General Articles

Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder: Do You Have an Abnormal Sleep Pattern?

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

Circadian Rhythm Sleep DisorderI was always bad at sleeping. My mom still talks of nightmarish times trying to get me to sleep as a baby and toddler. As a child, I kept a flashlight and a book on my nightstand so I could stay up after lights-out to read. As I grew, this trend continued.

I’m never tired at a “normal” bedtime. In fact, late nights are when I do some of my best writing. I am, however, exhausted in the morning.

I spent years trying to fit the mold, and always just figured I was a night owl until I finally heard about circadian rhythm sleep disorders.

Sidestepping Depression Stigma

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

Sidestepping Depression Stigma According to the mental health charity Mind, one in four people will experience a mental health problem each year. These figures aren’t too dissimilar to those for cancer; it is estimated that more than one in three people will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives.

Despite these statistics regarding the prevalence of mental health issues, they haven’t been addressed with nearly the same attention or support as physical illnesses. This could have to do with the stigma surrounding mental health.

Why Depression and Sadness Are not the Same

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

Why Depression And Sadness Are Not the SameDepression and sadness are often viewed as the same thing. Part of the confusion is that the most recognizable symptom of depression is sadness, according to Stephanie Smith, PsyD, a psychologist in practice in Erie, Colo.

Many people use the words interchangeably. “It’s just part of our popular culture. ‘I’m so depressed!’ to most of us actually means ‘I’m so sad!’ — except maybe it sounds a bit more sophisticated,” she said.

Sadness is a painful emotion. At times, it can feel utterly agonizing. But it’s “a normal response to difficult life events,” said Elaine Ducharme, Ph.D, a board certified clinical psychologist in private practice in Glastonbury, Conn.

How to Alleviate ‘Honor Student’ Stress

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

How to Alleviate 'Honor Student’ Stress

It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it. ~ Lena Horne

Brad’s mom was worried about her son.

“He’s a great kid. An honor student who tries hard to do his very best. A parent’s dream, right? But I’m worried about him. He’s overly stressed. And so hard on himself. I tell him to relax but I don’t think he has the faintest idea about how to do that.”

Anger Detection and the Brain

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

angry woman screaming man 2When Greta gets angry, Dave has noticed that she tends to be quiet, almost stoic. Greta can detect slight changes in Dave’s tone of voice that signal to her he is angry. Couples like us can learn to be extremely sensitive to signs of anger in their partners, because understanding your partner’s emotional state helps you decide how to respond.

It’s also important to be able to detect anger in strangers — in some cases, your very life might depend on it! Over the years, lots of research on anger has focused on facial expressions. While “anger” does have a characteristic facial expression that is readily detected, there’s plenty of other evidence we can use to decide if someone is angry, like Dave’s tone of voice and Greta’s silence. Until the past decade, however, very little research had been conducted on another important component of anger detection: Body position and movements.

Room for Misery & Room for Joy: My Story

Friday, October 10th, 2014

misery joyMost people who have been sober longer than a year are asked to give a “lead” — to tell their story. Mine was structurally simple, covering what it was like, what happened, and what it’s like now. Having only drank for three years, my addiction story is pretty straightforward: I stopped guzzling down mood-altering beverages.

My depression story, however, is not.

There are too many circles and uneven ends to fit into any neat, compact narrative. It seems as though the longer you dance with the demon of depression, the more embracing you become of different health philosophies and the more tolerant of unanswered questions.

Is it open-mindedness or desperation?

I don’t know.

Reasons for Living: World Mental Health Day

Friday, October 10th, 2014

Reasons for LivingReasons for living never come cheap
Even your best ones can put me to sleep
What I am saying, or trying to say
Is that there must be a better way

~ Duncan Sheik

I have bipolar II disorder, which means the depressive side is far more prominent than the manic one.

Recently, when I mentioned my suicidal ideation to my psychiatrist, he challenged me to come up with five reasons to live, write them down and put them where I could see them.

What It’s Like to Live with Schizophrenia

Friday, October 10th, 2014

cliff-birds, Esme Wang

Thirty-one years ago Elyn R. Saks was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Her prognosis was grave: she wouldn’t be able to live independently, hold a job or find love.

After her hospitalization at 28 years old, a doctor suggested she work as a cashier. If she could do that, they’d reassess her abilities and possibly consider a full-time job.

Today, Saks is the Associate Dean and Orrin B. Evans Professor of Law, Psychology and the Behavioral Sciences at the University of Southern California Gould Law School. She’s a mental health advocate and the author of a powerful memoir, The Center Cannot Hold. And she is happily married to her husband, Will.

Living with Mental Illness: World Mental Health Day 2014

Friday, October 10th, 2014

Living with Mental Illness: World Mental Health Day 2014

Living with any mental illness is never easy. Nowhere is this more true that when a person has to deal with the likes of schizophrenia, depression or bipolar disorder.

Sometimes treatments don’t seem to work as effectively as promised. Other times we run into friends or family members just not really knowing how to act around you. It can be overwhelming, challenging, and frustrating — all in the scope of one day.

Mental Health & Happiness: World Mental Health Day

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Mental Health & Happiness: World Mental Health DayOctober 10 is World Mental Health Day and the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the 2014 focus to be schizophrenia. The people at the William Glasser Institute – US (WGI-US) took to heart Dr. Glasser’s mandate that society treat mental health as a public health issue. When we do that, the focus is on prevention and mental health rather than treatment, psychopharmacology and mental illness.

Most people understand the steps they can implement to improve their physical health. WGI-US is geared toward helping people understand the habits they can develop that will improve their mental health. So on October 10, while other organizations are focusing their efforts on raising awareness for mental illness, WGI-US will be providing 24-hour programming on prevention, mental health, resilience and happiness.

Do We Create Our Own Reality? Not So Fast!

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Almeida_Júnior_-_Moça_com_LivroA popular New Age view that rankles me is that we create our own reality — and that we become what we think or believe. A related view is that we’re responsible for everything that happens to us.

If our relationships aren’t fulfilling, or if we’re struggling with financial hardship, or if caregiving for an elderly parent is souring our mood, we need only make an attitude adjustment to deliver us from suffering to joy. If we simply practice positive thinking and visualizations, we’ll be rewarded with peace of mind and enduring happiness.

Amanda Bynes: When Celebrity Mental Health Turns Insensitive Gossip

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Amanda BynesThe 28-year-old actress Amanda Bynes recently told In Touch Weekly that there is a microchip in her brain that allows other people to read her thoughts.

“I want a dollar a day from every person who (is) reading my mind,” Bynes said.

Now TMZ reports that she was allegedly “going full Winona Ryder” – shoplifting from Barneys on Madison Avenue.

“She really should wrap her head in a seven-pound ball of aluminum foil,” wrote Tony Hicks of San Jose Mercury News, later adding, “Sounds like someone’s parents need to fly to New York and get her back to the doctor, before none of this is funny anymore.”

I’m guessing the tabloids are just following her around day and night waiting for her to do something kooky. Personally, I don’t find any of it “funny” at all.

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