In Praise of Patience as a Prescription for Trauma

For Aeon, Samira Thomas writes that while resilience is attracting a lot of attention from psychology, patience in an underexplored and undervalued virtue in the face of suffering. “Unlike resilience, which implies returning to an original shape, patience suggests change and allows the possibility of transformation as a means of overcoming difficulties,” she writes. “It is a simultaneous act of defiance and tenderness, a complex existence that gently breaks barriers.”

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“A Community Faces the Mental Health Impact of Climate Change”

“In Nunatsiavut, climate change is already a terrible reality, and it’s taking a heavy toll on mental health,” Ellie Robins reports for the influence. “In Nunatsiavut, land is once again being taken from communities that have lived on it for thousands of years. This time, it’s not being snatched by colonialists. Instead, it’s changing, disappearing, possibly becoming uninhabitable as a result of the behaviors of other, richer people, elsewhere.”

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Are DNA Changes the Link Between Poverty and Mental Illness?

Researchers at Duke University who studied 183 adolescents for three years found that increased depression associated with poverty may be mediated by epigenetic changes in DNA. The researchers conclude: "These initial results suggest a specibiological mechanism through which adversity contributes to altered brain function, which in turn moderates the emergence of general liability as individual risk for mental illness. If replicated, this prospective pathway may represent a novel target biomarker for intervention and prevention among high-risk individuals."

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Mindfulness Therapy May Be More Effective Without Antidepressants

While an estimated 74-percent of patients diagnosed with major depression receive a prescription for an antidepressant, new research reveals that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) may be most helpful when drugs are not used. The study, published in the current issue of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, found that the participants in a randomized control trial for MBCT who showed the greatest improvement were those who had not taken antidepressants.

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“New Course on ‘Making Sense’ of Trauma, Creating a Coherent Narrative”

PsychAlive is releasing a new blog and e-course on “Making Sense of Your Life,” with psychologists Lisa Firestone and Dan Siegel. They draw upon the latest neurobiological research, attachment theory and clinical experience to guide participants through the process of creating a coherent narrative around past traumas.

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Study Finds Racial Differences in Psychiatric Diagnosis and Treatment

According to a recent study published in the journal Psychiatric Services, black patients are almost twice as likely as their white counterparts to be diagnosed with schizophrenia, while white patients are significantly more likely to receive a diagnosis of anxiety or depression. The researchers also found that the likelihood of receiving psychotherapy for any diagnosis (34%), regardless of race or ethnicity, was much lower than the probability of receiving a psychotropic medication (73%).

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“The Hidden Harms of Antidepressants”

In a new article for Scientific American, Diana Kwon reports on how the true risks for suicide and aggression in children and teens taking antidepressants have been suppressed by drug companies. “Taken together with other research—including studies that suggest antidepressants are only marginally better than placebos—some experts say it is time to reevaluate the widespread use of these drugs.”

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“Is Depression an Illness? Or Part of the Human Condition?”

Psychotherapist Chantal Marie Gagnon voices her frustration with social media posts and stigma reduction ads that perpetuate the belief that all mental health issues are biological in origin. “I saw a pin on Pinterest recently that read, ‘Depression is an Illness, not a Choice,’ and it made me angry,” she begins.

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BPS Hosts ‘Beyond Psychiatric Diagnosis’ Legal Event

The British Psychological Society (BPS) is hosting a free event aimed at the legal community and politicians on the controversy around the use of psychiatric diagnoses. “The limits and scientific legitimacy of the use of psychiatric diagnosis in mental health services is being openly debated and there is growing recognition of the need for improvement and change,” the event description reads. “Such change will have profound implications for the legal system.”

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In Honor of Fear and Pain

Our use of antidepressants has turned single-episode struggles that recovered 85% of the time within one year, never to recur, into chronic and debilitating disorders that hold patients hostage in their own arrested development. But, If you are in the hole of pain, here’s what I have to say to you. It’s what I say to my patients, and what I tell myself in times of struggle.
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“The Unfulfilled Promise of the Antidepressant Medications”

A new article in The Medical Journal of Australia laments that, while antidepressant use continues to climb, the research evidence shows that their effectiveness is lower than many thought. Meanwhile, fewer patients are getting access to psychotherapy.

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Do We Really Need Mental Health Professionals?

Professionals across the Western world, from a range of disciplines, earn their livings by offering services to reduce the misery and suffering of the people who seek their help. Do these paid helpers represent a fundamental force for healing, facilitating the recovery journeys of people with mental health problems, or are they a substantial part of the problem by maintaining our modestly effective and often damaging system?
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Interview: Researchers Deconstruct Ghostwritten Industry Trial for Antidepressant

Researchers, Jon Jureidini, Jay Amsterdam and Leemon McHenry, have taken a closer look at the data from a randomized control trial of citalopram (Celexa) that was ghostwritten and then used by the manufacturers to support claims of the drug’s efficacy and safety in the treatment of child and adolescent depression. Their analysis used 750 recently-released court documents from a lawsuit against Forest Labs concerning the marketing and sales practices involved in the off-label promotion of Celexa. Drs. Jon Jureidini and Jay Amsterdam were expert witnesses in the case. The article is published, open-access, in the International Journal of Risk & Safety in Medicine. 

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Truth and Reconciliation: An Evening of Sharing and Healing

On Wednesday, March 20, 2016, Rethinking Psychiatry collaborated with The M.O.M.S. Movement and The Icarus Project to host our first Truth and Reconciliation Circle for Receivers and Givers of Psychiatric and Mental Health Services. In this three-hour event, both receivers and givers of psychiatric and mental health services expressed their thoughts and feelings in a structured, facilitated environment.
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Report from the Parliament: Can Psychiatry At Least Be Curious?

In the past six years, I have had the opportunity to speak at several conferences or meetings that I felt had particular potential to stir some political activity that would challenge current psychiatric practices, and one of those events was the meeting convened in the U.K.’s Parliament on May 11th, which had this title for the day: Rising Prescriptions, Rising Mental Health Disability: Is There a Link?
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Antidepressants Do Not Prevent Suicides, May Increase Risk

When the CDC released data revealing an increasing suicide rate in the US, some experts, speaking to major media outlets, speculated that the increase could be tied to the FDA’s Black Box warning for teen suicides on antidepressants. It was suggested that the warnings may discourage some from taking antidepressants and that these drugs may prevent suicides. The research, however, does not appear to support these claims. A new review of studies on the role of antidepressants in suicide, published this month in the journal of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, concludes that there is no evidence that antidepressants prevent suicide and that the research may even suggest that the drugs  increase the risk.

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“Constructing the Modern Mind”

Psychiatrist and historian George Makari tries to illuminate the historical evolution of our understanding of the conscious mind and how it relates to the brain. Soul Machine: The Invention of the Modern Mind, according to this review in Scientific American, “masterfully describes how consciousness, mind and soul are shape-shifters that philosophers, theologians, scholars, scientists and physicians seek to tame, by conceptualizing, defining, reifying, denying and redefining these terms through the ages to come to grips with the mystery that is our inner life.”

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“What Are Delusions – And How Best Can We Treat Them?”

For The Conversation, psychologist John Done, from the University of Hertfordshire, explains his approach to discussing delusions with his patients. Done recommends more qualitative research on semi-structured interviews that get the patient to assess the rationality of their beliefs.

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“The Psychology of Time and the Paradox of How Impulsivity and Self-Control Mediate Our Capacity for Presence”

From brainpickings, Maria Popova explores “how our subjective experience of time’s passage shapes everything from our emotional memory to our sense of self.” “What emerges is the disorienting sense that time isn’t something which happens to us — rather, we are time.”

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Psych Patients Who Resist Stigma Do Better

A new study in press in the Journal of Schizophrenia Research finds that patients who actively resist the negative stigma associated with mental health diagnoses may have better outcomes. According to the researcher's meta-analysis of previous studies, stigma resistance is related to reduced symptoms and improved functioning, self-efficacy, quality of life, recovery, and hope.

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“Politicians and Experts Meet at Parliament to Explore Record Antidepressant Prescribing and Disability”

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence is meeting today, May 11th, to discuss evidence of the link between the rise in disability and the record level of antidepressant prescribing. Both Robert Whitaker and Joanna Moncrieff will present their research and Peter Kinderman will chair a panel to debate the findings.

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“fMRI and False Positives: A Basic Flaw?”

For Discover Magazine, Neuroskeptic covers the pioneering work of Anders Eklund, which points to flaws in the analysis of psychiatric and neurological research using fMRI data.

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“The New Eugenics: Why Genetic Theories of Mental Illness and Addiction Are a Damaging Dead End”

For The Influence, addiction expert Stanton Peele criticizes our current genetic and biological “brain disease” approaches to addiction and mental health.

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“CDC Warns that Americans May be Overmedicating Youngest Children with ADHD”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new data indicating that as many as 75% of young children who are diagnosed with ‘ADHD’ are being prescribed drugs against medical recommendations. "Until we know more the recommendation is to first refer parents of children under 6 years of age who have ADHD for training and behavior therapy," Anne Schuchat, CDC principal deputy director, told the Washington Post.

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“Can Personality Traits Affect Use of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction?”

A new article in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine finds that MBSR, which combines yoga, meditation, and body scanning, may be especially helpful as a non-pharmacological approach to coping with emotional distress, loneliness, and insomnia and for improving balance and coordination.

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