Cannabis dispensary giving free CBD dog treats to reduce fireworks anxiety

The Toledo Hemp Dispensary in Ohio is offering free CBD dog treats this week to help reduce animal anxiety triggered by fireworks. Every treat contains 10 milligrams of CBD. Good for the dogs and for the business, it seems.

"Most people come back every year and tell their friends so they come and try it," dispensary manager Payton De Moe told 13ABC. "Most people if they try it on the first, come back and get a bag for the next few days because with it on the weekend people are going to be doing (fireworks) the whole weekend."

Ooooh. Ahhhh.

image: modified version of "Kintamani dog white" by lmk0278 (public domain) Read the rest

Obsessive-compulsive disorder as practice for COVID-19

People who live with obsessive-compulsive disorder, especially those who have learned to manage it with cognitive-behavioral therapy tools, may actually be psychologically well-prepared for this pandemic. The techniques those of us with OCD practice to handle anxiety, intrusive thoughts, and all-consuming compulsions are well-suited to dealing with worries of infection and the endless what-ifs about what lies ahead. Those fortunate enough to have been treated for OCD with cognitive-behavioral therapy, often in combination with medication, are usually pretty comfortable being uncomfortable. (If you're suffering and not being treated, please seek help; you really can feel much better.) From the International OCD Foundation:

Accept anxiety instead of wishing it away and making it worse. No one enjoys anxiety and it’s normal to wish you weren’t anxious. But when you label your anxiety as “bad” and try to get rid of it, your brain then misinterprets the anxiety as a problem and dumps more stress chemicals into your body to help you manage this “threat.” The result? You feel more, not less, anxious.

Instead, accept that it’s likely you will continue to feel anxious during the pandemic, and that this is okay. Anxiety is uncomfortable, but it’s not going to hurt you, and if you tell yourself you can handle being anxious, your brain is less likely to get confused and think anxiety is a threat. Accepting anxiety, not being afraid of being afraid, is how to keep it manageable.

Tell yourself you can handle uncertainty, because you can. This situation is scary because there are so many unknowns.

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Psychedelic pharmaceutical company asks FDA for permission to conduct LSD therapy

A psychedelic pharmaceutical company is asking the FDA to allow it to run a commercial LSD trial to treat people with anxiety, reports Vice. MindMed's CEO is hopeful that his company will get permission to run the trial (dubbed "Project Lucy"), since the FDA has already approved trials with psilocybin and MDMA.

From Vice:

MindMed is proposing a high-dose LSD treatment (200mcg or about two tabs) for people with anxiety. Currently that can’t happen anywhere in the world due to LSD’s Schedule I status, except for Switzerland, where Dr. Peter Gasser has been doing this research for over 10 years.

LSD is still a banned Schedule I substance in Switzerland, but in part because of its unique history as the birthplace of LSD, the ministry of health granted Gasser special permission to use it in his research. In 2007, he began the first controlled trial of LSD.

“When the patient takes the substance, he or she is supervised by a therapist the entire time. They come to the office at 8:30 a.m., they get the drug, and then they stay until 8:30 p.m. That’s 12 hours in our facility in which they are supervised. We watch them, and we guide them through the experience,” Gasser told VICE News.

Image: Jumpstory / CC0 Read the rest

Kicking my cellphone out of bed has improved my sleep

After I brush my teeth I am now putting my iPhone on a charger in another room and going to bed. I find I have stopped waking up at 4am and sleep much better.

Sleep is really important. The more sleep I lose, the harder everything else becomes and the easier it becomes to realize I'm fucking up. I have long known that I sleep better if I leave the cellphone out of my bed and just read a book... so of course I've spent the last few weeks reading news and texting friends around the world all hours of the night.

No more! We know what the foreseeable future holds. I have set what meager goals for myself I feel are healthy, and that phone is about as far from my bed at night as possible.

Good luck. Read the rest

A handy pamphlet for coping with extra-dimensional anxiety

Though the wonderful wizard of Northampton may strike me down, I must confess: HBO's new Watchmen series is really, really good. I would argue that it actually has more in common with Moore's adaptive approach to League of Extraordinary Gentlemen—alluding to some established literary canon, but remixing the elements into a story all its own.

Just as the original comic featured news clips and other articles at the end of every issue, the TV show has an online  "Peteypedia," a collection of supporting text documents that exist within the world of the series. For example: a social work pamphlet about "Extra-dimensional Anxiety and You." This is, of course, supposed to be a reference to the climactic events of the 30-year-old graphic novel, where a (fake) squid-like alien is sent through an extra-dimensional portal into the middle of Manhattan, killing millions of people, traumatizing millions more with telepathic psychological damage, and, ultimately ending the Cold War by uniting USA and USSR against a common enemy.

But honestly it…just kind of sounds like living in the United States in 2019 in our own reality. The pamphlet warns of the common PTSD-like symptoms of EDA such as flashbacks and obsessive rumination; hyperavoidance and hypervigilance; negative changes in identity, relationships, or worldview; and paranoia, thrill-seeking, or suicidal thoughts. While, yes, it is supposed to be a somewhat-satirical riff on the generic language of support groups, it also feels like an accurate and relatable description of social media in the Trump years. Read the rest

How a quirky Finnish comic came to resonate with Chinese millennials

The Chinese slang term jingfen means "spiritually Finnish." It was coined thanks to the popularity of an online comic called Finnish Nightmares. Liang Chenyu speculates why so many Chinese millennials identify with the comic. Read the rest

Watch Shingle Jingle, the best way to experience shingles

Brian David Gilbert is the anxiety-laden voice of a generation in Shingle Jingle, the most upbeat song ever written about suffering from shingles outbreaks. Read the rest

Wil Wheaton's frank, brave speech about his depression and anxiety

Wil Wheaton has publicly discussed his anxiety and depression before; I know several people whose lives were improved by reading what he had to say. Read the rest

I don't know about these new drugs, guys

Being medicated is the best and the absolute worst.

I take a cocktail of anti-anxiety and anti-depressive drugs on a daily basis to help me deal with the symptoms that come with my PTSD. Most of the time, I'm grateful for them: They've helped to numb me, just enough so that I can use the techniques I've learned in therapy to help ground myself during a flashback or panic attack. Now that I'm medicated – I refused treatment for years – I'm able to maintain a healthy relationship.

The rage and detachment I've experienced these past 20 years have been tamped down far enough that I can empathize, fully, with my wife, friends and colleagues. It's hard work, sometimes! But I feel healthier than I have in years. A lot of the time, I'm even able to sleep through the night. The paranoia I deal with and the thoughts that refuse to stop tumbling around in my head give way to slumber, most evenings. It's still a frequent thing for me to wake up, sweat-drenched and alert in the dead of night, but it feels manageable. Before, it was just exhausting and sad.

But then, on occasion, a doctor decides that maybe I should be on something new; something different. This happened two days ago. I'm not digging it.

I was warned: when starting on these new pills (no, I'm not going to tell you what they are) I'd experience more anxiety for the next few weeks as the old drugs leave my system and my new pharmaceutical hotness takes hold. Read the rest

Selective mutism explained by someone who experienced it as a child

Artist Stephi Lee open up about her childhood selective mutism, where she would only talk to her mom and her best friend. It's cool to see that it got resolved. Read the rest

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.” 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