Children and Teens

Psychology Around the Net: October 22, 2016

Once again, my friends, I come to you from behind a computer screen with a box of tissues on one side and a trash can on the other. Tears are running down my cheeks, I can't stop sneezing, and even though I can't breathe my nostrils aren't too stopped up to -- well, I won't get gross.

Wasn't it just a few months ago I was suffering from allergies? Can you even get allergies in the fall? According to WebMD, you sure can, and thanks to a myriad of potential culprits (mold spores and pollen hiding out in fallen leaves and dust mites triggered from turning the heat on for the first time), I am once again down for the count.

Still, that hasn't stopped me from bringing you this week's latest in mental health news! Keep reading for healthy tips for how to break off a friendship, Instagram's new mental health "flagging" feature, ways you can beat election stress, and more.

Continue Reading


The Importance of Good Nutrition During Recovery

Dietary habits in early recovery can be the difference between staying clean and relapsing.

As the opioid epidemic combined with a rise in illegal drug abuse spreads across the country, effective substance abuse treatment services and inpatient recovery options are needed more than ever before. Since the Affordable Care Act has made these services mandatory coverage, a much sharper lens has been focused on what is being offered and its success rate. As the founder of Nutrition In Recovery, David Wiss, MS, RDN, does not understand why the critical role of good nutrition in early recovery is being largely ignored by rehabs and sober living facilities. In long-term recovery himself, David intimately knows how challenging the struggle to restore personal health can be after the damage done by addiction.

Continue Reading

Grief and Loss

Using Social Media to Deal with Personal Tragedy

From May-September 2016, I battled cancer. The cancer had formed from prior radiation therapy for a previous bout of breast cancer in 2012. The 2016 cancer was called angiosarcoma. Treatment for this angiosarcoma was drastic surgery to cut the cancer out of my right breast. Luckily, I would not need chemo or more radiation.

One of the ways I endured the stress and the strain of the cancer was to use Facebook to communicate my...
Continue Reading

Brain Blogger

Lucid Dreaming Can Improve Physical Skills, Scientists Say

Can we significantly improve physical skills by practicing them while we sleep? Yes, scientists say. New research published in the Journal of Sports Sciences confirms that practicing motor skills while lucid dreaming can lead to real life improvements in skill performance that can be equivalent to practice in waking life.

Lucid dreaming is when the dreamer becomes aware that he or she is actually dreaming. This awareness typically comes hand in hand with greater control of what one’s dream self is doing, as well as the content of the dream.

Continue Reading


Eating Disorders: Learning to Be Okay in the Rain

Psychologist Abraham Maslow developed the Maslow Hierarchy of Needs. This hierarchy looks like a pyramid, with each level building on the one below it. The very bottom, basic need a person must fulfill is entitled the "physiological needs." A component within the physiological needs is food, i.e. eating. So, this may pose a thought for some: Why, if food were available, not scarce, would this basic need in life be so hard for some people to act upon?

This leads us to the question: What is an eating disorder?
Continue Reading


Psychology Around the Net: October 8, 2016

If the image didn't give it is my birthday!

I've been celebrating since last night -- not because I'm a person who likes a big deal made out of her birthday, but because I have family members and friends who love me and want to celebrate life with me.

I'm blessed, and I'm eternally grateful for it.

So, while I take a break this morning and check out What Science Has to Say About Being in Your 30s (much of which I'm pretty used to at this point, I'm sure), why don't you check out some of this week's latest in mental health news such as how psychology explains our fear of clowns, how we're sabotaging ourselves during the pursuit of happiness, how our personalities can help us choose the best careers, and more!

Continue Reading


How Do You Spot a Narcissist on Facebook?

Narcissists tend to use Facebook for validation, posting about their accomplishments including their diet and fitness routine, according to researchers at Brunel University London.

I do it. In fact, I do it all the time. I post to Facebook about how I worked out early or how great I'm doing at my fitness routine.

I share these posts because you wouldn't think I do any kind of fitness, and because I want to encourage myself to continue to exercise. I'm sort of accepting my body and body-shaming myself at the same time.
Continue Reading


3 Ways to Navigate the Emotional Side of Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a beautiful and miraculous time. You’re growing a baby for goodness’ sake. And for many moms-to-be, it’s also a tough time. There are the physical symptoms—marathon-level fatigue, nausea, heartburn, appetite loss—which ensure that you don’t feel like yourself. The days might be limping by, and all you want to do is spend hours on the couch, vegging out.

There also are the emotional symptoms. You might be feeling overwhelmed, anxious, frustrated and sad—all in one day or all in one hour. It can feel like 500 different concerns are running through your mind (and heart). There are just so many unknowns and question marks. And what-ifs. Is my baby OK? Will I be able to carry him or her to term? Are my symptoms normal? What will labor really feel like? What if I can’t handle it? Should I get an epidural? What if I need a C-section? What will I do with work? Daycare?
Continue Reading

Brain and Behavior

How Complaining Can Alter Our Perception

It is intuitive that a negative attitude and constant complaining are bad for us, but can it really affect our brain? It turns out that there is a growing body of evidence suggesting that negativity can alter our perception of life by changing the connection of the neurons in our brain. This would then result in increased stress levels, which is linked to chronic diseases and mental health problems.

A common perception of complaining or “venting” is that people feel better after getting their emotions out. Contrary to popular belief, however, studies have shown that expressing negativity can be bad for the mood of both the complainer and the listener, and here we briefly discuss a few findings on how negativity can impact our well-being.
Continue Reading

Brain and Behavior

Why I Prescribe Pokemon Go for My Patients

This week, the parent of one of my patients asked me about Pokémon Go. She was concerned with her child’s obsession and felt like this could lead to social or emotional problems.

Electronics, as with most things, are good in moderation -- but Pokémon Go isn’t your average video game. Unlike games that keep people glued to the couch, Pokémon Go requires people to get up, move around, and interact with others. What that means to me as a child psychiatrist is that it comes with a variety of health benefits. Exercise is as good for the brain as it is for the rest of the body. I’ve seen people walking, riding their bikes, and finding more excuses to get outside because of Pokémon Go.

Continue Reading

Brain and Behavior

The Brain Has a Mind of Its Own

It doesn’t take an encounter with a bear or a threatening gun to trigger symptoms of the fight or flight response. I experienced similar phenomena when undergoing a consultation with a surgeon for an elective, life-altering surgery.

Her bedside manner exuded a cold, indifferent and detached attitude. With barely a glance at me, she entered the consulting room and settled into her chair. A few perfunctory questions and she did her due diligence by rattling off the risks involved with a robotic monotone that had been programmed into her. A few hasty and superficial parting words and the meeting ended abruptly.

Continue Reading