Mostly at my new blogs I post shorter stuff, but for some reason I posted a longer piece regarding the use of what increasingly seem like our overlords — our electronic devices. Very much for parents, but anyone struggling with judicious use of technology may find something of interest. Links to a number of recent articles and some books, too. There’s also a cute picture. You can find it here: https://laeastsiderdepressed.wordpress.com/2015/07/20/the-godzilla-mayhem-of-kids-parents-and-family-screen-time-tokyo-is-torched/
For some time now I’ve hosted a page with a compilation of thoughts on “What is Psychotherapy?” I’ve now combined and lightly edited these posts, and bundled them together into a free ebook, Psychotherapy: Frequently Asked Questions. The book is divided into two parts.
Part I focuses on the many questions — frequently relating to doubts, fears, and misconceptions – that people have about psychotherapy.
Self doubt. Diminished sense of self. Fear and diminished expectations. Depression. Anxiety. Lack of sleep. These are some of the symptoms being predicted as a result of the upcoming (if not arrived) recession. Washington and Lee University (quote from Shrink Wrap) warn of the following:
What’s really interesting is that this compromised sense of self becomes hardens and is better described as a permanent scar rather than a blemish. Even when people become employed again, the adverse impact of unemployment on psychological well-being lingers.
At the New York Times, David Brooks takes a broader sociological view, but comes to some of the same conclusions. He notes a cynicism from the 70s that never really went away. He notes:
Recessions breed pessimism. That’s why birthrates tend to drop and suicide rates tend to rise.
But recessions are about more than material deprivation. They’re also about fear and diminished expectations. The cultural consequences of recessions are rarely uplifting.
An automatically generated link led me to a very nice old post at We Worry: A Blog for the Anxious about discriminating between anxiety disorders. Apparently weworry.com received some accolades last year (see the website), so you might want to check it out, particularly if you have questions about anxiety. For instance, If you click back to their homepage there’s another nice post titled, “Feel the Fear.” The post mentioned earlier, titled “What’s in a Diagnosis?” starts like this:
One of the most commonly heard questions on internet anxiety-support forums is some variation of: “Is this Generalized Anxiety or Panic Disorder?” Much discussion revolves around the diagnoses and their symptoms, yet the most important thing you will ever learn about your diagnosis is this: it’s largely irrelevant. Aside from the insurance companies and the FDA’s medication standards, your diagnosis has little bearing on your recovery.
The anxiety disorders fall on a spectrum and there is rarely an individual who shows signs of one without showing signs of another. Many people ultimately diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) typically show signs of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). For example, many GADers experience chronic, nagging fears about their health (mental or physical); this is sometimes referred to as hypochondriasis or “health anxiety.” You may not realize it, but your constant thinking and analyzing of physical or mental symptoms is actually a ritual. So is your constant need for reassurance. If you find new symptoms and then rigorously search for relief from Dr. Google, then you’re performing a ritual. We often know this ritual won’t help much, but we can’t help it, we just have to know about the disease we fear so much.
Check out the rest of the post here. Again, the site seems like a good place to start if you’re interested in anxiety.
Well, at PANIC!, there’s an excellent first-person account titled: “My first panic attack”. The piece does a nice job of describing how a mundane moment is exploded by total panic. In fact, if you’re interested in the subjective experience of panic disorder, you’ll find post after post of well written descriptions of and musings on panic disorder and how it has affected one person’s life. The writer, Eric Wilinski, is writing a book, and “has been dealing with panic disorder for 20 years”. An excerpt:
And then it happened. What is this feeling? I wondered briefly. In the next instant, my focus zeroed in on my chest, where, suddenly and without warning, my heart had started flapping and fluttering like a bird with clipped wings trying to escape its cage.
Well worth the read at PANIC!
Yet more on the SSRI theory of depression. Here’s the full headline of a thought provoking press release from Florida State University: Media Perpetuates Unsubstantiated Chemical Imbalance Theory of Depression. The piece focuses on a few often overlooked facts: (1) That depression is caused by a “chemical imbalance” remains unproven and (2) That SSRIs are increasingly being found to be about as effective as placebo. Also (3) the media is largely misinformed about these facts. Here is an excerpt, the italics are mine:
Jeffrey Lacasse, an FSU doctoral candidate and visiting lecturer in the College of Social Work, and Jonathan Leo, a neuroanatomy professor at Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee, found that reporters who included statements in news articles about depression being caused by a chemical imbalance, or a lack of serotonin in the brain, were unable to provide scientific evidence to support those statements.
Lacasse and Leo spent about a year in late 2006 and 2007 monitoring the daily news for articles that included statements about chemical imbalances and contacting the authors to request evidence that supported their statements. Several reporters, psychiatrists and a drug company responded to the researchers’ requests, but Lacasse and Leo said they did not provide documentation that supported the chemical imbalance theory. Their findings were published in the journal Society. Continue reading Media’s Chemical Imbalance Theory of Depression
The scourge of perfectionism.
We call it perfectionism. Nice article in the New York Times today about the way the culture encourages both obsessive attention to detail and compulsive behavior. Much of what therapists do is dealing with the damaging results of people stuck in the mindset of “black-and-white thinking”, a sad by-product of perfectionism (either it’s perfect or not).
What it looks like.
Perfection’s a good credo for knife throwers but quickly become unmanageable in day-to-day life, leading to paralysis — a tremendous inefficiency in completing tasks, and a tremendous indecisiveness for fear of less-than-optimal outcome. Moreover, there’s the depression that so often results when one doesn’t measure up to exacting standards. (As one joke has it: Is there a hyphen in obsessive compulsive?) When one’s identity is wrapped up in perfection it’s a sure recipe for misery. Continue reading Obsessive Compulsive? High Achieving?