Disorders

5 Myths About What Therapy Should Be Like — and the Actual Facts

Today, thanks to the internet, there’s a lot more information about therapy and how it works. But that still doesn’t stop some myths from being perpetuated. And perpetuated. These myths might come from television and movies. They might come from friends or colleagues or even strangers. They might come from our own assumptions as we try to fill in the blanks. Below are five common myths, which you may or may not have (mis)interpreted as truths, along with the actual facts.

We think a therapist is just like a friend.
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Bullying

Recovering from Childhood Abuse: The Past Keeps Getting Clearer

In trauma recovery it is said, “You’ve done the hardest part -- you survived the abuse.”

After a year of accepting that I was sexually abused as a child, I’m finally starting to understand that recovery isn’t the hardest part. The shame is less automatic now, and the past is getting clearer.

As a child suffering abuse we don’t understand exactly what’s happening to us. Sex and sexuality is a mystery, so it’s not easy to recognize sexual abuse. Physical abuse is also confusing. We are tricked into thinking we’ve done something to deserve maltreatment. And in the end, we give in to this naive hope: “Everything is normal. No one would let abuse happen to me. I’m not in an unsafe situation.”
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Depression

Project Semicolon: For Lives that Could Have Ended But Didn’t

There was a girl in front of me in yoga class yesterday with a long piece of text written on her side. I was squinting to see what it said. I almost pulled out my readers, but then I realized we had mirrors in front of us so she could see me struggling to try to read her skin. I thought I’d better return to tree pose.

I find all tattoos intriguing. Even the tacky ones that cover an entire body. They always tell a story that I want to hear.

I am especially intrigued when I see a semicolon, because I know, without having to utter a word to the person who has that specific kind of tattoo, that he or she is a kindred spirit.
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Bipolar

Being My Own Hero

I spend my time these days volunteering in the mental health field. I do some work for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and in an office of a counseling agency named Integrity that doesn’t bill insurance and only takes a donation of what the payee can afford for services. I love what I do. I am able to write and do my speaking engagements and talk openly about mental illness to almost anyone I am around. I truly consider everyone in my life a blessing.

I run the NAMI support group called NAMI Connections for those with mental illness in my community. In the group we have everyone from people who have just a touch of social anxiety to the extremist form of mental illness. Recently we had a lady who reminded me of the fact that though I help others I have to remember to put myself first.

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Brain and Behavior

The Thought Police

Embrace the thoughts.

I have been diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Like you, my mind burps out intrusive, unwanted thoughts. They are real, striking at my core. I would banish them immediately. They would return with a sinister vengeance. Languishing in bed, sheets draped over me, I pleaded for divine intervention.

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Anorexia

Brain Stimulation Could Be a Viable Treatment for Anorexia


Anorexia nervosa affects millions of people throughout the world. It has a high mortality rate and the therapies that are currently available are highly ineffective. Yet only 10–30% of adults with anorexia recover with psychotherapy, and pharmacological treatments have a low efficacy. The need for better treatments is obvious and urgent.

Research has revealed a number of changes which occur in the brain of patients with anorexia. These include both structural and functional deficits such as the loss of grey matter in areas that play important roles in the regulation of feeding behavior, reward, emotion and motivation. It is believed that anorexia may be associated with a dysregulation of inhibitory and reward systems, which lays the ground for compulsive and obsessive behaviors to arise.

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Bipolar

Rating Mental Health Apps: Does Self-Monitoring Even Help?

With more than 165,000 health apps available -- most of them monitoring stuff related to your health in some manner -- you might assume there's a ton of research demonstrating the effectiveness of such self-monitoring. But you'd be wrong.

In the world of mental health apps, there's virtually no research demonstrating that monitoring your moods will benefit your treatment outcomes.

So why do so many companies and developers offer apps that simply spit back the data you put into them? Is there a rating organization that can help you make sense of all the mental health apps available?

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Anxiety and Panic

Psychology Around the Net: July 2, 2016


Happy Saturday, Psych Central readers (and Happy Fourth of July to you American readers)!

This week's edition of Psychology Around the Net covers why we might benefit more from summer reading than books we pick up any other time of the year, several New York University studies gone wrong, how one psychiatry professor is fed up with the way new generations of psychiatrists are using their education, and more.

Enjoy!

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Addiction

8 Reasons You Should Pour Out the Booze and Socialize Sober


When you’re used to taking shots before any social interaction, it feels weird when you show up anywhere sober. But I learned that it's actually better this way.

Let’s face it, socializing is something that is historically associated with alcohol. If you’ve watched television, surfed the Internet, or even browsed your Facebook feed, you’ve seen advertisements from the alcohol industry -- or pop culture sites in general -- on what you should be doing on a Friday night, what you should be mixing your vodka with, and how you can meet good-looking people at the bar. It’s one reason it took me such a long time to try sobriety. I truly thought the only way to socialize was by going out for drinks or by eyeing up my next boyfriend from across the club while listening to “Drop It Like It’s Hot.”

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Anxiety and Panic

A Bigger Deal than the Freshman 15

I was (Carolina) blue. Unlike my beloved Tar Heel hoops squad, my unstoppable opponent was bludgeoning me into submission. Obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, and anxiety nearly toppled me during my college years. The issue is bigger than my beloved alma mater: On university campuses, mental health issues affect 25 percent of the student body.

I bleed Tar Heel blue. I founded a student organization on campus, graduated with a shiny GPA, and studied abroad in Australia. I rejoiced on Franklin Street when the Heels upended Duke. From riveting seminars to proud traditions, Chapel Hill provided the quintessential university experience.

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Anxiety and Panic

6 Incredibly Effective Ways to Love Someone with Social Anxiety


How to nurture your relationship with your socially anxious partner.

What is social anxiety disorder? It's a type of anxiety disorder characterized by fear of negative evaluation or humiliation, concerns about the judgments of others, and worry that one will be rejected. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, it's one of the most common anxiety disorders, affecting around 15 million people in the United States.

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