Blue Monday: Perpetuating a media hype or promoting mental health awareness?

One Monday in mid-to-late January is said to be the most depressing day of the year. For the past 12 years, a Welsh psychologist has been associated with this day. He has become known as the brain behind Blue Monday, allegedly developing the formula used to calculate the date. But what is the real story, and how has it developed over time?

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Update: Metacognition in Psychotic Disorders: Grounds for Therapy?

In 2014, my collaborators and I published a post on Mindwise entitled: “What are you thinking right now? On the topic of metacognition”, in which we discussed what metacognition is considered to be (‘thinking about thinking’) and how metacognition may play a role in different kinds of psychopathology. In this post, we seek to delve a little deeper by applying the model to disorders in the psychosis spectrum.

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An Example of Blurry Boundaries

In a recent literature review my co-authors and I compared the symptoms and causes of schizophrenia spectrum disorders and dissociative disorders. The results show the limitations of categorical models of psychopathology (e.g. DSM-5) compared to models that view symptoms as extremes of normal behavior, and models emphasizing that symptoms can cause other symptoms.

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Social behaviour and serotonin:

Some unexpected findings

While an acute decrease in brain serotonin may have few effects on social behaviour, a longer-term increase in serotonin in individuals at risk for depression improves mood and alters social behaviour. This Thursday, February 4, 2016, Koen Hogenelst defends his dissertation, in which he explains the relevance of his research findings for the effectiveness of serotonergic medications for depression.

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