Bipolar

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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Disorders

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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General

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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Bipolar

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
Trilafon.

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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Anxiety and Panic

Psychology Around the Net: September 12, 2015


Happy Saturday, Psych Central readers!

We hope everyone made it through the week in one piece after the three-day Labor Day weekend! It's back to the grind now, and we've got the latest on boosting creativity, the country's current shortage of psychiatrists, new mothers and smoking relapse, and more in this week's Psychology Around the Net.

Enjoy!

8 Psychology Hacks to Increase Your Creativity and Productivity: Learn to challenge yourself, practice mindfulness, and more if you want a creative and productive boost.

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Depression

The Problem with Google’s Health Knowledge Graphs

Earlier this year, Google changed how it presented health search results. It added a new box to its search results it calls a "Knowledge Graph."

Apparently this new product came about because a Google product manager had a hard time finding information about a concussion, using -- you guessed it -- Google. Believing that health information is different than all other information people search for, Google decided to start becoming a health information publisher instead of a search engine.

And when you get into the publishing business, well, you better know what you're doing. Can a search engine company also offer vetted health information you can trust?

The answer is unclear.

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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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Depression

Blame the Illness, Not the Patient

One of the most hurtful comments made to me during the worst of my depression was this: "You must not want to get better."

I know that person didn't intend to be spiteful or mean. She's just plain ignorant regarding mental health issues. (But I still haven't let it go, obviously.)

Comments like that are why I'm so passionate about educating folks on mental illness and eliminating the isolating stigma of our condition. Because it's hard enough fighting all the negative intrusive thoughts within our head. We don't need additional insults and negative opinions -- confirmation of our weakness -- from folks who have never wanted to die and consider all suicidal thoughts self-absorbed and pathetic.
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