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Brain and Behavior

The Internet Addiction Myth: 2009 Update

Two research articles were recently published that shed more light on the so-called "Internet addiction", a concept we've long lampooned here due to its continuing lack of scientific validity.

The first study (Dowling & Quirk, 2008) looked at one of the common measures of "Internet addiction," used by nearly all researchers who've examined this phenomenon -- the Young Diagnostic Questionnaire (developed by the originator of the...
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Lancet Study Ignores Significance of Side Effects

A new meta-analysis study was published today in the journal Lancet which showed that two antidepressant drugs -- Lexapro (escitalopram) and Zoloft (sertraline) -- were more effective than their psychiatric peers. Remeron and Effexor fared better, too, than the other drugs included in the analysis, such as Prozac, Cymbalta, Luvox and Paxil.

The study looked at two components important to treatment -- efficacy (how much does this drug actually...
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Mood Swings Are Exhausting

Mood swings are a part of life with some mood disorders like bipolar disorder and cyclothymia. Moods go to extremes, either really happy and energetic or really low and depressed. This is a tough way to live because it takes so much energy. Here's one way to imagine what it's like to physically experience extreme mood swings.

I really like college football, and I'm especially passionate about my home state alma mater team. I love watching the games,...
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Five Technological Advancements to Boost Your Mental Health

Midweek Mental Greening

I wrote an article at Celebrity Psychings yesterday musing on the effects advanced technology has on our mental health. The article was a culmination of two things: Watching the MTV interview in which Billy Bob Thornton reveals he has agoraphobia and stumbling across an opinion piece in an online version of St. Cloud State University’s newspaper.

The entire post basically deals with how advanced technology is allowing us...
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Brain and Behavior

7 Ways to Cope with a Layoff

When the economy -- or a company's business -- goes south, the quickest way a company can chop its costs is by laying off its employees. It's never popular and often companies will try other cost-cutting measures long before they have to cut workers, but if you're among those who get the pink slip, you don't really care. You just lost your job.

For many, being...
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Video: My Self-Esteem File

I’ve mentioned my self-esteem file in previous posts. Of all my weapons employed in the war against negative thinking, this simple exercise is among the most effective and easiest.

So start one. Now.

Follow these directions:

1) Get a folder (this might require driving to Rite Aid), and write the words “self-esteem file” on the front.

2) E-mail or call four of your closest friends. Say this: "As you may or may not be aware of, I need some affirmations. Lots of them. Because there is a voice inside of me that is constantly telling me that I am a worthless piece of animal waste. I’d like to believe otherwise. That’s where your job comes in. Could you PLEASE list ten positive qualities about me? Why are you my friend? (If you are extremely wealthy or famous, skip that one) Why do you return my calls? (If they don’t, skip that one) What would you say at my funeral (but reassure them that you have no plans of dying right now)? You see, I am starting a self-esteem file, and I’d love for your positive words to be among the first (of the millions of letters that will follow). If you have any. Which I’m sure you must. Right? THANKS SO MUCH."

3) When you receive them, put them in your file.

4) If a week has gone by and you have not received your ten positive qualities, do two things: pester your lazy so-called friends that you initially asked to do this for you, and find four more responsible and empathetic friends to do it. Repeat number 2.

5) Whenever anything (ANYTHING) positive is directed towards you ("Your nose is an interesting shape"), include it in your folder. If it’s a verbal compliment, write that baby down on scrap paper and throw it into the file. Take notes and quote verbatim like you are a reporter for the "New York Times." (Note: You will become somewhat of an information hoarder, or clutter magnet like I am, but you’ll be a happier hoarder than you would have without all the scrap paper and Stick-Its on your desk reminding you that some people like you.)

Your self-esteem file may stay thin for a year or two. Like mine. But you’ll be amazed at how quickly it thickens and grows and balloons and swells and gets bigger. Before long, it will become the top item that you grab if your house catches on fire.

Click through to view the video...

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Minding the Media: The Latest Round of Photoshopped Celebs

We’ve already explored the age-old practice of altering the images of famous figures — with everyone from President Lincoln to Faith Hill (see here). Today we take another look at the latest airbrushing fakery of celebrity photographs.

Even though we’re well aware that all photos in Hollywood are altered, it still doesn’t lessen the blow: We can begin to feel bad about ourselves or aspire to these images. What’s interesting is that well before wand meets image, these celebs spend hours in hair...
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