Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Dentist anxiety series

I am currently writing a series on identifying and conquering different fears about the dentist. You can read my series in my anxiety blog! I hope many of you stop by to read up on the topic.

I will (hopefully) be updating this blog with new information later today or tomorrow.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Occupation May Affect Cognition After Retirement

How mentally and intellectually challenging your job is now may have a positive (or negative) affect on your cognitive abilities later in life, after retirement, a new study published in the May issue of Neurology suggests.

The study contained 1,036 twin males. Each participant underwent a test, which determined their learning abilities when they joined the United States military in the 1940s. Each participant underwent follow-up assessments every three to four years after they reached the age of 60.

The study found that those who held occupations, which had intellectual demands had better cognitive abilities after retirement, while those who held occupations, which had physical demands had worse cognitive abilities in retirement.

The study authors note that occupation and age are only two factors that contribute to one's cognitive abilities, but that occupation can have a positive or negative impact on cognition as one ages.

Source: Forbes.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day for Everyone

While Mother's Day is a joyous occasion for some, for others it is a very difficult day.

For individuals who can truly celebrate their mothers, look on their pasts and have fond memories of their mothers, I hope you have a great day celebrating with your moms. Spending some quality time with you mom on this special day will make great new memories for you and your mom.

However, for those who find this day difficult, I hope you find a way to nurture yourselves today.

For some, this day brings forth sadness, loneliness, and loss, as when a loving mother has passed away. For others, today brings forth anger, resentment, and confusion, as with individuals who were abused or neglected by their mothers, abandoned, or for those who do not have good relationships with their mothers.

It is sad and unfortunate when you lose a loving mother or when your mother was the perpetrator of abuse or neglect. Mother's Day can be very painful for you. I think it is important to find ways in which you can nurture yourself on difficult days, such as these. Here's some ideas:

-Take a nice bubble bath
-Read a good book
-Write, draw, or paint
-Treat yourself to a yummy dessert, dinner, or special drink
-If you are Christian, pray, read your Bible, and spend some quality time with God
-Write an old friend a letter or catch up with him or her over the phone

Whatever you do, just make sure you are nurturing yourself and giving yourself permission to relax.

I hope everyone finds a way to feel nurtured today.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Technology Aids Substance Abusers Stay Sober

Technology may help drug and alcohol users stay sober, according to new research, which was published in the May 1, 2008 on-line issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Seventy-seven participants who desired treatment for alcohol and drug abuse were divided randomly into two groups - one group received traditional substance abuse counseling while the other group received traditional substance abuse counseling and six training sessions with a computer program.

The computer program, developed by Kathleen M. Carroll and her colleagues at Yale University's School of Medicine contained six lessons. In each of the six lessons, the program contained videos of different situations a person recovering from drug and/or alcohol abuse might encounter, such as being offered drugs. The training program also teaches recovering individuals strategies for dealing with and avoiding substance abuse as well as video showing how to use each skill or strategy being taught.

At the conclusion of the study, significantly less individuals who underwent traditional counseling in combination with the computer training program had positive drug tests than people who had traditional substance abuse counseling alone.

Personally, I believe this kind of combination therapy may be very effective for individuals who learn best by seeing a skill or strategy being used. Others might benefit from additional role-plays in therapy whereby they can test their new skills in a safe environment before being confronted with a situation in real life.

Source: http://www.forbes.com/health/feeds/hscout/2008/05/08/hscout615106.html

Saturday, May 3, 2008

"Special K" Reduces Depression

Do you suffer from depression? Have you had to try multiple anti-depressants to treat your depression? Have you found an anti-depressant that is effective to treat your depression yet? If you haven't, you're not alone. Many individuals have to try multiple medications for depression, and some people do not find any current anti-depressants effective at treating their depression. Of course, this adds to the feelings of hopelessness a depressed person feels. However, the results of a new study indicate a new kind of drug is effective for treating depression.

The results of this new study, which has been published in the Archives of General Psychiatry discovered that a night club drug known as "Special K" (ketamine) reduces depression. Thirty-three male participants were given ketamine, which is used as a horse tranquilizer, intravenously. The researchers also took minute-by-minute brain scans of the participants brains during the administration of the drug.

They discovered that ketamine restored a part of the brain that is overactive in individuals with depression back to normal, reducing depression in participants.

Certainly doctors and psychiatrists are not going to give depressed people ketamine for their symptoms, but this study does provide new information that can guide future research in creating new drugs to treat people with depression.

Source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24428510/