Some thoughts on whether intelligence is linked to anxiety and depression

In High intelligence: A risk factor for psychological and physiological overexcitabilities, a group of academic and industry neuroscientists survey a self-selected group of 3,715 MENSA members about their mental health history and find a correlation between high IQ and clinical anxiety and depression disorders, an effect they attribute to "overexitabilities" -- "the same heightened awareness that inspires an intellectually gifted artist to create can also potentially drive that same individual to withdraw into a deep depression." Read the rest

Video about using psychedelic drugs to treat anxiety, addiction, and OCD

In the last decade, researchers at Johns Hopkins University and elsewhere have launched new studies investigating whether psychedelic drugs, from shrooms to LSD to DMT, can treat mental disorders ranging from depression and PTSD to anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Vox reporters German Lopez and Javier Zarracina surveyed the state of medical research on hallucinogens:

In a recent study, British researchers used brain imaging techniques to gauge how the brain looks on LSD versus a placebo. They found big differences between LSD and the placebo, with the images of the brain on LSD showing much more connectivity between different sections of the mind.

This can help explain visual hallucinations, because it means various parts of the brain — not just the visual cortex at the back of the mind — are communicating during an LSD trip.

This, researchers argued, may show not just why psychedelic drugs trigger hallucinogenic experiences but also why they may be able to help people. "In many psychiatric disorders, the brain may be viewed as having become entrenched in pathology, such that core behaviors become automated and rigid," the researchers wrote. "Consistent with their ‘entropic’ effect on cortical activity, psychedelics may work to break down such disorders by dismantling the patterns of activity on which they rest."

"The fascinating, strange medical potential of psychedelic drugs, explained in 50+ studies" (Vox)

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The Worrier's Guide to Life is a humorous antidote for all us panickers out there

See sample pages from this book at Wink.

The Worrier's Guide to Life by Gemma Correll Andrews McMeel Publishing 2015, 112 pages, 6.5 x 8 x 0.4 inches (softcover) $11 Buy a copy on Amazon

Are you an every-second second-guesser? Do pizza, sweatpants, and pugs sound like your perfect Friday night? Do you ever want to punch your brain in the face? Are you starting to feel anxious because I’m asking you so many questions? Find comfort in Gemma Correll’s new collection of comic snapshots, The Worrier’s Guide to Life.

You can easily slip this slender book into your bag and bring it along to all those anxiety-producing other-people-filled situations that seem to dominate life. When faced with an overly crowded waiting room full of obviously contagious people whose germs will surely turn your sinus infection into a face plague, hide your nose in this book! If you’re forced to stomach a social gathering full of professional bloggers who couldn’t possibly look that good or be that happy in real life but ohmygod they do and they are and you haven’t showered in three days, steal away to a corner, flip open this book, and remember you’re not alone! Correll offers sketches of an anxious life, as lived by everyone from fetuses to fairytale princesses, interspersed with snippets from her ongoing series of punny visual lists. These delightfully silly sets include “Urban Birthstones,” featuring rings topped with a bit of styrofoam, a cigarette butt, or a balled-up passive-aggressive note, depending on your month, as well as “Pasta Shapes for the Depressed,” “Sexy Halloween Costumes for the Ladyeez,” and “Ye Olde Video Games.”

You can get a daily fix of Gemma Correll’s illustrated insights and anxieties via her various social media streams, but it’s lovely to actually flip through her work in a real-life book rather than, or in addition to, reading it on a scrolling screen. Read the rest

Take an interactive look inside an anxious brain with Neurotic Neurons

What our brains learn, they can also unlearn—including what makes us anxious. That's the idea behind Neurotic Neurons, an interactive work by Nicky Case that explores the neuroscience of anxiety, and particularly the theory of Hebbian learning, wherein "neurons that fire together, wire together" and create associations in the mind. Read the rest

How four keys can create a spectrum of feelings

Arielle Grimes' What Now? uses constraint and glitch aesthetics to explore emotional overwhelm, care for oneself and others

Relax! Calm app and website are here to reduce your stress

Negativity-reducing website calm.com offers guided relaxation breaks of 2 to 20 minutes. They also have a free smartphone app to help you meditate, sleep, or relax wherever you are. Read the rest