Habits

Psychology Around the Net: May 14, 2016


It's been a great week for me, sweet readers!

Not only have I made great strides in getting back on track living a healthy lifestyle, but I finally took Your Body, Your Mind off hiatus!

For those of you who don't know, I write the Your Body, Your Mind blog here at Psych Central. I took a break from the blog for several months because my "healthy lifestyle" slowly but surely came to a halt. However, thanks to some good talks with good people -- and teaming up with some inspiring friends -- things are looking up!

If you're interested in exploring how exercise and healthy foods can help manage mental health, head on over to my re-intro post, Welcome Back to Health Living!, and subscribe to the blog.

Now, let's get on with this week's news in mental health!

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General

Can Therapy Help for Self-Harm?

The problem of self-harm is growing, especially among teens and young adults. People engage in self-harm -- such as cutting, self-injury, or even self-poisoning -- for a wide variety of reasons. But the real question is how to help a person who is self-harming.

Self-harm also hurts the family, friends, and other people around the person who is engaging in the behavior. Friends and loved ones don't understand self-harm, and they don't understand what they can do to help. People who self-harm are themselves sometimes unable to express their reasons, or the kind of relief it brings to their emotional hurt and pain.

Psychotherapy has long been used to help people with mental illness and mental health issues. Can it help a person who self-harms?

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Aspergers

Gender Bias in Diagnosing Autism: Can We Find Something We’re Not Looking For?

Here's your assignment:

Sort through a large, diverse group of birds and find all the peafowl. You are instructed to select the ones with vivid, iridescent plumage in blues and greens, with extravagant tails that open into huge, shimmering fans.

Oh, you're thinking, I'm looking for peacocks. Problem is, peacocks are the male peafowls. How can you find the plain, gray peahens if you're looking for birds that would rival a glittering Las Vegas dance revue?

Why are we missing the females?
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Disorders

Psychodynamic Psychotherapy: A Misunderstood But Effective & Powerful Treatment

Today, psychodynamic psychotherapy tends to get dismissed or outright rejected. It’s seen as ineffective, unscientific and archaic. It’s associated with Freud and some of his “outlandish” theories -- many of which have become caricatures. If you’ve ever learned about psychoanalysis or psychodynamic psychotherapy in college or even grad school, it’s likely your professors got it wrong.

Psychodynamic psychotherapy arose out of psychoanalysis, but it’s since evolved. A lot. As psychologist Jonathan Shedler, Ph.D, writes in this fantastic, myth-busting piece: “The development of psychoanalytic thought did not end with Freud any more than the development of physics ended with Newton, or the development of the behavioral tradition in psychology ended with Watson.”

Psychodynamic psychotherapy is depicted as inferior to other interventions, namely cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
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Bipolar

What Bipolar Depression Looks Like — And What Can Help

Sadness. Hopelessness. Loss of interest. Loss of energy. Difficulty sleeping. Difficulty concentrating. Low self-esteem. Weight gain. Weight loss. Suicidal thoughts.

These are some of the symptoms listed for a depressive episode (also called bipolar depression) in bipolar disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. But these clear-cut signs don’t exactly capture the complicated course of bipolar disorder or the palpable anguish that people with bipolar depression really feel. They don’t capture the angst or fear or confusion.
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Anxiety and Panic

Three Tips to Muscle Through Social Anxiety

Something strange happens when I have to talk to a new person or someone I don’t feel comfortable with. My heart rate increases, my hands shake a little and I can feel a tightening in my chest.

It happens to everyone to some extent when they socialize, especially in instances where you're taking a risk (, asking for a raise, asking someone for a date). But for me the anxiety happens every time, from...
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Addiction

Treating Trichotillomania

As a hair stylist with over 15 years of experience, I recently had the opportunity to work with a client who suffered from trichotillomania. Also called "hair pulling disorder," trichotillomania is characterized by an obsessive pulling of one's own hair, leading to hair loss and baldness. It's often chronic, difficult to treat, and can lead to high stress and social impairment for the sufferer. The following is an account of our work with this client using my skills as a master stylist.

Our client had gone through years of hiding her pull spots and had become masterful at finding different up-styles to camouflage her problem areas. The idea was to add hair extensions, as the client and her behavioral therapist believed it would help her to stop her compulsive pulling.
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Depression

3 Myths about Postpartum Depression that Too Many People Believe

There are many myths about postpartum depression -- everything from it’s not real to it’ll go away on its own to it affects only certain women. The reality is that postpartum depression is a serious illness that does not discriminate, said Elizabeth Gillette, LCSW, a therapist specializing in preventing and treating perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, and supporting couples in their relationship as their family grows.

The reality is that you can experience PPD after a traumatic or an ideal birth experience. The reality is that having PPD doesn’t mean you don’t love your baby or aren’t grateful to give birth to a healthy child, Gillette said. “It means that right now [you are] challenged by a serious illness that requires treatment.”
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General

Mental Health Courts: Does Coercion Add Anything of Value to Treatment?

Mental health courts are America's sad, broken way of dealing with people who have mental illness -- who also happen to have committed a crime. Even something as small as a misdemeanor. I mean, what better way to treat a person's mental illness than to send them to a court tailored for their mental health needs?

The truth is that if a person is receiving adequate care in the community through the public mental health system, there'd likely be far fewer people who get involved in criminal justice system to begin with. People with mental illness get involved in the court system for a wide variety of reasons (psychosis, drugs, mania, etc.). Such involvement is usually just a side effect of a person who isn't getting any kind of decent treatment.

So do mental health courts work? Or could you offer the same services to people without the coercion and get similar results? The long-term data is in.

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General

5 Ways Group Therapy Strengthens Relationships

Everyone yearns for loving, positive relationships. Yet for many adults, stable companions continue to be out of reach. Friends come and go. Romances fall apart. Family members remain at odds with one another.

Why do some people have healthy, flourishing relationships while others do not? And why does individual therapy often fail to help people break their pattern of troubled relationships?

Unlike individual therapy, group therapy focuses exclusively on relationships. Group therapy begins with you taking 100 percent responsibility for your own behaviors and the outcomes of your relationships.
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Bipolar

What You Need to Know About Relapse in Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder tends to look different in different people. For instance, one person experiences a depressive episode as angry and irritable, said Sheri Van Dijk, MSW, RSW, a psychotherapist in Sharon, Ontario, Canada. Another person is unable to get out of bed or take care of themselves, she said. They barely eat and spend all day sleeping. A third person experiences a “mixed” episode with symptoms of depression and mania at the same time. “They have a lot of energy, but their mood feels low.”

During a hypomanic episode, one person has an elevated mood and high energy and breezes through their to-do list. On the other hand, someone else gets really anxious and agitated.
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