Sunday, April 14, 2013

Recovery language

Here is a great article about being mindful about language in mental health. I agree that some language can hinder recovery, make someone feel inadequate, or be offensive. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Funny, Thought-Provoking Talk

Joshua Walters: On being "just crazy enough." A man diagnosed with bipolar disorder talks of his experiences and insights. Very interesting video...

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Schizophrenia Manual

 There are few good all-inclusive books about schizophrenia; That being said, I find the book Surviving Schizophrenia: A Manual for Families, Patients, and Providers to be a great book for anyone who would like more information about schizophrenia.

It is very well-written and has a lot of suggestions for additional readings. It is written by Dr. E. Fuller Torrey, an accomplished psychiatrist and researcher who specializes in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Brain-Training: Cognitive Enhancement

There has been a growing effort to learn about cognition in schizophrenia and how to improve cognitive deficits. The cognitive deficit of schizophrenia is heterogeneous (it appears different across individuals; there are individual differences), however, it can be severe enough that individuals need treatment. The cognitive impairment of individuals with schizophrenia (as well as other cognitive disorders) could be greatly improved with cognitive training. The idea of brain plasticity is a relatively new one, but a very exciting area of research. When I worked in a psychiatric rehabilitation program, I constantly reminded members that "brain training" is very real and very possible. You can change your brain; you can improve your functioning voluntarily with an effortful push.

Here is an article written last year about brain training video games designed for schizophrenia:

I personally believe these treatments are valuable and important. Skeptics do not see the relevance of video games as treatment, but here is how I think of it: These games are designed to improve cognitive control, attention, and neural functioning in general. This type of improvement can be thought of as triggering the root of more important and more relevant functions, such as social cognition, problem solving, and concentration. Neurons are the cells that make up the brain, therefore, if we improve neural functioning, overall functioning may improve.

These treatments are too new to know how effective they are, but I think it is worth researching. The current treatment programming may not be perfect yet, but it is exciting to think that one day we can have one that really works.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Schizoaffective Disorder Documentary

Here is a short documentary (23:43) about a man's recovery from Schizoaffective disorder. Schizoaffective disorder is similar to schizophrenia, but with a mood component. It seems to be a combination of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. The documentary is a wonderful and honest view of the struggles and symptoms of this disorder, as well as a glimmer of hope from someone who has experienced recovery himself.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Powerful anecdote of recovery

My first article I would like to share with you is one written by an advocate, researcher, and important figure in the world of clinical psychology. Elyn Saks wrote an article January 25th, 2013 that has been circulating around (as it deserves to be). Dr. Saks is a very successful woman who is diagnosed with schizophrenia. After many years basically being told she would not amount to anything, she beat the odds and got her Ph.D. in clinical psychology. She is now a professor at USC, among countless other achievements. Here is her wonderful article, Titled Successful and Schizophrenic published in the NY Times:

If you would like to read more, I highly recommend her book,  The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness (Hyperion, 2007).