What Is... Series (Insights into Psychology)
Insights into Psychology

What Is… Neuroplasticity

In this series, I dig a little deeper into the meaning of psychology-related terms. This week we're taking a bit of a detour to look at neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to make changes to itself in response to conditions and experiences, including forming new neuronal connections. This ability is maintained in adulthood, although it's… Continue reading What Is… Neuroplasticity

How music affects the brain and mood
MH@H Mental Health

How Music Affects the Brain and Mood

When a fellow blogger asked what the science/psychology behind music and its positive effects on motivation and mood might be, and of course, my virtual ears perked up, and I decided to do some exploring. Music can activate several brain structures, including the amygdala, which is involved in trauma responses. Processing music is complex and… Continue reading How Music Affects the Brain and Mood

graphic of brain circuits
Trauma and PTSD

The Neurobiology of Traumatic Fight/Flight/Freeze

A few years ago I was thinking about applying for a nursing job with a sexual assault support team, so I decided to learn more about the body's biological fight/flight/freeze response to trauma. What I found out was really interesting, so I thought I'd share. The amygdala's response The amygdala is a primitive part of the… Continue reading The Neurobiology of Traumatic Fight/Flight/Freeze

The biology of psychomotor retardation in depression - graphic of a brain
MH@H Depression

The Biology of Psychomotor Retardation in Depression

While psychomotor retardation (slowing of movement and thoughts) has long been recognized as a symptom of depression, I think it's probably not on the average person's radar when they think about depression. The biology of psychomotor retardation is also poorly understood. What psychomotor retardation is Psychomotor retardation (PMR) is most often associated with the melancholic… Continue reading The Biology of Psychomotor Retardation in Depression

Book cover: The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk
MH@H Book Reviews, Trauma and PTSD

Book Review: The Body Keeps the Score

The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk is perhaps one of the best-known books about trauma, and in particular early life trauma. It's been on my to-be-read list for quite a while, and I've finally managed to get around to it. This is a hefty book. The digital version that I was… Continue reading Book Review: The Body Keeps the Score

perceived vs. objective reality: what's real and what's subjective? - graphic of superimposed lenses
Insights into Psychology

Perceived vs. Objective Reality

Our minds play all kinds of tricks on us. We've got all kinds of cognitive biases that influence what we do with our thoughts, and our brains do interesting things with the what it picks up through our senses. There's a philosophical argument as to whether or not there is a truly objective reality, but… Continue reading Perceived vs. Objective Reality

What Is... Series (Insights into Psychology)
Insights into Psychology

What is… Cognitive Remediation

In this series, I dig a little deeper into the meaning of psychology-related terms. This week's term is cognitive remediation. Cognitive remediation (CR) aims to improve psychosocial functioning by addressing several areas of neurocognitive functioning, such as attention, working memory, and executive functioning. CR is used mostly in schizophrenia and traumatic brain injury. It's also… Continue reading What is… Cognitive Remediation

book cover: Triumph by Trepanation by Nina Rabinowitz
MH@H Book Reviews

Book Review: Triumph by Trepanation

Triumph by Trepanation is a short (47 page) book by Nina Rabinowitz that describes how she was able to find healing from an anxiety disorder. The book begins with her youth in a New Jersey suburb. She was expected to follow the standard "New York Jewish Roadmap" of what constituted acceptable life choices.  She describes… Continue reading Book Review: Triumph by Trepanation

diagram of the gate control theory of pain
Science Corner

Gate Control Theory of Pain

What does the gate control theory of pain have to do with a mental health blog? Well, co-occurring mental illness and chronic pain are remarkably common. For example, among people with fibromyalgia, over 50% experience depression. The rates of anxiety disorders are also over 50%. People with depression and anxiety disorders are also at increased risk to… Continue reading Gate Control Theory of Pain

What Is... Series (Insights into Psychology)
Insights into Psychology

What Is… Sleep (Insights into Psychology)

In this series, I dig a little deeper into the meaning of psychology-related terms.  This week's term is sleep.  It's something we all need to do, but what exactly is it? Sleep involves altered consciousness and decreased reactivity to sensory stimulation from the environment.  The brain's energy consumption drops significantly, which allows for the repletion of… Continue reading What Is… Sleep (Insights into Psychology)