Mental Health Archives - Page 6 of 7 - Unhinged

Unhinged Episode #015: Brothers in Arms

by Ed 0 Comments
Unhinged Episode #015: Brothers in Arms

In this episode, we welcome special guest Jamie Rickel, Doug’s older brother and de-facto family liaison. Jamie has come to understand Doug’s plight and that his disease is not something he can control.

The discussion gives us a look at Doug’s early childhood from Jamie’s point of view. Jamie also talks about when he noticed Doug having mental health issues, his drug use, the family intervention, and how their parents handled everything.

Join us in this emotional episode as we discover more about their family dynamic.

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Stephen Fry on Depression

by Ed 0 Comments

If you know someone who is depressed, please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn’t a straightforward response to a bad situation. Depression just is, like the weather.
Stephen-Fry-depression-07-01-2016

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Unhinged Episode #014: Texting Truths and Brain Facts

by Ed 1 Comment
Unhinged Episode #014: Texting Truths and Brain Facts

Another month’s end, another situational downward turn. In our 14th episode, we discuss how living under the poverty line puts any mental illness recovery in danger. Doug’s situation is no exception as he struggles to survive for eight days with a zero balance. We re-enact a texting conversation we had in preparation for the show that outlines just how negative, sarcastic, and angry one can get when control over normal, mundane things is lost.

On the lighter side, we present another round of interesting facts about the brain.

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Unhinged Episode #013: Letters From the Loony Bin

by Ed 0 Comments
Unhinged Episode #013: Letters From the Loony Bin

In our 13th episode, we cover Doug’s 6-month stint in a mental hospital. We learn what it felt like for him to be in a real life “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. Doug reads an old journal entry, which sounds like a dark and emotional suicide note. He’s come a long way since then.

Next, we discuss mental health advocacy. This has become the mission for this podcast, as well as Doug’s special purpose. We follow this with a words from some of our fans out in the wild, as well as a segment listing some interesting facts about the brain.

Finally, we touch on the dynamics of Father’s Day and how it differs between us.

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Unhinged Episode #012: Psychopharmacology and Pharmacogenetics

by Ed 0 Comments
Unhinged Episode #012: Psychopharmacology and Pharmacogenetics

This week we talk about drugs and how genetics might play a part in how they affect different people. Doug , as part of an IMPACT study in pharmacogenetics, discovers he metabolizes slowly, so medicinal treatments need to be adjusted accordingly. We also discuss his battles with the Ministry of Health and drugs not covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP).

Ed takes the Hamilton Depression Scale test (HAM-D) to measure his depression level. How does the supposedly “normal” half of the Unhinged team rate? Doug also covers helpful tools for depressive disorder, including diet, positive self-talk, journaling, and more.

And finally, we get a progress report on Doug’s current state. What did he score on the HAM-D test?

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Yawning and the Brain

by Doug 0 Comments

yawning-manJaguar_yawn_1yawning-smiley

 

Yawning is a stereotyped behavior with very ancient origins, for it is found in fish, reptiles, and birds, as well as in humans. Described in ancient times by Hippocrates (who thought it served to evacuate fever), yawning did not become a subject of serious interest until the advances achieved in neuroscience in the 1980’s.

Generally speaking, yawning consists of three phases: first, a long intake of air, then a climax, and finally a rapid exhalation, which may or may not be accompanied by stretching. After yawning, you generally experience a sense of well being and relaxation and feel much more present in and aware of your body than you did before you yawned.

Contrary to what was believed for centuries, yawning does not serve to improve oxygenation in the brain. This myth was first laid to rest when it was discovered that the human fetus can yawn as early as the age of 12 weeks, even though it is surrounded by amniotic fluid in its mother’s belly and so is scarcely likely to get any more oxygen to its brain from this effort.

Second, if yawning really helped to raise the oxygen concentration in the blood, then inhaling pure oxygen would cause yawns to become less frequent, while raising the concentration of carbon dioxide in the blood would make them more frequent. But several studies have shown that neither of these things occurs. Also, yawning is no more common in people with acute or chronic respiratory problems than it is in the general population.

The role of yawning has yet to be fully determined. But because we yawn more often when we first awaken, when we are bored, and when we are trying not to fall asleep, its primary function would appear to be to help make us more alert. Yawning also seems to play a role in non-verbal communication, especially among primates.

Which leads us to something truly singular about yawning: its contagiousness. That is, when we see someone yawn, it makes us yawn. Sometimes simply thinking about a yawn can be enough to trigger one! Obviously, the term “contagiousness” should not be taken literally here, because no germs are being transmitted. More precisely, yawning is a form of involuntary imitation. Some scientists believe that this characteristic of yawning may have developed as a mechanism for promoting social cohesion, for example, by enabling all the people present in a group to have the same level of alertness at the same time.

In the rest of the animal kingdom, yawning is observed among predator and prey species alike. Among predators, its purpose might be to encourage the group to take a restorative nap so that all of its members can be well rested for an attack on their prey later on. Among prey, by encouraging all members of the group to fall asleep at the same time, yawning might reduce the risk that any one individual might be sleeping alone and hence highly vulnerable to attack by a predator.

There is no nerve centre strictly associated with the yawn reflex, but certain brain structures, such as the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and the brainstem are essential for its expression. Some scientists have even hypothesized that the strong contractions of the jaw muscles during yawning may stimulate the reticular formation and thereby encourage wakefulness.

Lastly, one interesting linguistic note: the French verb bâiller (to yawn) has a circumflex accent on the “a” and not on the “i” because in Old French, when people pronounced this word, they stretched out the “a” to imitate the sound of someone yawning.

*Courtesy of McGill University -“The Brain, Start to Finish”                                                                                 copyleft

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