Bipolar Disorder & Violence: Is There a Relationship?

As long-time World of Psychology readers already know, a researcher has a lot of latitude in how they design a study to "encourage" a predetermined outcome. Researchers generally don't recognize this as an inherent bias problem, because virtually all researchers do it to one degree or another (or have done it at one time or another in their career).

The relationship between mental illness and violence is one area of contention among researchers, with most research showing only the smallest of correlations between the two. The real risk factor for violence remains -- and has always been -- substance abuse, not mental illness.

Recently it was suggested that those with bipolar disorder are at greater risk for committing violence. So we took a look at some of the research to see how good the studies are that suggest such a connection.

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True Story: How I Survived My Possessive, Abusive Relationship

Love doesn’t provoke you to sob in a corner. It doesn’t put a fist through your wall.

This article discusses my personal account of an incredibly serious matter. If you or anyone you know is a victim of domestic violence or abuse of any kind, I urge you to seek help. You may reach The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE. Don’t wait. This moment is your life, and your life matters.

Once there was a girl who floated through life feeling as though she had been drugged by sadness. She often wore a smile for others but underneath the mask was a sea of pain. One day her state of sadness gripped her in a most unyielding chokehold as she sat in her car in a busy parking lot, feeling as though she had become a prisoner to hopelessness. In that moment, it would have been a death sentence if she had attempted to drive.
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Busting the Lies About the ‘Myths’ About Mental Illness

I'm constantly dumbfounded by the lies and half-truths told by some who advocate on behalf of some people with mental illness. In an effort to lobby for their specific sub-group of people with mental illness, they spread ignorance and misconceptions about mental illness in general.

In a recent article one mental illness advocate wrote, he describes "myths" about mental illness that don't actually appear to be myths, but simple truths. That is, until they are twisted by arbitrary definitions, filters, cherry-picking of data, and exclusions to fit into this person's viewpoint.

Let's examine these supposed myths, and see whether the data support their view.

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Can Therapy Help for Self-Harm?

The problem of self-harm is growing, especially among teens and young adults. People engage in self-harm -- such as cutting, self-injury, or even self-poisoning -- for a wide variety of reasons. But the real question is how to help a person who is self-harming.

Self-harm also hurts the family, friends, and other people around the person who is engaging in the behavior. Friends and loved ones don't understand self-harm, and they don't understand what they can do to help. People who self-harm are themselves sometimes unable to express their reasons, or the kind of relief it brings to their emotional hurt and pain.

Psychotherapy has long been used to help people with mental illness and mental health issues. Can it help a person who self-harms?

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Mental Health Courts: Does Coercion Add Anything of Value to Treatment?

Mental health courts are America's sad, broken way of dealing with people who have mental illness -- who also happen to have committed a crime. Even something as small as a misdemeanor. I mean, what better way to treat a person's mental illness than to send them to a court tailored for their mental health needs?

The truth is that if a person is receiving adequate care in the community through the public mental health system, there'd likely be far fewer people who get involved in criminal justice system to begin with. People with mental illness get involved in the court system for a wide variety of reasons (psychosis, drugs, mania, etc.). Such involvement is usually just a side effect of a person who isn't getting any kind of decent treatment.

So do mental health courts work? Or could you offer the same services to people without the coercion and get similar results? The long-term data is in.

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Psychology Around the Net: April 16, 2016

Good morning (or afternoon, evening, or night?) lovely readers!

If you checked in with me last week, you know I was dreading a weekend of snow; well, Mother Nature smiled on my little neck of the woods and gave us a few inches only on Sunday.

All in all, not a raw deal.

Anyway, I'm probably working this weekend (boo!), but I have some great tips, resources, and other updates from the mental health community to share with you first. Read on to get the latest on tips for anger management, find out which of your seemingly harmless common daily habits could actually hurt your health, why sarcasm could be good for creative thinking, and more!

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Child Abuse Survivors, Victims Need You to Talk About It

How do you recover from childhood abuse? Is healing possible? Will the shame ever go away? Will I always struggle with depression or anxiety?

These are important questions as we enter April, National Child Abuse Prevention Month. While the answers to these questions are different for everyone, sharing our stories can inspire hope and help other survivors heal.
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” - Nelson Mandela
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The Myth of Negative Emotions

Emotions that provide us with unpleasant feelings have traditionally (and unfairly) been labelled “negative emotions.” People tend to want to avoid them, force them away, or silence them as soon as they emerge. They are the Rodney Dangerfield of emotions: they get no respect.

The truth is, there is no such thing as a negative emotion, since each emotion has its own role and purpose. In fact, in the book, The Upside of Your Dark Side, authors Todd Kashdan, Ph.D., and Robert Biswas-Diener argue that in order to attain happiness, one has to welcome every emotion (pleasant or unpleasant) and learn how to make the best of them. It is not the emotion that is problematic but rather the way we deal with them that can be. Instead of pushing these emotions away, we should learn to welcome and listen to the important messages these feelings are trying to communicate to us.
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