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[…]

A History of Mental Illness

An illustrated scene at Bedlam from Hogarth’s series of paintings ‘A Rake’s Progress’ / Wikimedia Commons A history of mental illness from the Stone Age to the 20th century. By Dr. Ingrid Farreras Professor of Psychology Chair, Department of Psychology Hood College References to mental illness can be found throughout history. The evolution of mental illness,[…]

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[…]

William Sargant’s World of Psychosurgery, Brainwashing, and Exorcism

William W Sargant, 1948. Wellcome Library reference: PP/WWS/A/19. Mike Jay delves into the personal papers of one of the first ‘media psychiatrists’ of the 20th century. By Mike Jay / 04.02.2014 Author and Cultural Historian In some respects, Sargant was a distinguised establishment figure. He was co-author of ‘An Introduction to Physical Methods of Treatment in Psychiatry’, the[…]

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[…]

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 /[…]

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[…]

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[…]

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[…]

How to Turn Stigma about Mental Illness into Compassion

Stephen Hinshaw explores what it meant to be raised by a father with psychosis—and how that experience has informed his work as a psychologist. By Jill Suttie, Psy.D. / 06.16.2017 What is it like to grow up in a household with a parent displaying serious mental illness? Renowned psychologist Stephen Hinshaw knows firsthand. His father suffered major[…]

Electroconvulsive Therapy: A History of Controversy

An electroconvulsive therapy machine is seen at an exhibition at the Wellcome Collection in London in 2012. REUTERS/Chris Helgren By Dr. Jonathan Sandowsky / 01.12.2017 Theodore J. Castele Professor of Medical History Case Western Reserve University Carrie Fisher’s ashes are in an urn designed to look like a Prozac pill. It’s fitting that in death[…]

The Meteoric Rise of Mental Illness in America and Implications for Other Countries

By Dr. Jeanne M. Solzer Professor of Psychology University of Nebraska-Kearney 4:2 (2016) Abstract Over the last 20-30 years, proponents of the medical model have hypothesized that mental illness is the result of a “chemical imbalance” in the brain (i.e., neurological atrophy, Breggin, 2011). In spite of the fact that no scientific evidence exists to[…]

Facebook Updates Could Provide a Window to Understanding – and Treating – Mental Health Disorders

Our Facebook status updates, ‘likes’ and even photos could help researchers better understand mental health disorders with the right ethical safeguards, argue researchers from the University of Cambridge, who suggest that social networks may even be used in future to provide support and interventions, particularly among young people. 10.28.2016 Over a billion people worldwide use[…]

Ancient Indigenous Memory Systems

Modern education systems use very different techniques to those of indigenous cultures.  Can we retain information better by using these ancient methods? By Cassandra Sheppard / 10.06.2016 Using Ancient Techniques to Train Modern Brains How much degradation of old people’s minds could be linked to the fact that we isolate them from their old songs,[…]

Gene Signature in Healthy Brains Pinpoints the Origins of Alzheimer’s Disease

A specific gene expression pattern maps out which parts of the brain are most vulnerable to Alzheimer’s disease, decades before symptoms appear, and helps define the molecular origins of the disease. 08.10.2016 Researchers have discovered a gene signature in healthy brains that echoes the pattern in which Alzheimer’s disease spreads through the brain much later[…]