Why be afraid of fear? What are mental disorders? And how can patients be empowered to become their own doctors? Such questions were discussed in the Studium Generale series on “Everyday Madness”.
Mental health problems have become a topic of public debate. Last month, a Studium Generale lecture series addressed the situation in the Netherlands and beyond.
Patients with Dissociative Identity disorder (DID) have problems in retrieving specific memories from their personal past. Interestingly, this overgeneral memory retrieval does not differ between patients’ multiple identities.
Habits are hard to change, as illustrated in Plato’s quote that “The first and best victory is to conquer self”. Mindfulness meditation has begun to be studied as a way to counteract detrimental mental habits. We examined whether mindfulness would delink the relation between alcohol impulses and alcohol use.
Though disgust is a universal emotion, little is known about how it emerges. It is assumed that disgust primarily helps us avoid contaminants and diseases. However, disgust responses are not always adaptive. For example, people with a phobia may experience extremely high levels of disgust.
Negative attentional biases have been linked to depression. The “find the smiling face task” has been shown to reduce these dysfunctional attentional biases. To further validate the task, Thole Hoppen and two fellow students investigated whether the “find the smiling face task” changes attentional biases when people are in sad mood.
Distressing mental images can severely disrupt a person’s daily life. A psychotherapeutic technique called Imagery Rescripting can reduce the impact of traumatic memories in individuals diagnosed with depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, and it may also work when people visualize a stressful future.
People with eating problems seem to perceive their environment and themselves differently from people without eating problems. Their thoughts are constantly occupied with eating, body-shape and weight-related themes. Thus, getting through to them to treat their condition can be difficult.
‘I am not crazy, just help me get rid of my neighbors. They are constantly on my back!’ Something along these lines represents a common assistance request by people with psychotic disorders. Insight is impaired in a majority of patients with psychotic disorders.
Scholars try to understand and predict crimes to make society safer. Some expect that investigations of the nervous system will provide us with new solutions. Although this seems promising, it may distract us from other important sources of knowledge.