As a social science, new findings are constantly being published in the field of psychology. I wanted to take this time to identify some interesting findings within our discipline.
While I was skeptical about the long-term benefits of antidepressant use in a previous post, just this week, it was pointed out that a recent study identified no statistically significant difference in reported quality of life between depressed individuals, compared to those who did not. than were taking antidepressants. Depression that was not taking them (as reported by Weiner Moyer, 2022). This finding is noteworthy given that the clinical trials showing that antidepressants have been approved by the FDA are based on studying participants on meds over an eight- to 12-week period. Thus, the question of there being a benefit to taking antidepressant meds over the long term has yet to be scientifically validated, despite the fact that many individuals prescribed these meds take them for years.
Furthermore, this is in line with a growing body of research documenting a reportedly stronger placebo effect among individuals taking these drugs. In other words, even when patients are reportedly experiencing relief on antidepressants, the source of psychological improvement may be based on patient expectation and belief in the drug over an inherent chemical or physical benefit to the user. Is. This finding further raises the question of whether chronic use of antidepressants is the most effective way to facilitate treatment for individuals with clinical depression.
In fact, there is an emerging movement within certain circles of psychology and psychiatry to initiate a new wave of pharmacological treatments for mental illness by exposing patients to psychedelics in a very controlled environment. As psychology today Reported in the January/February print edition of its journal, it is likely that by 2023, “the first treatment will be made available to do what no one else has been able to accomplish – to address an incurable mental health disorder.” for and to do it. without the need for a lifetime prescription” (Astrof Marano, 2022, p. 53). In particular, MDMA—often referred to as ecstasy for shorthand—has shown promising effects in potentially healing patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
In particular, several trials are reporting that in a controlled environment with a trained clinician, the delivery of MDMA can facilitate a significant breakthrough in patients suffering from PTSD. Such work also suggests that patients continue to report improvement even one year after treatment is stopped (Astrof Marano, 2022). The role that the drug plays in triggering relief for the patient is that, under its influence, they are more receptive to talking through their trauma and working through the feelings that ensued.
This development appears to be part of a larger trend in exploring the potential healing benefits of psychedelics in the treatment of mental illness. Some of the benefits include that, unlike traditional psychiatric medications, psychedelics are only given in a highly controlled therapeutic environment, and will not be given to patients repeatedly or chronically. In fact, “it is intense psychotherapy that turns MDMA, psilocybin, and other hallucinations from a pastime (or bad trip) to a drug” (Astrof Marano, 2022, p. 61). Patients who have received such treatment report having changed their consciousness in transformative ways that alter their outlook and may point to long-term benefits that persist after the sessions themselves. The potential of a new therapeutic model that can facilitate treatment in afflicted patients is indeed very promising.
Of course, in identifying new trends in the field, I also don’t have to include recent findings about the psychological effects of social media for users. As many readers know, I teach an undergraduate level course on the psychology of social media. More often than any other class I teach, the latest research in this particular area is often steeped in questioning about what it is revealing about users’ relationships with technology.
This year, it was reported psychology of popular media that individuals with OCD symptoms predict a greater likelihood of engaging in compulsive social media use (Fontes-Perryman & Spina, 2022). In addition, the researchers identified that fear of missing out or FOMO, a common abbreviation often thrown around tongue-in-cheek within popular culture, is a real phenomenon that affects users of these platforms, most often More often in negative ways. In fact, the researchers identified that FOMO was a mediator between experiencing OCD symptoms and experiencing social media fatigue on the platform. In other words, FOMO can compel a person to constantly refresh their social media feeds. Researchers exposed participants who had higher levels of OCD to begin with reported higher FOMO, which in turn predicted a greater compulsion to engage on the platform (Fontes-Perryman & Spina, 2022) .
While we are only beginning to scratch the surface about how we are psychologically impacted by our increasingly digital-mediated lives, findings like these greatly expand our understanding of how mental health-related issues are associated with our social media. How can I interact with the use. Furthermore, they also recognize that FOMO is more than just a fleeting event, but can have a real impact on users with regard to their relationship with social media platforms.
The discipline of psychology is one where new research and studies are constantly being produced and published. This is one of the few puzzling findings in our field at the moment. I look forward to adding additional trends as they emerge in the area.