Brain and Behavior

IQ Can Be Linked to Physical and Psychiatric Disorders

The idea that how smart you are might be connected with how healthy you are is not new. Those who studied social sciences have probably seen the published works on the subject dating back to 1980s.

The problem is not so easy to study academically, though. It is hard to separate the influence of various social factors on both intelligence level and health from a pure connection between health and brightness. As a result, many of the existing studies have been inconclusive. Factors such as age, sex, social and economic level, and education of the study cohort may seriously affect the conclusions. However, when these factors are taken into account, or the study groups are designed in a way minimizing their influence, rather interesting findings emerge.

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Children and Teens

Psychology Around the Net: October 22, 2016

Once again, my friends, I come to you from behind a computer screen with a box of tissues on one side and a trash can on the other. Tears are running down my cheeks, I can't stop sneezing, and even though I can't breathe my nostrils aren't too stopped up to -- well, I won't get gross.

Wasn't it just a few months ago I was suffering from allergies? Can you even get allergies in the fall? According to WebMD, you sure can, and thanks to a myriad of potential culprits (mold spores and pollen hiding out in fallen leaves and dust mites triggered from turning the heat on for the first time), I am once again down for the count.

Still, that hasn't stopped me from bringing you this week's latest in mental health news! Keep reading for healthy tips for how to break off a friendship, Instagram's new mental health "flagging" feature, ways you can beat election stress, and more.

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There Is a Place for Antidepressants

When I was six months pregnant, I attended a birthing preparation class with my husband and about 12 other expectant parents. During the fifth session, the instructor asked the mothers whether or not they were going to use medication to get through the pain of childbirth labor.

“Everyone who wants to try for a natural birth, stand over here,” she said. “And everyone who plans on having an epidural or taking other pain medication, stand over here.”

I looked at the two groups, which held about the same number of people. My head went from one to the other, much like a puppet with a tic. Like most decisions in my life (including which dressing I want on my salad), I had analyzed the hell out of this one -- done all the research on both sides -- and still couldn’t commit.
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The Importance of Good Nutrition During Recovery

Dietary habits in early recovery can be the difference between staying clean and relapsing.

As the opioid epidemic combined with a rise in illegal drug abuse spreads across the country, effective substance abuse treatment services and inpatient recovery options are needed more than ever before. Since the Affordable Care Act has made these services mandatory coverage, a much sharper lens has been focused on what is being offered and its success rate. As the founder of Nutrition In Recovery, David Wiss, MS, RDN, does not understand why the critical role of good nutrition in early recovery is being largely ignored by rehabs and sober living facilities. In long-term recovery himself, David intimately knows how challenging the struggle to restore personal health can be after the damage done by addiction.

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Anxiety and Panic

Tips for Successful Online Learning

74% of American schools use technology in the classroom. 1/3rd of American schools issue mobile devices to students as a learning tool. About 5.8 million college students took an online course in fall 2014. Although most of us are technology savvy and able to use our devices for fun things like socializing and surfing the internet we are not skilled at online learning. That is where the anxiety comes in that can hold you back.
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Helping Children Cope When a Loved One Suffers from Mental Illness

I have a loved one that suffers with severe mental illness. He's a brilliant, beautiful, creative person who told spellbinding, captivating stories of far away places and taught me to not be afraid of the dark. But just as quick and easy as flicking a light switch on and off, our lives changed from moment to moment.

As a child I didn't understand. I remember thinking everyone's home was just like mine... a place where the stairs turned into an escalator only for the person who knew the magic word and where the cupboards were locked at night to keep out the mischief-making fairies.
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A Box Full of Darkness: Growing Up in the Shadow of BPD

Someone I loved once gave me
A box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand
That this, too, was a gift.
-Mary Oliver

I can’t remember now how I ran across this poem by Mary Oliver. I saved it, because the box-full-of-darkness metaphor seemed genius. As time went by, its relevance to my experience became clearer. The poem eventually served as an epigraph for my book Missing: Coming to Terms with a Borderline Mother.

First, here’s what I won’t be saying about these lines. I won’t say that all dark boxes become gifts. The loss of a child or debilitating pain or one’s own mental illness? Starvation? Violence? Are these gifts, or can they become gifts? It feels presumptuous to say so. I can speak only to my own experience, and a largely blessed and lucky experience it has been.
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Anxiety and Panic

When Anxious Thoughts Just Won’t Quit

Maybe you can’t stop worrying about work. You’re convinced that you are an impostor, and everyone at the office knows it, too.

You’re bound to get fired. Maybe you fear that your partner will abandon you, because you know you’re not enough. Maybe you fear for your family’s safety after your neighbors were killed in a car crash. Maybe you’re worried about your own health after experiencing certain symptoms.

Maybe your thoughts involve a different anxiety. Either way, you carry them wherever you go. They are stubborn. They are persistent.
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Does Depression Turn Self-Medication into Addiction?

The term self-medicating simply means using a substance or engaging in a behavior to satisfy a physical or psychological need.

Quite often, though, self-medicating means relying heavily on legal or illicit substances, like alcohol or drugs. As a manifestation of addiction, such self-medication is especially problematic for patients with depression.

Those who battle depression, and especially those who are predisposed to addiction, may try self-medicating before or instead of seeking professional help, which can...
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Anxiety and Panic

Do You Know What to Say When Someone Has an Anxiety or Panic Attack?

Saying the wrong thing can do more harm than good, but don't worry! We'll guide you on how to help.

As someone who suffers all too frequently with panic disorder, I can tell you that sometimes, there’s just nothing to do but get through it. Friends, and family may try to help but truthfully, they can make it worse.

If you haven’t actually had the experience of a panic attack (Congrats!), then you may not understand what the body goes through. Lucky for me (ha!), I can tell you first hand what an anxiety attack is like.

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Anxiety and Panic

Mental Illness Is More than ‘Worried Wellness’

“So what kind of work do you do in your private practice?” asked a colleague.

“I specialize in depression, anxiety, relationship problems, work-life issues, and low self-esteem,” I explained.

“Ah,” he said with a knowing smile. “The worried well.”

I cringed when I heard this. My patients would cringe, too, if they heard themselves referred to in this dismissive way. But it happens all too often.
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