Anxiety and Panic

Introducing 4 Great New Blogs

We've had the opportunity to launch a number of new blogs this month, which I'm excited to share with you today. These new blogs join an existing group of fantastic bloggers -- the best group of bloggers on any site! If you want fresh, real perspectives of mental illness, psychology and mental health issues, Psych Central remains a one of the shining outposts in the online wilderness.

I'm honored to welcome three great new bloggers to our blog network: Brian Cuban, Gabe Howard, and Amanda Knapp. Margarita Tartakovsky has also begun a new blog on creativity with us. We hope you check out the blogs below and welcome the new bloggers to Psych Central!

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Healing My Inner Child

Dear Inner Child,

You’ve been through so much and I am not sure how you coped. Your strength inspires me with every memory I recover. I know you are the reason we are alive today. And I thank you for all you did to keep going. Sometimes, others ask me how I lived through it and I don’t know the answer.

You carried that burden. And to some extent, you still do.

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Brain and Behavior

The Masks of Trauma

Sometimes I receive emails from acquaintances I knew in my early years. They usually start by expressing their deep concern for me and what I went through.

Each message like this is healing because validation and concern for my situation was something I desperately needed as a child.

But their next questions are more challenging. “Should I have known?” “How did I miss the signs?” The answer has always eluded me. I really have no response.
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Movie Review: Frankie & Alice

It's been 57 years since The Three Faces of Eve premiered in move theaters. One of the first cinematic portrayals of serious mental illness, the movie starred Joanne Woodward. She would end up winning the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance portraying three different personalities in one individual in the film.

Enter Halle Berry and her performance in Frankie and Alice. Although first released to very limited audience in 2010, it garnered Berry a Golden Globe nomination in 2011 for her lead role in the film. In it, she portrays Frankie, a go-go dancer in the 1970s who experiences blackouts she can't explain.

Finally released more generally this past week, it's an interesting and engaging addition to the film category of movies portraying multiple personalities.

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Anxiety and Panic

The Mental Health Hope Symposium: Do Not Cut Mental Health Care

Consider these alarming statistics:

* By 2020, behavioral health disorders will surpass all physical diseases as a major cause of disability worldwide.

* Of the more than 6 million people served by state mental health authorities across the nation, only 21 percent are employed.

* More than half of adolescents in the United States who fail to complete high school have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder.

* Between 2009 and 2011 states cumulatively cut more than $1.8 billion from their budgets for services for children and adults living with mental illness.

* In 2009, there were an estimated 45.1 million adults aged 18 or older in the United States with any mental illness in the past year. This represents 19.9 percent of all adults in the U.S.

*Serious mental illnesses cost society $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year.

* The annual total estimated societal cost of substance abuse in the U.S. is $510 billion.

* In 2008, an estimated 9.8 million adults aged 18 and older in the U.S. has a serious mental illness.

With our economy still in the toilet, states and federal government threaten to cut even more dollars in mental health funding, which would result in less or no access to mental health treatment and services for countless Americans. Ultimately the cuts steal the one thing that keeps those of us struggling with chronic mood disorders alive: hope.

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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.

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Is Anyone Normal Today?

Take a minute and answer this question: Is anyone really normal today?

I mean, even those who claim they are normal may, in fact, be the most neurotic among us, swimming with a nice pair of scuba fins down the river of Denial. Having my psychiatric file published online and in print for public viewing, I get to hear my share of dirty secrets—weird obsessions, family dysfunction, or disguised addiction—that are kept concealed from everyone but a self-professed neurotic and maybe a shrink.

“Why are there so many disorders today?” Those seven words, or a variation of them, surface a few times a week. And my take on this query is so complex that, to avoid sounding like my grad school professors making an erudite case that fails to communicate anything to average folks like me, I often shrug my shoulders and move on to a conversation about dessert. Now that I can talk about all day.

Here’s the abridged edition of my guess as to why we mark up more pages of the DSM-IV today than, say, a century ago (even though the DSM-IV had yet to be born).

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