Here I am again with another mental health miscellany for you! It’s not all tragic, either — there’s some right good humor mixed in!
But first: a birthday announcement. On June 25th, Anxiety, Panic & Health celebrated its first year of existence. During that time I’ve posted 132 articles and have had 834 comments on them. The top 5 articles were:
- “A National Shame: The Mentally Ill Homeless” with 5158 readers
- “I’m Dying: What a Panic Attack Feels Like” with 3484 readers
- “Questions and Answers: Antidepressants for Anxiety Disorders” had 3467 readers
- “Obama’s and McCain’s Positions on Mental Health Care” was read 2793 times
- “What Can I Do? Helping a Friend or Family Member with a Mental Illness” had 2440 readers
Rather than bore you with any more introductory blather, let’s get right to it. You’ll get a taste of what’s in store for you from the headlines of the sections:
- A Pioneer of brain imaging talks about her career and research
- Eyewitnesses may be more witness than eyes
- A touch — well, more of a whack — of psychiatric humor!
- Senior citizens may quit taking their medicine when the Medicare “Doughnut Hole” hits
- Materialistic people form strong brand connections when they fear death — really!
- Finally, another “Where have you been?”
A Pioneer of brain imaging talks about her career and research
Nancy C. Andreason is a neuroscientist and psychiatrist at the University of Iowa. She has pioneered the use of imaging technology for learning about the physiology of the brain. She has studied such questions as:
- How do the nervous systems of extremely creative people differ from those of the rest of us?
- How is the brain physiology of the mentally ill different from that of normal people?
- Why do people with schizophrenia lose brain tissue at a more rapid rate than healthy people of comparable age?
- Why is it that the more drugs you’ve been given, the more brain tissue you lose?
- At what point is human brain maturation complete and at what point do our brains naturally decline and lose tissue?
In the New York Times article, she speaks about the policy and ethical implications of her research, her research with schizophrenics, and the progress of imaging technology over her long career. It’s a very interesting, though brief, interview that I’m sure you’ll enjoy. The article is “Using Imaging to Look at Changes in the Brain: A Conversation with Nancy C. Andreason”
Eyewitnesses may be more witness than eyes
Research at the University of London shows that stress and fear reduce the likelihood of a witness’ ability to identify a perpetrator. They found that the higher a witness’ anxiety and stress at the moment of an event simulating a crime, the less likely they will be able to identify the “criminal” in a lineup.
The head of the research team, Tim Valentine, says that, “The research doesn’t suggest there is anything wrong with the identification procedures that the police use, but does demonstrate just how difficult it can be for a victim to identify the offender.”
A touch — well, more of a whack — of psychiatric humor!
Have you ever looked at the personals section of a newspaper or magazine? There are some really strange ads to be found there!
Well, this article purports to be selected personal ads from the American Psychiatric Association’s dating website. It’s got such gems as:
Female with adult attention-deficit disorder seeks male for—look at that bird! What is that? An egret? I love their long necks.
Guy with self-defeating personality disorder thinks he’s funny but isn’t. Seeking alcohol-free/drug-free female. Must be willing to treat me poorly, undermine any happiness I may experience, and stop me if I’m about to accomplish something I could potentially be proud of.
Read the rest at “Selected Personals from the American Psychiatric Association’s Dating Website.”
Senior citizens may quit taking their medicine when the Medicare “Doughnut Hole” hits
A short article in the Wall Street Journal reports that a sizable proportion of the 3.4 million Medicare patients who hit the “Doughnut Hole” in coverage quit taking their medication rather than pay full price out of pocket. The piece also describes exactly what the “Doughnut Hole” is.
It’s sad — no, more than that: tragic — when the elderly have to stop taking their medications because they can’t afford them. So many people need a regular dosage to maintain acceptable health, particularly diabetics, heart patients, and those with other chronic conditions. I’m hopeful that, among all the other plans for health care now being discussed, the “Doughnut Hole” in drug coverage can be stopped up!
Read the rest of the story: “Some Seniors Quit Taking Medicine When Medicare Doughnut Hole Hits.”
Materialistic people form strong brand connections when they fear death — really!
A study by the Journal of Consumer Research has found that materialistic people tend to form strong connections to particular product brands when their level of anxiety about death is high.
This finding is counterintuitive: We thought all along that materialistic individuals are weakly connected to brands and use them only as superficial status badges. Well, weren’t we wrong?
A short and interesting article from Science Daily. Well worth the read just for the incredulity it produces: “Materialism And Death Anxiety Lead To Brand Loyalty.”
Finally, another “Where have you been?”
I’ve had another long absence from the blog: about two months. You may recall I was AWOL for a bit longer earlier in the year. There were no new articles written during the last period, and I was barely able to keep up with the comments — in fact, I’m still catching up.
The hiatus was caused by another bipolar cycle that dipped into a deep depression for a while. I have the rapid cycling variety of bipolar disorder, and it’s not unusual for me to swing wildly from high to low to high again within a matter of days. What’s more unusual for me is that the cycles are lasting much longer recently.
I enjoyed a 9-month period of feeling “normal” last year, and I’m hoping that my current mood will last just as long, if not longer.
I’m not asking for anything more than your understanding of why I disappear for a month or two at a time. I’ve come a long way, but I’m still learning how to be productive when I don’t feel like it. But I’m learning, slowly but surely, and some day I will be able to bridge across the bad cycles.
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