A study of over 67,000 depressed patients tracks new psoriasis diagnosis to determine whether antidepressants protect against this common autoimmune disease.

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Photo by Drew Graham on Unsplash

Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease causing body-wide inflammation. The most familiar and visible symptoms of psoriasis affect the skin due to accelerated growth of skin cells, leading to red plaques, scaly, flaky skin, pitting of fingernails, and related changes. Psoriasis also affects joints, causing a potentially severe form of arthritis in 10 to 20 percent of affected people and leading to significant pain and infirmity.

Over 3 percent of people in the US (2014) have psoriasis, and an estimated 125 million are affected world-wide. Psoriasis is not just a skin and joint disease, however. …


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Photo by David Vives on Unsplash

Recognizing and addressing the high priority of getting ahead of the crashing Covid-19 mental health wave.

Dear President-Elect Biden,

Congratulations on your election victory. Your administration assumes authority in the United States at an unprecedented time in history, facing great challenges in reducing polarization in the context of a pandemic, accelerated by the as-yet poorly understood influence of social media and information technology.

Recent research in the journal Lancet Psychiatry (2020) looking at data from over 62,000 Covid-19 survivors within 3 months of infection find that rates of new psychiatric illness, predominantly anxiety disorders, insomnia, and dementia (in older patients) are double that found in survivors of a comparison set of other diseases, with nearly 6 percent reporting new-onset illness. …


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Samuel Rodriguez on Unsplash

Research on over 62000 patients highlights a looming mental health crisis. Coronavirus increases psychiatric illness, and prior psychiatric illness may increase infection rates.

As the death toll from Covid-19 continues to rise, and the number of cases skyrockets in the U.S. and around the world, the sheer weight of concrete suffering, the strain on healthcare systems and the economy, and the disorganized response from government and community threatens to eclipse awareness of important mental health implications.

Mental Health Advocacy

The likelihood of long-range problems increases exponentially with every passing moment that mental health issues remain only partially addressed. …


New research examines emerging trait-based approaches to personality disorder.

From Neighborhood Psychiatry, by Grant H. Brenner

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Photo by Joshua Fuller on Unsplash

There is no unified consensus on how to evaluate and define personality, though there are many approaches. Models include the Five Factor Model (FFM or Big 5) consisting of Openness to New Experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism (OCEAN). The HEXACO model has six factors, overlapping with the FFM: Honesty-Humility, Emotionality, eXtroversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness and Openness.

Some traits and clusters of traits are more problematic leading to difficulty with self-regulation, relationship issues, substance use disorders and mental illness. Others are associated with greater personal and professional success. …


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Photo by Yan from Pexels

Dealing with over-committed and unreliable people is an increasingly common part of life. Making sense of the situation and learning how to cope can ease the sting.

What do you get when you combine “bait-and-switch,” the questionable sales tactic of offering one thing and then substituting another of lower quality, and ghosting, when someone you started a seemingly meaningful relationship with mysteriously vanishes? I call it “ghostbaiting.”(1) It happens in a faster time-frame than ghosting, a quick turnaround from pleasure to distress.

Self-contradiction

Why would someone act friendly and interested, only to withdraw? It may be the norm on many dating apps where attachments are fleeting and other people seem unreal, but we don’t expect it in ordinary social interactions. Yet it is becoming more and more common.

Here are a few…


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Photo by Callum Skelton on Unsplash

10 Years of research on 72,605 US students shows a shameful lack of progress toward safe and just schools.

For parents wanting our children to be safe and nurtured to develop into healthy, secure adults, there are too many concerns. Basic needs, the home environment, safety outside of the house, and of course the school environment. Parents entrust children to the custodianship for several hours a day of those who run our schools.

Kids aren’t always nice, but bullying crosses the line past “mean kids” and “rough-and-tumble play,” violating basic rights, causing humiliation, and fostering an atmosphere of fear and avoidance. Beyond the school, our culture is shot-through with bullying, coercion, harassment, abuse, neglect inequality, bias of more colors than the rainbow — we live in a bullying society. …


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Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

New research dives deep into mistrust, media misinformation sources, and the impact on health behaviors.

More than anything in recent memory, this pandemic highlights the importance of interdependence and community, on a global scale. If you don’t wear a seat belt, you are mostly only putting yourself at risk; if you don’t practice infection-control, you are putting me and mine at risk, along with your own family and friends, and their family and friends, and so on to the rest of society. The moral math is totally different when the truth is illusory.

Prior work on personality and conspiracy is unflattering. Conspiracy believers are likely to have higher “Bullshit Receptivity” [yes, psychologists have created a scale for that, the BRS], are more likely to see the world as a malign and dangerous place, and are more likely to eschew human contact, residing within an eccentric, idiosyncratic reality. …


New research examines an unfamiliar but fundamental consideration in deciding not just break-up outcome, but also future happiness.

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

People stay with incompatible, unhappy relationships for many reasons, some more obvious than others. We invest a great deal in relationships — psychologically, socially, pragmatically, financially — and one theory says we stay together to preserve those resources.

There’s a strong tendency for people to simply keep doing the same thing, a kind of impalpable momentum which keeps us moving in the same direction. Psychologists aptly call this the status quo effect. We also absorb our parent’s style into our own self-parenting, which can further propel some into dysfunctional adult relationships.

Furthermore, social convention can hold people together, depending on the values of those who surround them. People often stay together for much longer than we want, often against our better judgment, perhaps for unclear reasons even when we think we know why. …


New research highlights the impact of parenting functions, along with expert guidelines on helping children during stressful times.

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Photo by Henrikke Due on Unsplash

Childhood anxiety and mood disorders are on the rise, as reported by the CDC. COVID-19 is hitting children and adolescents hard (Singh et al., 2020), highlighting the critical importance of a secure family, modeling of positive coping, and cultivating constructive ways to bolster resilience in youth1.

When children are anxious, the way the people closest to them respond is critical. While sub-optimal parental responses are not considered maltreatment per se (i.e. Adverse Childhood Experiences or “ACEs”), they contribute to developmental difficulties rather than mitigating against them.

Yet parents face their own challenges, and pressure to be better parents especially when adults are under great strain can lead to a downward spiral, harming all. Understanding what helps and what gets in the way allows us to make informed decisions about where to apply limited resources to make things better for all involved. …


New research takes a fresh look at the structure of a fascinating and increasingly relevant concept.

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Photo by Peter Forster on Unsplash

“Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people.” — Carl Jung

What is our fascination with “dark personalities”? So many of us, like the proverbial moth to the flame, are drawn to people who don’t exactly follow the Golden Rule. Narcissism, psychopathy, Machiavellianism — for the Dark Tetrad add “everyday sadism”.

The media romanticizes these traits, and there may be powerful distorted attachment chemistry early on in (often dysfunctional) relationships. Because self-deception and curated self-presentation is the norm, you don’t know what you are signing up for until you are in deep.

On average, dark traits are often disadvantageous, setting us up for future issues, including an increased risk for emotionally abusive relationships and pathological narcissism, when present in parental interactions. …

About

Grant H Brenner

Psychiatrist, Psychoanalyst, Entrepreneur, Writer, Speaker, Advocate

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