Insomnia, apnoea and paralysis: The terrifying sleep disorders plaguing Kiwis

It’s Sleep Week on Three’s The Project, meaning it’s time to talk all things shut-eye. Today we’re looking at sleep disorders and the havoc they can wreak on people’s lives.

Jamie Bowen is a comedian by day, and by night he struggles with chronic insomnia.

“If I’m not medicated I can get one or two hours,” he told Three’s The Project.

“I think my longest stretch was about three months. At that point you’re at the end of your tether. You’re kind of going through your little Fight Club moment.”

The protagonist of that film experiences such chronic insomnia that he ends up hallucinating [spoiler alert] an entirely different person.

“I think it started happening as a by-product of, or potentially the cause of, mental health,” Mr Bowen explains about his own situation.  more

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Depression Can Make You Hear Voices

Many depressed people hide their psychosis from doctors

Many people think psychosis only strikes people with schizophrenia. In fact, about one in five people with severe depression also experience breaks with reality.  You might hear a voice berating or taunting you, or believe you committed a crime that never occurred.

To diagnose major depression, a psychiatrist looks for at least five of these symptoms over two weeks or more: agitation or slow motor function, changes in appetite or weight, low mood, trouble concentrating, guilt, sleeping too little or too much, losing interest or pleasure in most activities, low energy, and thoughts of death or suicide. If you also have delusions or hallucinations, you will be diagnosed as having “depression with psychotic features.”  more

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Psychotic Depression

Psychotic depression is a subtype of major depression that occurs when a severe depressive illness includes some form of psychosis. The psychosis could be hallucinations (such as hearing a voice telling you that you are no good or worthless), delusions (such as, intense feelings of worthlessness, failure, or having committed a sin) or some other break with reality. Psychotic depression affects roughly one out of every four people admitted to the hospital for depression.  more

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How Good Is Hollywood at Portraying Mental Illness?

Not great, says psychologist and film buff Danny Wedding.

Look at any classic horror film—Nightmare on Elm StreetFriday the 13thThe Shining—and you’re likely to find mental illness. It’s a convenient, if inaccurate, explanation for the maniacal violence that makes up the backbone of these stories. But in most films portraying mental illness, especially violent and bloody horror films, real life pathology is willfully abandoned in favor of melodramatic storytelling. At best, it’s lazy; at worst, it publicly and repeatedly demonizes the people who need the most help. In a recent article I wrote about the mentally ill being killed in disproportionate numbers by police, many people commented along the lines of “Well, of course, they’re much more dangerous,” which anybody working in mental health can tell you is not only untrue, but is the direct result of the media’s focus on a fictitious link between mental illness and violence.

I spoke with Dr. Danny Wedding, a former director of the Missouri Institute of Mental Health and co-author of Movies and Mental Illness: Using Films to Understand Psychopathology, to learn more about some of the more common movie myths.  more

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The Treatment of Hallucinations in Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders

Schizophrenia can be accompanied by hallucinations in any of the sensory modalities. In 70% of the cases they are auditory in nature, and in 50% of those cases visual hallucinations are also experienced at some point. Other types of hallucination are less prevalent. But whatever the sensory modality in which they are experienced, hallucinations can be such a burden that they require expert treatment. Treatment usually consists of psychoeducation, medication, psychosocial interventions, psychotherapy, and in some instances transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) or electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

The present article will focus on medication, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), TMS, and ECT. We will summarize the existing literature and offer recommendations for the treatment of hallucinations in schizophrenia.  more

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Meth-induced voices in your head start with pareidolia

Firstly, you need to know what pareidoloia is. It’s defined as seeing patterns where none exist, and while that explains it technically, it doesn’t really make it clear what the psychological phenomenon actually is. Visual pareidolia is when we think we see shapes like faces in inanimate objects, like Jesus on a piece of toast, or a face on Mars.

But pareidolia is also when we think we hear voices or recognizable sounds through white noise. An example of the less well known auditory pareidolia is when you’re taking a shower or hear really loud rain falling on your roof, and you think you hear voices or your phone ringing through the noise. That was how my meth voices started. At first it was just ordinary pareidolia, where there was loud rain or wind and I thought I heard voices, but would realize immediately that it was my imagination.  more

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Research Is Shedding New Light on Hearing Voices

Hearing voices can have little—or life-changing significance.

What are we to think of someone who says that God has spoken to them?  Often the expression “speaks to me” is used figuratively, not literally.  When something really speaks to you, you mean that it is meaningful and emotionally relevant to you.  Mental messages that a person voluntarily generates are simply inner speech, that is, verbal thinking.  Most of our conscious thoughts are verbal.  Although most people can think in non-verbal formats, such as visual imagery, verbal thinking dominates people’s conscious mental processing.

When someone reports hearing a message “in their mind,” usually they don’t mean that they have had a hallucination.  more

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