Medication vs. Psychotherapy: Which Is Better?

The most common mental health disorder in the United States is Major Depressive Disorder. Both psychotherapy, also known as counseling, and medication can be used to help treat those who suffer from depression. It has been debated over time as to whether psychotherapy or medication is better for treating depression. According to Psychology Today, most people choose drugs over therapy (Whitbourne, 2015, para. 2).

Whitbourne, an author who supports psychotherapy over drugs, states, “Antidepressants and antianxiety medications are among the leading prescription drugs not only in the US but around the world” (Whitbourne, 2015, para. 2). One of the main reasons Whitbourne chooses psychotherapy over medication is that medications can have many side effects. In fact, most of the world advertises and pays for medication as far as research and advocation go. Very rarely do you turn on the tv and see adds for therapy sessions. Instead, we constantly see adds for medications with many side effects included. The article also mentions, “the vast majority of people seeking treatment for depression and anxiety disorders prefer pharmacological to psychological interventions by a ratio of 3 to 1” (Whitbourne, 2015, para. 6). Whitbourne also believes that therapy may have a higher effective rate than drugs will.

In another article that supports therapy intervention over drug use, it is mentioned that therapy is just as effective, if not more effective than drugs when preventing relapses in cases of chronic depression (Walton, 2016, para. 11). Sometimes medication is needed, but medication and therapy go much better hand in hand rather than medicine alone. Insurance companies are starting to support therapy more as well by covering both medicine and therapy as medical treatment (Walton, 2016, para. 12).

With the new movement of psychotherapy becoming prevalent in the treatment of depression, it is hard to find sources that support drug use over therapy. Although this is true, some people still see the benefits of medicine alone. Medication and therapy are similar in the context that there are many trials and errors. For example, one medication may not solve symptoms for a particular client. Certain types of therapy may also not work for clients. Despite this, different types of medication may be easier to obtain rather than different forms of therapy. Not only is this due to general accessibility, but it is also due to insurance coverage and costs as well. Medication is typically much cheaper than psychotherapy (Ambrose, 2013, para. 1). Another article also states, “medication works best when you make healthy lifestyle changes as well” (“Depression treatment,” n.d., para. 3). So although some websites state the benefits of medications, it is very rare to find websites that accept medication over psychotherapy. It is almost always recommended to work with the two together.

All sources gathered for information can be seen as reliable. Nearly all information used was gathered from articles and research. Each author was attributed with fair credentials, and their work was clearly reviewed. All information provided was valuable and provided equal amounts of support. For example, articles that supported the use of therapy were written by authors with Ph. D’s, and were associated with professional psychology associations. Although not every author had Ph. D’s that supported medication over therapy, each work was still reviewed and fairly publicised.

Overall, as someone who has been diagnosed with depression, I can say that medication works well for me. The antidepressant I am on has not always been the same. It was indeed a trial and error to find the right type of medication for me. Even still, this year I had to switch over to another medication again because despite raising the dosage of my previous medication, its effectiveness was waning because I had been on it for so long. I had to completely switch medications, but after doing this, my symptoms improved once more. Let me make it clear that depression does not completely go away once a medication enters the system. Sometimes I still have bad days. I have never continuously gone to psychotherapy. Like I said, therapy and medication are similar in the fact that everything is trial and error. I have seen many therapists over the years, none of which I have cliqued with. Each experience has been different; For one therapy session, I was happily having a conversation with the therapist, but with another, I was so worked up that once my mom left the room I curled up into the fetal position and bawled for 20 minutes straight, never once saying a word to the therapist. I wish I knew why an event like this occurred. The fact is that depression and anxiety strike when you least expect it. I still get sad, even when I am on medication. Most of my days are good, but when I am stressed or overwhelmed, my disorders attack. Medication works well to hold off the symptoms, but I really would like to try seeing a therapist to see if my breakdowns cease or at least calm down. My goal is to be able to keep them under control. Although I am only on medication, I would recommend using both medication and therapy in hand, as this is ultimately where I would like to be. Everyone, however, is different; What works for you may not work for someone else. Finding a balance and learning to cope with depression is an essential lifelong process. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with depression, anxiety, or other mental health disorders, let them know that they are not alone in the fight. There are many resources out there to help you, so use them wisely.

Would you choose medication or psychotherapy for the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder, Core Techs?

-B

Cornered

Cornered – Photography; 2016 Portfolio

References

Ambrose, C. (2013, July 16). The cost of therapy vs. the cost of medication.

Psychotherapy.net. Retrieved from https://www.psychotherapy.net/blog/title/talk-is-

cheap.-really.

Depression treatment. (n.d.). HelpGuide.org. Retrieved from

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/depression-treatment.htm

Walton, A. G. (2016, May 6). A few things that therapy may do better than medication,

according to science. Forbes. Retrieved from

https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2016/05/06/a-few-things-that-therapy-may-

do-better-than-medication-according-to-science/#7458cc7e4243

Whitbourne, S. (2015, July 21). Psychotherapy vs. medications: The verdict is

in. Psychology Today. Retrieved from

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/fulfillment-any-

age/201507/psychotherapy-

vs-medications-the-verdict-is-in

Let Me Take A #Selfie

Do you know anyone who is constantly taking pictures of themselves and then uploading them to social media? If you don’t, look out because it might be you… It seems to be the new trend among teens and younger adults to flip the camera to the front and pucker those lips together to form the perfect duck face. Although this is true, it seems to be becoming such a big trend that some of us might actually be taking it a little too far. While some studies show that taking selfies can actually be beneficial, another study, in particular, is worried that a new disorder might be on the rise.

A website, called the Adobo Chronicles, stated that “selfitis” was a new disorder. The author explained that the cause of this disorder was because of a lack of relationships (friends or significant others) and self-esteem. People with selfitis supposedly uploaded pictures of themselves to gain more “followers” on social media, make more connections, and gain more popularity to feel good. The author also stated that the American Psychiatry Association (APA) labeled the disorder with three diagnoses levels: borderline, acute, and chronic. Of course, it was eventually discovered that this media coverage was false, and the APA did not, in fact, release any kind of new disorder pertaining to obsessive selfie-taking. This, however, triggered some scientists to ponder whether or not selfitis could be a real disease.

Two scientists, Balakrishnan and Griffiths, set out to determine the new guidelines for a possible selfie-taking disorder. These two decided that they would use Facebook, one of the forms of social media in today’s world that carries the most users. Within Facebook, it was noted that the culture who had the most profiles were Indians. Seven groups of these users were chosen and asked questions in relation to their selfie-taking habits. It was discovered that there were ultimately six factors which helped diagnose selfitis. These six factors were labeled as the new Selfitis Behavior Scale, or SBS for short. The six factors were environment enhancement, social competition, attention seeking, mood modification, self-confidence, and subjective conformity. Environment enhancement has to do with taking pictures in certain locations, social competition has to do with getting more likes or followers than others, and attention seeking is simply to be noticed by others through social media. The other three, mood modification, self-confidence, and subject conformity are in relation to being put in a better mood, feeling better about oneself, and fitting in socially because of taking selfies.

People who fit into the category of chronic selfitis were more strongly associated with attention seeking, environmental enhancement, and social competition. In other words, people addicted to taking selfies all the time and posting them back to back on social media each day found it pleasing to upload selfies because it gained them more popularity, they were able to show off where they were at, and they were able to “prove” themselves better or worse than other social media users. Most individuals in the study did not fit into the category of chronic selfitis, and the researchers, therefore, made the prediction that most selfie-takers would not fit into the most extreme form of “selfie addiction.”

The research study overall was well thought out and put together, but does not cover the entire population. This study only included the Indian culture, meaning that Americans, Hispanics, and other cultures were left out of the picture. If selfitis is to become a real disorder, I believe there should be more studies done that relate to various cultures. The study also involved self-reports or surveys so not all information may be truthful. No data was gathered either pertaining to the negative impacts of consistent selfie-taking. Because no negative impacts are listed, selfitis cannot be classified as a “disorder” yet. Despite this, there are still many strengths and benefits of this study, including the fact that it gives the primary layout for diagnosing selfitis.

This research study is a good layout to determine whether or not selfitis should be classified by the APA as a new disorder. Although this is true, there are still many questions left unanswered. For example, what would happen if different cultures were used? What about different age groups? The younger population seems to be getting more and more into technology, so are they at risk as well? What age or gender is the most at risk for this disease? How does having selfitis impact someone’s life?

Original News Article: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-excess/201801/obsessive-selfie-taking

Scholarly Article: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11469-017-9844-x

Overall, summarizing both the original news article and the scholarly article was a very interesting process. The research article itself was very lengthy in comparison to the news article, so finding the right words to say without leaving out important information proved to be a challenge. The news article was a great summary of the research study, listing the most important information with basic findings. Although this is true, it is still essential to include more details and reflective facts based on the raw data and other findings. In order to help filter out the most important information, I used my scholarly article critique. This really helped me to find the bulk of the information in the research study without making my summary too lengthy. It allowed me to pull out essential details rather than just leaving the data up for assumptions for the reader. For example, when talking about how the study was going to gather its participants and how the experiment would be performed, it was not crucial to mention every little detail. It was, however, important to give the reader a general idea of how the study was being conducted. Giving the reader an idea of how the study was performed makes the information and findings more believable. In other words, it is important to know why Indians were chosen for the study and what questions they were being asked in order to judge where they would be on the SBS. Another example of using raw data without overloading the reader with details is when the factors for creating the SBS were mentioned. It is important to know the factors and how participants were filtered, but it is not crucial to know the exact dialogue of the participants. To conclude, summarizing both the raw data and news coverage was an interesting task, but not too difficult. It is essential to pick and choose the most important facts to inform and educate the audience while still making sense and not giving a boatload of information to them.

What do you think, Core Techs? Do you believe in selfitis?

-B

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Obsessed – Colored Pencil; 2017 Portfolio

Studying Across the Ages

Studying is always a tricky event which everyone is going to face at some point in life. Whether you are in middle school, high school, college, or if you are an adult, studying will always provide many challenges. Depending on your level, however, study tips may fluctuate.

Middle school is where a student may first start to understand the concept of studying. Although this is true, “real” studying does not typically occur until high school. Do high school students need to study as much as college students? How much time should they be spending studying? Every level of school is going to have a different amount of studying to it. One website to assist high school students in their studying is actually a blog called Prepscholar. This blog recommends that students make up a set schedule for studying. Always stick to this schedule, even if you are not necessarily “feelin’ it.” Students should be taking time every day to look over their notes. It is also essential not to cram. Spread out the time you study for into smaller increments. Sticking to a schedule allows the brain to recall more information later. It also recommends sticking to the same study places because it allows your brain to more easily transition into “study mode.” In middle school and high school, many of us are going through puberty, and because of this, it can sometimes be difficult to maintain good hygiene. This is, however, a crucial detail. Maintaining a good hygiene allows the environment, your brain, and your body to stay more alert and focused. Remove temptations such as the phone, stay off of your bed (that’s for sleeping!), and stay hydrated and fed. Along with more about the environment, one research study states, “Having positive feelings about education, a sense of belonging to the school environment, a positive relationship with faculty and other students, attending school, participating in extracurricular activities, spending extra time on schoolwork, subscribing to the decisions taken in class and school, determining one’s own learning objectives, and being able to voice one’s views in class constitute school engagement” (Bilge, Tusgol Dost, & Cetin, 2014). Rewriting, rephrasing, or teaching information to a classmate can also help to keep the brain refreshed. Another research study mentions that students who tackled homework, read faster but more effectively, and used the SQ3R (scan, question, read, recall, review) were more academically successful the other students who did not do these things (Jegede, & Ugodulunwa, 1997). Middle and high school are not nearly as intense as college, but studying habits are still 100% necessary.

If you are a college student, there are many specific things you can do to maintain good study habits. For example, you can stay organized, focus on taking good notes, staying focused on not looking at your phone, and more. Campusexplorer.com is a great website to assist college students with evaluating their study habits. This website also mentions not to cram last minute or overstudy. Breaks are crucial when studying. After a lot of hard work, you deserve some rest, so try not to give your brain some downtime. The information on this website is pretty accurate. Although this is true, I believe that they should have mentioned studying in sections by switching back and forth between topics. Despite this, this post mainly covered all the important aspects of studying for college students. One of the most important things it mentioned is how every person is different, so everyone’s studying habits should differ a little. Some people might like studying in a coffee shop while others need absolute silence. One article about college students and study habits talked about the relationship between study time and study habits by saying, “When considering the relationship between study time and performance, it is not only how much time a student spends studying but also how effectively this time is spent that influences academic performance” (Nonis & Hudson, 2010). A student could study for hours on end and not learn anything. Then, their classmate, who studied for only two hours before the mini quiz in class the next day, received a much higher grade than the student who studied for six straight hours. Why is this? It all has to do with how much information the student is actually able to learn and recall. Reading notes and memorizing them word for word is not going to help you come exam time. An article that summarizes a research study says, “the good notes work only if students are spending their study time efficiently. Or maybe, the good notes work because they are clear, well organized, and make sense, so students don’t need to spend time trying to figure out what they mean” (Weimer, 2010). Note-taking is just one of the many crucial parts of learning how to study correctly as a college student. Staying organized and at the moment when you are learning is extremely important.

Lastly, adults who need to study, whether it is because they went back to school or they have something they need to prepare for in their work field, need to learn to utilize study habits just like any age below them. Most of the study tips for adults are things that college students should utilize as well but are not as popular. The website associated with American InterContinental University provides plenty of helpful study tips and suggestions for older students. For example, it says to consult many different sources instead of just textbooks and class notes. Using other methods to obtain valuable information will help you learn more and match concepts more effectively. It also mentions that time management is essential. As we grow up, it can be hard to manage time when our days are crazy as all heck. Despite this, using time effectively instead of not knowing how to use it makes life a whole lot easier. Taking notes, being prepared, not procrastinating, and connecting with others are huge tips for success. Sometimes, adults who go back to school may feel that they are out of place, and because of this, they choose not to reach out. Reaching out to other students and professors, however, is bound to help clarify any questions or make you understand concepts more clearly. Along with this, a university website provides the tip of getting other student’s contact information in the class in case you miss anything, listening actively, and taking smart notes during and outside of class (“Study skills for,” n.d.). Studying as an adult versus a college student is not all that different. Most of it is a review for all of us. Studying branches from the same tree, but each technique is specific to each age, gender, and/person.

Overall, studying varies depending on the age and type of schooling. Studying manages to make huge differences academically for students, allowing them to succeed at a much higher rate. Each level requires different habits that are best suited for each individual. These are general tips for every age, but keep in mind that everyone is different, and just because some of these tips worked well for your friends does not mean that they are the best fit for you. Everyone is unique and the best study habits will always be discovered by you personally.

Are you in school, Core Techs? What are your study habits?

-B

Links to websites:

Mid/High School: https://blog.prepscholar.com/how-to-study-better-in-high-school

College: https://www.campusexplorer.com/college-advice-tips/2DF9E34D/7-Best-Study-Tips-for-College-Students/

Adult: https://www.aiuniv.edu/blog/2015/march/study-tips-for-adult-learners

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Burning Out – 2016 Portfolio

References

Bilge, F., Tusgol Dost, M., & Çetin, B. (2014). Factors affecting burnout and school engagement among high school students: Study habits, self-efficacy beliefs, and academic success. Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice14(5), 1721-1727. doi:10.12738/estp.2014.5.1727

Jegede, J. O., & Ugodulunwa, C. A. (1997). Effects of achievement motivation and study habits on.. Journal Of Psychology131(5), 523.

Nonis, S. A., & Hudson, G. I. (2010). Performance of college students: Impact of study time and study habits. Journal Of Education For Business85(4), 229-238. doi:10.1080/08832320903449550

Study skills for adult students. (n.d.). Barry University. Retrieved April 13, 2018, from https://www.barry.edu/pace/current-students/resource-guide/study-skills.html

Weimer, M. (2010, September 23). Study time and study habits. Faculty Focus. Retrieved April 13, 2018, from https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-and-learning/study-time-and-study habits/

Today’s Accomplishments Or Yesterday’s Possibilities?

If you have read the My Career: OT page, you know that I am currently enrolled at Elizabethtown College! My motivations throughout my college search and time spent here as a student have and will continue to fluctuate. So why did I originally choose Etown? A lot of reasons actually… I thought it was the perfect college.

When I had first heard of Etown, I remember thinking, It’s perfect! This has got to be where I belong. I played field hockey all throughout high school, and it has also been a passion that lies deep in my heart. I also knew that I wanted to become an occupational therapist. An art minor would suit that major appropriately as well. Art, like field hockey, has been something I have been involved in since I was a little girl. In high school, I took things to the next level and passed two AP courses with a portfolio score of 5 both times. Besides all this, I grew up in a small town with a small school in small town country PA. Etown could not be more perfect for me; it had exactly what I needed and wanted. Etown has one of the finest 5-year OT programs in the country. It also has a fantastic art program, and the school itself is a part of “small town country PA.” It is also very close to my home. The school only has about a thousand students total, making it the perfect little community for me. Because it was such a small school, it had field hockey, but the sports were listed as Division III. This title could not be a greater fit for me. I knew I wanted to focus more on my education rather than sports and DIII schools really promote this. So, seeing that the school was small, in a rural area, close to home, had a great OT and art program, and had DIII field hockey, what more could I possibly want? I took my first visit, and as soon as I stepped on campus, I was head over heels for the place. I did not even want to apply anywhere else. I continued my visits by going to field hockey games, going on overnight stays, and being there for other future student events. It was hard to keep me away. I looked at other schools like Misericordia and Shenandoah, but they just weren’t Etown. They were good schools, both similar to Etown, but nothing had that fit for my wings like the BlueJay nest.

Now I’m here, an Etown BlueJay, and I think I regret a lot of the lack of motivation to look at other schools I had. Now that I’m here, I do wish I would have chosen a bigger school. Here, things are too similar to home. I thirst for more. I thirst for a new, thrilling, and bigger environment. Everyone here knows each other. There is not much to do on the weekends unless you leave. If there is something to do, it is not something you have not done before. Although I say these things, it does not make me love Etown any less. I love that I am a BlueJay. I love the programs and the people here. Sometimes, as much as I say I want to leave, I know I never could. But take it from me when I say this, do not jump to conclusions. Take your time, do your research, and be absolutely sure you are making the right decision.

Besides finding the motivation to choose a college, I must have motivation as a full-time working college student. When doing my homework or trying to focus on something for class, I really need to find the motivation to keep myself going rather than watching tv or surfing the web – kinda similar to what I’m doing right now. I could very well be out shopping with friends to buy my long-wanted African Dwarf Frogs to accompany my betta fish (which is very real – perhaps I shall do that this Friday), but instead, I sit here and do my assignments. My motivation for school has a lot to do with my future. Most of the time I work as soon as possible because I know the sooner I get my work done, the more time I will have for the weekend. Test-wise, I know that the more I prepare, the better grade I will get. As for long-term, I want to get good grades and have an even better GPA so I get hired after I graduate. I really want to find a good place to work while doing what I enjoy. I want to make good money and be happy so that I can have a nice place to live and a great foundation for adventuring with the man I love. Then, I want to have the wedding of my dreams. Eventually, I also want to provide enough for a family with him as well. I want to have kids for mine and my parents sake. If I work hard in life, I know I can shoot for bigger things when I’m younger, and I won’t have to be disappointed by saying that my goals were out of reach. If I make big goals, I push myself harder. My motivation has to do with how badly I want something. I come up with a plan, and I push myself so that I can do it. I can do anything if I set my mind to it.

What motivates you, Core Techs?

-B

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Photo courtesy of Hailey Hoke – Hanover Photographer

–> aka Personal High School Survival Partner… CHECK HER OUT!!! www.haileyhokephoto.com

What Do People Think of You?

Johari Window is an online program that helps you learn about your personality and how others see you compared to how you see yourself. For me, choosing only five or six personality traits was difficult. I narrowed some options down and ended up choosing six that seemed most relevant to me. Although this is true, many people chose different options than I, and it was very interesting to see what others thought of me. Most of the results were similar to what I was stuck between or would have chosen. Overall, the terms used to describe me most were caring, energetic, extroverted, friendly, and sympathetic. I would say that all of these characteristics suit me very well. I like to believe that people understand I care a lot about them. I also like to reach out to people and make new friends, so it would make sense that I am both extroverted and friendly. An important part of me that adds to me being so outgoing is how energetic I am. I always like to be enthusiastic about things, even when I am exhausted or sad on the inside. Showing my image to other people is extremely important to me because moods affect not only how people perceive you, but it affects their moods as well. Trying to understand people, be there for them, and simply listen are characteristics I am thankful I have. These make me into the sympathetic person other people would I agree I am. Other characteristics people chose about me that I did not choose for myself were cheerful, confident, kind, loving, silly, and trustworthy. I agree that I am most of these things, but I definitely fake my confidence. I actually have very low self-esteem, but most of the time, I can fake confidence pretty well. This is both a good and bad trait about me. If I can fake my emotions, it is easier to not stand out and also to look less nervous when presenting ideas or meeting new people. Although this is true, if I am feeling sad and others cannot tell, who will be there to support me? When no one realizes I am having a bad day, I will have no one but myself, and when I am alone, I will only have myself to blame. I do not try to be cheerful and silly, or even loving and kind, but these are just things that come naturally to me. I do not think about it much, but I really do try to put my heart and soul into everything I do. One last characteristic that was mentioned that I chose for myself but others did not choose for me was reflective. I believe that in everything I do I am very appreciative and I like to dwell and remember what I have done. I also like to analyze situations. I am definitely a philosopher at heart simply because it is something I purely enjoy.

The Johari Window has allowed me to learn more about myself and what others think of me. The fact that I could only choose five or six traits about me made me really think about who I think I am as a person. A lot of people chose the same thing I did, but it also made me realize I possess I really neat quality that people do not know I have. It also good to see how people view you and what they think about you. I am happy people see me through these characteristics because that is primarily how I would like to be seen. This test is very accurate if the people who take the survey are being honest. I think the survey is great not only because of the variety of options there are, but also the number of options. There are not too many options, and there are also not too few. By using this link, I have managed to learn a lot about my personality. If you would like to learn more about yourself and what others think of you, I would highly recommend the Johari Window.

Here is my link if you would like to contribute! https://kevan.org/johari?view=brooke+zehr

Have you grabbed yourself a Johari Window link yet, Core Techs?

-B

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Who Are You? – Mixed Media; 2017 Portfolio

6 Keys to an Almost Stress-Free Life

If you are a current college student like me, you must know how stressful it is to be working full-time. We have long days, short nights, and weekends that definitely do not seem like they last at least 48 hours. We are constantly studying and doing school work, whether it is in the library, in a dorm, or in the cafe. Actually, students like us basically study anytime anywhere. There really is no “break.” Alongside athletics and other club events too, things just seem to pile up a mile high. So no matter who you are, we all know you are not invisible, and as a full-time college student, stress is inevitable.

As for myself, I am constantly getting involved in things. I am a field hockey player on the college team, a member of the Student Occupational Therapy Association and other clubs, and usually highly involved in things around campus. I always have my nose in something because otherwise, I will get bored. Although this is true, I still need to find time to relax, and with everything I want to be a part of, it just seems like there is no time to sit back and chill. With everything I do, I have definitely had to learn to cope with my stress. Here are a few things I do:

  1. TALK
    • I cannot express how important this is. Having someone just to sit down and talk to makes a world of a difference. Talk about your day. Talk about your homework or classes. Talk about what is bothering you. Literally, talk about anything. Talking is so essential – it’s our nature as humans. People always need other people, so communication has always been a huge part of our species. One thing I have learned over the years from struggling with depression is that if you choose to bottle things up instead of talking to other people, you will eventually crack and everything is going to spill. Find someone you trust – I know it can be hard, but the world is not as terrible as you think it might be.
  2. RUN/DANCE/BE ACTIVE
    • As a current college athlete, I have found a passion of mine to be in exercising. I love to run, weight lift, or simply be active. When I run, I put my earbuds in, jam out, and lose the outside world. I don’t have to think about anything. It’s so simple; just breathe. Run off your anger and your problems. If you’re not much of a runner, try weight lifting! I really love this activity, and I try to do it every day. It allows me to really take out my stress or anger by channeling all my power into the machine. Not only will this help you calm down afterward because all your build-up has been released, but it is also really good for your body! If these activities are not quite your style, try something like Zumba or Pound! In both of these activities, I really feel the beat and the rhythm. I know I’m absolutely horrible at dancing, and when it comes to hitting sticks (if you are confused, I am referring to Pound), I am surprisingly uncoordinated. Everyone there is in a big group, and honestly, no one cares how you look. It is so much fun and I cannot help but smile as my friends and I look ridiculous together or even if I look ridiculous on my own. Even still, if these activities seem too extreme, yoga is always a go-to. It is simple, relaxing, and peaceful. You focus on breathing and your poses and that’s it. It is completely unique and completely you. Even if you don’t want to try yoga, stretching, in general, is a great alternative.
  3. DIY
    • Okay Pinterest lovers, this one is for you. I love to be creative; I’m actually pursuing a minor in Studio Art! Drawing and painting are one of my all-time favorite things to do. I love letting my creative expressions out. It’s very calming, and if I put on music, I can jam out while painting too. If you’re not much of a painter, try coloring books for adults! You know what I’m talking about… Those mandala books with the super cool designs?! They are so convenient and great. I actually got my grandma one with some colored pencils, and before she recently passed away, that was her thing. She loved to color for hours on end. She was lonely and living by herself towards the end of her years, and these coloring books really brought her joy and gave her something to do. If you still don’t feel like drawing and such, try some do-it-yourself! On Pinterest, there is a whole other world of things to do. You can make string art, book crafts, stress bottles, and more. Seriously – if you haven’t been on Pinterest yet, even if you’re a dude, check it out RIGHT NOW!!
  4. ORGANIZE
    • I am a stickler for being organized. I have things in my backpack ordered from front to back, my pens and pencils grouped together with rubber bands, my shirts ordered in my closet by style, and even my socks and underwear separated by a cubby-style organizer in my drawer. Okay, TMI, but seriously, organizing lets me feel clean and relaxed. My roommate and I have a very clean room with things put in certain places. Neither of us has OCD, it is just something we enjoy doing. Having a clean and organized environment is really good for your brain too. It allows us to clear out clutter and access things easily. If you like being scatter-brained, hey, that’s fine! Reorganizing or going through my stuff is just one other thing that helps me personally destress.
  5. MEDITATE
    • I love to meditate. When I actually have time, that is… I would really love to do it more than I actually do. Although this is true, meditation is nothing to be afraid of. It is actually quite simple once you get the hang of it. The way I started meditating was through an app. There are plenty of free apps out there to assist you. If you don’t want to download anything, maybe try to find a meditation program at your college or in your community. I know my college has plenty of programs to help kids relax and unwind. There is a lot to learn from meditation, so I highly recommend you try it!
  6. SMILE
    • Alright, this might be a little cheesy, but if you force yourself to smile, things actually get a little brighter. You must be thinking, No way, B. You’re insane. But seriously, try it! Having a bad day? Force yourself to smile. Feeling sad about something? Force yourself to smile. Angry at the world? FORCE YOURSELF TO SMILE! I know the idea seems awkward, but it really does work. I read it somewhere online, and since then, I use it as a last resort. It seems to work for me! I’m not really sure how it works for everyone, but I know for me personally, it is just the fact that I’m forcing myself to smile and that seems incredibly stupid and ridiculous. I look like an idiot and then I laugh about it. It is kind of similar to trying to laugh without smiling – you should try that too.

Not all of these things will give you a perfect life, but if you try and try again, I can guarantee you will feel a little better. Stress hits everyone differently, and there are always new methods to try for coping. Never give up and never stop looking for solutions. I can promise you that eventually, something will come up.

How do you manage your stress, Core Techs?

-B

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Stress Management – Recycled Art; 2017 Portfolio

Personality – The Original Personal Property

I took four personality tests to try and determine what kind of personality I have. The first two tests were focused on the Extraversion vs Introversion, Intuition vs. Sensing, Feeling vs. Thinking, and Judging vs. Perceiving. Ironically, for both tests, I received the same exact results of ENFJ. Apparently, I choose to be significantly more extroverted than introverted. I also have a slight preference for intuition over sensing and a moderate preference for feeling over thinking. Lastly, I have a slight preference for judging over perceiving. Ultimately, these tests say that I am someone who connects well with people, and because of that, I can communicate, relay messages, and convince people easily. I believe in myself and my dreams, but I also see myself as someone who assists others. I tend to look forward and see a bigger picture. I am good at handling things and taking on responsibilities. Relationships are very important to me. I tend to have a strong appreciation for people, and I often put others before myself. Sometimes, I take more than I can bear, but I do everything for the love of other people.

These test results describe me extremely accurately. I tend to care a lot about people and I would do anything for them, even if it puts me at risk. I do have a lot of dreams for the future, and I long to see the world. I value relationships and try to be a leader in most situations. I have taken this test in the past twice now, and still, I end up with the same exact results of ENFJ. I would say that because of that, the tests structured like that are very accurate and trustworthy.

The other tests I took were different. The third test was one telling me about what was my strongest area of interest and how significantly it influenced me. It was similar to the other tests but structured differently. It said the same things in unique ways. Apparently, I am very extroverted, meaning that I am drawn towards people, and I love to develop relationships. I would say that this is extremely accurate as I take a high interest in others and I hate to be alone. The third test made sense, but it was a lot harder to understand than the first and second tests. Although this is true, I think it was still very accurate. The final test was a color test. The first round, it told me to simply choose colors. It did not give any further instruction. Then, it made me wait 100 seconds or so until I was to conduct the same operation again, but this time I was to choose colors in the order that they made me the happiest. I am pretty sure I chose the same exact colors in the same exact order. I do not know how trustworthy this test was because that was all there was to it. Even still, the analysis was very interesting. It told me that I am someone who is typically very concerned with the future. I also am often stressed when things get in my way, whether it be relationships or responsibilities. I tend to be harder on myself than need be, I get stressed easily, and I get stressed more often than I should. I do get stressed a lot, but I do not necessarily think of it being more often than I should. Who knows though, maybe I am more stressed than the average person, I just handle it better. I would not say that these results are the most important to me, but they are not inaccurate. I am nervous about the future, and certain things such as relationships do scare me when I think about the outcomes.

Overall, taking these personality tests was very fun. Although I have taken them before, it is interesting to see how I remain consistent over time. These personality tests are very helpful as they help me learn more about myself. The more I learn about myself, the more appreciative and accepting I become. Sometimes the features I think are negative for me I actually find are there for an important reason. I also realize that where I may lack in something, I am stronger in something else. Diving into the realm of personalities is a fascinating trip because there are so many unique sights to see.

Here are the tests in case you are interested in taking them!

  1. http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp
  2. http://www.personalitytest.net/cgi-bin/q.pl
  3. http://personality-testing.info/tests/BIG5.php
  4. http://colorquiz.com/

What were your results, Core Techs?

-B

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*Art from my 2016 AP portfolio

Roots of Addiction

“At the root of all addiction is pain.” -Anon.

Many people in today’s world struggle with addiction, and as the years go by, drugs seem easier to access. In fact, cases of drug usage and overdosing has actually increased in the past few years. As this effect is increasing, events such as the opioid crisis continue to happen and take more lives every single day. When treating addiction, typically two methods are present: the cold turkey, or slow reduction. These methods are more commonly known as abstinence and the harm reduction model. Abstinence teaches people that they should stop usage immediately and not go back to it at all. It is supposed to completely erase any possibilities. Although this is true, many of us know how hard it is to just drop something and quit. Instead, methods that can make it easier for a person to stop causing harm to themselves is to slowly wane them off it. For example, it is much harder for smokers to quit smoking right away and be completely done with it rather than using nicotine patches or other substances to help them gradually decrease their usage. So, most of us would think “If one method is easier and more effective than the other, why aren’t we using it?” And that is exactly the question to be asked.

In schools, almost everyone has to take some form of sex education. Most schools teach abstinence, meaning that a person should completely avoid sex at all costs. In other rare cases, sex education programs will teach their students the risks of having intercourse, but along with the risks come prevention plans. In this matter, students are aware that they have the option to have sex, but it does come with risks of pregnancy, sexual diseases, physical, social, and mental harm as well. Although this is true, these students are equipped with information that students who practice abstinence are not. Students who choose to perform in sex typically go in without a shield if they were taught abstinence, but students who were taught about protection were often more safe than the other students. The students who were taught protection often go into sex with some form of defense against pregnancy and sexual diseases. Some forms of protection are condoms and different types of birth control. Studies ultimately show that schools who practice abstinence have higher pregnancy rates than those who practice protection and education.

So how do we relate this back to drug abuse? Well, if a person who is told to go “cold turkey,” they may end up having serious withdrawal effects. They will have a much harder time fighting back, and they are more likely to give in to the urges in the end. Despite this, people who choose to slowly wane off drugs by using substitutes are usually better off. They struggle too, but the end results are more conclusive. If someone I loved was struggling with drug abuse, I would tell them to try using the harm reduction model. Therapy and other forms of assistance which recognize a weakness and need for the drugs help many drug abusers. Realizing the problem is the start to the solution. We cannot tell opioid abusers to simply go out and “quit.” It is unimaginably hard. Instead, suggestions such as talk, drug, and other forms of therapy may be of higher quality because it lets the addict know it is okay to struggle and it is okay to be weak. It is also okay to cave in. One cannot give up, but there are easier methods to help someone cope.

Overall, I believe that the harm reduction method is much more effective than the abstinence model. The harm reduction model allows drug users to have a weakness. It allows them to be more human. Abstinence practice often come across as impossible. In fact, statistics show that the abstinence model is much less effective than the harm reduction model. So instead of trying to hide the truth and make life harder, let’s start giving the facts and educating people. Once people can admit they have a problem and they know all about it, it can make quitting that much easier.

Which plan do you think is better, Core Techs?

-B

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To Love or To Leave

Often times, one of the questions raised in divorce is “Do I love or do I leave?” Husband and wives wonder if they should continue to put up with the hell of a marriage they are in so their child will not be forced into drama, switching households, and separation from mom or dad. They do not want their child to feel as though they have to choose which parent to love. Although this is true, if they stay in the relationship, the concern is that the children would pick up on bad relationship habits. So many issues arise in divorce and the main decision maker comes down to the kids. Many arguements have been made as to whether or not divorce is truly that terrible for children.

Some articles claim that there is “no such thing as an intelligent divorce.” Other sites claim that there are healthy ways to leave a marriage without affecting children traumatically. So which side should be taken? An article from Psychology Today, “Divorce Hurts Children, Even Grown Ones,” written by Jann Gumbiner, claims that there are many negative, lasting impacts as a part of divorce. Due to her experience as being a child who has been involved in the divorce of her parents, she explains that it has affected her for years and still continues to do so. Many children often believe the divorce is their fault. The self-blame builds up, grades suffer, and friendships and relationships fail. The author also mentions how she was able to get into lots of trouble because her mother was depressed and did not care enough to supervise her daughter. Without the father around, there was no one else to watch Gumbiner. She also mentions how divorce effects do not happen after the fact, but instead, effects are noticed immediately – especially financially. According to Gumbiner, “Psychological theory of the 70s was heavily influenced by Maslow and self-actualization theory. People believed that it was OK to get divorced for self-growth. It was OK for parents to leave families to pursue a dream of happiness.” She rejects this idea immediately and says that divorce is selfish. The children get left behind, are minors, and are dependent. The adults are supposed to be the responsible ones – not the kids. Divorce has left on impact on Gumbiner forever; she states that when she went into a marriage, the first thing she realized was that divorce was a possibility. In any sense, this author believes that divorce leaves negative impacts on the offspring for a lifetime. Another article that states the negative effects on children is called “The Nurse Sees It First.” This author explains that nurses in all kinds of facilities end up seeing the negative effects on children after a divorce. Things can range from children being depressed, anxious, or even physically sick. The author reports that nurses see “reactions that suggest psychopathology, such as night terrors, tics, enuresis, depressive signs, and symptoms, regression, and failure to cope.” Among other symptoms come bad relationship-developing skills, fear, anger, grief, exaggerated behaviors, and more. Often times, divorce shows to negatively impact children’s social and mental growth. It slows both down and decreases their abilities to cope and understand.

Although many people believe divorce has a negative impact on children, others believe it is better than staying in a bad marriage. “Why A Good Divorce Is Better Than A Bad Marriage For Kids” is an article providing claims as to why an unhappy marriage should be left in the dust. In this article, Brett Sember claims that divorce “is a far cry better than raising your children in a violent, abusive, angry, or deeply resentful marriage.” Sember remarks that if an unhappy marriage continues, a parent would be exposing their children to constant arguments and negative attitudes. Sometimes children can even be exposed to violence, resulting in potential abuse on them or others. Even if violence is not present in the home, it is still not an appropriate environment for children. Divorce allows kids to escape one messy household and move into two new ones. Although it is odd, it is better than being in an unsafe and unloving home. It also allows both parents to be seen without having to worry about fluctuating emotions. The parents are happier and everything is more calm. Children can also learn the idea of compromising through this experience. The article also says, “Parents who choose personal happiness teach their kids to do the same.” Another article about the positive affects of marriage is called “Stepmothers’ Role in Mediating Adverse Effects On Children of Divorce.” The author in this article explains that after a divorce, children do not necessarily have to suffer from the effects of losing a parent – more specifically, a mother. After a father has chosen to divorce his wife, children automatically feel disconnected from their mothers. This can offer many negative implications, however, if a stepmother is brought into the situation, sometimes these issues can get resolved. The research states, “Addressing role ambiguity, relationships, communication styles, and reorganization can help families avoid unnecessary stress during divorce and remarriage.” Stepmothers can help amend relationships with communication, pull the family back together, and organize the family back into a stress-free life.

All four articles seem relatively reliable. The first article, “Divorce Hurts Children, Even Grown Ones” was found on Psychology Today, a reliable magazine or website source. The author also has PhD credentials. Most importantly though, I believe this author to be reliable because she has first hand experience with being a child of divorce. Although this is true, at some points the article does seem heavily biased. She makes divorce seem so negative by making the reader feel bad. The second article that tries to prove divorce as having negative effects on children is called “The Nurse Sees It First.” This article provides much more scientific evidence than the first. In fact, this source is actually a study. It was conducted in offices where nurses encountered children of divorce and then repeated the effects seen with permission, of course. Many facts and statistics were used in this case. Here, bias is not present. Sources coming from the negative side of divorce seem pretty reliable, but what about the positive effects side? The first article, “Why A Good Divorce Is Better Than A Bad Marriage,” is reliable also due to its source. This article can be found on the website of the Huffington Post. Since this is a news website, many reviewers go over the information. Despite this, because it is a news source, bias can sometimes be found. This is not the case; this article seems to provide more facts than anything. If there is any bias in this article it is not strong or meant to persuade you with anecdotes. The last article, “Stepmothers’ Roles in Mediating Adverse Effects on Children of Divorce,” is a very reliable source because similar to the other, it has been located through a database and is also a research study. Data in collected on families who have gone through a divorce, and information is collected on what kind of effect a stepmother has had from the children’s perspective after a divorce. This source has been peer reviewed many times, provide facts and evidence, and seems to be a prime source.

Overall, I personally believe that divorce is a better option than an unhealthy marriage. Staying in an unhappy marriage causes a lot of problems for the kids. Not only does it expose them to fighting, but it also exposes them to a false sense of love. By choosing divorce, kids are automatically out of more danger than if they were leaving in a tense household. It allows them to develop a better understanding of comprising, and it also provides opportunities to see both parents in a happier and less violent stage. Although divorce is still hard on the kids, imagine if they had stayed in a home where parents constantly argued and put the children in danger. Not only does this put children at a risk for getting hurt, but it will also let them think that in the future, it will be okay to stay in a more abusive relationship. If their parents stuck it out, why shouldn’t they? “Fighting is normal.” Parents should be trying their hardest to give their children a successful future, not one that gives them a false sense of hope. Problems can be resolved after a divorce, but in a bad marriage, things likely do not get solved unless there is separation.

What do you think, Core Techs? Does divorce do more harm than good?

-B

Divorce

References

Gumbiner, J. (2011, October 31). Divorce hurts children, even grown ones. Psychology

Today. Retrieved February 21, 2018, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-

teenage-mind/201110/divorce-hurts-children-even-grown-ones

Oppawsky, J. (2014). The nurse sees it first the effects of parental divorce on children

and Adolescents. Annals Of Psychotherapy & Integrative Health, 1-8.

Sember, B. (2015, March 24). Why a good divorce is better than a bad marriage for kids.

Retrieved February 21, 2018, from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/brette-sember/why-a-

good-divorce-is-better-than-a-bad-marriage-for-kids_b_6925236.html

Zaharychuk, C. (2017). Stepmothers’ role in mediating adverse effects on children of

divorce. Journal Of Divorce & Remarriage58(5), 311-328.

doi:10.1080/10502556.2017.1301738

The Passport to the Future

Malcolm X once said, “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”

Everyone has different studying habits suited to help them learn best. For me, in particular, I am a very active and hands-on learner. Studying has always been a crucial part of my week. I try to start everything early so I can be very prepared. For example, after class, I take notes from the book and relate it to what we learned in class. Not only does this help keep me on track, but it also helps me retain information better. Although this is true, I think I would like to try previewing the notes before class so that during class, I am able to recall information and think about it on a more analytical level. Going back to the book, before I start taking notes, I skim the headings in the chapter to get ideas. If I see a heading, I try to think about it, what it might mean, what I might learn, and any information I already know about it. This helps me to recall specific information later on. Also, at the end of every chapter section, there are questions, terms, and other review materials. I try to answer all the questions and provide all the information I can without looking back at my notes. This is a part of the “testing effect,” according to my psychology book, and it does indeed assist me in studying. When a test is coming up, I review my notes, and quiz myself by either taking practice tests or making flash cards. Quizlet is also a really beneficial program that I would highly recommend. It gives you games and other options of “play” to learn. This is especially good for active learners, and really, almost anyone It is highly engaging and fun.

For the first exam in my psychology course, I did as mentioned above: reading from the book, taking notes, previewing sections, quizzing myself with review sections at the end of the chapter, and more. Before my exam, I reread my notes and tested myself on specific psychologists and what they were known for. I also looked carefully at terms. Once I took my exam, I felt that I was able to recall a good bit of information, but I ended up making a lot of small mistakes. I think during exams I manage to work myself up quite a bit. The grade I received was not at all what I was expecting. I put a lot of time into studying, but I think I need to concentrate more. I also need to have more confidence when going into my exam. A good way to help me think more analytically and concentrate more on what I am saying is to study by having a “discussion” with another student. They ask you questions, you put in your input, and so forth. Unfortunately, I did not find the time to do that for this exam. I plan to make more plans ahead of time to make sure I can do this before the next exam.

Overall, I feel that my study habits are very good. For the most part, I set aside time everyday to do my school work, and it is usually around the same time every day. Despite this, I need to start thinking more outside of the box on some of the practice questions. When quiz time comes around, the questions often require more deep and analytical thinking which I cannot always provide.

Hopefully my studying tips can inspire you and assist you on your learning journey, Core Techs!

-B

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