Based on a comparison of suicide rates at sea level and at areas above 2,000 feet, living at a high altitude may make people 30% more likely to commit suicide. Neuroscientist Perry Renshaw believes that it's due to the impact of altitude on the brain.
We are all very anxious - how constant observation and mass precarity undermine our ability to change and resist. [more inside]
In short, I have, since the age of about 2, been a twitchy bundle of phobias, fears, and neuroses. And I have, since the age of 10, when I was first taken to a mental hospital for evaluation and then referred to a psychiatrist for treatment, tried in various ways to overcome my anxiety. Surviving Anxiety.
Discover how to get out of bed and do things again with these spiffy new tips from 21 Comics That Capture the Frustrations of Depression! Or pull a blanket over your head and pretend you're the last person on earth curled up in a nice, warm cave. Whatever.
Artist Toby Allen has created fantastic faces for monsters which many are all too familiar with: Anxiety, Avoidant Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Schizophrenia, Depression, Paranoia, Dissociative Identity Disorder, And Social Anxiety. [via]
John William Keedy is a photographer who was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder 9 years ago. Since then, he's been thinking of thoughts and feelings that are considered not "normal," and he has displayed some of these thoughts in a series of photos titled It’s Hardly Noticeable. Wired's Raw File has larger images and more thoughts from Keedy.
Why the bacteria in food like yogurt may be the answer to anxiety and depression. Probiotic-rich food is good for your gut, but it may also be good for your brain, say researchers.
The correlation discovered at Otago University between the number of romantic partners you have and substance abuse [more inside]
"Which is another way of saying that Facebook is George Costanza's worst nightmare: It enforces, second by second, the collision of worlds."
Are Your Facebook Friends Stressing You Out? (Yes.) - "The finding, which is similar to one determined last year, is nice as a headline: It's both unexpected (friends! stressing you out! ha!) and ironic (the currency of the social web, taking value rather than adding it!). What's interesting, though, is the why of the matter: the idea that, the report theorizes, the wider your Facebook network, the more likely it is that something you say or do on the site will end up offending one of that network's members... Unsurprisingly, per the study's survey of more than 300 Facebook users, 'adding employers or parents resulted in the greatest increase in anxiety.'" [more inside]
Royce White is a professional American basketball player who suffers from general anxiety disorder. Though he was considered one of the best talents in last year's NBA draft, he was not selected until the 16th pick, due to concerns over his mental health and his avowed reluctance to fly. Although the NBA season is only a couple of weeks old, White and his team, the Houston Rockets, are already having difficulty determining how to manage his health while meeting the professional demands of the NBA. LINKS: Documentary highlighting White's anxiety // Highlights of White while at Iowa State // White's Twitter account (where he is currently tweeting about his situation)
"... bitterness, instead of a form of disillusionment, is really the refusal to give up your childhood illusions of importance" - Brian Jay Stanley
"Always remember that beautiful experiences and massive amounts of love are on their way. If you are able to feel pain and sadness this profoundly, more than most people can ever imagine, remind yourself that you can feel happiness and joy and love this profoundly as well, and that’s our little reward as depressed people. We feel things harder than other people do, and when those things are negative they are complete and total torture. But while we feel pain harder than other people have to, we feel beauty and joy and love harder than anyone else gets to, and that’s the victory that’s waiting on the other side of this pain for you. Hang on. Be tough. Better times are coming. Beautiful things and loving people are already out there, and when this cloud passes you get to experience them all so, so deeply." -Comedian Chris Gethard addresses an anonymous fan contemplating suicide (Trigger warning: discussion of suicide) [more inside]
The Medical School at the University of California, San Francisco “presents Mini Medical School for the Public, a series of programs providing an opportunity to learn about health and the health sciences directly from UCSF faculty members and other nationally-recognized experts.” Videos particularly geared toward integrative medicine and healthy living can be found here. (Most of the videos are between sixty and ninety minutes long.) [more inside]
"We worry. Nearly one in five Americans suffer from anxiety. For many, it is not a disorder, but a part of the human condition. This series explores how we navigate the worried mind, through essay, art and memoir." The New York Times is running a series of short memoirs written by sufferers of anxiety disorder. From the ways anxiety affects daily life to what happens when it's part of a marriage, many different angles are explored. (Previously)
Thus began my descent into the world of acronyms...bewildered doctors, frustrated psychologists, and a three-ring circus of pharmaceutical adventures.
The dining room was jammed to the fleur-de-lis wallpaper with red-faced white guys in blue suits and harried looking waiters in penguin costumes. Not my crowd. I remember hearing a muffled “linguine Alfredo” and the clinking of glasses at another table, and then the film snaps. This, as I’ve come to think of it, was the moment my first life stopped, where the film broke and the reel spun around and around, flogging itself.Jokers Wild: Author Paul Vandevelder's contribution to the NYT(online)'s Anxiety series, featuring an illustration by Finnish artist Tommi Musturi.
I am not busy. I am the laziest ambitious person I know. Like most writers, I feel like a reprobate who does not deserve to live on any day that I do not write, but I also feel that four or five hours is enough to earn my stay on the planet for one more day. On the best ordinary days of my life, I write in the morning, go for a long bike ride and run errands in the afternoon, and in the evening I see friends, read or watch a movie. This, it seems to me, is a sane and pleasant pace for a day.Tim Kreider: The ‘Busy’ Trap.
Photographer Stefano Bonazzi's series Smoke, where nude subjects vanish into the air.
Boggle is worried about you! Boggle is also an owl. A cartoon owl offers advice about depression, anxiety and surviving abuse. [more inside]
Cartoonist and Essayist Tim Kreider on the soothing effect of dangerous situations. (NYT)
"Researchers at McMaster University have conclusive evidence that bacteria residing in the gut influence brain chemistry and behaviour. [...] To confirm that bacteria can influence behaviour, the researchers colonized germ-free mice with bacteria taken from mice with a different behavioural pattern. They found that when germ-free mice with a genetic background associated with passive behaviour were colonized with bacteria from mice with higher exploratory behaviour, they became more active and daring. Similarly, normally active mice became more passive after receiving bacteria from mice whose genetic background is associated with passive behaviour." [more inside]
Dr. Rob Dobrienski is a Manhattan therapist who blogs with honesty and humor on shrinktalk.net about his practice and topics interesting to both laypersons with an interest in psychology and therapy as well as therapists in current practice. [more inside]
The epidemic of mental illness plaguing the Americans and the overmedication of psychiatric patients are in part artifacts of the diagnostic method. [more inside]
Is the contemporary epidemic of mental illness fueled by useless or even harmful anti-depressants and other psychoactive drugs? A review of books by Irving Kirsch, Robert Whitaker, and Daniel Carlat, notes that per Kirsch, "[a]n active placebo is one that itself produces side effects...there was no difference between the antidepressant and the active placebo" (new research claims very severe cases are different). Whitaker argues that psychoactive drugs may actively "disturb neurotransmitter function" and cause mental illnesses which a mounting cascade of drugs are then needed to manage. (previously, previously)
Anger, Politics and the Wisdom of Uncertainty - "If there's somebody or even some institution to blame, it turns out people are much more likely to get angry... anger tends to inspire individuals to engage in more political activities than they would otherwise... Without someone to blame, respondents mostly just grow fearful and anxious... A particular danger of anger seems to be closed-mindedness. Research finds that when citizens get angry, they close themselves off to alternative views and redouble their sense of conviction in their existing views. Fear and anxiety, on the other hand, seem to promote openness to alternative viewpoints and a willingness to compromise." (via) [more inside]
Master painter of the anxious, alienated, mysterious and sublime, George Tooker : August 5, 1920 – March 27, 2011
The Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Wellbutrin, Celexa, Effexor, Valium, Klonopin, Ativan, Restoril, Xanax, Adderall, Ritalin, Haldol, Risperdal, Seroquel, Ambien, Lunesta, Elavil, Trazodone War New York Magazine's Jennifer Senior writes on prescription drug (ab)use among soldiers and veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. [more inside]
A study just published in Science finds that students who briefly write about their testing anxieties do better on the subsequent test. The abstract at Science, and a podcast interview with Sian Beilock, one of the study authors.
Im a fan of Songs You Already Know. If you make another, could you please make a song for "Song for when you're overwhelmed"? A nice sweet calmdown song. An audio-hug. A song that huddles around you and whispers "shhhhhhh, calm the fuck down. s'okay".
A free website that helps you learn to diagnose and work through negative though patterns. Having seen so many posts on AskMeFi about depression, anxiety and related topics, it seemed almost a duty to share this. It's a free website (well, you have to register but it's anonymous and no cash changes hands) that's run by the health service here in the UK. [more inside]
Understanding the Anxious Mind. A good article on the psychology of anxiety and how an anxious temperament at birth can ebb and flow during one's lifetime. [Via]
Social Skydiving. An introverted programmer and student decides to overcome his social inhibitions by attempting a conversation with a stranger everyday for thirty days and (obligatorily) blogging the results.
Have we ever been more emotionally volatile, more in thrall to our sensations than now? We had become used to viewing all our neuroses as crises; now a genuine crisis was upon us, it was a cataclysm. Atheist or believer, we have in the last decade been primed for an end-time of sorts, with a stock of latent fears ready and waiting. Suddenly, all of those fears had an outlet.Tim Adams contemplates the new Age of Anxiety.
Suppose you have a problem with your thinking, your mood, or your relationships. Come in, sit down, and let the internet help. Meet MoodGym and its newer sister site, e-couch. [more inside]
20 percent of academics surveyed by Nature are abusing neuroenhancers.
Calling R.U. Sirius...
Calling R.U. Sirius...
Another weekend sitting alone in your apartment? Thinking of sending that two thousand word cry for help to anonymous Ask Metafilter? Maybe you should take a look at the advice at Succeed Socially first. [more inside]
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is often misunderstood (and is different from Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder.) From wikipedia: "OCD sufferers are aware that such thoughts and behavior are not rational, but feel bound to comply with them to fend off feelings of panic or dread. Because sufferers are consciously aware of this irrationality but feel helpless to push it away, untreated OCD is often regarded as one of the most vexing and frustrating of the major anxiety disorders." [more inside]
Death Grip: How Political Psychology Explains Bush's Ghastly Success. Interesting article on the work of psychologists Jeff Greenberg, Sheldon Solomon, and Tom Pyszczynski. [Via Disinformation.]
It is America's most profitable industry, number one in return on revenues, return on assets, and return on equity. From barbiturates, to benzodiazepines, to everyone's favorite delysid, we come to the new age: SSRI's. There are thousands of studies showing that they work. And very few that question their efficacy. (very informative meta-analysis, a follow-up [pdf]). A quantitative explanation.
Penis panic, is a type of body dysmorphia, among other strange afflictions. Also known as koro, it may be induced by cannabis, superstition or fear.
Do you seem to feel anxious lately? Well answer a few questions, and Hello Kitty will provide a psychological analysis for you!
This is just a bit scary. The questions are a little bizarre, too.
This is just a bit scary. The questions are a little bizarre, too.
A print journalist admits her fear of blogs "What the blog threatens to do is dislodge the traditional news media's corner on the "scoop" market. With their unorthodox reporting strategies and lightning-fast publishing schedules, blogs are making it clear that you don't need to have some big, fancy newspaper job to break stories. In fact, you don't even need to write stories; you can just throw a couple of sentences up on your site with some telling links. And you can quote that naked boy in your bed who knows how to hack protocols. Whatever."
The Rapture Ready index is a numerical assessment of signs that indicate the end times are here. Maintained by USAF supply sergeant Todd Strandberg, he says the Index isn't meant to show when the Rapture will come, but how quickly we are moving towards it. It's a speedometer; not a clock. (More inside.)
Anxiety disorder, attention deficit disorder. While I understand that these disorders exist, the skeptic in me tends to believe that the seemingly increasing diagnoses are more a symptom of our culture's need to blame external causes for behavior versus personal responsibility. Is this a post-60s/80s "Me" thing or am I way off base?