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General Science => General Science => Topic started by: thedoc on 14/07/2014 12:23:33

Title: Why are mental health problems so common?
Post by: thedoc on 14/07/2014 12:23:33
Why are mental health problems so common?
Asked by David Bailey


                                        Visit the webpage for the podcast in which this question is answered. (http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/index.php?id=3231&tx_nakscishow_pi1%5BshowUid%5D=1000723&cHash=9c9196e6b3)

[chapter podcast=1000726 track=14.06.20/Naked_Neuroscience_2014_06_1002405.mp3](https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thenakedscientists.com%2FHTML%2Ftypo3conf%2Fext%2Fnaksci_podcast%2Fgnome-settings-sound.gif&hash=f2b0d108dc173aeaa367f8db2e2171bd)  ...or Listen to the Answer[/chapter] or [download as MP3] (http://nakeddiscovery.com/downloads/split_individual/14.06.20/Naked_Neuroscience_2014_06_1002405.mp3)

Title: Why are mental health problems so common?
Post by: thedoc on 14/07/2014 12:23:33
We answered this question on the show...

Hannah -   Hello.  I'm Hannah Critchlow and this month in Naked Neuroscience, we’ll be opening our minds with a special Q&A show.  We’ll be discussing treatments for depression.
Liz -   So the first in my life, I took antidepressants.  It felt like I've been a car that had something wrong with the engine and then it’s kind of dragging along the road and someone had fixed it.  It was just rolling really beautifully…
Hannah -   Discovering how we can change our behaviour for the better…
Roger -   So we said a little while ago, I said, “A new habit takes about 82 days to form.” So actually, we can be patient with ourselves as things get going.  It’s not instant…
Hannah -   And divulging tricks to help you lose those extra pounds.
Katie -   You sit in front of the tele and eat food, you don’t realise quite how much you're eating.  You don’t attend to it and you don’t feel fill so quickly.
Hannah -   We’ve had stacks of great questions in from you and accrued of brainy panel to tackle them.  They are…
Roger -   I'm Dr. Roger Kingerlee.  I work in Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Trust as a clinical psychologist with a particular research interest in mild psychological health.
Liz -   My name is Liz Fraser.  I'm an author and broadcaster and I have recently setup the website inmyheadcase.com to completely change the face of mental health.
Martin -   Martin O’Neill and I use basic neuroscience techniques to investigate decision making mechanisms.
Katie -   I'm Katie Manning and I'm a PhD student here at Cambridge in the department of psychiatry and I use MRI imaging to look at connectivity in the brain.
Hannah -   And with them, we’ll be finding out why chocolate helps to boost happiness.  We’ll be stumping scientists with the question, is there such a thing as freewill or is life all predetermined?  And have you ever heard or seen things that other people don’t, so experienced hallucination?  Apparently, 10% of the population do.  And we’ll be discussing the case of a musician who hears music when he’s nodding off to sleep.
First up though, David Bailey got in touch asking, “Why are brain conditions and mental health problems so common?”  
In children, there's been a 25-fold increase in autism diagnosis over the last 20 years.  [img float=right]/forum/copies/RTEmagicC_800px-King_s_Cross_Western_Concourse_05.jpg.jpg[/img]Now, 1 in every 100 of primary school children will be affected in the UK whilst 1 in every 20 school children will have a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD and it’s not only children.  Overall, the percentage of adults diagnosed with mental ill health has steadily increased.  The best estimates today suggests that 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a problem every year with 10% of the population affected by, for example, depression or anxiety.  So, is it just that we were better at recognising conditions and seeking help, or something about today’s society be to blame?  First up, Roger…
Roger -   Well we know from the statistics you’ve already mentioned that all of our families and all of our workplaces, we can have people around us who have these issues if we haven't got them ourselves.  If we go back evolutionarily, one of the things we know is that life is always very challenging and potentially very stressful.  So, right from the world ago, we’ve always faced a lot of different threats in the environment.  The threats can produce stress in all sorts of different ways.  We know that stress is a big driver of psychological issues of all kinds.  To come back to the present of course, especially since the recession, since around 2007, 2008, most people, most families at least in the UK often work harder.
Hannah -   Is there anything that we can do to try and help protect ourselves against this increasing mental health problem?
Roger -   There's a huge amount we can do.  So, whether that’s giving ourselves a little more time to look after ourselves, whether it’s doing things like using relaxation techniques or increase the meditation techniques, so much is known about how to protect ourselves.
Liz -   It is fairly destigmatised now.  I think people are not frightened anymore.  They still are, but less so to put their hand up and say, “I'm not dealing with things very well.  I'm not coping very well.”  We have to be so careful when we talk about increase in the numbers of cases of things.  Is it just because we’re reporting it more?  Why would we be reporting it more?  Because the knowledge is out there so we know much more about it.  Therefore, we’re reporting it more.  Therefore, there is more diagnosis and therefore, there is more prescriptions.  I don’t agree with that.  I think that the evidence seems to suggest that they are in fact increasing and what you were talking earlier about stress.  And it’s funny because people often say, “Well, you know, life is easy.  We’re not at war.”  There aren't the sort of the daily manual struggles that people used to have.  But actually, one of the things that we know causes a lot of – I suppose stress and unhappiness in people is a difference between expectation and reality.  And so, I think so many people now are not living the normal life path that they perhaps expected to live.  That sort of very traditional, ‘grow-up, get a job, get married, have a house’ with is maybe not crazy, but at least it has a stability and because that’s perhaps boring but at least stable framework.  This doesn’t exist for so many people.  The levels of stress are really on the increase and as you're quite right, you said, stress then causes all of these problems.
Roger -   Just to point out, it’s well-known that social support can be really important, is a buffer against stress and psychological issues.  Perhaps even against physical issues as well.  So, that’s something else we can do – actively seek out support.
Katie -   Although there's still a stigma that surrounds mental health, there's now more options and availability of support particularly with things like autism when a child can be diagnosed and that diagnosis opens up the availability of various forms of support whether that be in education or outside of education.  That now, getting that diagnosis is actually important in terms of getting help for somebody’s child whereas in the past, if that was just destigmatising diagnosis then that was perhaps something to shy away from.
Martin -   Thinking from a basic neuroscience perspective as well, we’ve come to appreciate just how intricately designed the brain is with billions of neurons, billions of connections between neurons, billions of chemicals.  So, it’s actually perhaps not that surprising.  When there's a little glitch in the system, there can be these profound effects on mental processes, emotional processes.  In effect, that sort of appreciation helps is the destigmatisation as well and it’s what's almost making mental disorder seem like they're becoming more common.  But perhaps have always been around but we are just more willing to accept and address those issues.
Hannah -   There's another area of neuroscience that’s really kind of gaining a lot of information, and also momentum.  That's the neuroscience of resilience – so how we can become more resilient to these stressors and how we can maintain a flourishing and happy mind in society as well.

Title: Re: Why are mental health problems so common?
Post by: RD on 14/07/2014 12:50:46
Quote from: Hannah
.. 1 in every 20 school children will have a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD and it’s not only children...".

That the ADHD diagnosis is at epidemic levels in the UK does not mean the disease actually occurs at that level : there are non-medical reasons this diagnosis is dispensed by government-issue doctors,  e.g. generic-Ritalin is a lot cheaper to the state than foster-care ...

Quote from: bbc.com 28 February 2014
£447 - that's the cost to the council per week of a child in a foster home.
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-26384989
 
i.e. the use of generic-Ritalin is comparable to the Aldulous Huxley's fictional "Soma" :
a psychotropic-drug issued to the citizens by the state in an attempt to have them behave in a way perceived to be in the interest of the state.

Quote from: Hannah
... 25-fold increase in autism diagnosis over the last 20 years.  Now, 1 in every 100 of primary school children will be affected in the UK ...

UK schools receive extra funding for each child with diagnosed with autism,
[ i.e. it is in the financial interest of schools to have children labelled as autistic ].
Title: Re: Why are mental health problems so common?
Post by: tkadm30 on 21/11/2017 10:05:38
i.e. the use of generic-Ritalin is comparable to the Aldulous Huxley's fictional "Soma" :
a psychotropic-drug issued to the citizens by the state in an attempt to have them behave in a way perceived to be in the interest of the state.

Thank you @RD .
By keeping citizens in a state of tranquility when they should normally have the right to be angry, is a form of tyranny.
 
Title: Re: Why are mental health problems so common?
Post by: puppypower on 21/11/2017 12:04:21
One variable that explains many common mental health problems is the rate of time perception. Time flies when you are having fun, while time appears to drag when one is bored or stressed. One can look at the same reality, using various time filters, and perceive it in different ways. For example, in fight/flight, the clock appears to slow, because the mind has sped up. This speeding up of the mind, allows one to make split second decisions, that may be needed for survival.

Someone with ADHD has a mind that has sped up. The brain is idling too fast for the speed of the normal social environment. The drugs given attempt to slow the brain; stupor. Back in the old days, ADHD was treated with a spanking. This was effective, because a spanking works in the same time frame as ADHD; quick. The modern time out, is too slow because it is spread out the treatment over too much time. The time out is more effective if the mind is moving slower. The slowed mind can move larger blocks of data, while the faster mind can move smaller blocks but much faster. Each has its use.

A good analogy is when we speed up the brain, it becomes a microscope. With a microscope we tend to focus close and can lose track of the forest; bigger picture. When the brain is slowed, we have a telescope, that allows us to see the bigger picture. However, may not  be as effective with the details.

Many of the modern time problems are connected to the internet, social media, TV and marketing. These can create a fantasy reality centered on immediate gratification. The change of time perception is similar to watching a TV show that solves major problems in one hour. This might be possible if the brain was sped up. However, this may not jive with physical reality, which tends to move slower. When the brain is on a different time page, than realty, there can be conflict and stresses due to a reference problem.

A soldier who has post traumatic stress syndrome, was induced to speed up their brain, due to the environmental stresses of war. The soldier in war, has to live in the second, to stay alive. This faster idle speed, although good on the battle field, does not translate well into society, where things are designed to be at a more casual pace. It is not always easy to slow the brain, after it is has been induced to idle higher.

Religions tend to make one think in the longer term; eternity, instead of in the short term; immediate gratification. The loss of religion has removed a social mechanism for slowing the brain. 
Title: Re: Why are mental health problems so common?
Post by: Bigjoemonger on 25/11/2017 00:26:48
The frequency of occurrence is probably not much different than hundreds of years ago. The difference is that the number of diagnosable diseases has dramatically increased in that time. What was once deemed as overexcited kids is now a disease to be treated.
Title: Re: Why are mental health problems so common?
Post by: tkadm30 on 25/11/2017 09:28:21
The loss of religion has removed a social mechanism for slowing the brain. 

I propose that the loss of religion has made our brain to improves its connectivity by replacing religious dogmas with modern scientific thinking.
Title: Re: Why are mental health problems so common?
Post by: miсhaelpeters on 04/04/2018 11:35:16
Because many people have a different background. People can get <<<<Spam link removed>>>> to get help. It really helped me to realize my problems and try to fix myself. It is very important for me to give people help that they need.
Title: Re: Why are mental health problems so common?
Post by: Bored chemist on 04/04/2018 12:28:50
The loss of religion has removed a social mechanism for slowing the brain. 

ADHD is present in young children who are not religious- because they are not old enough to have learned "their" religion yet.

So, as usual, you are trying to paint religion as some sort of saviour where in fact it is, at best, irrelevant.

Why do you keep doing that?
Title: Re: Why are mental health problems so common?
Post by: alancalverd on 04/04/2018 13:03:29
Einstein defined insanity as repeating a futile action in the hope of getting a different result. This certainly applies to most religious practices.

Or you could define it as wishing that the laws of physics could be suspended for your benefit. This defines most prayers.

Religion is a prime cause of insanity.
Title: Re: Why are mental health problems so common?
Post by: Bored chemist on 04/04/2018 13:57:02
Religion is a prime cause of insanity.
It's not clear to me if religion is a cause of insanity, or a form of insanity.
Title: Re: Why are mental health problems so common?
Post by: alancalverd on 04/04/2018 15:13:28
If the recent Channel 4 program is to be believed, everyone who is marginally better or worse than average at anything, is "on the autistic spectrum". It's just a case of sour grapes from those who cannot rise above mediocrity.

Autism is currently more fashionable than asthma. Very annoying: I've just finished an ashthma diagnostic project!