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Posts Tagged "mental health"

@ScientificAmerican

A New Scientific American eBook, Understanding Addiction, Examines the Multifaceted Issue of Substance Abuse

Addiction eBook cover

Many former substance abusers or addicts will likely tell you that beating their addiction was the hardest thing they’ve ever done. With more research pointing to the genetic underpinnings of diseases such as alcoholism, and with more treatments aimed at the physiology—rather than psychology—of addiction, the road to sobriety could someday be less frustrating. In [...]

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Brainwaves

No One Is Abandoning the DSM, but It Is Almost Time to Transform It

This month the American Psychiatric Association will publish the latest edition of its standard guidebook for clinicians, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 (DSM-5). In somewhat the same way that a field guide to birds helps people distinguish different species with illustrations and descriptions of physical features—a beak’s hooked tip, a blush [...]

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Cross-Check

Why Screening Teens for Mental Illness Is a Terrible Idea

teen sitting on floor with head in hands

Mental illness can afflict children, just as cancer and other diseases do. Many young people quietly struggle with depression and other disorders, which may provoke them to commit suicide, the third-most common cause of death among teenagers. So from one perspective, programs like TeenScreen—designed by a group at Columbia University and now operating in schools [...]

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MIND Guest Blog

Why We Need to Abandon the Disease-Model of Mental Health Care

A Prescription for Psychiatry, book cover.

The idea that our more distressing emotions such as grief and anger can best be understood as symptoms of physical illnesses is pervasive and seductive. But in my view it is also a myth, and a harmful one. Our present approach to helping vulnerable people in acute emotional distress is severely hampered by old-fashioned, inhumane [...]

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MIND Guest Blog

To Feel Meaningful Is to Feel Immortal

Still Life with Skull by Philippe de Champagne (1602-1674). (Wikimedia Commons)

Imagine when our ancestors first started to look up at the stars and question their place in the universe. Why are we here? Are we alone? What happens to us when we die? It is difficult to know for sure at what point in time we became a species obsessed with existential questions. We can [...]

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MIND Guest Blog

Technology May Lift Severe Depression, but Full Recovery Takes Time

Courtesy of Dave Gingrich via Flickr.

This blog is the last in a series of guest posts on technology and the brain to celebrate Scientific American Mind’s 10-year anniversary. The magazine’s special November/December issue similarly highlights the interface between code and thought in profiling a future, more digital YOU. I have been a practicing psychiatrist at the Cleveland Clinic since 1989. [...]

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MIND Guest Blog

Can Video Games Diagnose Cognitive Deficits?

Five brain-training games available as an iPad “app” from Lumosity were evaluated as tests of cognitive dysfunction in cirrhosis: (a) Circles is a test of spatial orientation, information processing speed and attention. Colored circles appear one at a time and a user must decide whether each is a match when compared with the circle that showed up earlier. (b) Color Match evaluates selective attention, cognitive flexibility and processing speed. The names of two colors appear and the test-taker must decide whether or not the top word names the font color of the bottom word. (c) Memory Matrix taps visuospatial memory. A pattern of tiles appears on a grid; when the pattern disappears, a test-taker attempts to recreate it. (d) Lost in Migration examines attention as well as visual field and focus. Five birds appear and a user indicates the direction of flight of the center bird. (e) Chalkboard Challenge involves quantitative reasoning. A player must determine which arithmetic figure has the greatest value between two choices.

This blog is the third in a series of guest posts on technology and the brain to celebrate Scientific American Mind’s 10-year anniversary. The magazine’s special November/December issue similarly highlights the interface between code and thought in profiling a future, more digital YOU. Video games are an increasingly common pastime, especially for children, adolescents and [...]

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MIND Guest Blog

Internet Addiction: Real or Virtual Reality?

Credit: Sam Wolff via Flickr

In 1995, Ivan Goldberg, a New York psychiatrist, published one of the first diagnostic tests for Internet Addiction Disorder. The criteria appeared on psycom.net, a psychiatry bulletin board, and began with an air of earnest authenticity: “A maladaptive pattern of Internet use, leading to clinically significant impairment or distress as manifested by three (or more) [...]

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MIND Guest Blog

Can a Mnemonic Slow Age-Based Memory Loss?

basketball court - plant artist composite

One of the tragedies of aging is the slow but steady decline in memory. Phone numbers slipping your mind? Forgetting crucial items on your grocery list? Opening the door but can’t remember why? Up to 50 percent of adults aged 64 years or older report memory complaints. For many of us, senile moments are the [...]

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Observations

More Science in the Sunshine State

In the Sunshine State, science is ready to bloom. On December 5, I attended the official grand opening of the new, $64 million, 100,000-square-foot Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience in Jupiter—and the first of the Max Planck Institutes outside of Europe. The institute will focus on the human brain, which scientific director and CEO [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

A Surefire Way to Sharpen Your Focus

peaceful scene, village by the water

How many times have you arrived someplace but had no memory of the trip there? Have you ever been sitting in an auditorium daydreaming, not registering what the people on stage are saying or playing? We often spin through our days lost in mental time travel, thinking about something from the past, or future, leaving [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

Learn to Live in the Now [Video]

Being mindful means being acutely aware of what is happening now—rather than drifting into the past or musing about the future—without emotionally reacting to these ongoing events. Maintaining a focus on the present is associated with a variety of improvements to physical and mental health. Practicing mindfulness can also enhance key aspects of intellect—in particular, [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

8 Ways to Forget Your Troubles

Ad on a London Bus. Courtesy of Annie Wade via Flickr.

People have long tried tricks to aid their memories. One of the most useful of these so-called mnemonic devices, I’ve found, involves associating names with word pictures or with other people you know well. I was just at a party, for example, and met a man who shared a last name with someone I’ve known [...]

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Talking back

Sleep’s Role in Obesity, Schizophrenia, Diabetes…Everything

Is sleep good for everything? Scientists hate giving unqualified answers. But the more sleep researchers look, the more the answer seems to be tending toward a resounding affirmative. The slumbering brain plays an essential role in learning and memory, one of the findings that sleep researchers have reinforced repeatedly in recent years. But that’s not [...]

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