In a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine, Gardner and Kleinman make a point that parallels what I’ve been saying since my initial post. Modern medicine is so anchored in the reductionistic disease model that they have neglected mental health care, most manifest by its failure to train the primary care physicians who provide 85% of it; psychiatrists provide only 15% of all mental health care. Gardner and Kleinman present parallel material describing a similar reductionistic process within psychiatry itself. Even though psychiatry does address the problem of mental illness, it has forsaken its earlier successes for a unidimensional interest in the biological basis of mental disorders. Let’s begin by recalling the profound advances made by psychiatry beginning at the turn of the last century. At that point, the rest of medicine had completely divested itself of the psychosocial aspects of its patients in favor of an isolated focus on physical diseases. But … [Read more...] about The Crisis in Psychiatry
University medical center
One month ago, The New York Times published an op-ed that I wrote, describing my feelings about the interface between evolutionary science and traditional Judeo-Christian belief. It generated an avalanche of literally hundreds of emails, most of them congratulatory, although a significant number were critical (even abusive). The great majority, in any event, misunderstood my point, thinking I was claiming that evolution makes religious belief impossible, whereas in fact my argument is that faith and evolution can co-exist, although the latter deprives the former of some pre-evolutionary supports, making faith more difficult than in pre-Darwinian days. In any event, here is that op-ed piece, unchanged from the original. Make up your own mind: By David Barash EVERY year around this time — with summer ending and the college year starting — I present my students with “The Talk.” It isn’t, as you might expect, about sex, but rather about evolution and religion, … [Read more...] about Does Evolution Preclude Religious Faith?
Source: Photo purchased from iStockphoto, used with permission. Trauma experienced in childhood has a special ability to wound, especially when it includes emotional, physical or sexual abuse or neglect. The fallout echoes through the years and causes negative consequences, such as higher risks of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, PTSD, obesity, behavioral problems, and health problems such as heart disease. One study that followed hundreds of adolescents over time found that 80 percent of individuals who had been abused as children met the criteria for at least one psychiatric disorder at age 21. A troubled childhood can also lead a person to alcohol and drug use as a way to numb the pain or, conversely, to feel something. Studies estimate that up to two-thirds of patients in substance use treatment have childhood histories of sexual, emotional, or physical abuse. There is much to overcome with a troubled childhood, but help is available, and a … [Read more...] about 8 Reasons It’s So Hard to Overcome a Tough Childhood
“Boys will be boys” is passed between adults when they throw up their hands and give up on socializing males. It turns out that male misconduct is a signature of undercare for male babies, as noted in the previous blog, Be Worried about Boys, Especially Baby Boys. Males are more susceptible to early stress, resulting in higher rates of developmental disorders like autism, ADHD, early schizophrenia, and conduct disorders. As indicated by Allan Schore in his review, these are signals of early development gone awry. But they are mostly social disorders that end up harming everyone else. In fact, early undercare negatively influences capacities for ethics and morality. I have written about this in many publications, including my 2014 book, Neurobiology and the Development of Human Morality: Evolution, Culture and Wisdom. Unfortunately, we have come to expect a good number of adult males to be egoistic, aggressive and/or reactive (even when this is not the case in other … [Read more...] about Why Worry About Undercared for Males? Messed up Morals!
Source: Free Stock Photos Is your mind wandering? The Practice: Why? Moment to moment, the flows of thoughts and feelings, sensations and desires, and conscious and unconscious processes sculpt your nervous system like water gradually carving furrows and eventually gullies on a hillside. Your brain is continually changing its structure. The only question is: Is it for better or worse? In particular, because of what's called "experience-dependent neuroplasticity," whatever you hold in attention has a special power to change your brain. Attention is like a combination spotlight and vacuum cleaner: it illuminates what it rests upon and then sucks it into your brain - and your self. Therefore, controlling your attention - becoming more able to place it where you want it and keep it there, and more able to pull it away from what's bothersome or pointless (such as looping again and again through anxious preoccupations, mental grumbling, or self-criticism) - is the foundation of … [Read more...] about Is Your Mind Wandering?