Bullying

Why Trump’s Election May Be Especially Difficult for Many Raised in Dysfunctional Families

I have heard from many who grew up with dysfunction, abuse, or narcissistic control how upset they feel by Donald Trump's election. As one person told me, “It feels like a nightmare. An egomaniac who cares little for my welfare is taking over my country and there is nothing I can do about it. I feel like I did as a kid when my autocratic dad had total control over all of us.”
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Addiction

Carrie Fisher, Bipolar Disorder, Addiction & The People She Inspired

When Carrie Fisher passed away on Tuesday morning at age 60, she left behind a legacy of being one of the first and most vocal Hollywood celebrities and actors to speak openly about mental illness. Specifically, Fisher battled bipolar disorder and addiction throughout most of her life, but never was shy speaking about these demons, all the while never letting herself be solely defined by them.

So while most of the world will remember her as Princess Leia -- the fierce, independent heroine in the original Star Wars movies -- many people will remember her for her ability to give dignity to those living with the most debilitating silent disease -- mental illness. As a champion for people with bipolar disorder and addiction, we remember her today along with millions of others.

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Creativity

PODCAST: Why Do Some People View Mental Illness as a Gift?

In this episode of the Psych Central Show, hosts Gabe and Vincent discuss how some individuals with mental illness view their condition as beneficial, such as giving them enhanced creativity, deeper empathy, more insightful, and so on. They share their own personal stories and anecdotes heard from others. They discuss the reasons behind why some people believe this and why others do not. Ultimately, they offer their own opinions on whether mental illness is more of a giver or a taker.

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Anger

Coping in the Post-Election World

The results are in. Like it or not, Donald J. Trump has been elected the 45th President of the United States. And you’re likely to have feelings -- or very strong feelings -- regarding the outcome of the 2016 election. For millions of Americans, Trump’s victory has been reason for celebration; for others, great disappointment. Even if you are neutral about politics, this can...
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General

Universal Health Services (UHS) Skewered (Again) by New Report

Universal Health Services (UHS), America's largest psychiatric hospital provider, was skewered last week in an investigative journalism report by Rosalind Adams and published by BuzzFeed News. This wasn't some hastily thrown together hit piece, but rather an in-depth look -- talking with 175 current and former staffers at UHS hospitals and 120 additional interviews with patients, experts, and investigators into the claims brought against the company.

The report paints a picture of certain hospitals within the UHS system that seem to have significant problems and deficits. Worse yet, the company apparently has its head in the sand, denying any problems exist in its facilities, and spinning data that appears to show the company emphasizes money over patient care.

This report should act as a wake-up call for the entire inpatient psychiatric hospital industry.

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General

Podcast: Do Suicides Increase During the Holidays?

In this episode of the Psych Central Show, Gabe and Vincent address the persistent and widespread myth that suicides increase during the holiday season. They discuss which seasons see the highest suicide rates, what month has the lowest rate, and what we as a society can do to educate ourselves about, and ultimately prevent, suicide.

Vincent, a former suicide hotline counselor, covers some common warning signs that indicate possible suicidal thoughts and what a person can expect when calling a suicide hotline. The conversation includes a brief history of American automobile safety standards, as well as some surprising statistics about death in in the U.S.

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Brain and Behavior

Facebook’s Flimsy Denial of Fake News & Its Impact

Facebook paints a very dichotomous, contradictory picture of itself. On one side, they claim to be the world's largest social network, impacting the lives of over a billion people each month. On the other side, CEO Mark Zuckerberg -- apparently not using his own social network or perhaps living under a rock this past year? -- claims that Facebook has virtually no influence on national elections.

The disconnect is important, because it shows that Facebook doesn't appear to take a leadership position of responsibility for unleashing and reinforcing the technology that has become a part of billions of people's lives everyday. Is fake news an actual problem on Facebook, and if so, what can be done about it?

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Celebrities

When an Apology Is Not an Apology

Why is apologizing so difficult? Saying “I was wrong, I made a mistake, I’m sorry” is more painful than root canal therapy for some people.

As a psychotherapist, I’ve found that our ability to apologize is directly related to the shame we carry. Burdened with a deeply ingrained sense of being flawed or defective, we mobilize to avoid being flooded by a debilitating shame.

When we recognize that we’ve done or said something offensive or hurtful, we may notice an uncomfortable feeling inside. We realize we’ve broken trust and done some damage.
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Minding the Media

When Hate Takes Hold

There are many places in the world where hate is thriving. In such milieus, people hate others who are different from themselves. They view these “others” as substandard or wicked. Hence, they want them uprooted, removed, even expunged from this earth.

When such a mind-set exists, hate-provoking propaganda is welcome. As the propaganda spreads, a “group think” takes hold that knows no bounds, for everyone you associate with thinks the way you do.
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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

How the Media Affects Body Image

Body image is the way we perceive ourselves when we look in the mirror. We imagine ourselves to look and act a certain way, even though we may look and act differently to those around us.

Someone has a positive body image if he or she is attuned to the reality of his or her physical shape and size. This person fully understands his or her weight, the form of his or her body (from curves to wrinkles), and the way his or her body moves and functions.

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Anxiety and Panic

How Media Shapes Our View of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Most people would consider an abuse victim as a person who experienced “trauma.” However people often don’t view them as potentially experiencing “post-traumatic stress disorder.” PTSD is more commonly thought of as a condition affecting combat veterans, but the number of civilians suffering from PTSD is 13 times more than military personnel, according to a release from Drexel University. So what gives? According to researchers at Drexel, the media plays a large role in what the general population and lawmakers associate with PTSD.

The Drexel study reviewed 35 years worth of articles on PTSD published in the New York Times -- from 1980, the year PTSD was added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, to 2015. Of 871 articles a little over 50 percent focused on military cases of PTSD. The occurrence of PTSD in veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan is 20 percent. But research shows the condition is far more likely to affect civilians who suffer sexual assault (30-80 percent of survivors), nonsexual assault (23–39 percent), survivors of disasters (30–40 percent), and car crashes (25–33 percent).
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