REVIEW: Pulling the trigger by Adam Shaw and Lauren Callaghan

REVIEW: Pulling the trigger by Adam Shaw and Lauren Callaghan

Pulling the trigger: The Definitive Survival and Recovery Approach for OCD, Anxiety, Panic Attacks and Related Depression Adam Shaw spent his life running away from the terrifying thoughts which tormented him. This lifelong struggle with mental illness ultimately lead him to a railway bridge and the brink of suicide, and it was at that point that he met psychologist Lauren Callaghan and was finally able to get the help he needed. They share this practical approach in their new book, Pulling The Trigger: The Definitive Survival and Recovery Approach for OCD, Anxiety, Panic Attacks and Related Depression. The book, divided into two helpful parts, provides both first-hand evidence for sufferers that recovery is possible, and a user-friendly blueprint for mental health support and recovery. For my review of this book, I enlisted the help of Huw Davies, football journalist and OCD sufferer. Davies has written about his own experiences with OCD for publications such as The Guardian and ShortList. People with obsessive-compulsive disorder,...
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Freudian Script: How Common Are Mental Health Problems?

Freudian Script: How Common Are Mental Health Problems?

If you've visited this blog before, you'll know I like to bang on about the accurate and sensitive portrayal of common mental health problems. You may have noticed that I don't find many good portrayals - in fact, I sometimes find it hard to find any examples at all. Mental health has a visibility problem. Is that because it's not all that common to have a mental illness? Or is it because we like to hide from things that scare us and that we find hard to understand? Of course, some mental health problems are overrepresented. If you watch enough crime drama, you might be forgiven for thinking that one-quarter of the population of New York City is a psychopath - and the other three-quarters victims. To clear things up, here are a list of mental health statistics, comparing common mental health problems that you might see in fiction to reality in the UK. I've included nods to other health problems, to give...
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Freudian Script: Gangs and Drugs

Freudian Script: Gangs and Drugs

Gangs and drugs - in the eyes of the public, inextricably intertwined. But what is the impact of gang lifestyle on mental health? And how do alcohol and drugs fit the picture? What is a gang? My protagonist Jason often protests that he wasn't in a gang. He ran with a group of lads who liked petty theft and doing drugs on the weekend. So, what exactly is a gang? In its 2009 report "Dying to Belong", The Centre for Social Justice identified that part of the problem of researching and tackling the negative effects of gang culture is the lack of universal definition. Therefore, they proposed a definition, which we will use for the purpose of this post: "A relatively durable, predominantly street-based group of young people who (1) see themselves (and are seen by others) as a discernible group (2) engage in a range of criminal activity and violence (3) identify with or lay claim over territory (4) have some form of identifying structural feature (5)...
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Freudian Script: Bipolar Affective Disorder

Freudian Script: Bipolar Affective Disorder

Bipolar Affective Disorder: The Fight For The Middle Ground After the revelation that Robin Williams suffered with bipolar affective disorder, a rush of articles about creatives and mental health problems sprung up all over the shop. Last week - not for the first time - a young man sat in an assessment with me and said he didn't want medication to take away his "creativity". So, now seemed like a good time to talk about what bipolar affective disorder is and what it isn't, and how Hollywood and the media often get it wrong. What is bipolar affective disorder? Also know as manic depression, bipolar affective disorder is a mental health problem consisting of cycles of two opposite moods: manic/high phases and depressive/low phases. In between episodes, people sit somewhere in a mood state that is "normal" for them - which may run slightly high or low, depending on the person. A person with "rapid cycling" disease has four or more episodes per year. Bipolar...
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Myths about Depression and Suicide

Myths about Depression and Suicide

Given the recent tragic death of Robin Williams and the resulting surge in media attention, I thought I would bust a few myths about depression and suicide. EDIT 13/08/14: Amended to capture some of the ugliness that the UK media vomited out this morning 1) "What did he have to be depressed about? He had everything!" / "Oh, that particular problem is why he had depression and killed himself, is it? That explains everything!" Money does not buy good health. Close, loving relationships do not cure depression. The adoration of millions is not a NICE-approved treatment for any mental health problem, including addiction and mood disorders.  Wealthy, loved and famous people still get ill. They have heart attacks, break their limbs and die of cancer. Why is it so shocking that they should also have mental health problems? Conversely, debt does not cause depression. Addiction does not lead to violence. These things can contribute to someone's illness, but depression is a disease. It is not...
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Freudian Script: Depression

Time for another Freudian Script, the series on psychology and psychiatry for writers. The topic this week is: Depression. DISCLAIMER: This blog post is designed for writers of fiction. If you are concerned that you or someone you know has symptoms of mental health problems, please see your doctor. What is depression? You know that bit in the movie where it's all gone to shit - the "All is Lost" moment? And the hero grows a beard, drinks a lot of whiskey and becomes a recluse. He may even contemplate his gun collection with a mournful expression. But then some small piece of inspiration comes along and he decides to fight on, and the beard and the whiskey and the melancholy is forgotten. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wei3ydjvGe0 Yeah, that's not depression. It could be described as an acute stress reaction or an adjustment disorder, depending on the length of the misery. In the case of Christian from Moulin Rouge, it is grief. But it is not depression. Depression is a...
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