General

Asylum Was Once a Place of Safe Haven, Part 3

This is part 3 of the series "Asylum Was Once a Place of Safe Haven." Don't miss Part 1 and Part 2 too.

The Future of Therapy and Recovery



There is not a one track solution to this problem. Various schools of thought will need to come together to thoroughly evaluate the best ways to make high quality care affordable and accessible. The World Health Organization promotes ways for institutions to integrate mental health services into primary health care, aiming to raise...
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General

Asylum Was Once a Place of Safe Haven, Part 1

If you go into your internet browser’s search bar and type in the word “asylum,” a host of terrifying images of dirty hallways, rusty beds, and screaming faces will pop up. Let’s face it -- asylum is mostly known as a negative word, a place where unspeakable things occur in the movies that keep us awake at night. Regardless of its roots in providing protective safe haven, the concept of asylum receives a bad reputation mostly because of historical documentation of the awful and dehumanizing conditions of psychiatric hospitals.

"It's not easy to talk about. You don't want people to think you're 'nuts' when everyone in there is not nuts," Ann explains while sipping a cup of coffee. "During certain stays I had dignity, but there was one hospital where there were bed bugs all over. They had to keep changing my sheets and the staff would come in to clean them out of the lights." Now in her fifties, Ann has experienced many years of hospital stays at different institutions while combating major depressive disorder (MDD).
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Disorders

Video: What’s in a Label? Pros and Cons of the DSM

A recent proposal to remove transgender identity from the ICD, the World Health Organization's manual of medical conditions, has reignited the debate over what should and shouldn't be a mental health diagnosis.
Many feel that classifying transgender identity as a disorder is unnecessarily stigmatizing. Others argue that leaving it as a recognized medical diagnosis has practical benefits. For example, as a New York Times article on the controversy points out, classifying...
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General

Making History with The National Museum of Psychology & How You Can Help

The history of psychology is filled with famous and inventive figures, significant discoveries and fascinating research -- everything from Sigmund Freud and talk therapy to the birth (and demise) of dementia praecox to Phil Zimbardo’s prison experiment to Stanley Milgram and the shock heard around the world.

At first glance, these might seem like highly specific subjects only relevant to people in the psychology field. After all, who really needs to know about antiquated illnesses, decades-old experiments and psychology theories?

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Children and Teens

Why People Drop Out of College: A Freudian Approach

It’s no surprise to anyone that many people who start college do not end up completing it. The U.S. Department of Education claims that “as of 2012, only 59 percent of students on average received a bachelor's degree within a six-year period. The numbers are much higher for private non-profit and public schools, but private for-profit schools are bringing up the rear with a staggering 32 percent finishing rate”(National Center for Educational Statistics).
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General

6 Surprising, Bizarre Facts You Didn’t Know About Freud

Sigmund Freud is the father of psychoanalysis, so it's not surprising much has been written about him over the past century since he first introduced his trailblazing theories about childhood development. At first his theories were very controversial, but then gradually accepted by many -- so much so that many of his ideas have become entrenched into pop psychology.

Freud was an interesting man who grew up in a step-family household that was largely poor. What's even more interesting is what you don't know about this most famous of all psychoanalysts. Here are 6 of the more surprising and bizarre facts about Sigmund Freud.

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General

The History of Psychology Roundup: From LSD to Lobotomies


It's been a while -- like a few years! -- since I've shared the latest links on the history of psychology. But I think it’s important to take a look back. In order to know where we're going, it’s important to know where we’ve been. Plus, the journey is rarely boring.

This month’s pieces cover everything from playing tourist at asylums to using LSD to treat alcoholism to reading letters from lobotomy patients.
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Books

3 Things You Didn’t Know About Carl Jung’s Psychosis

As the founder of one of the most influential schools of psychological thought -- analytical psychology -- Carl Jung (also known as CG Jung) experienced what today we might call a form of psychosis. It probably wasn't a complete psychotic break, because Jung still functioned in his daily life.

His psychosis began when he was 38 years old, when he started finding himself haunted by visions in his head and started hearing voices. Jung himself worried about this "psychosis" -- things that today we'd might say were consistent with symptoms of schizophrenia (a term he also used to describe himself during this period).

Jung didn't let these visions and hallucinations slow him down, and continued seeing patients and actively engaging in his professional life. In fact, he so enjoyed the unconscious mind he had unleashed, he found a way to summon it whenever he wanted.

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Anxiety and Panic

The Origins of Anxiety

According to author and psychiatrist Jeffrey P. Kahn, M.D., in his book Angst: Origins of Anxiety & Depression, today’s disorders might’ve been yesterday’s valuable social instincts.

Today’s panic disorder might’ve prevented our ancestors from venturing to potentially dangerous places, far away from their families and tribes.

Today’s social anxiety might’ve maintained social hierarchies and peace in primitive times.

Today’s obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) might’ve helped our ancestors keep tidy and safe nests.

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Anxiety and Panic

Rethinking the Diagnosis of Depression

Most people diagnosed with depression today aren’t depressed, according to Edward Shorter, a historian of psychiatry, in his latest book How Everyone Became Depressed: The Rise and Fall of the Nervous Breakdown. 

Specifically, about 1 in 5 Americans will receive a diagnosis of major depression in their lifetime. But Shorter believes that the term major depression doesn’t capture the symptoms most of these individuals have. “Nervous illness,” however, does.

“The nervous patients of yesteryear are the depressives of today,” he writes.

And these individuals aren’t particularly sad. Rather, their symptoms fall into these five domains, according to Shorter: nervous exhaustion; mild depression; mild anxiety; somatic symptoms, such as chronic pain or insomnia; and obsessive thinking.

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Books

3 Reasons Why I Am a DSM Agnostic

My first introduction to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), was standing in the kitchen of my parents' home and witnessing my father in full rant.

My dad was a psychiatrist/ psychoanalyst of the old school. Which is to say he was brilliant, but also a man of his particular age. Which is to further say his fury was directed at the APA for taking homosexuality as a diagnosable mental illness out of the manual. It was 1973.

Hardly aware of what he was so upset about, I did hear him dramatically declare that he was withdrawing his membership in the APA. My dad loved being a psychoanalyst and he loved being a physician but he wasn't that crazy (you should forgive the word) about being a psychiatrist. His prescription pad gathered dust as he focused on talk therapy. So his threat to quit the APA wasn't idle. But it wasn't like he was giving up his beloved couch.

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