mental health

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Treating psychopathy.

Psychopathy–defined here as a biological dysfunction preventing the experience of emotions like empathy or remorse–has, historically, been thought to be untreatable. So what happens to the traits associated with it manifest organically in children? [Content warning in the article for descriptions of abuse.] Which does happen, and probably more than people want to admit, partly for the stigma it attaches to the child, but also to the parents. And yes: while psychopathic traits can be induced by trauma, they can also be genetic. So it’s possible to be lifelong gold medalists in the Good Parent Olympics, and still end up with a potential serial killer as a child. (Several such parents and children are interviewed in the article, and it’s chilling to read.)

Life outcomes for psychopathic children are grim, but the article does have some cautious maybe-good-news stories. Apparently gamification (of all things) has some impact as a treatment. It involves teaching children with conduct disorders a kind of “cognitive conscience” through a system of points-based “levels” that focus on positively reinforcing good behaviors and ignoring bad ones. It works because an “overactive reward system” tends to go hand-in-hand with psychopathic traits, which in adults tends to manifest as addictions (gambling, sex, drugs, et cetera), and in children means they will chase rewards and ignore punishments. There’s some hope that early retraining of the brains of children with these disorders may assist them, if not necessarily fully integrate into mainstream society, then at least minimize the harm they could otherwise do in it.

2017-06-27T08:25:03+10:0014th August, 2017|Tags: mental health, science|

Not protest, not religion…

When happens when you treat radicalization as a mental health issue?

For me, one of the scariest lines in this article is, Research in the US following the 9/11 attacks suggested that having sympathies for terrorist acts and violent protest is a sign that people are susceptible to future radicalizing influences. And if that doesn’t worry you? The I suggest you take a look at the last film you watched or video game you played.

Mm. Yeah. About that…

2016-12-21T08:08:56+11:003rd January, 2017|Tags: cw: mental illness, mental health|

Runs in the family.

The genetics of mental illness. In particular, schizophrenia.

One of the reasons I’ve never had an urge whatsoever to ever try pot is because both my paternal grandmother and aunt were schizophrenic, with the latter in particular’s illness exacerbated by substance abuse. Which, yanno. It seems no one believes me when I tell them about the pot thing, until I follow it up with, “… because when my dad was a teenager his mentally ill, drug addict sister would set fire to the curtains in their house while everyone was asleep.”

I don’t want to be the next Aunty Tanya. If the illness manifests, I’d rather be Granny, who wasn’t violent, just… difficult. Ellipses intended.

Incidentally, we didn’t know about Granny until she died, and schizophrenia was mentioned on the death certificate. Apparently she’d been on medication for it most of her life, and had never told a single soul (or, at least, not her son or his family).

That’s stigma for you, I guess.

2017-09-28T13:51:25+10:007th November, 2016|Tags: cw: mental illness, health, mental health|