Addiction

How Pornography Can Hurt Your Sex Life

Viewership of internet pornography has exploded in the last decade, and debates about it can get pretty touchy. When sex addiction therapists talk about porns proliferation, we often get attacked for supposedly pathologizing normal sexual behavior, or for excusing “bad” behavior.

The reality is, whether it is labeled sex addiction or something else, porn use can get out of control to the point of causing serious problems. It can be the sexual version of a gateway drug, pulling people into compulsive cyber-sex use. People lose jobs and families. It can take over someone to the extent that he or she no longer ventures past it, is no longer able to have sex with another, whether online or in person.
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Celebrities

What Tig Notaro’s New Show Gets Right about Child Sexual Abuse

In the new Amazon series One Mississippi, loosely based on the life of comedian Tig Notaro, she finds herself living back home in Mississippi following the sudden death of her mother. Staying in her childhood home with her stepfather, Bill, and her adult brother, Remy, Tig isn’t just facing the grief of losing her mother, she’s recovering from breast cancer, which resulted in a double mastectomy, and suffering from a C. diff infection. She’s also dealing with the ghosts of her past. Tig -- as she's also called on the show -- was molested by her grandfather throughout her childhood.

Although it's estimated that
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Children and Teens

What ‘Stranger Things’ Can Teach Us about Parenting

If you are one of the few out there who have not seen it: Stranger Things is a science fiction series that is very reminiscent of "The Goonies." The story takes place in 1983 and the central plot line follows a group of four boys. In the first episode, one of the four boys goes missing. The three remaining best friends do their best to find and rescue their friend. They do so independent of adults. They work together as a team (mostly) and it all involves a lot of bike-riding. We all love the nostalgia in this throw-back drama. As an instructor of college courses in Infant and Child Development, I was immediately hooked on how the show depicted the preadolescent gang of boys.

Prior to the disappearance of their friend, the main characters spend their free-time riding bikes and playing Dungeons and Dragons, a table-top role-playing game. After the disappearance, they use the skills learned through years of friendship and freedom to participate in their own mystery man-hunt. If these kids survive what they are up against, every major CEO would want to hire them. They are smart, creative, team-players who are confident in their abilities to solve problems.
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Brain and Behavior

Why I Prescribe Pokemon Go for My Patients

This week, the parent of one of my patients asked me about Pokémon Go. She was concerned with her child’s obsession and felt like this could lead to social or emotional problems.

Electronics, as with most things, are good in moderation -- but Pokémon Go isn’t your average video game. Unlike games that keep people glued to the couch, Pokémon Go requires people to get up, move around, and interact with others. What that means to me as a child psychiatrist is that it comes with a variety of health benefits. Exercise is as good for the brain as it is for the rest of the body. I’ve seen people walking, riding their bikes, and finding more excuses to get outside because of Pokémon Go.

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Habits

When Perseverance Costs You Success

Most of us know that persevering -- staying the course and not giving up despite difficulties and setbacks -- is an important part of what it takes to be successful in many areas of life. Intelligence, or talent, alone isn’t enough if you cannot persevere and weather frustration and challenges.

But perseverance, like other intrinsically healthy behaviors, can be taken too far and actually work against moving forward. When this happens, what may look like constructive perseverance functions behind the scenes as an unconscious attempt to avoid loss or avoid the positive risks required to progress to the next chapter. Another issue masquerading as perseverance, particularly with bright, driven people who are used to getting it right, is the compulsive need to prove themselves or restore a feeling of omnipotence.
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Anger

4 Ways To Stop Overthinking Your Mistakes

You know how when you trip walking down the street, it feels like the entire cityscape of people is staring at you in amusement? Or when you’ve worn the same pair of pants three times in one week, you’re completely paranoid your colleagues are judging you for your lack of fashion sense (or cleanliness)? What about when you fumble over your words in a presentation, and then can’t stop thinking about how every person in the room now thinks you’re a terrible speaker?

As human beings with egos and an innate self-awareness of our own feelings, actions and thoughts, we tend to notice and greatly exaggerate our flaws while assuming everyone around us has a microscope focused on our faults, mistakes and slip-ups. In truth, other people don’t notice them nearly as much as we assume. Why? Because they’re too busy noticing and greatly exaggerating their own flaws!
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General

To Be Average Is to Be Happy: A Lesson from the Danes

Ah, Denmark: the little Scandinavian country that is home to tall, beautiful blondes, tastefully designed homes, students who get paid to go to university -- and some of the world's happiest people.

For a country that seems to have it all, the Danes have an unusual way of remianing humble about their good fortune. Sure, it could be their extremely high taxes, dark and dreary winter weather, or that they’ve lost more wars in history than possibly any other country, that keeps them grounded, but many suspect it’s an unusual little law known as the Jante Law that keeps the Danes’ heads on straight. (Many Danes claim that Jante Law isn’t all that serious, and some are even embarrassed by it, but it continues to play a role in defining Danish culture and values.)

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Anger

6 Tips for Cutting Off Contact with Narcissistic Family Members

Our family has the ability to frustrate us like no one else can. But what can you do when the family you were born into is not only frustrating, but cruel, condescending and downright abusive?

We all have our limits and if you were raised in a household where abuse or mental illness was part of everyday life for you, your willingness to tolerate your family’s bad behavior may be higher than most people’s.

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Brain and Behavior

Your Life: Are You Winning or Losing?

Many of us have given up on ourselves. We've given up on our ability to manage who we want to be and how we want to live. Modern life comes with a plethora of distractions. Abandoning the potential of our own lives has become the new normal.

I'd like to offer another way: viewing life as a poker game, with mindfulness as your poker face. One of the goals of mindfulness is to redirect us into the game of our own lives. Mindfulness can also help us be a little more playful when we've been dealt what we perceive to be a bad hand.

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