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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How problematic are sleep problems in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder?

Do you sometimes feel that after a bad night sleep, you cannot take in anything that is being said during a lecture? If so, then maybe you can imagine the rising concern that patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD) might not benefit from trauma-focused treatment if they also suffer from sleep difficulties. I dug into this issue to figure out whether this concern was justified.

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Working on the Homesick Blues

Why should researchers study homesickness? Is it really a topic worth scientific investigation? After all, homesickness is part of normal life, something that probably nearly everyone experiences at least a little bit, when leaving home for longer periods. And homesickness is not a separate “official” category of mental disorder in the DSM system (American Psychiatric […]

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Complex grief can be treated

Normally, grieving is a natural process and does not require treatment by psychologists. However, when someone dies in a violent way, the grief process for the bereaved can become complex, and resilience and social support are often not enough. Unfortunately, even though effective psychological interventions are available, most bereaved are not treated on time. This also applies to relatives of the victims of MH17-crash in Ukraine last July.

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