Podcast

Podcast: Does Person-First Language Reduce Mental Illness Stigma?

In this week’s Psych Central Show, Gabe and Vincent discuss the use of person-first language in mental health advocacy. Person-First refers to a form of etiquette that calls for language to be structured “person” first, “disability” second. For example: “people with diabetes” versus “diabetic.” It changes language to replace “to be” (mentally ill) with “to have” (mental illness).

Our hosts discuss the relative merits and disadvantages of this supposedly empowering strategy. They question whether this is needed, whether it’s helping, or whether it is just one more way to stigmatize people who have been diagnosed with mental illness.

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Bipolar

Podcast: My Mental Illness vs. Yours – Whose Is Worse?

The Psych Central Show is our newest offering -- an interesting, in-depth weekly podcast that looks into all things mental health and psychology. Hosted by Gabe Howard and featuring Vincent M. Wales.

Should People Compare Their Mental Illnesses?


In this episode, our hosts discuss how society sees different mental health diagnoses. Gabe Howard has bipolar disorder and Vincent M. Wales has persistent depressive disorder (also known as dysthymia). In addition to each discussing his diagnosis, they compare how the conditions are similar and how are they different, and what each thinks of the other’s diagnosis. Ultimately, they ask the question: Is one worse than the other? And if so, in what ways?

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General

Video: Use iPhone Reminders For Positive, Location-Based Affirmations

They say technology can make us anxious.

All the beeping and buzzing. All the phantom vibrations. All the stress of having your entire work email inbox right in your pocket.

But we can't let anxiety win, can we? Surely there are ways to use new technologies to teach us to pause. To tell us everything's okay. To remind us that we can do this [insert scary thing here] because we are strong.

The iPhone's Reminders app -- a default app that comes with the operating system free of charge -- doesn't just allow you to create a to-do style checklist of tasks. This video tells you how you can use Reminders to do a whole lot more...

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Anxiety and Panic

Video: Why Black & White Thinking Can Be So Hard To Kick

"Why do we park in a driveway, but drive on a parkway?" my third grade teacher, Mrs. O'Malley, once asked during an English lesson.

It's a question that stumped, amused, and bewildered me and my fellow nine-year-old classmates.

We furrowed our eyebrows, but couldn't answer the question. Was there an answer to this question? Was it a riddle? But wait, even if it were a riddle, can it be more than that? Where do words come from, anyway? And who gets to decide what they mean?

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Anxiety and Panic

Video: Five More Things You Shouldn’t Say to Someone Who Is Having A Panic Attack

If you’ve never had a panic attack before, you can only imagine what it feels like.

Of course, you’ve probably experienced the individual components of panic in isolation – you’ve most certainly felt your heart beat rapidly while exercising, right? And maybe you’ve dealt with vertigo before after a few drinks, or shortness of breath during spring allergy season.

But when severe anxiety starts piling each of these symptoms in a giant heap on your chest, coupled with frightening thoughts, an uncomfortable synergy is born: the whole of the panic is more than the sum of its parts.

And I should certainly know. After all, I’ve had panic disorder for about ten years now. I can’t even count how many bona fide panic attacks I’ve had in my life.

Some were tolerable; some were crippling. All of them were frightening.

So, what should you do if someone you know has a panic attack in front of you? How should you react? What should you say?
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Anxiety and Panic

Video: What NOT to Say to Someone Who is Having a Panic Attack

Your intentions are pure. You want to help.

It might be your friend, your spouse, or one of your parents. It might be a co-worker, your sister, or your child.

If you've never had a panic attack, however, it can be difficult to imagine how panic feels. Thus, it can be difficult to comfort someone who is legitimately panicking.

In a way, I can only speak for myself. I'm not a doctor. I'm not a therapist. I'm just another woman with panic disorder, after all.

But thankfully, I've established a pretty large support network in my nine or so years of dealing with panic. Friends, family members, and internet acquaintances all seem to agree on one thing: "help" can sometimes hurt.

The quotation marks are intentional. To the non-panicker, "just calm down" might be the first phrase to trip out of your mouth during a friend's surprise panic attack. We know you mean well -- really, we do.

But phrases like that have the potential to fan the fight-or-flight flames. Find out how in today's video:
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Brain and Behavior

Video: Are You Easily Persuaded? (Hint: Yes, And Here’s Why)

Think you can avoid a sales pitch?

Maybe you can. If there's a salesperson knocking on your door, you could run away and hide in the bedroom until he goes away.

But not all masters of persuasion are dressed up in suits and ties to sell volcano insurance. We actually fall victim to many sales pitches each and every day -- from television, from magazines, from friends, and from family.

It's not your fault, really -- it's part of our nature to behave in a manner that makes us susceptible to certain persuasive techniques. In fact, it's common courtesy.

Let's say you head out to the bar with a friend. First round of drinks is on you.

Then what? Who gets the next round?

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Video: Chato Stewart’s Mental Health Hero Caricatures (Part 4)

We've reached the end!

Blogger Chato Stewart has so many Mental Health Heroes that it took me four videos to cover them all! He's honored each of his self-selected heroes by caricaturing each hero and writing a bio in his or her honor on his blog, Mental Health Humor.

I've honored Chato for doing all of that honoring by compiling his artwork and bios into videos that show you the human hero and the cartoon hero back to back.

And now, because I don't want the...
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General

Video: A Warm-Weather Mindfulness Activity

Happy Autumn! The leaves are beginning to change colors and there's a cozy chill in the air that invites jackets and light scarves. Isn't it nice?

Just kidding.

But did you stop for a second to look at the calendar? You know, just to make sure that May through September didn't blindly pass you by?

You can't find seasons at the Lost and Found



It's true: you can miss an entire season if you're not paying attention. Have you ever taken a shower (yes, I hope, but let me continue...) in which you're completely blind to the fact that you're even taking a shower until the second you shut off the tap?

This is what happens when we let our minds hang in the past or scurry to the future. We forget where we are, what we're doing, and what the present moment holds for us.

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Anxiety and Panic

Video: Using “Belly Biofeedback” App for Diaphragmatic Breathing

Belly breathing isn't an easy skill to learn... especially for a panicker like me.

When I first started trying to breathe diaphragmatically while under lots of stress in grad school, the whole effort was a miserable failure. Whenever I tried, even in the comfort of my own apartment, I felt like I wasn't getting enough air. And that airless feeling, in turn, would usually trigger a panic attack.

Despite my perennial pessimism in most other parts of life, I kept trying.

I kept trying at home. I kept trying in my university's anxiety management class. I kept trying in the library. I kept trying and trying and trying.

And now, four or five odd years later, I'm finally able to breathe out of my belly instead of my upper chest. Through mindfulness, I'm now able to notice when my breathing pattern is off -- and then, I can consciously correct it.

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General

Video: Six Effective Ways (For Adults) to Deal With Bullies

I hated sixth grade.

It was my first year in middle school and I reeked of awkwardness in a very "Deb-from-Napoleon-Dynamite" sort of way. Side ponytail? Check. Fascination with weird homemade lanyards and keychains? Check.

All the older kids were wearing their grunge-inspired flannel shirts and Grateful Dead t-shirts. Most of my wardrobe came from either Kids R Us or a giant garbage bag of hand-me-down clothes that my mother had collected from her co-workers.

One day, while walking home from school, a eighth-grade boy started harassing me. He'd call me names, comment on my clothing, and taunt me nearly the entire ten-block walk. My entire repertoire of comebacks, unfortunately, came straight from Full House.

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