Hello and welcome to another edition of Best 5 Reads. Lets begin!
On March 29 2016, the archivist Amy Proctor stood in a temperature-controlled strongroom in the London Metropolitan Archive and tried not to feel daunted by the task ahead of her. She was surrounded by shelves and shelves and shelves of acid-free cardboard boxes, stored at a cool 18 degrees, with humidity at 45 to 60 per cent. Inside those boxes were 20,000 patient files – 144 linear metres when laid out end to end. And inside those files were the stories of the men, women and children who received psychotherapy at the Psychopathic Clinic – as it was known when it opened 85 years ago – at the Institute for the Study and Treatment of Delinquency.
Proctor’s job for the next two years was to read and process these files, anonymising the information and uploading it to a huge, searchable database for use by researchers and clinicians. That first day, she says, ‘I just started from the beginning.’ She took a pile back to her slightly warmer office, took out the first file, labelled Patient 1, and read.
The conversation about mental health has moved over the time I’ve been doing things in and around mental health. It can appear that we are always at the best of times and worst of times in mental health, constant veering between head-in-hands despair and backslapping optimism when any small progress is made. I think what is actually happening is we are waking up to the enormity of mental health and that awakening is uncomfortable and scary and disconcerting.
Antidepressant discontinuation is a useful topic to discuss for a number of reasons. First, it is a legitimate problem for a number of people who want to stop the medication and find that they can’t for one reason or another. Secondly, some of the people are unable to stop because they have discontinuation or withdrawal symptoms from the antidepressants and for some people these symptoms are extremely distressing. In other cases the people trying to stop get recurrent symptoms of anxiety, insomnia, and depression and have to resume the medication. Thirdly, the solutions to the problem are poorly defined.
Two studies indicate a link between cannabis use and mental health concerns, starting in adolescence and continuing into adulthood.
An international study, focused on the analysis of the genome of more than 50,000 people worldwide, has identified twelve specific fragments of DNA related to the vulnerability of the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Thank you and see you tomorrow for some quotes!