Archives for Policy and Advocacy
Where do we learn our beliefs? How do we get educated in them? Some, like the Amish, teach their beliefs in a multi-pronged system, which includes learning, praying, physical work, family, home and community duties. Others seem to absorb their beliefs through a kind of osmosis, and are barely conscious of how their beliefs are being shaped, if at all.
The news is startling. The New York Times reports: Almost 20,000 prescriptions for risperidone (commonly known as Risperdal), quetiapine (Seroquel) and other antipsychotic medications were written in 2014 for children 2 and younger, a 50 percent jump from 13,000 just one year before, according to the prescription data company IMS Health. Prescriptions for the antidepressant fluoxetine (Prozac) rose 23 percent in one year, to about 83,000. Through adolescence, our brains and bodies change in ways science has only just begun to understand. But infants' brains and nervous systems change so rapidly that development can be measured not in years or months, but in weeks. How can we know with any certainty that anti-psychotic medications aren't negatively altering infants' and children's development in dramatic ways? We can't. So, why are some doctors prescribing anti-psychotic medications to babies?
Richard's off, C.R. writes: "Of 100 studies published in top-ranking journals in 2008, 75% of social psychology experiments and half of cognitive studies failed the replication test." So states a Guardian article about a recent study in the journal, Science, "which saw 270 scientists repeat experiments on five continents, [and which] was launched by psychologists in the US in response to rising concerns over the reliability of psychology research." Why is this important and why should you care?
C.R. writes: When communications & marketing guru, technology and cultural commentator, rule-breaking investor and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk has something to say about the value of in-person meetings, we should pay attention. That's because Gary has mastered the digital life. As an internet marketing and digital-media visionary, he exploits to the fullest the online world. It has made him very successful. But it's not all business. Gary Vaynerchuk really has thought deeply about the way relationships
A well-trained and dedicated medical doctor will consider whether or not there is an emotional component possibly triggering a physical issue, such as stress in the case of fatigue. But often, those in the mental health field, especially psychotherapists, might not evaluate and rule out medical or other issues in the case of a client presenting with a mental illness. In training sessions with interns and therapists-in-training, I emphasize the importance of doing a comprehensive evaluation before diagnosing—and doing therapy with—a client. I explain that when it comes to a mental health evaluation it is as vital for therapists to determine which factors are contributing to or causing mental illness, whether that mental illness is mild or more severe. Yet many therapists jump right into talk therapy at the first or second visit; not everyone in private practice examines medical records or asks their clients to get blood-work done.
Do psychiatric medications do more harm than good or is the answer more complex than a simple yes or no? Peter Gøtzsche, professor and director of the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Denmark, is making waves with his British Medical Journal statement that each year, over 500,000 people aged 65 die from psychiatric drugs.
C.R. writes: A friend of mine's son left his home in Israel to travel through India and Nepal and returned shortly before the recent earthquake. He had trekked with his friends, searching for enlightenment, but returned home with a parasitic infection, feeling weak and also disillusioned. He described what he saw as the hypocrisy of some of the gurus and yogis he met (he called them "cash-rakers") and told how some of the Westerners who flocked to them seemed to magnify their worst personality traits after time spent following certain meditative practices. His email to me said: "They become intolerant of anyone who disturbs their "bliss", and they are like addicts being hooked on their drug," he told me. "Nothing bothers them unless it messes with their personal comfort and they seem to become really short on compassion."