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February 2011




Archive for February 15th, 2011

Social Anxiety

By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on February 15, 2011

For many mental conditions, treatment options include medications or psychotherapy, or a combination of the two.

Despite the frequently comparable benefits of either of the modalities, and the often documented adjunctive benefit of using both approaches at the same time, researchers currently have a better understanding of how medications affect the neurological function of the brain.

To balance this representation, a new study looked at how psychotherapy alters the brain in patients suffering from social anxiety disorder. A team of Canadian psychological scientists set out to discover how the brain changes when psychotherapy is helping someone recover — in this case from social anxiety disorder.

Medication and psychotherapy both help people with this common disorder, marked by overwhelming fears of interacting with others and expectations of being harshly judged. But research on the neurological effects of psychotherapy has lagged far behind that on medication-induced changes in the brain.

“We wanted to track the brain changes while people were going through psychotherapy,” said McMaster University Ph.D. candidate Vladimir Miskovic, the study’s lead author.

To do so, the research team used electroencephalograms, or EEGs, which measure brain electrical interactions in real time. They focused on the amount of “delta-beta coupling,” which elevates with rising anxiety.

The study recruited 25 adults with social anxiety disorder from a Hamilton, Ontario clinic. The patients participated in 12 weekly sessions of group cognitive behavior therapy, a structured method that helps people identify—and challenge—the thinking patterns that perpetuate their painful and self-destructive behaviors.

Read in Full: http://psychcentral.com/news/2011/02/15/therapy-helps-mend-brain-in-social-anxiety-disorder/23515.html

Henry's Demons: Living with Schizophrenia, a Father and Son's Story

Patrick Cockburn’s son Henry was diagnosed seven years ago with schizophrenia. Together they have written a book, called Henry’s Demons, describing how it has affected the whole family.

Patrick, a foreign correspondent, was in Afghanistan writing about the fall of the Taliban when he learned from his wife Jan that Henry was in a mental hospital suffering a breakdown.

Marjorie Wallace, Chief Executive of the mental health charity Sane, says the book is important as it shows the family trying to understand each other’s perspective.

Source/View Video[05:31]: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12381659

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Ann Jackson

Garland Special Education Examiner

February 12th, 2011 10:14 am CT

There is hope for the many parents of children who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and who have wondered how their children will ever become self-sufficient.  The national Autism Society reports that an overwhelming percent of adults with autism are unemployed.  ASD people may be average to above average IQ, and often possess marketable skills, especially in the technology arena, but are still unemployable.  This is because ASD people have difficulty with interpersonal relationships, specific environments, and may have other related debilitating conditions deemed unacceptable in the average workplace.

How does a society engage trainable, intelligent, and sometimes gifted people who are unable to adapt to standard work environments or traditional classrooms?  This may have stymied society as a whole, but founders of the nonPareil.Institute in Plano have met the challenge head-on.  www.npitx.org

‘Putting Autism to Work’ was an idea conceived by co-founders Dan Selec and Gary Moore, who worried about the futures of their autistic sons. Dan and Gary decided that living on welfare or on minimum wage were not acceptable options for their sons or for other unique and talent individuals on the autistic spectrum.  Recognizing that ASD students gravitate toward technology, they tested their idea of training ASD students to create software for video games and iPhone apps.  The first model for nonPariel was developed in Dan’s kitchen.

Read in Full: http://www.examiner.com/special-education-in-garland/autism-and-asperger-s-hope-for-employment-part-1-1