L is for Learned Helplessness and Locus of Control

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Learned helplessness is a psychological state that is brought about by an external locus of control and trauma. If you’ve not watched the videos (bad reader!), a person with a internal locus of control believes that they are largely in control of their circumstances and actions, a person with an external locus of control believes more in fate and allows themselves to be controlled by others.

Learned helplessness, then is a result of being in a situation where one has little to no control of the outcome. Even after resolutions are possible, the person has developed a reduced problem-solving capability and a sense of hopelessness. It’s believed that learned helplessness may be a contributing factor in depression, and is often behind a victim mentality.

So I will  raise my hand and admit that learned helplessness is a thing for me. While I could totally go into why, the end result is that actually being in control of my life is deeply, deeply dysphoric and I tend to traditionally seek out situations and people that just remove the burden of choice from me, generally to an unhealthy degree, and ADDITIONALLY I BEGIN TO RESENT THIS.

Or I guess I could just eternally seek the person/thing/chemical/idea that controls me in the right way, hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahapleaseendme.

Oy.

Life right now is really about enhancing my comfort in making my own decisions and being independent without running to some source of control.

Oh! The horse. That horse, as a colt, was tethered to an unmovable object. It has learned that when it is tethered, there is no escape. This is why we see a thousand lb animal stymied by a lawn chair.

Don’t be the lawn chair horse.

Articles on the after-effects of methamphetamine usage

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Don’t Believe Everything You See In The Media About Meth Addiction

 

Nonetheless, the only statistically significant cognitive finding was a correlation of hippocampal volume and performance on one of the four tasks. This finding is the basis for the claim that methamphetamine users had memory impairments, because the hippocampus is known to play a role in some long-term memory; but other brain areas are also involved in processing long-term memory. The size of these other areas was not different between the groups.

 

Deterioration of intelligence in methamphetamine-induced psychosis: Comparison with alcohol dependence on WAIS-IIIpcn_2

Long-term use of methamphetamine could also lead to the emergence of psychotic symptoms, such as paranoid ideation, persecutory delusion, auditory and visual hallucination and thereby to a diagnosis of methamphetamine-induced psychosis(MIP), which sometimes is difficult to differentiate from paranoid schizophrenia. Clinically, MIP is not an uncommon disorder in epidemic areas, and management is mainly focused on the amelioration of psychosis using antipsychotics, yet the complication of cognitive deterioration of the addicts is seldom noted.

In a well-designed study of the neuropsychological function of 78 amphetamine users, McKetin and Mattick reported that the severity of amphetamine dependence was found to be associated with poorer performance on both memory and attention/concentration indices of the Wechsler Memory Scale–Revised.

 

Chronic intake of ethanol both in human and rat results in a substantial impairment in memory function associated with a reduction in the number of cholinergic neurons in the basal forebrain that give rise to the cholinergic afferentation of the cortical
mantle. Neuropsychological studies have demonstrated poor functioning on tests of visuospatial, executive, and memory functioning in alcohol dependent (AD) adults compared with demographically matched controls.

What are the long-term effects of methamphetamine abuse?

Some of the neurobiological effects of chronic methamphetamine abuse appear to be at least partially reversible. In the aforementioned study, abstinence from methamphetamine resulted in less excess microglial activation over time, and abusers who had remained methamphetamine- free for 2 years exhibited microglial activation levels similar to the study’s control subjects. Another neuroimaging study showed neuronal recovery in some brain regions following prolonged abstinence (14 but not 6 months). This recovery was associated with improved performance on motor and verbal memory tests. But function in other brain regions did not recover even after 14 months of abstinence, indicating that some methamphetamineinduced changes are very long lasting. Moreover, methamphetamine use can increase one’s risk of stroke, which can cause irreversible damage to the brain. A recent study even showed higher incidence of Parkinson’s disease among past users of methamphetamine.

Effects of Length of Abstinence on Decision-Making and Craving in Methamphetamine Abusers

METH dependent individuals who were abstinent for longer periods of time exhibited better decision-making than those who were abstinent for shorter periods of time. And self-reported emotional symptoms improved with abstinence. METH abusers’ ratings of craving decreased with the duration of abstinence, while cue-induced craving increased until 3 months of abstinence and decreased at 6 months and 1 year of abstinence.

Is Cognitive Functioning Impaired in Methamphetamine Users? A Critical Review

.Importantly, although methamphetamine abusers performed significantly worse than controls on some cognitive tasks, their performance remained within the age- and education-matched normal range. Furthermore, previous discussions of the impact of methamphetamine-related effects on human cognition have neglected data from research assessing the immediate effects of the drug on cognitive performance. These studies can provide crucial complementary information because they assess cognitive performance immediately before and after administration of the drug. The rationale for this approach is that if methamphetamine produces cognitive deficits, one might predict that methamphetamine-induced disruptions would be observed following acute administration of large doses.

Substance-Induced Psychosis

This Is Your Brain on Meth: A ‘Forest Fire’ of Damage

D is for Drawing…

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(insert joke about giving you the d here)

One of the fundamentals of visual art is the ability to perceive correctly, and properly convey the message you are trying to send. If you’re a beginner or picking art back up again, it is beneficial to narrow your focus down to the essentials in the beginning. It’s also helpful to draw the world/objects around you and study light, relationships, honestly neglected a lot of this and it’s uh….don’t do that. :p Now I’m like 30 and I can draw faces, trees, non-terrible figure drawings (sometimes) , and abstract melty stripey shapes, and that’s about it.

Don’t neglect the fundamentals. :p

I’m going to focus more on pencil drawing here than anything else. It’s pretty inexpensive to start with, and by working in black and white, you really end up focusing on shading and composition more. Less stuff to worry about, really, it’s more important to practice consistantly rather than have the right stuff.

There’s both printed guides, and lessons on youtube. Generally there’s community resources, might be a good idea to drop in.

basic supplies:

A basic set of graphite drawing pencils, a kneaded eraser, and a drawing pad aren’t too much of an investment, really. If you’re just starting, there’s no need to be super-picky.

pencils: stadtler is good, prismacolor is generally good…

kneaded eraser: both fun to play with, and better at erasing than your standard pink square.

tortillions: for smoothing and blending

paper: here’s a guide on sketchbooks by medium.

resources:

Here’s a link to the ten best books for beginners

Drawing on the right side of the brain: This is somewhat of a classic, the theory with this one is that it teaches you to use the more spatial part of your brain, allowing you to see shading and relationships versus what the left brain tells you – moving you out of default shapes and cartoon-y type style.

Andrew Loomis guides: Older drawing guides, mostly based on figure drawing. They’re online!

SchaeferArt has a playlist for learning to draw…