Browsing Category Psychology

A Deeper Look Into Intravenous Ketamine Infusions For Treating Depression


As depression is on the rise, there is a race to discover an optimum treatment that is best suited for those affected. One such treatment that is yet to gain FDA approval for its use in treating depression is intravenous ketamine infusion.

Over the years, more and more people are turning to intravenous ketamine infusion due to its immediate relieving effects, but there has been much debate on whether this is an effective form of treatment.

Ketamine, an NMDA receptor antagonist, mainly functions as a general anesthetic. The NMDA or N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor is a glutamate receptor important in the function of memory as well as regulating synaptic plasticity. It plays a role in regulating the neurotransmission of glutamate in the brain. When this function is disrupted, depressive symptoms may arise. Ketamine blocks the NMDA receptor, which can help to counteract this disruption. This may produce some side effects in the form of vivid dreams and possibly a dissociative effect.

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How Baby Diapers Will Change How We Study the Brain

There was a sudden pounding in my chest, blood rushing to my head, and sense that life suddenly seemed unreal. I did not know what was happening, but somehow, instantaneously, panic had consumed me. I was eight years old, sitting in my third grade classroom, listening along as my favorite teacher was reading us a story.

I interrupted her mid-sentence, which was uncharacteristic of the shy girl I was at that age, and yelled out, “I have to use the bathroom!” I will never forget the startled look on her face as she granted me permission. I rushed out of the classroom, took a sip from the water fountain, and washed my hands, doing anything that could make me feel normal again. I regained composure and returned to my seat within minutes, utterly frightened and bewildered with what had just happened to me, and embarrassed to have drawn attention to myself.

I associated this experience with medical causality, and kept telling my eight-year-old self I was suffering from a gastric related disease or perhaps there was a tumor growing in my brain. Instead of accurately describing what had happened, which was a


I told my parents I had had a bad stomach ache that day. I could not articulate the foreign, sharp stab of fear I felt in my belly. For years thereafter, I suffered infrequent, random panic attacks and was still unable to articulate what I was struggling with, instead describing these episodes in terms of somatic (bodily) symptoms rather than psychological ones. Thanks to researchers, doctors and psychologists, we have made a dent in discovering neural mechanisms that are responsible for our physiological sensations or behaviors.

What I initially thought to be a somatic medical condition was what I eventually learned to be a product of my brain’s over-excited flight-or-fight activation response. But why did this happen to me?

Doctors still do not quite have a perfect answer. There is yet much to be learned about pathways in the brain and how they affect our mind and body. The brain is made up of nanoscopic particles called biomolecules, and these molecules make up the cells of the brain, called neurons. These neurons communicate with one another via electrical currents that create synapses, and when these synapses misfire, disease can transpire. MRI scans and microscopes can only allow us to see either large regions of the brain affected, or the microscopic level of neural activity. Because there are billions of neurons and subsequent connections, there is great difficulty in pinpointing specific patterns of molecular activity that cause brain disorders due to the sheer magnitude of neurons and infinitesimal nature of the brain.

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Information Overload: Overexposure to the News Can Hurt Your Mental Health

Welcome to the information age, where answers to your questions are a click away and borderline instantaneous. Technology has brought civilization to a plane of unprecedented knowledge, leaving scholars wondering about the multidimensional ways in which it continues to impact humanity. As people communicate with one another at the speed of light, one trend you yourself may observe is a sense of information overload.

If you’re reading this, then it’s a safe bet that you’re active on some form of social media, and if you’re on social media, it’s not a stretch to assume that your news feed is perpetually updated with breaking stories and comment threads featuring people at each others’ throats.

Never forget the old saying, “If it bleeds, it leads.” This mantra has offered direction for dominating news outlets in their quest for views and ratings across time, and it isn’t showing any signs of slowing. Skewing public perception towards the most tantalizing headlines, it may seem that trending topics are nothing more than a relentless string of bad news. You’re apt to see an overabundance of horrors plaguing the world before long. There’s no doubt that tragedies occur on-the-regular, but it is important not to forget that so does beneficence.

The good news is the human race has never been as interconnected as it is now. The bad news is the human race has never been as interconnected as it is now.

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What is therapy and is therapy for me? 

Happy woman talking in front of group during psychotherapy group therapy

Therapy is misunderstood. For the uninformed it brings about negative thoughts while others can acknowledge it’s ability to heal and transform. Despite the modernity of our society, many people still believe that “only crazy people go to therapy.” That statements could not be any more false or ancient. The best way to look at it, is as a tool. It  can help people live happy and fulfilling lives but not without the work and effort invested. Therapy does not come in just one mold. There is a spectrum of therapies that can suit a variety of people.

One of the most common types of therapy is counseling.

This is usually for people who are healthy on a day-to-day basis but need help with a crisis, anger, bereavement, or just need help getting through something. Sessions are usually 45 minutes to an hour long.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a great therapy if you want to think more positively and change maladaptive thoughts and behaviors. CBT can be used for all the same things as counseling but it has also been shown to be very helpful in helping anxiety, depression, phobias and more. In psychotherapy, therapists like to look at past influences and relate them to current situations. They do this in order to help you figure out what is causing the problem and how the choices you make influence the present. This type of therapy tends to be helpful for those who have long-term and recurring problems. There’s some evidence that psychotherapy can help depression and some eating disorders.

Relationship counseling or couples therapy can help couples who are going through a difficult time. It is best if both partners attend for best results. Sessions are also about an hour long.

Group therapy is a setting that can be good for someone who thinks they would benefit from additional support of others who can empathize with their problems. In group therapy, up to 12 people with a common problem meet with a therapist and everyone takes a turn in expressing their thoughts.

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How the hustle and bustle of big city living compromises your happiness

city living in Romania

Can cities compromise our happiness?

As someone who was born and raised in a relatively small, quiet town, I was overwhelmed by the noisy, populated vastness of Chicago when I began college. I would jump every time I heard a car honking outside my dorm, and shivers would run down my spine at each wailing ambulance. I would look both ways ten times before crossing a street, and always felt anxious to take public transportation. While I was enthralled to be in a beautiful city, it took time for me to adjust to the hustle and bustle of city living. Three years later, I can say I am well adjusted, but at what cost?

Studies have shown that city living can negatively affect a person psychologically; resulting in increased levels of stress, lower immune systems, and higher rates of mood disorders.

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Oxytocin: What makes pets so awesome, hugs so good and love so magical

Oxytocin, a neuropeptide produced in the brain’s hypothalamus, has gained popularity as the “love hormone.”

But NY Times sheds light upon “The Dark Side of Oxytocin” and Gizmodo calls it “The Most Amazing Molecule in the World”—so it’s apparent that there are many shades of oxytocin. This chemical evidently helps newborns bond with their mothers and is released when snuggling with our partners or pets, but have you heard that it’s responsible for much more of our behavior than once thought? It is natural for emotions to accompany our behaviors, and scientists have found that these emotions activate the release of peptides like oxytocin into our bodies. Thus, our behaviors and emotions are inextricably connected. As Dr. Candice Pert explains, “the chemicals that are running our body and our brain are the same chemicals that are involved in emotion,” so it follows that our actions (a.k.a. “behaviors”) are reinforced by oxytocin, and vice versa. Which means oxytocin is responsible for reinforcing negative behaviors as well positive, like cuddling. So is oxytocin good or bad?

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Validation is an important social lubricant

When you think of validation, you might think that it involves simply agreeing with the other person no matter what but..

That would be a misunderstanding of what validation is, when in reality, to validate someone is to acknowledge them (their thoughts, emotions, and behavior) as legitimate and worthy of attention, even if you don’t necessarily agree with them. Validation is important because, in any relationship, it’s important to treat the other person as an equal. To treat others as equal involves understanding and valuing them as much as you do yourself. Consequently, invalidation involves not treating a person with the legitimacy and attention they deserve, and to ignore them or otherwise belittle their experience to the point where they feel alienated. Keep in mind that this also applies to one’s own self, as one can self-validate or self-invalidate. One should be aware of the different aspects involved in validation and invalidation, as they aren’t always self-explanatory.

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If you have an average IQ you might be smarter than you think

The concept of emotional intelligence (EI) refers to a person’s ability to not only acknowledge and effectively (or affectively, to be even more appropriate) manage their emotional disposition but to also recognize the emotions being exhibited by others.

It is a mode of intelligence which is often overlooked since academics is primarily focused on fostering more intellectual forms of cognitive prowess. Moods, feelings, and emotions are often regarded as the “soft” side of differences amongst people, but with such a label, it is too common to underestimate their value. Possessing the ability to tune into these cues not only within you but also in others, can offer many advantages in regulating your own behavior and managing interactions with others.

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The Personality Disorders, Part 2

There are many kinds of personalities, a concept that is closely studied in the field of psychology.

One particular subject is very well-known, even among non-psychologists, namely, the personality disorders. Personality disorders are mental problems that cause the afflicted to act in ways that go beyond the societal norm. There are ten agreed-upon personality disorders, split into three clusters based on the similarities of the disorders within each cluster. This segment will deal with the anxious type of personality disorders: avoidant, dependent, and obsessive-compulsive disorders.

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The Personality Disorders, Part 1

In the field of psychology, the study of people’s abnormal behaviors takes up a lot of analysis.

Here then are a few of the personality disorders that are probably the most well-known, but by no means encompass all of the known disorders so far. While the definition of these disorders may be greatly simplified, I try to define the disorder by focusing on the core symptoms as well as the likelihood of how a person with said disorder might react.

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