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ssri and suicide

A mental health manifesto: How to occupy your own mind

. . . before Big Pharma, Madison Avenue, Hollywood Boulevard and Tin Pan Alley occupy it for you

By Michele Ritterman — Our homes and 401 (k)’s aren’t the only territory that we’re losing to a One Percent whose disproportionate control of wealth has provoked grassroots “Occupy” protests across America since September, 2011.

We also appear to be losing our minds. When I began studying psychotherapy in the 1970s the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) for mental disorders was 134 pages long. It listed 182 conditions. The current edition of the DSM now lists over 300 disorders that fill 886 pages.

Have we actually developed more than 100 new mental illnesses in a single generation?

What the heck happened?

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The Origin of Species

Spiritual IQ Quiz: Is the ‘genius gene’ good for your health?

From Stephen Hawking to Steve Jobs, big minds have changed your life. The saying goes that theses geniuses are born with a good-luck gene . . . or are they?

SOUL’S CODE — Every parent in America wants their kid to be the next gal or guy who changes the world.

But some of the people who actually did change our lives led extremely painful lives themselves, beyond their controllable lifestyle choices.

So we ask: Would you wish the genius gene upon your kids, or just as well leave that DNA alone?

Click on the radio buttons below to see what the likes of Oprah, Arthur Schopenhauer and Obama share in common — or not:

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Decoding codependence

If we are all co-dependents now, what is America’s turn-around? *

BY DAVID RICKEY — Marriages, mortgages, and just-missed connections. In the annals of clinical psychology, the term “Co-Dependence” describes a relationship between 2 people where the well-being of one is perceived as dependent on the well-being of the other.

In other words: “I can’t be happy unless you are happy.” The subconscious subtext: “Your happiness ought to be secondary to my happiness.”

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When Voodoo becomes Can-do medicine

When Voodoo becomes Can-do medicine

Alternative healing and advanced science continue to converge — and leap-frog ahead of conventional wisdom

BY DAVID RICKEY and RICK LEED — As we evolve, both scientific researchers and esoteric healers have advanced new therapies to treat our bodies and our minds but when we first hear of some of them we make a snap judgement that this sounds too wacky to be legit. We use words like voodoo medicine or magical thinking.

Think back to examples like quinine and willow bark — the former a tribal medicine used by Peruvian Indians, the latter an ‘old wives’ remedy. In the modern age, the first was prescribed by doctors as a treatment for malaria and the second in derivative form as aspirin.

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Evolution, not revolution, is the solution

Can our brains evolve fast enough to solve the problems that the un-evolved mind has created

BY DAVID RICKEY —Einstein said that the level of consciousness that created a particular problem cannot solve the said problem.

A hot new book by sociobiologist Rebecca Costa, The Watchman’s Rattle: Thinking our way out of extinction, illustrates Einstein’s point by documenting how our rate of social and technical change is out-stripping evolution.

Look at the economy: we have developed complex computer programs that can trade stocks in milliseconds. We have developed virtual ways of making money, and created a subculture of the super-rich.

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What is the origin of inspiration and invention?

In the an issue of the New Yorker magazine, Malcolm Gladwell uses Microsoft heavyweight Nathan Myhrvold as a case study for coincident scientific discovery — and I say, a collective consciousness

DAVID RICKEY The ego exists only to function in relationship to the whole system, and the ego functions best when it is consciously aware of itself as part of a larger system.

Inspiration derives from the word, spirit. But it is the latest breakthroughs in science, not necessarily spirituality, that give us the clearest prism for viewing the way inspiration is actually created. Malcolm Gladwell’s profile of Nathan Myhrvold in The New YorkerIn the Air: Who says big ideas are rare?— describes a number of instances where two or more people develop almost identical ideas or inventions pretty much simultaneously.

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Decoding America’s favorite psychopath, Showtime’s Dexter

The sub-text of the award-winning cable TV series has a lot to say about a society that bred Enron, Dick Cheney and Real Housewives

MICHELLE MORRA-CARLISLE: “Sociopaths can’t feel psychic pain but they can feel physical pain,” says narrator Dexter as on-screen Dexter plucks a hair – with gusto – from the head of a likely serial rapist and killer. It’s for a routine DNA test but the viewer, along with Dexter, feels pleasure when the bad guy says, “Ow!”

The bad guy somehow is not Dexter Morgan, hence the mastery of this Showcase series now in its fifth season. A man with an irrepressible urge to kill, Dexter (played by Michael C. Hall) is not an antagonist for the hero to catch. He is the hero.

From Enron and Wall Street graft to the White House — both occupants on the inside like Dick Cheney and crashers from the outside like the reality-show Salahis — psychopathic behavior in the world around us seems to be at a collective high. Dexter serves as a sympathetic benchmark for the mental miasma in our midst.

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Mad Men’s Don Draper and depression in America

In 2010 America, we all live in a world that is 90 % mad: The most fascinating show on TV’s sly commentary on our current mental health

BY PAUL KAIHLA —  On October 1, 2010, the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) released a survey of the most recent data on depression — and the results were, well, depressing. One in ten Americans suffered from that mental illness as the economy careened into the current recession.

But what surprised many researchers, especially at pioneering psych departments like that at Stanford University, is that the statistic was not higher. According to Stanford neuro-psych Viveka Ramel, about half of us in North America will suffer from a clinical disorder of some kind during our lifetime — and for a fifth of us, that diagnosis will be depression.

A brilliant reflection of our current economic and spiritual health, and how those macro forces course through our personal psycho-dynamics, is on display this fall on the AMC cable channel series, Mad Men. The show’s writers — some of the same people who brought you the hit HBO show, The Sopranos — frame their mise-en-scene in the emerging New York megapolitan of the 1960′s, riven by characters who are careerists on Madison Avenue.

Casting this story in the past gives us just enough comfort-zone to look at ourselves in our present-tense, and make no mistake: Mad Men is a commentary on *our* anxious, over-politicized and publicized times.

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The marriage of science and meditation

A Stanford University neuroscientist and meditation instructor talks about the transformative power of Buddhism and why happiness is a trainable skill

Dr. Philippe Goldin, a psychologist who heads the Clinically Applied Affective Neuroscience Group at Stanford University, runs a National Institutes of Health-funded lab that studies adults with social anxiety disorder, and offers training in mindfulness meditation.

We caught up with Dr. Goldin, who spent six years in India and Nepal studying various languages and Buddhist philosophy.

Soul’s Code: What’s the appeal of Buddhism for you?

GOLDIN: Androgyny. The goal— the ultimate goal — of mental development is to become completely inclusive of all qualities, and I thought that was incredible . . .

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A cure for the reptilian brain

A priest and psychotherapist finds answers in Genesis, the work of Carl Jung and the science of meditation

BY DAVID RICKEY — Hate crimes are nothing new. They have been around ever since the homo sapien emerged from its evolutionary forebears.  Animals have an instinctive “fight or flight” response built into their brain structure.

Human beings, as they evolved, didn’t lose it; they just built on top of this “reptilian brain.” The new layer was the “cerebral cortex,” which allowed us to reflect on experiences and develop ideas rather than just act out instinctual responses. And therein lies the problem. Hate is the just the attitudinal equivalent of  “Fight or Flight”.

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