World of Psychology

Crime, Consequences and Mental Illness

Sometimes you wake up feeling refreshed from a good night's rest. Other days you wake up feeling a little groggy and less put together.

I can only hypothesize that the latter occurred when the author wrote this post in response to our post pointing out the flaws of associating violence with mental illness based upon the CATIE data.

One of the biggest problems with the violence study done on the CATIE data, which I didn't explictly mention in my prior post (but which...

Violence and Mental Illness: Simplifying Complex Data Relationships

The blog depression introspection has an entry about this unfortunate post by the Treatment Advocacy Center, an advocacy organization that basically wants to paint some serious mental disorders as medical illnesses and demonize them (in order to increase access to medical treatments for them, yeah, that makes a lot of sense to us too).

When people make outrageous statements like this one,

The CATIE violence study found that patients with schizophrenia were 10 times more likely to engage in violent behavior than the...

Sensationalizing Murder and Mental Health

As predicted, the media is now making some very generalized and meaningless connections between Cho's hospitalization 16 months ago in 2005, and his actions on Monday. The Los Angeles Times leads the charge,

Weary with grief and struggling to explain their failure to monitor Seung-hui Cho upon his release from a mental hospital 16 months ago, the leaders of Virginia Tech sought Thursday to begin the healing process for their shattered university.

"Failure to monitor?" Since when is it a university's responsibility to...

Virginia Tech Shooting Questions Loom

Another sad school shooting has occurred (New York Times), this time at Virginia Tech, and with it, millions of Americans will ask the simple question, "Why?" Why do people want to kill so many others? Why do they get away with it? Why can't we do more to stop such tragedies?

But as I've pointed out previously here and here (just 3 months ago),

The sad truth is that no amount of analysis of a person’s possible [illness or motivations] explains criminal...

If Everyone Does It, Is It Abuse?

In a recent article on Internet addiction, I will give David Greenfield the benefit of the doubt when quoted in this article over the weekend where he states,

“It’s almost impossible to self-limit and monitor your Internet use,” says Greenfield. “Almost everybody abuses the Internet, even if they’re not addicted. Even I do.”

Honestly, if everyone is engaging in a behavior, it's neither addiction nor abuse, by very definition. It's "normal." Unless you're the morality police or something, when someone chooses to spend...

Lighting the Way

Reader Phil left this comment on my earlier post Light and Dark, in response to Hank Roberts who's been sharing valuable info, like a link to the Center for Environmental Therapeutics on light therapy and negative ions for depression. Phil's comment:

This DESPERATELY needs to be more widely talked about, and tried. I followed Hank’s directions- and for the first time in 15 years, I am able to sleep without medication. Do you understand how astonishing that is?

What happened 15 years...

The Infancy of Brain Studies

In a recent CNN article:
Are Humans Hard-Wired for Faith?

After noting that similar areas of the brain 'light up' during contemplative or prayer activity, the researcher goes (as is common with brain scan studies) a bit too far:

"Newberg calls religion the great equalizer and points out that similar areas of the brain are affected during prayer and meditation. Newberg suggests that these brain scans may provide proof that our brains are built to believe in God. He says there may be universal features of...


This New York Times article, entitled
Many Diagnoses of Depression May Be Misguided, Study Says

brings up a valid point about diagnosis. As I've said before, since we base "diagnosis" in the mental health field on self reports from clients, often checking off boxes on a form, the term "diagnosis" is misleading. In the medical field, the word generally has some physical, empirical basis. An observable bacteria, a lesion, specific physical symptoms. Of course we even misuse the term "empirical" in the field...

Is it okay to treat mental health patients like unruly cows?

Apparently aversive conditioning techniques are still used in some states, including Illinois, where a couple uses a cattle prod device to handle the violent outbursts of their 48-year-old Autistic son. In an article posted on , titled “Shock Treatment Sought for Autistic Man”, the man’s mother says the shock is no more painful then that of a bee sting and she uses it to stop her son from hurting himself. Apparently, the group home which housed the autistic man was...