Welcome to our roundup of the best mental health articles you may have missed this week. This time around, we have news about ketamine, tips for getting treatment when you don’t have the cash, and a look at some of the quirks of the human psyche.
“The experimental drug esketamine (also known as ketamine) has been placed on the fast track for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for treating major depression, according to Janssen Pharmaceutical.”
The research on ketamine has been promising, and it may soon be available as a depression treatment in the U.S.
“There’s something about the way in which we get lost in a video game that is different to getting lost in a book, though. Our sense of time becomes yoked, not to the ticking of the clock, but to the pattern of our interactions. The best games present a reality that engages us totally, flatters us by requiring our presence and input. In this way we synchronize with the game’s tempo. That’s why our time spent with video games often dwarfs that spent with even the most expansive multi-season Netflix series.”
Salon talks to the author of Death by Video Game about what inspires us to play games even well beyond any practical stopping point.
“Using a set of machine learning tools and several dozen users’ Instagram feeds, a team of researchers from Harvard and the University of Vermont have built a model that can accurately spot signs of clinical depression. By reviewing “color analysis, metadata components, and algorithmic face detection,” in each user’s feed, the model was able to correctly identify which Instagrammers showed symptoms of depression about 70 percent of the time, even before they had been clinically diagnosed.”
Engadget posits that the algorithm could be used for early screening, which would be great. Less great? This kind of information being used for targeted advertising.
“When I asked my therapist if she had any resources for finding affordable mental healthcare that didn’t cost $216 an hour, she laughed. Granted, all her services currently cost me is $5 in copay, but that will end when I’m no longer covered by my dad’s insurance. I know I’m not the only young and broke person hurtling towards—or existing in—a mental health crisis with no affordable coverage in sight, so I decided to check out other options.”
“Two scenarios: In one, I tell a friend I’ve been having more panic attacks than normal. She responds with sympathy; even if she’s never experienced anxiety herself, she has a basic understanding of what it means and how it manifests. In the other, I tell the same friend about delusions I’d had in which I thought the traffic lights were sending me secret messages — only to be met by a palpable thud of discomfort.”
We’ve made great strides when it comes to stigma, but many people with mental health issues aren’t feeling the benefits, as this piece in New York Magazine explains.
“When people voluntarily take on unpleasant tasks such as housework, they tend to be in particularly happy states, according to a new study on hedonism. The finding challenges an old prediction by some researchers that humans can be constant pleasure-seekers. Instead, the new study suggests we might seek out fun, uplifting activities mainly when we’re in bad or down moods. But when we’re on the up, we’re more likely to go for the dull and dreary assignments.”
Ars Technica has the scoop on why we want to switch to difficult tasks when we’re feeling good.
That’s it for this week. I have summer plans to hide from the heat with No Man’s Sky this weekend–knowing that I can’t get to everything really calms my inner completionist down. Then I’m going to sit down with the winners of #SFGJ. How about you?