Neuroscience

PTSD Virtual Reality Therapy Experience

PTSD Virtual Reality Therapy Tools

Link: T2 Virtual PTSD Experience

Based in Second Life. [Side note for self: symbolic modeling? psychoactive space? steven.]

Multiple researchers have declared traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder to be the “signature wounds” of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. A recent Rand report found that approximately 19% of all Service Members returning from combat theater screen positive for psychological health problems, and of those that screen positive, slightly more than half seek psychological health services. Multiple barriers prevent Service Members from seeking information about psychological health issues and mental health care, including perceived stigma, physical access barriers, and limited resources.

A number of web-based resources aim to educate about post-deployment psychological health issues. Many of these are rich with useful information in the form of text content written by experts, video interviews of other Service Members dealing with similar issues, self-assessment screening tools, self-help exercises, and information regarding accessing care. And while these are great resources, they are also limited with regards to the experience that they can provide to visitors.

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Ancestry, Neuroscience

Born to Be Happy, Through a Twist of Human Hard Wire

“I know, you’re bi-polar.”

“Old man, look at my life, I’m a lot like you were.”

Born to Be Happy, Through a Twist of Human Hard Wire

By RICHARD A. FRIEDMAN, M.D.

In the course of the last year, the woman lost her husband to cancer and then her job. But she did not come to my office as a patient; she sought advice about her teenage son who was having trouble dealing with his father’s death.

Despite crushing loss and stress, she was not at all depressed – sad, yes, but still upbeat. I found myself stunned by her resilience. What accounted for her ability to weather such sorrow with buoyant optimism? So I asked her directly.

“All my life,” she recalled recently, “I’ve been happy for no good reason. It’s just my nature, I guess.”

But it was more than that. She was a happy extrovert, full of energy and enthusiasm who was indefatigably sociable. And she could get by with five or six hours of sleep each night.

Like this woman, a journalist I know realized when she was a teenager that she was different from others. “It’s actually kind of embarrassing to be so cheerful and happy all the time,” she said. “When I was in high school I read the Robert Browning poem `My Last Duchess.’ In it, the narrator said he killed his wife, the duchess, because, `she had a heart – how shall I say, too soon made glad?’ And I thought, uh-oh, that’s me.”

These two women were lucky to be born with a joyous temperament, which in its most extreme forms is called hyperthymia. Cheerful despite life’s misfortunes, energetic and productive, they are often the envy of all who know them because they don’t even have to work at it.

In a sense, they are the psychiatric mirror image of people who suffer from a chronic, often lifelong, mild depression called dysthymia, which affects about 3 percent of American adults. Always down, dysthymics experience little pleasure and battle through life with a dreary pessimism. Despite whatever fortune comes their way, they remain glum.

But hyperthymia certainly doesn’t look like an illness; there appears to be no disadvantage to being a euphoric extrovert, except, perhaps, for inspiring an occasional homicidal impulse from jealous friends or peers. But little is actually known about people with hyperthymia for the simple reason that they don’t see psychiatrists complaining that they are happy.

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Neuroscience

My Momma: Arlene Jean Schaadt Baxley

I was talking with my momma this morning about orthomolecular medicine, and all the work she’s done to help people achieve better health over the years. Most often when I’m thinking about my momma in this regard, I think of how it is that she’s responsible for bringing life to families struggling to have children. What more beautiful work can there be as a humanitarian than to care for the quality of human life, and it’s propagation through it’s generations of families? Continue reading

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Neuroscience, Psychology

A First Rate Madness

Everyone Needs Therapy

Sometimes in this business you are called upon to treat a madman, or a madwoman, someone seemingly psychotic, talking way over your head, out there, but still oriented times three (person, place, time).   You sense genius. You feel that this person is smarter than you are, or at least as smart.

You recognize, right away, undeniable talent and intellect. He is a song-writer, a one-hit wonder. She is an artist. He is a poet; she directs a television show. He is a computer programmer; she is a doctor. And you’re humble. You go home and think, why in the world see me?

But you know why.  The patient needs your particular genius, because his madness is getting in the way. Others are complaining, complaining so loudly, you can hear them and they’re not in the room, not even in the building.  You suspect mental illness.

And it usually is.  Nassir Ghaemi, author of A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness, is of the opinion that it isn’t always so bad.  Indeed, some creative people have a hyperthymic temperament.  They rarely need therapy, not unless no one else will listen to them.  It is not a disorder.

— therapydoc is at gmaildotcom
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Neuroscience

Clonazepam Side Effects: Hypomania, a study from 48 people by eHealthMe.com

Found eHealthMe—”FDA and Social Media personalized”—with a report on Clonazepam and Hypomania.

“22,881 people reported to have side effects when taking Clonazepam. Among them, 48 people (0.21%) have Hypomania.”

See: Clonazepam Side Effects: Hypomania, a study from 48 people by eHealthMe.com

Hypomania (literally, below mania) is a mood state characterized by persistent and pervasive elevated or irritable mood, as well as thoughts and behaviors that are consistent with such a mood state. Individuals in a hypomanic state have a decreased need for sleep, are extremely outgoing and competitive, and have a great deal of energy. However, unlike with full mania, those with hypomanic systems are fully functioning, and are often actually more productive than usual. Specifically, hypomania is distinguished from mania by the absence of psychotic symptoms and by its lower degree of impact on functioning. Hypomania is a feature of bipolar II disorder and cyclothymia, but can also occur in schizoaffective disorder. Hypomania is sometimes credited with increasing creativity and productive energy. A significant number of people with creative talents have reportedly experienced hypomania or other symptoms of bipolar disorder and attribute their success to it. Classic symptoms of hypomania include mild euphoria, a flood of ideas, endless energy, and a desire and drive for success. A lesser form of hypomania is called hyperthymia.

Drug-induced hypomania is not invariably indicative of bipolar affective disorders.  Continue reading

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Neuroscience, Psychology

Obama too Sane to be Kennedy

Sky Dancers: Obama too Sane to be Kennedy

“Many people who experience traumas [like terrorism or war] don’t develop PTSD or other illnesses. So the question is, what keeps those people from getting sick? What creates resilience?

The psychological research suggests that personality is a major factor.

Resilience seems to be associated with mild manic symptoms, but you can’t develop resilience unless you’ve already experienced trauma.

Many of these leaders faced adversity in their childhood and adulthood, and that seemed to make them better able to handle crises. It’s like a vaccine.

You get exposed to a little bit of a bacteria then you can handle major infections and I think trauma and resilience and hyperthymic personality seem to follow a similar path.”

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Ancestry, Are You There God? It's Me, Gidget, Neuroscience, Psychology

Think You Got What It Takes? Leadership, “Madness,” and Empathic Power

Ghandi + Karma

 

Think You Got What It Takes?

Leadership, “Madness,” and Empathic Power : Mockingbird

What makes the great ones?

Ask almost anyone anywhere, and you’ll get the same response: some form of personal exertion, “determination” or “perseverance” or “vision”.

Ask almost anyone, and you’ll receive a response rooted in the individual’s uncompromising leadership–they’ll speak of the necessary qualities which brought him/her to helm in a time when he/she was most needed.

Others might go so far as to say that this kind of leadership sits within us all, but is only activated when one realizes it, believes in oneself, and confidently makes the strides towards achievement.

This mythology speaks for presidents as much as social activists or stadium rockers. It is the “I will” and not the “Can I?” that brings one beyond one’s constraints…

be infectious.

here’s to the crazy ones. Continue reading

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Are You There God? It's Me, Gidget, Neuroscience

The Colbert Report—Nassir Ghaemi

Psychiatrist Nassir Ghaemi believes that mental illness can foster great leadership, but the Republican presidential candidates are too “normal.” (06:54)

The Colbert Report

Excerpt Quotes

Ghaemi: “Mild manic symptoms through-out ones life psychiatrists call ‘hyperthymic personality’.”

Colbert: “Sounds like a mad scientist.

Ghaemi: “One of the things about mania is that it does cause a person to have many different kinds of thoughts, many of which are creative. Connections happen because the thoughts are fast and in different directions in a way that mentally healthy average people do not have.”

Colbert: “Which of them do you think seems the most—creative?”

Ghaemi: “I have to say, you ask just the right question. That’s what we should be asking about our leaders. Who are creative, resilient, empathic and realistic? These are the four traits of leadership that grow out of mania and depression. And if we ask those questions we’ll get people like that—Colbert interjects, “Who?”—and we should accept them.

Colbert: “No Drama Obama” — “One way to get a better leader in office is to gaslight them and to make them crazy—I mean, the tea party could be therapy.”

Colbert: “You’re born with this—It’s genetic?”

Ghaemi: “Yes”

Colbert: “Perhaps we should have cheek scrapings for these—or a reserve President…”

Ghaemi: “…some abnormality is actually quite good.”

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Neuroscience, Psychology

Being Sane in Insane Places

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”—J. Krishnamurti

In July 2011, I spent a total of nine days in the San Diego County Psychiatric Hospital. Being sane in an insane place is much harder than you might think, but then again maybe you don’t think I’m sane.*

I know how the caged bird sings, she sings with resonation found only on the super slick floors that only an insane asylum can afford where she sings “Crazy“.

“How do we know precisely what constitutes “normality” or mental illness? Conventional wisdom suggests that specially trained professionals have the ability to make reasonably accurate diagnoses. What is—or is not—“normal” may have much to do with the labels that are applied to people in particular settings.”

The Rosenhan Experiment

The Rosenhan experiment was a famous experiment into the validity of psychiatric diagnosis conducted by psychologist David Rosenhan in 1973. It was published in the journal Science under the title “On Being Sane in Insane Places.” Rosenhan DL (January 1973). The study is considered an important and influential criticism of psychiatric diagnosis. Lauren Slater later revisits the experiment and publishes her findings in Opening Skinner’s Box: Great Psychological Experiments of the Twentieth Century (2004).

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Neuroscience, Technology

If we ask the right questions, maybe we can come up with the right answers.

Hagop Akiskal MD of UCSD, favors the term, “hyperthymic,” a temperament opposite to “depressive.” Dr Akiskal views temperament as coexisting on the same spectrum with illness, ranging from advantageous to pathological.

The DSM views hypomania as an “episode” that is part of bipolar disorder, but, unlike depression, it is not considered an illness in its own right. People may act a bit strange when hypomanic, but they tend to be able to hold onto their jobs and personal relationships. Indeed, when hypomanic our productivity and creativity and sociability tend to make us the envy of the rest of the world.

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Neuroscience, Psychology

Boing Boing’s Field guide to the Hypomanic Personality

There’s something very American about an over-the-top personality running the White House staff – Psychology Today

In keeping with his hypomanic temperament, Emanuel doesn’t need much sleep and he can’t stay still. “He’s like a shark that always has to keep moving or he dies,” says John Lapp, who worked for Emanuel. And, like Clinton, Emanuel is highly creative, not least because his hyperkinetic mind can’t stop generating ideas. “He’s an idea machine,” Sabato says.
— Field guide to the hypomanic personality – Boing Boing

 

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Are You There God? It's Me, Gidget, Neuroscience

my family: persistently more happy and optimistic than normal.

Hyperthymic Personality Disorder – General Practice Notebook

Individuals with a hyperthymic personality disorders are persistently more happy and optimistic than normal.

They have marked enthusiasm for life but on the other hand tend to be rash and show poor judgement.

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link, Neuroscience

Hyperthymic Personality

Link: Hyperthymic Personality

Now, the better question would be, what if there is no depression? Can people just have mild mania? And the answer to that is at one level it appears that God or nature or Darwin or whoever evolved our brains or created our brains did it in such a way that it doesn’t seem that episodic, mild mania can happen by itself. It has not really been described that people can have intermittent hypomania and nothing else, no depression. It can happen, but it’s probably rare. Just having manic episodes without depressive episodes is reported in maybe 5 to 10 percent of bipolar patients, and we don’t really know if just having hypomanic episodes can happen.

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Are You There God? It's Me, Gidget, Neuroscience, Technology, Writing

Creative Tools Specification

Stephen Jenvey, as per my style I am listening to waves crash to some

[thesaurus: words for beautiful sounds; retrieve:images, music; sort: color, timbre; todo:look for a better word here. i’m trying to capture how magical it is to be able to think freely and design the future because you can see clearly, now the rain is gone.]

does that designer language speak to your interface?

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Culture, Neuroscience, Psychology, Technology,

People and Projects

Welcome to the new people. If you don’t know why you’re here. Don’t worry, it’ll come. The door is open. If you were to ask Loxie she’d tell you we’re all stars. Want to know more? Come visit us. Does an open door make you hesitate? Oh no! Don’t worry, someone will hold your hand, if you want to come in.

You see, we’re here because we need each other to reach our dreams. Continue reading

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Neuroscience

How to Become A Great Finisher — Psychology Today

Link: How to Become A Great Finisher | Psychology Today

When we focus on progress made, we’re also more likely to try to achieve a sense of “balance” by making progress on other important goals.   This is classic Good Starter behavior – lots of pots on the stove, but nothing is ever ready to eat.

If, instead, we focus on how far we have left to go (to-go thinking), motivation is not only sustained, it’s heightened.   Fundamentally, this has to do with the way our brains are wired.  We are tuned in (below our awareness) to the presence of a discrepancy  between where we are now and where we want to be.   When your brain detects a discrepancy, it reacts by throwing resources at it:  attention, effort, deeper processing of information, and willpower.

In fact, it’s the discrepancy that signals that an action is needed – to-date thinking masks that signal.   You might feel good about the ground you’ve covered, but you probably won’t cover much more.

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Cannabis, Neuroscience

Diagnosis!

From: Angela M. Baxley
Date: May 18, 2011 1:19:46 AM EDT
To: BAY
Subject: Diagnosis!

I have a diagnosis: hyperthymic temperament with [drug induced episodes of] hypomania.

Talked to a doctor today (see below). We talked for a little more than an hour, over the phone. He ruled out epilepsy (if a concern, past as childhood) and manic/bipolar, depression.

He said there isn’t much a treatment. Continue Serofin, likely that can reduce “need” for effects of MJ. Should know in about 1 month.

Half-life for Clonazepam is extremely long and he was not at all surprised by any of my experiences.

Apparently I’ll just live with hypothymic [sic] temperament the same way Micheal just lives with dysphoria. I’m the euphoria to his dysphoria. No wonder I was so attracted to him. I always felt he gave me that other half of life perspective.

@ang @baxley

 


 

Begin forwarded message:

From: “Vishaal Mehra”
Date: May 16, 2011 3:56:03 PM PDT
To: “‘Angela M. Baxley'”
Subject: RE: Request

Hi Angela

Clonazepam (and other benzodiazepine medication) can have an atypical response in some individuals, such as disinhibition, mood changes, and activation—rather than the expected calming/sedation often seen with these types of meds.

Would you like to talk over the phone to discuss your symptoms further?

I have some availability this week

Let me know

Vishaal

Vishaal Mehra MD, CPI
CEO and Medical Director
Artemis Institute for Clinical Research
8787 Complex Dr, Ste 100
San Diego, CA 92123
Office: (858) ARTEMIS (278-3647)

 


 

From: Angela M. Baxley
Sent: Monday, May 16, 2011 3:35 PM
To: Vishaal Mehra
Subject: Re: Request

Hi Vishaal,

Thank you for helping. Matt is a great guy, and I appreciate all his help as well.

I have had unusual symptoms from what I can recall around 15 or so up to today. I would like to see who might be able to professionally guide my search for understanding.

I recently had a panic attack with which I took 2 Clonazepam. That sent me into a rage. That sent me to Wikipedia, where I learned that much of what’s been “wrong” may all be due to the medication.

Please let me know what you need from me.

And once again,
Thank you.

Angela

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