Monday, May 31, 2010

Depression by e-mail and debilitating body odors

Science lite From the Boston Globe.

Screening college students for depression with an e-mailed questionnaire may be a promising way to track levels of mental health on campus. But connecting students with help looks more challenging, according to new research that also found depression rates higher among college students than in the general population. Irene Shyu and a team from Massachusetts General Hospital distributed a depression questionnaire at four unidentified colleges in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and California, using e-mail lists provided by student groups. A total of 631 students agreed to take the survey for a chance to win a $200 gift card.

There's a sucker born every minute. The survey found that the rate of major depression in those surveyed was higher than the rate in the general public (about four percentage points higher.)

She's at it again

For some people, worrying about bad breath or body odor can be so extreme they become housebound or suicidal, a Brown University researcher reported this week. Even though others can’t detect any smell, the preoccupation persisted among the 20 people whose cases Dr. Katharine A. Phillips described at a meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in New Orleans.

“Patients suffer tremendously as a result of this false belief and they appear to be very impaired,’’ she said.

I think I see where Dr. Phillips is heading. I've cut and pasted her previous infomercial from the New York Times on the subject of debilitating underbites.

The good news is that there are treatments that can help. The scientific research that’s been done indicates that serotonin reuptake inhibitor medications (for example, escitalopram, fluoxetine or fluvoxamine) and cognitive behavioral therapy are helpful for a majority of people with B.D.D. More research is needed on these treatments and on other types of therapy, but this is good news for people who suffer from this distressing, impairing and sometimes disabling disorder.

Oh I wish I were picketing down at the American Psychiatric Association Convention in New Orleans. That would be time well spent.


  1. The point that is significant (perhaps the only one) that applies universally across the spectrum of classified "mental illnesses" is "the patient suffers from the false belief". This is the fundamental issue. False limiting beliefs. Treatment should be directed toward reframining these limiting false beliefs and empowering the patient. All of the labels and chronic prognosis validate the mythical false and limiting beliefs.

  2. When I started out in all this, I was under the impression that these are false beliefs, but perhaps a better way of thinking of it is "limiting" beliefs. I came round to see that the beliefs were real and based on a real trauma/hurt but acted out in ways that are viewed as psychotic by the rest of us and limits the person's ability to grow. So, is it a false belief to feel victimized or unloved? Probably not. Marian's comment in the previous post was that people who think they are Jesus believe they are carrying a burden. They are not Jesus, but they see themselves as somebody's scapegoat. This belief limits them, but is real enough. That's where empathy comes in. You (meaning others) accept the so-called false beliefs which then clears the way for healing to take place.

  3. The trauma may be real however the belief that arises as a consequence of it is not. It is a response, an interpretation, conscious or unconscious, that grows out of the feeling of powerlessness.

    There is a significant difference between being victimized and living life in the context of a victim. When the individual accepts responsibility for his or her state and gets complete with his or her past he or she is capable of distinguishing new possibility in life.

    A belief is only real to the extent that we maintain it and continue to feed and nurture it within our own reality. It is definitely a false belief to feel victimized or unloved. As callous as it may sound once the act(s) which victimized the individual have been acknowledged there is no value in justifying the individual's continuing status as a victim. There is considerable value in helping that individual find a pathway, and an interpretation, where they feel empowered and loved.

    Try challenging all of your beliefs and if you can undertake the exercise objectively you will observe that none of them are absolute truths or untruths. They have whatever meaning you (or others in your socialization into this world) have provided to them. Humans have a greater propensity to seek validation for what they already believe than to seek the reasons why their beliefs may be wrong. What we believe, as confining as it may be, serves a purpose. It may have served a purpose for our parents, teachers, peers, or us, and in order to abandon the belief we feel we are abandoning ourselves.

    We all live our lives within a context confined by our own false and limiting beliefs. We think inside this context. Our thinking is constrained and the context within which we think shapes what hear, what we say and what we do or do not do.

    If one's beliefs enrich their life great! If the beliefs are constraining, limiting, and contribute to a miserable state change them!

    Each of us only has our own experience to think within. Knowledge that cannot be assimilated into what we already believe more often than not is rejected out of hand. Our beliefs should inspire and not immobilize us.

  4. What I want to believe is that the victim can grow beyond victimhood. I have to admit, that personally, I am getting weary of waiting for that person to change a belief system.


I am no longer approving comments. All I ask is that you be respectful of others and refrain from using profanity.