Entries by Kevin Majeres

Aquinas, Adrenaline, and the Dangers of Antidepressants

A recent study in Neuropsychopharmacology by West et (2010 July; 35; 1653) has suggested a possible mechanism for the increase in suicidality, anxiety, and/or irritability sometimes seen when starting antidepressants. Using rats, the researchers measured the activity of the part of the brain that releases noradrenaline, called the locus ceruleus Continue Reading

Am I addicted?

It is common for people to wonder whether they have an addiction or simply a bad habit. Perhaps it was the success of Alcoholics Anonymous in raising the culture's awareness of the power of addiction that led to a proliferation of new addictions: being a shopaholic, a chocoholic, a workaholic, Continue Reading

Understanding self-control

We all have the experience of making resolutions, only to find ourselves breaking them with little or no awareness. This phenomenon, called automaticity (or automated behaviors), is at the core of addictive disorders -- and every other emotional disorder, for that matter. Automaticity is the result of a battle between Continue Reading

Aristotle, virtues, and psychotherapy

Homer tells the story of Odysseus passing by the deadly Sirens as he sails home to Ithaca. These creatures are renown for the power of their songs to entrap sailors passing close to their shores. Odysseus, eager for new experiences, has his men block their ears and strap him in Continue Reading

What is an obsession?

Obsessions are thoughts that are repetitive, intrusive, involuntary, irrational, and anxiety-provoking. Any thought that has these five criteria can be considered obsessions. When people commonly talk about being "obsessed" with something -- for instance, "Scott is obsessed with dating Julie" -- they mean that Scott thinks repeatedly about Julie. Perhaps Continue Reading

3 Reasons Why Medicines and Anxiety Disorders are a Tricky Mix

Anxiety disorders can be treated without the use of medications. For all of the anxiety disorders listed in DSM-IV, the psychiatrist's guide for making diagnoses, expert consensus panels have placed cognitive-behavioral therapy as a first-line treatment, meaning that this can be the first (and only) treatment given for any anxiety Continue Reading