Browsing Category Psychology

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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Doctors turn to acting classes to better express empathy

Doctors find themselves in a revered and vital (pun intended) societal position.

They bear a weight that encumbers the possibility of both life and death and it was no easy feat to attain this responsibility. Getting to where they are as medical professionals involves almost a decade (and sometimes longer) of rigorous academics and practical experience but now their curriculum may be expanding to include acting and improv classes to better suit them for interactions with their patients. The nature of the work can be both exhausting and numbing as studies have shown that some doctors exhibit a tendency to become desensitized to the plight of their patients, often being short and blunt with the ones who need a sense of sympathy and comfort the most.

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Why rape victims have fragmented and incomplete memories

“I had no power, I had no voice, I was defenseless. My memory loss would be used against me. My testimony was weak, was incomplete, and I was made to believe that perhaps, I am not enough to win this. That’s so damaging. His attorney constantly reminded the jury, the only one we can believe is Brock, because she doesn’t remember. That helplessness was traumatizing.”

The above statement is from a rape victim in the 2016 People v. Brock Allen Turner case. This young woman attended a party at Stanford University and the next thing she knew, she was waking up on a gurney with scratches on her body and pine needles stuck to her. She was informed that she may have been assaulted behind a dumpster. The victim could not remember any details of the assault.

While the gaps in her memory may have been a product of heavy drinking, it is also a possibility that the severe stress on the brain from the assault may have resulted in memory loss or fragmented memories.

This memory loss in rape victims has been shown to pervade throughout one’s life after an assault; an effect that interestingly stems not only from a psychological cause, but a physical one too. We often associate traumatic experiences with only psychological effects, but the brain is also physically altered during these intense stress episodes. While fear is an embedded component to survival, it has major setbacks to a person’s ability to recall.

Severe trauma or stress on the body can alter the normal functioning on the parts of the brain that is responsible for emotion and memory. In a study done by J. Douglas Bremner, MD, it was found that the hippocampus in the brain is most vulnerable to stress. The hippocampus is an important part of the brain responsible for memory and learning new information. It is also important for recalling specific memories that took place during a certain time, place and location. One of Dr. Bremner’s studies measured the loss of neurons (brain cells) in the hippocampus of childhood victims of sexual or physical abuse.

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Gay conversion is putting lives at risk

Despite us living in a different time where many things are openly accepted, that may have not been 30, 20, or even 10 years ago, there are many people stuck with outdated views.

With outdated views, come outdated treatments for homosexuality such as conversion therapy. “Conversion therapy,” sometimes known as “reparative therapy,” is a range of dangerous and discredited practices that falsely claim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.” The potential risks of conversion therapy include anxiety, depression, self-destructive thoughts and behaviors, and even suicide. Since the basis of conversion therapy treatment is ultimately reinforcing self-hatred in its’ patients, there is more harm done than anything else. This form of “treatment” still exists today because of radical, religious, and extremely political groups that spread hate on homosexuality.

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Memories can’t be programmed, can they?

People depend on their memories for many reasons, from trying to remember their daily tasks to reminiscing about happier times.

It could be said that people’s memories define who they are, because their memories influence their personality based on past experiences, people they have met, and so on. Because of the importance of memory, we assume that our memories are perfectly reliable, unfortunately much research proves otherwise. Ultimately, not only can memories be questionable but they can be completely false as well with regards to just how people remember.

Psychology has demonstrated that our minds can be manipulated in how people memorize and remember events.

One particular study explained that their results inducing false memories of criminal acts in their subjects was influenced by exposure to misinformation given by interviewers (leading to memory distortions) and malleable reconstructive mechanisms (needed to remember events). The study proved that a person’s memory is not rigid and unchangeable, but can be affected by outside factors such as other people and the environment. This may have been a factor in such problems as false confessions by people who were incorrectly remembering their involvement (or even lack of involvement) in a crime. However, while malleable memories can not only be used negatively, they can also be used for healing trauma by preventing traumatic memories from invading a person’s mind. One psychological study proved that the frequency of intrusive memories caused by experimental trauma could be reduced by disrupting reconsolidation (process of remembering) through a cognitive task that required a person’s attention.

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Maybe it’s not stress, maybe it’s anxiety

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), 40 million Americans over the age of 18 are affected by anxiety — roughly 18 percent of the nation’s population.

That number is only for the diagnosed cases. There is a large population of people walking around with anxiety and other various disorders related to nervousness and fear, but they have not been diagnosed yet. This doesn’t mean that we all need to go running to our doctors but it is a good idea to stay mindful and aware of your own emotional state. Nervousness and fear is something that everyone faces at some point, daily or not. Whether it is test anxiety, public speaking, a job interview, or some sort of big event in your life, there are many ways to not only cope, but overcome.

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Mental disorders are more common than you think

About one in four American adults ages 18 and older suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.

Mental illnesses such as mood disorders are prevalent throughout societies around the world, yet these disorders largely remain hidden behind smiling faces and closed doors. Mood disorders like anxiety, depression, bipolar, and obsessive compulsive disorder are just a few common mental illnesses that people in general try to avoid discussing at all costs. Why does a stigma exist around mental illness? Why are those stigmas so difficult to remove? The struggles people face when living with mood disorders or other mental illnesses are real. How they relate to the world and how they relate to others are challenges they face daily. The concept of confiding in others regarding their condition is a complex issue, as the stigmas that are present create problems and build walls.

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Even universities can’t get mental health right

It is no secret that mental illness has a hit an all-time high amongst youth and young adults alike, particularly in the light of students attending university.

Regardless of rhyme or reason, this is happening. And what better way to tackle a demographically specific epidemic than to implement psychological support systems on campuses across the nation? (I know, it’s so smart it’s practically college-level thinking.)

In a perfect world, this resolve would be dealt with grace and professionalism, taking on the expected responsibilities as part of already existing university health clinics. However, the issue at hand with mental health support on college campuses is the blatant lack of sources and pragmatic treatment for the students. Too often, struggling young adults are underestimated, or even reprimanded, for expressing a need for help.

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A World Full of Compliments, Part 2

Does receiving and accepting a compliment make us more or less powerful?

Many studies show that it is harder to receive a compliment then give one for a few reasons. First off, receiving a compliment means letting go of control. When we give, we’re in control in a certain way. It might be easy to offer a kind word or buy someone flowers, but can we allow ourselves to surrender to the good feeling of receiving?

When we receive a compliment, we open up the vulnerability in ourselves and that is hard for many people who have trouble with letting go of control. Another reason receiving a compliment is harder than giving one is that we ultimately think it is selfish. Whether it is due to our culture or religion, many people are taught that it is better to be modest than bring more attention to themselves.

Being socialized to view taking compliments as narcissistic is a problem many of us face.

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A World Full of Compliments, Part 1

We all have that one female friend or loved one who just can’t take a compliment. EVER. She usually responds to compliments with “oh no, I’m nothing special” or “oh please, you’re just saying that.” Women not being able to take compliments is very common. Instead of a sentiment of gratitude, a woman does the opposite and puts herself down in a sarcastic, and even self-deprecating way. Yet, when a woman actually accepts a compliment, and by some grace says “thank you”, then people judge and see her as being cocky or maybe even narcissistic.

Why is that?

One study showed that only 22 percent of compliments given from one woman to another were accepted, while compliments from men were accepted 40 percent of the time.
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