The inherent bias in online reports of side effects
Mental Illness Treatment

Bias in Online Stories of Psych Med Side Effects

You can find all kinds of stories online of people reporting negative experiences with different forms of psychiatric medication. However, there's inherent bias in that kind of reporting of side effects, so you really can't use that information to effectively generalize how safe or effective a treatment is. In this post, we'll look at where… Continue reading Bias in Online Stories of Psych Med Side Effects

the placebo effect: what causes it?
Science Corner

What Exactly Is the Placebo Effect?

We've probably all heard of the placebo effect, but what is it, and how does it work? For something that happens regularly, it's not all that well understood. A placebo is any substance that's not intended or expected to have any therapeutic effect. Ethically, it generally wouldn't be considered acceptable to give a patient a… Continue reading What Exactly Is the Placebo Effect?

Mental illness stigma researchers may not speak for us – graphic of dialogue bubbles
Stop the Stigma

Mental Illness Stigma Researchers Don’t Speak for Us

not sp While doing some research for my upcoming book on stigma, I came across a 2004 discussion paper on Stigma and Work. It was written by Heather Stuart, a public health faculty member at Queen's University in Canada. It quickly became clear that the author's PhD in epidemiology didn't prevent her from having some… Continue reading Mental Illness Stigma Researchers Don’t Speak for Us

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

What Is… The Stanford Prison Experiment

In this series, I dig a little deeper into the meaning of psychology-related terms.  This week we'll look at the Stanford prison experiment. The Stanford prison experiment was a social psychology study carried out at Stanford University in 1971.  Researchers randomly assigned Male student volunteers to be either "prisoners" or "guards" in a mock prison… Continue reading What Is… The Stanford Prison Experiment

The Science Corner: Can you believe statistics?
Science Corner

Can You Believe Statistics?

There are all kinds of statistics that get thrown around, some of which appear rather dubious.  As a result, there seems to be a lot of suspicion about statistics in general.  But is that warranted? Let's start with what statistics are.  According to Wikipedia, statistics is "the discipline that concerns the collection, organization, displaying, analysis,… Continue reading Can You Believe Statistics?

cannabis plant leaves
Mental Illness Treatment

Cannabis & Mental Illness: What Does the Research Say?

Cannabis—it's a plant that's well known for getting people high, but it's also become increasingly accepted for medicinal purposes, particularly for pain and nausea. But what do we know about the interaction between cannabis and mental illness? There's been a clearly established link between cannabis use and triggering the onset of psychotic illness in people… Continue reading Cannabis & Mental Illness: What Does the Research Say?

nature vs nurture building blocks
Science Corner

Nature vs. Nurture: Findings from Dunedin Study

IMDB I recently learned from a fellow blogger about the Dunedin Study, which explored the issue of nature vs. nurture and turned up some fascinating results.  The study followed a group of 1000 individuals born in 1972 in the New Zealand city of Dunedin.  Interviewing and testing with these individuals still continues, and the study… Continue reading Nature vs. Nurture: Findings from Dunedin Study

Evidence-based treatment of mental illness
MH@H Depression

What the STAR*D Study Means for Depression Treatment

The Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D) trial studied 2876 people with major depressive disorder to evaluate their response to depression treatment in a real-world setting.  Unlike the randomized controlled trials that are often used to evaluate a drug's efficacy, there were few exclusion criteria, the patient and their physician knew which drug they… Continue reading What the STAR*D Study Means for Depression Treatment

The science corner: Why research literacy matters in mental health - cartoon of two scientists
Science Corner

Why Research Literacy Matters in Mental Health

We're regularly bombarded with news of the latest scientific research findings, and sometimes it seems like you can find a study to tell you just about anything.  My concern with news reporting of research findings is that many people (including members of the media) have relatively limited research literacy.  Research literacy refers to the ability… Continue reading Why Research Literacy Matters in Mental Health