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Antidepressant Prescription Increase for Kids

According to the BBC, the rates of antidepressant prescriptions for children under the age of 16 has quadrupled over the past 10 years. The article also notes that this has not corresponded with an increase in psychological problems for people in that age group. Some politicians are not seeing this as a positive thing.
The drug figures were obtained by David Laws, the Liberal Democrat shadow children's secretary.

He said: "I think it is a major concern that drugs seem to be prescribed so easily...
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Bipolar Disorder Shrinks The Brain?

Research in the UK covered by the BBC has found that people suffering from bipolar disorder have a progressive loss of gray matter in their brains and are at risk for losing some functioning. The authors said they could not conclude whether the loss of tissue was the cause or a consequence of the disorder:
"It may be that repeated episodes of illness harm the brain and lead to the decline," he said.

"Another possibility is that the brain changes are caused by stress or...
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Gaining Weight? Blame Your Friends

Probably not surprising to anyone who's ever grappled with weight issues is this week's finding from the New England Journal of Medicine that obesity spreads through our social connections, especially those of close friends. The researchers note:

A person's chances of becoming obese increased by 57% if he or she had a friend who became obese in a given interval.

Among pairs of adult siblings, if one sibling became obese, the chance that the other would become obese increased by 40%.

If one spouse...
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Side-Effect of Anti-Smoking Ads

According to a study out of the University of Georgia, there is a not-so-good side-effect of ads aimed at stopping kids from smoking: they may actually encourage smoking. It turns out that the campaigns may actually strike a chord a cross-section of youth, and provide a clear way that kids can rebel.

Paek said the data showed middle school students are more likely to be influenced by the perception of what their friends are doing, and that anti-smoking campaigns should be more...
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Family, Genes, & Divorce

A study covered by the CBC provides one of the ultimate "no-brainer" type research findings in recent memory: the drive to divorce has more to do with your family environment in childhood than your genetic makeup. Shocking to everyone reading this post I'm sure.

I think it is worth highlighting just how intensely people are studying genetic explanations for pretty much every possible human behavior, thought, or characteristic. While this may offer a new glimpse into some influences to our lives, we must...
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Equal Coverage for Mental Health

My colleague Russ Newman over at the American Psychological Association,
wrote this excellent op-ed piece for yesterday's Boston Globe.

It's an issue many, many people have been banging on for well over a decade (and some have been working on this issue far longer) -- equal care and treatment for mental health issues as people receive for health issues.

We shouldn't even be talking about this as a serious issue here in 2007, and yet, our lawmakers have yet to act. Virtually anyone...
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Albert Ellis, Dead at 93

We're sorry to report, but Albert Ellis died today at age 93 of natural causes. Albert Ellis was the founder of the groundbreaking and sometimes controversial rational emotive behavior therapy approach, which thumbed its nose at traditional psychoanalysis for a more direct approach to changing one's unwanted thoughts and feelings.

Albert Ellis could be called quite the workaholic, basically never fully retiring and being a tireless advocate and active teacher for his psychotherapeutic approach. He was one of the better known personalities and...
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Art Wanted

Scotland's Project Ability is calling for submissions to Mental Image: An International Open Art Exhibition Exploring Mental Health. Artists from all over the world may submit art in any medium "that reflects their ideas and feelings on mental health, either from a perspective of wellbeing or of illness." Submissions will be accepted after July 30 and juried in September, and officially launched as part of Mental Illness Awareness Week in October.

Art is widely accepted as a cathartic therapy, while heightened...
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