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Animal Hoarding

People Who Hoard Animals in Psychiatric Times is one of scant few in-depth looks at the mental health issues behind animal hoarding. Once known as animal collecting and commonly stereotyped as the "crazy cat lady" (cats are most common but many animals are involved) research in recent years still yields no clear cause or diagnosis. Legislation in Illinois defines it with three components:

More than the typical number of companion animals
Inability to provide even minimal standards of nutrition, sanitation, shelter, and veterinary...
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Are People More Socially Isolated Now?

A few days ago, the headlines blared something akin to this Washington Post article:

Americans are far more socially isolated today than they were two decades ago, and a sharply growing number of people say they have no one in whom they can confide, according to a comprehensive new evaluation of the decline of social ties in the United States.

Naturally, the article goes into some detail about how sad it is that according to this survey, Americans are all alone in the world....
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Are people really born gay? To what degree can we 'choose' our sexuality? Research that's been carried out into the biological basis of sexuality recently hit the headlines. What role does hormone exposure in the womb really play? Can homosexuality be adaptive from an...
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Celebrities With Eating Disorders

Will mentioned earlier in this blog that he's always on the lookout for famous people coping with mental disorders. They can be inspirational - but in some cases, negatively so.

"Thinspiration" images used in eating disorders are popular with the pro-ana movement and often feature celebrities. Mary-Kate Olsen, Lindsay Lohan, and even the first celebrity eating disorder in the news, Karen Carpenter, are viewed as role models. Idolized. Glamorous photos of very thin bodies presented as the height of beauty are traded in...
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Katharine McPhee and Bulimia

I'm always on the lookout for famous people that disclose they have some sort of mental disorder in hopes that this person can become a model of success for others struggling with the condition. Recently, baseball player Adam LaRoche of the Atlanta Braves disclosed he had ADHD that affected his play on the field (although nothing happened after that initial story). Yesterday I read that American Idol runner-up Katharine McPhee struggled with bulimia. McPhee said that after she was selected for the show...
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Structured Activities & Kids

NPR had a great piece last week on the increase in structured activities and planned time for children (listen here). This generally is seen as a departure from days when children would have many hours a day to do whatever they wished from running around the backyard to organizing a game of tag. Some folks are concerned about this trend and believe that it is a fundamental change to childhood that produces some undesirable effects such as a decreased ability to organize events...
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Psychologist Prescription Privileges

The June issue of the APA Monitor had a piece on the legislation in Hawaii trying to get prescription privileges for psychologists. In some states there are shortages of psychiatrists creating a deficit of services. One of the proposed solutions is to allow psychologists to receive extensive training to prescribe a limited amount of medication for mental disorders. However, groups representing psychiatrists have consistently advocated against these types of bills, and like in Hawaii, have been quite successful. Their arguments have been...
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World Science reports Ego traps us in costly, losing battles, study finds.

An advance review of an article in the July issue of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, egotism is defined here by psychologists Roy Baumeister and Liqing Zhang as "the motivation to maintain and enhance favorable views of self." Study participants risked more when ego was at stake in games of chance, reluctant to be portrayed as a failure.

The ego threats varied by experiment. In two setups, including the...
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Insecure Attachment & Eating Disorders

A story via Reuters reported on some new research that found a relationship between attachment style and risk for eating disorders. Essentially, folks with an insecure attachment style were more prone to low self-esteem and body image issues, which in turn can lead to eating disorders. This isn't really surprising since insecure attachments have been implicated in a huge spectrum of negative psychological issues. However, attachment researchers are still waiting for their missing link (a study that can demonstrate a causal relationship between...
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Diabetes Risk Increased

From the New York Times: In Diabetes, One More Burden for the Mentally Ill focuses on the link between increasing rates of diabetes (as high as 20%) in people with some mental illnesses following the widespread adoption of atypical antipsychotic drugs such as olanzapine (Zyprexa), clozapine (Clozaril) and risperidone (Risperidal).

This isn't new news, however. In 2004, the American Diabetes Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, and the North American Association for the Study of Obesity raised...
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