APA Blog

Category : PTSD

Sense of Smell, Memories and Emotions

Many people have had the experience of a familiar smell bringing up a memory or a feeling. That is just one of several ways our sense of smell is associated with mental health and emotions. Memories associated with a specific odor may be particularly strong. In writing about the relation of these odor-evoked memories to our mental health, psychologist Rachel Herz, Ph.D., concludes that “from numerous perspectives it is evident that the autobiographical memories and emotional associations that are triggered by odors are essential to our psychological and physiological health.”

Men, Women, and Differing Responses to Stress

Stress affects people in several ways—it activates adrenaline and other hormones, the nervous system and immune system. While not all stress is harmful, and some can even be beneficial, chronic or toxic stress can contribute to health problems. “Men and women react differently to toxic stress because their brains are wired differently,” notes Bruce McEwen, Ph.D., of The Rockefeller University, * “and therefore they may be at risk for different stress-related illnesses.” For example, as a result of chronic stress, women may be more likely to experience symptoms of depression while men may be more likely to develop problems with substance use. 

Helping Children Through Play

Play is natural and fun for children and an important part of learning and development. Play therapy is a therapy used by licensed mental health professionals to help children to better express their thoughts and emotions and to address a variety of problems. When children are unable to put into words their feelings or concerns, play can help them express themselves and learn ways to cope.  

Choice and Control over Mental Health Services Can Lead to Better Outcomes

When people have some choice and control over their mental health care, they have better outcomes. That is the conclusion of a couple of recent studies looking at different aspects of choice in treatment and care.

Emotional Support a Critical Part of Care for Breast Cancer Survivors

Women diagnosed with breast cancer not only face the physical challenges of the cancer and the treatment, but also often experience psychological distress and symptoms of anxiety and depression. As the American Cancer Society notes, some amount of depression, anxiety, and fear is normal, and some women are more affected than others.