Entries by Danny Whittaker

Priests, Potions, Prisons, and Prozac: The History of Mental Illness

Prof. Greg Eghigian helps us trace the history of mental illness from ancient Palestine, and the Greek physician Hippocrates, right the way up to Prozac and self-help gurus. On the way we encounter exorcisms, bloodletting, witch doctors, magic spells, Islamic hospitals, mental asylums, country house retreats, Sigmund Freud, the advent of pharmacology, deinstitutionalization and the rise of psychotherapy.

Dying to be Thin: Anorexia and Bulimia

Prof. Ulrike Schmidt joins us to discuss the three main eating disorders, anorexia, bulimia and binge eating. Are eating disorders a illness peculiar to young white women, or is anybody susceptible? What causes somebody to develop an eating disorder? Is it all about looking good, or are there deeper issues at play? All this and more in today’s episode.

Foundations of ACT and the Limits of CBT

Steven C. Hayes, PhD joins us to talk about the foundations ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) and the limits of CBT. What exactly is ACT and how does it differ from, and improve upon traditional CBT? We discuss the concept of psychological flexibility, whether or not there is value in addressing issues from your past, the importance of self-compassion, and how to discover your own personal values.

Why Procrastination Makes You Depressed (and Depression Makes You Procrastinate)

Today Dr. Tim Pychyl helps us explore how procrastination relates to things like depression and anxiety. We discover why we’re terrible at forecasting our future moods and why you’ll never “feel like doing it tomorrow”, how to grease the wheels of productivity and boost your willpower, and why Homer Simpson might have something very profound to teach us about how we treat our future selves.

The Fear of Fear: Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia

What are panic attacks and why do they happen? Can panic attacks kill you? Can they make you lose your mind? Or are they just a completely harmless, albeit horrendous natural bodily function? In today’s episode Prof. Vijaya Manicavasagar joins me to discuss the twin topic of panic disorder and agoraphobia.

Social Anxiety Disorder: The Illness of Missed Opportunities

Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is the third largest mental health care problem in the world today. So, what’s the difference between social anxiety disorder and plain old shyness? Are people really judging us, and staring at us, or is it just all in our heads? More to the point, why do we even care? What are the irrational thoughts that drive social anxiety? How does it come to affect people’s lives, and most importantly, what can we do to overcome it? All this and more in today’s episode with Dr. Emma Warnock-Parkes.

Schizophrenia: A Journey Inside the Shattered Mind

Professor Elyn Saks is an award winning academic and best selling author who lives with chronic schizophrenia. In today’s episode we explore what it’s like to have schizophrenia, the nature and content of delusions and hallucinations, Elyn’s experience as a patient in psychiatric hospitals, the stigma associated with the illness and whether the name of schizophrenia should be changed to something less stigmatizing.

Childhood Mental Health and Raising Confident Kids

Thought anxiety and depression were afflictions of the adult mind? Think again. In today’s episode Prof. Sam Cartwright-Hatton joins us to talk about depression and anxiety in preadolescent children, whether nurture or nature plays the biggest role in the development of childhood mental health, the seven confident thoughts that children need to grow up happy and confident, and much more.

OCD: The Serious Issue of a Ridiculed Illness

Prof. Paul Salkovskis helps us explore what it really means to have OCD, the various manifestations and corresponding behaviours, why OCD is an “affliction of the nice”, why the average sufferer waits 11 years before seeking treatment, why the media and general public think it’s okay to mock the condition, and why ultimately OCD is, in Paul’s words, an “unnecessary illness”.