Depression

Suicide Prevention Awareness: How to Ask

This month is suicide prevention awareness month. Statistics show that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, and for every suicide, there are 25 attempts. There are many myths about suicide, and I believe there is one myth in particular that must be discussed.

Myth:
If I ask someone directly if they are thinking about suicide, I might make them think about it or act on it.
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Addiction

The Dangers of Rising Adderall Abuse among Teens

Call it a case of unintended consequences. Twenty years ago, the prescription medication Adderall debuted as a treatment for narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A stimulant, with amphetamine as its active ingredient, Adderall helped sufferers of narcolepsy stay awake, but it also increased mental focus and endurance for those diagnosed with ADHD.

Because of its effectiveness and relatively mild side effects, Adderall quickly became a common treatment for ADHD. But as its popularity increased, use of Adderall also began spreading beyond the people it was intended for. Today, students without ADHD regularly take Adderall as a study aid, in order to work longer and later than they would be able to otherwise. In 2009, 5 percent of American high school students were using Adderall for non-medical reasons, according to a University of Michigan Study—a rate that increased to 7 percent in 2013. A recent review of multiple studies published in the journal Postgraduate Medicine estimated that up to 10 percent of high school students and 5 to 35 percent of college students are misusing stimulants.
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Brain and Behavior

The Brain Has a Mind of Its Own

It doesn’t take an encounter with a bear or a threatening gun to trigger symptoms of the fight or flight response. I experienced similar phenomena when undergoing a consultation with a surgeon for an elective, life-altering surgery.

Her bedside manner exuded a cold, indifferent and detached attitude. With barely a glance at me, she entered the consulting room and settled into her chair. A few perfunctory questions and she did her due diligence by rattling off the risks involved with a robotic monotone that had been programmed into her. A few hasty and superficial parting words and the meeting ended abruptly.

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Family

Coping When You Have a Narcissistic Parent

Jaci came to see me one month before the christening of her niece, for whom she was honored to be named godmother.

Jaci could turn off the familiar anxiety video playing in her head. This is what Jaci imagined would happen at the christening, given her past experience with her narcissistic mother, Betsy.

Jaci would be taking with friends and family at the party after the service, having successfully avoided her mother’s company at church. She’d be feeling happy. It would be a joy to hold the baby and know her sister trusted her to be godmother. Then, Betsy appears at her side, cutting into the conversation.
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Disorders

Don’t Self-Diagnose, But Do Self-Refer

The internet has put entire libraries of information about mental health right at our fingertips. It's now possible to go online and learn about any mental health disorder you can name, take questionnaires looking at your symptoms, and even read the scientific literature if you feel like it.
In fact, with so much information a click away, it can be tempting to cut therapists and psychiatrists out of the process altogether. Why go to the trouble...
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Anxiety and Panic

Banished From the Bed: How to Overcome Sleep Cravings

“Just let me lie in bed for another five minutes,” I groan to my mother.

She mumbles before acquiescing. I turn over, spooning the pillow. We have had this conversation before.

For the anxious and depressed, sleep is our salve. It is a temporary reprieve from uncomfortable memories and feelings.

As I crawl into bed, I justify my sleeping patterns. “Well, lounging in bed may be counter-productive. But at least I am not abusing alcohol or drugs,” I rationalize.
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Books

The #1 Thing You Need to Do When You Are Stuck in a Rut

"Many people are in a rut and a rut is nothing but a grave."

Have you ever heard this quote before? It came from the mouth of Vance Havner, and it sure packs a punch! Feeling unhappy is something we like to avoid, but it happens to all of us at some point. Feeling miserable and being stuck there is bound to happen as well. The very nature of life guarantees us times when we will feel this way, no matter what we do.

So how do we climb out of this dark place when our turn comes? What is the quickest way to go from miserable to happy? New York Times best selling authors Esther and Jerry Hicks believe we can climb out of any situation by taking one step. In their book The Astonishing Power of Emotions, they reveal how following the right thoughts can take us to unimaginable heights.
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Creativity

Be Smart About Time: 7 Tips to Use It Wisely

“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” – William Penn

While we know that time is precious and a scarce resource, reflect for a minute at how often we find ourselves wasting the time we have. Frittering away hours at the computer, playing video games, watching endless hours of TV, and any number of other voracious time-wasting activities can leave you feeling edgy, restless and incomplete.

Nothing good comes from deliberate squandering of time. Note that this isn’t the same as when you consciously choose to engage in a hobby or pastime or recreational or leisure activity. Everyone needs time to play, to rest and recharge, and to gain a new perspective on life. Play time helps you lower stress levels, eases tension, and provides the opportunity to see things clearer and without distraction. Solutions come easier after you take the time you need to play.
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Addiction

Psychology Around the Net: September 24, 2016


Well, it's finally fall, y'all!

Though my neck of the woods is still squeezing out every last drop of 90-degree weather it can.

If you're chilling at home like I am (and hey, even if you're not you can check them out later!), take a minute to catch up on the latest about a possible connection between internet addiction and mental health issues, how to cure your fear of flying, a new plan for schools to support students' mental health problems, and more.

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Addiction

Vulnerability Equates to Success

As a society, we tend to hide from being vulnerable. We are taught from an early age to be strong, be confident, to be anything but vulnerable. This thinking, however, is flawed. Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage. It is not weakness.

When we are vulnerable, we are showing courage. We are thinking with our brains while also using our intuition. We are creating change and learning to adapt. We are, in the best sense, living. So, if we are afraid of being vulnerable, are we afraid of truly living?

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Books

Getting to Know Your 3 Brains Part 5: The Challenges to Becoming Aware

Read more about getting to know your three brains: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

For most of us, at least initially, there exists an uphill battle to pay attention to our three brains -- even though it is ultimately very good for us. Since the foremost goal of humans (from an evolutionary standpoint) is to survive external danger, we are biased to attend to the external world. Looking inside takes willfulness.

Yet, we know that when our Self is aware of our three brains and “talks” to them, all of us think, feel and function better. Why then, do so many people continue to suffer when working with the three brains could help? Many good reasons!
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Anxiety and Panic

Two Ways to Put the Brakes on Your Anxiety

Our human instinct is to react and push back when we feel pain and discomfort. When we struggle with anxiety, those feelings are magnified. Our inherent response is to try and get rid of unpleasant feelings and sensations immediately. But does it really work?

This is an important question, and ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) teaches that fighting the discomfort can actually make the situation worse. Mental health providers practicing ACT often use the quicksand metaphor, and the reaction we naturally would have if we were ever caught in it. Even though we know it makes matters worse when we panic and try to get out quickly, our survival mechanisms tell us differently.
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