Psychology and Mental Illness in the Middle Ages

Walters Art Museum, Creative Commons There is a common perception assumes that demonic possession, witchcraft, and superstition defined mental illness, and religion dominated study of the mind. However, the reality is much more subtle. By Martyn Shuttleworth Historian of Science Beyond Aristotle From the perspective of modern psychology and psychiatry, it is too easy to[…]

Genetics Study Finds Further Evidence that Education Reduces the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

The theory that education protects against Alzheimer’s disease has been given further weight by new research from the University of Cambridge, funded by the European Union. The study is published today in The BMJ. By Cambridge University / 12.07.2017 Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia. Its chief hallmark is the build of ‘plaques’ and[…]

Watching for Signs of Suicidal Thought Instead of Seeing Them in Retrospect

After his son’s suicide aged 18, Steve Mallen sees the world differently. Along with a growing number of mental health experts, he wants to reduce the rate of suicide across the world, and is aiming for zero. By Simon Usborne / 08.01.2017 Steve Mallen thinks the signs first started to show when his son stopped playing the[…]

What Might Explain the Unhappiness Epidemic among Our Youth?

Although measures of teen and adult happiness dropped during the high unemployment rates of the Great Recession, it didn’t rebound when the economy started to improve. / ASDF_MEDIA/Shutterstock.com By Dr. Jean Twenge / 01.22.2018 Professor of Psychology San Diego State University We’d all like to be a little happier. The problem is that much of what determines happiness is[…]

How Schopenhauer’s Thought Can Illuminate a Midlife Crisis

Don’t aim for completion / Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Kieran Setiya / 01.26.2018 Professor of Philosophy Massachusetts Institute of Technology Despite reflecting on the good life for more than 2,500 years, philosophers have not had much to say about middle age. For me, approaching 40 was a time of stereotypical crisis. Having jumped the hurdles[…]

Can Coffee Drinking Reduce Your Dementia Risk?

Many reasons that weren’t explored may account for the findings that women who drank coffee decreased their risk of dementia. Tim Wright/Unsplash, CC BY A study was reported to show caffeine protects older women from dementia. But looking closer at the research, we can’t truly claim coffee was the reason some of the women had a lower risk of dementia.    By Dr.[…]

Loneliness is Bad for Your Health

Social isolation is linked to increased blood pressure and depression. By Dr. Jed Magen / 02.26.2018 Associate Professor of Psychiatry Michigan State University Imagine a 65-year-old woman who sees her physician frequently for a variety of aches and pains. She might complain of back pain on one visit, headaches another time, and feeling weak on[…]

The Language of Mental Health in the Nineteenth Century

By Lalita Kaplish / 03.02.2016 Wed Editor Wellcome Library George Shuttleworth was a psychiatrist and an asylum superintendent at the Royal Albert Asylum in Lancaster for 23 years. He was also an important campaigner on education for mental patients. His book, ‘Mentally Deficient Children’ is an argument for the education of children with developmental and[…]

An ‘Hysterical’ Diagnosis and Its Historic Roots

St Lukes Hospital, London: patients case book 1912-1916. Wellcome Library reference: H64/B06/015. What did it mean for a woman to be diagnosed with hysteria? By Charlotte Whittingham / 01.12.2016 Medical Student, Imperial College London Tour Guide and Volunteer Marketing Assistant, Freud Museum London A 1916 casebook from St Luke’s Hospital (then to be found on Old[…]

Blocking the Noise in a Seemingly Senseless World

By Gilbert Ross / 01.05.2018 Is Loss of Sense-Making Threatening Our Existence? We are living in a point in time of our evolution where the amount and quality of problems we are facing are existential in nature or, that is, they are pointing towards gloomy scenarios of auto-destruction. From the accelerated degradation of our biosphere, overpopulation,[…]

Schizophrenia’s Tangled Roots

Symptoms of schizophrenia and related disorders likely arise from a perplexing interplay of social, environmental, psychological, and biological factors. / Apfelshaft123, Flickr, Creative Commons As an increasingly complex picture of schizophrenia emerges, researchers are recognizing that a more individualized and humane approach is needed to better understand and treat the condition. By Michael Balter /[…]

The Holiday-Suicide Myth and the Intractability of Popular Falsehoods

James Stewart and Donna Reed in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’ Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA By Dr. Dan Romer / 12.21.2017 Research Director Annenberg Public Policy Center University of Pennsylvania For years, the media have reported that more suicides occur during the holidays than at any other time. Many of these stories, no doubt, are meant to help people cope[…]

Meet the Dogs with OCD

Could understanding canine compulsions help find new treatments for people with obsessive–compulsive disorders too? By Shayla Love / 06.25.2017 Curiously, and perhaps eagerly, I am looking at a bull terrier named Sputnik, searching for a resemblance. He’s a stocky three-year-old, mostly slate grey, with a white stripe on his head and a pink splotch on his[…]

How to Grow from Your Pain

By Mark Manson / 11.23.2017 Learning to Transmute Our Sufferings A poor, black female in the segregated South, Johnson didn’t exactly have a bright future to look forward to. She endured the hardships that virtually all African Americans endured during and beyond segregation—second-class citizen status, economic and social exclusion, living in near-constant fear of physical[…]

The Curious Relationship between Altitude and Suicide

Does living at a higher altitude affect your mental health? VAndreas/shutterstock.com By Dr. Hoehun Ha / 11.05.2017 Assistant Professor of Geography Auburn University at Montgomery Suicide is one of the top 10 causes of death in the U.S. In the next 20 years, it’s expected to cause more than 2 million deaths per year worldwide, ranking 14th in the world[…]

Decision Making Under Stress

By Dr. Emma Barrett and Dr. Nathan Smith / 10.30.2017 Barrett: Research Fellow in Psychology, Lancaster University Smith: Honorary Lecturer, University of Exeter Medical School In 2014, 29-year-old Mohammed Uddin spent a few weeks with the Islamic State in Syria. On his return to the UK he was arrested and in 2016 convicted of preparing[…]

Why Exhaustion is Not Unique to Our Overstimulated Age

Marriage A-la-Mode, Plate II, Engraved by Bernard Baron, 1745 / Wellcome Library By Dr. Anna Katharina Schaffner / 07.06.2016 Reader in Comparative Literature University of Kent Is ours the most exhausting age ever? Many sociologists, psychologists and cultural critics argue that the rapid spread of exhaustion syndromes such as depression, stress and burnout are consequences of[…]

Mental Illness is Readily Visible in Brain Imaging

A pair of identical twins. The one on the right has OCD, while the one on the left does not. Brain Imaging Research Division, Wayne State University School of Medicine, CC BY-SA By Dr. David Rosenberg, M.D. / 10.19.2017 Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience Wayne State University As a psychiatrist, I find that one of the hardest[…]

How the Stoicism of Roman Philosophers Can Help Us Deal with Depression

Equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius. Detail. Bronze. 160-170s. Rome, Capitoline Museums, Palazzo dei Conservatori. By Dr. Robert S. Colter / 10.09.2017 Associate Lecturer of Philosophy University of Wyoming Depression is on the rise. A study conducted by the World Health Organization found an increase of 20 percent in depression cases within just a decade. I work on[…]

Nostalgia Isn’t Just an Escape – Science Says It’s Important for Coping, Too

What effect does longing have? Is it a useful psychological tool or a perilous trapping? / Photo by Lindy Baker, Unsplash The bittersweet benefits of yearning for the past. By Dr. Krystine I. Batcho / 06.30.2017 Professor of Psychology Le Moyne University In his song “Time Was,” counterculture singer Phil Ochs reminisces about a past “when a[…]