Disorders Articles

Study: Reversing Alzheimer’s Memory Decline With Holistic Therapy

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

Old Couple

A new UCLA study has found that when individuals with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) switched to a healthy diet and exercise program, their memory and cognitive function began to return in a dramatic way. In fact, six out of the 10 patients who had been struggling in their jobs, or had even quit due to cognitive dysfunction, were able to return to work.

The results are both fascinating and hopeful for the millions of people suffering with AD and for those who have yet to develop symptoms.

Alzheimer’s is now the third leading cause of death in the U.S., after cardiovascular disease and cancer. Currently, there is no cure for AD, and medications only temporarily lessen symptoms.

The Surprising Facts about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

The Surprising Facts about Seasonal Affective DisorderA cup of hot chocolate. A funny movie. A snowball fight. These are all things that can cure the winter blues. It’s easy to feel gloomy or un-energetic on dark and windy winter days. But it’s often equally as easy to pick yourself with a little physical exercise or a happy movie.

But what if the things that normally make you feel better don’t help?

If you find yourself feeling unhappy for days at a time or losing interest in the activities you once took pleasure in, you may be one of the millions of Americans who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Give Hope this Holiday: Working to End the Stigma of Depression

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Give Hope this Holiday: Working to End the Stigma of Depression

This is the season of giving. There is no greater charity than I can recommend than the International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression (iFred). They are running an Indiegogo campaign this year that will help fund a handful of great non-profit projects already doing good work.

The iFred campaign asks that you “Help us end the stigma of depression and give hope worldwide.” I couldn’t agree more.

Click to learn more about the campaign and donate something today (even $1 helps!).

Designated Caregiver: Holiday Drinks and Mental Illness

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

holiday stress man bigstAlcohol is a staple at the holiday table despite widespread tales of family dysfunction. The truth is social lubrication makes it a lot easier to deal with some of the more difficult people in our families. But when you add mental illness to the mix, you run bigger risks than a shouting match about politics or someone going home wearing the stuffing.

My older brother Pat was diagnosed with schizophrenia eight years ago this December. Drinking alcohol is not advisable on his medication. It makes him extremely drowsy. A few beers after taking his medication in 2007 and he passed out in the bathroom, slamming into the toilet and sliding it clean off the floor — and he’s not a big guy.

The Power of Music

Monday, December 8th, 2014

Music and EmotionsI’ve known the lows of depression, I’ve known the terror of delusions and paranoia and I’ve known the itchiness of anxiety. In every instance, I know I need to calm down. Most times this means going home pulling the covers up and putting on soft music. I do it so much that it’s become something completely natural. Feeling bad? Put on music. It’s almost automatic and because of that I’ve started to take this simple technique for granted.

Music is something magical. It’s salve for all of life’s emotional wounds and I would be remiss in talking about coping techniques if I didn’t talk about music.

Toxic People: You Don’t Need Permission to Walk Away

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

Toxic People: You Don’t Need Permission to Walk AwayToxic people prey on others. They dominate and control, disregard your needs and feelings. They focus on themselves and don’t seem interested in you at all. They seem to see other people as tools instead of whole, autonomous beings.

You may wonder, who would put up with this?

It seems like toxic people zoom in on those with low self-esteem. When you can’t appreciate yourself, it’s hard to stand up for yourself. You’ll second-guess whether you should walk away from toxic relationships, wondering if maybe your perception is off or you did something to deserve to be treated poorly.

Psychology Around the Net: December 6, 2014

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

coping-holidays-mental-illness

Happy December, sweet readers!

This week’s Psychology Around the Net brings you information on holiday stress, naked selfies (what?!), improving your fitness, and more.

Enjoy!

6 Signs You’re Too Stressed About the Holidays: Do you dread parties? Are you afraid of disappointing others? What about extra resentfulness or forgetfulness? These signs and more could be indicators you’re way too stressed out about the holidays.

The Social Psychology of the Naked Selfie: Why do people keep taking naked photos and storing them in places where they know there’s a potential for hacking?

ADHD & Adults: Help for Organizing Your Household

Friday, December 5th, 2014

ADHD & Adults: Help for Organizing Your Household Almost every symptom of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) plays out in the household, said Terry Matlen, MSW, ACSW, a psychotherapist and author of the book The Queen of Distraction: How Women with ADHD Can Conquer Chaos, Find Focus and Get More Done.

Disorganization and distractibility lead to lost papers, unpaid bills, piles of laundry and lots of clutter, which can negatively affect relationships and spark blowups, she said.

Lack of planning leads to late dinners, leading to both cranky kids and parents, she said. (Plus, many kids with ADHD also are picky eaters, which complicates meal-planning even more, she added.)

How to Find a Therapist You Love

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

How to Find a Therapist You LoveWhen I was struggling with my eating disorder, I’d have particularly awful days. Often, it involved me crying into my carpet and wishing I didn’t exist. In those moments, when life was heavy and pressing, I was willing to reach out for help, but I didn’t know where to begin.

My eating disorder was a shameful secret, so naturally I didn’t want to elaborate to the random secretary who answered the phone. I did leave an awkward message or two on a voicemail.

Holiday Survival When Anxious or Depressed

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

Holiday Survival When Anxious or DepressedFor those of us who suffer from anxiety or depression, the holiday season can prove especially challenging. The juxtaposition of unhappy thoughts alongside the cheery Christmas music, nostalgic movies dripping with holiday sentimentality, and advertisements displaying jubilant people celebrating the season can make us feel even worse.

The American Psychological Association lists financial concerns, unrealistic expectations, and the inability to be with certain family members and friends as contributing factors to holiday anxiety. Mix in the stressors of shopping, family reunions, travel, office parties, and dealing with houseguests, and no wonder this seasonal “cheer” can be a landmine.

What I Wish People Knew about Depression

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

What I Wish People Knew about DepressionSomeone recently asked me to write on what I wish people knew about depression, in light of Robin William’s suicide. Here’s my response.

I wish people knew that depression is complex, that it is a physiological condition with psychological and spiritual components, and therefore can’t be forced into any neat and tidy box, that healing needs to come from lots of kinds of sources and that every person’s recovery is different.

7 Ways for Those with Dysthymia to Get the Day off to a Good Start

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

7 Ways for Those with Dysthymia to Get the Day off to a Good StartI’m a deep thinker, a creative type — and a dysthymic. As in: a person with dysthymia, officially known as Persistent Depressive Disorder, characterized by feeling “down” on a regular basis without reaching the level of near-total impairment associated with major depressive disorder.

The sense of depression is at its worst when I have little immediate “busyness” to occupy my mind.

Often the hardest part of the day is starting it: that is, getting out of bed in the morning. If you have a similar problem, the following strategies help:

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