General

Can You Live with a Judgmental Therapist?

In a recent interview in the Wall Street Journal, psychotherapist and licensed marriage and family therapist Paul Hokemeyer admitted that his mind often wanders when his patients are talking.

“Frequently. Most of the time it wanders back to the session I had with the last patient and what I should have done differently,” said Hokemeyer, who sees patients in New York and Colorado as well as Skyping across country. “It can also wander if the patient is avoiding connecting and filling the time with superfluous details. I’ll start to think about the dry cleaning or what I can have for dinner.”
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Anger

An Unwanted Neighbor

Your alter ego, Negative Nelly, inches closer. "You are a fraud. Success? Ha. You are fortunate to remember your child's name. Ohh -- and good luck with that presentation. Maybe you can ask Rick Perry for speech advice." You wince, pleading with the merciless critic to play nice. He mischievously chuckles, gloating at his latest victory.

The critic's name is Isa. He belittles every move, condemning you to a tortured existence. Sensing that twisting knot in your stomach, Isa pounces. Like a bad comedian, his timing is always off -- before a date, a meeting with the boss, or a presentation.

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Addiction

Smoking and Mental Illness

Every morning, I can look forward to two things: one of my cats snuggling up on my face or my older brother Derek asking someone for cigarette money.

Derek is an avid smoker, and a schizophrenic. He started smoking a few years ago, just before his diagnosis (a neighbor said it would help him with stress). For many people, especially people with mental illnesses, smoking is common. There can be a short-term feeling of relief. However, smoking can be detrimental to those with mental illness.

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Bipolar

Living through a Medication Change

I was diagnosed with bipolar illness in 1991. Since then, I’ve taken a variety of drugs, starting with Lithium and moving forward to drugs that worked and felt better on my psyche.

For five years, I’ve taken a nightly cocktail of meds including Depakote, Cymbalta, Clomipramine and
Trilafon.

On these drugs, I was perfectly stabilized and high-functioning. I could hold down a part-time job, raise a child, take care of a home and a hubby, and work on a freelance writing career.
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Depression

Ketamine: A New Treatment for Treatment Resistant Depression

Are psychiatrists chasing after ketamine as a treatment for treatment resistant depression (or chronic clinical depression) before the science has caught up to their efforts?

Ketamine is sexy, because it offers near-immediate relief after an infusion treatment for severe, chronic depression. The kind of clinical depression that patients often turn to extreme treatments to address (such as electroconvulsive therapy or ECT).

So is ketamine an effective, scientifically-proven treatment for depression? The answer is not as clear as ketamine providers would have you believe.

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ADHD and ADD

Should You Be Concerned About ADHD Meds?

A few weeks ago, we published an article that described the sleep problems that children and teens may experience while taking a medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Most people who are diagnosed with ADHD or attention deficit disorder usually wind up on a stimulant medication.

While we know that such medications help most people who take them, like all medications they also come with some unwanted side effects. One of those side effects for stimulants is disruption of a person's sleep.

So how bad a problem is it? And is it something you should consider taking your kid off of these meds?

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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

Top 5 Hidden Causes of Depression

Last year, I was seeing four different doctors: a psychiatrist for my mood disorder; an endocrinologist for my pituitary tumor and thyroid issues; a cardiologist for my aortic valve regurgitation; and a primary care physician for some digestive problems and fungus growth.

I suspected that all of my health problems were connected, but each doctor refused to look beyond her specialty to achieve a systemic, balanced perspective of how the conditions were related. I searched for an integrative doctor who could piece together all of my broken parts and help me determine underlying causes for all of the ailments.
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Bipolar

Need Help Managing Depression or a Depressive Bipolar Episode? Try This

Managing an episode of serious clinical depression -- whether stand-alone or as a part of bipolar disorder -- can be a challenge. For people who've never experienced depression, they don't understand the black-hole feeling depression creates. Nothing seems do-able, even simple things like making something to eat or getting out of pajamas. The world seems to close in around you, and you feel utterly, completely and helplessly alone.

Depression is rarely cured quickly and many people who have a depressive episode will be more likely to experience future depression too. That's why it helps to have some tips to actively manage your depression and the feelings that accompany these kinds of episodes.

Here's a few things that have helped others.

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Memory and Perception

Tell Your Therapist About the Abuse

“Unresolved emotional pain is the great contagion of our time -- of all time.” ~ Marc Ian Barasch
Imagine you are seeing a therapist and have an abuse history. It's safe to assume that you've already talked to the therapist about the abuse. Right? It would make sense, and yet, again and again I hear other abuse survivors say they've postponed talking to their therapist about the abuse.

The phrase “child abuse” becomes easily stuck in a victim’s throat. The abuser may distort the events that occurred so we aren’t sure of what happened. Sometimes, we’re so young when the abuse occurred we barely understand what was going on. Memory also plays tricks. In an attempt to insulate us from terrifying experiences, memory can become a block of Swiss cheese with holes in it everywhere.
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Caregivers

Coming to Terms with a Chronic Illness

It can be difficult to deal with a diagnosis of a chronic illness. News of a long-term or lifelong condition can take its toll on both your physical and mental health. It can also affect your relationships, home, career and finances.

Each person diagnosed with a chronic illness likely will react differently. There will be challenging times ahead, but adopting certain strategies and knowing that you are not alone can help you cope in the best way possible.

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Addiction

Mental Health in America: A Shakespearean Tragedy

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 16 million adults in the United States experienced at least one major depressive episode in 2012. Major Depressive Disorder is defined as “Depressed mood and/or loss of interest or pleasure in life activities for at least two weeks and symptoms that cause clinically significant impairment in social, work, or other important areas of functioning almost every day.”

Along with diagnostic criteria for depression, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-V is also notorious for a whole doctrine of pathologies under which the field of psychiatry preaches its creed; a grim gospel for any ardent disciple to follow. Social factors, environmental triggers, and increased stress in modern life all influence mental health, including the onset of depression. With healthcare expenditures approaching $3 trillion, our disorders and diseases are helping to keep the U.S. economy rolling.

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