Treatment Articles

Should You Ask Dr. Google Your Health Questions? Yes, Absolutely

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

Should You Ask Dr. Google Your Health Questions? Yes, AbsolutelyFor the past two decades, hundreds of millions of people around the world have done something extraordinary and unprecedented in human history. They’ve turned to the unlimited information resource we call the Internet to ask personal questions about their health and mental health.

And what have they learned?

More than anyone could have imagined. People today are better-informed health consumers than at any point in human history. They know more about their health — and about how their bodies and minds work — than even the best doctor or researcher did just fifty years ago.

We all have become experts on ourselves. And nothing could be better.

10 More Things Your Therapist Won’t Tell You

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

10 More Things Your Therapist Won't Tell YouA few years ago, I wrote about some of the …

Why Doesn’t Kaiser Care About Californians’ Mental Health?

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

Why Doesn't Kaiser Care About Californians' Mental Health?I’m not sure why, but the healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente appears not to care about the people whose lives it covers in California. That’s the only thing that could logically explain why it has continually failed to fund and staff its mental health services in the state to the level necessary to provide timely and adequate care to its residents.

Kaiser failed so badly to provide this bare minimum care that the state ended up fining it $4 million for systematically putting revenues before the care of its customers who have mental health needs.

In any other system, when a company so poorly fails to live up to its responsibilities, that company would be fired. But in the wonderful U.S. mental health system, Kaiser is given chance after chance to do the right thing. So do they?

Coming to Terms with Your Delusions

Monday, January 5th, 2015

Coming to Terms With Your DelusionsI’d be lying if I said I haven’t thought some pretty outrageous things in the course of my illness. I’d also be lying if I said I don’t think about outrageous things still. Even with a good amount of stability, delusions can still persist.

Sometimes it’s about what people think of you, maybe just an offhand notion. Other times it can be so bad that you think you’re a king or a prophet or Jesus Christ himself. I’ve seen every part of the spectrum.

Nine years on, I still deal with whether people are making fun of me. This is a delusion which, no matter what I’ve tried, I can’t stop.

Dealing with the Side Effects

Saturday, January 3rd, 2015

Dealing with The Side-EffectsHaving lived with schizophrenia for almost nine years I’m no stranger to the myriad things that can happen when you’re on a course of antipsychotic medication.

Many times these side effects can be disruptive to everyday life. Sometimes they come on slow and have a lasting impact, such as gaining a significant amount of weight. Sometimes they can be dull, such as drowsiness or a dissociative feeling.

The important thing to remember in all these cases is that side effects are negligible compared to the benefit of the drug.

Are New Treatments for Depression Right Under Our Nose?

Monday, December 29th, 2014

Are New Treatments for Depression Right Under Our Nose?

“The air of ideas is the only air worth breathing.” – Edith Wharton

Yogic breathing, a phone app, and laughing gas may be some of the best new remedies for depression.

Some interesting pilot studies in 2014 are providing hope for the future of depression. Curiously, these new possibilities all involve the mouth and nose. Breathing a certain way, speaking a certain way, and inhaling nitrous oxide all may have potential in reducing symptoms and breaking the cycle of depression.

Couples You Meet in Counseling: The Wife Who Wants More and Her Annoyingly Satisfied Husband

Saturday, December 27th, 2014

Couples You Meet in Counseling: The Wife Who Wants More and Her Annoyingly Satisfied HusbandAlthough I thought I was done after
Mr. Perfect and His Crazy Wife
, The Ice Queen and the Martyr, and Mr. and Mrs. Just not Feeling it, I have realized that I have neglected the most common couple that I see in counseling: The Wife Who Wants More and Her Annoyingly Satisfied Husband.

The wife is a 40-something, attractive, intelligent woman with a tendency toward reading, some creative pursuits, and introspection. She has a lot of energy that she used in college, maybe grad school, and then raising her kids, and now her kids are in elementary school or older and much more self-sufficient. This leaves her with a lot more time to think.

Tips for Finding Motivation When You’re Depressed

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

Tips for Finding Motivation When You're DepressedTelling a depressed person to get motivated is like telling a rock to dance. You’ll get the same result.

It’s not because depressed people don’t want to get motivated. It’s because getting motivated is an overwhelming task when you’re depressed. Is motivation impossible? Definitely not. You just have to find a process that works for you.

How to Find a Therapist You Love

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

How to Find a Therapist You LoveWhen I was struggling with my eating disorder, I’d have particularly awful days. Often, it involved me crying into my carpet and wishing I didn’t exist. In those moments, when life was heavy and pressing, I was willing to reach out for help, but I didn’t know where to begin.

My eating disorder was a shameful secret, so naturally I didn’t want to elaborate to the random secretary who answered the phone. I did leave an awkward message or two on a voicemail.

Can New York City Fix Its Mental Health Treatment Problem?

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

Can New York City Fix Its Mental Health Treatment Problem?New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio believes he can fix New York City’s terrible problem within its criminal justice system and its poor treatment (and mistreatment) of people with mental illness. He’s putting some much-needed money where his mouth is — $130 million, to be specific.

The money will be used to help begin to reform how those with mental illness are treated while in custody, help shunt them over to treatment services as a first response, and train all of its police officers on how to respond to people with mental illness with compassion rather than violence.

But is it enough to address the problems of providing timely public mental health care to those in the criminal justice system, in a city of 8+ million?

Probably not.

What I Wish People Knew about Depression

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

What I Wish People Knew about DepressionSomeone recently asked me to write on what I wish people knew about depression, in light of Robin William’s suicide. Here’s my response.

I wish people knew that depression is complex, that it is a physiological condition with psychological and spiritual components, and therefore can’t be forced into any neat and tidy box, that healing needs to come from lots of kinds of sources and that every person’s recovery is different.

5 Sneaky Signs of Depression You May Be Overlooking

Monday, November 24th, 2014

depression symptoms

Things have changed a lot in the past 30 years when it comes to our ideas about depression. In the 1980s and even the 1990s, people often still saw it as a moral weakness, a sign of being “crazy,” or as something to be dismissed completely.

Today most people not only know someone who has struggled openly with depression, but they can probably also rattle off a handful of symptoms just from watching the many depression medication television commercials that dominate the airwaves. The voiceover asks “Are you always sad and tearful? Have you lost interest in things you used to enjoy? If so, ask your doctor about this medication.”

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