Source: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay When it comes to improving psychological well-being, there are lots of options but surprisingly little evidence-based knowledge about how effectively each one—in and of itself or in combination with other interventions—optimally improves mental states of well-being. A new systematic review and meta-analysis by a team of Australian researchers "aimed to overcome limitations of previous reviews by examining the efficacy of distinct types of psychological interventions, irrespective of their theoretical underpinning, and the impact of various moderators." Their peer-reviewed findings ( Van Agteren et al., 2021 ) were published on April 19 in Nature Human Behaviour . What's the best way to build personal well-being? For this worldwide systematic review and meta-analysis, a collaborative team of researchers from the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute and Flinders University identified 419 randomized and controlled trials … [Read more...] about 8 Mix-and-Match Ingredients for a Tailored Be-Well Plan
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Melancholy, Edvard Munch (circa 1895) Source: Public domain Do antidepressants really work? This has been a controversial question ever since the 2008 publication of a research study by Dr. Irving Kirsch and his colleagues that concluded that there was “little evidence to support the prescription of antidepressant medication to any but the most severely depressed patients.” 1 But now a new study, just published in The Lancet, indicates that yes, antidepressants do work for the treatment of depression after all. 2 With seemingly different conclusions, as is often the case in scientific inquiry, should we just let the findings cancel each other out and believe what we want to believe? Of course not. Instead, as we try to make sense of the data, let’s look at both studies with an eye towards where they might differ and where they might actually support the same conclusion. The 2008 study by Dr. Kirsch and colleagues was a meta-analysis of 35 randomized, … [Read more...] about Do Antidepressants Work? Yes, No, and Yes Again!
People, even those who report that they value morality, often act unethically and then put it out of their mind. Source: Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash A psychologist charged her usual fee of one hundred dollars for a session. After her patient paid cash and left, she rubbed the bill and noticed he had overpaid her with two crisp one hundred bills stuck together. The thought popped into her head that she could keep the extra hundred-dollar bill, and nobody would ever know. Psychologists are supposed to be the vanguards of ethical and moral conduct as they treat the public. And they are required to take annual continuing education credits to maintain their licenses. Yet, the most common ethical violations psychologists commit are breaking patient confidentiality, sexual misconduct, and insurance mismanagement. Many highly-reputable people claim to have lofty ethical standards and denounce others for dishonesty, while violating their own principles by cheating on their … [Read more...] about Is It Gaslighting or Unethical Amnesia?
Simple lifestyle choices can enhance mental health Because of widespread unemployment and the closing of mental health clinics due to the pandemic, millions of individuals struggling with anxiety, depression , and insomnia do not have access to, or cannot afford psychotherapy or medications. These circumstances may continue for months or even years, depending on how soon effective antivirals and vaccines become available. This post is offered as a concise review of the mental health benefits of lifestyle changes for depressed mood, anxiety, and insomnia, including changes in diet , regular exercise, improved sleep, and a daily mindfulness practice. Diet Individuals who consume whole foods (as opposed to processed foods and fast food diets) are at reduced risk of developing depressed mood. For example, individuals who closely adhere to a Mediterranean diet, as well as traditional diets in Norway, Japan, and China, which are rich in vegetables and fish, have a 30% … [Read more...] about Lifestyle Choices for Good Mental Health During COVID-19
David Livingston Smith has a new book, On Inhumanity: Dehumanization and How to Resist It , which offers a helpful review of the kinds of psychological and social structures that lead to dehumanization and mistreatment of others. Smith defines dehumanization as conceiving of another person as subhuman. He asserts that: “Given the right circumstances, virtually all of us are capable of slipping into the dehumanizing mindset, and committing acts of cruelty that would otherwise be difficult or even impossible for us to perform. (p. 6) As I’ve pointed out too, individuals can shift into survival systems— fear , rage , or panic states which are intertwined with the stress response—that shift the body toward self-protection (Narvaez, 2014). If my babyhood has been severe or if I was traumatized later, my brain can be “wired” to downshift to survivalism more easily and automatically than for those who have resilient brains, whose brains are wired for staying connected to … [Read more...] about Inhuman Treatment of Others Is a Thought Away