Addiction

Understanding PTSD and its Effects on Marriage

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that occurs following a life-threatening event such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or physical or sexual assault. Approximately eight percent of all people will experience PTSD at some point in their life. That number rises to about 30 percent for combat veterans.

Those suffering with PTSD may experience several different types of symptoms:

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Depression

Suicidal? 10 Tips for Keeping Yourself Alive

I remember having my first suicidal thought at the age of 13. At that time, I had discovered that my brother was gay and my sister and father completely abandoned him because of it. I had been molested by a female when I was young, and this revelation about my brother made me wonder if I was going to be gay, too. At the time, I had no clue how a person became gay.

I went on to have tragedy after tragedy arise in my life. To name just a few, I have lost two children and both of my parents; breast cancer at the age of 40, double mastectomy, chemo, two reconstruction surgeries, discovering at the end of my treatment that my husband had been living a double life for many, many years which led to my divorce, and an almost-successful suicide attempt.

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General

Self-Mutilation Helped Me Cope with Depression — Briefly

I had always believed that injuring oneself is ridiculous. What could one possibly get from cutting assorted body parts? Who wants scores of ugly scars and scabs all over their body? How can people indulge in and actually enjoy it? How can it be a means to cope with depression?

Suffering from emotional trauma is one thing; add to that the physical pain of self-injury, and what is the result? Nothing fruitful comes out of it, or so I believed until I tried this seemingly overrated practice myself.
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Bullying

Recovering from Childhood Abuse: The Past Keeps Getting Clearer

In trauma recovery it is said, “You’ve done the hardest part -- you survived the abuse.”

After a year of accepting that I was sexually abused as a child, I’m finally starting to understand that recovery isn’t the hardest part. The shame is less automatic now, and the past is getting clearer.

As a child suffering abuse we don’t understand exactly what’s happening to us. Sex and sexuality is a mystery, so it’s not easy to recognize sexual abuse. Physical abuse is also confusing. We are tricked into thinking we’ve done something to deserve maltreatment. And in the end, we give in to this naive hope: “Everything is normal. No one would let abuse happen to me. I’m not in an unsafe situation.”
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Personal

8 Warning Signs for Silent Domestic Abuse Victims


Do NOT miss these signals.

As the founder of a nonprofit that serves domestic abuse victims, I get a ton of emails from women who are reaching out for help -- not because they are abused, but because they aren't sure if they are being abused at all.

And as a domestic violence survivor myself who was married to an abuser for eight years, I'm going to let you in on a little secret here: If you're wondering if you're being abused, there's a good chance that you are.

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General

Can You Hear Compliments? How to Let Praise into Your Life

I was recently having a conversation with an old friend. We were talking about what was up lately and I was so excited about what was going on in her life, that I didn’t even realize that I was missing so much of what she said. It wasn’t until later, when I was recounting the conversation to my husband, that I realized she had paid me a lot of compliments and I glossed over every one like they never happened.

It’s not humility. Humility means
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Children and Teens

9 Ways to Talk to Your Children about Mass Shootings


Your kids need to know the truth, but how you talk about it matters. Here's help.

It goes without saying that the most recent massacre in Orlando has the world shaken. Parents have their own set of worries around the safety of their children. And children, who have any level of exposure to the news, have a need to try to understand why this would happen and why would anyone do such a thing.

As much as we all wish we could shelter our kids from the realities of our world today we can’t. They typically hear about these types of atrocities from TV, other kids, overhearing their parents or seeing the look of concern on their parent’s faces while watching the news or reading a news feed on their phone. The points below are a helpful guide to talking to your kids about these types of tragedies.
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Bullying

Community Building After Tragedy

My satirical policy recommendation: Bowling in every street.

You chuckle. But, in the States, we are striking out at the type of grassroots events that bind neighborhoods into communities and transform wary strangers into community leaders.

Robert Putnam’s book is more apropos than ever. In his bestselling Bowling Alone, he tackles the decline of social institutions. We don’t bowl together or host neighborhood parties. Our social connectivity is now through virtual platforms.
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Anger

How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Us

The statistics are alarming. From 2009 to 2014, the number of girls between the ages of 10 and 17 hospitalized for intentionally cutting or poisoning themselves has more than doubled. This isn't the first time I'm reading about this. But it's certainly time to talk about it.

In my work with inherited family trauma, when I see a child who injures herself, I've learned to probe into the family history. The self-injurer could well be reliving aspects of a trauma she inherited from her parents or grandparents, though this is not always the case. Self-injurious behaviors can arise for other reasons as well.

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Brain and Behavior

Compassion Fatigue in the Animal Welfare Community

Before becoming a psychotherapist, I had a career in animal welfare. I’ve worn both the boots and the sandals -- that’s jargon for working on the law enforcement side and the shelter side -- and I’ve seen my fair share of trauma.

Whether you’re a humane officer or a shelter volunteer, a vet tech or an animal rights activist, you have likely seen, heard about, or experienced things that most people can’t even begin to understand. Long-term exposure to abuse and neglect, euthanasia, and grief-stricken clients not only can affect your work productivity and satisfaction, but it can also wear on you mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. If you feel like you care so much that it hurts, you may be struggling with compassion fatigue.
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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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