Epilepsy Drug May Treat Autism, Do Chemical Imbalances Really Cause Depression, and More

  • Saturday, February 18, 2023 10:07 AM
    Message # 13102662

    Articles from the Week of February 17, 2023

    Interesting Quotes

    The battleline between good and evil runs through the heart of every man.


    With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds.

    Abraham Lincoln

    "Work saves us from three great evils: boredom, vice and need."


    You can love a person dear to you with a human love, but an enemy can only be loved with divine love.

    Leo Tolstoy

    Fascinating Facts and Trivia (many from InterestingFacts.com)

    How Much Of The Sahara Desert Is Covered In Sand?

    “Spanning over 3.5 million square miles, the Sahara Desert is known for its vastness and for its scorching temperatures. Although many people think of sand when they hear of the Sahara, it's actually only 25% covered in sand dunes and seifs - the remaining 75% consists of rocks and other types of sediment.” [Information from TriviaBright.com]

    About How Many Bees Live in a Hive?

    Honey bees are more amazing than we could ever imagine - did you know that there can be up to 70,000 bees living in one single hive? A typical honey bee colony is composed of one queen bee and tens of thousands of worker bees. Each one serves a special role in the hive - queens lay the eggs that turn into larvae, workers are typically sterile female bees tasked with taking care of the brood as well as collecting pollen and nectar for food.

    The fuel of a Boeing 747 would allow a car to travel around the world 4 times

    “The Boeing 747 is one of the largest types of planes in existence. On a full tank of fuel, the Boeing 747 has so much fuel that if you magically put all of it into the average car, that car would be able to drive around the world 4 times without needing to fuel back up. The Boeing 747 burns approximately 10 to 11 tonnes of fuel for every hour it is in the air and carries 450 passengers to their destination.” [Source: NeedtoKnowFacts.com]

    Counseling Articles

    Reinforcing Children’s Sexual Identity: A Review of Ellie Klipp’s I Don’t Have to Choose

    One thing that many Christian parents worry about is what their children will learn about in public school (see the next article for 10 organizations that make presentations to your children in classes as young as kindergarten) or from their friends or from social media about their gender identity. If you go to the website below you’ll receive a recommendation from Andre Van Mol, M.D. about a book he recommends to parents and enough of a summary so you can decide whether to buy it for your young children. Dr. Van Mol is probably one of the most brilliant men I know and I think you will find his recommendation very worthwhile for young children or grandchildren. The book uses a concept Ken Zucker, for many years one of the world’s most respected psychologists in treating children who thought they were transgender. He taught that boys and girls have broadly overlapping interests and skills. Some boys enjoy doing things that girls traditionally do, and some girls enjoy doing things boys traditionally do—there are many ways to be a boy or girl, and that does not mean you are transgender. Klipp’s book communicates this idea in story form. If you have a children’s pastor in your church, please consider forwarding this notice and the next one to him so he can share this information with the parents of young children in your church. Click here to read the full article.  

    Groups Pushing Gender Ideologies in Schools

    If you are a parent with children in public schools or counsel parents who have children in those schools you may want to be aware of these 10 organizations that are often brought into classrooms or assemblies and push gender ideologies in their talks. Some of these groups are sending representatives into grades as early as kindergarten in order to share LGBTQ+ ideas. Although here in Florida teachers are prohibited from giving certain kinds of information until 4th grade and after the much-maligned “Don’t say gay” legislation, it is still possible for some “progressive” teachers to incorporate some of these ideas into their teaching. Click here to read the full article. 

    A chemical imbalance doesn’t explain depression. So what does?

    For the last 50 years we have been taught, and have been telling our students and clients, that depression is due to a chemical imbalance in the brain, and that antidepressants, such as the SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors), work by restoring that balance. A recent review of evidence, published in July in Molecular Psychiatry, found no consistent data supporting the idea that low serotonin causes depression. It now appears that explanations about serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine were only part of what causes depression, and that there is more to understanding what causes people to be depressed than those factors alone. This article will explain some of the questions that remain to be answered.

    From the standpoint of counseling I think this means we should listen more fully to our clients to attempt to understand what is causing their specific depression, and help them deal with all of those factors. For some people a chemical imbalance may be part of what is causing their depression (or a difficult situation may be causing the imbalance), and one or more of the antidepressants will be helpful or at least partially helpful in relieving their depression. But I think this article reminds us that the reason some people are partial responders or non-responders to antidepressants is that their depression may be caused by factors other than a chemical imbalance. I think this reminds us of the importance of humility and holding our theories lightly. What we think we know at this point may be only part of the truth. Click here to read the full article.  

    No Benefit of Long-Acting Antipsychotics in Schizophrenia?

    When patients with schizophrenia were reluctant to take their medication consistently, the idea of a long-acting injectable antipsychotic seemed intuitively to be a good alternative, because then the person only needed to make the decision to go to the doctor once every three months rather than make the decision to take the medication every day.

    In a study with over 500 adults with schizophrenia, two different antipsychotics were given in long-acting formulations, and then other people with schizophrenia took the daily medications. Although the concept intuitively made sense in terms of preventing relapse, the results were that there was no significant difference between those who received the long-acting injectables versus those who continued to take the medication orally on a daily basis. Click here to read the full article. 

    “A Wild Roller Coaster Ride:” Raising Grandchildren with ADHD

    Here are a couple articles on ADHD that are quite good.

    For many families, grandparents raising their grandchildren is not a new thing. The culprit is usually substance abuse of the parents which prevents them from giving the care to their children that is essential. In families where there is ADHD, substance abuse in the parents is often also the culprit. As you can imagine, raising a child with hyperactive ADHD is quite a challenge for grandparents. This article has some good resources for such grandparents. Click here to read the whole feature.

    “How I Came to Terms with My Autistic Child’s Crisis”

    Here is an article by a mother whose child has both ADHD and is on the autism spectrum. It discusses the mindset she has come to that helps her cope with the reality that there will probably be more crises to come. Click here to read the full article.  

    The Power of Offering Ourselves Compassion

    When people with bipolar disorder leave a manic episode and enter a depressed one, they often feel incredibly guilty and worthless. This author has some good suggestions about offering oneself compassion during these times. Although most of us don’t have bipolar disorder, some of her suggestions could be used by all of us and our clients. Click here to read the full article.  

    It’s Time to Rebrand “Mommy Brain”

    The term Mommy Brain (also known by similar titles) refers to the brain fog that seems to occur in many pregnant women and new mothers. This team of three Ph.D. women say that its time to rebrand that concept. You’ll have to pay to read the whole article, but the concept probably makes sense to a lot of us. Click here to access the full article. 

    How Rooting for Your Team Can Hurt Your Heart (and Not Just Emotionally)

    Probably most of you have one or more clients who really get involved emotionally in some of the sports events they watch. If they have some heart issues, this article from the Cleveland Clinic (a highly respected medical organization specializing in heart issues) has some cautions. Click here to read the full article. 

    15 Professional Athletes with Bipolar, Depression, or Anxiety

    If you have a client who has recently been diagnosed with depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder and is reluctant to share that information with others, it can be helpful to know that some of the professional athletes whom they may admire also have one of those diagnoses, have shared that information with the world, and continue to compete at a professional level. Click here to read the full article. 

    Mars Wrigley fined after workers fall into vat of chocolate

    This article has nothing to do with counseling, but it seemed fitting around Valentine’s day (with all the emphasis on chocolate) to share it. Apparently some workers at a Mars/Wrigley plant hadn’t been adequately trained about how to work safely around vats of chocolate, and so fell in. If the chocolate wasn’t too hot, this might not have been too bad an accident. Click here to read the full article. 

    Clinicians Get Guidance On Treating Severe Autism Behaviors

    If you work with autistic clients you know that some of them engage in behaviors that can lead to serious self-harm. There is now a five part booklet for pediatricians and mental health counselors on how to treat severe autism behaviors. Click here to read the full article. 

    Look What ChatGPT Did to My Online Dating Profile

    I’m told that one of the latest things people are doing is using AI to write up their dating profiles. Based on this person’s experience I’d recommend continuing to write your own, at least until someone has gotten the kinks out of ChatGPT. Click here to read the full article. 

    Scientists ‘switch off’ autism symptoms using $3 epilepsy drug: discovery

    Some studies in mice are suggesting that a medication widely used for epilepsy and mood disorders might be helpful in the treatment of autism. The research looks promising enough that human trials are already being planned. Click here to read the full article. 

    40 Little Life Hacks from ADHD Gurus

    People with ADHD often complain of being disorganized and always being late. Here are 40 ideas about how they organize their lives to make it better. If you counsel with clients with ADHD, or if you have ADHD yourself, or if you just aren’t as organized as you’d like to be whether or not you have ADHD, you might find one or more ideas from this list that you’d like to try. Click here to read the full article. 

    Have a wonderful week or weekend!

    Henry Virkler

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