General

Got Insurance? You’re Going to Have a Frustrating Wait for Rationed Mental Health Care

Yet again, insurance companies are getting away with rationing mental health care in America and treating mental disorders unequally when compared to physical conditions. And nobody seems to be listening -- or care.

We thought we had this problem licked with the historic passage of the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, a law that banned insurance companies from discriminating against people with mental illness.

Unfortunately, insurance companies just found new ways to deny patients care for their mental health conditions -- through rationing access to service providers.

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General

Grief & Loss After the Election


After the historic election of 2016, where underdog businessman Donald Trump upset Hillary Clinton for the presidency of the United States, many people are in distress. There have been large anti-Trump protests of thousands of people in major cities across the country chanting, "Not my president."

Large groups of people were grieving yesterday, trying to come to terms with the failure to elect the first woman president. How do you cope with grief and loss after a contentious election like this?

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Books

5 Ways to Live Well with Chronic Pain

None of us ever set out to live a life with chronic pain and illness, but it happens. There comes that moment when you are sitting in yet another doctor’s office going over your symptoms for the third time that week, and the physician is simultaneously squinting his eyes, trying to make sense of your laundry list of complaints while scribbling something in your file -- when you realize that your story might not ever have a Cinderella ending.

You panic. You may throw things (when you get home). Niagara Falls begins to erupt from your eyes. And then gradually, over time and much heartache, you embrace Plan B.
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ADHD and ADD

Psychology Around the Net: November 5, 2016


I'm going to the mountains today; in fact, I might be there by the time you read this.

Of course, this isn't exactly unusual, given my state is fairly well known for its mountains. I'm sort of always surrounded by mountains, even when I'm grocery shopping. Nevertheless, earlier this week, a friend of mine sent a random text asking if I'd be interested in spending a day in an especially beautiful area of the state a couple of hours away.

"YES."

Without hesitation.

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General

Dealing with the Looming Cloud of the Possibility of Early Death

Five years ago, I had breast cancer. To rid myself of it, I had chemotherapy, radiation and a double mastectomy.

Flash forward five years. One day, I noticed a strange, bright red splotch on my breast, the breast where the cancer had been. The doctor did a biopsy of it, and the results came back malignant. It was an angiosarcoma, and the suspected cause was the radiation treatment I’d had five years before. This was a very rare form of cancer that, again, results sometimes from the radiation itself. That which was meant to heal me, made me ill.
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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

8 Fall Foods I Eat to Improve My Mood

Even with its gorgeous foliage and festivities, autumn triggers anxiety and depression for many people. The shorter days and lack of sunlight affect our circadian rhythms; we feel the stress of upcoming holidays; and the claustrophobia of winter is lurking around the corner. I’m not a dietitian, but I’ve learned a lot from experts about food and mood, and I’ve learned what works for me.

Mother Nature, fortunately, has done her part in providing many foods and spices during this season that can aid our sanity. From enjoying freshly picked apples to munching on dry pumpkin seeds, autumn is full of good-mood foods that can help us enjoy the season.
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Alcoholism

Are You Using Alcohol as a Crutch?

One of my friends hasn’t had a drink in over a year. She stopped drinking because she realized that it clouded her thinking. She realized that she was using alcohol to relieve stress and escape from her thoughts and feelings. No one would call her an “alcoholic.” In fact, many of her friends don’t understand why she quit.

But, without alcohol, she’s seen many positive changes. She has more clarity. She feels more motivated. She sleeps better. She’s more present in her life.

We think of drinking in two ways: Either you’re a normal drinker. Or you’re an alcoholic. Either you have a serious problem. Or you don’t. But drinking is way more nuanced and much more layered than that.
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Mental Health and Wellness

America Needs Talent

Need a talent?

Try doing nothing.

Whaaat?

In our hyperkinetic society, we scan our inbox, check our cell phones, and -- for good measure -- refresh our inbox. The average Americans checks his email 46 times per day.

Was the latest GroupOn coupon that crucial?

Riding the bus to work this morning, I observe my sleep-deprived busmates fidgeting in their seats. As the bus rumbles downtown, my busmates are Twittering, Snapchatting, and Facebooking away. Some are feverishly working -- engrossed in the latest project. Me? I am hunched over my iPhone, scanning my mind’s recesses for a catchy intro. We are all busy, running on life’s treadmill. But is the ceaseless need for productivity sapping our mental equanimity? Averting our eyes from our overflowing inbox, we both know the answer.
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General

3 Creative Activities for Couples to Cultivate Your Intimacy

All relationships require regular tending. They require effort, attention and time -- like anything worthwhile. One of the best ways to tend to your relationship is to focus on your intimacy.

Intimacy isn’t just about sex. It’s about cultivating your intellectual, emotional, and spiritual connection.

Specifically, intellectual intimacy is sharing thoughts or interests that each partner finds stimulating, said Lanie Smith, MPS, ATR, an Arizona-based art therapist who believes in the value of creativity and communication in helping couples play, heal, and grow together.
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General

Asylum Was Once a Place of Safe Haven, Part 1

If you go into your internet browser’s search bar and type in the word “asylum,” a host of terrifying images of dirty hallways, rusty beds, and screaming faces will pop up. Let’s face it -- asylum is mostly known as a negative word, a place where unspeakable things occur in the movies that keep us awake at night. Regardless of its roots in providing protective safe haven, the concept of asylum receives a bad reputation mostly because of historical documentation of the awful and dehumanizing conditions of psychiatric hospitals.

"It's not easy to talk about. You don't want people to think you're 'nuts' when everyone in there is not nuts," Ann explains while sipping a cup of coffee. "During certain stays I had dignity, but there was one hospital where there were bed bugs all over. They had to keep changing my sheets and the staff would come in to clean them out of the lights." Now in her fifties, Ann has experienced many years of hospital stays at different institutions while combating major depressive disorder (MDD).
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Brain and Behavior

Pillow Talk: You Need More Sleep

“You can sleep when you are dead,” a friend chides.

Offering an awkward chuckle, I was too tired to supply a witty response. In America, we stifle our collective yawn to meet the next pressing deadline. But there is a more important deadline than the latest accounting project: our (sleep) health. For a painful few, sleep is an elusive dream.

In American society, we sacrifice sleep for employment or academic obligations. In competitive academic programs, we brag about the number of all-nighters we pull. Time has chronicled the sleep fatigue of first-year residents and its damning effect on patients.
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