Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

Adult ADHD: myths and reality

One out of every 5-10 adult psychotherapy clients probably has attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Key studies and writings emerged in 1995 supporting the idea of adult ADHD, but it took many years of reading and research to confidently recognize and appropriately treat adult ADHD. It continues to be underrecognized by mental health clinicians, even when clients with ADHD are already in treatment for other mental illnesses, and considerable misinformation is circulated.

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The impact of intergenerational conflict at work

Recently, several colleagues and I noted that conflict in the workplace can emerge as a result of perceptions of differences related to what members of various generations care about, how they engage in work, and how they define self and others. We also noted several ways in which these conflicts might be resolved including achieving results, managing image in the workplace, and focusing on self in challenging interactions.

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Reflections on Freud, the first “wild analyst”

Sigmund Freud was a more radical and speculative thinker than many have been willing to concede. This is apparent in his many discussions of childhood sexuality. For example, few really understand how Freud’s conclusions about childhood sexuality predate by decades the clinical observations of actual children – later done by dutiful analysis, most often by women analysts like Melanie Klein and Freud’s own daughter Anna Freud

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Johnny had Parkinson’s…and music helped him walk

One day we stumbled upon something that would end up helping Johnny on this twice daily haul. Given our shared history as musicians, it’ll come as no surprise that Johnny and I often talked about music. As Johnny was prepping to take the first step, we joked about singing a march so he could march his way down the hall. It was Johnny’s idea to use Sousa’s Stars and Stripes, a march he liked.

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Slipping expectations for child outcomes

Certainly we should be happy that kids from “at risk” environments graduate from high school and do not end up in prison for life. But is this enough to aim for? We may not score their life outcome as minus 5 (on a -10 to +10 scale), but Chiron’s life outcome does not warrant much more than a zero. Why? Because his intelligence, unique gifts, and potential were not fostered (which would go on the plus side of zero).

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Celebrating 100 years of Urie Bronfenbrenner

n the United States, currently, about 15 million children (almost a quarter of the global child population) live in families whose income falls below the federally established poverty level. The damaging effects on children’s and families’ development were something that was a life-long concern of Urie Bronfenbrenner.

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Modern life and clinical psychology

It’s a sad but very modern paradox. Despite the many wonderful opportunities and options like education, technologies, internet resources and travel that are open to young people today, young people’s mental health today has never been so fragile. In contrast to the frequently portrayed images of happy, successful, and socially connected millennials in selfies, in fact many millennials seem to feel more empty and lost than ever.

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Managing stress: body

Stress, anxiety, and tension can be regulated by changing your perspective on forthcoming events or using techniques such as mental imagery or meditation, but they can also be controlled by what you physically do with your body. Techniques such as muscle relaxation, relaxed breathing, and exercise can all be used to decrease the impact of your stress response.

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Managing stress: mind

Techniques such as mental imagery and meditation can be used to decrease your stress response. In mental imagery, relaxation is achieved by a few minutes of deep focus on a peaceful scene, often somewhere in nature. In meditation, relaxation is achieved by a few minutes of mental repetition of a word or phrase, usually in conjunction with relaxed breathing.

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Why are we all so frightened?

Knowing what you should fear, and quickly recognizing the biological changes in your body that indicate fear, can save your life. This critical task is processed by a small almond-shaped structure, the amygdala, which lies deep within the bottom of the brain, not far from your ears. The amygdala receives information from many brain regions, your internal organs, and external sensory systems, such as your eyes and ears.

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Managing stress: perspective

Stress and anxiety are often partly a result of your perspective, or how you tend to think about challenging situations you face. You can learn to regulate stress and anxiety by changing the way you think. This is because excess worry and stress often come from overestimating the danger in a situation. This overestimation is referred to by psychologists as “catastrophizing” and can take one of two forms

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Ignorance as an excuse

Despite unequivocal scientific evidence for anthropogenic climate change, many people are skeptical that climate change is man-made, or even real. For instance, lawmakers in North-Carolina passed a bill requiring local planning agencies’ to ignore the latest climate science to predict sea level rise in several coastal counties. They say that ignorance is bliss, but why would we not want to know useful information?

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Let me tell you a story

Every year, I teach Medical Neurobiology to a new class of medical students. I introduce myself and immediately tell the class, “I am not a physician. I do not have a MD. I have a PhD. But, I am a patient, just as you are, and just like the people you will serve when you are physicians.”

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Preventing misdiagnosis of intracranial pressure disorders on diagnostic imaging

Imaging can build a stronger case for a specific diagnosis when several findings associated with that condition are present, making it important for those interpreting the images to be aware of the full scope of imaging findings in each ICP disorder. Finally, open and constructive communication between radiologists and clinical specialists is key to correct diagnosis, starting with appropriate clinical information

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Understanding stress and anxiety

Almost everybody experiences some stress and associated anxiety on a regular basis. While not particularly comfortable, these reactions can be valuable in alerting us to pay extra attention when we perform important tasks or find ourselves in high-risk situations. Sometimes, however, the stress response is triggered too easily or too intensely, causing unnecessary discomfort. In these cases, it helps to learn techniques to regulate the stress response.

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Winnicott on creativity and living creatively

Donald Winnicott (1896–1971) is one the most original and creative thinkers in the history of psychoanalysis after Freud. His theories about the early interaction between the infant and its environment, transitional objects and phenomena, true and false self, the relation between the analysand and the analyst, and many other topics have been of great importance for psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, social workers, teachers, and others all over the world.

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