Psychology

Can magic mushrooms help with treating depression?

Image/ Wikipedia

Image/ Wikipedia

Perhaps. New evidence suggests that magic mushrooms can alleviate some of the symptoms of depression.

Emotions like fear, anger, sadness, and joy enable people to adjust to their environment and react flexibly to stress and strain and are vital for cognitive processes, physiological reactions, and social behavior. The processing of emotions is closely linked to structures  in the brain, i.e. to what is known as the limbic system. Within this system the amygdala  plays a central role – above all it processes negative emotions like anxiety and fear. If the activity of the amygdala becomes unbalanced, depression and anxiety disorders may develop.

Researchers at the Psychiatric University Hospital of Zurich have now shown that psilocybin, the bioactive component in the Mexican magic mushroom, influences the amygdala, thereby weakening the processing of negative stimuli. These findings could “point the way to novel approaches to treatment” comments the lead author Rainer Krähenmann on the results which have now been published in the medical journal Biological Psychiatry.  Read more »

Maybe this will help…placebo sleep

Many sufferers of depression also suffer from sleep issues.

My sleep is terrible, but you just get used to it…now that i refuse to take sleeping tablets and have been off anti-depressants for nearly two years sleep sometimes is difficult to attain.

Perhaps the answer is placebo sleep.

You’re probably aware of the placebo effect—taking a pill of any sort can make a person feel better, even if that pill has no active ingredients. But it turns out that the placebo effect doesn’t just work with gel caps. It’s possible to get placebo exercise and even placebo sleep.

In this study, researchers gave participants a short lecture about how getting more and better sleep improves cognitive function. They also told them that during the normal person’s night of sleep, about 20 to 25 percent of it is REM sleep, the kind that helps the brain most. The researchers then attached sensors to the subjects and told them the sensors would measure pulse, heart rate and REM while the subjects slept. (This was a lie.) Some of the subjects were later told that they got 16.2 percent REM sleep, while the others were told they got 28.7 percent REM sleep. (This was also a lie.)  Read more »

This is soooo true

Have you ever woken up in the morning and the missus is for some unknown reason really, really pissed with you…for no apparent reason. You went to bed, hugged, chtted, drifted off to sleep in each others arms…and then you wake up and the she-beast is at you.

There is a reason for that. She dreamed you were a prick and now she is pissed at you because of the dream.

More than half of women wake up in a mood with their partner – because he annoyed them in a dream during the night, according to new research.

A study found that British men frequently commit misdemeanours such as being unfaithful, having a row or even fathering a secret child in their wives’ dreams.  Read more »

Maybe he can help out the National Party?

ᔥ NZ Herald

Perhaps he might like to assist the National party, since they just seem to think that the best approach to domestic violence is to sweep it all under the carpet and have senior politicians wax lyrical about the standing of Mr B:

For the past two years, the community-minded McGlashan has been the national coordinator and an ambassador for Blow The Whistle On Violence, a nationwide campaign through which sports stars have encouraged families and communities to work together to eliminate domestic violence.

Understanding Browsing

ᔥ Mashable

According to some the internet provides browsers with a death spiral into procrastination and indolence.

Doghouse Diaries understands the web’s tight grip, and has illustrated the familiar browsing cycle in handy flowchart form. Check, recheck, refresh, repeat.

Academic Racism at Waikato Uni?

via the tipline

It looks like there is a fair bit of academic racism going on at Waikato University

It appears that Waikato University is doing its best to add to its reputation as New Zealand’s most PC university.

In the last week, Psychology lecturer Dr Linda Nikora was kind enough to inform a lecture room full of keen students that a number of placements would be available in the clinical psychology programme.

One little catch though. Dr Nikora is proposing that the limited places are restricted to Maori only as she does not believe any Pakeha are culturally competent to deal with Maori health issues. She then advised the students that she will be presenting on this issue to an upcoming conference in a bid to ensure Maori only treat Maori.

Only at Waikato!

Happy, happy, joy, joy

The Economist has an article that will bend Labour and other assorted pity-partiers out of shape:

DESPITE global economic gloom, the world is a happier place than it was before the financial crisis began. That is the counterintuitive conclusion of a poll of 19,000 adults in 24 countries by Ipsos, a research company. Some 77% of respondents now describe themselves as happy, up three points on 2007, the last year before the crisis. Fully 22% (up from 20%) describe themselves as very happy—a more important measure, says Ipsos’s John Wright, since whenever three-quarters of people agree on anything, “you need to pay attention to intensity in the results.”

All such polls come with a health warning. The level of happiness is self-reported—and the term means different things to different people. The Ipsos poll, measuring degrees of happiness, is not strictly comparable with those that ask about “well-being” (such as Gallup) or “life satisfaction” (the World Values survey), so it is hard to test the validity of the conclusions against other efforts. The margin of error is wide, at plus or minus 3.1 points for most countries. Still, Ipsos has been doing its survey regularly for five years and the figures have proved fairly stable during that time, not wildly volatile which they would have been if they had been flaky.

Two conclusions emerge. Large, fast-growing emerging markets do not share rich industrialised countries’ pessimism. The already large “very happy” cohort rose 16 points in Turkey, ten points in Mexico and five points in India. Even rich-country pessimism is uneven. The share of “very happy” people rose six points in—of all places—Japan, defying tsunami and nuclear accidents. But growth amid global misery does not explain everything: the biggest falls in happiness also occurred in large emerging markets, in Indonesia, Brazil and—a perennial miseryguts—Russia.

Right handed or Left handed?

This is a psychology test page. It has been completed by someone I know. The test was supposedly conducted by Dr Ralf Schnabel, the same psychologist who tested me on behalf of Fidelity Life.

Without telling readers anymore I want to know what you think about the handwritten answers. Were they completed by a right handed person or a left handed person and you reasons why you think this is the case. I don’t care about the answers themselves simply the pen marks. Were they created by a right handed person or a left handed person?

Right Handed or Left Handed?

"I could have started a blog, but that's the first sign of mental illness" – Michael Laws

Someone is touchy. Michael Laws is very touchy. He decides to label all bloggers as having a mental illness and suggests he isn’t there yet.

Well F*ck you Michael.

In the middle of Movember you decide to label bloggers as suffering from mental illness. Well welcome to the sh*t-storm that all bloggers will unleash upon you for calling us all mental.

To Donate to Movember, you can either:

•    Click this link http://nz.movember.com/donate/your-details/member_id/17568/ and donate online using your credit card or PayPal account
•    Write a cheque payable to ‘Movember Foundation,’ referencing my Registration Number 17568 and mailing it to: Movember Foundation, PO Box 12708, Wellington, 6144

I have always been up front about my own personal battle with Depression. I have fronted on my own demons. It is time Michael Laws started confronting his own demons, and they are considerable. It is time that bloggers and media everywhere started calling this blackmailer, bullshit artist on his crap and started outing his reprehensible bullying and predator behaviour.

There is power in speaking the truth, something Michael Laws is a stranger to.

I wonder what his fellow Radio host at Radio Live, Mike King thinks about such labels during Movember, an event that Mike King is an ambassador for. I wonder too what John Kirwan thinks of such comments during Movember.

Michaels Laws is a cowardly little weak man with a body like a half sucked throatie. By abusing bloggers for their mental health has just added him to my sh*t-list, a list from which no one ever gets off.

Here is a video that Michael laws would do well to heed. (WARNING: NSFW, Do not play at work)

Movember – Day 2

Today is my birthday, it is also the day that 6 years ago I went to the doctor and found out that the reason I wanted to punch every one out and was so utterly exhausted at the same time was because I suffered from depression.

That started what has been a six year battle with depression, anti-depressants, a scum insurance company called Fidelity Life and their equally scum doctors Des Gorman, Anthony Asteraidis and Ralf Schnabel (medical professionals who make their living almost exclusively from insurance companies). It is only now, after de-toxing myself from the anti-depressants that I also find out that covered up under all the medication and depression was de-personlisation disorder. Adam Duritz lead singer of the Counting Crows published an essay in which he describes his experience with suffering from depersonalization disorder. (It is the best, but also most frightening description of what it is like with depersonalisation disorder)

Now that I no longer have the anti-depressants in my system I can start to address the causes of my depression in a meaningful way instead of plastering over the cracks.

Fidelity Life thought a year ago that I was cured, this despite their own medical evidence, yet in the past year I haven’t managed to even remotely get near working. In that year I have lost my house, been in court, and removed all drugs from my system, this year has been one of the hardest of my life, it is almost as if I am starting a new life.

I realise now, even, if Fidelity Life doesn’t, that I will now live with the spectre of depression for the rest of my life. It isn’t something, now after 6 years, that will just go away. I live every day hoping I don’t slip into a DPD episode or wake up in the morning so utterly exhausted just from surviving the previous day that I can’t get out of bed.

Three things keep it all at bay, or at least help when depression and DPD strikes. The gym, music and blogging.

When I say the gym, I don’t mean some namby-pamby poofs type of gym, I mean my mate Buck‘s gym in the heart of South Auckland, where fatties, gang members, both patched and un-patched, Pasifika, Maori plus a few of us whitey go. A gym where there are no sooks, and there are no soft options. When I go to the gym it is for two hours at least and it is tough. It needs to be to reset my core being. because in living with depression for 6 years I have learned and understood the pathology of the illness so that I can try to combat it.

For me, my form of depression is the “fight response”. That means my body thinks it is always in a battle. The closer to the edge of depression I get the shallower my breathing becomes, its all automatic, the body is designed that way to divert oxygen to the muscles for battle or for flight. It is one of the reasons why John Kirwan was able to perform so well despite his depression, literally his body was tuned to provide huge amounts of oxygen to the fast twitch muscles which enabled him to score magnificent tries like there was no-one in front of him. This is the same mechanism that causes people in high stress situations, in battle, in acidents, in trauma situation can perform huge feats of physical amazement. It is the ancient “berserker” mechanism of the Vikings. The problem is my body is set on that full time. With it come determination, hyper-vigilance, and utter, utter exhaustion. Eventually if you don’t reset you just collapse as I well know. The gym forces your body to breathe deeply and helps reset.

I encourage anyone suffering depression to start of by going for good, hard long walks or bike rides. Trust me it will help. It is what got me started on the road to recovery.

It is only now after I have purged the drugs from my body that I am finally starting to feel like I am getting on top of the “Black Dog”. But it is still a daily battle. As I mentioned music helps and in particular some songs that have a great deal of meaning for me. Here is one I listen to frequently. It helps to express out loud what is going on inside.

Of course I don’t have to tell you about my blogging, you are all my loyal and understanding fans so you know already how that helps. by reading and commenting and supporting you have all helped me immensely and for that I thank you you all.

I will continue the fight against depression and I will continue to try to educate people as to why depression isn’t just about feeling a bit sad. Unfortunately Insurance companies and Fidelity Life in particular don’t seem to grasp this issue and continue to force feed their clients and patients with cocktails of drugs that do nothing to address the core issues of depression. The pity is that Fidelity Life doesn’t want to talk so I will have have to educate them in a court room, an education that will cost them far more than a few meetings.

Movember is a cause I feel strongly about and I’m asking you to support my efforts by making a donation to me.  To help, you can either:

•    Click this link http://nz.movember.com/donate/your-details/member_id/17568/ and donate online using your credit card or PayPal account
•    Write a cheque payable to ‘Movember Foundation,’ referencing my Registration Number 17568 and mailing it to: Movember Foundation, PO Box 12708, Wellington, 6144

All donations are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.

To join my Movember team go to http://nz.movember.com/register/105390 and follow the steps. Once registered you’ll be sent all the information you need to raise funds and start growing as part of my Movember team.