The case against spanking your children: Study finds it can lead to mental illness

Think spanking will make your child behave?

In fact, a new study discovered that children who receive spankings are more likely to be anti-social, aggressive and suffer from mental health and cognitive difficulties.

The study by the University of Texas and the University of Michigan finds the more a child gets spanked — defined by an open hand on the backside — the more likely they were to defy their parents. Their study, published in the Journal of Family Psychology, analyzed five decades of spanking research representing around 160,000 children, according to the news site Mic.com, a website geared towards millennials.

“Our analysis focuses on what most Americans would recognize as spanking and not on potentially abusive behaviors,” says Elizabeth Gershoff, an associate professor of human development and family sciences at The University of Texas at Austin.

“We found that spanking was associated with unintended detrimental outcomes and was not associated with more immediate or long-term compliance, which are parents’ intended outcomes when they discipline their children.”.

“We as a society think of spanking and physical abuse as distinct behaviors,” Gershoff said. “Yet our research shows that spanking is linked with the same negative child outcomes as abuse, just to a slightly lesser degree.”

Spanking of children is still a popular mode of discipline in households. A 2013 poll found that 81% of Americans “say parents spanking their children is sometimes appropriate,” according to NBC News.

“We hope that our study can help educate parents about the potential harms of spanking and prompt them to try positive and non-punitive forms of discipline,” Gershoff said.

To read the whole Mic.com story click here.

When should you take a mental health day off from work?

The mental health day used to be known as playing hooky from work, but more employees are realizing that at times it is necessary to take a day and recalibrate. Think of it as stepping off the gas pedal as your car’s RPMs threaten to overheat and blow the engine.

Still, how does one decide when it’s time to take that day and when to simply power through?

Amy Morin is a psychotherapist and author of the international bestselling book, 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do. On Forbes’ website, she helps employees navigate this new area.

She suggests treating mental health like physical health. For instance, if you caught a cold, you might decide to tough it out at work. But if you had the flu, it’s best to stay home for not only are you incapable of doing your job you may infect your co-workers.

And trust me, crazy is just as infectious as H2N2 virus.

Psychotherapist Amy Morin says workers need to treat their mental health just like they do their physical health.

“As a psychotherapist, I’ve helped many people determine whether they were mentally healthy enough to do their job,” Morin writes. “And much of it depends on the mental health issue you’re grappling with and what kind of work you do.”

For instance, if you drive a bus and are having trouble concentrating because of depression that is a bit more concerning than driving your laptop in your cubicle.

So here are Morin’s suggestions:

  • When you’re distracted by something you need to address. If you’re behind on your bills and taking a day off to tackle your budget could help you feel as though you’re back in control, it may make sense to take a day to address it so you can reduce your anxiety.
  • When you’ve been neglecting yourself.  Just like electronic devices need recharging, it’s important to take the time to charge your own batteries. A little alone time or an opportunity to practice some self-care can help you perform better.
  • When you need to attend appointments to care for your mental health. Whether you need to see your doctor get your medication adjusted or you need to schedule an appointment with your therapist, taking a day off to address your mental health needs is instrumental in helping you be at your best.

Morin notes that only 17 percent of the U.S. population is functioning at optimal mental health., according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Employers would be wise to pay attention to this awful statistic. The Center for Prevention and Health estimates mental illness and substance abuse issues cost employers up to $105 billion annually.

Giving a worker a mental health day now and then actually can save money.

Read all of Morin’s piece on Forbes by clicking here.

Could party drug ‘Special-K’ be miracle cure for clinical depression?

Internist Dr. John Sortino said a few years ago a good friend’s mother died and he watched his pal fall into a deep clinical depression.

He would invite him to his Boca Raton practice to keep an eye him, watching as he sobbed for eight hours straight.

“I’ve never seen a grown man cry that long,” Sortino said.

The $11 billion anti-depressant industry didn’t help Sortino’s friend. He just got worse taking pills before reading about how the anesthesia-turned-party drug ketamine had shown promise as an off-label medication for severe depression.

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Could the party drug ketamine be the miracle cure for those suffering from clinical depression?

After some hesitation, Sortino ordered the shot and administered it to his friend. His friend’s suicide ideation immediately ceased.

Now Sortino is bringing this alternate cure to South Florida. He says his new depression center, Kismet Clinic in Boca Raton, was the first to offer the treatment in Palm Beach County and is one of two establishments offering ketamine  currently.

Typical drugs for depression take months to work.

“The discovery of ketamine’s ability to effectively treat depression represents the most significant leap in mental health advancements in more than 50 years,” Dr. Sortino states.

Ketamine was used for medical and veterinarian surgery to put patients to sleep before surgery. Then the club scene got a hold of it, dubbed it Special-K. Users would enter a hallucinogenic  “K-Hole” similar to a catatonic state.

And while the use of ketamine for mental illness has its detractors, Sortino has administered more than 300 treatments, seeing varying success in all of them — sometimes within minutes of taking the drug.

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The Kismet Clinic says it was the first clinic in South Florida to offer ketamine for patients suffering from depression.

The Food & Drug Administration fast-tracked the approval for the use of ketamine for mental illness. He said it is very effective in patients obsessing about suicide.

“Honestly, it was unlike anything I had ever seen when I first saw its effects four years ago,”  Dr. Dawn Ionescu, a staff psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital, told Time earlier this year.

“We were seeing patients who were depressed for years and tried many different medications, sometimes even electroconvulsive therapy, and nothing worked. But a single infusion improved their depression within hours.”

The Kismet Clinic does have a celebrity once removed saying ketamine worked for him.  Michael Lohan,  father of Lindsay Lohan and a Delray Beach resident. is a patient.

“The treatment was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before,” Lohan said. “During the procedure, it felt like the layers of anxiety and pain were being pulled out of me.

While critics say ketamine’s use on depression is usually short lasting, Lohan said he has used the treatment along with meditation to maintain most of the benefit of the drug treatment.

Sortino told the Post that ketamine affects  neurotransmitters in the brain gamma and glutamate, as opposed to popular SSRI medications that target the neurotransmitter serotonin or others that work on norepinephrine or dopamine.

Drug companies are working hard to make a byproduct of ketamine, the doctor said. But for now, Special-K for depression remains something new.

“It is a novel approach to depression. It is not mainstream medicine yet,” he said.

Depression: researchers find biomarker for disorder

Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center found a physical difference in the brain that may serve as a biomarker for depression.

UPI, reporting on a study published in Neuropsychopharmacology, says researchers came across the discovery while comparing the brains of people at high and low risk for depression based on their family history.

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Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center found a physical difference in the brains that may serve as a biomarker for depression, according to a study is published in Neuropsychopharmacology.

“These findings suggest that looking at activity in the DMN may offer an objective method of identifying people who are at risk of developing major depression,” said Dr. Myrna Weissman, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University Medical Center.

“This may represent a another way toward advancing prevention and early intervention for this major public health issue.”

Using MRI scans, researchers found the DMN system is more active when people are thinking deeply about something, and shown to have increased connections in people with major depressive disorder.

Dr. Jonathan Posner, an associate professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center said the research could lead to  behavioral interventions, such as meditation and mindfulness – the later has been successful in treating addiction and obsessive compulsive disorder.

Read the whole UPI story by clicking here.

What a long, strange trip it’s been: Scientists map brain on LSD

In what is being called a scientific breakthrough, scientists for the first time have mapped the effect of LSD on the brain.

CNN reports that brain scans were taken from volunteers who agreed to take the drug associated with hallucinations and a feeling of oneness with the universe. The drug also can induce paranoia – or what is known among recreational users as a bad trip.

The findings have given researchers an unprecedented insight into the neural basis for effects produced by one of the most powerful drugs ever created.

 

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A new study shows what happens to brain when it takes LSD. Scientists feel the drug may have medicinal benefits. (Image: Imperial College London)

As a result, LSD is getting mad respect in scientific circles these days.

The Post reported in February about another study that found that long-term use of the drug could lead to improved psychological well-being. The Imperial College London study found that the use of the  creates “cognitive looseness” and leads to “highly enhanced mental flexibility.”

Imperial was at it again by taking these brain scans that revealed subjects experienced images through information drawn from many parts of their brains. Usually, it is just the visual cortex at the back of the head that normally processes visual information

In an even more intriguing finding, scientists learned the drug allowed regions of the brain once segregated to speak one another.

David Nutt, a professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial, was ecstatic.

“This is to neuroscience what the Higgs boson was to particle physics,” he said. “We didn’t know how these profound effects were produced. It was too difficult to do. Scientists were either scared or couldn’t be bothered to overcome the enormous hurdles to get this done.”

LSD, or lysergic acid diethylamide, was first synthesized in 1938 and was part of extensive research until the 1960s when the drug started being used for recreation and led to it being banned.

In a story on the brain scan study in The Guardian, researchers said their findings  could pave the way for LSD or related chemicals to be used to treat psychiatric disorders.

Nutt said the drug could pull the brain out of thought patterns seen in depression and addiction through its effects on brain networks.

Amanda Feilding, director of the Beckley Foundation that helped fund the study said, said: “We are finally unveiling the brain mechanisms underlying the potential of LSD, not only to heal but also to deepen our understanding of consciousness itself.”