Neuroplasticity, black and white thinking and more ruminations on the DSM5: Monday news and blogs

I’ve posted about Dr. Norman Doidge before. His work is worth looking at again.

The Brain: Changing the adult mind through the power of plasticity –
The thinking about the adult brain at the time echoed the physical state of this inanimate, three-pound organ from a cadaver. It was thought to be static, fixed and incapable of fundamental change. It was hard-wired so that what you had in your mid-20s was what you had for life — depressing news for anyone who suffered a brain injury or who wanted to stave off age-related cognitive decline.

But our understanding of the body’s most mysterious organ has changed. In recent years, experts have learned that the adult brain can actually rewire itself — changing its physical structure and function through experience, thought and behavior. It’s a property known as neuroplasticity.

The revolutionary discovery is “the most important change in our understanding of the brain in four centuries,” says Doidge, who wrote the 2007 bestseller The Brain that Changes Itself and who is now writing a follow-up book. “Scans show that the neural networks in your brain change when you think differently, perceive differently, imagine things and become aware of things.” rest of article

more on neuroplasticity on this blog

I live in a world that is more and more like the below. It speaks to non-dualism I think.

‘Black and White Thinking’: How to Balance these Cognitive Extremes — PsychCentral

‘The Truth,’ we’re told, is ‘out there.’


But what if it’s more complex than that?

What if there are multiple truths in our lives? Multiple versions of our stories, many ways of seeing ourselves (and others), myriad points of view, and countless ways of understanding events?

And more ruminations on the DSM5 hailing from Britain whose main-stream media takes these issues more seriously than our own.

Being mad is one thing, going mad quite another | Darian Leader | Comment is free | The Guardian

Each edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) has a massive impact on psychiatric practice and medical education around the world. The book lists mental disorders and explains how to diagnose them. Seen as a gold standard, it dictates diagnostic practice in mainstream medicine.

Every media mention of DSM calls it the “bible” of mental health, and, like the latter, it generates passionate controversy. Proposals for the next edition, due in 2013, have sparked international protest, as DSM-5 looks as if it will lower the threshold of what counts as mental disorder. Critics have argued that new categories like “psychosis risk syndrome”, “temper dysregulation disorder”, and “binge eating” threaten to pathologise the human condition, turning clinically insignificant behaviour into illness.

People with no signs of distress may be encouraged or coerced to have therapy or take medication, with diagnoses such as “psychosis risk syndrome” being made even if a psychosis has not appeared. With the ramification of diagnoses, stigmatisation and discrimination would snowball. After DSM-5, no one will be normal again.

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