“Constant Cravings: Is Addiction on The Rise?” AND More on Best 5 Monday Reads

Hello everyone! I hope you guys had a wonderful weekend. Lets start our busy week ahead with some interesting articles. Lets begin!

1) Constant Cravings: Is Addiction on The Rise?

From sex to sugar to social media, people are in the grip of a wider range of compulsive behaviours. But what is driving them – and what can be done?

2) The development of antipsychotic drugs

Antipsychotic drugs revolutionised psychiatric practice and provided a range of tools for exploring brain function in health and disease. Their development and introduction were largely empirical but based on long and honourable scientific credentials and remarkable powers of clinical observation. The class shares a common core action of attenuating central dopamine transmission, which underlies the major limitation to their use – high liability to disrupt extrapyramidal function – and also the most durable hypothesis of the basis of psychotic disorders, especially schizophrenia. However, the Dopamine Hypothesis, which has driven drug development for almost half a century, has become a straight-jacket, stifling innovation, resulting in a class of compounds that are largely derivative. Recent efforts only cemented this tendency as no clinical evidence supports the notion that newer compounds, modelled on clozapine, share that drug’s unique neurological tolerability and can be considered ‘atypical’. Patients and doctors alike must await a more profound understanding of central dopamine homeostasis and novel methods of maintaining it before they can again experience the intoxicating promise antipsychotics once held.

3) A veteran returns to war through virtual reality, hoping to be rid of his PTSD

Almost 40 years after post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was officially recognised as a distinct mental condition, treating its frequently debilitating symptoms has proven extremely challenging to sufferers and clinicians. The human brain is hard-wired to defend against threats, making little distinction between real and perceived danger. However, Merel Kindt, a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Amsterdam, believes that she has discovered a breakthrough treatment for overactive fear responses. By first exposing patients to their greatest fears and then administering a beta-blocker called propranolol, Kindt says that fear memories can be overwritten and made benign.

4) The 30 Manias

When people talk about “mania,” are they talking about the same thing? Two psychiatrists probably are, because they have a shared language and a shared metaphor. They would both instantly reply that mania is a “symptom of the mental disorder of bipolar disorder.” Now, if you persisted and asked them, “What do you mean?”, then they would throw up their hands, as they have no idea what they mean. But in terms of employing a shared metaphor, they are completely and comfortably aligned.

However, is that the only metaphoric use of the word “mania,” to call it a “symptom of the mental disorder of bipolar disorder”? Heavens no. Human beings use the word “mania” to stand for all sorts of states, experiences, and phenomena.

When people use the word “mania” in their idiosyncratic, metaphoric way, they are trying their best to communicate something true and important. In some cases, it may be the same something that psychiatry claims to be speaking about; and in many if not most cases, it may have nothing to do with psychiatry’s view. In fact, it may be flatly antithetical to that view. How confusing! Which is exactly why we are so confused on the matter.

5) Trauma, Stress, and More Linked to Depressive Disorders in College Freshmen

As major depressive disorder is common among college students, researchers sought to determine factors that contribute to this condition, particularly among college freshmen.

Thank you and see you tomorrow for more articles!

Best Regards,

Vikram


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