HEALTH CENTER I.R.

Quantum Integrative Medicine

News

Quantum Psychology

Posted by Maddalena Frau on November 6, 2014 at 1:00 AM Comments comments (0)



Connoisseurs know that my work on quantum consciousness has much to say about how to frame a scientific psychology that integrates all of psychology and most of psychotherapy.

 

What is quantum psychology?

Quantum psychology is based on quantum principles. Its primary premise is that all objects of our experience—sensing, feeling, thinking, and intuiting—are quantum objects that have a two realm existence—possibility and actuality. As quantum possibilities, they are embedded in a holistic nonlocal consciousness; as actualities they make up four independent worlds: the physical (for sensing), the vital (for feeling), the mental (for thinking meaning), the archetypal or supramental (for intuiting). These worlds do not directly interact; their interactions are mediated by the signaless communication of nonlocal consciousness.

 

Why quantum psychology?

Quantum psychology is necessary to resolve all the dichotomies of our experiences and in this way integrate all the psychologies that treat all the varieties of our experiences piecemeal.

 

Where do we apply quantum psychology?

Well, there is politics here and vested interests that want to keep away the new. The new makes people defensive especially when we are talking about big changes like a paradigm shift. I think the application will begin with you the lay-reader first who like self-help for which quantum psychology is appropriate as you will see when the project is finished. Individual therapists will adapt some of the practices of quantum psychology piecemeal next.

With time, as the philosopher Thomas Kuhn said, old paradigmers never change, but they do die. I think the new generation of psychologists will see the strength of the quantum integral approach quickly, one unified science within consciousness quickly and from then on, there is no going back. When the younger generation takes over the academe, academe will change.

 

When will the transition be complete?

A few decades perhaps.

 

How?

We need activism. There is a danger in what is happening with materialist science, especially psychology, that surreptitiously is killing the individualistic human spirit that has made America, but few people notice it. Materialist psychology is objective; for materialists it is best if everybody were just the average Joe or Jane because prediction and control would be so simple then. Today, journalists and politicians talk about rampant individualism, but what they mean is narcissism, a very predictable self-centered mold in which everybody fits in. The alternative psychologies, especially depth psychology, humanistic psychology, and positive psychology promote and uphold the individual through the emphasis of their very individual creative pursuit of the timeless archetypes.

The average approach in any garb, be it cognitive/behavioral science or Ken Wilber’s type of integral psychology, that tries to undermine the age-old archetypes is ultimately the biggest threat to the real American individuality, to the American dream.

 

As James Hillman said, “{Ordinary] activism looks to the facts, psychological activism inquires into essences.” Depth psychologists already talk about archetypal activism. If we don’t save the absolute archetypes of timeless truth, we get Fox news. Quantum psychology has an even more general suggestion: quantum activism.

The motto of quantum activism is to change yourself to excel in your individuality (Carl Jung called this individuation) and simultaneously help the society to become a collection of heterogeneous individuals, not homogeneous machines!

 

When Integral Psychology is at hand, what then?:

The Vision of Quantum Psychology.

 

In quantum psychology we recognize the full import of what the humanistic psychologist Carl Rogers first hinted: to become a person, we need to be the proud creative producer of a new idea that is my idea. Until that happens, face it: we are just repeating and analyzing other people’s ideas and opinions. To become a quantum society we have to change the essence of society from conditioning to creativity; we have to help others in the society to be creative.

 

What if somebody has neurosis so severe that creativity is impossible, the rigor of the creative process is unbearable.

The quantum psychotherapist (and I don’t necessarily mean a professional) has to lend to such a person his or her creative acumen. If not you, who will? Remember the cognitive/behavioral therapists will always try to adapt their clients to the established cultural complex.

 

How to do it?

Quantum physics has given us two ideas with which to move from “I” to “we” consciousness. The first idea is nonlocality. When I am influencing somebody through local means, local communication, I try to homogenize the person with me—simple human nature. When I communicate with someone with nonverbal and nonlocal consciousness, I empower him or her with the creative power of downward causation.

 

Have you noticed how in the current culture, locality has taken over as our means of communication?

Locality gives us a sense of connectedness—that part is good. But the tendency to homogenize is the problem. We should use the local to connect, but use the connection to trigger and explore our nonlocal consciousness so all of us can prosper individually to fulfill our own creative agenda.

 

For the therapist or activist helper, what works better is establish a tangled hierarchical connection of circular causality with the client and investigate the archetype of wholeness together. If that sounds intriguing, it is not that hard, you will see.

 

Ken Wilber gave us the idea of a four-quadrant consciousness that introduced the notion of “we”-psychology.

Unfortunately, Wilber meant the cultural we, the local homogeneous we. Quantum psychology is much more ambitious, much more in tune with the creative purpose of the evolution of consciousness.

 

The poet John Keats wrote: See the world as Vale for soul-making.

 

If you do, he wrote to a friend, you will see the purpose of the world. The soul is our archetypal body, the body that we cannot manifest yet except through mental creativity. But so long as we are creative, and helping others to be creative, we are okay, we are into soul-making.


Reference.

http://www.amitgoswami.org/2013/08/05/quantum-psychology/

Herbs and Supplements for Depression

Posted by Maddalena Frau on March 25, 2014 at 1:45 AM Comments comments (0)


Depression is a serious medical condition characterized by low mood, lack of energy, sadness, insomnia, and an inability to enjoy life.

Although anyone may experience one or more of these symptoms upon occasion, true depression (sometimes called clinical depression, or major depression) lasts for weeks or more. Until the introduction of antidepressant medications in the mid-20th century, modern medicine could offer few solutions to reverse the debilitating effects of the disease.

With the realization that depression is a physiological disorder caused by disturbances in brain neurotransmitters, rather than a purely psychological disease, scientists worked to develop medications to correct these imbalances. Modern antidepressant drugs work by boosting brain cells’ access to brain messenger chemicals such as serotonin and norepinephrine.

Although modern science has only recently learned to address the underlying causes of depression, for centuries folk medicine has offered some mildly effective treatments. Among these are St. John’s Wort, the omega-3 fatty acids, and other herbal and nutritional supplements.

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

This venerable herb has been cultivated in Europe for centuries, where folk healers have used it to dispel melancholia (which we now call clinical depression) since the days of ancient Greece.

In modern Germany, St. John’s wort is routinely prescribed to treat mild to moderate depression among both children and adults. Some studies have concluded that the herb may be as effective in the treatment of mild to moderate depression as modern antidepressant drug therapy with fewer side effects. 

One caveat: St. John’s wort interacts with numerous drugs, and should never be taken without a doctor’s approval, especially by someone who is presently taking other medications.

Chemicals in the herb are believed to relieve depression, much like modern antidepressant medications, by blocking the reuptake of serotonin by nerve cells, making more serotonin available to the brain. For this reason, it should never be taken with a prescription antidepressant, as a rare, but potentially dangerous excess of serotonin could result.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Countless well-controlled studies have concluded that omega-3 fatty acids, obtained primarily from fatty cold-water fish and fish oil supplements, are crucial for proper regulation of a number of brain functions, including mood.

The omega-3 fatty acids are a group of three chemicals, EPA, DHA and ALA, which are essential nutrients. They must be obtained through the diet, and the body must have an adequate supply to function properly. EPA and DHA are especially important. The brain is nearly 60 percent fat by weight, much of that fat consisting of omega-3 fatty acids, which serve as structural components of the brain’s cells and tissues. As integral components of nerve cell membranes, they play a crucial role in allowing the efficient passage of messenger chemicals.

Many medical professionals believe that depression is rooted in faulty brain chemical signaling, and that, as a result, an adequate supply of omega-3 fatty acids promotes optimal functioning. Studies show that supplemental omega-3 fatty acids may help regulate mood and reduce the likelihood of depression, while also improving the effectiveness of antidepressant medications, should they become necessary. Some studies suggest that an intake of at least 2 g of mixed EPA/DHA per day is beneficial.

SAM-e & Folate

S-adenosyl-methionine (SAM-e) is a common chemical present in every cell in the body. Through simple chemical reactions, it is converted in the body into other important chemicals, including the mood-regulating brain chemicals, dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. Available as a prescription drug in some European countries, SAM-e is sold as a safe, well-tolerated supplement in the U.S.

Studies have shown that levels of SAM-e are abnormally low in the brains of people diagnosed with depression. Clinical trials suggest that oral supplementation with SAM-e reverses this deficit and significantly improves mood. Some trials have concluded that SAM-e may be as effective as older tricyclic antidepressant medications with fewer side effects and a quicker onset of action.

Therapeutic doses may range from 400 mg to 1,600 mg per day. For best results, SAM-e should be taken with B vitamins, including B6, B12, and folic acid. Adequate levels of these vitamins will ensure that SAM-e is not converted to the amino acid, homocysteine, which has been implicated in atherosclerosis, a root cause of cardiovascular disease. Folic acid, also known as folate, is also under investigation as a therapy for mild depression. Folate is often abnormally low among people with depression, and some clinical trials indicate that adding folate to the diet may improve the effectiveness of modern antidepressant drugs.

How to manage anxiety

Posted by Maddalena Frau on February 5, 2014 at 2:00 AM Comments comments (0)



Everyone occasionally experiences some anxiety. It is a normal response to a stressful event or perceived threat. Anxiety can range from feeling uneasy and worried to severe panic. The aim of this Tip Sheet is to inform people about what anxiety is and to provide some tips to help manage anxiety when it becomes a problem.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is an uncomfortable feeling of fear or impending disaster and reflects the thoughts and bodily reactions a person has when they are presented with an event or situation that they cannot manage or undertake successfully. When a person is experiencing anxiety their thoughts are actively assessing the situation, sometimes even automatically and outside of conscious attention, and developing predictions of how well they will cope based on past experiences.

Although some anxiety is a normal response to a stressful situation, when the anxiety level is too high a person may not come up with an effective way of managing the stressful or threatening situation. They might "freeze", avoid the situation, or even fear they may do something that is out of character.

Anxiety generally causes people to experience the following responses:

  • An intense physical response due to arousal of the nervous system leading to physical symptoms such as a racing heartbeat.
  • A cognitive response which refers to thoughts about the situation and the person's ability to cope with it. For someone experiencing high anxiety this often means interpreting situations negatively and having unhelpful thoughts such as "This is really bad" or "I can't cope with this".
  • A behavioural response which may include avoidance or uncharacteristic behaviour including aggression, restlessness or irrational behaviour such as repeated checking.
  • An emotional response reflecting the high level of distress the person is experiencing.

What causes anxiety?

There is no one cause of high anxiety. Rather, there are a number of factors that may contribute to the development of anxious thoughts and behaviour. Some causes of anxiety are listed below.

Hereditary factors 

Research has shown that some people with a family history of anxiety are more likely (though not always) to also experience anxiety. 

 

Biochemical factors

Research suggests that people who experience a high level of anxiety may have an imbalance of chemicals in the brain that regulate feelings and physical reactions. Medication that helps to correct this imbalance can relieve some symptoms of anxiety in some people.

 

Life experiences

Certain life experiences can make people more susceptible to anxiety. Events such as a family break-up, abuse, ongoing bullying at school, and workplace conflict can be stress factors that challenge a person's coping resources and leave them vulnerable to experiencing anxiety.

 

Personality style

Certain personality types are more at risk of high anxiety than others. People who have a tendency to be shy, have low self-esteem, and a poor capacity to cope are more likely to experience high levels of anxiety.

 

Thinking styles

Certain thinking styles make people more at risk of high anxiety than others. For instance, people who are perfectionistic or expect to be in constant control of their emotions are more at risk of worrying when they feel stress.

 

Behavioural styles

Certain ways of behaving also place people at risk of maintaining high anxiety. For instance, people who are avoidant are not likely to learn ways of handling stressful situations, fears and high anxiety.

 

What are the symptoms of anxiety?

The experience of anxiety will vary from person to person. Central features of anxiety include ongoing worry or thoughts that are distressing and that interfere with daily living. In addition to worry or negative thinking, symptoms of anxiety may include:

  • Confusion
  • Trembling
  • Sweating
  • Faintness/dizziness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Upset stomach or nausea
  • Restlessness
  • Avoidance behaviour
  • Irritability

How is anxiety treated?

Psychological treatment, particularly cognitive-behaviour therapy, has been found to be very effective in the treatment of anxiety. Cognitive behaviour therapy is made up of two components. The first component, cognitive therapy, is one of the most common and well supported treatments for anxiety. It is based on the idea that a person's thoughts in response to an event or situation causes the difficult feelings and behaviours (i.e., it is often not an event that causes distress but a person's interpretation of that event). The aim of cognitive therapy is to help people to identify unhelpful beliefs and thought patterns, which are often automatic, negative and irrational, and replace them with more positive and helpful ways of thinking. The second component of cognitive-behaviour therapy involves assistance with changing behaviours that are associated with anxiety, such as avoidance or restlessness. These may be dealt with through learning relaxation techniques and through changes in the way that certain situations are handled.

Other treatments used to address anxiety include medication and making lifestyle changes such as increasing exercise, reducing caffeine and other dietary changes.

Your general practitioner or psychologist will be able to provide you with more information on these treatment options.

Tips on how to manage anxiety

Identification of stress and trigger factors

The first step in managing anxiety is to identify the specific situations that are making you stressed or anxious and when you are having trouble coping. One way to do this is to keep a diary of symptoms and what is happening when anxiety occurs. It is also helpful to identify any worrying thoughts as this can lead to finding ways to solve the specific problem that is of concern.

People tend to have a greater ability to manage stressful events than they sometimes realise. Once you have identified a specific situation that is causing the anxiety, problem-solving is a useful technique to help resolve anxiety by addressing the problem. Structured problem solving involves the following steps:

  1. Identify the problem. When you have identified the situations that are contributing to your anxiety, write down the problem and be very specific in your description, including what is happening, where, how, with whom, why, and what you would like to change.
  2. Come up with as many options as possible for solving the problem, and consider the likely chances that these will help you overcome your problem.
  3. Select your preferred option.
  4. Develop a plan for how to try out the option selected and then carry it out.
  5. If this option does not solve the problem remember that there are other options to try.
  6. Go back to the list and select your next preferred option.

Breathing exercises

When people feel anxious they often breathe more rapidly. This rapid breathing can lead to many of the unpleasant feelings such as light-headedness and confusion that may be experienced when anxious. Learning a breathing technique to slow down breathing can often relieve symptoms and help a person to think more clearly.

The following simple breathing technique can slow down breathing and reduce symptoms of anxiety. You should begin by timing your breathing and then complete the following steps.

  • Breathe in through your nose to the count of three (3 seconds) and say to yourself: "IN, TWO, THREE".
  • Breathe out through your nose, again counting to three, and say to yourself: "RELAX, TWO, THREE".
  • Keep repeating this for two to three minutes, and then time your breathing.

This breathing technique can be used to slow down breathing whenever a person feels anxious and can be done anywhere without anyone else noticing.

Relaxation techniques

People who feel anxious most of the time report that they have trouble relaxing. Knowing how to release muscle tension is an important anxiety treatment. Relaxing can bring about a general feeling of calm, both physically and mentally. Learning a relaxation technique and practising it regularly can help a person to maintain a manageable level of anxiety. A psychologist or other health professional can teach you relaxation techniques or they can be self-taught by using books or CDs that guide you through the steps.

Thought management

Thought management exercises are useful when a person is troubled by ongoing or recurring distressing thoughts. There is a range of thought management techniques. For instance, gentle distraction using pleasant thoughts can help take attention away from unpleasant thoughts. Alternatively, one can learn ‘mindfulness techniques' to redirect attention from negative thinking. A simple technique is ‘thought replacement' or using coping statements. Develop a set of statements that will counteract worrying thoughts (e.g., "This is difficult but I have been through it before and have got through it okay", "Hang in there, this will not last much longer"). Substitute one of the reassuring or coping statements for the troubling thought. The choice of thought management technique will depend on the type of anxiety problem. A psychologist can help you decide on thought management strategies that are likely to be most helpful.

Lifestyle changes

  • Plan to take part in a pleasant activity each day.
    This doesn't have to be something big or expensive as long as it is enjoyable and provides something to look forward to that will take your mind off your worries.
  • Increase exercise.
    Regular exercise will help to reduce anxiety by providing an outlet to let off stress that has been built up in your body.
  • Reduce caffeine intake.
    Caffeine is a stimulant and one of its side-effects is to keep us feeling alert and awake. It also produces the same physiological arousal response that is triggered when we are subjected to stress. Too much coffee will keep us tense, and aroused, leaving us more vulnerable to anxiety.
  • Reduce alcohol intake.
    Alcohol is frequently used to help deal with stress, anxiety and depression. However, too much alcohol leaves us more vulnerable to anxiety and depression.
  • Improve time-management skills.
    Having a busy lifestyle can add daily pressure to your life and serve to increase stress and anxiety. Much of this stress may be associated with poor time management. Plan and schedule time throughout the day but be prepared to be flexible. Ensure to plan some rest time and some leisure activities and be realistic about time limitations, not scheduling too much into the day.

 

Other resources on anxiety

Anxiety disorders

For some people the feeling of high anxiety can become severe and interfere with their functioning, making it difficulty for them to cope with normal daily demands. If this high anxiety persists over a long period of time an anxiety disorder may be diagnosed. Almost 30 per cent of the population will experience some form of anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. A range of anxiety disorders can be diagnosed depending on the symptoms experienced. People with an anxiety problem can frequently experience a number of specific anxiety disorders at the same time. If a person is concerned about having an anxiety disorder it is important to seek professional help to determine the best form of treatment to manage the anxiety.

Generalised Anxiety Disorder. This disorder involves persistent and excessive worry, often about daily situations like work, family or health, with associated physical symptoms. This worry can be difficult to control, leading to problems in concentration, restlessness and difficulty sleeping.

Specific phobia. People with a specific phobia experience extreme anxiety and fear if exposed to a particular feared object or situation. Common phobias include fear of flying, spiders and other animals, heights or small spaces.

Panic Disorder. Panic Disorder occurs when a person has sudden surges of overwhelming fear that come without warning. These panic attacks often only last a few minutes, but repeated episodes may continue to occur.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). In OCD a person has repeated, upsetting thoughts called obsessions (e.g., "there are germs everywhere"). To make these thoughts go away, the person will often perform certain behaviours, called compulsions, over and over again (e.g., repeated hand washing). These compulsions can take over a person's life and while people with OCD usually know that their obsessions and compulsions are an over-reaction, they can't stop them.

Social Anxiety Disorder. In Social Anxiety Disorder the person has severe anxiety about being criticised or negatively evaluated by others. This leads to the person avoiding social events and being afraid of doing something that leads to embarrassment or humiliation.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD can occur after exposure to a frightening and traumatic event. People with PTSD re-experience the traumatic event through memories and/or dreams, they tend to avoid places, people, or other things that remind them of the event, and are extremely sensitive to normal life experiences that are associated with the event.

Mental stress raises cholesterol levels in healthy adults

Posted by Maddalena Frau on November 14, 2013 at 3:25 AM Comments comments (0)




There is good evidence to show that stress can increase a person's heart rate, lower the immune system's ability to fight colds and increase certain inflammatory markers but can stress also raise a person's cholesterol? It appears so for some people, according to a new study that examines how reactions to stress over a period of time can raise a person's lipid levels.

This finding is reported in the November issue of Health Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association (APA). In a sample of 199 healthy middle-aged men and women, researchers Andrew Steptoe, D.Sc., and Lena Brydon, Ph.D., of University College London examined how individuals react to stress and whether this reaction can increase cholesterol and heighten cardiovascular risk in the future. Changes in total cholesterol, including low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL), were assessed in the participants before and three years after completing two stress tasks

This finding is reported in the November issue of Health Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association (APA). In a sample of 199 healthy middle-aged men and women, researchers Andrew Steptoe, D.Sc., and Lena Brydon, Ph.D., of University College London examined how individuals react to stress and whether this reaction can increase cholesterol and heighten cardiovascular risk in the future. Changes in total cholesterol, including low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL), were assessed in the participants before and three years after completing two stress tasks.

 The study found that individuals vary in their cholesterol responses to stress, said Dr. Steptoe. "Some of the participants show large increases even in the short term, while others show very little response. The cholesterol responses that we measured in the lab probably reflect the way people react to challenges in everyday life as well. So the larger cholesterol responders to stress tasks will be large responders to emotional situations in their lives. It is these responses in everyday life that accumulate to lead to an increase in fasting cholesterol or lipid levels three years later. It appears that a person's reaction to stress is one mechanism through which higher lipid levels may develop."

The stress testing session involved examining the participants' cardiovascular, inflammatory and hemostatic functions before and after their responses to performance on moderately stressful behavioral tasks. The stress tasks used were computerized color-word interference and mirror tracing. The color-word task involved flashing a series of target color words in incongruous colors on a computer screen (ex. Yellow letters spelling the color blue). At the bottom of the computer screen, four names of colors were displayed in incorrect colors. The object of the task was to match the name of the color to the target word. The other task used was mirror tracing, which required the participant to trace a star seen in a mirror image. The participants were told to focus more on accuracy than on speed in both tasks.

At the follow up three years later, cholesterol levels in all the participants in the study had gone up, as might be expected through passage of time. However, individuals with larger initial stress responses had substantially greater rises in cholesterol than those with small stress responses. The people in the top third of stress responders were three times more likely to have a level of 'bad' (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol above clinical thresholds than were people in the bottom third of stress responders. These differences were independent of their baseline levels of cholesterol levels, gender, age, hormone replacement, body mass index, smoking or alcohol consumption.

The authors found no sex differences among the participants in their cholesterol levels and response to stress. Steptoe and Brydon speculate on the reasons why acute stress responses may raise fasting serum lipids. One possibility may be that stress encourages the body to produce more energy in the form of metabolic fuels - fatty acids and glucose. These substances require the liver to produce and secrete more LDL, which is the principal carrier of cholesterol in the blood. Another reason may be that stress interferes with lipid clearance and a third possibility could be that stress increases production of a number of inflammatory processes like, interleukin 6, tumor necrosis factor and C-Reactive protein that also increase lipid production.

Even though these lipid responses to stress were not large, said Dr. Steptoe, "the levels are something to be concerned about. It does give us an opportunity to know whose cholesterol may rise in response to stress and give us warning for those who may be more at risk for coronary heart disease."

Article: "Associations Between Acute Lipid Stress Responses and Fasting Lipid Levels 3 Years Later," Andrew Steptoe, D.Sc., and Lena Brydon, Ph.D., University College London; Health Psychology, Vol. 24, No. 6.

Kundalini & Schizophrenia

Posted by Maddalena Frau on October 5, 2013 at 4:10 AM Comments comments (0)


Kundalini & Schizophrenia

   

Factors that trigger both schizophrenic breaks and kundalini awakenings include circumstances of impossible dilemmas, double-binds, and avoidance/attraction etc... That is situations in which we cannot proceed in a logical-prefrontal manner, but which force us to spin our wheels and to experience angst, perplexity and frustration. Since energy is not utilized in a normal fashion it builds and leads to a psycho-energetic crisis—the energies of flight fight, having no resolution basically kick off either a psychotic breakdown or breakthrough—usually a bit of both. Koans, of course operate in a similar fashion to confound the normal rational thinking process leading to the overload of the nervous system and the sudden progress to a new level of awareness.

Symptoms of schizophrenia include: thought disorder, withdrawal-retardation, hallucination, estrangement, psychosis, sensory gating deficits, voices, delusions, obsession, paranoia, feels out of time, out of space, loss of body boundaries, and non-existent as a person.

The perturbation of everyday consciousness reduces the filtering system and presents a scale of consciousness that spans from schizophrenic to mystic. This transnormal impact of consciousness if interpreted adequately by the rational mind is then called mystic revelation. If however the rational mind is off kilter then ones interpretation is called schizophrenic.

When we penetrate beyond everyday consciousness we are both more animal-essential and more Godlike-omnipotent. We experience a range and subtlety of interconnectedness that would be simply frightening and crazy-making to our normal socio-conditioned repressed mode of being. Thus we only get to sense the true nonlocality of consciousness during peak events—either awakenings or breakdowns. That is not to say that our super-senses are not there in ordinary life, it is just that we simply filter out the information in order to cooperate with the dumbed down operational level that society adheres to. There is an enormous “leveling” system that goes on unconsciously in communities where noone is “allowed” to be more awaken than the others, and we are subtley or overtly punished if we are.

It seems like embeddedness (attraction/aversion) in duality leads to nonduality. For if were not “affected” by the symbols, myths and archetypes that we use to give “story” to our lives, no psychic tension would arise to propel us out of the vice of “normal” consciousness. As the subtle-psychic levels arise we become hyper-affected by the imagery and our story of duality and this builds up such a psychic tension that a kundalini awakening is sparked off.

After an awakening we become psychosomatically differentiated from the images, symbols, myths, stories and personal identity that we were so involved in before. Thus consciousness has become separated from its contents. Perhaps this is the difference between a schizophrenic and a mystic. The mystic has become emancipated from the persuasions of psychic content, while the schizophrenic has become lost in them.

The perturbation and removal of normal consciousness and the consequent disruption of egoic-metaprogramming is not regression—it is not going backwards—but merely the removal of adaptive/repressive functioning in the present. This creates an entirely new consciousness that has never occurred in ones history, yet may have features similar to infantile being. This loss of the sense of the known self (ego) is standard procedure in many of the extreme kundalini events and in the overall metamorphic process itself.

Contributing to this perturbation of consensus-adaptive consciousness is both the extreme amplification and expansion of consciousness during peak events and the consequent damage done by neurotransmitters, free radicals and metabolites. The higher we climb above the "norm," the further we thus fall into the downside of these acute neurological events. This is the shamanic journey to the heavens and then into the hell realms. Both extra-normal conditions could be classed as regression by an ignorant observer; but both high and low are equally part of the path toward the emergence of the life of the Soul. There must indeed be a suspension or cataclysmic breakthrough of the norm for the infinitely larger soul’s life to be born. So rather than "regression” in the service of the ego, we could more aptly state that during a kundalini awakening we undergo "suspension” of the ego in the service of the soul.

For those that are breaking out of consensus mind and who are leaning toward inflation or the schizophrenic end of the scale, this vulnerable condition is NOT the time to be intensive meditation, shadow work or primal processing. For these people stabilizing and structure building is needed more than uncovering therapies as the interpenetration of the levels of consciousness proceeds. Humor, because of its trickster element is a great tool for establishing rationality, because laughter builds up the prefrontal lobes. The practices for the periods of unstable integration between the levels of consciousness should be of an embodiment and boundary building nature. Of self-definition through internal exploration via neo-shamanistic practices of a self-originating nature. The work of Miguel Ruiz, Byron Katie and Alberto Villoldo would be valuable at this stage to establish the self/other boundary and build up the core-self.

Therapists attending to people undergoing kundalini awakenings could benefit from reading Ken Wilber’s writings on schizophrenia such as Chapter 17 of The Atman Project. This piece entitled Schizophrenia or Mysticism is very good, yet I would like to add a distinction. I think that awakening from “normal conscious’ runs a scale between schizophrenia and mysticism and each of us has a gravity to a particular point on that scale. But throughout the duration of an awakening we may sometimes be closer to the schizophrenic end of the scale and sometimes closer to the Mystic end of the scale depending on how stable and adaptable the rational faculty is at the time.

“Mysticism is not regression in the service of the ego, but evolution in transcendence of the ego. The mystic seeks progressive evolution. He trains for it. It takes most of his lifetime—with luck—to reach permanent, mature transcendent and unity structures. At the same time he maintains potential access to ego, logic, membership, syntax, etc…He follows a carefully mapped out path under close supervision. He is not contacting past and infantile experiences, but present and prior depths of reality.”

Some of the chemistry could be similar between kundalini and various mental illnesses, because of kundalini’s perturbing revelatory quality, nothing is left unseen and unfelt within one...there is no where to hide. The former repressive hold of the ego is released by the dissolution and so the psychic tension is let fly...in whatever form we have stored within us.

Relationships are particularly good at triggering kundalini awakenings because our brain's primary matrix is constructed in relationship to our primary caregiver in infancy—thus relationship later in life can trigger the release of incredible psychic forces bound up in such complexes as avoidance/attraction, double-bind, relentless dilemma, rejection and abandonment. Complexes, are webs of associations created by intense or repeated activation of an archetype. Psychic storms based on these kinds of primary archetypal patterns build slowly over the course of a life, underneath the repressive lid of our ego's coping mechanisms and defenses.

One wonders what is left after all our compensations and camouflages are penetrated; is there a life at all if we are not doing all this secondary work of trying to prop ourselves up, defend ourselves or kill ourselves? But unless things build up to popping point, unless kundalini sparks up, we will remain in the clutches of the vice that we built to protect ourselves from the reality we were born into. The ego will not voluntarily go into that "hole" in our primary matrix...spirit however willingly goes there in equanimous embrace to find light in the dark. Kundalini is a spiritual force that arises spontaneously to save ourSelf from our self.

If you are congenitally schizophrenic, or interpret events in a mythic or highly personal way then it is best to steer clear of trying to raise kundalini, because the "self" is just not strong enough to ride out the dissolution of self and the intensity of archetypical psychic contents that arise during an awakening. Kundalini is a radical amplification of our subjective eye and subjective experience that is why those with unstable neurology can be driven over the deepend. I think this is probably what happens in the majority of mental breakdowns. Under kundalini’s incideous power even the strongest brains can fall into morbid-grandiose-hypersubjectivity and think that the universe is made for them and that they control the weather and the stars.

I think this state of pathological grandiose inflation is the fate of many a Guru and rather than true transcendence it represents infantile fusion and indissociation, that is magically and mythically charged (e.g. the purple and red in spiral dynamics). This subjective-fusion with manifestation is similar to an infant’s magical uroboric perspective; a state of oceanic indissociation or egocentric fusion, which is undifferentiated or "one with" local environs.

“We have noted that in the world of the infant the solicitude of the parent conduces to a belief that the universe is oriented to the child’s own interest and ready to respond to every thought and desire. This flattering circumstances not only reinforces the primary indissociation between inside and out, but even adds to it a further habit of command, linked to an experience of immediate effect. The resultant impression of an omnipotence of thought—the power of thought, desire, a mere nod or shriek, to bring the world to heel—Freud identified as the psychological base of magic, and the researches of Piagest and his school support this view. The child’s world is alert and alive, governed by rules of response and command, not by physical laws: a portentous continuum of consciousness endowed with purpose and intent, either resistant or responsive to the child itself. And, as we know, this infantile notion (or something much like it) of a world governed rather by moral than by physical laws, kept under control by a super-ordinated parental peresonality instead of impersonal physical forces, and oriented to the weal and woe of man, is an illusion that dominates men’s thought in most parts of the world—to the very present. We are dealing here with a spontaneous assumption, antecedent to all teaching, which has given rise to, and now supports, certain religious and magical beliefts, and when reinforced in turn by these remains as an absolutely ineradicable conviction, which no amount of rational thought or empirical science can quite erase.” Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God, Volume 1: Primitive Mythology


Schizophrenia maybe a hypo-glutamatergic illness: excessive glutamate metabolism leading to the damage of receptors and exhaustion of glutamate as a neurotransmitter. Studies found that high levels of glutamate antagonists were present, and glutamate levels decreased in the prefrontal and hippocampal regions of schizophrenics. The limbic regions especially the hippocampus contain high concentrations of NMDA and AMPA glutamate receptors, however in schizophrenia these are reduced. Some researchers speculate that overactivity of the brain's cannabinoid system may contribute to schizophrenic symptoms

Glycine is essential at the NMDA receptor site, it was found that there were an increase in glycine receptors possibly as compensation for the reduced glutamate activity. Increasing NMDA function with glycine agonists maybe a potential new strategy for the management of schizophrenia. High doses of glycine at 30 g/day gave significant antipsychotic results. Schizophrenia and Glutamate, B. G. Bunney, PhD.,

Some of the schizophrenic type symptoms of kundalini awakenings could be due to hypertonality of the nerves activating the release of Ca2+ thereby killing off neurons, axons and reducing the number of NMDA glutamate receptors. That is during the peak kundalini stage first there is abnormally high concentrations of glutamate and over excitation of nerve cells, followed by a hypo-glutamate period of burnout and recovery lasting 5 or more years until the glutamate receptor systems have reinstated themselves. Thus glutamate toxicity leads to a glutamate deficiency.

The NMDA receptor is activated by the neurotransmitter glycine as well as glutamate. It appears that it might be advisable to take glycine supplementation during awakening as it has calming rather than excitatory properties and is used in bipolar treatment and for hyperactivity. Also to reduce kundalini it might be worth investigating inhibitors such as L-lysine which functions as antagonist to glutamate receptors. Since lysine blocks the NMDA receptors it might protect them from damage during radical kundalini events. It is likely that it will also reduce the severity of such events.

Histamine protects against NMDA-induced necrosis in cultured cortical neurons. It has been found that about half the patients classified as suffering from schizophrenia have low histamine levels in the blood, and as histamine levels were increased, their health improved. (See Histamine for more on this.)

In his book What Really Causes Schizophrenia, Harold Foster proposes that schizophrenia is not caused by excess dopamine but by excessive levels of a metabolite of adrenaline—adrenochrome. Adrenochrome acts as a hallucinogen, free radical generator and neurotoxin that interferes with biochemical systems and damages the thyroid. Dr. Foster suggests that treatment should include methods to reduce adrenaline producing stress and slow down its metabolism to adrenochrome. Sugar consumption and allergin exposure should also be reduced. Coupled with a supplemental program that includes high doses of niacin, thiamine or coenzyme Q10 along with desiccated thyroid to help thyroid damage.

Archetypes and Health

There are common themes in the symbols and archetypes that arise during the energy flux of both kundalini and schizophrenia. As these images arise biochemically within us they themselves become the resonant filter via which we find synchronous information and events in the outer world to reinforce the energetic power of the archetype we are preoccupied with. This process of alchemy via correspondence between the inner and outer worlds is mostly geared into the visual cortex it seems. We project our interiors and this adds fuel to the heat of our internal flame. At this time the repressive mechanism of the prefrontal-Superego is reduced and we have more access to potent dream visuals, visions and the full spectrum of psychic supersenses—including precognition (temporal penetration) and bio-telepathic-navigation (nonlocality/spacial penetration).

Dreams are reflections of the archetypal psyche. Note that the dream life we have is inclusive but transcendent of who we are as a conditioned being. Dreams offer us a deeper human experience and understanding than we can arrive at during our waking state. They have originality, depth, genius, profundity and transpersonal meaning way beyond anything arrived at via the intellect. Dreams impact us at a species level to affect alchemical transformation via emotional-cellular retuning. Since dreams are our greatest teacher, that means that the archetypal layers of the psyche are actually superior to the intellect and the associative mind is a mere student or tool of this mind beyond the mind which is inconceivably vast and unfathomable. If we were exposed to the full impact of this greater mind without our normal restrictive filters we would probably never return to the limited state that we call sanity. Because the complexity, interrrelatedness, exquisite beauty, portent and love of the archetypal realm of the Gods would be such a shock to our habituated dissocation.

The Dreamer who dreams our dreams knows far more of us than we know of it." R.D. Laing

Symbols of the Collective Dream

Positive Images —Center, return to beginnings, lost paradise, logos of origins, the egg, new society, new humanity, New Jerusalem, new earth, new birth, Mary and child, Divine child, sacred marriage, androgyne, apotheosis as God or Goddess, king or queen, deity or saint, hero or heroine, messiah, one chosen for leadership. Quadrated fourfold structure to the World, law of One, play of the opposites.

Negative Images—Fire, the snake, chaos, lost, no nurture, decay, dismemberment, death, dissolution in the Void, dangerous abyss, falling, cosmic conflict, Armageddon, world domination, triumph of the Antichrist, evil ruler, threat of the opposite, supremacy of the opposite sex, fool, clown, ghost, witch, puny outsider, stranger danger, UFOs, alien invasion, abduction, stuck, suffocation, possession, malevolent entities.

These various symbols also arise in the collective daily consciousness as impulses of joint active imagination…there is indeed probably a progressive spiral pattern to the successive emergence of these various inspirational symbols above and beyond the interference of media. They are contagious chemical, quantum, and visionary impulses that arise during certain periods, as an infinity of nested archetypal memes arising spontaneously from the Void impacting us all. They are probably keyed into cosmic and annual solar/lunar cycles also. It is through the madness of this kind of collective waking-dream that events like the holocaust or wars in general are undertaken.

We can run into trouble with patterns of cyclic metabolic disturbance if the interpretation the subjective experience of our awakening remains in the mythic-archetypal realm, by being possessed by the figments of our alchemical imagination. With the perturbation of consensus mind and the sometimes instantaneous new levels of sensing and consciousness, we must then learn to recognize this newfound awareness in rational, Higher-Self accepting terms. To avoid spiraling into prolonged metabolic and cognitive chaos we must accept these new levels of awareness and physiological condition as coming from “us” and not from an alien entity or God. That is we must claim responsibility for our Self as it incarnates at an accelerated pace and not project the cause of our condition onto external people, entities or events.

As an integrated human we can still "have" our story, but we must keep it in its place by running it through a progressively rational interpretation. For it is this rationalizing process that integrates the archetypal imaginal world (reptilian/old mammalian brain) into the 21st Century prefrontal lobes. In schizophrenia the individual has no objective distance between him and the objects or contents in his mind and by being perpetually and totally engrossed in the internal drama his biochemistry spirals out of control leading to catabolic breakdown of tissues and affecting long term cellular and neurological processes and structures.

Chronic illness can occur due to the presence of biotoxins which the body is unable to eliminate. These biotoxins can be cause and effect in cyclic periods of mental illness as well as physical disorder. Endogenous toxins are produced like ammonia, methylmalonic acid, free radicals; and an acid pH generates a different kind of metabolism. Studies in rats show that all catecholamines (excitatory neurotransmitters) including norepinephrine (NE), dopamine, and epinephrine, are toxic to neurons as well as glial cells. Plus neuron excitotoxicity also occurs with excess glutamate and nitric oxide. Biochemists and physiologists are now recognizing that these regulators or products of their metabolism as potential endogenous toxins. Other potential endogenous neurotoxins include: tetraisoquinolines, beta-carbolines, methylimidazoles, tryptamines, and biotoxins produced by intestinal bacteria and these are just a few.

Certain levels of these compounds exists in a healthy organism, but when they are hyperproduced they can generate pathogenic toxic products under the action of certain conditions such as mental disorder, stress, infection, alcohol or exposure to drugs or exotoxins and pollutants. Using our mind in ways that perpetuate metabolic toxicity creates “enterometabolic disorders which have a relationship to inflammation, musculoskeletal pain and degeneration, suppressed immunity, autoimmune disorders and lowered fertility. Using our mind in healthy ways lowers the body’s burden of metabolic toxins, which in turn reduces the inflammatory cascade.

(See Toxic Brain Syndrome and The Ammonia Hypothesis)
—The connection between pathogens, biotoxins, inflammatory and immune disorders.

Archetypal Fixation

If we lack powerful connection to our Muse’s higher art and purpose, this can lead to the energy of awakening remaining in the symbolic phantoms of our archetypal matrix. The elevated energetic activation of the autonomic-medulla and emotional-limbic brain can hold us captive, running out their own dramas. In a sense these captivating figments are not us, but programs entered into us via our origins and our position in the collective unconscious. If we can objectively gain distance from the content of our mind and emotions, we can then be still enough for our higher purpose and spiritual vocation to emerge from the maelstrom. Human life is all symbols. We live in a mind soup of psychoconfabulation. The art to life is to disembed from the symbols of mind-stuff so that we can use them, instead of them using us.

Archetypal Validation

For the initiate there is a lot of support out there nowadays, through various kundalini institutes and Spiritual Emergence Network SEN in various countries. The psychotherapy industry is slowing addressing the issue. But there is a danger that because psychotherapists are trained in pathology, not human excellence and evolution that they will treat kundalini as though it was a form of disease. Believe me when one is studying pathology one takes on a bit of the stigma and paranoia of the pathology. While individuals in the throws of an awakening are as sensitive and vulnerable as they will ever be, great care should be taken to reassure them and not drive their chemistry into a paranoiac downward spiral. Also the energy and cyclic flow of the awakening should be honored, if the process is countermanded, contested and stopped this can cause grave danger to the individual.

The archetypical content should be respected and perhaps seen through various lenses, but it should never be dismissed as delusion or mere projection. If this happens then the whole cascade of chemistry that packs enormous energies and psychic forces can be prematurely deflated and then it turns into a self-destructive bomb in the bodymind of the awakener. Consequently this can lead to such a devastating production of free radicals and catabolic agents that the mind of the individual can be permanently damaged. Hence professionals that deal with kundalini have to be of a post-conventional, humanist bent. They need to specialize in self-actualization, with a thorough understanding of the nonordinary nature of this chemistry, the physiology and the larger picture of the evolution of the human species and life in general. They will be effective to the extent that they too participate in the Mystery along with their clients.

Erich Jantsh, coined the term "self-organization." The science of self-organization concedes that the most interesting structures in nature are not caused in the usual sense but, rather, cause themselves to come into being. They "self-organize." Another term for this is Autopoiesis, the process whereby an organization produces itself. Like physical formation and birth of a child, kundalini is autopoietic. That is it occurs under its own innate chemistry. It is a cosmic birth—the Universe is birthing itself through us. But just as the environmental conditions (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual) may not be condusive to the true well-being of a human birth, so too the conditions for a spiritual birth may not be constructive and alchemically-cocreative with the universe to bring about the spiritualized individual. The only reason why this is so is Ignorance!

Because an awakening involves mechanisms that lead to the death of old mental pathways, the necrosis of neurons and axons and inferior cells throughout the body—if this is not undertaken in life-affirming circumstances then much more extensive die-back can occur—and if conditions are not suitable during the rehabilitation phase then the time specific period for retraining the brain in preferred pathways and states is forfeited. Can you not see then the potential for brain damage coupled with circumstantial dehumanization through environmental deprivation. And all because of our wholesale ignorance over this natural process of spiritual death and rebirth.

Bruce MacLennan in his chapter in the book Neurotheology P305-14 says that archetypes as described by Jung, provide the crucial link between the material and spiritual worlds; shaping the conscious contents by regulating, modifying and motivating them. He says the archetypes (inherited patterns of behavior) are objectively real and crucially important for meaningful human life. This might be the best material out there on the impact of the archetypes on the psyche.

I cannot recommend Neurotheology: Brain, Science, Spirituality, Religious Experience highly enough. Some of the authors contributing to this book include: Rhawn Joseph, Andrew Newburg, Michael Persinger, William James, Eugene d’Aquili, and many more.

Follow the works of John Weir Perry for an interesting look into the archetypal symbols that arise within the psyche during awakening. There is an interview with Jeffery Mishlove—Visionary Experience or Psychosis with John W. Perry, M.D.

Trials of the Visionary Mind: Spiritual Emergency and the Renewal Process; John Weir Perry State University of New York Press, 1998.

The Living Labyrinth: Exploring Universal Themes in Myths, Dreams, and the Symbolism of Waking Life by Jeremy Taylor; Paulist Press, 1998.

Also Volume 5 of Carl Jung’s Collected Works: Symbols of Transformation.
The Unfolding Self: Varieties of Transformative Experience, by Ralph Metzner is a good overall map of universal symbols and concepts to the transformational process.

Rudi: 14 Years With My Teacher by John Mann, is a fabulous book on the psychological aspects of cultivating kundalini, it is a very reassuring book. www.rudimovie.org —some mp3 audio of Rudi.

Psychometric Tests

Posted by Maddalena Frau on May 20, 2013 at 8:15 AM Comments comments (0)


Warwick  Southampton  Durham

This website is a collaborative project created by psychology postgraduates from universities across the UK. The personality questionnaires on this website are typically the result of research projects or on-going course material.

Other significant contributors currently include BPS Level A and Level B qualified Business Psychologists and Trainee Occupational Psychologists seconded from companies.

This is an open and collaborative psychometric test resource and so anyone who is interested in psychology, particularly at degree or doctorate level, are welcome to contact us to become involved.

http://www.psychometrictest.org.uk


Interpersonal Skills Test

Take the Interpersonal Skills test to evaluate your personable abilities. What are Interpersonal Skills? Interpersonal skills describe how we interact with others, whether in a social or occupational setting, although generally in the business world it is considered to refer…

Resilience Test

Take the Resilience test and asses how resilient you are. What is it? The Resilience Test is formed of 50 self-report statements that have been designed to determine the strengths of certain personality traits from the individual’s responses to them,…

Entrepreneur Test

Take the Entrepreneur Test online to see if you have natural entrepreneurial potential. What is it? The entrepreneurial questionnaire is designed to assess the personality traits associated with entrepreneurial ability, in order to provide insight into the current qualities possessed…

Leadership Test

Take the leadership test and see if your personality traits lend themselves to a successful leadership role.  What is it? The leadership questionnaire is a 50 item self-report psychometric test which aims to assess and evaluate specific personality characteristics that…

Big Five Test

Take the classic five-factor ‘Big Five’ personality questionnaire based on Openness, Contentiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, Neuroticism. What is it? The big-five personality test has been used by psychologists for years in order to measure the strength of certain personable characteristics, the accuracy…

16PF Test

Take the free 16PF personality questionnaire online and learn about your personality traits. What is it? The sixteen personality factors or 16PF psychometric test assesses various primary personality traits in order to provide feedback about an individual’s disposition, traditionally used by…



Brain Anatomy of Dyslexia Is not the Same in Boys and Girls

Posted by Maddalena Frau on May 20, 2013 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (0)


Using MRI, neuroscientists at Georgetown University Medical Center found significant differences in brain anatomy when comparing men and women with dyslexia to their non-dyslexic control groups, suggesting that the disorder may have a different brain-based manifestation based on sex.

Their study, investigating dyslexia in both males and females, is the first to directly compare brain anatomy of females with and without dyslexia (in children and adults). Their findings were published online in the journal Brain Structure and Function.

Because dyslexia is two to three times more prevalent in males compared with females, "females have been overlooked," says senior author Guinevere Eden, PhD, director for the Center for the Study of Learning and past-president of the International Dyslexia Association.

"It has been assumed that results of studies conducted in men are generalizable to both sexes. But our research suggests that researchers need to tackle dyslexia in each sex separately to address questions about its origin and potentially, treatment," Eden says.

Previous work outside of dyslexia demonstrates that male and female brains are different in general, adds the study's lead author, Tanya Evans, PhD.

"There is sex-specific variance in brain anatomy and females tend to use both hemispheres for language tasks, while males just the left," Evans says. "It is also known that sex hormones are related to brain anatomy and that female sex hormones such as estrogen can be protective after brain injury, suggesting another avenue that might lead to the sex-specific findings reported in this study."

The study of 118 participants compared the brain structure of people with dyslexia to those without and was conducted separately in men, women, boys and girls. In the males, less gray matter volume is found in dyslexics in areas of the brain used to process language, consistent with previous work. In the females, less gray matter volume is found in dyslexics in areas involved in sensory and motor processing.

The results have important implications for understanding the origin of dyslexia and the relationship between language and sensory processing, says Evans.

reference

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130508131831.htm

Higher Child Marriage Rates Associated With Higher Maternal and Infant Mortality

Posted by Maddalena Frau on May 15, 2013 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)


Countries in which girls are commonly married before the age of 18 have significantly higher rates of maternal and infant mortality, report researchers in the current online issue of the journal Violence Against Women.

The study, by Anita Raj, PhD, a professor in the Department of Medicine in the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Ulrike Boehmer, PhD, an associate professor in the Boston University School of Public Health, is the first published ecological analysis of child marriage and maternal mortality. The study demonstrates that a 10 percent reduction in girl child marriage could be associated with at 70 percent reduction in a country's maternal mortality rate.

"Our analyses accounted for development indicators and world region, and still documented that nations with higher rates of girl child marriage are significantly more likely to contend with higher rates of maternal and infant mortality and non-utilization of maternal health services," said Raj.

"Though child marriage is not highly common in the United States," said Raj, "these findings are meaningful because they hold true for adolescent pregnancy, regardless of marriage. Young age at childbirth increases risk for both maternal and infant mortality."

Girl child marriage is defined as the marriage of girls age 17 and younger. Although the practice has generally declined in recent years, it remains relatively common in regions like South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, where up to 70 percent of females in some countries are married as minors. Worldwide, the United Nations estimates more than 60 million women and girls are affected, and considers girl child marriage to be a health and human rights violation.

Raj and Boehmer said certain social contexts increase the likelihood of child marriage, among them rural and impoverished areas with low access to health care and girl education. Regional conflict and instability tend to worsen the situation.

"Girl marriage is viewed as a means of protection from both economic instability and rape due to perceptions of sexual availability of unmarried girls and women," said Raj. "Poverty and conflict can exacerbate parents' desire to have their girl married at a younger age."

Child brides are also more likely to experience social inequities -- reduced status and access to education or jobs -- and suffer gender-based abuse. The effects extend into personal health: Girls married as minors are more likely to bear children as minors, resulting in higher risk for delivery complications, low infant birth weight and child malnutrition.

The new study builds upon earlier findings. Raj and Boehmer compared maternal and child health indicators and HIV prevalence with girl child marriage rates for 97 nations in which relevant data was available. They found strong associations between high child marriage rates and poor health indicators, but no evidence of higher child bride-higher HIV prevalence. The HIV finding, said the researchers, may be the result of a lack of evidence, underscoring the complexity of HIV and its effects in diverse societies.

Nonetheless, the authors say their latest work supports greater advocacy and action to reduce child marriage rates.

"Currently, many nations, such as Yemen and Saudi Arabia, are considering whether or not to alter policies allowing marriage of minor-aged girls, while other nations like India and Nepal are struggling with enforcement of existing policies," Raj said. "These findings suggest policy and programmatic work to restrict and eliminate the practice of child marriage may be effective in improving national levels of maternal and child health."

The above story is reprinted from materials provided by University of California - San Diego.


Bipolar Disorder

Posted by Maddalena Frau on April 27, 2013 at 3:00 AM Comments comments (0)

The "Bottom Line" -- The Main Point of All This

If your depressions are complicated; if you have mood swings, but not "mania", you can still be "bipolar enough" to need a treatment that's more like the treatments we use in more easily recognized Bipolar Disorder. You'll read here about those forms which do not have "mania" to make them stand out or easily recognizable, including Bipolar II. Depression is the main symptom, including especially sleeping too much, extreme fatigue, and lack of motivation. What makes bipolar depression different is the presence of something else as well

But that "something else" often does not look anything like mania. "Hypomania", which you'll learn about here, can show up as huge sleep changes, irritability, agitation/anxiety, and difficulty concentrating.

And finally, some people can have some bipolarity without any hypomania at all.

What happened to "manic-depressive" (now bipolar I)?

Somewhere along the way you probably learned about manic-depressive illness: episodes of mania, and episodes of severe depression. Here are the symptoms of "mania"

  • Mood much better than normal
  • Rapid speech
  • Little need for sleep
  • Racing thoughts, trouble concentrating
  • Continuous high energy
  • Overconfidence
  • Delusions (often grandiose, but including paranoid)

What happened to "manic-depressive"?

As our understanding of bipolar disorder has grown, the naming system has changed as well. Recently the concept of a "mixed state" of bipolar disorder, in which manic symptoms and depressive symptoms are found at the same time, was added. Obviously this changes the understanding of manic-depressive illness from one in which the two mood states alternate, to one in which they can co-occur! Things are getting more complicated.

Psychiatry has a diagnostic "rule book" that lists the symptoms people must have in order to meet the definition of a particular "disorder", called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. The most recent edition came out in 1994, the "DSM-IV". "Bipolar II" was added in this edition, although it was first described as a pattern of mood change long before that. Technically Bipolar II describes a pattern in which patients experience "hypomania" (to be discussed in detail below), alternating with episodes of severe depression.

However, one of the most experienced professionals in this field, who has bipolar disorder herself, has criticized even this advance as too limited:

    "The clinical reality of manic-depressive illness is far more lethal and infinitely more complex than the current psychiatric nomenclature, bipolar disorder, would suggest. Cycles of fluctuating moods and energy levels serve as a background to constantly changing thoughts, behaviors, and feelings. The illness encompasses the extremes of human experience. Thinking can range from florid psychosis, or "madness," to patterns of unusually clear, fast and creative associations, to retardation so profound that no meaningful mental activity can occur. Behavior can be frenzied, expansive, bizarre, and seductive, or it can be seclusive, sluggish, and dangerously suicidal. Moods may swing erratically between euphoria and despair or irritability and desperation. The rapid oscillations and combinations of such extremes result in an intricately textured clinical picture." (Kay Jamison, Ph.D.)

 Everything you will read below can be found in a recent review by two mood experts, except that their version is written in full medical jargon. 

Even the International Society for Bipolar Disorders has advocated a change in diagnostic procedure, moving beyond the DSM-IV, using what we've learned since 1994 in the diagnostic process (Ghaemi and colleagues; if you look closely you'll see that my name is on the list of co-authors: I was honored to be invited to participate and write for this 2008 update on bipolar diagnosis guidelines). Their recommendations are very consistent with what you'll read below. 

What is the official definition of Bipolar II?

Hypomania

Technically, this is literally a "little" mania — the familiar symptoms but less so:

  • Mood much better than normal
  • Rapid speech
  • Little need for sleep
  • Racing thoughts, trouble concentrating
  • Continuous high energy
  • Overconfidence

You may have noticed that "delusions" have disappeared from the list: these are by definition not found in Bipolar II. A patient who has had the above symptoms repeatedly, without having delusions, is much less likely to ever lose contact with reality (including weird experiences like auditory hallucinations, which are common in bipolar mania) than a patient who has experienced delusions.

"Bipolar II" is technically the combination of hypomanic phases with separate phases of severe depression If the depressive phases are only mild, the term "cyclothymia" is used. Getting confused? I certainly was, until I began to think of these variations as points on a continuous spectrum. I hope the following discussion will impress you as simpler.

What is the "mood spectrum?" (references updated 4/2008)

Until very recently, depression and "manic-depressive illness" were understood as completely independent: a patient either had one or the other. Now the two are seen by many mood specialists  as two extremes on a continuum, with variations found at all points in between, as in the graph below (e.g. Ghaemi; Pies; Moller; Birmaher; Skeppar; Mackinnon; Angst and Cassano; Akiskal to name just a few important articles since 2001; and finally, my ISBD review in 2008):

On the left, the "unipolar" extreme represents straightforward depression with no complications. There are many forms of depression, of course. For an overview, see the appendix: "What kinds of depression are there?". The depressions discussed further below are of a more genetic, or "chemical" nature; versus those of a more situational type, like losing a loved one. Situational depressions may respond well to time or therapy and not require "bipolar" thinking.

On the right, the "manic-depressive" extreme is defined by the presence of manic episodes, just the kind that most people have seen or heard of: full delusional mania. But in between these extremes is a large area which some mood experts think includes more people than either extreme. In other words, it might be the most common form of bipolar disorder, this middle group.

Consider the following points A and B on this spectrum:

Point A on the continuum describes people who have a complex depression but who still respond well to antidepressant medication or psychotherapy.

Around point B, however, there is some sort of threshold where these approaches are no longer completely or continuously effective: either they don’t work at all, offer only partial relief, or help for a while then "stop working" (which may account for some or much of "Prozac poop-out", now regarded as a "soft sign" of bipolar disorder, described below).  

Until 1994 and the publication of the DSM-IV, there was no official name for all the variations between B and the "manic-depressive" extreme.

It was as though these variations did not exist. In the minds of a few, they still don’t, including some psychiatrists who have not adopted this new "spectrum" way of thinking about diagnosis.

The DSM-IV itself does not describe this "spectrum" concept. In it, the entire span between blue and green is still "Major Depression", the same as the violet end to your left. Only the orange and red zones are clearly "bipolar".

Light green and yellow is BP NOS, Bipolar Not Otherwise Specified. That diagnosis means you have something that looks like bipolar disorder but does not meet the criteria for BP II or BP I. Isn't it simpler just to think of it as a continuum? That is much closer to reality. We see all sorts of variations in between these named points on the graph above. 

What do "bipolar variations" look like?

Warning: The following represents my clinical experience taking referrals from primary care physicians. Most patients I see have been on 3 or more antidepressants before I see them. This selects very directly for "bipolar spectrum" patients. However, note that none of these descriptions are found in the DSM, nor are they widely spoken of by mood experts. This is my personal formulation based on almost 15 years of full-time selection for such patients.

Roller coaster depression

Many people have forms of depression in which their symptoms vary a lot with time: "crash" into depression, then up into doing fine for a while, then "crash" again — sometimes for a reason, but often for no clear reason at all.

They feel like they are on some sort of mood "roller coaster". They wonder if they have "manic-depression".

But, most people know someone or have heard of someone who had a "manic" episode: decreased need for sleep, high energy, risky behaviors, or even grandiose delusions (‘I can make millions with my ideas"; "I have a mission in space"; "I’m a special representative for God"). So they think "well, I can’t have that — I’ve never had a manic episode".

However, the new view of bipolar disorder means it’s time to reconsider that conclusion.

Hypomania doesn’t look or feel at all like full delusional mania in some patients.

Sometimes there is just a clear sense of something cyclic going on. Some mood disorder experts consider depression that occurs repeatedly to have a high likelihood of having a manic phase at some pointFawcett, especially if the first depression occurred before age twenty.Geller, Rao These two features--repeated recurrence, and early onset--are also included among the bipolar "soft signs" below:  not enough to make a diagnosis, but suggestive, especially if they occur with several other such signs, even if "hypomania" is not detectable at all.Ghaemi 

Depression with profound anxiety

Many people live with anxiety so severe, their depression is not the main problem. They seem to handle the periods of low energy, as miserable as they are.

Often they sleep for 10, 12, even 14 hours a day during those times. But the part they can’t handle is the anxiety: it isn’t "good energy".

Many say they feel as though they just have too much energy pent up inside their bodies.

They can’t sit still. They pace. And worst of all, their minds "race" with thoughts that go over and over the same thing to no purpose.

Or they fly from one idea to the next so fast their thoughts become "unglued", and they can’t think their way from A to C let alone A to Z. 

When this is severe, people who enjoy books can find themselves completely unable to read: they just go over and over the same paragraph and it doesn’t "sink in". They will get some negative idea in their head and go around and around with it until it completely dominates their experience of the world. Usually these "high negative energy" phases come along with severely disturbed sleep (see Depression with Severe Insomnia, below). Thoughts about suicide are extremely common and the risk may be high.Fawcett(b)

Depressive episodes with irritable episodes

Many people with depression go through phases in which even they can recognize that their anger is completely out of proportion to the circumstance that started it. They "blow up" over something trivial. Those close to them are very well aware of the problem, of course. Many women can experience this as part of "PMS". As their mood problems become more severe, they find themselves having this kind of irritability during more and more of their cycle. Similarly, when they get better with treatment, often the premenstrual symptoms are the "last to go". Others can have this kind of cyclic irritability without any relationship to hormonal cycles. Many men with bipolar variations say they have problems with anger or rage.

Depression that doesn’t respond to antidepressants (or gets worse, or "poops out")

Many people have repeated episodes of depression. Sometimes the first several episodes respond fairly well to antidepressant medication, but after a while the medications seem to "stop working". For others, no antidepressant ever seems to work. And others find that some antidepressants seem to make them feel terrible:  not just mild side effects, but severe reactions, especially severe agitation. These people feel like they’re "going crazy". Usually at this time they also have very poor sleep. Many people have the odd experience of feeling the depression actually improve with antidepressants, yet overall —perhaps even months later —they somehow feel worse overall.  In most cases this "worse" is due to agitation, irritability, and insomnia. 

In some cases, an antidepressant works extremely well at first, then "poops out".Byrne  The benefits usually last several weeks, often months, and occasionally even years before this occurs.  When this occurs repeatedly with different antidepressants, that may mark a "bipolar" disorder even when little else suggests the diagnosis.Sharma

Depression with periods of severe insomnia

Finally, there are people with depression whose most noticeable symptom is severe insomnia. These people can go for days with 2-3 hours of sleep per night. Usually they fall asleep without much delay, but wake up 2-4 hours later and the rest of the night, if they get any more sleep at all, is broken into 15-60 minute segments of very restless, almost "waking" sleep. Dreams can be vivid, almost real. They finally get up feeling completely unrested. Note that this is not "decreased need for sleep" (the Bipolar I pattern). These people want desperately to sleep better and are very frustrated.

 

Unofficial but evidence-based markers of Bipolar Disorder

You have probably figured it out by now:  making a diagnosis of bipolar disorder can be pretty tricky sometimes!  You're about to read a list of eleven more factors that have been associated with bipolar disorder.  None of these factors "clinches" the diagnosis.  They are suggestive of bipolarity, but not sufficient to establish it.  They are best regarded as markers which suggest considering bipolar disorder as a possible explanation for symptoms.  They are not a scoring system, where you might think "the more I have of these, the more likely it is that I have bipolar disorder."  That way of thinking about these factors has not been tested.  

Here's the list of items which are found with bipolar disorder more often than you would expect by chance alone.  This list is adapted from a landmark article by Drs. Ghaemi and Goodwin and Ko.  (Drs. Goodwin and Ghaemi are among the most respected authorities on bipolar diagnosis in the world. This important article is online https://ww1.cpa-apc.org/Publications/Archives/CJP/2002/march/inReviewCadesDisease.asp).  

  1. The patient has had repeated episodes of major depression (four or more; seasonal shifts in mood are also common).
  2. The first episode of major depression occurred before age 25 (some experts say before age 20, a few before age 18; most likely, the younger you were at the first episode, the more it is that bipolar disorder, not "unipolar", was the basis for that episode).
  3. A first-degree relative (mother/father, brother/sister, daughter/son) has a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.
  4. When not depressed, mood and energy are a bit higher than average, all the time ("hyperthymic personality").
  5. When depressed, symptoms are "atypical":  extremely low energy and activity; excessive sleep (e.g. more than 10 hours a day); mood is highly reactive to the actions and reactions of others; and (the weakest such sign) appetite is more likely to be increased than decreased.  Some experts think that carbohydrate craving and night eating are variants of this appetite effect. 
  6. Episodes of major depression are brief, e.g. less than 3 months.
  7. The patient has had psychosis (loss of contact with reality) during an episode of depression.
  8. The patient has had severe depression after giving birth to a child ("postpartum depression").
  9. The patient has had hypomania or mania while taking an antidepressant (remember, severe irritability, difficulty sleeping, and agitation may -- but do not always -- qualify for "hypomania").
  10. The patient has had loss of response to an antidepressant (sometimes called "Prozac Poop-out"):  it worked well for a while then the depression symptoms came back, usually within a few months. 
  11. Three or more antidepressants have been tried, and none worked.

There is a very radical idea buried in these 11 items, which we should look at before going on, but you should be aware that this idea is likely be dismissed with a "hmmmph" by many  practicing psychiatrists.  The idea is this:  Dr. Ghaemi and colleagues propose that there might be a version of "bipolar disorder" that does not have any mania at all, not even hypomania.  They call it "bipolar spectrum disorder".  

This is strange, you are saying to yourself.  "I thought bipolar disorder was distinguished from 'unipolar' depression by the presence of some degree of hypomania. Don't you have to have some hypomania in order to be bipolar?  How could it be 'bi' - polar if there is no other pole!?"

But Dr. Ghaemi and colleagues assert that there are versions of depression that end up acting more like bipolar disorder, even though there is no hypomania at all that we can detect (or, as in item #9, only when an antidepressant has been used).   These conditions often do not respond well, in the long run, to antidepressant medications (which "poop out" or actually start making things worse).  They respond better to the medications we routinely rely on in bipolar disorder, the "mood stabilizers" you'll be introduced to in the Treatment section of this website (including several non-medication approaches).  And these patients have other folks in their family with bipolar disorder or something that looks rather more like that (e.g. dramatic "mood swings", even if the person never really gets ill enough to need treatment).  

In Dr. Ghaemi's description, then, there are people whose depression looks so "unipolar" that even a "fine-toothed comb" approach to looking for hypomania will not identify it as part of the "bipolar spectrum".  According to Ghaemi and colleagues, these people should be regarded as "bipolar", in a sense, because of the way they will end up responding to treatment.  In other words, there is something in these people which doesn't look like our old idea of bipolar disorder, or even our newer idea of bipolar disorder (bipolar II, etc.), but will still better describe their future (their prognosis) and the medications that are most likely to help them.  Remember that this is the very purpose of "diagnosis", to describe the likely outcomes with and without treatment, and to identify effective treatments.  So, on that basis, it seems reasonable to include these patients on the "bipolar spectrum", like this: 

The idea that someone can "have" bipolar disorder and yet not have any hypomania at all is not widely understood.  You probably would get blank looks from most psychiatrists if you mention it, and frank disbelief from nearly all primary care doctors, who don't have time to read the literature on the diagnosis of bipolar disorder.  So, if you mention this idea to anyone, be prepared for some serious resistance.  As of 2005  the Harvard-associated Mood Disorder program started using this approach to diagnosis. They call it the Bipolarity Index

Other researchers are also beginning to use the same framework of thought.  For example, one research group just reported that patients with migraine headaches are much more likely to have these bipolar spectrum traits.Oedgaard (Migraines are much more common in patients with unipolar and Bipolar II  than in Bipolar I, interestingly.Fasmer) One recent summary article for primary care doctors, about bipolar disorder, discusses these "soft signs" in considerable detail.Swann The concept of a bipolar "spectrum" is supported by work from a research group calling themselves the Spectrum Project.e.g. Cassano 

Probably better not to raise this issue unless you have to, but if you must, cite the source.  Here's that article link again.Ghaemi   Dr. Ghaemi is the chairman of the committee on diagnosis for the International Society for Bipolar Disorder.  One of his two co-authors is Dr. Frederick Goodwin, who wrote the "bible" of bipolar disorder for our lifetime (Manic-Depressive Illness, with Dr. Kay Jamison).  These are highly respected researchers amongst mood experts.  Dr. Ghaemi emphasizes the need to rely on evidence in all his papers on diagnosis and treatment and is very frequently cited by other authors on this topic .  But he is certainly not the only such voice. If you haven't seen enough references yet, here's another similar recent one, by other international mood experts.Mitchell

Anxious depression could be "bipolar"?!

Warning: leaving DSM-IV territory

The remainder of this "diagnosis" discussion cannot be found in the DSM. I will repeatedly reference mood disorder experts, but many of these views are controversial. You must evaluate for yourself the validity of what follows.

Unfortunately, "hypomania" is quite a mis-naming. There are many patients whose "hypomanic" phases are an extreme and very negative experience. As noted above by Dr. Jamison, mania can be negative as often as it is positive. The "racing thoughts" can have a very negative focus, especially self-criticism. The high energy can be experienced as a severe agitation, to the point where people feel they must pace the floor for hours at a time. Sleep problems can show up as insomnia: an inability to sleep, rather than decreased need.  (If you or a friend or doctor is skeptical about anxiety as a "bipolar" symptom, try that link for more details and references.)  

Most of these people come to treatment with a combination of agitation, anxiety and self-criticism — and they can’t sleep well. Is this "anxiety?" Is this some mood variation? How could you tell the difference? Is there a difference? What is really going on chemically? Unfortunately, this is still almost completely unknown. See the appendix "What’s the latest on why?", which I will try to keep updated frequently, for the latest research about the cause of this illness.

Again, my opinion: you can’t easily distinguish "anxious depression" from bipolar II in a mixed state. I doubt that there is a distinction to be made, ultimately (when we know, hopefully someday relatively soon, what the chemical basis for anxiety with depression really is). For example there is nearly complete overlap between Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Bipolar II.

For now, the only way to tell is by how treatment turns out. Depression that is not bipolar can get better and stay better: with time, or counseling, or formal psychotherapy, or antidepressants. If you get better — great! If you don’t, you may need this new understanding of mood disorders in order to consider mood stabilizers medications, discussed in detail below, as an option.

Meanwhile, at least one experienced mood researcher warns that anxiety in someone who is depressed is associated with a high suicide risk.Fawcett(b) So although there is diagnostic confusion, there are tremendous stakes involved. Approaching this situation with an open mind seems wise, given this risk.

What does Hypomania actually feel like? 
(revised  3/2010)

It's true that hypomania is a milder version of mania --  just how mild, you'll see in a moment.  Mind you, Bipolar II is not a milder version of Bipolar I, though it is very often described that way, to my utter dismay. 

The suicide rate in Bipolar II is the same or higher than the rate for Bipolar I, for example.Dunner  So the BP II version is definitely not a "mild" illness. The depression phases are as bad as in BP I, and often more common (that is, they occur more frequently and represent a more dominant part of the person's life). 

Nevertheless, hypomania can indeed by subtle, certainly by comparison with full mania, as shown in this graph (from Smith and Ghaemi).  Here are the symptoms which people with clear-cut hypomania actually experience -- and how often.  For example, at the bottom of the graph you see that nearly 100% of people with hypomania will have an increase in their activity. By comparison, optimism is prominent only about 70% of the time in hypomania. 

As you can see, these "symptoms" are not clearly abnormal. Everyone experiences these feelings from time to time. When they are extreme; and when they show up over and over again in cycles of mood/energy change; when they are accompanied by other signs of bipolarity, such as phases of depression; that's when we should think of this as "abnormal", or at least as warranting caution if someone wants to treat those depressed phases with an antidepressant.  

However, hypomania is not always positive.  Just as manic phases can be very negative (so-called "dysphoric mania"),  hypomania also can be very unpleasant. Here is an example of how hypomania can change from a positive experience to a very negative one/


First, the positive phase: 

Increased energy. A extraordinary feeling of happiness with myself and the world. A very loving feeling towards the people I care about. An uncommon ability to get things done. A huge burst of energy from the moment I awaken until I go to bed. An expanded ability to multi-task. An organizational acuity that is second to none. A willingness to engage with people. A desire to spend more time with people I care about--and even those I don't.

Then, the negative phase of hypomania (still pretty subtle): 

I start feeling burned out. While I still have a lot of energy, I don't have that "I love the world" feeling. If I've been playing my Autoharp at my mother's assisted living facility, and jumping up and down to help all the participants turn the pages and stay with me, I suddenly feel that the staff should be more helpful in doing this.

... things don't just slide off my back. While I try not to "snap" back at people, I am not always successful. I am certainly less willing to ignore things that days or weeks earlier wouldn't have bothered me at all.

I become far less happy, joyful, and kind. I dislike being criticized in any which way. 

How short can an episode of hypomania be? 

Officially, the answer is "four days", according to the DSM. But in real life, it's very clear that episodes can be shorter, and that's agreed upon by nearly all mood experts I've ever heard. They might disagree whether we should shorten the required duration in the DSM, as that would "admit" a lot more people into the bipolar camp which is already a controversial issue. But no one really seems to think that a hypomanic episode lasting only 3 days instead of four is anything other than hypomania; it just doesn't "meet criteria", that's all. 

Indeed, a recent studyBauer showed that episodes lasting as little as one day are common. So don't get hung up on length of episodes as an issue if you're trying to figure out if you "have bipolar disorder" or not. Remember, that's the wrong question anyway... Instead, it's "how bipolar are you?" as affirmed in a recent editorial Smith in the British Journal of Psychiatry (one of the biggies...). 

What does bipolar depression actually feel like? 
(added  6/2011)

Theoretically, bipolar depression is exactly the same as "unipolar" or straight Major Depression. Theoretically, you can't distinguish between the two, so you can't tell if someone has bipolar disorder just by looking at their depressions. 

But I think there is a different quality to the depressions that people with bipolar disorder experience, because before they start feeling sad and having difficulty experiencing pleasure from their usual activities, they very often have problems with energy.  To emphasize this I'd just like you to look at this list of symptoms which people with bipolar disorder said they have when they're just starting to get depressed. 

If you think "that's me!", careful: this does not mean you have bipolar depressions. But it might help to see what people with bipolar disorder have said about their experience. I don't hear about these symptoms so much when people have a more purely "unipolar" -- not bipolar -- depression. 

                                                                                

 

Granted, people in this study also endorsed "loss of interest in activities" and "feeling sad, wanting to cry" but these are her typical symptoms in official "Major Depression". And low energy can also be seen in Major Depression. But look at how prominent it is in this study. I think that might be telling us something about the nature of bipolar depression. Certainly matches what I hear from patients. 

Finally, the original intent of this list was to help people identify symptoms that mark the beginning of another episode of depression. He might find it useful in that respect also.

Diagnosis: Summary

I hope it may now make sense to you to think of mood symptoms as falling on a continuum between plain depression and "depression plus", the far end of which is Bipolar I, with many variations falling in between. 

If you are wondering  whether what you've just read is "mainstream" or "fringe" (that's a good thing to wonder), you'll find the same "spectrum" concept coming from the head of the Harvard Bipolar Clinic, in this 2005 interview: Sachs.  

By contrast, another mood disorder expert has shown that bipolar disorder is overdiagnosed (Zimmerman, 2008; here is a close examination of his findings). He's certainly right, if one sticks to the DSM rules (although his paper also shows a notable underdiagnosis rate as well). And there are quite a few people getting this diagnosis who might be better understood with a different diagnostic framework, like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). But in my view, one of the things that can help you figure out what's going on is to learn more about "bipolarity", as you have done here. You are an important part of the diagnostic process. 

Is there a test for bipolar disorder? Can you be sure if you have it or not? 

This used to be simple. When "manic" only meant one thing (classic mania) one could ask "have you ever had a manic episode?" and many people knew what was being asked:

  • Mood much better than normal
  • Rapid speech
  • Little need for sleep
  • Racing thoughts, trouble concentrating
  • Continuous high energy
  • Overconfidence
  • Loss of contact with reality (delusions)

As you now know afresh if you came from elsewhere), this list looks for obvious mania.  It misses all the complexity we have just discussed. What you might be wanting is a "no way!" bipolar test.  Something to provide a clear statement, like: "no, you don’t have it, or anything like it".  Or you might be looking for the opposite: "you definitely have bipolar II".  Sorry, that is not possible, but please read on.  

On other websites you'll find a test called the Mood Disorders Questionnaire (MDQ) which is supposed to give you a "yes or no" answer.   But another test came along after the MDQ which is better suited to looking for subtle versions of bipolar II.  

Think about it:  if by this point on this website you're saying to yourself "that's me!", which some people do, then you really don't need some test to tell you that you should go ahead and consider treatment.  Or that the diagnostic basis for that treatment should include a consideration of bipolar II.  On the other hand, if someone else thinks you might have it, but you don't think you do, is a test result going to make a difference to you?  If so, go ahead and take one of these tests.  

Family or friends could "take the test", answering as if they were you, on the basis of what they've seen you do or heard you say.  And then they could gently wonder out loud if perhaps the test might mean something, who knows, no one can tell for sure, but darn it sure seems like your life is a struggle sometimes, wow, what if there was a tool out there that would make life a bit smoother sometimes, not even necessarily a medication treatment, oh well, just thinking about this, of course you'd want to decide for yourself, not for me to say of course, etc. etc. 

The people who are in a position to benefit from taking one of these diagnostic tests are those who are wondering if a "bipolar" variation might be worth considering to explain their symptoms.  Here's the test I'd recommend for you, called the  Bipolar Spectrum Diagnostic Scale.  It won't give you a yes-or-no answer.  I hope by this point you understand why that's a good thing.  If after all that you still want to use a "fine-toothed comb" to look for hypomanic/manic symptoms, as I sometimes do when people are still wondering about the diagnosis after learning all this, here is a 32-item checklist of such symptoms. 

Thank you for patiently reading all the way to this point.  It's a lot to swallow at once, isn't it?  read more about diagnosis issues in the Diagnosis Details section, or go on to Treatment.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Posted by Maddalena Frau on February 9, 2013 at 2:05 PM Comments comments (0)



The causes of ADHD.

Introduction:

According to the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a legitimate psychologic condition.

ADHD is a syndrome generally characterized by the following symptoms:

Inattention Distractibility Impulsivity Hyperactivity

Some doctors categorize ADHD into three subtypes:

Behavior marked by hyperactivity and impulsivity, but not inattentiveness Behavior marked by inattentiveness, but not hyperactivity and impulsivity A combination of the above twoThere is some debate over these criteria.

Some argue the condition is overdiagnosed. Others say it's underdiagnosed.

One-third of cases are accompanied by learning disabilities and other neurologic or emotional problems, making an ADHD diagnosis particularly difficult.

It is likely that the term attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder will eventually give way to subgroups of problems that include some of these general symptoms.

ADHD is a genuine disorder, but it is telling that the U.S. accounts for 90% of worldwide prescriptions for stimulants for ADHD.

It is not known whether this reflects a real increase in ADHD, or a better ability to recognize it. Some say it may be an indication of a culture that places excessive value on normalcy and academic achievement at the expense of more frequent diagnoses.

Symptoms of ADHD usually occur around the age of 7. Studies indicate that ADHD symptoms in preschool children with ADHD do not differ significantly from older children.

The classic ADHD symptoms do not always adequately describe the child's behavior, nor do they describe what is actually happening in the child's mind.

Some researchers focused on deficits in "executive functions" of the brain to understand and describe all ADHD behaviors. Such impaired executive functions in ADHD children can cause the following problems:

Inability to hold information in short-term memoryImpaired organization and planning skills

Difficulty in establishing and using goals to guide behavior, such as selecting strategies and monitoring tasksInability to keep emotions from becoming overpoweringInability to shift efficiently from one mental activity to anotherHyperactivity.

The term hyperactive is often confusing since, for some, it suggests a child racing around non-stop.

A boy with ADHD playing a game, for instance, may have the same level of activity as another child without the syndrome. But when a high demand is placed on the child's attention, his brain motor activity intensifies beyond the levels of the other children. In a busy environment, such as a classroom or a crowded store, children with ADHD often become distracted and react by pulling items off the shelves, hitting people, or spinning out of control into erratic, silly, or strange behavior.

Impulsivity and Temper Explosions. Even before the "terrible twos," impulsive behavior is often apparent. The toddler may gleefully make erratic and aggressive gestures, such as hair pulling, pinching, and hitting.

Temper tantrums, normal in children after age 2, are usually exaggerated and not necessarily linked to a specific negative event in the life of a child with ADHD. One of the most painful events a parent may experience is an abrupt and aggressive attack that may occur after cuddling a young child with ADHD.

Often this reaction seems to be caused not by anger, but by the child's apparent inability to endure over stimulation or displays of physical affection.

Attention and Concentration. Children with ADHD are usually distracted and made inattentive by an overstimulating environment (such as a large classroom).

They are also inattentive when a situation is low-key or dull. Some researchers theorize that certain parts of the brain in ADHD children may be underactive, so the children fail to be aroused by nonstimulating activities.

In contrast, they may exhibit a kind of "super concentration" to a highly stimulating activity (such as a video game or a highly specific interest).

Such children may even become over-attentive -- so absorbed in a project that they cannot modify or change the direction of their attention.

Impaired Short-Term Memory. Many doctors now believe that an essential feature in ADHD, as well as in learning disabilities, is an impaired working (also called short-term) memory. People with ADHD can't hold groups of sentences and images in their mind long enough to extract organized thoughts.

They are not necessarily inattentive. Instead, a patient with ADHD may be unable to remember a full explanation (such as a homework assignment), or unable to complete processes that require remembering sequences, such as model building.

In general, children with ADHD are often attracted to activities (television, computer games, or active individual sports) that do not tax the working memory, or produce distractions.

Children with ADHD have no differences in long-term memory compared with other children.

Inability to Manage Time. Studies suggest that children with ADHD have difficulties being on time and planning the correct amount of time to complete tasks. (This may coincide with short-term memory problems.)

Lack of Adaptability. Children with ADHD have a very difficult time adapting to even minor changes in routines, such as getting up in the morning, putting on shoes, eating new foods, or going to bed. Any shift in a situation can precipitate a strong and noisy negative response.

Even when they are in a good mood, they may suddenly shift into a tantrum if met with an unexpected change or frustration. In one experiment, These children can closely focus their attention when directly cued to a specific location, but they have difficulty shifting their attention to an alternative location.

Hypersensitivity and Sleep Problems.. Children with ADHD are often hypersensitive to sights, sounds, and touch.

They may complain excessively about stimuli that seem low key or bland to others. Sleeping problems usually occur well after the point when most small children sleep through the night. In one study, 63% of children with ADHD had trouble sleeping.

Adult ADHDAlthough ADHD is primarily thought of as a childhood disorder, diagnoses of attention-deficit disorder in adults are on the rise.

Methylphenidate (Ritalin) was prescribed for nearly 800,000 adults in the U.S. in 1997, nearly three times the number in 1992. It is estimated that ADHD affects about 4.1% of adults ages 18 - 44 years in a given year. The disorder appears to be distributed equally between adult women and men.

Accompanying Mental Health Disorders. About 20 % of adults with ADHD also have major depression or bipolar disorder. Up to 50 % have an anxiety disorder. Bipolar disorder plus ADHD, in fact, may be very difficult to differentiate from ADHD alone in adults.

Accompanying Learning Disorders. About 20% of adults with ADHD have learning disorders, usually dyslexia and auditory processing problems. These problems should be considered in any treatment plan.

Effect on Work. Compared to adults without ADHD, those with the condition tend to reach lower educational levels, earn less money, and be fired more often. In fact, one study reported that by the time they are in their 30s, about 35% of ADHD adults are self-employed.

Substance Abuse. About 1 in 5 adults with ADHD also contend with substance abuse. Studies indicate that adolescents with ADHD are twice as likely to smoke cigarettes as their peers who do not have ADHD.

Cigarette smoking during adolescence is a risk factor for the development of substance abuse in adulthood.

Causes:

Brain Structure

Research using advanced imaging techniques shows there is a difference in the size of certain parts of the brain in children with ADHD compared to children who do not have ADHD. The areas showing change include the prefrontal cortex, the caudate nucleus and globus pallidus, and the cerebellum.

Brain Chemicals

Abnormal activity of certain brain chemicals in the prefrontal cortex may contribute to ADHD. The chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine are of special interest. Dopamine and norepinephrine are neurotransmitters, or chemical messengers, that affect both mental and emotional functioning. They also play a role in the "reward response." This response occurs when a person experiences pleasure in response to certain stimuli (such as food or love). Studies suggest that increased levels of the brain chemicals glutamate, glutamine, and GABA -- collectively called Glx -- interact with the pathways that transport dopamine and norepinephrine.

Nerve Pathways

Another area of interest is a network of nerves called the basal-ganglia thalamocortical pathways. Abnormalities along this neural route have been associated with ADHD, Tourette syndrome, and obsessive-compulsive disorders, all of which share certain symptoms.

Genetic Factors

Genetic factors may play the most important role in ADHD. The relatives of ADHD children (both boys and girls) have much higher rates of ADHD, antisocial, mood, anxiety, and substance abuse disorders than the families of non-ADHD children. Some twin studies report that up to 90% of children with a diagnosis of ADHD shared it with their twin.

Most of the research on the underlying genetic mechanisms targets the neurotransmitter dopamine. Variations in genes that regulate specific dopamine receptors have been identified in a high proportion of people with addictions and ADHD.


Risk Factors:

Gender and ADHD

ADHD is most often diagnosed in boys. However, there is some evidence that it is underdiagnosed in girls. Until recently, all major studies were conducted using boys as subjects. More studies on girls with ADHD are now underway. A major study reported that girls with the condition experience the same multiple impairments as boys do.

Family History

ADHD tends to run in families. A child who has a parent or sibling with ADHD has an increased risk of also developing ADHD.

Environmental Factors

Some research suggests that prenatal exposure to tobacco and alcohol may increase the risk for ADHD. Environmental lead exposure before age 6 may also raise the risk for ADHD.

Dietary Factors

Several dietary factors have been researched in association with ADHD, including sensitivities to certain food chemicals, deficiencies in fatty acids (compounds that make up fats and oils) and zinc, and sensitivity to sugar. No clear evidence has emerged, however, that implicates any of these nutritional factors as risk factors for developing ADHD.


 


 


 

 



Resourceswww.aap.org -- American Academy of Pediatricswww.nimh.nih.gov -- National Institute of Mental Healthwww.chadd.org -- Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit Disorderwww.add.org -- Attention Deficit Disorder Associationwww.aabt.org -- Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapieswww.psych.org -- American Psychiatric Associationwww.parentsmedguide.org -- Medication Guide for Treating ADHDwww.aacap.org -- American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrywww.nichcy.org -- National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilitieswww.ncld.org -- National Center for Learning Disabilitieswww.ldaamerica.org -- Learning Disabilities Association of America



 


 


 

Marijuana Quiz

Posted by Maddalena Frau on February 9, 2013 at 1:55 PM Comments comments (0)

 

Marijuana Quiz

(Must get 20 correct to pass)


 

 

1. Marijuana has a major active chemical called

a. delta cannibinoid

b. androus delta 9

c. delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol

d. none of the above

2. In 2004, 16 percent of 8th graders had tried marijuana.

True ___ False___

3. Marijuana is frequently combined with other drugs, often without the user being aware, such as crack cocaine, PCP, formaldehyde and codeine cough syrup.

True ___ False___

4. THC passes from the lungs into the bloodstream, which carries the chemical to all organs in the body, including the brain. Marijuana affects the brain in the following ways (circle all that apply).

a. THC connects to specific sites called cannabinoid receptors on nerve cells and it then influences the activity of those cells.

b. Many cannabinoid receptors are found in the parts of the brain that influence pleasure, memory, thought, concentration, sensory and time perception and coordination.

c. The THC is water soluble and only stays in the brain a short time.

d. Once the euphoria and pleasant sensations pass, the user may feel sleepy, depressed, anxious, fearful or distrustful.

5. Heavy marijuana use impairs a person’s ability to form memories, remember events and shifts the person’s attention from one thing to another.

True ___ False___

6. Cancer of the respiratory tract and lungs may be promoted by marijuana smoke, which is usually inhaled more deeply than tobacco smoke.

True ___ False___

7. Marijuana’s use on the job causes the worker to out-perform his/her co-workers in productivity and other important job functions.

True___ False ___

8. One study of 129 college students found that among heavy users of marijuana (people who had smoked it 27 out of the preceding 30 days) those individuals had more trouble keeping and shifting their attention, and were functioning at a reduced intellectual level.

True ___ False___

9. Marijuana users report (circle the one that is not true) 

a. That heavy use negatively affected their thinking ability, career achievement, social lives and physical and mental health in negative ways.

b. That the pleasure they received from marijuana use was worth the other negative consequences.

c. Poor outcomes on a variety of measures of life satisfaction and achievement.

10. Research has shown that some babies born to women who used marijuana during their pregnancies displayed poor performance on tasks involving attention and memory during their pre-school years.

True ___ False___

11. Can marijuana use become addictive?

Yes ___ No___

12. Early marijuana use (before age 17) has been shown to increase the risk of later drug problems.

True___ False___

13. There are a number of medications available to treat marijuana abuse.

True___ False___

14. Even after long-term, heavy marijuana use, some thinking and reasoning abilities may be recovered.

True ___ False___

15. Which of the following is not true? (Please circle)

a. The ingredient THC in marijuana impairs the immune system’s ability

to fight off infectious diseases and cancer.

b. A person’s risk of a heart attack during the first hour after smoking

marijuana is four times his or her usual risk.

c. Long-term marijuana use causes blackouts.

16. The marijuana available today can be five times more

potent than the marijuana available in the 1970’s.

True___ False___

17. Marijuana use has fewer side effects if the user has first

eaten a full meal.

True ___ False___

18. The more a person uses marijuana, the more likely they

are to fall behind in accumulating intellectual, job and social

skills.

True ___ False ___

19. Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States, with more than 94 million people over age 12 having tried it at least once.

True___ False ___

20. Many cannabinoid receptors are found in the parts of the

brain that influence pleasure, memory, thought, concentra-

tion, sensory and time perception and coordinated move-

ment.

True ___ False___

21. When marijuana is smoked, its effects begin immediately after the drug enters the brain and lasts from 1 to 3 hours.

True___ False___

22. THC enters the brain and causes a user to feel euphoric or “high” by acting in the brain’s reward system.

True___ False___

23. When the euphoria passes: ( circle all that are true)

a. A user may feel sleepy or depressed.

b. A user may feel energized and clear-headed.

c. a. only

d. b. only

e. neither a nor b

24. THC can be used in an oral medication to treat nausea in cancer chemotherapy patients.

True ___ False ___

25. Marijuana can be used to brew tea.

True ___ False ___

26. In males, heavy marijuana use over time can cause gynecomastia (enlarged breasts)

True___ False___





MARIJUANA QUIZ -- SCORING KEY

 

1.   C.

2.   True

3.   True

4.   a. b. d.

5.   True

6.   True

7.   False

8.   True

9.    B.

10. True

11. Yes

12. True

13. False

14. True

15. C.

16. True

17. False

18. True

19. True

20. True

21. True

22. True

23. C.

24. True

25. True

26. True



 

JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL SCREENING QUESTIONNAIRE

Posted by Maddalena Frau on February 9, 2013 at 1:35 PM Comments comments (0)


ARE YOU CHEMICALLY DEPENDENT?


Ask yourself the following questions and answer them as honestly as you can.

Do you lose time from work due to alcohol/drug usage?

Is alcohol/drug usage making your home life unhappy?

Do you drink/use drugs because you are shy with other people?

Is alcohol/drug usage affecting your reputation?

Have you ever felt remorse after alcohol/drug usage?

Have you ever gotten into financial difficulties as a result of alcohol/drug usage?

Do you turn to lower companions and an inferior environment when drinking/using drugs?

Does your drinking/drug usage make you careless of your family's welfare?

Has your ambition decreased since drinking/using drugs?

Do you crave a drink or other drugs at a definite time daily?

Do you want a drink or other drugs the next morning?

Does drinking/drug usage cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?

Has your efficiency decreased since drinking/using drugs?

Is drinking/drug usage jeopardizing your job or business?

Do you drink/use drugs to escape from worries or trouble?

Do you drink/use drugs alone?

Have you ever had a complete loss of memory as a result of drinking/using drugs?

Has your physician ever treated you for drinking/drug usage?

Do you drink/use drugs to build up your self-confidence?

Have you ever been to a hospital or institution on account of your drinking/drug usage?


If you have answered YES to any one of the questions, there is a definite warning that you may be chemically dependent.

If you answered YES to any two, the chances are that you are chemically dependent.

If you have answered YES to three or more, you are definitely chemically dependent.

Note:  The above test questions are derived from a questionnaire used by Johns Hopkins University Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland in deciding whether or not a patient is alcoholic.

 

Gender and race: How overlapping stereotypes affect our personal and professional decisions

Posted by Maddalena Frau on December 5, 2012 at 3:00 AM Comments comments (0)

 


Racial and gender stereotypes have profound consequences in almost every sector of public life, from job interviews and housing to police stops and prison terms. However, only a few studies have examined whether these different categories overlap in their stereotypes. A new study on the connections between race and gender – a phenomenon called gendered race – reveals unexpected ways in which stereotypes affect our personal and professional decisions.

Within the United States, Asians as an ethnic group are perceived as more feminine in comparison to whites, while blacks are perceived as more masculine, according to new research by Adam Galinsky, the Vikram S. Pandit Professor of Business at Columbia Business School. Further research by Galinsky shows that the fact that race is gendered has profound consequences for interracial marriage, leadership selection, and athletic participation.

The first study conducted by Galinsky and his colleagues Erika Hall of Kellogg School of Management and Amy Cuddy of Harvard University directly tested whether race was gendered. Eighty-five participants of various backgrounds completed an online survey in which they evaluated either the femininity or masculinity of certain traits or attributed those traits to Asians, whites, and blacks.

The stereotype content for blacks was considered to be the most masculine, followed by whites, with Asians being the least masculine," Galinsky wrote in the study, soon to appear in Psychological Science. "Thus, we found a substantial overlap between the contents of racial and gender stereotypes.

" A separate study, in which participants were subliminally exposed to a word related to race before reacting to words perceived as masculine or feminine, showed that the association between racial and gender stereotypes exists even at an implicit level.

Their next set of studies demonstrated that these associations have important implications for romantic relationships. Within the heterosexual dating market, men tend to prefer women who personify the feminine ideal while women prefer men who embody masculinity. Galinsky showed that men are more attracted to Asian women relative to black women, while women are more attracted to black men relative to Asian men.

Even more interesting, the more a man valued femininity the more likely he was attracted to an Asian women and the less likely he was attracted to an black women. The same effect occurred for women, with attraction to masculinity driving the differential attraction to black men and Asian men.

These interracial dating preferences have real-world results, Galinsky found. He analyzed the 2000 US Census data and found a similar pattern among interracial marriages: among black-white marriages, 73 percent had a black husband and a white wife, while among Asian-white marriages, 75 percent had a white husband and an Asian wife.

An even more pronounced pattern emerged in Asian-black marriages, in which 86 percent had a black husband and an Asian wife.The effects of gendered races extend to leadership selection and athletic participation, further research showed.

In a study in which participants evaluated job candidates, Asians were more likely to be selected for a leadership position that required collaboration and relationship building, traits typically perceived as feminine.

Black candidates were more likely to be chosen for positions that required a fiercely competitive approach, typically seen as masculine.A final study analyzed archival data from the National Collegiate Athletic Association's (NCAA) Student-Athlete Ethnicity Report, which breaks down the racial composition of 30 different collegiate sports (NCAA, 2010) from 2000-2010 for Divisions I, II, and III.

Galinsky and his colleagues found that the more a sport was perceived to be masculine the greater the relative number of black to Asian athletes who played that sport at the collegiate level, with blacks more likely to participate in the most masculine sports.

"This research shows that the intersection of race and gender has important real-world consequences," Galinsky concluded. "Considering the overlap between racial and gender stereotypes – our gendered race perspective – opens up new frontiers for understanding how stereotypes impact the important decisions that drive our most significant outcomes at work and at home.

"Journal reference: Psychological Science search and more info website

Provided by Columbia Business School

 


 

 

Study identifies a potential cause of Parkinson's disease

Posted by Maddalena Frau on November 19, 2012 at 11:45 PM Comments comments (0)



Deciphering what causes the brain cell degeneration of Parkinson's disease has remained a perplexing challenge for scientists. But a team led by scientists from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has pinpointed a key factor controlling damage to brain cells in a mouse model of Parkinson's disease. The discovery could lead to new targets for Parkinson's that may be useful in preventing the actual condition.

The team, led by TSRI neuroscientist Bruno Conti, describes the work in a paper published online ahead of print on November 19, 2012 by the Journal of Immunology.Parkinson's disease plagues about one percent of people over 60 years old, as well as some younger patients.

The disease is characterized by the loss of dopamine-producing neurons primarily in the substantia nigra pars compacta, a region of the brain regulating movements and coordination.Among the known causes of Parkinson's disease are several genes and some toxins. However, the majority of Parkinson's disease cases remain of unknown origin, leading researchers to believe the disease may result from a combination of genetics and environmental factors.

Neuroinflammation and its mediators have recently been proposed to contribute to neuronal loss in Parkinson's, but how these factors could preferentially damage dopaminergic neurons has remained unclear until now.Making ConnectionsConti and his team were looking for biological pathways that could connect the immune system's inflammatory response to the damage seen in dopaminergic neurons.

After searching human genomics databases, the team's attention was caught by a gene encoding a protein known as interleukin-13 receptor alpha 1 chain (IL-13Ra1), as it is located in the PARK12 locus, which has been linked to Parkinson's.IL-13rα1 is a receptor chain mediating the action of interleukin 13 (IL-13) and interleukin 4 (IL-4), two cytokines investigated for their role as mediators of allergic reactions and for their anti-inflammatory action.With further study, the researchers made the startling discovery that in the mouse brain, IL-13Ra1 is found only on the surface of dopaminergic neurons.

"This was a 'Wow!' moment," said Brad Morrison, then a TSRI postdoctoral fellow and now at University of California, San Diego, who was first author of the paper with Cecilia Marcondes, a neuroimmunologist at TSRI.

Conti agrees: "I thought that these were very interesting coincidences. So we set out to see if we could find any biological significance.

"The scientists did—but not in the way they were expecting.'Something New Going On'The scientists set up long-term experiments using a mouse model in which chronic peripheral inflammation causes both neuroinflammation and loss of dopaminergic neurons similar to that seen in Parkinson's disease.

The team looked at mice having or lacking IL-13Ra1 and then compared the number of dopaminergic neurons in the brain region of interest.The researchers expected that knocking out the IL-13 receptor would increase inflammation and cause neuronal loss to get even worse. Instead, neurons got better."We were very surprised at first," said Conti. "When we stopped to think, we got very excited because we understood that there was something new going on.

"Given that cells fared better without the receptor, the team next explored whether damage occurred when dopaminergic neurons that express IL-13Rα1 were exposed to IL-13 or IL-4. But exposure to IL-13 or IL-4 alone did not induce damage.However, when the scientists exposed the neurons to oxidative compounds, they found that both IL-13 and IL-4 greatly enhanced the cytotoxic effects of oxidative stress.

"This finally helps us understand a basic mechanism of the increased susceptibility and preferential loss of dopaminergic neurons to oxidative stress associated with neuroinflammation," said Marcondes.

The finding also demonstrated that anti-inflammatory cytokines could contribute to neuronal loss. In their article, the authors note they are not suggesting that inflammation is benign but that IL-13 and IL-4 may be harmful to neurons expressing the IL-13Rα1, despite their ability to ultimately reduce inflammation. "One could say that it is not the fall that hurts you, but how you stop," said Conti.More CluesAlong with these results, additional clues suggest that the IL-13 receptor system could be a major player in Parkinson's.

For instance, some studies show Parkinson's as more prevalent in males, and the gene for IL-13Rα1 is located on the X chromosome, where genetic variants are more likely to affect males.And, though not definitive, other studies have suggested that Parkinson's disease might be more common among allergy sufferers.

Since IL-13 plays a role in controlling allergic inflammation, Conti wonders if the IL-13 receptor system might explain this correlation.If further research confirms the IL-13 receptor acts in a similar way in human dopaminergic neurons as in mice, the discovery could pave the way to addressing the underlying cause of Parkinson's disease.

Researchers might, for instance, find that drugs that block IL-13 receptors are useful in preventing loss of dopaminergic cells during neuroinflammation. And, since the IL-13 receptor forms a complex with the IL-4 receptor alpha, this might also be a target of interest. With much exciting research ahead, Conti said, "This is just the beginning."More information: "IL-13Rα1 expression in dopaminergic neurons contributes to their oxidative stress-mediated loss following chronic systemic treatment with LPS," Journal of Immunology.

Journal reference: Journal of Immunology

Provided by Scripps Research Institute

 


 

 

The yin and yang of genes for mood disorders

Posted by Maddalena Frau on October 9, 2012 at 12:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Individual genes do not cause depression, but they are thought to increase the probability of an individual having a depression in the face of other accumulating risk factors, such as other genes and environmental stressors.

One gene that has been shown to increase the risk for depression in the context of multiple stressful life events is the gene for the serotonin transporter protein.

This gene is responsible for making the protein that is targeted by all current drug treatments for depression. In a number of studies it has been shown that people who inherit one form of this gene, called SLC6A4, are at up to four times the risk of depression if they experience unusual stresses in their lives.

Basic science experiments and imaging studies in normal people suggest that the way this form of the gene affects risk for depression is by impacting on the development of a system in the brain that mediates how negative environmental stresses and threats feel.

The effects of this serotonin gene on this brain system are thought to occur early in development, where the shaping of brain systems related to how the environment is experienced emotionally is critically determined.

Basic science experiments have shown that another gene, called BDNF, regulates the expression of a protein that is important for the ability of the serotonin gene to cause these developmental effects.

The BNDF gene plays a critical role in allowing the serotonin gene to have its affect on brain development.Interestingly, the BDNF gene also has been found to be a risk factor for mood disorders and is thought to be important in mediating the effects of antidepressant drugs.

Thus, given the basic molecular link between SLC56A4 and BDNF, and the potential that risk for depression might be better understood in the context of these two genes together rather than any one of them alone, investigators now have looked at how inheriting different combinations of forms of these two gene would impact on the development of this emotion regulation system in the brain.

They found that in normal subjects the deleterious impact of the serotonin gene on the development of this brain system was critically dependent on which form of the BDNF gene was also inherited.

If an individual inherited one form of the BDNF gene, they were particularly susceptible to the deleterious form of the serotonin gene but if they inherited the other form of the BDNF gene, they were completely protected against it.

This study is the first to show the complex interactions that occur between mood disorder related genes and their impact on mood disorder related brain circuitry.

The study makes it clear that individual genes have to be viewed in a context, both a genetic and an environmental context.

But the results also illustrate that no one gene is an island unto itself, and the impact that any gene will have on complex condition like mental illnesses will depend on how that gene interacts with other genes sharing biological overlap.

This study also makes it clear why individuals genes do not show stronger effects on predicting complex illnesss like depression, because risk is based on the combinatorial effects of interacting risk factors.

Source: Molecular Psychiatry

 


 

Long-term cannabis users may have structural brain abnormalities

Posted by Maddalena Frau on October 9, 2012 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (0)


Long-term, heavy cannabis use may be associated with structural abnormalities in areas of the brain known as the hippocampus and amygdala, according to a report in the June issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Conflicting evidence exists regarding the long-term effects of cannabis use, according to background information in the article.

"Although growing literature suggests that long-term cannabis use is associated with a wide range of adverse health consequences, many people in the community, as well as cannabis users themselves, believe that cannabis is relatively harmless and should be legally available," the authors write. "With nearly 15 million Americans using cannabis in a given month, 3.4 million using cannabis daily for 12 months or more and 2.1 million commencing use every year, there is a clear need to conduct robust investigations that elucidate the long-term sequelae of long-term cannabis use."Murat Yücel, Ph.D., M.A.P.S., of ORYGEN

Research Centre and the Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre at the University of Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues from the University of Wollongong performed high-resolution structural magnetic resonance imaging on 15 men (average age 39.8 years) who smoked more than five joints daily for more than 10 years.

Their results were then compared with images from 16 individuals (average age 36.4) who were not cannabis users. All participants also took a verbal memory test and were assessed for subthreshold (below the standard of disease diagnosis) symptoms of psychotic disorders, which include schizophrenia and mania.

The hippocampus, thought to regulate emotion and memory, and the amygdala, involved with fear and aggression, tended to be smaller in cannabis users than in controls (volume was reduced by an average of 12 percent in the hippocampus and 7.1 percent in the amygdala).

Cannabis use also was associated with sub-threshold symptoms of psychotic disorders. "Although cannabis users performed significantly worse than controls on verbal learning, this did not correlate with regional brain volumes in either group," the authors write.Source: JAMA and Archives Journals

 


 


Cannabis withdrawal symptoms might have clinical importance

Posted by Maddalena Frau on October 9, 2012 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (0)


Cannabis users have a greater chance of relapse to cannabis use when they experience certain withdrawal symptoms, according to research published Sep. 26 in the open access journal PLOS ONE led by David Allsop of the National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre (NCPIC) at the University of New South Wales.

The authors tested a group of dependent cannabis users over a two week period of abstinence for impairment related to their withdrawal symptoms.

Findings were correlated with the probability of relapse to cannabis use during the abstinence period, and the level of use one month later.

They found that in more dependent users, certain withdrawal symptoms, such as physical tension, sleep problems, anxiety, depression, mood swings and loss of appetite, were more strongly associated with relapse than other symptoms, such as hot flashes, fatigue, or night sweats.

Participants with greater dependence before the abstinence attempt reported more severe impairment from the withdrawal. Participants with greater impairment from cannabis withdrawal consumed more cannabis during the month following the abstinence attempt.If these results extend to treatment seeking cannabis users seeking treatment for withdrawal, the research may help improve counseling and treatment strategies for those looking for support.

"Tailoring treatments to target withdrawal symptoms contributing to functional impairment during a quit attempt may improve treatment outcomes" says Allsop.

 


More information: Allsop DJ, Copeland J, Norberg MM, Fu S, Molnar A, et al. (2012) Quantifying the Clinical Significance of Cannabis Withdrawal. PLOS ONE 7(9): e44864. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044864

 



 

Sex Addiction

Posted by Maddalena Frau on September 24, 2012 at 2:10 AM Comments comments (0)



Many recovering sex addicts find it almost impossible to quit internet pornography once and for all.  Internet porn is different from other sexual acting out behaviors; it hooks people faster and can have a powerful hold that leads to frequent relapses even if other, more “serious” behaviors have been relinquished.If you are addicted to sexual massage parlors or to serial affairs then you need to do at least some minimal planning. This allows for mindfulness strategies and other tools to help abort the behavior.

Sexual imagery is everywhere, sometimes flashing on the computer screen unexpectedly. I had a patient who stumbled on a friend’s sexy valentine video on Facebook and went into a relapse.  “Blocking” software is unreliable and getting rid of your computers is not the ideal solution in the long run.

The major risk factors for chronic internet porn relapse

 

 

The underlying issues are the same as with any other addiction.  As with other sex addicts, internet porn addicts: associate intimacy with pain, tend to be emotionally insecure and isolated, avoid reaching out to other people.

But even when you are working on all your recovery strategies, I believe there are particular serious risk factors in porn addiction that often go untreated and unaddressed. These are:

Living a minimal lifeFalling into a daily routine that promotes porn useHave given up on a real and lasting intimate and sexual relationshipPreventing Relapse Requires New Behaviors

After you have been in recovery from sex addiction, you may still need to make some very major changes in your life in order to combat  the lure of porn.

Plan a full life

If you live a life of deprivation, if you are willing to live in messy surroundings, willing to be an underachiever or under-earner then you need to make a longer term plan for how you are going to turn your life into one of success and meaning.

This takes a willingness to visualize yourself succeeding.  I don’t mean in fantasy like winning the lottery or having someone swoop down and transform your life.  I mean the kind that takes goal-setting and struggle, knocking on doors, getting better jobs.  Don’t let unpaid activities get in the way.  At least for now make a achieving your life goals your main recovery activity.

Get out of your daily routine

For porn addicts the problem often has a lot to do with being in a rut.  Usually this takes the form of a daily routine which predictably ends up at the computer in front of a porn site.  There are many kinds of ruts but the one I think of as the prototype is that of the person whose social life consists of hanging around Starbucks and looking at attractive women he can’t have.  This is followed by going home to a lonely night and using internet pornography.

Whatever the rut you are in, it probably leads to a “victim” feeling of being unable to get your needs met which makes you turn to porn use.  I am utterly convinced that in order to quit porn, most die hard addicts need to radically change their routine.  And continue to vary it.

Reclaim the idea of a good relationship

This is probably the most important change a porn addict can make.  Most sex addicts have little experience with what a healthy intimate relationship looks like. In recovery they get better at intimacy and relationship skills by making new choices and practicing new behavior.

However, many porn addicts seem to have unconsciously or consciously given up on the whole idea of having a fully engaged intimate relationship.  They feel it is too difficult or that it is impossible to find the “right person.”

What you must do in this situation is to imagine a realistic picture of what a good relationship would be for you.  This means that it includes a good sex life, so you have to imagine that too.  Realistically.

Making a different kind of life

You will know you are out of the woods with porn when you are making energetic changes in your life and in your way of thinking.  New behavior is your friend.  Be patient with yourself, but be dogged about making changes and doing things differently.  Above all catch yourself lapsing into the old ways of thinking.


reference

http://blogs.psychcentral.com/sex-addiction/2012/09/frequent-porn-addiction-relapse-3-tough-things-you-must-do/#more-486

 Linda Hatch is a psychologist and certified sex addiction therapist specializing in the treatment of sex addicts and the partners and families of sex addicts. Linda also blogs on her own website at Sexaddictionscounseling.com


Walking to the Beat May Improve Parkinson

Posted by Maddalena Frau on September 24, 2012 at 2:05 AM Comments comments (0)




Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on September 22, 2012 Walking to an audible beat may help individuals who need rehabilitation, according to a University of Pittsburgh study.

The findings provide hope for the potential of auditory, visual, and tactile cues in the rehabilitation of patients suffering from illnesses like Parkinson’s disease — a brain disorder that includes shaking (tremors) and difficulty walking.

For the study, 15 healthy adults (ages 18-30) walked in two sessions of five 15-minute trials in which the participants walked with different cues.

In the first trial, volunteers walked at their own speed. Then, in the following trials, participants were asked to walk to a metronomic beat, produced by way of visuals, sound, or touch. Finally, participants walked with all three cues simultaneously to the pace of the first trial.

“We found that the auditory cue had the greatest influence on human gait, while the visual cues had no significant effect whatsoever,” said Ervin Sejdic, Ph.D., an assistant professor of engineering in Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering.

“This finding could be particularly helpful for patients with Parkinson’s disease, for example, as auditory cues work very well in their rehabilitation.”

Sejdic added that with disorders such as Parkinson’s, a big question is whether researchers can better understand the changes that come with this deterioration. Through the study, the team believed that visual cues could be considered as an alternative method during rehabilitation and should be further explored in the laboratory.

“Oftentimes, a patient with Parkinson’s disease comes in for an exam, completes a gait assessment in the laboratory, and everything is great,” said Sejdic.

“But then, the person leaves and falls down. Why? Because a laboratory is a strictly controlled environment. It’s flat, has few obstacles, and there aren’t any cues (like sound) around us.

“When we’re walking around our neighborhoods, however, there are sidewalks, as well as streetlights and people honking car horns: You have to process all of this information together. We are trying to create that real-life space in the laboratory.”

In the future, the researchers hope to conduct similar walking trials with Parkinson’s patients, to see whether their gait is more or less stable.

“Can we see the same trends that we observed in healthy people?” he said. “And, if we observe the same trends, then that would have direct connotations to rehabilitation processes.”

Furthermore, the team plans to investigate the impact of music on runners and walkers.

The research is published in PLOS ONE.

Source:  University of Pittsburgh

 

Traci Pedersen Associate News Editor

Medical Marijuana

Posted by Maddalena Frau on September 10, 2012 at 1:50 AM Comments comments (0)



Clinical studies focused on conditions identified by many researcher for which cannabis have therapeutic effects, I am not opposed to using cannabis as a therapy, actually I think it is very useful for many diseases, but in order to evaluate various hypotheses concerning the potential utility of marijuana in various therapeutic areas, more and better studies would be needed because all psychotropic substance that induce dependency must be use carefully.

I know there are many records: books, articles, ancientherbals, researches and scientific publications, volunteer experiences, etc..

We know that all matter is just energy  and everything has its own vibration, mind, body, spirit, food and especially herbs and all natural medicine, even cannabis as a medical herb has a high vibration and  cure many diseases but like all medical herb use in medicine must be taken undercontrol.

Everything testifies in cannabis’s favor,  in the treatment of disorders ranging from musculoskeletal pain, glaucoma, from anorexia and depression to diseases such as epilepsy and multiple sclerosis tremendous, I must mention the valuable help in relieving the side effects of chemotherapy in cancer, such as nausea and vomiting, and debilitating in the state of the Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and even recent studies have demonstrated that cannabis has analgesic effects in pain conditions secondary to injury (e.g. spinal cord injury) or disease (e.g. HIV disease, HIV drug therapy) of the nervous system ...

This suggests that cannabis may provide a treatment option for those individuals who do not respond or respond inadequately to currently available therapies. The efficacy of cannabis in treatment-refractory patients also may suggest a novel mechanism of action not fully exploited by current therapies.

In addition to nerve pain, CMCR has also supported a study on muscle spasticity in Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Such spasticity can be painful and disabling, and some patients do not benefit optimally from existing treatments. it is also is right to point that there is not only THC, this is undoubtedlythe most famous and the most presentin the plant, but there are over 60 cannabinoids different from each other.

At present not much is known about the properties ofthese cannabinoids except that they seem to be devoid of psychoactive effects and / or psychotropic drugs on the brain. So the hypothesis that also positively influencethe therapeutic effects of cannabison human behavior without interferingis not to be discarded.

The health benefits of Medical Marijuana include the placebo effect, is a phenomenon where a patient’s belief in the treatment or medicine will change his/her condition. When the patient’s condition improves,we can then say that the treatment or medicine had a therapeutic effect.

 



Ricerche Quantistiche on Facebook

Google Translator

Health Center International Research


Maddalena Frau

 Transpersonal Psychologist, Quantum Medicine, 

Psycho Vibrational Therapy *PVT*  .

Researcher, Scio Therapist, Nutrition.

Immune Internationally Licensed Therapist

Maddalena is a researcher of Integrative and Quantum Medicine in Kenya, where all of her energy is dedicated to consolidating her knowledge of conventional medicine, natural medicine, nutrition, quantum physics and advanced biofeedback into a model of Integrative Medicine. She has dedicated her life to the promotion of natural health and the prevention of disease, and to bringing depth and understanding to the field of Integrative Medicine. She has researched new approaches to medicine and she an ardent promoter of innovative methods of evaluation as a way to integrate quantum consciousness into the art of healing.

[email protected]

Research

The information of this Website is for educational and research purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of  your physicians or health care practitioners.  It is also not intended to diagnose or prescribe treatment for any illness or disorder.

Psychometric Tests

Open Psychometric Test Resource

Warwick  Southampton  Durham

This website is a collaborative project created by psychology postgraduates from universities across the UK.

The personality questionnaires on this website are typically the result of research projects or on-going course material.

Other significant contributors currently include BPS Level A and Level B qualified Business Psychologists and Trainee Occupational Psychologists seconded from companies.

This is an open and collaborative psychometric test resource and so anyone who is interested in psychology, particularly at degree or doctorate level, are welcome to contact us to become involved.

http://www.psychometrictest.org.uk


Share on Facebook

Share on Facebook

Twitter


I LIKE


Improve Your Brain


16PF Personality Test

WHAT IS SCIO?



SCIO stands for Scientific Consciousness Interface Operation system. Scio is derived from the Latin = I know.

The SCIO is a sophisticated and profound energetic medicine system, derived from the QXCI [Quantum Xrroid Consciousness Interface]. It incorporates electro-dermal screening, stress testing and biofeedback.

It is a computerized system that both tests and balances the body at the subtle energy level.

It integrates the sciences of mathematics, quantum physics, fractal dynamics, subspace theory, electronics, and computer programming. The therapies include the following modalities: naturopathy, homeopathy, acupuncture, chiropractic, energetic medicine, psychology, aromatherapy, reflexology, colour therapy, Neuro- Linguistic Programming, biofeedback and Rife Resonator. It also incorporates knowledge of metaphysical subjects to bring a unique synergistic perspective to natural healing

 


Videos

3632 views - 0 comments
3192 views - 0 comments
2872 views - 1 comment

Fight Cancer

Testimonials

  • "Maddalena is a marvellous blend of the best training in psychology, quantum medicine and natural medicine, combined with her own innate beautiful nature and the desire to help p..."
    Patricia Hughes Scott
    For Maddalena
  • "Maddalena Frau ~ Psychologist, Quantum Medicine Researcher and Therapist, Energy Medicine Association Expert. Excellent goods from you. I have understand your stuff previous t..."
    Andro
    Good

LEARN ALL ABOUT ENERGY IN THE HUMAN BODY!

LEARN ALL ABOUT ENERGY IN THE HUMAN BODY!

Discover how energy affects our body, how to manage people's energy, where it comes from and what affects energy levels. Learn about energy and movement within the human body. What are the factors that makes us move better?. By understanding these factors you can better manage people's capacity to move, and to manage optimum levels of energy within their body.

The lessons cover:

energy and work; energy pathways;

the acid-base balance; osmosis & diffusion; atmospheric pressure;

temperature regulation;

ergogenic aids to performance

Prerequisite: A basic understanding of body systems (e.g. Human Anatomy and Physiology).