Anxiety and Panic

What it’s Like to Live with Hypochondria

My life is controlled by an endless series of obsessions, intrusive thoughts, rituals, and fears, but I don’t have OCD, at least not technically. Instead, I have a somatoform disorder better known as hypochondria.

Hypochondria, or health anxiety, is a preoccupation with having or acquiring a serious illness. As with OCD, health anxiety can cause persistent fears and reassurance-seeking behaviors, like, say, checking and rechecking your pulse. For the hundredth time. In under 10 minutes.

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Children and Teens

Running in Place: Improving Public Education

Reading, writing, and 'rithmetic. In popular culture, we have a cheerful image of little Jim and Jane skipping to their suburban elementary school. Cute? Yes. Accurate? Only if Jim and Jane hail from upper-class backgrounds.

Compare Jim and Jane, two adorable first-graders from Coldwater Canyon, to Marcus and Mariel, two adorable first-graders from Los Angeles. For Marcus and Mariel, domestic violence, physical violence, and food insecurity pervade their daily lives. On Mariel’s walk to her gang-infested school, she dodges used needles and condoms. In their bleak environment, elementary school represents a critical, stabilizing influence.

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General

The Difference Between Sex & Love for Men

As a psychotherapist who specializes in emotions, and as a woman with my own personal history of serial monogamy, I have come to realize that some men channel their need for love, intimacy, soothing, care, and comfort into sexual desire.

Here are some examples:

Dylan wants sex when he feels sad because he likes the comfort the physical holding provides. Dylan, like most people, wants to be held when he is sad. In fact, the need to be held when we feel sad is biologically programmed into our brains.

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Brain and Behavior

Building a Guilt-Free Relationship with Food through Mindful Eating

The primary role of food in young children’s lives is one of sustenance. Young children tend to eat when they’re hungry and push away food when they’re full. Food is a source of nourishment and joy, one of the many joyful things life has to offer.

This role can change as children grow, depending on the messages received. Some children may be told to finish everything on their plate even if they’re full, a lesson telling them they can’t waste food. Parents may restrict eating due to what they perceive is a weight problem for their children. These children may grow up feeling shame for eating, resulting in binge behaviors or eating in secret. Children may witness unhealthy habits, eating only processed foods or having a lack of structure around eating. This can result in making poor food choices throughout their lives or a lack of moderation with eating.

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Brain and Behavior

Is the Cure for the Common Cold Within Reach?

Handshakes, High Fives, Fist Bumps, And Hugs
“We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.” - Virginia Satir
In 2008 Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, gave each other a fist bump after a well-received campaign speech in Minnesota. The gesture went viral. It became the new handshake. Now, according to some, it may be trending as a health initiative.
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Anorexia

Psychology Around the Net: April 9, 2016


Happy Saturday, sweet readers!

As you read this, I'm probably looking out my window wondering where spring went. (Snow? Really?) Or, if the weather forecast is wrong -- *fingers crossed* -- I'm outside romping around with my dog.

Regardless of your weather situation and how it affects your Saturday plans, you must check out the latest in mental health news this week first. Want to know about the possible negative impact of smartphone apps designed to help mental health management? We have it. How about signs that you're experiencing "sympathy pains" from your partner's depression? We have that, too.

Oh, and on a more upbeat scale, we've thrown in an inspiring call-to-action from the award-winning violinist and YouTube superstar, Lindsey Stirling.

Enjoy!

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Addiction

Psychology Around the Net: April 2, 2016


Happy Saturday, sweet readers!

I'm hoping you all ended your week with some funny April Fools' Day shenanigans, and are ready to start the weekend with some of the latest developments in mental health!

Read on for news on how men are more vulnerable to developing stress-related depression, how people with mental health issues fit in when it comes to physician-assisted suicide, ways you can effectively help another person cope with anxiety or depression, and more.

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Family

What’s Your Name?

What’s your name? My name is Thomas Winterman, and I used to be a fat guy. Whew! It feels good to say that. No really, it’s nice to be able to call a spade a spade. I used to speak in code with words like “husky” or “large,” but I never allowed myself to say what I was.

I used to be fat, and it was not a good look on me. I was 275 pounds at my heaviest, and I was at (or near) my heaviest for a very long time. I loathed exercise and loved Taco Bell, a double chin recipe if I’ve ever heard one. When people said my name, they thought “fat guy.”

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Children and Teens

Could Childhood Emotional Abuse Lead to Migraines Later in Life?


Say what?!

It isn't an exaggeration to say that people who get migraines suffer. Migraines are more intense than regular headaches and can last for hours or days. Any movement, bright lights or noises can make the pain worse. When you're having a migraine you might feel nauseous or have to vomit.

Some people only occasionally get migraines, while others seem to get them all the time. And since they're so debilitating, you may miss work or an important event because all you want is for the pain to go away.
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Bipolar

Which is Worse, Mental or Physical Illness?

On the morning of a bone scan procedure to check to see if my cancer has come back, I’m wondering which is worse: mental illness or physical illness?

As a person who’s experienced both, I have a little bit to say on the topic. Of course, the answer to this question is highly subjective, but here goes my analysis:

I was diagnosed with bipolar illness in 1991. I was 28. For the next 24 years, I would suffer with the disease, enduring nights without sleep, terrible depressions, paranoia and, worst of all, delusions that made it difficult to exist in public places.
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