Brain and Behavior

7 Ways for Those with Dysthymia to Get the Day off to a Good Start

I’m a deep thinker, a creative type -- and a dysthymic. As in: a person with dysthymia, officially known as Persistent Depressive Disorder, characterized by feeling “down” on a regular basis without reaching the level of near-total impairment associated with major depressive disorder.

The sense of depression is at its worst when I have little immediate “busyness” to occupy my mind.

Often the hardest part of the day is starting it: that is, getting out of bed in the morning. If you have a similar problem, the following strategies help:
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Depression

4 Proven Ways to Uplift Your Mood

It is not uncommon for people from all walks of life to feel sad or lonely at times. Everyone at one time or another will have the blues, but you may have depression. Depression is a medical condition that requires help and is much more serious than being in a slump.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that 350 million people worldwide suffer from some form of clinical depression. It’s far more common in women than in men, and children also are affected by it.

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Anxiety and Panic

Psychology Around the Net: November 22, 2014


This week's Psychology Around the Net is jampacked with everything (OK, some things!) you need to know about sleep habits, disclosing mental illness in the workplace, trying to achieve happiness, and more.

There's More to Sleep Cycles Than Being a Morning or Night Person: "In a small study being published in Personality and Individual Difference, research from the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences found that in addition to the traditional night owl or lark, people tend to have different energetic times of the day that might counter their sleep patterns."

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Brain and Behavior

Riding Out the Blips

Living with schizophrenia is like driving across the country. There are meandering fields and prairies of months when you’re well that almost make you forget you have an illness. Then you come into the mountains and the roads get curvy and steep and the weather gets unpredictable. One minute you could be fine, then the next it’s snowing and you can’t see 10 feet in front of you.

I’ve coined a term for driving through the mountains of mental illness. I call these periods "blips." It’s important to be able to recognize these blips before you find yourself in the hospital again.
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Brain and Behavior

How a Schedule Can Help You Sleep Better

The fancy digital, pedometer-bracelet thingy around my wrist tells me I slept six hours and 25 minutes with four interruptions. As I struggle to awake, my body can tell you, that isn’t nearly enough.

An estimated 70 million Americans are sleep-deprived, according to the National Sleep Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many nights, I am among them.

Aside from the
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Addiction

Psychology Around the Net: October 18, 2014


Suffer from insomnia? Ever feel you might be addicted to the Internet? Interested in seeing what a schizophrenia episode actually looks like? We have it all and more in this week's Psychology Around the Net.

Hip-Hop Therapy Is New Route to Mental Wellbeing, Says Psychiatrists: According to researchers in the U.K., hip-hop music might be a viable mental health treatment for illnesses such as depression and schizophrenia. How? By providing people with a sense of empowerment and self-knowledge.

Man With Schizophrenia Records Episode to Give Glimpse Into Life With the Disorder: Social media has made it easier to share experiences with mental illness, and Scottie Long is just one patient to do so. Long documents his schizophrenia episodes via YouTube and sends a clear message: When treating mental illness, sooner is always better.

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Anxiety and Panic

You Can’t Force Things

It’s been tough getting to sleep the last few nights.

I’ll go to bed and turn off the light and then the thoughts start pouring in. I’ll worry that I didn’t do the right thing in any number of situations during the day. I’ll worry about the work I have to do the next day. I’ll worry that no matter what I do, I’ll never be closer to my dream of buying a house in the mountains.

It occurred to me last night while I was lying there, though, that you can’t force sleep. If you try to fall asleep and see that you’re not, that’s just one more thing to worry about. The sleep will come; it always does. There’s no point in trying to force it to happen.
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Brain and Behavior

Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder: Do You Have an Abnormal Sleep Pattern?

I was always bad at sleeping. My mom still talks of nightmarish times trying to get me to sleep as a baby and toddler. As a child, I kept a flashlight and a book on my nightstand so I could stay up after lights-out to read. As I grew, this trend continued.

I’m never tired at a “normal” bedtime. In fact, late nights are when I do some of my best writing. I am, however, exhausted in the morning.

I spent years trying to fit the mold, and always just figured I was a night owl until I finally heard about circadian rhythm sleep disorders.

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Brain and Behavior

What to Do About Seasonal Affective Disorder

For me it comes on in the fall. I don’t really know why. I much prefer the cooler, grayer weather to the hard sun of summer. But around September of every year I start to feel the weight of the world.

It’s not so much depression as it just a general feeling of being fed up with everything, of not wanting to deal with the frivolous and not seeing the point in the day-to-day stuff I have to do.
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Brain and Behavior

Sleep and Light Exposure

The information and research findings on sleep are coming fast and furious these days. There seems to be a backlash to the cult of productivity and the former “badge of honor” for functioning on the least amount of sleep. There is a recurrent theme, which is that by not making restorative sleep a priority, there are both short-term and longer term negative consequences.

The negative impact of too much artificial light has become increasingly more relevant, as many of us are using multiple light-emitting devices right up until when our head hits the pillow. If you are interested in the optimal functioning of the human organism, it’s time to evaluate your sleep quantity, quality, and routine, as well as your exposure to both natural and artificial light.
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Addiction

Psychology Around the Net: September 13, 2014


What happens when you and your partner are on different sleep-wake schedules? Do you experience anxiety when waiting on a text reply? What about social media -- how is it affecting both your brain and your body? Find out within this week's Psychology Around the Net.

Couples on Different Sleep Schedules Can Expect Conflict -- and Adapt: If "[e]xperts think couples tend to have more stable sleep-wake routines and help co-regulate each other," what happens when the two have sleep-wake schedules completely out of whack with one another?

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