xxxix) Not understanding the 5 psychological myths

Concepts in the public arena include confirmation bias (people focus selectively on evidence that backs up their existing beliefs) and role of serotonin (producing a sense of well-being). However there are many myths that persist

a) we use only 10% of our brains (there is no research to support this, ie

"...all 86 billion neurons are programmed to self-destruct if they fail to wire up properly to be active, useful circuits.....every part of the brain is always on active duty. The typical neuron fires about once every part of the brain can withstand more than trivial damage without some loss of neurocognitive function..."

Stephen Hardi 2019)

b) talking about your problems helps (popularised by Sigmund Freud was the concept of psychotherapy, ie talking cure/therapy. Freud claimed that we had an unhealthy tendency to suppress upsetting thoughts and feelings. However, talking about painful experiences is not guaranteed to be helpful; it can backfire, eg

"...around 10% of psychotherapy patients get worse during treatment and only about half get better..."

Stephen Hardi 2019)

c) Oppressive-compulsive disorder (OCD) manifests as hyper-organisation (OCD sufferers are

"...plagued by a cascade of unbidden , disturbing thoughts, often in the form of harrowing images that they may feel compelled to ward off with time-consuming rituals. It's a serious mental illness that typically causes great distress and functional impairment..."

Stephen Hardi 2019)

It is not necessary to link OCD with rituals like compulsive hand washing, neatness or being uptight

d) mood swings are the hallmark of bipolar disorder (formerly known as manic depression; it is more than mood swings. There are devastating blows of depression and extreme highs of mania that can last for weeks or more. More serious symptoms are

"...crushing fatigue, impenetrable brain fog and searing mental anguish. Mania can induce wildly impulsive, erratic behaviours - reckless promiscuity, disastrous spending sprees, even physical altercations - with suffering and functional impairment......most married bipolar patients eventually end up divorced, and more than a third are unable to hold down a steady job..."

Stephen Hardi 2019)

e) medication is a way to fix a chemical imbalance (this is a gross oversimplification

"...Depression......involves a dizzy array of brain perturbations, including neuroinflammation, impaired glucose utilisation, runaway stress signalling, faulty circadian rhythms, altered sleep patterns, decreased neuroplasticity and impaired hormonal regulation..."

Stephen Hardi 2019)

Medications are only one of the treatments to change the brain's neurochemical profile; others include

"...Regular exercise boosts signalling brain circuits that utilise dopamine and serotonin - neurotransmitters commonly targeted by psychiatric drugs. Exercise also increases neuroplasticity, improves cerebral glucose metabolism and leads to better sleep..."

Stephen Hardi 2019

"...What we eat is important in the brain's chemical balance. Nutrition-based interventions - boosting omega-3 fats, magnesium, zinc or soluble plant fibre - have been found to lift symptoms of depression, anxiety and even ADHD)

Stephen Hardi 2019)


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