Health-related Articles

Research Suggests Light Therapy Offers More Than Just Mental Relief

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

Happy celebrating winning success woman at sunset or sunrise sta

Bright light therapy has long been an effective treatment for people suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Now new research shows that this alternative treatment may offer significant relief for physical pain as well — specifically back pain.

In a new study, published in the journal Pain Medicine, the back pain of 125 participants was significantly reduced after only three sessions of bright light therapy with 5000 lux. (Office lighting is about 500 lux, and direct sunlight is about 30,000 to 100,000 lux.) The participants’ depression, mainly due to the pain, was also significantly lowered.

How to Cope with PMS

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

ChronicPainandDepressionLinkedGender,Age,EthnicityThose who know me know that I tend to be rather vocal about my menstrual cycle (sorry to all the male readers, but it’s the truth). PMS — and the lovely symptoms that incorporate menstruation — rear its ugly head every month via mind-numbing cramps, and moments where I want to weep at everything imaginable, eat everything imaginable, or yell at everything imaginable.

PMS is that pesky hormonal time where emotions are heightened; where we’re susceptible to vulnerability. We’re more prone to feeling annoyed or stressed or upset over circumstances that may normally be dealt with calmly.

According to Jan Sheehan’s article posted on Everyday Health, researchers correlate these emotional surges with hormone fluctuation during the menstrual cycle, particularly in regard to estrogen.

The Scary Side of Sitting

Friday, February 13th, 2015

Young woman sitting on sofa with electronic padThere is a growing scientific consensus that the more time you spend sitting, the shorter and less healthy your life may be. Excessive sitting, such as at an office desk, in front of the TV, even driving while commuting can significantly affect your cardiovascular and metabolic function.

Your mental health is intricately connected to the amount of time you spend sitting. One study after another continues to reveal that your risk for depression soars the longer you are sedentary. Sitting also increases psychological distress, and decreases feelings of well-being, a problem that fortunately can be rectified.

The Benefits of Mindful Eating

Monday, February 9th, 2015

Making a choiceAt 2 p.m. I still hadn’t eaten lunch. I was struggling to finish up an article before my daughter walked in the door from school. But a growling stomach was making it hard to focus.

I moved to the kitchen, grabbed a banana and a handful of crackers and ate them at the counter, while making notes on my to-do List. Then I grabbed a piece of string cheese from the fridge and a rubbery Tootsie Pop from the back cupboard and carried them to my desk. I still don’t remember eating the lollipop, but the wrapper is sitting there under the computer monitor.

8 Ways You and Your Partner can Deal with Chronic Pain and Illness

Saturday, February 7th, 2015

oxytocin-love-hormone-pain

This is not a substitute for medical advice, nor is it meant as professional consultation with a mental health professional. If you have ongoing symptoms which interfere with your functioning, please seek appropriate help.

Disease is not sexy. Neither is chronic pain or illness. We shy away. We don’t want to talk about it. We hope if we ignore it, it’ll go away. But it won’t. We’re a culture obsessed with youth, beauty, vitality, wrinkle creams. We refuse to look death in the eye.

We’re aging everyday. It’s inevitable: we will get sick. With luck, it’s finite and you will recover. But what if you endure ill health every day? It’s unrelenting for years, no cure, little or no relief.

Tom Sullivan & Rand Paul and the Idiotic, Bizarre Things They Say

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Tom Sullivan & Rand Paul and the Idiotic, Bizarre Things They SayThis past week has seen some idiotic things coming from the mouths of people that some people — although hopefully not too many — look to for leadership and advice.

Tom Sullivan is a radio show host over at Fox News Radio and claimed that bipolar disorder is “made up” on one of his recent shows. A comment like that is from the dark ages of understanding the science behind mental illness, and demonstrates an individual who apparently hasn’t read an actual scientific study in the past two decades or so.

Rand Paul, however, is a physician. As such, he should know better. He should know it’s more important to give more weight to scientific and medical evidence, rather than anecdotes and hearsay. Yet the good doctor recently said, “I have heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines.”

Good Nutrition is Important in Depression, but Often Overlooked

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Good Nutrition is Important in Depression, but Often OverlookedAs anyone who has had depression can attest, your …

6 Common Eating Disorder Myths

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

6 Common Eating Disorder MythsThere are many myths around eating disorders which create barriers for sufferers wishing to seek treatment.

According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Related Disorders, only 1 in 10 people with eating disorders receive treatment. Yet, eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental health disorders.

Here are six commonly held myths about eating disorders.

10 Nutritional Deficiencies that May Cause Depression

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

Depression and SorrowI’m not sure why more psychiatrists don’t first test for nutritional deficiencies before dispensing Zoloft or Prozac, and especially antipsychotics like Seroquel and Zyprexa. The good ones will send you to get lab work done before upping your meds or adjusting anything. Sometimes we do need antidepressants. But other times we need spinach — think of Popeye.

In addition to seeing a psychiatrist regularly, I now work with an integrative health physician who tests my nutrition levels every year. If you haven’t ever tested your nutrition levels, you might inquire with either your psychiatrist or primary care physician.

Always Err on the Side of Compassion

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

err on compassionThe best piece of marital advice I’ve ever heard came from an ex-priest, a kind and gentle man who has been married to his bride for longer than I’ve been alive.

“Always err on the side of compassion,” he told me when I called him up all upset one afternoon after my husband and I got into a fight.

I don’t even remember what the fight was about. Something stupid. But I remembered his advice and I’ve been trying to apply it not only to my marriage but to my life, in general. In fact, it has become my mantra.

10 Common Reactions to Urinary Incontinence that Impede Care-Seeking

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

10 Common Reactions to Urinary Incontinence that Impede Care-SeekingOur lives are a dynamic flurry of family and professional activities — our work, our families and friends, and duties on the home front. Some of us have additional challenges due to ill health, financial stress, elder care or marital breakdown. When small urine leaks begin to appear every now and then, they might feel like a nuisance amid the noise of everyday life. Research tells us that women wait about five to 10 years to seek assistance for urinary incontinence.

Our beliefs about the problem are important because they influence how and when we take action. The following are 10 common reactions that deter or delay sufferers, especially women, from seeking professional advice or assistance for the problem:

Infestation Anxiety: The Enemy Within

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

Stop RuminatingAs Ebola fears wane, don’t be fooled. The next great threat is always upon us.

There is a little-known psychological disorder called “Ekbom syndrome” in which a person believes that insects are crawling underneath their skin. Patients often tear their skin off in an attempt to extract the invisible vermin.

Even though it’s a rare disorder affecting about 100,000 Americans, somehow we can all relate to the maddening anxiety of those afflicted. There is something universally cringe-worthy about the experience of infestation.

Recent Comments
  • John M. Grohol, Psy.D.: While your caution is noted, anybody can talk about ADHD medications and what kinds of...
  • Catherine Boyer, MA, LCSW: Really well done article – nice summary of symptoms and medications. As a...
  • Zainab: Absolutely love this! I can relate to this article on a very high level, in fact I’m beginning to feel...
  • Pharmabuse: Folks, beware of advice from psychologists about ADHD medications. Psychologists are not authorized to...
  • Debatable: Agreed. I am a mix of the two and I don’t know anyone that could fit neatly into one or the other.
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