When You Can’t Afford ADHD Coaching

ADHD coaching can be incredibly transformative. It can help you better understand yourself, identify and harness your strengths, achieve your goals and build a meaningful, satisfying life.

But depending on your budget, it also can be pricey. It’s absolutely worth the investment, but you might not have the funds available right now.

So what can you do?

For starters, it’s important to take a closer look at your budget, and reevaluate. Maybe you can spend less somewhere else. Maybe you can go without a few of your normal but non-essential expenses (like cable). Maybe you can use your holiday bonus. Maybe you can take money out of a savings account, which you’ll replenish on a set date.

If coaching still doesn’t seem like a possibility, consider the below tips from two ADHD experts, who also have ADHD.

Finding Support

Get effective treatment. Terry Matlen, MSW, ACSW, a psychotherapist and ADHD coach, stressed the importance of making sure your ADHD is appropriately treated, which often means therapy and medication. And, if you have insurance, it’ll likely cover some or most of the cost. The key is to find a therapist who has a deep understanding of ADHD, and can integrate coaching techniques into your work, she said. For instance, they might help you navigate concerns like chronic lateness and poor sleep.

Try group coaching. Many ADHD coaches offer group coaching programs, which is a lower-cost option than one-on-one sessions. Group coaching typically is still structured and proactive and provides great insight into navigating your symptoms, and getting important things done. Plus, it includes the added bonus of a built-in support system from peers, said Matlen, who offers an online group coaching program for women with ADHD at www.queensofdistraction.com.

Join ADHD organizations. “Educating yourself is one of the best things that you can do,” said Christine Kotik, ACC, an ADHD coach, trainer and speaker who works with individuals of all ages at CKADHD Coaching & Consulting in Columbus, Ohio. She suggested joining CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder), and ADDA (Attention Deficit Disorder Association). Both organizations offer valuable resources, including information, online support groups, in-person meetings, webinars and annual conferences.

Try online support groups. Matlen, who runs an ADHD group for women, suggested searching on Facebook using the term: “Adults with ADHD.” Some online groups even include working alongside a fellow ADHD member. Each person works on a project of their choice, while supporting and checking in with each other on their progress, she said.

Consider good friends. Both Kotik and Matlen noted that sometimes a friend could serve as a good source of support. For instance, you could schedule weekly calls with your friend to talk about your progress with different tasks. Or you could ask them to sit with you as you work on an activity you’ve been putting off, Kotik said.

Importantly, a good friend makes a good support only if: they understand your ADHD and how it affects you; they’re supportive, sensitive and kind; they don’t have unrealistic expectations; and they don’t criticize you, Matlen said. She’s been asked if spouses make good “coaches,” but in general, she’s found it doesn’t work and can lead to needless stress and conflict within the relationship.

Trying Specific Strategies

You also can practice specific strategies on your own. Kotik emphasized that ADHD can show up in many different ways, so what you work on really depends on what’s going on for you personally. However, below are some general tips to try.

Have a planner. The key is to find a system that works for you. That might be a paper planner or computer-based programs or apps, such as Evernote, Dropbox, Remember the Milk, and Wunderlist, Matlen said. She uses a teacher’s planner with big daily boxes. 

Work backwards. Kotik frequently works with clients to plan backward from their final “product,” breaking down seemingly overwhelming projects or tasks into smaller, feasible steps. “Using backward planning helps make sure you have identified all the steps, estimated how long each will take and then given deadlines for those steps to make sure you can complete the goal in a timely manner.” In other words, it gives you a roadmap.

Kotik shared these examples: You have to complete a report for work in seven weekdays. You define all the steps, which are researching, interviewing, writing, editing, and printing. You start with the step closest to your deadline. That’s printing and will take half the day (6.5 days left). The editing process takes half a day, as well (6 days left). The writing process, which includes adding charts and graphics, takes 3 days (3 days left). Interviews take a day if you schedule them right away (2 days left). And research takes a day and a half (.5 days left). So you get started immediately.

If you’re taking a trip to Disney World with your kids in September, the steps include: picking a place to stay; buying plane tickets; getting the dogs into the kennel; ordering park tickets; having a friend watch the house while you’re away; and packing. Then you identify the dates you need to complete each task by (starting with the closest one to the trip, like packing). And you write the tasks on your calendar on the designated dates.

Be gentle with yourself. Kotik stressed the importance of having compassion for yourself, and not fixating on the negative. Instead of telling yourself, “Oh, here we go again. I will never manage to get this project turned in on time,” switch to: “I have three pieces of this project complete, which is actually more than usual. If I spend an extra 20 minutes every day this week, I should be in good shape,” she said.

Learn from your missteps. It’s natural to get upset when something doesn’t work out. Maybe you missed a deadline, got a low grade, got demoted (or not promoted). But, according to Kotik, we learn a lot from our missteps and “failures.” She suggested reflecting on these questions: “How can I do this differently next time? What am I missing here? Were my expectations too high? What resources are available to help me with this?  What did I learn from this? What went right (something always goes right)?”

Turn to books. Thankfully, today, there are many excellent books on ADHD. For instance, Matlen is the author of The Queen of Distraction: How Women with ADHD Can Conquer Chaos, Find Focus, and Get More Done. She also regularly recommends these books: ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life; Organizing Solutions for People with ADHD; and The Disorganized Mind: Coaching Your ADHD Brain to Take Control of Your Time, Tasks, and Talents. (Because reading is difficult for many people with ADHD, try audiobooks, she said.)

When working through a book on ADHD, it’s essential to prioritize. Matlen suggested the following: Skip to the parts of the book that seem to be the most applicable to you; have a place to jot down what you need to work on; prioritize your list by importance and urgency. “In other words, what do you feel you need to do or want to do now, and which of those things urgently need to be handled right now?” Create reminders in your planner, and carve out time to work on these tasks. “Even 10 minutes a day will bring you 10 minutes closer to your goal.”

Matlen also suggested starting a small book club with other people with ADHD so you can work together on following an author’s suggestions. If you don’t know anyone locally, after joining a Facebook group, ask if any members would like to join you.

Check out videos and podcasts. This is another great way to get helpful insights and strategies. Matlen suggested checking out: How to ADHD; Dr. Ned Hallowell’s Distraction Podcast; Attention Talk Radio and ADHD Support Talk Radio. You also can search iTunes for other podcasts on ADHD.

Even though you can’t afford ADHD coaching right now, you can still work on your ADHD—and that is empowering. There are plenty of reputable, helpful resources, whether they come in the form of support groups, programs, podcasts, books or videos. Make sure you take advantage of them.

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Deficient Social Skills May Hamper Single Men

New research suggests that in the modern Western world men need appropriate social skills to flirt with and impress prospective marital partners. Investigators note that in the past, forced or arranged marriages meant that socially inept, unattractive men did not have to acquire social skills in order to find a long-term love interest.

Today, men must be able to turn on the charm if they want to find a partner.

In the study, Menelaos Apostolou, Ph.D., of the University of Nicosia in Cyprus analyzed more than 6,700 comments left by men on the popular social news and media aggregation internet site Reddit.

He discovered men who have difficulty flirting, or are unable to impress the opposite sex may remain single because their social skills have not evolved to meet today’s societal demands. The study appears in the journal Evolutionary Psychological Science.

Up to 35 per cent of people in North American and European societies are single or live on their own. To understand why singlehood is so widespread in these Western societies, Apostolou analyzed 6,794 of the 13,429 comments that were received following an anonymous post on Reddit in 2017 that asked: “Guys, why are you single?”

His findings indicate that most of the men commenting on the thread were not willingly single but wanted to be in a relationship.

Apostolou established at least 43 reasons why these men thought they were single. Having poor looks and being short or bald were the most frequent reasons they put forward, followed by lack of confidence.

Not making the effort and simply not being interested in long-term relationships were also high on the list, along with a lack of flirting skills and being too shy. Some said that they had been so badly burnt in previous relationships that they did not dare to get into another.

Others felt that they were too picky, did not have the opportunity to meet available women or had different priorities. Some of the men had experienced mental health issues, sexual problems, or struggled with illness, disability or addiction.

Apostolou believes there are evolutionary reasons why some modern men are unable to successfully approach women. According to the so-called mismatch argument, their social skills do not align with the qualities needed today to make a good impression.

He explains that in a pre-industrial context, marriages were arranged, male-male competition was strong, and wives were sometimes obtained by force. While in one respect this left men with little choice about who would be their wives, it also meant that their looks were irrelevant, and they did not need to know how to attract the opposite sex.

Socially inept and unattractive men may not have been single because their relationships were regulated by their parents.

“Single modern men often lack flirting skills because in an ancestral pre-industrial context, the selection pressures on mechanisms which regulated mating effort and choosiness were weak,” Apostolou said.

“Such skills are needed today, because in post-industrial societies mate choice is not regulated or forced, but people have to instead find mates on their own.”

Source: Springer

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Older Adults Face High Rates of Dementia After Starting Kidney Dialysis

A new study uncovers high rates of dementia in older adults after they begin hemodialysis, a treatment purifying the blood of a patient whose kidneys are not functioning normally.

The findings, published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN), also show that dementia in dialysis patients is tied to a greater risk of early death.

Older patients on hemodialysis often experience a significant decline in cognitive function while undergoing the treatment, which puts them at high risk for developing dementia. For the study, researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health analyzed information on 356,668 hemodialysis patients aged 66 and older.

According to the findings, the 1- and 5-year risks of being diagnosed with dementia after initiating hemodialysis are 4.6 percent and 16 percent for women and 3.7 percent and 13 percent for men. The respective risks of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease are 0.6 percent and 2.6 percent for women and 0.4 percent and 2.0 percent for men.

The researchers estimated that the 10-year risk of a post-hemodialysis dementia diagnosis is 19 percent for patients aged 66 to 70 years, rising to 28 percent for those 76-80 years.

The strongest risk factors for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease were being over the age of 86, black, female, and institutionalized (such as living in a nursing home). Also, older hemodialysis patients with a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease had a 2-fold higher risk of dying.

“We wanted to shed light on the high burden of diagnosed dementia in older patients with kidney failure who initiate hemodialysis,” said study leader Dr. Mara McAdams-DeMarco. “While we were able to study diagnosed dementia, there is a great need to also identify patients with mild cognitive impairment as well as undiagnosed dementia.”

In an accompanying editorial, Judy Weintraub of Los Angeles offered her perspective as a dialysis patient and chaplaincy candidate. She noted the need to emphasize a culture of respect and dignity for all, regardless of physical and cognitive abilities. Her recommendations for dialysis facilities include encouraging a sense of community, introducing music, and communicating with patients.

“This is a call for facility administrators and medical directors to institute policies from the top down to foster a shift in the way care is delivered,” she wrote. “Let’s institute in our policies and procedures not just what care is delivered, but how that care is delivered.”

Source: American Society of Nephrology

 

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Can A Video Game Boost Empathy in Teens?

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin (UW)-Madison have developed a new video game specifically designed to boost empathy in kids.

The game, called “Crystals of Kaydor,” features a space-exploring robot who ends up crashing on a distant planet. In order to gather the pieces of its damaged spaceship, it needs to build emotional rapport with the local inhabitants. As part of the mission, the players need to identify a variety of emotions in the alien residents’ human-like expressions.

In a new study, the team put the game to the test with a group of middle school players. The researchers wanted to see whether the game could actually boost kids’ empathy skills. They also looked at the teens’ brain scans (before and two weeks after playing the game) to determine whether learning such skills can change neural connections in the brain.

The findings, published in npj Science of Learning, reveal for the first time that, in just two weeks, kids who played the video game showed greater connectivity in brain networks related to empathy and perspective taking. Some of the participants also showed altered neural networks commonly linked to emotion regulation, a crucial skill that this age group is beginning to develop, the study authors say.

“The realization that these skills are actually trainable with video games is important because they are predictors of emotional well-being and health throughout life, and can be practiced anytime  — with or without video games,” said Tammi Kral, a UW-Madison graduate student in psychology who led the research at the Center for Healthy Minds.

Dr. Richard Davidson, director of the center and a professor of psychology and psychiatry at UW-Madison, said empathy is the first step in a sequence that can lead to prosocial behavior, such as helping others in need.

“If we can’t empathize with another’s difficulty or problem, the motivation for helping will not arise,” Davidson says. “Our long-term aspiration for this work is that video games may be harnessed for good and if the gaming industry and consumers took this message to heart, they could potentially create video games that change the brain in ways that support virtuous qualities rather than destructive qualities.”

It is estimated that young people aged 8 to 18 play more than 70 minutes of video games each day, on average, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation. This spike in gameplay during adolescence coincides with an explosion in brain growth as well as a time when kids are susceptible to first encounters with depression, anxiety and bullying.

Through the study, the researchers wanted to see whether there were ways to use video games as a vehicle for positive emotional development during this critical period.

The researchers randomly assigned 150 middle schoolers to one of two groups. The first group played the empathy video game Crystals of Kaydor, while the second group played a commercially available and entertaining control game called “Bastion” that does not target empathy.

In Crystals of Kaydor, the young players interacted with aliens on a distant planet and learned to identify the intensity of emotions they witnessed on their human-like faces, such as anger, fear, happiness, surprise, disgust and sadness.

The researchers measured how accurate the players were in identifying the emotions of the characters in the game. The activity was also intended to help the kids practice and learn empathy.

In the game Bastion, the players were guided through a storyline in which they collected materials needed to build a machine to save their village, but tasks were not designed to teach or measure empathy. Researchers used the game because of its immersive graphics and third-person perspective.

The researchers also examined functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans taken in the laboratory in both groups before and after two weeks of gameplay. They looked at connections among different areas of the brain, including those associated with empathy and emotion regulation. The kids in the study also completed tests during the brain scans that measured how well they could empathize with others.

The findings reveal stronger connectivity in empathy-related brain networks after the middle schoolers played Crystals of Kaydor compared to Bastion. In addition, Crystals players who showed strengthened neural connectivity in key brain networks for emotion regulation also improved their score on the empathy test. Those who did not show increased neural connectivity in the brain did not improve on the test of empathic accuracy.

“The fact that not all children showed changes in the brain and corresponding improvements in empathic accuracy underscores the well-known adage that one size does not fit all,” Davidson said. “One of the key challenges for future research is to determine which children benefit most from this type of training and why.”

Teaching empathy skills in such an accessible way may benefit populations who find these skills challenging, including individuals on the autism spectrum, Davidson added.

Although the game Crystals of Kaydor is not available to the public, it has been used to inform similar games currently seeking approval.

Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Psychology Around the Net: August 11, 2018

Gear up and get ready for the latest in mental health news, Psych Central readers!

This week’s Psychology Around the Net covers a disturbing new trend involving selfies and plastic surgery, why some mental health professionals believe shopping addiction should be recognized as a mental illness, how mindfulness might not be the best practice for boosting productivity, and more.

‘Snapchat Dysmorphia’: How Chasing the Perfect Selfie Can Lead to Plastic Surgery: Ever heard of “Snapchat dysmorphia”? It’s a new term dubbed by researchers from Boston University School of Medicine’s Department of Dermatology in a recent article published in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery amid a disturbing trend plastic surgeons are noticing, which is — as you might have guessed from the term — people bringing in heavily filtered and edited selfies and asking for procedures that will make them look more like the “ideal” versions of themselves they’ve created.

How This Founder Is Innovating in Mental Health by Bringing Matchmaking to Therapy: What could matchmaking and therapy possibly have in common? If you’ve ever had trouble finding a good fit when looking for a therapist, you’d know that matchmaking and therapy have a lot in common, actually, and Alyssa Petersel founded My Wellbeing to help match patients in New York City with compatible therapists.

Shopping Addiction Should Be Recognized as Mental Illness, Say Experts: Professor Astrid Mueller, a clinical psychologist with a special focus on addiction at Hannover Medical School, Germany, says we need a better understanding and recognition of how dangerous shopping addiction — also known as compulsive buying disorder (CBD) — can be, and that seeing it as a separate mental health condition can help professionals develop better diagnosis methods and treatments.

Shinedown Aims Rock’s Revealing Light at Depression and Mental Health: The rock band knew how special “Get Up,” a track off their sixth studio album Attention Attention, was, but they had no idea how deeply it was going to resonate with fans. Says bassist Eric Bass, who’s battled depression and co-wrote the song with Shinedown’s frontman Brent Smith, “To have fans now at meet-and-greets and for them to go, ‘That song has helped me so much, and for you to be able to talk about your problems has helped me.’ It’s helped me and continues to help me.”

What You’re Getting Wrong About Mindfulness: Some companies encourage their employees to practice mindfulness meditation to help with productivity, but according to a new study, meditation is all about accepting the present — the opposite of motivation to do something in the future.

How to Trigger Innate Fear Response? We experience two different kinds of fear: learned fear, which obviously comes from having some sort of experience with the thing we fear, and innate fear, which is naturally coded in our brains. We haven’t had any prior experience with whatever the fearful thing is; all we know is that we’re scared of it. Now, researchers have identified the circuit in our brains responsible for regulating this innate fear response.

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Mental Health Challenges of College Students

College students are vulnerable to a wide variety of mental health challenges, and there is no one inoculation against any of these possible experiences. Clinical conditions such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, and even panic are common experiences for college students due to the many new stressors and pressures that come with the new academic and relational college experiences.

Less serious levels of stress and anxiety can still cause students distress and functional difficulties in sleep, time management, school performance, social interactions, and decision-making. Additionally, the new freedom that the college experience brings for many students also comes with some negative decisional consequences and tough learning experiences.

Too little sleep is a common and insidious starting point for many mental health challenges among college students. New social opportunities, coursework demands, sport and academic obligations, and a host of other possible distractions can render sleep pretty low on the priority list, and many students struggle with time management that includes a restful and restorative amount of sleep. Being unrested can lead to decreased competency in many of these areas, which can in turn result in heightened stress and anxiety and start a feedback loop of decreased performance and increased stress. Add in shoestring budgets, unlimited access to junk food, and low motivation to seek out veggies and water when there are chips and soda everywhere, and you have a recipe for very unhappy campers.

For many students, the virtually unlimited opportunities for socializing at college creates tantalizing possibilities that puts them further and further behind in the coursework and other responsibilities. Like people in financial debt, being in “time management” debt may create additional avoidance (feeling too overwhelmed by the feeling of being behind to engage in doing something about it) which renders the problem even more daunting.

College students may also find themselves feeling anxious or depressed by the seeming magnitude of the decisions they face as college students. They may feel that choosing “the right” major or course of study will determine the outcome of the rest of their lives; that dating “the right” person may have incredible importance for their future; or that making a certain athletic, academic, or other achievement has deep ramifications for their ultimate goal achievement.

Unfortunately, college may also be the first time that students have exposure and unsupervised access to substances such as marijuana, alcohol, and more serious substances of abuse like prescription medications or other street drugs. Many college students will experiment with alcohol and pot with a few bad hangovers and some tough lessons, but emerge largely unscathed. However, with the increasing ubiquity of harder street drugs and illicit prescription medications, some students may find themselves with substance-abuse related difficulties that causes them significant shame and functional impairment, as well as primary (direct effect of the substance) and secondary (related to feelings of embarrassment and distress) anxiety and depression. Individuals with genetic predispositions to some psychiatric conditions — particularly schizophrenic disorders — may find these conditions are acutely “triggered” for the first time by the use of substances.

Fortunately, college campuses have excellent resources for mental health support, including peer support networks, peer counselors, mental health professionals, substance use treatment support, and pathways to other helpful tools. If you have concerns about your student’s mental health, talk to them about it in a low-key, supportive, non-confrontational way that lets them know it’s okay to need and get help on this new journey, and then stay involved until they get linked up with the supports they need.  

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Hear Singers from the Metropolitan Opera Record Their Voices on Traditional Wax Cylinders

Vinyl is back in a big way.

Music lovers who booted their record collections during the compact disc’s approximately 15 year reign are scrambling to replace their old favorites, even in the age of streaming. They can’t get enough of that warm analog sound.

Can a wax cylinder revival be far behind?

A recent wax cylinder experiment by Metropolitan Opera soprano Susanna Phillips and tenor Piotr Beczala, above, suggests no. This early 20th-century technology is no more due for a comeback than the zoetrope or the steam powered vibrator.

Beczala initiated the project, curious to know how his voice would sound when captured by a Thomas Edison-era device. If it yielded a faithful reproduction, we can assume that the voice modern listeners accept as that of a great such as Enrico Caruso, whose output predated the advent of the electrical recording process, is fairly identical to the one experienced by his live audiences.

Working together with the New York Public Library’s Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound and the Thomas Edison National Historical Park, the Met was able to set up a session to find out.

The result is not without a certain ghostly appeal, but the facsimile is far from reasonable.

As Beczala told The New York Times, the technological limitations undermined his intonation, diction, or performance of the quieter passages of his selection from Verdi’s Luisa Miller. In a field where craft and technique are under constant scrutiny, the existence of such a recording could be a liability, were it not intended as a curiosity from the get go.

Phillips, ear turned to the horn for playback, insisted that she wouldn’t have recognized this recording of “Per Pieta” from Mozart’s Così fan tutte as her own.

Learn more about wax cylinder recording technology and preservation here.

Related Content:

Tchaikovsky’s Voice Captured on an Edison Cylinder (1890)

Download 10,000 of the First Recordings of Music Ever Made, Thanks to the UCSB Cylinder Audio Archive

Optical Scanning Technology Lets Researchers Recover Lost Indigenous Languages from Old Wax Cylinder Recordings

Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine. Follow her @AyunHalliday.

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See Ancient Greek Music Accurately Reconstructed for the First Time

Imagine trying to reconstruct the music of the Beatles 2,500 years from now, if nothing survived but a few fragments of the lyrics. Or the operas of Mozart and Verdi if all we had were pieces of the librettos. In a 2013 BBC article, musician and classics professor at Oxford Armand D’Angour used these comparisons to illustrate the difficulty of reconstructing ancient Greek song, a task to which he has set himself for the past five years.

The comparison is not entirely apt. Scholars have long had clues to help them interpret the ancient songs that served as vehicles for Homeric and Sapphic verse or the later drama of Aeschylus, almost all of which was sung with musical accompaniment. In a recent article at The Conversation, D’Angour points out that many literary texts of antiquity “provide abundant and highly specific details about the notes, scales, effects, and instruments used,” the latter including the lyre and the aulos, “two double-reed pipes played simultaneously by a single performer.”

But these musical instructions have proved elusive; “the terms and notations found in ancient sources—mode, enharmonic, diesis, and so on—are complicated and unfamiliar,” D’Angour writes. Nonetheless, using recreations of ancient instruments, close analysis of poetic meter, and careful interpretation of ancient texts that discuss melody and harmony, he claims to have accurately deciphered the sound of ancient Greek music.

D’Angour has worked to turn the “new revelations about ancient Greek music” that he wrote of five years ago into performances that reconstruct the sound of Euripides and other ancient literary artists. In the video at the top, see a choral and aulos performance of Athanaeus’ “Paean” from 127 BC and Euripides Orestes chorus from 408 BC. D’Angour and his colleagues break in periodically to talk about their methodology.

In the 2017 interview above from the Greek television channel ERT1, D’Angour discusses his research into the music of ancient Greek verse, from epic, to lyric, to tragedy, to comedy, “all of which,” he says, “was sung music, either entirely or partly.” Central to the insights scholars have gained in the past five years are “some very well preserved auloi,” he notes, that “have been reconstructed by expert technicians” and which “provide a faithful guide to the pitch range of ancient music, as well as to the instruments’ own pitches, timbres, and tunings.”

Determining tempo can be tricky, as it can with any music composed before “the invention of mechanical chronometers,” when “tempo was in any case not fixed, and was bound to vary between performances.” Here, he relies on poetic meter, which gives indications through the patterns of long and short syllables. “It remains for me to realize,” D’Angour writes, “in the next few years, the other few dozen ancient scores that exist, many extremely fragmentary, and to stage a complete drama with historically informed music in an ancient theater such as that of Epidaurus.” We’ll be sure to bring you video of that extraordinary event.

via The Conversation

Related Content:

What Ancient Greek Music Sounded Like: Hear a Reconstruction That is ‘100% Accurate’

Hear Homer’s Iliad Read in the Original Ancient Greek

Introduction to Homeric Greek 

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

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Psychedelic Drugs Show Promise for Treating Anxiety, Depression, PTSD

New findings add to the growing body of evidence suggesting that psychedelic drugs may be effective at treating a variety of psychological disorders, including depression, social anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and could one day be prescribed to patients.

The research was presented recently at the American Psychological Association’s annual meeting and included studies on the use of LSD, psilocybin (magic mushrooms), MDMA (ecstacy) and ayahuasca (used by indigenous Amazonian people for spiritual ceremonies).

After the discovery of LSD in the 1940s, American researchers began studying hallucinogens for their potential healing benefits, but this research mostly came to a halt after psychedelics were outlawed in the late 1960s.

A shift may be coming soon, however, as MDMA is beginning its third and final phase of clinical trials in an effort to win Food and Drug Administration approval for treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, said Adam Snider, MA, of Alliant International University Los Angeles, and co-chair of the symposium.

“Combined with psychotherapy, some psychedelic drugs like MDMA, psilocybin and ayahuasca may improve symptoms of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder,” said Cristina L. Magalhaes, PhD, of Alliant International University Los Angeles, and co-chair of a symposium on psychedelics and psychotherapy.

“More research and discussion are needed to understand the possible benefits of these drugs, and psychologists can help navigate the clinical, ethical and cultural issues related to their use.”

Findings from another study suggest that symptoms of social anxiety in adults with autism may be treatable with a combination of psychotherapy and MDMA. Twelve autistic adults with moderate to severe social anxiety who were given two treatments of pure MDMA, plus ongoing therapy, showed significant and long-lasting reductions in their symptoms.

“Social anxiety is prevalent in autistic adults and few treatment options have been shown to be effective,” said Alicia Danforth, PhD, of the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at the HarborUCLA Medical Center, who conducted the study. “The positive effects of using MDMA and therapy lasted months, or even years, for most of the research volunteers.”

Other research presented at the meeting shows how LSD, psilocybin and ayahuasca may benefit people with anxiety, depression and eating disorders.

Adele Lafrance, PhD, of Laurentian University, discussed a study of 159 participants who reported on their past use of hallucinogens, level of spirituality and relationship with their emotions. Hallucinogen use was associated with greater levels of spirituality, which led to improved emotional stability and fewer symptoms of anxiety, depression and disordered eating.

“This study reinforces the need for the psychological field to consider a larger role for spirituality in the context of mainstream treatment because spiritual growth and a connection to something greater than the self can be fostered,” said Lafrance.

One study suggests that ayahuasca may help relieve depression and addiction, as well as assist people in coping with trauma. “We found that ayahuasca also fostered an increase in generosity, spiritual connection and altruism,” said Clancy Cavnar, PhD, with Núcleo de Estudos Interdisciplinares sobre Psicoativos.

In addition, for people suffering from life-threatening cancer, psilocybin may offer significant and long-lasting reductions in anxiety and distress.

When combined with psychotherapy, psilocybin helped 13 study participants grapple with loss and existential distress. It also helped the participants reconcile their feelings about death as nearly all participants reported that they developed a new understanding of dying, according to Gabby Agin-Liebes, BA, of Palo Alto University, who conducted the research.

“Participants made spiritual or religious interpretations of their experience and the psilocybin treatment helped facilitate a reconnection to life, greater mindfulness and presence, and gave them more confidence when faced with cancer recurrence,” said Agin-Liebes.

Source: American Psychological Association

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Best of Our Blogs: August 10, 2018

How much of your day is spent simply being versus doing?

I didn’t realize so much of my busy-ness was tied to my self-worth. If I wasn’t publishing something or working on a project, what was my value here on earth?

Doing nothing, come to find out, is hard work. Sitting in silence forced me to confront those voices of insecurity, self-doubt, and criticism. Keeping busy prevented me from addressing these concerns. But when I had the courage to be still, I grew more self-awareness, self-love and compassion.

Everybody needs a balance of being and doing.

As you read our top posts this week, remember to schedule downtime. See if it brings you a greater sense of well-being.

10 Common Signs of a Personality Disorder
(The Exhausted Woman) – He or she is difficult to work with or your relative is stubborn and argumentative. But does this mean they have a personality disorder? They may if they exhibit these behavioral signs.

The Narcissistic/Difficult Mother and Her Empathetic Daughter – 10 Signs You Suffer From the “Good” Daughter Syndrome
(The Good Daughter Syndrome) – If this describes your relationship with your mother, you might be suffering from “Good” daughter syndrome.

An Abusive Parent’s Response
(Full Heart, Empty Arms) – Sometimes it takes hearing someone else’s story to get it. Reading about this Oscar-winning actress may help you realize abuser’s don’t suddenly change.

The impact Of Childhood Abandonment On The Mind Of The Adult
(Psychotherapy Matters) – If a minor slight triggers a sense of abandonment, this may help.

The Role of Gaslighting in the Trauma Bond
(The Savvy Shrink) – What is gaslighting really and how does one recover from it? This post explains.

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The post Best of Our Blogs: August 10, 2018 appeared first on Sex Positive Academy.

Source: spa