Disorders Articles

The Anxiety-Driven Life

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

fear-rejection-really-afraidI see many clients who live lives that don’t fulfill or challenge them. They are intelligent people with skills and talents, but they tend to have a debilitating fear of going outside their comfort zone. Even though they often wish their lives would change or improve in various ways, they do nothing to make this happen, since such efforts would entail taking even minor risks.

They rarely try anything new, stick to what they would already be good at, and try hard to avoid anything that could ever go wrong (which is most life activities). This attitude is rarely conscious or spoken, but it manifests in saying things such as:

The Case for Worrying ‘Alone’

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

alone in the bedCan sharing your worries with a friend help you problem-solve and be more productive? Psychiatrist Edward M. Hallowell recently wrote a book in which he explains that working out your worries with a friend could help eliminate distractions in life.

“Worrying alone does not have to be toxic, but it tends to become toxic because in isolation we lose perspective,” Hallowell told Science of Us blog. “We tend to globalize, catastrophize, when no one is there to act as a reality check. Our imaginations run wild.”

As a classic worrier, however, I have to caution anyone against heaping your worries on any one person too often.

7 Steps to Free Your Child from Anxiety

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

freeing your childI had my share of panic attacks as a kid.

Especially over schoolwork.

I was dead sure, absolutely positive, that I would never ever be able to complete the assignment, pass the test, and get forwarded to the next grade. Because I was so stupid, I thought, I would have to repeat fifth grade until I was 20 years old, at which time everyone would mistake me for my classmates’ mom and I would have to make all my friends’ lunches.

I believe everyone is born with an “I can” voice and an “I can’t” voice. Some folks emerge from their mother’s wombs with a fervent confidence that follows them to their grave. They never ever question their ability to make friends, find a spouse, or get a job. Others will second-guess themselves on everything from learning when to poo in the potty to picking out a nursing home for their final chapter.

Larry Sanders & the Need for Understanding

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

depressed manLarry Sanders, the former Milwaukee Bucks basketball player, recently disclosed that he’d taken a leave of absence from the team in order to be treated for depression and anxiety. He later took a buyout of his contract and currently is not playing anywhere in the NBA.

Someone I used to work with, who apparently somehow has been oblivious to my mental health status for the last 10 years, made a comment on this story on Facebook. He said that he would never make as much money in his life as this “useless (expletive)” and hoped he would overdose.

Alternative Approaches in the Treatment of Depression

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

Alternative Approaches in the Treatment of DepressionOur friends over at The People’s Pharmacy, Joe & Terry Graedon, have a long-running radio show (or podcast, if you prefer) that is one of the best-kept secrets in natural and alternative treatments in health. They also cover mental health topics, and this past week’s topic was alternative treatments for depression (alternatives to regular antidepressant medications or psychotherapy).

One of the more promising alternative treatments for chronic depression is ketamine, a medication that’s been around a long time and used as an FDA-approved anesthetic and pain medication. As offered today however, ketamine is a high-cost infusion treatment for depression that requires additional refresher courses every few weeks.

Outside of ketamine, there are many other self-help methods to help with depressive symptoms — all of which are covered in this great, must-listen-to episode.

6 Things I Learned about Serious Mental Illness While Caring for My Brother

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

Flickr Creative Commons / Vinoth ChandarOver the past year since I published my memoir about caring for my brother Paul, who suffered from schizophrenia, I have encountered several misguided but firmly held beliefs that get in the way of understanding our fellow humans who suffer from a severe brain disorder. Here are just a few:

Introducing Bipolar Laid Bare

Sunday, March 1st, 2015

Introducing Bipolar Laid Bare

We know that living with bipolar disorder — just like living with any mental health concern …

Transforming Failure

Saturday, February 28th, 2015


My heroes are the ones who survived doing it wrong, who made mistakes, but recovered from them.

- Bono

I agree with Bono. Surviving a mistake or a perceived failure and transforming it into wisdom or a life lesson is inspiring. If you do an Internet search for quotes or articles on failure, there seems to be a never-ending supply. Like love, heartbreak, or jealousy, failure is a natural and challenging part of the human experience that none of us is exempt from.

Failure can be bitter and hard to swallow. We often cannot accept it very easily. It is a strong and intense experience that we may hide from, or refuse to admit to others because we are embarrassed, shamed, or defeated. However, like other bitter things found in nature, such as the coffee or cocoa bean, we have to process it to extract its rich gifts and reframe it into an insight, strength, or life lesson.

5 Mistakes So Many of Us Make When Navigating Anxiety

Saturday, February 28th, 2015

Don't Panic! 7 Ways To Overcome AnxietyEvery one of us experiences anxiety. And we can experience anxiety about anything in our lives. Anxiety expert Marni Goldberg’s clients struggle with everything from worrying about the future to feeling like they’re not good enough to being overwhelmed by daily demands.

Many of psychotherapist Tracy Tucker’s clients struggle with a fear of the unknown. Much of the anxiety couples therapist Christine Holding, LMFT, sees in her office has to do with abandonment, rejection and failure.

Maybe you can relate to experiencing the above fears. Or maybe your anxiety is of a different flavor.

Whatever your worries, you may be unwittingly approaching your anxiety in ways that actually increase it. Many of us do. Below are five unhelpful approaches and what can help instead.

Psychology Around the Net: February 28, 2015

Saturday, February 28th, 2015

1 brain light goo

Check out this week’s Psychology Around the Net to learn more about smokers and their relationships to anxiety and depression, how your state ranks regarding the five aspects of life satisfaction, neurons that predict how we might react in particular situations, and more.

Neurons That Help Predict What Another Individual Will Do Identified: Scientists have located two groups of neurons in primates that: one that activates during cooperation situations and another that predicts how one will react.

Failure to Launch

Friday, February 27th, 2015

video-game-addiction-fix-itselfJohn was never the greatest of students but he did manage to graduate from college in six years. Yay! His parents breathed a sigh of relief. Finally, he had accomplished what he set out to do.

Now, three years later, Mom and Dad are feeling increasingly distressed. John is living back home and going nowhere. His motivation to get a job comes and goes. The bulk of his day is spent on social media, video games and getting high.

He shows little interest in becoming an independent, self-sufficient adult. If his parents would get him an apartment, he’d move in a minute. But the idea of working toward that goal is beyond him.

Anxiety 101: Don’t Cross the Rocky Mountains in February

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Rockies I70 by Sarah NewmanI know what you’re thinking. “Of course you shouldn’t cross the Rockies during the coldest, snowiest time of year.” But while it may seem obvious that you could be setting yourself up for disaster, worriers like me throw ourselves headlong into harrowing obstacles all the time. We ignore that voice in our heads that says “I can’t handle this” and try to muscle through.

Self-doubt keeps us from listening to our highly sharpened instincts. We spend so much of our lives preparing, honing, gathering information and yet that doesn’t stop us from throwing our better judgment out of the window. 

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