Saturday, February 4, 2017

Positive Psychiatry

For years psychology has focused on loss as an explanation for negative behaviour.  The Rahe Holmes Scale looks as the amount of ‘change’ that precedes catastrophic health problems like heart attacks and strokes.
Positive Psychology, the work of greats like Seligman of the Authentic Happiness site, looks at what it is that underlies happiness, joy and well being. Resilience and forgiveness are traits that have been noted in this research to be far more important than ever before considered.
I’m proposing that grief research looked at what was absent whereas positively what change has resulted in improved attitude and health is equally important. .  Working with drug and alcohol patients,  I can actually predict the intolerableness of individuals based on their ‘withdrawal symptoms’ from their marijauna, nicotine, cocaine, crystal meth, heroin or alcohol.  There’s a window of ‘well being’ with each of these agents and even  in the tiniest amounts they all have some positive medical usage. The addiction though is readily apparent and the ‘hang over’ effects on mood and mental function are increasingly being as well documented as the studies of decreased car driving capability associated with alcohol blood level effects.  People actually seizure in the withdrawal phase of alcohol intoxication.
So to this end I am suggesting   that we need to monitor the last ‘chocolate’ binge, ‘sexual intercourse’, ‘last dancing all night’ , ‘last gym work out’, ‘last lottery win’.  We can’t expect counselling and medication  alone to make up for or counteract the results of a unloved lifes,  days of quiet desperation, or existential angst..
People somehow assume that they should feel well without ever doing anything more than viewing computer screens.  The research says differently. People who go bowling are far healthier than those who argue on Facebook and only exercise their fingers and their venom.
Indeed, there is likely going to be a time when our smart watches will calculate the last time we had sex or ate chocolate and say ‘you are due for love” or ‘you must eat some chocolate….it’s been x hours and you’re getting cranky.'
I can honestly say that since several women and male friends can’t remember when they last lay naked with another human being that this explains utterly their lack of humour. Only the unclothed who gather together in absurdity can truly appreciate humour.  The clothed are always too armoured to laugh with utter abandon.    People who are well fed, especially with chocolate,  and have lots of human intimacy simply laugh more.  People who are alone more tend to paranoia and negative projections about government agencies. People who are at the computer too long become irrational and constipated.
Exercise, love, good food, picnics, walks, church, sing alongs, and dancing are all critical to well being.
I work in the DTES with drug addicts and the developers and high cost industries of construction with all the corruption want housing as number one but frankly I’d say daily public dancing and public singing might be a whole lot cheaper and more successful solution.  The majority of the addicts I treat have housing but they haven’t a life.  I am never surprised when I learn that depressed patients haven’t had sex in years or just as commonly haven’t been bowling or ice skating in as long.
In earlier years I must have written a hundred prescriptions, “Make love to your wife weekly ” or “Make love to your husband weekly”  or “Take a vacation from your kids at least once a month”.  I don’t do this now.
However I still personally love to make love, eat chocolate, walk the dog, go for rides and sometimes even sing and dance.  I’m sorry that whereas I’ve not forgotten this there seem to be many who have.  And certainly we need far more research which will support what we all already know.

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