Pew Research shows the distribution of religious belief in the United States.
New study finds that people with schizophrenia made “greater strides” with smaller doses of antipsychotics plus one-on-one talk therapy.
Childhood sexual abuse and how it affects people later as adults. Great study with great insights.
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.