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Andrea Yates Verdict Change

I wrote at the beginning of the Andrea Yates retrial about the public opinion shift on mental health that defense attorneys were banking on to get her prison sentence overturned. Wednesday she was found guilty by reason of insanity, and the discussion has continued about whether people overall have become more sympathetic to those with mental illness that commit crimes. One high-profile trail being overturned does not seem like a large enough sample size to draw this conclusion, but I certainly...
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Mental Health Consumerism = Antipsychiatry?

As I'm going through the past few months of accumulated email (yes, it's been that kind of summer!), I ran across a submission about a month ago pointing me to a blog entry over at The Trouble with Spikol (also mentioned in a recent blog entry by one of my co-bloggers).

It's a great entry that rips into a Psychiatric Services article, published by the American Psychiatry Association. You'd think that the peer review process might have found some of the...
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Study suggests TV watching lowers physical activity

Study suggests TV watching lowers physical activity

Not surprising to any American, when you watch TV, you aren't as active and the more you watch, the less active you become. I honestly thought this was common knowledge, but apparently we needed to confirm this in research to ensure our perception in this area was actually true. Glad to see taxpayer money (the study was partially funded by the National Cancer Institute) put to good use.


Going forward, "we need to do a better job of...
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Rollercoaster Ride for Bipolar Awareness

Via The Trouble With Spikol (great mental health blog!):

Hungarian mental health stakeholders from the group Sötét Nappalok, Fényes Éjszakák Egyesület (Darkest Days, Brightest Nights Society) are raising bipolar disorder public awareness by riding a rollercoaster for 10 days straight. When they finish on July 28 they'll have broken a world record as well as brought international attention to the much-misunderstood illness. Rollercoaster rides of depression and hypo/mania, cycling over and over; a good metaphor for the illness as well as a way...
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Tableware Size & Obesity

The number of factors implicated in the growing obestity problem in the United States seems to have no limit. Air conditioning and lack of sleep are the newest buzz areas of concern, and a recent study just found that using larger tableware (bowls, plates, etc) can increase the portion size people serve themselves. This could then lead to the person eating more, taking in more calories than he/she uses. The obvious large items in the obesity equation are food consumption (amount and type)...
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Learning and the Multitasking Generation

AP had a story Monday about how being distracted can lower the quality of learned information. They discuss how watching TV while you study is a bad idea. This topic is becomming more widely discussed with the emergence of the "multitasking generation". Many folks are concerned that kids are growing up in a fast paced technological society where they are simultaneously listening to music, watching TV, writing email, chatting online, talking on a cell phone, and studying for the biology exam. The piece...
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Surgical Treatment for Anxiety Disorders

There have been more frequent stories of late about neurosurgical procedures for various mental disorders. The most written about appears to be deep brain stimulation for depression, which is an emerging option for people with the most life-threatening and chronic depression. A surgical procedure for anxiety disorders has also been developed, although the procedure is many years from being performed frequently due to serious risk of side effects. Essentially, the procedure cuts several neural pathways in the inner brain as a...
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Is The Pursuit of Happiness Futile?

A challenging new book by psychoanalyst Adam Phillips, Going Sane, criticizes the many products, therapies and lifestyle enhancements peddled to consumers as the means to happiness. Even CBT, he argues, is simply the latest psychotherapy fad. Is the promise of bliss not only unrealistic, but unattainable? From an interview in The Guardian:

"The cultural demand now is be happy, or enjoy yourself, or succeed. You have to sacrifice your unhappiness and your critique of the values you're supposed to be taking on. You're...
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Innovations

The Design for Our Future Selves awards 2006 from the Royal College of Art offered seven awards for ‘An architecture, design or communication project which addresses a social issue or engages with a particular social group in order to improve independence, mobility, health or working life.’

Christopher Peacock won the Snowdon Award for Disability Projects and the Help the Aged Award for Independent Living with his invention handSteady. It's an innovative device enabling people experiencing tremor (involuntary shaking caused by Parkinson's...
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CBT May Help Prevent Depression Relapse

The Anxiety, Addiction and Depression Treatments blog highlights another study indicating the benefits of psychotherapy (CBT) with antidepressants:

In the field, it is virtually impossible to prevent those who are recovering from depression from encountering sad mood provocation. We never know what may be waiting for us around the next corner. But what this new information does remind us of is the importance of therapy in the depression treatment process.

Read...
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