Why You Should Always Get a Second Opinion

When you are diagnosed with an illness, especially when you have a mental health condition, you should always get a second opinion. Or a third. Or a fourth. Get as many as you can. The more you get, the more expert evidence you can collect as to what the real issue is.

As a patient, it's important to be as informed as possible about your own condition. It’s your body and you have to live with it. You decide how to react to your situation. Educating yourself about diseases and treatments and understanding your symptoms will help you to make decisions on what to do because, ultimately, it’s up to you.

Continue Reading


5 Things Your Therapist Won’t Tell You

The therapist-client relationship is unique. Therapists are prohibited from sharing their personal information with clients due to a strict code of ethics. But as a therapist, I can't help but share some secrets with you.

What is in our hearts is more important than what is in our brains.
The theories we specialize in are all wonderful, but research has proven time and time again that what influences how much you benefit from therapy is the quality of the relationship with your therapist. If you don’t feel understood and heard by your therapist, if you don’t think they are being honest enough with you and pushing you hard, if you don’t feel like you have an amazing connection with them, find a new therapist. The latest clinical techniques and tips that we have mastered are secondary to the bond and trust that we can help create with you in the therapy session.
Continue Reading


Creativity for Better Performance

A long term-patient told a fascinating story a couple of weeks ago which points to the power of creativity in strengthening critical thinking. The person’s identity is well-disguised so no confidentiality is breached.

For several years I have been treating a young man (we’ll refer to him as Collin) with psychostimulants for chronic ADD and psychotherapy to address his perfectionism. We’re also working on finding a work environment conducive to combining his entrepreneurial proclivities and his considerable technological savvy. (He taught himself to code a complicated computer program that would benefit his industry.)

Continue Reading

Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

10 Drug-Free Alternative Treatments for Depression

With standard doses of the most commonly used class of antidepressants (SSRIs) only 30 percent of people with severe depression achieve remission with the first medication prescribed. Switching to a new drug -- and it often takes twelve weeks to achieve an adequate response to medication -- is effective about 25 percent of the time, according to the Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D) study, an unbiased investigation funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.

So after 24 weeks (close to 6 months), only 55 percent of people with severe depression will experience a remission of symptoms.

That isn’t exactly good news to me.
Continue Reading


Truehope’s Confusing Message: EMPowerplus (Q96) Claims to Treat Bipolar, ADHD, Depression

I'm not impressed by any company who sells a product telling people it treats a mental illness, but has never bothered to go through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's process to have their claims validated. You cannot say, "Our product is not intended to treat any disease" then also say "EMPowerplus helps alleviate symptoms of bipolar disorder." Yet that's exactly what Truehope does.

I'm even less impressed when someone takes a vitamin supplement as directed, writes about their experiences, and then receives a letter threatening to sue that person from the company who sold them the supplement. Yet that's exactly what Truehope did.

What's the story with Truehope? Do they want people to take their vitamin supplement or not? Do they treat mental disorders with it or not? And why would a company sue a blogger just for writing about their experience with EMPowerplus?

Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

Anxiety More than Depression Concerns College Students Today

According to the Center for Collegiate Mental Health 2014 annual report, anxiety is the number one concern of college students' mental health needs today, with depression placing second. As college counseling centers continue to deal with ever-expanding workloads and needs of the college students they serve, it's concerning that so many students are facing serious mental illness, such as anxiety and depression.

University counseling centers were originally setup to help students primarily with academic and relationship concerns, as well as just the issues that arise from living on your own for the first time in your life. But in the past two decades, these centers -- whose services are usually provided at little or no cost to students, covered by their student fees -- have begun serving more and more students with serious mental illness.

Continue Reading


Helping People with Addiction Through Treatment Diversion Programs, Not Jail

Police across the nation seem it finally be catching onto something those in the addiction treatment field have known for a long time -- treating addicts like people and offering them help, instead of locking them up, works better than treating them like criminals.

Police in Gloucester, MA recently announced that if someone comes to them looking for help, that person will get help. It doesn’t matter if they’re in possession of drugs or paraphernalia, they’ll get help.
Continue Reading


6 Things You Need to Know Before Starting OCD Treatment

If you suffer from OCD, you likely feel exhausted every day. The anxiety and tormenting thoughts may lead you to internal and external rituals. These compulsions provide relief -- at least temporarily. You probably wish there was a magic pill or treatment that could take the suffering away permanently.

If you were told that the answer to a better life is found at the top of a high mountain, would you be willing to climb it? You would be warned, “It will be a stormy and an arduous ascend, but once you get to the top, you’ll find what you are looking for!” Would you take the chance and do what it takes to get there? It could be the hardest thing you’ve done in your life. Would you still consider it?
Continue Reading


Too Little Behavioral Therapy for Kids with ADHD

At the end of May, a JAMA report noted that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's 2009-2010 National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs shows that about 43 percent of U.S. children and teens received only ADHD medications for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

That compares to about 13 percent of those treated solely with behavioral therapy -- the best, first-line treatment recommended by every professional treatment guideline and the American Academy of Pediatrics. About 31 percent of children in the survey received both behavioral therapy and medication (the second recommended treatment option).

So the least recommended treatment for children and teens with ADHD is the most commonly used. What's going on here?

Continue Reading

Children and Teens

How to Choose the Right Therapist for Your Child

Searching for the best therapist for your child can be challenging. The New York area has the highest concentration of therapists in the world. How do you know who to choose? Which therapist is the best for your child? As one parent recently said in my office, "There are thousands of therapists in this city. By the time I found the right therapist for my kid, I felt like I needed therapy."

Social problems, learning difficulties, and family disruptions are among the most popular reasons for contacting a therapist. Here are some tips on gathering referrals and choosing the right therapist for your child:

Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

Combating Anxiety

Anxiety is one of the most common mental illnesses. Anxiety is a normal reaction to many situations, but can become excessive (as in obsessive-compulsive disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder). According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 43 million Americans were diagnosed with some type of mental illness in the past year.

While there is no true quick fix, there are a few things you can do to make living with anxiety easier:

Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

Beware of Anxiety Scams on the Internet

Anxiety affects 40 million Americans. When there is that big of a market, you can rest assured that there will be scams claiming to be able to treat it. How are you supposed to scrutinize and evaluate the many different anxiety websites out there? Which ones are scams, and which are legitimate? Here are some red flags to look for:

Lack of professional credentials.

I see many anxiety self-help websites from people without professional credentials. While anxiety sufferers themselves may have much to offer from their experiences, only therapists, psychologists or psychiatrists are trained to treat mental health disorders.
Continue Reading