Anxiety and Panic

Psychology Around the Net: January 24, 2014

Ever wonder what makes you -- and keeps you -- a loyal customer? How about ways to strength train your brain? Oh, and speaking of your brain -- where does all that fear and anxiety come from, anyway?

We have it all and more in this week's Psychology Around the Net.

Fear Pinpoinited: Scientists Discover Exactly Where Anxiety Resides in the Brain: Tests on mice have helped New York's Cold Spring Harbour Laboratory researchers pinpoint the area, or "circuit," in the brain where "fearful memories and behavior" are controlled. Could this lead to new anxiety treatments?

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Every American Will Experience This in Their Lifetime — Or Know Someone Who Will

It's amazing to me how far we've come in talking about these things in the past few decades. Conversations I couldn't imagine people ever having with one another -- they're finally having them.

And yet for all the road we've traveled, we still have a long ways to go. We still need to be talking more about it. With our friends, our family, our loved ones.

This video is only 2 minutes long, yet tells the story that is so familiar to many of us. And if it's not something you'll experience directly, you'll definitely know someone who does.

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Video: Use iPhone Reminders For Positive, Location-Based Affirmations

They say technology can make us anxious.

All the beeping and buzzing. All the phantom vibrations. All the stress of having your entire work email inbox right in your pocket.

But we can't let anxiety win, can we? Surely there are ways to use new technologies to teach us to pause. To tell us everything's okay. To remind us that we can do this [insert scary thing here] because we are strong.

The iPhone's Reminders app -- a default app that comes with the operating system free of charge -- doesn't just allow you to create a to-do style checklist of tasks. This video tells you how you can use Reminders to do a whole lot more...

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Videos: Antidepressants — Not a Quick Fix

In a series of heartfelt videos compiled online by alongside research conducted by the University of Nottingham and Oxford University, 30 individuals share that antidepressant medications are not a ‘quick fix.'

Contrary to popular opinion, neither are they 'happy pills.'

The individuals discuss the impact of depression and antidepressant medications on their lives. They also talk about the emotional difficulties they faced with side effects and finding a prescription that finally helped them manage their depression.

They're worth checking out to hear of people's real-life experiences with one of the most commonly-prescribed classes of medications today.

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Anxiety and Panic

Video: Why Black & White Thinking Can Be So Hard To Kick

"Why do we park in a driveway, but drive on a parkway?" my third grade teacher, Mrs. O'Malley, once asked during an English lesson.

It's a question that stumped, amused, and bewildered me and my fellow nine-year-old classmates.

We furrowed our eyebrows, but couldn't answer the question. Was there an answer to this question? Was it a riddle? But wait, even if it were a riddle, can it be more than that? Where do words come from, anyway? And who gets to decide what they mean?

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Anxiety and Panic

Video: Five More Things You Shouldn’t Say to Someone Who Is Having A Panic Attack

If you’ve never had a panic attack before, you can only imagine what it feels like.

Of course, you’ve probably experienced the individual components of panic in isolation – you’ve most certainly felt your heart beat rapidly while exercising, right? And maybe you’ve dealt with vertigo before after a few drinks, or shortness of breath during spring allergy season.

But when severe anxiety starts piling each of these symptoms in a giant heap on your chest, coupled with frightening thoughts, an uncomfortable synergy is born: the whole of the panic is more than the sum of its parts.

And I should certainly know. After all, I’ve had panic disorder for about ten years now. I can’t even count how many bona fide panic attacks I’ve had in my life.

Some were tolerable; some were crippling. All of them were frightening.

So, what should you do if someone you know has a panic attack in front of you? How should you react? What should you say?
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Gamer Stereotypes Just Aren’t True

You know gamers... They're teenagers or young adults, slothful, lazy, without motivation and spend all of their time, well, gaming. They're also typically unattractive, probably fat, and are pale from spending so much time indoors playing video games.

Well, if this is your idea of someone who plays video games, unfortunately your idea is pretty much completely wrong. Sorry.

So says new research just published from German researchers who examined 2,550 actual video game players.

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“Siri, I Want To Kill Myself” Is Apple’s New Update Enough?

Apple recently announced that Siri, the personified electronic assistant that lives in your iPhone,  is now capable of responding to self-harm references. Now, instead of directing users to nearby bridges, she actually provides the phone number to suicide prevention hotline. From Apple Insider:
When the iOS digital assistant Siri is presented with a user that indicates he or she is considering suicide, the program will offer to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline [NSPL]. Before this most recent addition, Siri would show the locations of centers but not offer to call them.
I beg to differ on that last sentence -- last year, for the life of me, I couldn't get Siri to pull up any suicide prevention center locations.

But let's disregard that for now and focus on that first sentence. Apple has "taught" Siri how to respond to suicide-related questions and statements -- excellent. I'm honestly thrilled, and I commend Apple for their decision to work this feature into her electronic architecture.

Still, this new version of Siri needs some serious work. While she's great at handling requests that contain the trigger words/phrases like "suicide" and "kill myself", she's a dopey hunk of metal if you profess, in slang, the desire to end your life:
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Megan Landry & Her Incredible Anti-Bullying Video, Stronger

Despite recent attention -- and even jail sentences -- being handed out for teen bullying, it remains an all-too-common problem. School administrators and parents are often frustrated in trying to curb this behavior. It's insidious, underground, and few teens want to talk about it openly -- out of fear and stigma.

The fear is very real, because adults can't watch kids and teens every moment of every day. The possibility of repercussions -- such as even worse bullying -- for reporting bullying behavior reinforce the fear and cycle of bullying.

That's why it's so refreshing and gives us hope to have come across this video the other day by 16-year-old Canadian Megan Landry. Join over 105,000 others (as of this writing) who've already watched and give a view below.

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