Of all the mental illnesses on the planet, few remain as heavily and tragically misunderstood as schizophrenia. The mythology surrounding the condition lay thicker in the public consciousness than the actual realities, and the implications of this remain seriously grim. Perpetuation of these misconceptions means the further isolation of those suffering from the disorder from their friends, family, and peers, discouraging them from pursuing the therapy they sorely need to recover. Educating society on the true concepts, nuances, and machinations behind schizophrenia is the best way to ensure that its victims learn how to chip away at the symptoms and go on to lead full, enjoyable, and productive lives with the proper care and guidance from a mental health professional.
Tag Archive: psychology & philosophy
Excessive sexual appetite was only clearly pathologized when it showed up in women. During the Victorian era, nymphomania became the catch-all term for a wide range of inappropriate behavior, from “lascivious glances” to extramarital affairs, writes Carol Groneman in Nymphomania: A History. Even wearing perfume was sometimes diagnosed as a symptom of “mild nymphomania.” The book describes the case of Mrs. R, a widow who, in 1895, blamed her “lascivious longings” on reading too many novels and going to too many gay parties as a young girl. It is with “the greatest difficulty that I could conduct myself in a decorous and ladylike manner in the presence of the other sex,” she lamented to her doctor, who prescribed leeches applied to the uterus and ice to the genital region.
Now, about 95 percent of people who are diagnosed with sexual disorders are men, according to Marty Kafka, the reigning expert who treats patients at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass. Some are true deviants and some are merely compulsive. They may masturbate or obsessively look at porn or bankrupt themselves on prostitutes. Often, the compulsion is crippling; they may intend to spend half an hour looking at porn and instead waste their whole work day away. The sex itself usually gives them very little pleasure and a lot of distress, says Kafka, who has been studying the condition since the ’80s. These days, the treatment usually involves a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and antidepressants. “We may argue over the exact definition,” says Kafka. “But I have no doubt in my mind that the condition exists.”
From New Scientist magazine, via 23narchy in the uk. An article on science and meditation, with interview of researcher on the subject, brought to you in extract form only because I dig 23narchy and want to send them my sweet traffic lovin’.
How did you become involved in the science of meditation?
The Dalai Lama often describes Buddhism as being, above all, a science of the mind. That is not surprising, because the Buddhist texts put particular emphasis on the fact that all spiritual practices – whether mental, physical or oral – are directly or indirectly intended to transform the mind.
So it wasn’t surprising that when a meeting was held in 2000 with some of the leading specialists in human emotions – psychologists, neuroscientists and philosophers – they spent an entire week in discussion with the Dalai Lama at his home in Dharamsala, India. Later we agreed to launch a research programme on the short and long-term effects of mind training – “meditation” in other words.
What have we discovered about meditation and the human brain?
Experiments have indicated that the region of the brain associated with emotions such as compassion shows considerably higher activity in those with long-term meditative experience. These discoveries suggest that basic human qualities can be deliberately cultivated through mental training. The study of the influence of mental states on health, which was once considered fanciful, is now an increasing part of the scientific research agenda.
The brain’s innate interest in the new and different may help trump the power of addictive drugs, according to research published by the American Psychological Association. In controlled experiments, novelty drew cocaine-treated rats away from the place they got cocaine.
Novelty could help break the vicious cycle of treatment and relapse, especially for the many addicts with novelty-craving, risk-taking personalities, the authors said. Drug-linked settings hold particular sway over recovering addicts, which may account in part for high rates of relapse.
“When I woke up this morning after watching Avatar for the first time yesterday, the world seemed … gray. It was like my whole life, everything I’ve done and worked for, lost its meaning,” Hill wrote on the forum. “It just seems so … meaningless. I still don’t really see any reason to keep … doing things at all. I live in a dying world.”
You really gotta read the whole article. Could this be anymore cyberpunk? It’s all over people, it’s all over.
do you want fries with that?
For more than a generation now, we in the West have aggressively spread our modern knowledge of mental illness around the world. We have done this in the name of science, believing that our approaches reveal the biological basis of psychic suffering and dispel prescientific myths and harmful stigma. There is now good evidence to suggest that in the process of teaching the rest of the world to think like us, we’ve been exporting our Western “symptom repertoire” as well. That is, we’ve been changing not only the treatments but also the expression of mental illness in other cultures. Indeed, a handful of mental-health disorders — depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and anorexia among them — now appear to be spreading across cultures with the speed of contagious diseases. These symptom clusters are becoming the lingua franca of human suffering, replacing indigenous forms of mental illness.
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I’ve had this bookmarked to be blogged for weeks now and I can’t believe it has taken me this long to get around to it! check it out:
As crazy as it sounds, there may be a closer link than than most people would think between the extreme-altruistic personality and sociopathic personality. Would it shock you to know that two people, one with the traits of extreme-altruism X-altruism and the other the traits of a sociopath, could be related? Even siblings? And that their personality traits are very similar, with only a few features to distinguish them? Research by Watson, Clark, and Chmielewki from the University of Iowa, “Structures of Personality and Their Relevance to Psychopathology” [pdf], present a convincing argument in which they support the growing push for a trait dimensional scheme in the new DSM-V to replace the current categorical system.
update: turns out i had already posted it so i just deleted the old post. ^_^
via boingboing i believe.
Once again, The Times Magazine looks back on the past year from our favored perch: ideas. Like a magpie building its nest, we have hunted eclectically, though not without discrimination, for noteworthy notions of 2009 — the twigs and sticks and shiny paper scraps of human ingenuity, which, when collected and woven together, form a sort of cognitive shelter, in which the curious mind can incubate, hatch and feather. Unlike birds, we can also alphabetize. And so we hereby present, from A to Z, the most clever, important, silly and just plain weird innovations we carried back from all corners of the thinking world. To offer a nonalphabetical option for navigating the entries, this year we have attached tags to each item indicating subject matter. We hope you enjoy.
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