The Shaky Evolution of Mental Health Therapies

| Staff Writers

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The Shaky Evolution of Mental Health Therapies

From trepanation (boring a hole in the head) to technology, a brief history of mental illness treatments

Then:
Before the Greeks: mental problems thought to be caused by “supernatural” demonic possession.

Primitive Therapies: The Ancients

  • Bathing: Greeks used to cure depression
  • Bloodletting: to cure psychosis
  • Trepanation: drill a hole in the head to let the demons out
  • Hysteria therapy: the wandering womb (Plato’s cure-all for women…soothe the womb, solve the problem)

From 1450-1750: 40,000 to 100,000 executed as witches throughout Europe. Approximately 80% were women

Pre-Modern: Weird Therapies (Cruel and Unusual Punishment?)

  • Insulin coma therapy: load em up with insulin, then wake them up
  • Rotational therapy (spin out that illness)
  • Hydrotherapy (submerge the patient)
  • Mesmerism (magnetize the illness out of the body)
  • Malaria therapy (a feverish cure)
  • Chemically induced seizures
  • Phrenology (bumps on the skull indicated what was wrong)
  • And…of course the ever popular….ice pick lobotomy (quite popular into the mid 20th century)
  • 50,000: number of lobotomies total in U.S., most between 1949-1952
  • 2,500: of the 50,000 estimated number of ice pick lobotomies in U.S.

NOW:

Mental Health: You think it’s not your problem? Think again.

  • 1 in 5: American adults experienced a mental health issue: that’s 57.7 million Americans EVERY YEAR.
  • 1 in 10: young people experienced a period of major depression
  • 1 in 20 Americans lived with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression
  • 10th leading cause of death in U.S.: Suicide.
  • 38,000: number of suicide deaths in U.S. annually. That is 2X deaths in U.S. by homicide.
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Moving into the Modern Age:

  • Psychoanalysis: Enter Sigmund Freud…and “talking” therapy: Freud begat: [all broke from Freud, Carl Jung, Alfred Adler, Carl Rogers
  • Medication: using drugs like lithium
  • Electroconvulsive therapy. Shock treatment. First used, 1938.

What we know:
450 million people worldwide have mental problems. 1 in every 16 person on the planet.
50% of all mental problems begin before age 14; 75% before age 25.
20% of young adults have mental problems.
35% of teen girls (7 in 25) have eating disorders.
8 of 100 teens have serious depression issues. [That’s 2 of every 25]
8% of all teens have anxiety disorders
5% have ADD [Attention Deficit Disorder]
3% have ODD [Oppositional Defiant Disorder]
But only 38% of teens get help

Spending on mental health, per person, per year:

  • $1.63 globally
  • 20 cents in low income countries
  • $44.84 in high income countries

But… does modern-day therapy work?: Yes..sometimes…

Success Rates:

  • 80 % of the time: with bipolar disorders
  • 70 %: panic disorder, depression, OCD
  • 60%: schizophrenia

The Future: Where Technology meets therapy

Automated therapy: interfacing with a computer program
Data mining and machine learning
Robotic companions
Automated emotion detection using video (using a webcam)
Virtual reality therapy: used to treat Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD)

Interesting FACT: How therapists are using Google search data bases. Research shows… people (in the U.S.) feel better in the summer.

  • Eating disorder searches are down 37 percent
  • Schizophrenia searches decreased 37 percent
  • Bipolar searches were down 16 percent
  • ADHD searches decreased by 28 percent
  • OCD searches were down 18 percent
  • Bipolar searches decreased by 18 percent
  • Searches for suicide declined 24 percent
  • Anxiety searches had the smallest seasonal change – down 7 percent during U.S. summers.

5 Organizations Focused on Mental Health

  • National Alliance on Mental Health
  • Mental Health America
  • Active Minds
  • NoStigmas
  • Flawless Foundation

The need for mental health organizations couldn’t be greater. The results of mental illnesses, such as suicide, are becoming more apparent. Many organizations exist to address such issues.

1. National Alliance on Mental Health

The National Alliance on Mental Health, or NAMI, is a large organization for mental health that began in 1979 with a grassroots foundation. Its goal is to help improve the lives of Americans impacted by mental illness. NAMI’s work encompasses four areas. They educate people, which is completed through organizational programs that provide educators and individuals with vital information. NAMI advocates as they influence mental health public policies. Their HelpLine supports their effort to listen as they provide support, information, and referrals. They also lead by creating events to raise awareness.

2. Mental Health America

Mental Health America, also known as MHA, was founded in 1909 with the mission of attending to the needs of individuals with mental illnesses and to support the overall mental health of those in America. They have adopted a B4Stage4 philosophy that encourages the practice of treating mental health illness before they reach crucial levels that demand treatment. This is completed through early symptom identification, obtaining a diagnosis for the disease, and creating an action plan to help in stopping the progression of the illness. All services are provided with the intent of recovery.

3. Active Minds

Active Minds is an organization for mental health that works to decrease the stigma that surrounds mental health, to develop supportive communities, and ultimately save lives. The organization helps individuals from the age of 14 until 25, and they have a presence on over 600 high schools and colleges across the United States with 450 of the chapters being student-led. Their belief is that young people will be the catalysts for change, and in thinking so, students are primarily the advocates who urge their peers to learn, talk, and obtain help for mental health issues.

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4. NoStigmas

NoStigmas provides a peer-to-peer support community for individuals with mental illness and suicide issues. Their goal is to remove the stigmas regarding mental health issues and to promote the development of peer-to-peer support communities around the world. A focus is ensuring that those struggling do not feel alone. Support is provided in both online and offline settings. Their NoStigmas Ally Program offers a training course, peer groups and events, giveaways, weekly contests, fundraising pages, and tools to increase awareness. The program allows individuals to receive support as well as to provide support to those in need.

5. Flawless Foundations

The Flawless Foundation seeks to change the world’s perception of brain health, support treating mental health issues, and support holistic prevention. This organization for mental health promotes neuroscience research, which they believe can answer many of the questions surrounding mental health. Preventative methods are considered vital and should be the first step in successful healthcare practices. There is a Flawless wellness program that allows its participants to learn the skills needed for self-regulation and allows participants to understand the mind-body connection. Videos, blogs, social media, and events are used to engage people in Flawless conversations.

About one in five adults living in the United States have a mental illness, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Mental health organizations are a vital resource that individuals with mental illness can access, both before and after diagnoses, in order to receive the help that they need.

Sources:
http://www.mentalhealth.gov/basics/mental-health-myths-facts
http://www.harborfamilyservices.org/
http://psychcentral.com/lib/history-of-psychotherapy/000115
http://www.neatorama.com/2007/06/12/10-mind-boggling-psychiatric-treatments/#!zhpSy
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5014565
http://newint.org/features/2012/05/01/mental-health-illness-facts-figures-percentages/
http://psychcentral.com/lib/the-future-of-computerized-therapy/00018545
https://scopeblog.stanford.edu/2013/04/09/google-search-data-offers-insights-into-how-seasonal-changes-affect-mental-health/

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