James Cartreine, PhD
Posts by James Cartreine, PhD
The goal of mindfulness training is to enhance well-being by increasing your awareness of the world around you through sensory immersion. People who are interested in trying mindfulness meditation may want to consider starting with a smartphone app.
As the need for substance use treatment continues to grow, a small study showed that a computer-guided CBT program for substance abuse was slightly more effective than the same type of therapy delivered in person by a therapist, and resulted in a higher percentage of days abstinent from drug use.
The little-studied condition misophonia causes people to experience a strong, unpleasant reaction to ordinary sounds (common trigger sounds include eating and breathing) . Research is beginning to explore what causes it, and has found a connection to a specific part of the brain. There are treatments that show promise for managing this condition.
People with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) experience challenging physical and emotional problems. Those caring for loved ones affected by PTSD need to balance self-care, limits, and realistic expectations. While the symptoms of PTSD may never completely go away, there are effective treatments that can reduce the effects and improve the lives of sufferers and the ones who care for them.
A recent study showed that behavioral activation can be an effective alternative to cognitive behavioral therapy for treating depression. This type of therapy emphasizes engaging in activities that can improve mental health, for example, connecting with people. Its advantage is that it takes less time and is less expensive to train people in behavioral activation so it may mean more therapists available at lower cost.
We often think of depression as making someone feel “down,” but it can sometimes show up as cognitive symptoms — for example, trouble with adapting to new information or thinking through a solution to a problem. Researchers recently determined that several common depression medications are not effective at relieving cognitive symptoms. But there are several things people with depression can try to help return themselves to their usual level of cognitive functioning.
In a recent study, online cognitive behavioral therapy programs didn’t appear to improve depression any more than standard primary care for depression. But that study was conducted in the United Kingdom, where primary care for depression includes a much wider variety of resources than are typically available in America. Even though these online programs have proven to be helpful, simply making them available isn’t sufficient —they have to be engaging and rewarding enough that people will be motivated to stick with them.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a very effective treatment for a number of mental health issues, including depression and anxiety. But not everyone is comfortable working with a therapist face-to-face, and for some people, it can be hard to afford — or even find — this treatment. Research suggests that online programs may be able to deliver CBT to a wider audience efficiently and successfully.