There were a lot of interesting articles this week, so I hope you’ll glance at all the titles and read the ones that are of interest to you. Please see especially the two at the end.
'Empathy Fatigue' in Clinicians Rises With Latest COVID-19 Surge
I imagine some of you could empathize with the doctors in this article. Click here to read full article.
Are Pro-Lifers Just “Pro-Forced Birth?”
This is a new accusation and label that is being used against those who are pro-life. While we are usually against people being forced into activities they do not want to do (e.g., forced sex, etc.) this article thoughtfully shows that this language is being used to manipulate attitudes and that there are a multitude of things we are forced to do (e.g., driving slowly in a school zone) that we all accept as legitimate restrictions of our behavior. Click here to read full article.
‘Uncontrolled vomiting’ striking marijuana users in legalized states, according to study
If we needed another reason for questioning the wisdom of legalizing recreational use of marijuana, this could be it. In the 18 states that have legalized marijuana, some of the chronic users of marijuana are now experiencing uncontrolled vomiting that continues over significant periods of time. The medical term for the condition is “cannabis hyperemesis syndrome” and if you have clients who use pot regularly, you may want to take a moment to read the article. It does not sound like something you’d want to experience. Click here to read full article.
These next three articles are from a psychiatry journal but I think could also be useful for counselors to know.
Study Examines Cognitive Effects of Antipsychotics, Other Medications
People with schizophrenia who are on some antipsychotic medications for many years often develop problems with memory, thinking, attention and social awareness. For many years we have thought those declines were due to schizophrenia itself. However, this research study found that long-term use of medications that have anticholinergic effects may be involved in this change. Therefore if you have clients who have been on medication that has anticholinergic effects it may be worthwhile having them talk with their doctor about other medications that do not have those effects. Click here to read full article.
Medical-Necessity Letters Written By Psychiatrists Can Be Decisive
Probably many people have had the experience of having a medication prescribed by a doctor that was initially denied by an insurance company or that had such a high copayment that you had to refuse it. It turns out that sometimes having a medical-necessity letter written by a medical professional can make a difference with insurance companies. While we would not want to abuse this, when you, or a client, have a medication refused by an insurance company, a letter from the prescribing professional could make a difference. Click here to read full article.
Army STARRS Study Finds Risks to Progression From Suicidal Ideation to Attempts
It is important for counselors to know how to differentiate those who have suicidal ideation that will remit and those whose suicidal ideation is likely to progress to an actual attempt. While this study was done with enlisted soldiers, some of the factors were not ones I had seen identified previously, and so may be worth taking a moment to read. Click here to read full article.
Christians should be ‘outraged’ that children are being ‘trafficked in our own backyard’
I thought I had read all I needed to be an informed citizen about human trafficking, but this well-researched article taught me several things. For one, the U.S. is the world capitol as far as human trafficking. Secondly, boys are as much as one-third, and in some research studies, 50% of those who are being trafficked. And those children and teens who come for counseling are likely to be prime candidates for traffickers. You will probably find other surprising facts in this article. I encourage all counselors to read this article. Click here to read full article.
These next three articles are from one of my favorite journals, Brain and Behavior. If you like them, I believe you can get a free subscription. Click here to read full article.
How COVID Infection May Damage the Brain and Affect Mental Illness Symptoms & Mortality
We are still learning about COVID, but this is the best compilation of research to date that I have seen that explains what we know about COVIDs effects, particularly on our mental functioning. Click here to read full article.
Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy: What We Know, and Still Don’t Know
In the 1960s, many college students experimented with psychedelics to such a degree that federal laws were made which labeled these drugs as controlled substances and sharply limited their use.
In the last ten years or so, some researchers are, with permission, using these drugs in conjunction with psychotherapy to treat various mental illnesses.
This is a very good compilation of much of the psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy that has been done, and the results. Although this is still in early stages of study, if you are interested in the topic, this is a good, balanced compilation of the studies. Click here to read full article.
Sensory Over-response and Anxiety in Children With and Without Autism
The topic of this article is somewhat related to the sensory-processing disorder article I included in last week’s Musings, although this one is primarily focused on how this over-responsiveness is related to anxiety and autism. If you work with children, it might be of interest to you. Click here to read full article.
Early Intervention Improves Autism Symptoms Before School Age
This study demonstrated that an intervention aimed at infants could result in significantly milder symptoms of autism in subsequent years. So the intervention does not prevent autism, but it reduces the intensity of autistic symptoms in children as they develop. Since the study has just been done, it has not followed the children into adolescence and adulthood yet to see if this reduction in symptoms persists. Click here to read full article.
The Practical Guide to Controlling Impulsivity
People who have Bipolar 1 or 2 are likely to experience difficulties in their relationships and finances because mania and hypomania may cause unwise decisions to look incredibly attractive. At the end of the article is a link for another article with suggestions for how to reduce impulsivity. Click here to read full article.
Roads to the Good Life
For many years most people have believed that there are two paths to “the good life”—namely either happiness or purpose. This article, using some research studies, advocates that there is a third road to the “good life” a life filled with interesting and challenging experiences.
I’ll give you just a few personal thoughts on this article, and you can see whether you agree or disagree. I believe that these three paths are not mutually exclusive—that we may experience the “good life” through two or even three of these paths. Here is how I see these paths working out in my own life, and my hunch is that other Christian counselors may find those true in their own lives.
I believe many people try to find happiness by acquiring possessions, fame, or something else. I believe the most solid foundation for happiness is loving others and being loved by them. People can find purpose (the second path) in various ways, but for me, a sense of purpose came from believing I was in God’s will, using the gifts He had given me to bring healing to others (through counseling) and then also the privilege of being able to teach others how to be counselors. The third path—experiencing interesting and challenging situations, I see working out in two ways. As I counseled, I marveled that I learned something new through every person I worked with. Sometimes it was some new principle: more frequently it was that I saw some psychological or theological principle demonstrating how it worked out in people’s lives. The second way was through the challenge of learning new ideas through research, articles, and books. That is why I sent out the Friday mailings for many years and why now, even in retirement, I continue the Friday Musings, as I find that learning new things about counseling and sharing them with those who are interested, is very fulfilling.
Your path to the “good life” may be different than mine: I encourage you to think about it in your own life. But I believe God’s will for every believer is that they also experience the “good life” (John 10:10). Click here to read full article.
Jackpot winners often face ‘curse of the lottery’ following sudden riches
You may have found yourself envious of some of those people who have won the lottery. It is true that a few people have had their lives improved substantially by winning. But if you read this article, you’ll see that for many people winning caused significant problems and heartache. Click here to read full article.
DESR: Why Deficient Emotional Self-Regulation is Central to ADHD (and Largely Overlooked)
Quoted from the article: “Deficient emotional self-regulation (DESR) is a relatively new term used to describe the problem of impulsive emotion coupled with emotional self-regulation difficulties long associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD).”
This isn’t mentioned in the DSM, but those who have lived with a child or adolescent with ADHD will probably immediately affirm that they have experienced it. If you are a counselor, I recommend you take a couple minutes to read this article. Click here to read full article.
How ADHD Affects Life Expectancy
ADHD often reduces life expectancy by up to 13 years, but in this 3-minute video, the world-renowned ADHD expert, Russell Barkley, identifies these risk factors, and describes how most if not all of these risk factors can be decreased through counseling. Even if you haven’t been involved in counseling with ADHD individuals up until now, I encourage you to watch this brief video and consider adding this specialty to the counseling services you offer. Click here to read full article.
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!