Self-diagnosis (even by professionals) is not recommended for many reasons. One reason is that tests tend to be “one dimensional” and mental health professionals will be able to see the “big picture” and help guide people toward appropriate treatment options if appropriate. The BHM-20 may be a tool that may diagnose depression in only 20 questions; however, and may be one tool of many that can be used by professionals to help care for people. If you think you might be depressed, seek professional help before taking any test.
Travis Bradberry writes a good article about Yale study findings about the positive and negative effects of stress on the body and brain. Limited stress “entices” the brain to create new cells related to memory; however, prolonged stress has many negative health effects, including reduced gray matter in the brain that we use for self-control. Successful people develop skills to manage their stress levels so that they solve problems by remaining calm under pressure.
An interesting informal and helpful checklist that can help troubleshoot problems in your relationships.
Those who suffer from social anxiety underestimate others’ opinions of their social abilities and way of being. Another way of thinking about this is that people who suffer from social anxiety are very harsh with themselves about their social interactions; consequently, they avoid social interaction because of their own negative evaluation of themselves, not because of others’ evaluation of them. Folks with social anxiety are too hard on themselves and rely on their own perceptions instead of objective information that they gather from other people.
This research provides hope for those who suffer from social anxiety because they can challenge their own negative evaluations of themselves and others’ with objective information. Hopefully, they can begin to form a more positive opinion of their social interactions and develop more intimate friendships and relationships.
Another interesting aspect of this research is that a person with social anxiety perceives the quality and intimacy of their relationships differently than their partners and friends. In other words, people with social anxiety perceive the level of intimacy as far less than their friend or partner.
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.