snapdraws:

Apologies for the terrible image quality - I’m lacking scanner access at the minute so I had to take these photos on my phone

I was reading hyperbole and a half’s blog entry explaining their experience of depression and decided to make another sketchy comic based on my experiences with anxiety, which is another mental illness I think people tend to misunderstand quite frequently

Hopefully this will be of use to some people - whether they suffer from anxiety themselves or if they just want to know more about it

(via mollyawatson)

tinierpurplefishes:

neuromorphogenesis:

Psychiatry divided as mental health ‘bible’ denounced
The world’s biggest mental health research institute is abandoning the new version of psychiatry’s “bible” – the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, questioning its validity and stating that “patients with mental disorders deserve better”. This bombshell comes just weeks before the publication of the fifth revision of the manual, called DSM-5.
On 29 April, Thomas Insel, director of the US National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), advocated a major shift away from categorising diseases such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia according to a person’s symptoms. Instead, Insel wants mental disorders to be diagnosed more objectively using genetics, brain scans that show abnormal patterns of activity and cognitive testing.
This would mean abandoning the manual published by the American Psychiatric Association that has been the mainstay of psychiatric research for 60 years.
The DSM has been embroiled in controversy for a number of years. Critics have said that it has outlasted its usefulness, has turned complaints that are not truly illnesses into medical conditions, and has been unduly influenced by pharmaceutical companies looking for new markets for their drugs.
There have also been complaints that widened definitions of several disorder have led to over-diagnosis of conditions such as bipolar disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Now, Insel has said in a blog post published by the NIMH that he wants a complete shift to diagnoses based on science not symptoms.
“Unlike our definitions of ischaemic heart disease, lymphoma or AIDS, the DSM diagnoses are based on a consensus about clusters of clinical symptoms, not any objective laboratory measure,” Insel says. “In the rest of medicine, this would be equivalent to creating diagnostic systems based on the nature of chest pain, or the quality of fever.”
Insel says that elsewhere in medicine this type of symptom-based diagnosis been abandoned over the past half-century as scientists have learned that symptoms alone seldom indicate the best choice of treatment.
To accelerate the shift to biologically based diagnosis, Insel favours an approach embodied by a programme launched 18 months ago at the NIMH called the Research Domain Criteria project.
The approach is based on the idea that mental disorders are biological problems involving brain circuits that dictate specific patterns of cognition, emotion and behaviour. Concentrating on treating these problems, rather than symptoms is hoped to provide a better outlook for patients.
“We cannot succeed if we use DSM categories as the gold standard,” says Insel. “That is why NIMH will be reorienting its research away from DSMcategories,” says Insel.
Insel is aware that what he is suggesting will take time – probably at least a decade, but sees it as the first step towards delivering the “precision medicine” that he says has transformed cancer diagnosis and treatment.
“It’s potentially game-changing, but needs to be based on underlying science that is reliable,” says Simon Wessely of the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London. “It’s for the future, rather than for now, but anything that improves understanding of the etiology and genetics of disease is going to be better [than symptom-based diagnosis].”
Michael Owen of the University of Cardiff, who was on the psychosis working group for DSM-5, agrees. “Research needs to break out of the straitjacket of current diagnosis categories,” he says. But like Wessely, he says it is too early to throw away the existing categories.
“These are incredibly complicated disorders,” says Owen. “To understand the neuroscience in sufficient depth and detail to build a diagnosis process will take a long time, but in the meantime, clinicians still have to do their work.”
David Clark of the University of Oxford says he’s delighted that NIMH is funding science-based diagnosis across current disease categories. “However, patient benefit is probably some way off, and will need to be proved,” he says.
The controversy is likely to erupt more publically in the coming month when the American Psychiatric Association holds its annual meeting in San Francisco, where DSM-5 will be officially launched, and in June in London when the Institute of Psychiatry holds a two-day meeting on the DSM.

This is especially important because many of these groupings of symptoms can actually have different underlying causes in different cases. For instance, I recently read an article where a therapist had found that a significant portion of ADHD cases were actually the result of sleep disorders, and responded to sleep therapies after the usual treatments for ADHD had failed.
Depression is similarly complex, and can be caused by a number of different brain chemistry imbalances. Focusing on the actual brain chemistry rather than the symptoms could take a huge amount of the trial and error out of anti-depressant prescription.

tinierpurplefishes:

neuromorphogenesis:

Psychiatry divided as mental health ‘bible’ denounced

The world’s biggest mental health research institute is abandoning the new version of psychiatry’s “bible” – the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, questioning its validity and stating that “patients with mental disorders deserve better”. This bombshell comes just weeks before the publication of the fifth revision of the manual, called DSM-5.

On 29 April, Thomas Insel, director of the US National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), advocated a major shift away from categorising diseases such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia according to a person’s symptoms. Instead, Insel wants mental disorders to be diagnosed more objectively using genetics, brain scans that show abnormal patterns of activity and cognitive testing.

This would mean abandoning the manual published by the American Psychiatric Association that has been the mainstay of psychiatric research for 60 years.

The DSM has been embroiled in controversy for a number of years. Critics have said that it has outlasted its usefulness, has turned complaints that are not truly illnesses into medical conditions, and has been unduly influenced by pharmaceutical companies looking for new markets for their drugs.

There have also been complaints that widened definitions of several disorder have led to over-diagnosis of conditions such as bipolar disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Now, Insel has said in a blog post published by the NIMH that he wants a complete shift to diagnoses based on science not symptoms.

“Unlike our definitions of ischaemic heart disease, lymphoma or AIDS, the DSM diagnoses are based on a consensus about clusters of clinical symptoms, not any objective laboratory measure,” Insel says. “In the rest of medicine, this would be equivalent to creating diagnostic systems based on the nature of chest pain, or the quality of fever.”

Insel says that elsewhere in medicine this type of symptom-based diagnosis been abandoned over the past half-century as scientists have learned that symptoms alone seldom indicate the best choice of treatment.

To accelerate the shift to biologically based diagnosis, Insel favours an approach embodied by a programme launched 18 months ago at the NIMH called the Research Domain Criteria project.

The approach is based on the idea that mental disorders are biological problems involving brain circuits that dictate specific patterns of cognition, emotion and behaviour. Concentrating on treating these problems, rather than symptoms is hoped to provide a better outlook for patients.

“We cannot succeed if we use DSM categories as the gold standard,” says Insel. “That is why NIMH will be reorienting its research away from DSMcategories,” says Insel.

Insel is aware that what he is suggesting will take time – probably at least a decade, but sees it as the first step towards delivering the “precision medicine” that he says has transformed cancer diagnosis and treatment.

“It’s potentially game-changing, but needs to be based on underlying science that is reliable,” says Simon Wessely of the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London. “It’s for the future, rather than for now, but anything that improves understanding of the etiology and genetics of disease is going to be better [than symptom-based diagnosis].”

Michael Owen of the University of Cardiff, who was on the psychosis working group for DSM-5, agrees. “Research needs to break out of the straitjacket of current diagnosis categories,” he says. But like Wessely, he says it is too early to throw away the existing categories.

“These are incredibly complicated disorders,” says Owen. “To understand the neuroscience in sufficient depth and detail to build a diagnosis process will take a long time, but in the meantime, clinicians still have to do their work.”

David Clark of the University of Oxford says he’s delighted that NIMH is funding science-based diagnosis across current disease categories. “However, patient benefit is probably some way off, and will need to be proved,” he says.

The controversy is likely to erupt more publically in the coming month when the American Psychiatric Association holds its annual meeting in San Francisco, where DSM-5 will be officially launched, and in June in London when the Institute of Psychiatry holds a two-day meeting on the DSM.

This is especially important because many of these groupings of symptoms can actually have different underlying causes in different cases. For instance, I recently read an article where a therapist had found that a significant portion of ADHD cases were actually the result of sleep disorders, and responded to sleep therapies after the usual treatments for ADHD had failed.

Depression is similarly complex, and can be caused by a number of different brain chemistry imbalances. Focusing on the actual brain chemistry rather than the symptoms could take a huge amount of the trial and error out of anti-depressant prescription.

alittlebirdysays:

dec0nstruction:

super-kat:

timeywimeymindpalace:

kaitmpayne:

One of the most accurate depictions of a panic attack that I’ve ever seen.

Thank you. Just thank you. Far too many people don’t seem to grasp the concept of what a panic attack actually is. Getting upset is not a panic attack. This is. 

this is actually really accurate, especially the feelings of not really being there. i cannot concentrate when i’m having an anxiety attack, i can only concentrate on the anxiety itself. I had an panic attack yesterday and i can’t remember anything of what anybody was actually saying to me during that time, its like being in a tunnel and everyone else is shouting at you from the other end.

THIS. Thank you OP.

At my worst, I’m usually intermediate between ‘anxiety’ and ‘panic’.

(via catastropheeling-good)

beyondodette:

japanaisy:

uglyhippieshit:

People who write about their “depression” and wanting to kill themselves online are 99,9% of the time only attention whoring.

Usually the ones who really are suffering keep their mouths shut about it/maybe open up to people in private but not on the internet.

99.9 percent of the time they’ve been trying to keep their mouths shut about it for years because if they talk about it they hear things like “you’re just an attention whore,” and so they can’t trust anyone to talk about it. There comes a point where you have nowhere to turn and you can only hope that someone who understands will stumble on your post and give you an answer.

What’s so wrong with crying out for attention? We are human. We need attention. No one wants to be known as the whiny kids who take everything too seriously and can’t seem to get over things, but there’s a point where you can’t keep it to yourself anymore.

Maybe some of them are exaggerating or they don’t mean it but this usually means there’s something else going on underneath, that they are being starved for attention and even if they have no plans of killing themselves they are slowly getting desperate.

It never works and I think they realize that but there’s nothing else you can do.

Maybe you’re one of the silent sufferers but I feel like after a very long time you just can’t do it anymore. It’s not helpful and sometimes it can be dishonest but…there’s always a reason.

Anyway, I know it’s kind of nitpicky, but I hate “99 percent/majority” arguments because why do we always have to be so suspicious of everyone? I think it’s better to mistakenly give someone the benefit of the doubt, because thinking everyone is out to trick us or cheat the system is a fantasy and it’s only hurting ourselves. Maybe these people exist and maybe I’m wrong maybe there’s no good reason but people don’t exist in a vacuum and I don’t think anyone exists who’s not trying to do what they think is the best thing and trying their best to get through. anyway, even if you don’t agree with me, I think these people you’re talking about are a minority.

I realize we are all in different circles and we see vastly different slices of populations, and we tend to get the same kinds of people all crowded into our field of vision, so maybe we’re seeing different things but still…I keep thinking about it and I just can’t believe this and I think it’s harming people who have nowhere else to turn, because it’s just one more thing that makes them feel guilty for asking for help.

No one should be told they should just suffer in silence, and that’s basically what you’re saying.

At least that’s what I think.

Wow it was really long and I really don’t care if anyone reads this but I’d been meaning to say something to this effect for a while anyway.

I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder 17 years ago.  I’m not ashamed of it, and attempting to shame others for having a MENTAL ILLNESS and daring to talk about it, as the OP is doing above, is absolutely unconscionable.  Who is anyone to tell people they’re not choosing the “correct” method to talk about their mental illness?  This is the sort of thinking that stops people who may have nowhere else to turn from reaching out for help because they’re afraid they’ll be dismissed as “doing it for attention”.  Perhaps rather than conceiving of it as “attention whoring”, it would be more helpful, and more accurate, to think of it as a very real cry for help.  People with depression often don’t really know what’s wrong, and don’t know where to look for help, and their attempts to handle it on their own can have devastating consequences.

I talk about my struggles with depression far more on the internet than I do in real life, because 1) discussing it with people (other than mental health professionals) in person often makes them very uncomfortable, which makes me uncomfortable and is often less than helpful, and 2) I hope that someone else may see my posts about it, know that they’re not alone, and see that even though depression doesn’t just go away, it DOES get easier to manage.

As someone who doesn’t suffer from depression I would advise anyone thinking of pronouncing judgment on those who discuss their own experiences with it to shut the hell up. 

(via catastropheeling-good)

Theater report! Next to Normal

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/d/d1/Next_to_Normal.jpg/215px-Next_to_Normal.jpg

This title is a misnomer. This weekend I did in fact see a production of Next to Normal. The cast was very good but there were some directorial decisions I didn’t like that really marred this particular production for me, though, so I don’t especially want to discuss what I just saw. Hence this isn’t really a report per se. But, seeing the show did make me think that I should talk about Next to Normal and how great it is!


Next to Normal is a musical about a woman, Diana, who’s been struggling with severe bipolar disorder for over a decade. Her illness has proved very difficult to treat, and it’s taken an incredible toll on Diana and her family. There are only six roles in the show: Diana, her husband, her son, her daughter, her daughter’s boyfriend, and one actor who plays two of Diana’s psychopharmacologists. There’s no chorus: in some numbers, actors who aren’t on stage act as a sort of mini-chorus for the principals of that particular scene.

This show is like no other portrayal of mental illness I’ve ever seen onstage in its treatment of Diana’s disease as a diseasethat affects her real life, not as something magical or as a device that furthers the plot. The disease is the plot, or more specifically the ways she and her loved ones cope with it is the plot. For a musical - and a big, elaborate Broadway musical, no less - it’s heady and very intimate subject matter, handled very truthfully and incredibly painfully.


One of the best things about the show, though, is that it’s not just a pain-fest. It’s frequently comedic and lively as well, and importantly Diana herself is a big part of that. She’s allowed to be clever and likeable and just funny sometimes. (Describing the side effects of a new drug regimen to her psychopharm: “I’ve completely lost my appetite and gained six pounds, which is, you know, just not fair.”)


The real reason I love this show, though, is just its willingness to treat mental illness as real world thing. Diana is ill, but she still hopes and strives and loves like anybody else. Her disease causes her family a lot of pain, but they still love her like family does. Most importantly, her illness is an illness and not a mystical curse, something that seems insurmountable some days but which she nevertheless has lived with for years and can, with work, continue to live with. That image -one that I personally have been a part of several times in my life - is one we don’t see very often. In pop culture the mentally ill are so often viewed from the outside, as dangerous, unsettling ciphers. I think that Next to Normal (which was a deservedly huge hit on Broadway) has done and can still do a lot of good in destigmatizing mental illness in the pop-culture zeitgeist.