References for "Expressive writing for mental health"

Frattaroli J. "Experimental Disclosure and Its Moderators: A Meta-Analysis," Psychological Bulletin (Nov. 2006): Vol. 132, No. 6, pp. 823–65. Harris AH. "Does Expressive Writing Reduce Health Care Utilization? A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Trials," Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (April 2006): Vol. 74, No. 2, pp. 243–52. AH and expressive writing Mackenzie CS, et al. "Seeing the Glass Half Full: Optimistic Expressive Writing Improves Mental Health Among Chronically Stressed Caregivers," British Journal of Health Psychology (Feb. 2008): Vol. 13, No. 1, pp. 73–76. (Locked) More »

References for "How addiction hijacks the brain"

Chandler RK, et al. "Treating Drug Abuse and Addiction in the Criminal Justice System: Improving Public Health and Safety," Journal of the American Medical Association (Jan. 14, 2009): Vol. 301, No. 2, pp. 183–90. Koob GF, et al. "Neurocircuitry of Addiction," Neuropsychopharmacology (Jan. 2010): Vol. 35, No. 1, pp. 217–38. McLellan AT, et al. "Drug Dependence, A Chronic Medical Illness: Implications for Treatment, Insurance, and Outcomes Evaluation," Journal of the American Medical Association (Oct. 4, 2000): Vol. 284, No. 13, pp. 1689–695. (Locked) More »

References for "When depression starts in the neck"

Garber JR, ed. Thyroid Disease: Understanding Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism (Harvard Medical School, 2010). Garber JR, et al. "Clinical Update: Managing the Challenges of Hypothyroidism," Journal of Family Practice (June 2006): Vol. 55, No. 6, pp. S1–8. MedlinePlus. "Levothyroxine," fact sheet updated Sept. 1, 2008. (Locked) More »

How addiction hijacks the brain

Addiction exerts a long and powerful influence on the brain that manifests in three distinct ways: craving for the object of addiction, loss of control over its use, and continuing involvement with it despite adverse consequences. While overcoming addiction is possible, the process is often long, slow, and complicated. It took years for researchers and policymakers to arrive at this understanding. In the 1930s, when researchers first began to investigate what caused addictive behavior, they believed that people who developed addictions were somehow morally flawed or lacking in willpower. Overcoming addiction, they thought, involved punishing miscreants or, alternately, encouraging them to muster the will to break a habit. The scientific consensus has changed since then. Today we recognize addiction as a chronic disease that changes both brain structure and function. Just as cardiovascular disease damages the heart and diabetes impairs the pancreas, addiction hijacks the brain. Recovery from addiction involves willpower, certainly, but it is not enough to "just say no". Instead, people typically use multiple strategies — including psychotherapy, medication, and self-care — as they try to break the grip of an addiction. Another shift in thinking about addiction has occurred as well. For many years, experts believed that only alcohol and powerful drugs could cause addiction. Neuroimaging technologies and more recent research, however, have shown that certain pleasurable activities, such as gambling, shopping, and sex, can also co-opt the brain. Although the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) describes multiple addictions, each tied to a specific substance or activity, consensus is emerging that these may represent multiple expressions of a common underlying brain process. More »

When depression starts in the neck

Treating an underactive thyroid gland may improve mood. When someone develops depression, the brain usually becomes the focus of attention. But other organs can be the source of the problem. A common example is when the thyroid gland produces too little hormone — a condition known as hypothyroidism. Nearly 10 million Americans suffer from hypothyroidism. The condition is much more common in women than in men, and becomes more prevalent with age. As many as one in five women will develop hypothyroidism by age 60. Although researchers aren't entirely sure why there is a link between hypothyroidism and depression, it is likely that some people are taking antidepressants when they should really be taking thyroid medication. Here is a brief review of when clinicians and patients should consider hypothyroidism as a possible cause of low mood — and what to do next. More »

Expressive writing for mental health

Putting an experience into words may ease stress and trauma. Stress, trauma, and unexpected life developments — such as a cancer diagnosis, a car accident, or a layoff — can throw people off stride emotionally and mentally. The natural response is to wonder why something bad happened and what to do next. In some people, this can lead to rumination — dwelling on the event — and possibly to a mental health problem, such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Expressive writing — a technique that involves writing about thoughts and feelings that arise from a traumatic or stressful life experience — may help some people cope with the emotional fallout of such events. But it's not a cure-all, and it won't work for everyone. Expressive writing appears to be more effective for healthy people who have sustained an emotional blow than it is for people struggling with ongoing or severe mental health challenges, such as major depression or PTSD. (Locked) More »