Articles, Leading Stories

October 1st, 2014

Legalization of marijuana could harm young users

By Pamela Berard

Psychologists discussed the possible public health implications of marijuana legalization – including the negative effects on the brains of teenagers and young adults who engage in frequent marijuana use – during a symposium at the American Psychological Association’s 122nd Annual Convention. Krista Lisdahl, Ph.D, director of the brain imaging and neuropsychology lab at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, says that regular cannabis use – considered once-a-week – is not safe and may result in addiction and neurocognitive damage, especially in youth. Lisdahl says marijuana use is increasing among young people, and that brain imaging studies of regular marijuana users have shown significant [More]

October 1st, 2014

Psychologist studies how culture affects visual pathways

By Catherine Robertson Souter

The scientific research that makes a big splash on the front page of local media or gets top billing in a scientific journal tends to be information that has a direct application in the real world. How exercise helps children with ADHD or research on how to attain happiness are samples of topics that will draw attention on the newsstand or get page clicks up. But what these outlets don’t usually show are the many years of research that led to those “groundbreaking” studies. For some researchers, those who do not expect their work ever to make the front pages, [More]

October 1st, 2014

“The Opposite of Worry: The Playful Parenting Approach to Childhood Anxieties and Fears”

By James K Luiselli EdD ABPP BCBA-D

“The Opposite of Worry: The Playful Parenting Approach to Childhood Anxieties and Fears” By Lawrence J. Cohen Random House Publishing Group New York, N.Y. 2013   Book helpful for parents of anxious children   Reviewed by James K. Luiselli, Ed.D., ABPP, BCBA-D Many children experience chronic anxiety, persistent worry and specific fears. Indeed, childhood anxiety is one of the most common clinical problems seen by mental health professionals. Unless properly treated, anxiety disorders can create serious psychosocial challenges among children and youth at school, within the family and later adulthood. This book, by psychologist Lawrence J. Cohen, was written for [More]

October 1st, 2014

“Fast Minds: How to Thrive if You Have ADHD (or Think You Might)”

By Paul Efthim PhD

“Fast Minds: How to Thrive if You Have ADHD (or Think You Might)” By Craig Surman and Tim Bilkey with Karen Weintraub Berkley Publishing Group New York, N.Y., 2013 Guidebook draws on latest clinical research   Reviewed by Paul Efthim, Ph.D. It’s an exercise in optimism (if not hubris) to write a self-help book on adult ADHD. For one thing, the market is flooded with titles already. For another, the target audience struggles staying on-task long enough to glance at the user’s manual for the new flat-panel TV, never mind slogging through a 300-page book. But for readers who are [More]

October 1st, 2014

Parade of stars

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

The arrival of our new psychology interns at the hospital in September is surely as much a sign of fall as the first hints of color in the New England foliage. Their appearance is the culmination of a year-long process of updating our program brochures and online descriptions, reading scores of applications, interviewing our top candidates and biting our nails through the mutual selection process that somehow delivers these fledging psychologists to our doorstep. The suddenness of their appearance suggests there is magic at work but the work is really done by our directors of training, psychologists from our hospital [More]

August 22nd, 2014

Predictive neglect: programs may modify outcomes

By Phyllis Hanlon

In spite of awareness and education campaigns, mental illness still carries a stigma that can affect individuals in the community, workplace and home. For families, a mental health diagnosis can have devastating consequences when it leads to termination of parental rights under the “predictive neglect” doctrine. A legal term, predictive neglect refers to the removal of a child from the home when there is reasonable certainty the child is in danger, says Barbara Claire, agency legal director for Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families (DCF). “But this is more about abuse. For instance, if three kids previously had been abused, [More]

August 22nd, 2014

Reforms proposed for Bridgewater State Hospital

By Janine Weisman

One patient was held in seclusion for 13 months despite no evidence he showed a risk of imminent harm. Another was held in seclusion for five months, even though progress notes indicated he was “well behaved.” And a patient presenting symptoms of paranoia who was refusing medication was strapped in four-point restraints and forced to take medication – but no court decree had authorized involuntary medication. Several of these cases of individuals with mental illness subjected to abuse and neglect at Bridgewater State Hospital are detailed in a July 11 report by the Disability Law Center of Massachusetts. Despite its [More]

August 22nd, 2014

Vermont Psychiatric Care Hospital opens

By Rivkela Brodsky

Almost three years after Vermont’s antiquated psychiatric hospital in Waterbury was forced to close because of flooding from Hurricane Irene, the state held a ribbon cutting for its new $28 million, almost 47,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art psychiatric facility in Berlin. The Vermont Psychiatric Care Hospital opened July 1 and is expected to be at capacity at the end of August. “I think that just walking into the building…it gives so much a sense of comfort and being welcoming than the old hospital did,” says Frank Reed, Vermont’s deputy commissioner for mental health. “You can immediately see into the courtyard areas. You can [More]

August 22nd, 2014

Law: health plans must disclose coverage criteria

By Catherine Robertson Souter

In a move that should increase transparency for mental health providers dealing with insurance plans, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed House Bill 3704, An Act Relative to Enhancing Access to Services for Mental Health, into law on July 2. The bill, a follow up to legislation passed in 2012 that was designed to improve the quality of health care and to reduce costs by increasing transparency, efficiency and innovation, sought to move the date for transparency compliance up by one year to this August. “Chapter 224 of the Acts of 2012 is a comprehensive health care reform bill that is [More]

August 22nd, 2014

Rhode Island law requires records reporting to database

By Howard Newman

Joining the ranks of 42 other states, Rhode Island passed legislation that requires the reporting of information about individuals with serious mental health issues to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Rhode Island Bill H7939, signed into law by Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee on July 3, was constructed and narrowly focused in order to protect individual rights. The new law, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2015, was a direct response to the tragic shootings in Newton, Conn. It requires that Rhode Island submit to NICS the names of individuals who have been adjudicated in district court because [More]

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