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Addicts Need Rehab, not Jail

It’s a story almost as old as addiction itself. It’s a question with an obvious answer, but one still lingering. It’s a debate over helping vs. punishing. It’s a political pitfall, but one that may finally be addressed.

I’m talking, of course, about offering addicts treatment instead of punishing them with jail or prison. Now that’s a vast oversimplification of the personal, political, and socioeconomic debate raging across the country at this very moment. Still, I believe it should be that simple.

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Blame the Illness, Not the Patient

One of the most hurtful comments made to me during the worst of my depression was this: "You must not want to get better."

I know that person didn't intend to be spiteful or mean. She's just plain ignorant regarding mental health issues. (But I still haven't let it go, obviously.)

Comments like that are why I'm so passionate about educating folks on mental illness and eliminating the isolating stigma of our condition. Because it's hard enough fighting all the negative intrusive thoughts within our head. We don't need additional insults and negative opinions -- confirmation of our weakness -- from folks who have never wanted to die and consider all suicidal thoughts self-absorbed and pathetic.
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Anxiety and Panic

3 Reasons to Seek Professional Help (Even if You’re Scared)

When I was 23, I endured my first and only (knock on wood) panic attack. It was, without a doubt, the scariest, most unnerving few minutes of my life. While short-lived, I was terrified of suffering through another one. So I found a therapist in the area and within a week, we were rifling, together, through the episode’s underlying causes, many of which I was unaware even existed.

I quickly learned the value of having a therapist, a person to help you combat life’s challenges and tribulations. We all have personal issues but many prefer to keep them bottled up instead of opening up to a professional and risking being vulnerable.
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Eating Disorder Recovery: What an Imperfect Health Care System Taught Me

Eight years in I knew I needed help for my eating disorder, but I was still trying to convince myself I’d get better on my own. I’d like to say I chose to go to the hospital because I had faith in recovery and made a healthy choice. But the truth is often different from surface appearance.

After coming home in constant fear that he’d find me dead, my husband finally told me if I didn’t get help he couldn’t be married to me anymore. A part of me had been watching.
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Five Confessions of a Marriage Counselor

Hero worship makes me uncomfortable. I am an extremely minor public figure, except among certain family members and friends who inflate my fame. As a marriage expert, I sense that many people who have heard of me think I must be a perfect marriage partner. This is not true.

I’m no hero.

When we idealize someone, we blind ourselves to the reality that we’re all human. Everyone possesses strengths and weaknesses. Would you rather compare yourself and your loved ones negatively to an unrealistic image of someone or know the truth -- which is that we’re all in the trenches together?
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Treatment-Resistant Depression & the Beyond Blue Foundation

Living with treatment-resistant depression is one of the hardest chronic diseases imaginable to manage. Imagine having a regular chronic, physical disease -- like diabetes -- but because it's invisible, people don't even believe that you have a disease!

Why can't you get up this morning? Why don't you have the energy to get your work done? Why are these dishes piling up in the sink? Why haven't you smiled in more than a month?

Now, on top of that, imagine that your treatment team -- doctors, psychiatrists, therapists, nutritionsts, and more -- have no idea on how to help you. That everything they've tried hasn't worked. Or it worked for a short period of time, but stopped working.

That's treatment-resistant depression. That's the living hell that is the lives of tens of thousands of Americans every day.

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Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Offers Hope for Treatment-Resistant Depression

In December 2012, Stephanie S. was taking 300 mgs of sertraline (Zoloft), 300 mgs of (bupropion Hcl) Wellbutrin, 300 mgs of trazodone hydrochloride (Desyrel), 200 mgs of risperidone (Risperdal), and 8 mgs of alprazolam (Xanax), but was as depressed as she has ever been. She had also gained 100 pounds as a side effect of all the medications.

Having tried a total of 10 different kinds of drugs with no success, her doctor recommended transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), a non-invasive procedure that stimulates nerve cells in the brain with short magnetic pulses. A large electromagnetic coil is placed against the scalp, which generates focused pulses that pass through the skull and stimulate the cerebral cortex of the brain, a region that regulates mood. The procedure was approved by the FDA in 2008.

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Too Many Preschoolers Getting Medications for ADHD

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has just published its first national study on the various forms of treatment used for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. The study examined the use of medication, behavioral therapy, and dietary supplements -- and its results were eye-opening.

Almost 1 in 4 preschoolers were treated with medication alone.

That is an astounding number, when you stop and consider that a preschooler's brain is still under active development. Prescribing stimulants to such a young child's brain is a bad idea, given we have no longitudinal, long-term studies demonstrating that these medications won't be harmful in a child's development.

Read on to learn more about the study's key findings.

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Psychology & Empowering Stress Tools Help Breast Cancer Outcomes

When a person hears they've just been diagnosed with any kind of cancer, the last thing running through their mind is taking care of their emotional health. But your emotional and mental well-being is probably just as important a component of any other part of your treatment, it needs your attention.

Yet another study has been published showing that your emotional and mental health are incontrovertibly tied to your physical health. And in the latest research, maintaining your mental health has been shown to be tied to more positive quality of life and less depressive symptoms.

The researchers also theorize that such improvements may also help a person combat cancer itself.

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The Unnecessary Financial Burden Caused by Mental Illness

It has been just a year since I returned to see my psychiatrist for treatment. I was depressed and needed help. As an out-of-network provider, each month I submit her bill and complete the claim form for my insurance company and then I receive a percentage back. The reimbursement averages about 60 percent per month. The rest is my responsibility, or should I say, my family’s responsibility.

Over the past year, my husband and I have depleted our savings as a result of paying for all of my treatment, and my treatment is still ongoing. This includes therapy three times per week and co-pays for my psychiatrist who manages my medications, as well as co-pays for ECT (electroconvulsive therapy). Add to that the new therapy group I will begin next week and the cost equals thousands upon thousands of dollars.

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