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mental health mondays :: going through a crackhead phase?

addictions are a controversial area of mental health research, what with conflicts over whether an addiction is a mental disorder, a symptom of a disorder or both. [note: it can be both, the conflicts generally arise in determining which it is in each specific case.] but the discussions are about to get even more controversial, because there is evidence we might be giving addictions more credit than they deserve.

because of the degree to which an addict can damage themselves and the people around them, it's tempting to ignore some of the complexities of the disorder and to concentrate on getting addicts into treatment as soon as possible so that they recover as completely as possible. however, the results of a massive study in the united states have shown that the majority of people who meet the criteria to be considered addicts of a large variety of substances recover whether or not they're given treatment. that's a big, scary statement, but there's a lot of data behind it.

stranger still, it seems that some of the drugs associated with the greatest risk of addiction and damage, e.g. cocaine, are associated with higher rates of recovery [from the addiction itself- this doesn't cover any health problems that may have been exacerbated by the addiction] than drugs like nicotine and alcohol. in fact, nicotine addicts had the lowest rate of recovery of any addict group, but a substantial majority were able to break their addiction at some point.

there is a lot of information that needs to be analysed here, not least the fact that gender, race and socio-economic status seem to influence your odds on being able to shake the addiction bug or that those with co-morbid mental or mood disorders are less likely to recover , but the point is that our woefully inadequate understanding of what addiction is and how it works is more woefully inadequate than we realise. health journalist maia szalavitz thinks, for instance, that we should reject the model of addiction as a disease, which is by nature progressive unless treated/ cured and more like a developmental condition that may well pass with time if controlled. this absolutely flies in the face of the usual methodology [used by so-called 12 step programs like alcoholics/ narcotics anonymous], where someone is an addict for life whether they are in remission or not.

now let me be clear that no one is saying that you shouldn't treat addiction and that it will just get better with time. what's being said is that not all addictions require treatment and that rather than painting everyone with the same brush, health professionals should consider a lot of factors, such as the level of damage that's being done, the age of the addict and the substance that's being abused in order to come up with the best individualised plan.

this ultimately seems to be the truth behind much of the research on mental disorders: the more we study, the fewer general rules there seem to be.

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long division

after the united states election last year, there were the usual calls for the country to unite behind the new president. that never happens anymore, because, since george w. bush scored a victory in 2004, having launched the country into a war in iraq for no reason, the people on the losing side of a presidential election have been pretty bloody angry about it. democrats hated bush 43. republicans really hated obama. democrats really hate trump.

it didn't help that trump didn't make the typical conciliatory gestures like including a couple of members of the opposite party in his cabinet, or encouraging his party to proceed slowly with contentious legislation. barack obama arguably wasted at least two and as many as six years of his tenure as president trying to play peacemaker before he felt sufficiently safe to just say "screw you guys" and start governing around the ridiculous congress he was forced to deal with. not-giving-a-shit obama was the best president in …

making faces :: i could maybe not buy this one thing

i've been into makeup on some level for a long time- much longer than i've been writing about it, for certain. even as a young woman, i loved the feeling of i got from applying a deep-hued lipstick and some mascara. it took years for me to figure out eyeshadow, and even longer for me to appreciate blush. but at this point, i think we can agree that i'm pretty much into the whole gamut. [except liquid and super-matte lipsticks, and most very sparkly eyeshadows. but that's because they're painful for me to wear.]

the thing about spending a long time collecting and holding onto just about everything is that you accumulate quite a stash. lately, i'm trying to force myself to think about what i already have before laying down money for something new. most recently, i found myself drawn to the modern renaissance palette from anastasia. me and a lot of people. by the time i started thinking about it, it was already sold out in my local sephora and online. i signed up…

...and my cup size is none of your damn business

this story, about a man who got a female coworker to trade email accounts with him for two weeks to see if he could see a difference in customer reactions, has been making the rounds on social media and beyond in the last week or so. earlier today, i posted it on my personal facebook page about it, and realised that i had a lot more that i wanted to share than made sense for a facebook post. so i've come here to rant.

a couple of things to start:

1. i've had some really good job experiences in my life. i'm both lucky and unlucky that the best of them came early on, but even in more recent years, i worked at a couple of places that treated workers, all workers, with respect. that respect can be expressed in different ways, but believe me, you know it when it's there. so i want to make it clear that #notallworkplaces fit the pattern i'm about to describe.

2. i am really, really, really grateful to martin r. schneider, who thought up and did this experiment, not just …