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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Disorders

Lesser-Known Schizophrenia Symptoms Which Actually Have a Great Impact

When people think of schizophrenia, they often think of hallucinations and delusions. And these are debilitating for many people with the illness. Imagine that you can’t trust your own mind to tell you what’s real and what isn’t.

One of Devon MacDermott’s clients asked her to think of an image and then to imagine that the knowledge that she’d conjured the image herself was erased. Which would leave MacDermott to question: Is the thought really my own or a symptom of schizophrenia?

“In that moment I realized that it must be terrifying and extraordinarily frustrating to be in the mind of someone with schizophrenia,” said MacDermott, Ph.D, a psychologist in private practice in New York City, who has worked extensively with people with schizophrenia in inpatient settings.
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Disorders

Dialectical Behavior Therapy: How Action Conquers Emotion

“I don’t feel like it.”
When stress overwhelms me, I withdraw. Usually a talkative Ted, I glance at my phone and mumble, “Not today,” as the phone buzzes. Unhealthy? Sure. Ingrained? You betcha!

Insert DBT -- Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Or, as I call it, Don’t Be Timid. Stumbling across the emerging therapy, its simplicity registers. With DBT, opposite action is my guiding mantra.

Emotion fuels action, and when I am fearful or overwhelmed, I retreat into familiar creature comforts. Phone calls sit unreturned, dishes pile up, and bills mount. I stall, minimizing potential consequences.
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Depression

Is CBT a Scam & a Waste of Money?

Renowned UK psychologist Oliver James argues that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a "scam" and a "waste of money." His proof for the argument? Effects of CBT do not last.

It's true. The effects of virtually all treatments for mental illness do not seem to last forever. Whether you're taking a psychiatric medication or are involved in virtually any form of psychotherapy, the moment you stop the treatment, the effects of that treatment begin to fade.

But does that make treatment a "scam"?

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Antidepressant

Should Doctors Treat Depression Like Diabetes?

Depression is a mental disorder that impacts between 7 and 8 percent of Americans. But most people in the United States seek out treatment not from a specialist -- as they would readily do for cancer -- but from their primary care doctor.

Recently, a study in the journal Health Affairs complained that primary care physicians don't treat depression like they would other chronic diseases, like diabetes.

But is depression always a chronic condition? Should doctors treat it more like diabetes? Or should they instead treat it more like a serious condition in need of specialist care?

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