Category Archives: Mental Health

Effects of Social Distancing on Body and Brain

The Effects of Social Distancing on Body and Brain — BrainPost | Easy-to-read summaries of the latest neuroscience publications – Post by Anastasia Sares – June 2020

This virus is a true biopsychosocial disaster – very similar to the impact of chronic pain when we can no longer participate in active social lives or our favorite pursuits – but I don’t see anyone suggesting we are catastrophizing about it.

Humans evolved to be social with one another, and we function best when we have strong relationships and regular social contact.

However, in many cities, half or more of the inhabitants live alone, and in the current COVID-19 pandemic, people are additionally deprived of in-person interactions at work and social gatherings.

It is a good time to remind ourselves of the far-reaching impacts of loneliness and find ways to mitigate it.  Continue reading

Belief in meritocracy not only false: it’s bad for you

A belief in meritocracy is not only false: it’s bad for you | Aeon Ideasby Clifton Mark Mar 2019

Meritocracy has become a leading social ideal. Politicians across the ideological spectrum continually return to the theme that the rewards of life – money, power, jobs, university admission – should be distributed according to skill and effort.

Under meritocracy, wealth and advantage are merit’s rightful compensation, not the fortuitous windfall of external events.

People who believe this are also likely to believe that other people’s misfortunes, like poverty and illness, are just as “deserved” as their own wealth and privilege. Those of us with chronic health conditions know better.  Continue reading

Borderline personality disorder among chronic pain patients?

This “study” is so garbled it would be comical if it weren’t insinuating that chronic pain patients are mentally ill.  Notice the uncorrected misspelling of the very first word, which is supposed to be “AAPM”

FAAPM [?] 36th Annual Meeting Scientific Poster Abstracts | #AAPM2020 505 | Psychosocial Borderline personality features among patients with chronic non-cancer pain, barrier versus unexploited targets for effective pain management: a systemic review

Because two pain-oriented medical websites both had fairly demeaning (to pain patients) articles about the implications of this “abstract”, and it was deemed significant enough to be presented at this renowned pain association’s annual meeting, I decided to take a closer look.

It’s a total mess.

Continue reading

Borderline Personality Disorder Common in Pain Patients

Borderline Personality Disorder Common in Chronic Pain Patients – MedScape – by Fran Lowry – Mar 2020

A significant proportion of patients who suffer from chronic pain also have features of borderline personality disorder (BPD), new research shows.

I really don’t know what to think about this because our healthcare system is so strongly biased against chronic pain patients and opioids that I don’t trust most of the research on it these days.

I can’t help but notice that it only says that pain patients “have features of” the disorder, but not that they have it. This is a sly way to make it sound like we all have BPD. Continue reading

Hallmarks of a good therapist: Humility and Self-Doubt

Humility and self-doubt are hallmarks of a good therapist | Aeon Ideas – by Helene A Nissen-Lie – Feb 2020

‘The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.’

This phenomenon – observed in the 1930s by the English philosopher Bertrand Russell – has a technical name, the Dunning-Krüger effect. It refers to the tendency for the worst performers to overestimate their performance, whereas the top performers underestimate their own.

That’s because when you truly become an expert in a field, you’ve learned enough to see all the details and complexity and how much else is still unknown. Continue reading

Not much Evidence for Evidence-Based Therapy

The evidence for evidence-based therapy is not as clear as we thought | Aeon Ideas – by Alexander Williams and John Sakaluk – Feb 2020

Over the past decade, many scholars have questioned the credibility of research across a variety of scientific fields.

As psychologists specialising in clinical work (Alexander Williams) and methodology (John Sakaluk), we wondered what these concerns mean for psychotherapy.

Research was previously used to search for truth, but these days seems to merely support a pre-determined conclusion. Bias infiltrates the design and methodology of studies, and clever statistical techniques are used to “discover” the desired conclusion. (see my numerous posts about research bias) Continue reading

Quick fix of CBT doesn’t last

Why depth therapy is more enduring than a quick fix of CBT | Aeon Essays –  by Linda Michaels – Mar 2020

Ever since I learned about Cognitive Behavior Therapy years ago, I haven’t been able to believe it’s the solution to anything but immediate, superficial problems.

The grounding belief of Cognitive Behavior Therapy is that it’s our thinking that drives our feelings and that by changing what we think we can change what we feel. Oh, so clever, aren’t we?

But thinking and feeling are interdependent: how we feel affects how we think, which then affects how we feel, which then affects how we think, and so on and on. I find this disregard for the state of organic human feelings a fatal flaw; we are not such simplistic “computing machines”.  Continue reading

An Undercover Journey Into the Heart of Madness

An Undercover Journey Into the Heart of Madness – BY CHRISTIE ASCHWANDEN – Dec 2019

The author explains how self-perpetuating falsehoods can trap doctors, researchers, and mental patients, which is exactly what is happening with pain patients and opioids.

When she was 24, Susannah Cahalan developed a sudden psychosis. She grew paranoid — convinced her apartment was infested with bedbugs, that people were spying on her, that her boyfriend was cheating.

She started to believe she could age people with her mind. As she recounted in her 2013 bestseller, “Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness,” she received several misdiagnoses (bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder) before an alert doctor discovered the true culprit: autoimmune encephalitis.    Continue reading

The Neurology of ADD Symptoms

How Adults with ADHD Think: Understanding the Neurology of ADD Symptoms By William Dodson, M.D. Medically reviewed by ADDitude’s ADHD Medical Review Panel – Oct 2019

Easily bored, sensitive to distractions, creative, and intense.

If you grew up with ADHD symptoms, chances are you always felt “different.” Now here’s a scientific explanation of the neurological underpinnings of behaviors and feelings associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

I know that autism has been linked with EDS and it certainly sounds like ADHD could be as well because the highly sensitive and easily disrupted state of mind is analogous to the highly sensitive and easily disrupted body affected by EDS.  Continue reading

ADD Distractability Seems Similar to EDS Hyper-Sensitivity

ADHD Brain: Unraveling Secrets of Your ADD Nervous SystemBy William Dodson, M.D. Medically reviewed by ADDitude’s ADHD Medical Review Panel on Oct 2019

My sensory over-sensitivity from EDS seems very similar to ADD and I’ve been diagnosed with both. I wonder how many other people with EDS also suffer from such mental effects.

Attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD) is a confusing, contradictory, inconsistent, and frustrating condition. It is overwhelming to people who live with it every day.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has 18 criteria, and other symptom lists cite as many as 100 traits.

My work for the last decade suggests that we have been missing something important about the fundamental nature of the ADHD brain.  Continue reading