Child Abuse and Schizophrenia

On Tuesday, the news section of beautiful Psych Central had a story on child abuse being a cause of schizophrenia. This is not a new belief since many people with the disorder have lives filled with trauma starting in the very early years, but it is a significantly different view than other theories that have been proposed such as genetic predisposition and the virus hypothesis (if pregnant woman contracted a virus in the second trimester of pregnancy the child is possibly more...
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The High Price of Daycare

The New York Times observed today,


Young children in Quebec are more anxious and aggressive than they were a decade ago, even though children elsewhere in Canada did not show big changes. Quebec children also learn to use a toilet, climb stairs and count to three at later ages, on average, than they once did. The effects weren't so great for parents, either. More of them reported being depressed, and they were less satisfied with their marriages — which also didn't happen in other...
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Light Therapy & Medication for Seasonal Depression

The FDA recently approved Wellbutrin XL for seasonal depressive episodes (often called Seasonal Affective Disorder or ). Fortunately for folks who have this condition, some recent research has also shown light-therapy to be as effective (if not more so) than medication. The belief is that being outdoors and in sunlight contributes to optimal human functioning. Since people spend more time indoors (especially during the winter in some parts of the world), the loss of light contributes to depressed mood and lethargy. According...
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Disturbing Reality Television

A student of mine just sent me a link to a new Fox Reality Channel show called "Solitary", where the goal of the show is to take "contestants to the threshold of tolerance by challenging their individual psychological and physical endurance." Apperantly, the participants are placed in solitary confinement and only win when everyone else breaks down enough that they leave the show. This comes on the heels of another program called "Shock Treatment", where participants are taken to an abandoned mental...
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NPR Psychiatric Medication Debate

NPR's Talk of the Nation "Science Friday" had a phenomenal debate on the increase in prescriptions for anti-depressants and anti-psychotics for the general US population, but especially for minors (listen here). It is a wonderful half-hour crash course (that gets pretty heated!) on the current state of thinking on these medications from a variety of viewpoints, ranging from those that are in complete support of the trends (Dr. Jeff Lieberman) to those that believe the medications do nothing to treat the...
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Self-Mutilation & College Students

Another AP story is making internet waves this week: "Self-mutilation rampant at 2 Ivy League schools". Self-injurious behavior has been the buzz around university counseling centers for awhile now and it isn't just linked to high achieving Ivy Leaguers, although the rates found in that particular study are surprisingly high (17%). The story notes that cutting and similar self-abuse is becomming more common, but I tend to think that the increased incidence is due more to stigma reduction and increased help-seeking, particularly since...
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Anger disorder more common than thought?

Trailing on Will's entry from yesterday, Reuters Health also reported that anger disorder more common than thought:


A surprising number of Americans suffer from a psychiatric disorder marked by angry, often violent, outbursts, -- called intermittent explosive disorder, or IED -- a national survey suggests.

Based on the findings, up to 16 million adults may have the condition. People with the disorder erupt in reactions that are grossly out of proportion to a perceived provocation -- attacking another person, threatening others with violence...
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Bipolar teens see hostility in neutral faces

Bipolar teens see hostility in neutral faces

Teens diagnosed with the bipolar disorder are more likely to interpret neutral facial expressions as hostile and react with fear, a new study shows.

Brain scans also showed that the brain centre that processes fear – the amygdala – shows more activity in these youngsters than in those free of the disorder. The researchers say the findings provide insight into how bipolar individuals process emotions differently to their peers.

Bipolar disorder affects about million American adults, and is...
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