Tag Archives: abnormality

Electric shock and depression

Recent research shown that electric shocks may be helpful to people with depression. The electric shocks are not from ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) but using tDCS (transcranial direct current stimulation) in which electrodes are placed on the scalp which send a weak electrical current across the brain. Research has looked at the benefits for a range of […]

Treating depression with mindfulness

Many people use drugs to find relief for depression but there are alternative therapies and one recent one has been mindfulness-based cognitive thereapy (MBCT). A recent study by Kuyken et al. (2014) suggests that MBCT can be just as effective as drug therapies. MBCT teaches people to focus on the present rather than worrying about […]

ECT effects demonstrated

Researchers at the University of California in Los Angeles have used modern technology to show that there are demonstrable effects in the brain when electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)  is used. One of the criticisms of the technique is that it is not clear why it might have positive benefits – just because it works is not a […]

Genetic explanations

I have always been bothered by the fact that it is considered legitimate to answer exam questions on genetic explanations by describing research studies – surely it must be possible to actually explain how genes might cause, for example aggression or schizophrenia? I presented two descriptive passages to AQA to see what they thought of […]

Depression and the bacteria in your gut

No kidding! It may or may not surprise you that your intestines are full of bacteria but (and this is surprising) they weigh more than your brain! And equally surprising is their role in your mental health. The key lies in the fact that these bacteria produce a number of important chemicals as an byproduct […]

Marijuana and Schizophrenia

This latest piece of research (Proal et al. 2013) is a great example of an erroneous assumption that correlation = cause. Previous research has linked marijuana to schizophrenia, suggesting that use of the drug may trigger an episode of schizophrenia (see for example here). However the recent study suggests that causality may be in the […]

Linking EWT and multiple personality disorder

What is the link? When considering the accuracy of eyewitness testimony, a key explanation is the malleability of memory – for example leading questions may alter what is remembered. The same explanation can also be applied to multiple personality disorder (more recently called ‘dissociative identity disorder’, DID). The experience of multiple personalities may be explained […]

New DSM criteria for schizophrenia

Many exam specifications require students to be familiar with the clinical characteristics of the mental disorder they study. The new DSM 5, published in May this year, has changed the criteria for a diagnosis of schizophrenia. However, the good news is, the changes are fairly small from the point of view of A level students. […]