alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.


Trump's malignant pattern: He woos people, rips them off and then abandons them — and he won't stop

This story first ran in August, 2017.

Keep reading... Show less

Religious Trauma Syndrome: How some organized religion leads to mental health problems

At age sixteen I began what would be a four year struggle with bulimia.  When the symptoms started, I turned in desperation to adults who knew more than I did about how to stop shameful behavior—my Bible study leader and a visiting youth minister.  “If you ask anything in faith, believing,” they said.  “It will be done.” I knew they were quoting the Word of God. We prayed together, and I went home confident that God had heard my prayers.  But my horrible compulsions didn’t go away. By the fall of my sophomore year in college, I was desperate and depressed enough that I made a suicide attempt. The problem wasn’t just the bulimia.  I was convinced by then that I was a complete spiritual failure. My college counseling department had offered to get me real help (which they later did). But to my mind, at that point, such help couldn’t fix the core problem: I was a failure in the eyes of God. It would be years before I understood that my inability to heal bulimia through the mechanisms offered by biblical Christianity was not a function of my own spiritual deficiency but deficiencies in Evangelical religion itself.

Keep reading... Show less

Here is the psychological condition that best explains Trump's twisted worldview

Trump’s ghostwriter put these words in the president’s mouth: "Money was never a big motivation for me, except as a way to keep score. The real excitement is playing the game."

Keep reading... Show less

Here's why a weird psychological trait can make shoppers turn violent in the Black Friday rush

Black Friday, the most celebrated shopping day of the year, abounds with tales of fistfights over discounted televisions or even stampedes as consumers rush to get that low-priced sweater they saw in an ad.

Keep reading... Show less

Here's What We Know About the Psychology of So-Called 'Lone Wolf' Attacks

Lone offender attacks – sometimes called “lone wolf” attacks – make headlines fairly regularly. It’s not just the single shooter killing 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue, but also shootings at a Las Vegas music festival and at Washington and Texas shopping centers. In Nice, France; Orlando, Florida; and elsewhere, atrocities committed by individuals apparently acting alone have surprised and concerned the public and authorities alike.

Keep reading... Show less

We Shouldn't Assume All 'Conspiracy Theories' Are False - Some Are All Too Real

Before 2012, if you had voiced suspicions that the Australian government had been anything but open and honourable in dealing with East Timor – its newly independent but impoverished neighbour – you would likely have been dismissed as a conspiracy theorist. But it was then revealed Australian Secret Intelligence Service agents had bugged East Timor’s cabinet office during treaty negotiations over oil and gas fields.

Keep reading... Show less

Psychologists Reveal a Common Bias that Explains Why So Many People Believe in False and Ridiculous Myths

As a constant barrage of news events and the spread of misinformation makes clear, human beings are far from ideal thinkers. They are prone to errors in judgment, bias, inconsistency, self-serving delusions, and fall prey to any number of conspiracy theories and other false beliefs. 

Keep reading... Show less

A Psychotherapist Explains When It's Acceptable for Mental Health Professionals to Break Patient Confidentiality

I was shaken and transfixed in the aftermath of the shootings at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Like most of those in the United States, prevention was on my mind. According to partial psychiatric records obtained by the Miami Herald, the shooter, Nikolas Cruz, confided ‘gory fantasies’ and dreams to a school therapist in 2014. The revelation set me to wondering: what else had Cruz revealed to all the therapists who, most likely, had interacted with him in the months or years before the attack? Because the danger of Cruz existed before his actual use of a gun in the attack, so did the opportunity for prevention. Where exactly and at what interval in the assembly line of caretakers and third-party involvement did this opportunity lie? Had I been working with him, what would I have done? 

Keep reading... Show less

Republicans Can't Tell the Difference Between Honesty and Truth - And They're Putting Us in Danger

Honesty: Expressing your feelings and opinions accurately.
Truth: Accurate representation of reality.

Keep reading... Show less

Many People Fully Recover from Depression - But Scientists Are Ignoring the Positive Data

In the wake of suicides by Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, we as a nation are newly sobered by depression’s threat to the public health. Depression is a common mood condition considered by the World Health Organization to be the leading cause of disability worldwide, ahead of widely publicized contenders such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Reading the news today, you will learn that depression leads to self-harm and suicidal thoughts, drug overdoses, school shootings and altercations with the police. Can this darkest of human frailties ever point the way to something better?

Keep reading... Show less

Stuck In a Rut? Here's How to Get Out of It

They got fed up with each other and divorced, confident that they would each find better partners. They found new partners but in the end, no real improvement.

She was raised devout Catholic and broke free into new age spirituality which she practiced as dogmatically as a Catholic.

They were sick of the government swamp and voted for a conman who said he would drain it, only to end up with a worse swamp.

He rebelled against convention’s straitjacket, committing himself to anarchy which he now practices with the same orthodoxy he rebelled against.

He was a heroic rebel leader who overthrew the dictator, then becoming the next dictator.

Keep reading... Show less