Talk therapy may be better than medication for social anxiety because the changes that occur as a result of talk therapy (specifically Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, CBT) tend to be much more permanent than taking medication to relieve symptoms. It appears that changing the way you think results in long lasting changes to your brain and giving you the ability to successfully interact with others.
The mind is much more connected to the brain than previously believed, and psychology is actually a science because psychology is “brain therapy.” Cognitive Therapy actually produces measurable changes in the brain, in the same way that learning produces changes in the brain. Disorders such as depression, schizophrenia, and so on are problems of the brain. Cognitive Therapy (or perhaps any kind of therapy) is a therapy that influences the client to change his or her brain in a way that causes better functioning–happiness, peace, and so on. Obviously, major disorders cannot be changed by the client, but minor disorders can be changed in measurable ways (depression, for example).
At the same time, the brain is not the only organ in a human being. Many other systems exist that are all inter-related. In other words, the brain may not be the entire cause. Religion and spirituality argue that there are even spiritual causes for disorders some of the time. Nonetheless, this article puts the focus of disorders on the brain–something that humans can study, research, and perhaps in the future begin to change and improve.
This is a great short video by Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN.com about how happiness works in our genes as well as strategies for getting happy.
Check out USA Today and Liz Szabo’s work on the stigma associated with mental health issues. Negative stigmas associated with mental illness is a major reason people don’t seek help.
Robin Williams’s death hit me hard. I remember watching Mrs. DoubtFire at my dad’s house during a very difficult time in my life–during my parents’ divorce. I laughed hard and felt deep sadness during the movie. I also remember watching Aladdin and Robin Williams as Genie’s voice. Robin Williams was one of my all-time favorite comedians and I’ll miss him.
I thought this article was a great reminder that those who are experiencing great pain in their lives and wanting to escape the pain through suicide are loved. Life is precious and suicide should not be talked about as an option–especially in the media. Those who are at risk for suicide must know that they are loved, cared for, and that help is available. Furthermore, mental health issues and solutions should not be stigmatized. Help is available for those who are in great pain and considering suicide. Rest in Peace Robin Williams.
This is a really interesting article on creative people who also suffer from bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder seems to appear more often alongside highly creative people. This doesn’t mean that if you’re creative, you have bipolar disorder, but among creative people, the disorder appears more often than in non-creative populations.
Wow! Through blood samples, this team of researchers predicted with an 80% accuracy rate who would commit suicide. With a success rate of 8 out of 10, imagine how many lives could be saved.
This is a very interesting look at two different ways of categorizing motivation: internal and instrumental motivation and their relation to a person’s success or failure later on. The first (internal motivation) is a motivation that is closely related to the activity that the motivation produces. For example, I want to go to graduate school to learn so I can be a better therapist. I’m likely to learn in graduate school, pass the licensing exam, and go into private practice. That’s a likely successful outcome. The second kind of motivation (instrumental motivation) seems to be a motivation that is much farther removed from the actual activity.
I really like David Brooks. In this article, he simultaneously recognizes that suffering–although terrible–can turn out for good. It can mold and shape us into something else, perhaps something better. It can direct our lives toward something greater. I believe suffering can be dangerous and detrimental; but I also believe how I choose to respond to suffering often determines whether or not I become better. I don’t believe suffering always turns out for the worse. Suffering can actually turn out to be beneficial to us and others. It can be hopeful.