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Tag Archives: Psychosis

New Research Articles in Psychosis Journal

New articles available in Psychosis are online now on Taylor & Francis Online:

A qualitative study of refugees with psychotic symptoms
J.E. Rhodes, N.S. Parrett & O.J. Mason
DOI: 10.1080/17522439.2015.1045547

Does childhood bullying lead to the development of psychotic symptoms? A meta-analysis and review of prospective studies
Twylla Cunningham, Katrina Hoy & Ciaran Shannon
DOI: 10.1080/17522439.2015.1053969

Tales from the madhouse: an insider critique of psychiatric services
William Park
DOI: 10.1080/17522439.2015.1055784

Psychological approaches to understanding and treating auditory hallucinations: From theory to therapy
Lony Schiltz
DOI: 10.1080/17522439.2015.1049199

Together we stand in the bottomless pit – When trauma hits the therapeutic dyad
Y. Spinzy & G. Cohen-Rappaport
DOI: 10.1080/17522439.2015.1052007

Psychosis: latest articles on Taylor & Francis Online

The following are some highlights from the latest Taylor and Francis “Psychosis” online releases.

Overcoming distressing voices
Katherine Berry

Understanding the development of narrative insight in early psychosis: A qualitative approach
Eric Macnaughton, Sam Sheps, Jim Frankish & Dave Irwin

Is the content of persecutory delusions relevant to self-esteem?
Johanna Sundag, Tania M. Lincoln, Maike M. Hartmann & Steffen Moritz

Childhood sexual abuse moderates the relationship of self-reflectivity with increased emotional distress in schizophrenia
Bethany L. Leonhardt, Jay A. Hamm, Elizabeth A. Belanger & Paul H. Lysaker

Opinion piece: “Hearing the voices of young people!” Do we require more personal accounts from young people who have psychotic-like experiences?
Patrick Welsh & Roz Oates

For the Psychosis list of issues click here.

5 things I’ve learned about surviving my darkest struggles

Five things I’ve learned about surviving my darkest struggles

Recovery Note #3

~ Taimi Allan

1. De-claw the Bear

Talking about the most difficult stuff (the unwanted thoughts, the frightening images, fears, guilt and panic) takes their power away. These things are waking nightmares designed by my brain to purge the rubbish and if I don’t find a way to let them out and dispose of them they become a self-destruct mechanism. Speaking them aloud to someone empathetic and non-judgmental I can trust helps me to challenge their hold on me, come up with more balanced perspectives and talk through cause and solution.

2. Look for physical and environmental causes

Sure there are some moments where my distress/depression/mania/psychosis is an equal and opposite reaction to an external, significant, negative event; those moments are really tough and life feels very unfair. The upside of horrible things happening to me though is that it’s easy to see why my brain is in meltdown, and get support and empathy from others. Sometimes, however, it just hits me like a sledge hammer from seemingly out of the blue. In these times my experience tells me there is usually a physical cause, maybe my hormones have gone haywire, I’ve developed a food allergy, eaten unhealthily for too long (or not eaten at all) or typically, I’ve not had enough sleep. I know now that if I address the physical stuff, nurture my temple then my mental health follows.

3. Avoid the Sirens-song of Substances

We all know the myths of sailors lured by beautiful Siren song only to become shipwrecked on the rocks. It is very easy in my darkest moments to reach out for the easiest means of escape. “Self medication” for me nowadays is junk food and wine. In my darkest moments it is tempting to use them, or something more destructive as a quick way of blocking out, avoiding or putting off dealing with what’s really going on. I learned the hard way that even taking a single step in this direction when I’m unwell is bad, bad news. As difficult as it is, I need to remove the temptation completely from my home, my friendships and my life until the moment has passed and I feel in control enough to simply eat respectfully and drink in moderation.

4. Observe moments of choice

Mental distress is like a pot-bellied stove, it gets stronger by feeding on every little piece of negativity and fear and yet it is warm and inviting. It is easy to fall into the comfort of distress, it sounds contradictory but life IS unfair and horrible so sometimes the only thing I really want to do is escape under the bed-covers, take a respite from responsibility and shut out the world. In every single millisecond however I know I have a choice to turn that around. I forgive myself for needing a moment to wallow, then as soon as I notice the moment that don’t have to punish myself or anyone else, I make the conscious choice to do something different.

5. Take responsibility

Here’s the truth as I see it for me; it is not the rest of the world, the people around me, services, doctors or pharmaceuticals job to ‘cure’ or ‘fix’ me. They are helpful aides when I need support, but without my buy-in, they actually don’t have much effect. In fact, if I blame anyone or anything outside of myself I know the situation very quickly deteriorates. That doesn’t mean I need to blame myself, but adopting a radical acceptance of the situation I’ve found myself in and a willingness to do everything I can to improve it gives me back some semblance of control. It’s fair to say that when I’m at my worst, I feel completely out of control, so this step towards autonomy is imperative to becoming whole again.

~ Taimi Allan

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About the author: Taimi Allan has worked as a mental health consultant since 2009. She is most well known in the field for innovative and engaging health promotion strategies that challenge attitudes, inspire creativity and entertain audiences.

Read more Recovery Notes here 

Recovery Notes is an Engage Aotearoa project that asks people to share the top five tips and insights they have learned from or about their personal experiences of mental-health recovery or being a supporter.

Write your own Recovery Note

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Copyright (c) Engage Aotearoa, 2014

Taylor and Francis: New Research Article on First-episode Psychosis

A fascinating new article has been published in full on the Taylor and Francis website. The full title and abstract are below. One of their conclusions is that people can use some coping strategies which are “adaptive” and some which may not be so good for us. Also they decide “growth” is important.

Recovery and adaptation after first-episode psychosis: The relevance of posttraumatic growth
Jane E. Dunkley & Glen W. Bates

This research expanded the concept of recovery following first-episode psychosis (FEP) to include the possibility of posttraumatic growth (PTG), particularly in improved relationships and views of others. Accounts of recovery and adaptation from FEP in the context of a trauma model were examined. FEP is defined as the first treated episode in an individual’s lifetime. A longitudinal qualitative study was conducted utilising a thematic analysis derived from interpretative phenomenological analysis of interview data. Ten people were interviewed three to six months following their psychotic episode and again three months after their initial interview. Analysis of interview data revealed that people actively manage their experience of FEP and utilise adaptive and maladaptive coping strategies. Both restorative and constructive processes and outcomes were relevant, with growth integral to recovery. The identification of PTG after FEP has important clinical implications.

DOI: 10.1080/17522439.2014.936027

Liverpool University Media Release


Research led by a University of Liverpool psychologist has found strong support for the theory that early childhood trauma, such as abuse and neglect, could lead to the development of psychosis in later life.

An international team of researchers reviewed more than 120 reports on the biological mechanisms underlying the relationship between childhood trauma and psychosis.

They concluded that people experiencing psychosis should be offered evidence-based psychological therapies that address the social causes of their difficulties.

Anomalies in the brains of people diagnosed with mental health problems such as ‘schizophrenia’ have traditionally been used to support the notion that such problems are biologically based brain disorders that have little to do with life events.

Recent research, however, shows support for the ‘traumagenic neurodevelopmental’ model of psychosis, which suggests that those differences can be caused by adverse life events, especially those occurring in early childhood.

Professor John Read, from the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, said:

“Trauma based brain changes should not be thought of as being indicative of having a brain disorder or disease. The changes are reversible. Recent studies have found, for example, that the brain’s oversensitivity to stressors can be reduced by properly designed psychotherapy.

“The primary prevention implications are profound. Protection and nurturance of the developing brain in young children would seem to be of paramount importance.

“We hope that this vast body of literature will encourage more mental health staff to take more of an interest in the lives of the people they are trying to help, rather than viewing hearing voices and having unusual beliefs as mere symptoms of an ‘illness’ that need to be suppressed with medication.”

The review was published in Neuropsychiatry.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://www.futuremedicine.com/doi/full/10.2217/npy.13.89

Highlights from the Engage Facebook Page

Here are a few of the posts shared on the Engage Aotearoa Facebook Page in the last few weeks.

New Research Burst: Lots of Great New Articles Out Online

New Research from Psychosis Online

Psychosis has just published a bunch of new research articles online, one of which has the Engage team buzzing because it backs up our transdiagnostic approach by providing another piece of proof that people with psychosis have some of the same underlying traits that people with anxiety and depression have. Maybe when we see beyond what the experiences look like from the outside, different mental-health problems are not so different underneath it all.

Developmental pathway to paranoia is mediated by negative self-concept and experiential avoidance
Alisa Udachina & Richard P. Bentall
DOI: 10.1080/17522439.2013.810301
Psychosis: Psychological, Social and Integrative Approaches

Madness contested: power and practice
Sami Timimi
DOI: 10.1080/17522439.2013.806572
Psychosis: Psychological, Social and Integrative Approaches

Family intervention for psychosis: impact of training on clinicians’ attitudes, knowledge and behaviour
Jacqueline Sin, Steven Livingstone, Maria Griffiths & Catherine Gamble
DOI: 10.1080/17522439.2013.806569
Psychosis: Psychological, Social and Integrative Approaches

Psychosis and poverty coping with poverty and severe mental illness in everyday life
Alain Topor, Gunnel Andersson, Anne Denhov, Miss Sara Holmqvist, Maria Mattsson, Claes-Göran Stefansson & Per Bülow
DOI: 10.1080/17522439.2013.790070
Psychosis: Psychological, Social and Integrative Approaches

Positive effects of a novel cognitive remediation computer game (X-Cog) in first episode psychosis: a pilot study
Majid M. Saleem, Michael K. Harte, Kay M. Marshall, Andy Scally, Anita Brewin & Jo C. Neill
DOI: 10.1080/17522439.2013.791876
Psychosis: Psychological, Social and Integrative Approaches

Book Review: Hearing voices – the histories, causes and meanings of auditory verbal hallucinations, by Dr. Simon McCarthy-Jones
Adèle de Jager
DOI: 10.1080/17522439.2013.806571
Psychosis: Psychological, Social and Integrative Approaches

New Research from BMC Psychiatry Online

Research article    
Understanding psychiatric institutionalization: a conceptual review
Chow W, Priebe S
BMC Psychiatry 2013, 13:169 (18 June 2013)
[Provisional PDF]

Research article    
Frequency and relevance of psychoeducation in psychiatric diagnoses: Results of two surveys five years apart in German-speaking European countries
Rummel-Kluge C, Kluge M, Kissling W
BMC Psychiatry 2013, 13:170 (18 June 2013)
[Provisional PDF]

Research article    
Trauma-focused treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder combined with CBT for severe substance use disorder: a randomized controlled trial
van Dam D, Ehring T, Vedel E, Emmelkamp PM
BMC Psychiatry 2013, 13:172 (19 June 2013)
[Provisional PDF]

Research article    
Promoting recovery-oriented practice in mental health services: a quasi-experimental mixed-methods study
Gilburt H, Slade M, Bird V, Oduola S, Craig TK
BMC Psychiatry 2013, 13:167 (13 June 2013)
[Provisional PDF]

Research article    
Prevalence and sociodemographic associations of common mental disorders in a nationally representative sample of the general population of Greece
Skapinakis P, Bellos S, Koupidis S, Grammatikopoulos I, Theodorakis PN, Mavreas V
BMC Psychiatry 2013, 13:163 (4 June 2013)
[Provisional PDF]

Research article    
Association between psychiatric disorders and iron deficiency anemia among children and adolescents: a nationwide population-based study
Chen M, Su T, Chen Y, Hsu J, Huang K, Chang W, Chen T, Bai Y
BMC Psychiatry 2013, 13:161 (4 June 2013)
[Provisional PDF]


New Therapy for Hearing Voices and other Auditory Hallucinations?

Avatar therapy for persecutory auditory hallucinations: What is it and how does it work?
Julian Leff, Geoffrey Williams, Mark Huckvale, Maurice Arbuthnot & Alex P. Leff
Psychosis, 2013, DOI: 10.1080/17522439.2013.773457

From the abstract:  “[Avatar Therapy is] a novel therapy based on a computer program, which enables the patient to create an avatar of the entity, human or non-human, which they believe is persecuting them. … The therapy was evaluated in a randomised controlled trial with a partial crossover design. … There was a significant reduction in the frequency and intensity of the voices and in their omnipotence and malevolence. Several individuals had a dramatic response, their voices ceasing completely after a few sessions of the therapy. …”