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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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

Could Depression Be an Allergic Reaction?

Most people are still locked into the theory that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain -- a shortage of feel-good neurotransmitters like serotonin that deliver messages from one neuron to another. That explanation works well for public consumption because it’s simple and it makes for great pharmaceutical commercials.

But depression is a whole lot more complicated than that.

For starters, there’s faulty brain wiring. On functional MRIs, depressed brains display lower activity levels in the frontal lobes, responsible for cognitive processes, and higher levels of activity in the amygdala region of the brain (fear central).
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Psychology Around the Net: April 2, 2016

Happy Saturday, sweet readers!

I'm hoping you all ended your week with some funny April Fools' Day shenanigans, and are ready to start the weekend with some of the latest developments in mental health!

Read on for news on how men are more vulnerable to developing stress-related depression, how people with mental health issues fit in when it comes to physician-assisted suicide, ways you can effectively help another person cope with anxiety or depression, and more.

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Is Depression Always a Disease?

Like most mental health writers, I have compared depression to illnesses like diabetes in the past, and stressed the biochemical aspect of mood disorders in my efforts to reduce stigma. Somehow talking about the gene G72/G30 located on chromosome 13q (that may predispose individuals to depression and bipolar disorder) makes it more legitimate, as if the gene proves we aren’t making it up.

However, the more I read about how abuse, trauma, and chronic stress --unresolved issues of all kinds -- can cause and aggravate depression, the less I want to compare it to diabetes.
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How Do Mental Illness Diagnoses Really Compare to Medical Diagnoses?

One of the common complaints I hear about mental illness diagnoses is that they are "unscientific," based upon a bunch of subjective symptoms that are arbitrary. People who dismiss mental illness as not being "real" say that unlike medicine, the mental health profession doesn't have laboratory tests, biopsies or meaningful imaging tests.

I would suggest, however, that the mental illness diagnostic reference manual, the DSM-5, is actually a good compromise based upon our current but limited knowledge of mental illness and its underlying causes. Moreover, most people's understanding of medical diagnosis is often unrealistic and doesn't take into account the messy reality.

How do mental illness diagnoses compare to more traditional medical diagnoses?

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Best of Our Blogs

Top 10 Important or Intriguing Psychology Articles of 2015

The field of psychology is diverse and large -- the American Psychological Association alone has divisions representing more than 54 separate topic areas. Tens of thousands of psychology papers are published every year in peer-reviewed journals. In 2015 alone, there were more than 2,000 meta-analyses papers (research that summarizes and examines other research) published in psychology's PsycINFO research database.

Here are ten psychology articles published in the past year that I think were important or intriguing, and advanced the field of psychology significantly.

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50 Psychology & Psychiatry Terms to Avoid

In August of this year, researchers Lilienfeld et al. (2015) published a review article of a list of 50 inaccurate, misleading, misused, ambiguous, and logically confused words and phrases typically used in psychology and psychiatry. The rationale behind the list comes in the first two sentences of the article: "Scientific thinking necessitates clarity, including clarity in writing. In turn, clarity hinges on accuracy in the use of specialized terminology."

Psychology as a field has especially struggled with terminology, using murky, unclear terms to describe complex phenomena. Society often takes it one step further, putting their own spin on the definitions -- making psychology terms even less definitive and clear.

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Living through a Medication Change

I was diagnosed with bipolar illness in 1991. Since then, I’ve taken a variety of drugs, starting with Lithium and moving forward to drugs that worked and felt better on my psyche.

For five years, I’ve taken a nightly cocktail of meds including Depakote, Cymbalta, Clomipramine and

On these drugs, I was perfectly stabilized and high-functioning. I could hold down a part-time job, raise a child, take care of a home and a hubby, and work on a freelance writing career.
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Children and Teens

Psychology Around the Net: October 3, 2015

Happy Saturday, Psych Central readers!

October is my favorite month of all -- and I love Saturdays -- so what could be better than spending a few free moments cozying up outside under the changing color of the leaves and checking out all the latest psychology-related news around the 'net this week?

Today, we've got information about consumers helping psychiatrists become better psychiatrists, the worst things you could say to someone with a mental illness, Google's (yes,...
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Anxiety and Panic

Psychology Around the Net: September 26, 2015

Happy Saturday, Psych Central readers!

We hope you're enjoying the budding seasonal changes, and that you'll find something interesting in this week's Psychology Around the Net before heading out to enjoy your Saturday!

This week we've got the latest on mental health parity speculation, ways to boost your confidence, how computers are becoming ridiculously accurate at predicting schizophrenia, and more!

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