World of Psychology

Brain and Behavior

Saving Lives, One Page at a Time

At the International Conference on the Use of the Internet in Mental Health in Montreal earlier this month, I discussed how far we've come in 15 years of mental health online. But for all my discussion about social networking websites like and Twitter, one of the slides sticks with me.

It's the slide on " Read this first," a single, static webpage that's been online since 1995 and written by Martha Ainsworth. Its purpose...

How Do You Cure Mental Illness?

One of the challenges faced by people who have a mental illness -- such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or ADHD or the like -- is that not too many people will talk to you about "curing" the condition. (Except snake-oil salesmen, who will claim they can cure your bipolar disorder with their amazing technique or CD.) In fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find a professional who talks openly about "cures" for mental illness.

For instance, Pete...

Peter Ashenden On the DBSA, Blueprint for Hope, and Passion

“We’ve been there. We know what it’s like.”

DBSA President Peter Ashenden on one of the organization’s most crucial weapons for combating mental health stigma and misinformation.

In addition to currently serving as the president of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), Peter Ashenden is a dynamic keynote speaker, a member of several mental health boards and committees, and acted as both a commissioner of the Certification Commission of the United States Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association (USPRA) and the executive director for the Mental Health Empowerment Project (MHEP).

Simply put, Ashenden is quite the force to be reckoned with in the mental health education and advocacy world and, as cliché as it sounds, I pretty much felt like I was in the presence of greatness when I was able to speak with him last month about the DBSA’s involvement with Blueprint for Hope, the recently launched campaign the DBSA, ABC’s Paige Hemmis, and the University of Louisville’s Dr. Jesse H. Wright hope will help people develop their own “blueprints” for treating and managing depression.


Grappling With Addiction

Felicia Sullivan is a self-described "author, foodie, rockstar" and she writes regularly on a wide variety of topics, including grappling with alcoholism after growing up with a cocaine-addicted mother. But her recent entry about addiction was moving and is worth the full read:

The urge to self-medicate and live a life anesthetized was that great. It consumes you, swallows you whole. And while I didn’t need to go back to therapy, I just wanted someone to...

Do Antidepressants Dull Your Emotions? An Interview with Ron Pies, M.D.

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing one of my favorite psychiatrists, Dr. Ron Pies. Dr. Pies is Professor of Psychiatry and Lecturer on Bioethics and Humanities at SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse NY; and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston. He is the author of "Everything Has Two Handles: The Stoic's Guide to the Art of Living" and has been a past contributor to the World of Psychology...
Brain and Behavior

Surprise! TV Violence Isn’t Portrayed Accurately

Did you know that television, much like books before it, is often about fictional characters engaging in make-believe stories (called "plots")? And that some of those fictional dramas don't actually portray real life accurately?

Apparently these astonishing insights were not known to a few researchers at the Mayo Clinic, who decided to look at the portrayal of violent crime on CSI and CSI:Miami because they believe they would be good examples:

Timothy Lineberry,...
Brain and Behavior

Avatar Customization Increases Feelings of Presence

Although it may be pretty obvious that allowing a user to customize their avatar would lead them to enjoy whatever service they're using, new research confirms this conventional wisdom for children as well. (An avatar is simply a graphical representation of a person in a virtual or other online environment.)

In a small study of 30 children ages 10 to 12, researchers found evidence to support their hypothesis that avatar customization (as...

Online Treatment for Depression: Deprexis

Online treatment for mental disorders is not exactly a new idea. The Australian National University's Centre for Mental Health Research released MoodGYM five years ago, with multiple studies supporting its effectiveness and validity. One of their studies even suggests that the positive effects of completing the MoodGYM program continue for up to 12 months. This is good stuff.

But under the "more is better" heading, a group of German researchers developed their own online coping with depression program called Deprexis. Like MoodGYM, participants complete...