult anxiety disorders.
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Those who used frequently in their teens and continued to use on a daily basis at the age of 29 were three times as likely to have an anxiety disorder compared with non- or infrequent users. Those who used minimally in their teens but became daily users in their late 20s were two and a half times as likely to have an anxiety disorder. But the really striking finding say the authors is the persistent association between frequent teenage cannabis use and adult anxiety disorders up to a decade after cannabis use has ceased. The relationship between cannabis use and anxiety disorders was present even after the researchers took into account other possible explanations such as mental health problems in their teens or other drug use in their twenties.
According to NASA, 2013 is shaping up to be quite a year for solar activity. The end of the 11-year solar cycle comes with the promise of coronal mass ejections, solar flares, heat waves, and possibly major mental illness. The connection between solar activity and MMI is not a new concept. There has been growing evidence that solar magnetic storms affect human physiology and pathophysiology. In fact, the idea spawned a branch of biophysics called Heliobiology, pioneered by Russian scientist Alexander Chizhevsky almost 100 years ago.
“From 1949-1997…. geomagnetic activity showed three seasonal peaks each of those years (March to May, in July, and in October). Every peak matched an increased incidence of anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and suicide in the city Kirovsk.”
Many studies have theorized on the relationship between increased solar activity and it’s effect on melatonin production in the pineal gland of the brain.… Read the rest
David Gonzalez is the recipient of the 1999 NYAPRS Brendan Nugent Leadership Award, the first person with a mental illness to receive the National AAPD Paul G. Hearne Award for People with Disabilities, and the recipient of the New York State Department of Mental Health’s Office of Consumer Affairs 2000 Consumer Advocacy Award. He writes at The American Mental Disability Clemency Organization:
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Accurately identifying the various causes behind the criminalization of the mentally ill can only be accomplished by an impartial examination of our society’s preconceived notions of the mentally ill. This can be done by examining society’s treatment of the mentally ill throughout the course of history. Stigma clearly plays a major role in the criminalization of the mentally ill because of society’s inability to accept the dualistic and sometimes vile impulses of human nature inherent in all human beings. Therefore, society seeks to explain away unjustified acts of violence and aggression as symptoms of a mental illness, in effect scapegoating the mentally ill.
With clinical psychopaths dramatically overrepresented in finance, one can only assume that mentally healthy workers must learn to imitate psychopathic behavior to remain employed. Via the Huffington Post:
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One out of every 10 Wall Street employees is likely a clinical psychopath, writes the trade publication CFA Magazine. In the general population the rate is closer to one out of every 100.
Journalist Sherree DeCovny pulls together research from several psychologists for her story, which helpfully suggests that financial firms carefully screen out extreme psychopaths in hiring.
A clinical psychopath is bright and charming, writes DeCovny. He lies easily, and may have trouble feeling empathy for other people. He’s more willing to take dangerous risks…the outcomes matter less than the gambles themselves — and the chemical rush of serotonin and endorphins that accompanies them.
This is hardly the first time that mental illness has been equated with a certain capacity for professional success — especially in the financial sector, where some stock traders have actually scored higher than diagnosed psychopaths on tests that measure competitiveness and attraction to risk.