New Study: Freud Was All Wet
And Other Psychological GAINZZZ
It has been the central, foundational assumption of psychiatry for 100+ years that the only way to move on from trauma is to continually confront it, to talk about it, to think about it, to "process" it. To continually pick open old wounds and then scratch at the scabs until the bleeding starts again.
What if that was totally false from the start?
What if the real way to get past trauma is to... get past it? To just stop thinking about it?
To bury the dead
, instead of exhuming them for 50 minutes every week?
Via John Sexton, that's exactly what a new study suggests: that the suppression of negative thoughts might be psychologically helpful and result in healing.
Scientific American reports on a new paper published in Science Advances:
Suppressing an Onrush of Toxic Thoughts Might Improve Your Mental Health
Counter to the conventional wisdom, suppression of distressing thoughts could be an invaluable addition in treating depression, anxiety and trauma
By Ingrid Wickelgren on September 20, 2023
Zulkayda Mamat is no stranger to traumatic memories. Ethnically Uighur, Mamat left China at age 12 after an uprising in the region of East Turkestan, where most of Mamat's extended family still lives. More than one million Uighurs have been arbitrarily detained in "political education" camps and prisons. "I know people in camps. I have witnessed families completely broken down, people in the diaspora, their entire lives changed," says Mamat, who just received her doctorate in cognitive neuroscience from the University of Cambridge.
Over the years, Mamat has noticed how the most resilient Uighurs she knows manage to cope with their trauma. Their formula is simple: they push the distressing memories out of their mind. Mamat herself is good at this. "It's almost intuitive to be able to control my thoughts," she says.
Clinical psychologists often warn against suppressing thoughts because they believe distressing ideas and images will bubble up later with greater frequency and worsen mental health problems. Psychoanalysis focuses on the contrasting approach of hunting down and exploring the meaning of any thoughts a person might have pushed to the back of their mind.
But Mamat now has data to support her intuition that suppression is beneficial. In a September 20 paper in Science Advances, she and her adviser, cognitive neuroscientist Michael Anderson, report that they successfully trained people--many of whom had mental health problems--to suppress their fears and that doing so improved these individuals' mental health. "Suppressing negative thoughts, far from being a hazardous thing to do," Anderson says, "actually seemed to be of great benefit, especially to the people who need it the most--people suffering from depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress."
The work also calls into question whether people with mental health disorders have an inherent inability to suppress intrusive thoughts. "It's probably not a deficit," Mamat says. The vast majority of people in the study, she says, "were surprised to see that this was something they could learn."
The technique bears a likeness to behavioral therapies in which people expose themselves to cues or situations that trigger fear and anxiety--heights, dirt or parties, say--until the brain learns to inhibit those fear responses, says Charan Ranganath, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of California, Davis, who was not involved in the research. But learning to halt the thoughts that arise from those cues is a novel approach. "What's surprising to me is telling people to stop that thought in and of itself is effective," Ranganath says. "That's an idea that could be really useful to bring into therapies."
Not everyone agrees that the approach is safe or likely to be successful as a therapeutic tool. But if further research suggests it is, suppression training might either be used alone or in conjunction with, say, cognitive-behavioral or exposure therapy, Anderson suggests.
Anderson and his colleagues... have generated data spanning two decades that suggest that pushing away negative memories causes those memories to fade and become less distressing. His experiments are meant to mimic a real-world scenario in which people encounter reminders of worrying thoughts and then need to decide whether to stem those thoughts or dwell on them.
The technique consisted of subjects telling researchers what their fears and anxieties were. The researchers would find some triggering words -- "hospital," for example, for those who feared for their health -- and instruct subjects to just stop all thought about that word when they heard it. And shut down all imagining and imagery.
And it... worked. People reported feeling less anxious about their anxieties, neuroses, and phobias.
I was heartened to find this technique said to be "like cognitive behavioral therapy" or "confrontation therapy," because those are the therapies I'm pretty sure work. As you may or may not know, I suffered with debilitating social anxiety, and then panic disorder, and then even agoraphobia through my early not-quite-29 years. A drug helped me greatly with that -- klonopin -- but what finally just completely ended my social anxiety was when I walked into a martial arts class, knowing nothing about martial arts and not knowing anyone there, and also being old and fat and with the hip flexibility usually seen only in Lego figures.
It wasn't the meditation or confidence boost of punching stuff that helped me. It was simply going into a situation that would normally give me a panic attack and just forcing myself do it.
After a year of that, not a single twinge of social anxiety again.
So I really think that sort of therapy works. Do you have a fear of crossing bridges? Okay, find a pedestrian bridge and walk 50 feet across it, and then 50 feet back. Do that three times a week, until you can walk 100 feet across it, then 100 feet back. Etc. Once you get to the midpoint of the bridge, it's easier to just walk right across the bridge than turning back. Keeping doing that, and you will bit-by-bit deactivate the phobia bomb in your head.
But that is actually doing
something, not just talking endlessly about why you can't
I have a feeling this study is right. Because it seems to me the very last people on the face of the earth endlessly rehashing their fears and insecurities are people strongly predisposed to neurosis and obsession.
You want to dismantle the pathways to anxiety and fear that they have built up in their brains, not continually use those highways and burrow those panic-tracks ever deeper like the same cart running over the same dirt path.
I have hopes, I have hopes.
And I have a not-so-secret Gay Agenda here: I cannot wait for the expert class to be completely discredited and humiliated yet again.
Sometimes old wisdom -- "put it out of your mind" -- is in fact good wisdom.
Like, for a segue, the old advice that early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy wealthy and wise.
A study finds that nightowls -- or "people with the evening chronotype," i.e., their bodily clocks are set to keep them up into the small hours -- are more likely to have other health morbidities.
Large study of middle-aged nurses found those with an evening chronotype were more likely to engage in an overall unhealthy lifestyle particularly smoking, poor sleep, and physical inactivity, and had a 72 percent higher risk of developing diabetes.
Recent research involving over 60,000 middle-aged nurses has discovered that those with an evening chronotype, characterized by feeling more energetic later in the day, are at a heightened risk of diabetes. Additionally, these individuals tend to exhibit unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking, insufficient sleep, and physical inactivity. This is when compared to individuals with a morning chronotype. However, the authors indicate that factors like profession, education level, and socioeconomic status of participants could influence these results.
Yeah well, as we used to say about the Marvel Universe when we still cared: It's allll connected.
Chronotype, also known as circadian preference, is a partly genetically determined construct and refers to one's inclination for earlier or later sleeping times. Roughly 8% of the population possesses an evening chronotype. Notably, this has been associated with poor metabolic regulation, disturbances in glycemic control, metabolic disorders, and a higher incidence and prevalence of type 2 diabetes. However, the precise reasons behind the observed connection between an evening chronotype and elevated diabetes risk remain elusive.
Scientists from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School conducted a prospective cohort study of 63,676 nurses aged 45 to 62 years with no history of cancer, cardiovascular disease, or diabetes from 2009 to 2017.
The researchers discovered that participants with a "definite evening" chronotype were 54 percent more likely to have an unhealthy lifestyle than participants reporting a "definite morning" chronotype. Persons with evening chronotype also had a 72 percent higher risk of developing diabetes during the follow-up period.
According to the authors, this association weakened but persisted even after adjusting for all measured lifestyle and sociodemographic factors.
So we can't fix it...?
And now, for the inspirational animal vids.
Funny sound for this one:
As I've mentioned, today begins the long-delayed Lord Shelvington Shelf Renewal Project Phase 3. I put it off for stupid reasons (I wanted to raise my wall-mounted TV by like six inches, something I'm just never going to do (huge pain in the ass the first time)), and just decided that either I have to build these shelves or I will die a Shelf-Poor man.
So I am confronting my fears: I am crossing the Shelf Rubicon.
Do you have any PROJEXXX? Or PLANZZZ?
GAINZZZ-wise, I'm back to regular exercise after being pretty spotty with it through the hot days of the summer.
What about you? What are YO' GAINZZZ
Posted by: Disinformation Expert Ace at 04:40 PM