Celebrities Articles

Helping to End Eating- and Weight-Related Disorders

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

Helping to End Eating- and Weight-Related DisordersOur current culture presents a confusing array of messages about eating and body image. We see media images which promote unrealistic (and generally unreal) bodies paired with headlines about obesity prevention programs; news stories about eating disorders alongside multiple supersize food options; push for perfection alongside marketing for indulgence.

It’s no wonder we have both increasing incidents of eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, as well as increasing prevalence of binge eating disorder and rates of obesity.

Navigating this confusing world without falling into an eating- or weight-related disorder does require a return to some basic facts.

Lance Armstrong: Cognitive Dissonance as a Hero’s Journey Ends

Saturday, August 25th, 2012

Lance Armstrong: Cognitive Dissonance as a Hero's Journey Ends“I refuse to participate in a process that is so one-sided and unfair.”
~Lance Armstrong

The stun of learning that Lance Armstrong will be stripped of his seven titles for doping by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency was the first time in more than a decade I can remember crying after hearing a news broadcast.  The last time was on the morning of 9/11.

Without a doubt Lance Armstrong was my hero.  A genuine, certified hero. 

No one in the history of the sport of cycling has won seven titles at the Tour de France, beat cancer, and became a beacon of hope for patients.  His legacy was a source of inspiration for millions. 

But in spite of his fundraising and being a cancer survivor-turned-spokesperson, he is no longer my hero. 

Bruce Springsteen’s Depression

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Bruce Springsteen DepressionBruce Springsteen suffered from depression, according to a new, lengthy article in the latest edition of The New Yorker. While previously he’s disclosed his on-again, off-again battle with depression to biographer and friend, Dave Marsh, this is the first time it’s been discussed at some length.

Writer David Remnick interviews many Bruce Springsteen confidantes for the article, including his wife Patti Scialfa. In the article, we learn more about Springsteen’s battle with depression — even to the point of having some suicidal thoughts 30 years ago.

It’s an interesting interview, but you need a good 30 or 40 minutes to read the entire thing. Not being a particular Springsteen fan, I learned a lot about him. It turned him from being “Oh, he’s just one of those rock superstars” to “Oh, he’s a guy who really had to fight, scratch and battle his way up not only in his career, but in his life too.”

I have a lot more respect for him now — and am glad he was successful in battling his depression.

Jesse Jackson, Jr. is Entitled to His Privacy for Treatment of Mental Illness

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Jesse Jackson, Jr. is Entitled to His Privacy for Treatment of Mental IllnessShould politicians and celebrities see it as their responsibility to share the specific details of their mental illness or mental disorder diagnosis in order to help reduce the prejudice surrounding these conditions?

That’s the question Torrie Bosch asks over at Slate and arrives at this conclusion — yes, it is a politician’s duty and responsibility to offer full disclosure about their mental health concerns.

But I think Bosch is missing a key component here. When in the throes of a full-blown episode (whether it’s bipolar disorder, depression, or something else), one shouldn’t be making any life-changing decisions or decisions that could forever alter one’s future career.

While it’s easy to believe that politicians and celebrities are something special, underneath their public persona beats the heart of an ordinary person — someone who is entitled to his or her privacy. Especially for health or family concerns.

Q&A with Joe Pantoliano, Author of ‘Asylum’

Saturday, July 14th, 2012

Q&A with Joe Pantoliano, Author of AsylumThis month I had the pleasure of talking to Joe Pantoliano about his recently published book Asylum: Hollywood Tales from My Great Depression: Brain Dis-Ease, Recovery, and Being My Mother’s Son. Below, he discusses everything from stigma toward “brain dis-ease” to his personal struggles with and recovery from the “seven deadlies.”

Pantoliano is also the founder of No Kidding, Me Too! (www.nkm2.org), a nonprofit organization “whose purpose is to remove the stigma attached to ‘brain dis-ease’ through education and the breaking down of societal barriers.” He produced and directed the documentary No Kidding! Me 2!!, an intimate look at the experiences of Americans living with mental illness.

Pantoliano has more than 100 movie, TV, and stage credits, and won an Emmy Award for his work on “The Sopranos.” His first book, the memoir Who’s Sorry Now? The True Story of a Stand-up Guy, was a New York Times bestseller. He was born in Hoboken, N.J., and today lives in Connecticut.

Why Do Women Hate Their Bodies?

Saturday, June 2nd, 2012

Women’s National Health Week, an annual awareness event dedicated to all issues related to women’s health, was May 13-19 this year.

In honor of this year’s message, “It’s your time,” I want to draw attention to the link between how we see ourselves and how we treat our bodies.

Currently, 80 percent of women in the U.S. are dissatisfied with their appearance. And more than 10 million are suffering from eating disorders.

So the question I have to ask, Why all the self-hatred?

What JetBlue’s Pilot Meltdown Means

Friday, March 30th, 2012

What jetBlue's Pilot Meltdown MeansI’ve struggled to find something meaningful to say about the incident when the captain of a jetBlue flight suffered from what appeared to be a “nervous breakdown,” resulting in his eventual restraint and later, criminal charges. I think criminal charges are wholly unwarranted and an example of the double-standard and prejudice we hold against people with possible mental health issues. It shows a shocking lack of judgment on the part of the U.S. prosecutors who charged Captain Clayton Osbon. (After all, would they have charged him if he had suffered a stroke instead, which led to similar behavior? I think not.)

But outside of this prejudice shown by people who don’t treat a brain attack like a heart attack, there’s very little more to say about this unfortunate incident. No lives were lost.

And, in fact, no lives have ever been lost due to a U.S. pilot’s mental health issues, according to the Washington Post article.

Kony 2012 Director: What is Brief Reactive Psychosis or Brief Psychotic Disorder?

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Kony 2012 Director: What is Brief Reactive Psychosis or Brief Psychotic Disorder?According to news reports earlier today, the Kony 2012 director Jason Russell, 33, was “hospitalized last week in San Diego after witnesses saw him running through streets in his underwear, screaming incoherently and banging his fists on the pavement.” His wife now says he’s been diagnosed with brief reactive psychosis, which is technically called “brief psychotic disorder.”

Brief psychotic disorder could be most simply thought of as a form of short-term schizophrenia, since many of the symptoms of the disorders are exactly the same. The primary difference is that in a brief psychotic disorder, the psychosis is less than 30 days.

Let’s delve more into brief reactive psychosis and talk about how one “gets it” (don’t worry, it’s not catching).

Review of Jung vs. Freud in A Dangerous Method

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

Review of Jung vs. Freud in A Dangerous MethodA Dangerous Method, the new David Cronenberg movie — based upon the 2002 Christopher Hampton stage play entitled, The Talking Cure, (which in turn was based on the 1993 non-fiction book by John Kerr, A Most Dangerous Method) — is not only about the relationships you see on the screen between Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud and Sabina Spielrein, but a breathtaking metaphor for Freud’s depiction of the mind.

A successful effort on a multitude of layers, the movie offers us a rollercoaster ride in a car filled with a motley group of historical characters in psychology and psychoanalysis. The movie depicts the life of Jung and Freud’s relationship from the time they first met in 1907 until their professional relationship collapses in 1913 — a short 6 years. I saw a screening of the movie earlier this month.

But it would be wrong to characterize this as a story only about Jung and Freud’s relationship. Instead, it’s a larger-than-life tale about the first days of psychoanalysis and Jung’s career, set against the backdrop of pre-war Europe, artfully relayed on many different levels.

Was Sybil Faking Multiple Personalities?

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Was Sybil Faking Multiple Personalities?Multiple personality disorder — now known in modern psychological lingo as dissociative identity disorder (DID) in the DSM-IV — is a fairly uncommon mental health concern. But it remains an intriguing one because of its nature: The presence of two or more distinct identities or personality states. Each of these identities or personality states has its own relatively enduring pattern of perceiving, relating to, and thinking about the environment and self, and take alternating control of the person’s behavior.

Sybil is one of the most popularly known individuals who had multiple personality disorder, largely because of a book published in the 1970s that detailed her experience and that of her psychiatrist in trying to help treat her.

Now Debbie Nathan, writing in her new book, Sybil Exposed, suggests that the core diagnosis for Sybil — of multiple personality disorder — was made up by the patient to keep in the good graces of her psychiatrist.

Betty Ford Dies at Age 93

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

Betty Ford Dies At Age 93Betty Ford, the former First Lady of the United States died Friday at the age of 93. Dr. William Van Ornum gives this succinct summary of her life in a tribute on the website of the American Mental Health Foundation (AMHF):

Mrs. Ford was born in Chicago, grew up in modest circumstances, became a dancer, and married Mr. Ford shortly after he returned from the Navy in World War II. She thought she was signing up for a life with a mid-western lawyer; instead he chose politics and she was thrust into the role of a political wife, all the while raising 4 children and trying to keep her own interests as well.

Political life became difficult for her and she felt an emptiness inside from which she sought solace in alcohol and prescription pills. She was open about her addiction at a time when others weren’t. This courageous outlook gave others the encouragement either to seek help themselves or to be open about it with their families and communities.

Why Celebrities Like Katy Perry Don’t Want People to Make Eye Contact

Saturday, June 25th, 2011

Why Celebrities Like Katy Perry Don't Want People to Make Eye Contact?A few weekends ago, I was intrigued to see this story in the New York Post: “The ultimate star perk is forbidding eye contact.” According to the Smoking Gun, singer Katy Perry’s contract covering her driver provides that the driver isn’t supposed to “stair” (sic) at her in the rear-view mirror.

The piece notes that there have been many similar rumors over the years — that people were prohibited from making eye contact with Luke Perry, Tori Spelling, Sylvester Stallone, and others.

When I read this story, I had a huge rush of intellectual pleasure. Because I think I’ve figured this out! Darshan.

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