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OCD and Computational Psychiatry

There is a relatively new field of research known as computational psychiatry, which focuses on the development of mathematical models to better understand defects in the brain -- defects that lead to adverse behaviors.

A new study published in the journal Neuron discusses findings from this type of research into the fundamental processes of OCD. Senior author Benedetto De Martino says:
"Medicine today is very much about decoding the mechanisms in the body. When we are talking about something like a heart valve, that's a mechanical part that can be clearly understood. But the brain is a computational device that has no mechanical parts, so we need to develop mathematical tools to understand what happens when something goes wrong with a brain computation and generates a disease. This study shows that the actions of people with OCD often don’t take into account what they’ve already learned.”
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Top 25 Psychiatric Medications for 2016

Most people understand that the role of psychiatric medications is to help alleviate the symptoms associated with different types of mental disorders, such as depression, bipolar disorder, ADHD, schizophrenia, anxiety, and others. Psychiatric medications are an important part of a comprehensive plan for effectively treating people who have a mental health concern or mental illness.

It's good to know what drugs are being prescribed most often for mental disorders in the U.S. These are the top 25 psychiatric medications by number of U.S. prescriptions dispensed in 2016, according to QuintilesIMS, a global information and technology services company.

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OCD Awareness Week 2017

The 9th-annual OCD Awareness Week begins today.

It always takes place during the second week in October with the purpose of raising awareness and understanding of OCD and related disorders, as well as the appropriate treatment. Many people with obsessive-compulsive disorder know that finding the right help is often one of the toughest battles in the fight against OCD.

Some estimates say it can take as long as 14-17 years from the onset of symptoms to get a correct diagnosis and treatment. Though my family didn't realize it at the time, my son was one of the lucky ones -- it took about two years after his diagnosis to get him the right help.

While that's "not bad" in terms of OCD treatment, it is still much too long. It should have taken days, maybe weeks, but certainly not two years.
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OCD & Exhaustion

When my son Dan’s obsessive-compulsive disorder was severe, he was always exhausted. At first, I attributed his lack of energy to the fact that he rarely slept well. But it soon became obvious, even when sleeping was not an issue, that he always felt tired.


I think there are many reasons why those with obsessive-compulsive disorder are often exhausted. Living with nonstop anxiety can be draining. Many people with OCD are also depressed, and depression and lack of energy often go hand in hand. Additionally, some medications used to treat OCD are known to cause fatigue.
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Deliberately Untruthful: Normal vs. Abnormal Lying

Everyone lies at some point. When children reach 2-3 years old, they can understand the rules set in place by parents. They can also break them. When children become teenagers, the art of deception often increases. Usually, this stage of lying is normal. Abnormal lying occurs when the reasons for the lies change.

These two scenarios demonstrate normal lying versus compulsive and pathological lying:

Mark enjoyed his job even though it was stressful. He worked six days a week and although his wife had voiced her concern about a lack of quality time together, he continued to work long hours. Every year, despite the workload, Mark planned an extravagant vacation-weekend for their anniversary.
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OCD and Shopping Anxiety

By the time my son Dan entered a residential treatment center for OCD, he was barely functioning. Using exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy he tackled his hierarchy (a list of anxiety-provoking situations created by the person with OCD), and slowly but surely regained his life.

During his stay, one of his exposures was to go on shopping trips and make purchases. All types of shopping proved difficult for him -- buying groceries and necessities, clothing, etc. But the more expensive purchases, particularly if they were for himself, seemed to be the most stressful.

But he did it. And he felt the overwhelming anxiety. And he refrained from doing compulsions. Over and over again until shopping was no longer an issue for him.
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Can Anxiety and Panic Disorder Cause Depression if Left Untreated?

Mental health problems are infamously complicated. Although psychologists have a successful guidebook to identify and diagnose mental illness, those manuals are merely suggestions for treatment -- and can't predict exactly how you experience your psychological and emotional well-being. With that in mind, some people experience multiple forms of mental health disorders, often in various degrees. If somebody has several mental health conditions, it's known as "comorbidity," and anxiety and depression are the two most related diagnoses.

What Is Anxiety?
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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

Medical Marijuana for Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety & Mental Illness: Can It Help?

The usefulness of medical marijuana for the treatment of mental illness and disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and schizophrenia is an open question today. There have been only a few really good studies on this issue, and their findings are decidedly mixed.

So let's dive into the question and see if medical marijuana can help the symptoms of mental illness, or is it more likely to cause harm?

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Podcast: How Has Mental Health Advocacy Changed?

In this episode of the Psych Central Show, hosts Gabe Howard and Vincent M. Wales welcome Andy Behrman, veteran mental health speaker, writer, and advocate who is the author of Electroboy: A Memoir of Mania. Andy shares his views on how mental health advocacy has changed over the past fifteen years and the ways in which our views of stigma have evolved. He also shares the story of his interview with noted actor and bipolar advocate Stephen Fry, his ideas on how to help fund advocacy groups, and his experiences with electroconvulsive therapy and memory loss. And, yes, he tells us how he got the nickname of "Electroboy." 
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Anxiety and Panic

How We Inadvertently Increase Mental Health Stigma

Even if we see ourselves as advocates for increasing acceptance and understanding of people dealing with mental health issues, most of us are probably unconsciously contributing to mental health stigma.

We talk about being “depressed” on gloomy days, or “OCD” about the cleanliness of our homes. We remark that our friend has “PTSD” from a bad work week, or is “paranoid” about germs.

Most of us are guilty of having spoken these terms and phrases in everyday conversation. If not, then we've definitely heard others use them colloquially. We aren’t being literal, and there’s no real harm, right? Wrong -- and the damage we are doing is probably much more significant than we realize.
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