Only Focus on Compulsions

An interesting study has been recently published by Twohig et al. comparing standard Exposure and Response Prevention to "cognitive restructuring" to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. If it sounds confusing, try reading all the tables and figures. At any rate, the idea behind the study (which is the most interesting part, Continue Reading

Love, the One Thing Necessary?

We have positive psychology to thank for bringing the concept of virtue back into psychological discussions. Representatives of the movement define virtue as “a disposition to act, desire, and feel that involves the exercise of judgment and leads to a recognizable human excellence” (Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology, 2009, p. Continue Reading

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

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

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