Psych Central

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Psych Week on Discovery Health

By John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Psych Week on Discovery HealthApproximately 1 in 3 Americans meet the criteria for having a mental illness — but we rarely see or hear about it. Discovery Health wants you to know more about it with their special “Psych Week” shows about mental illness.

Discovery Health will open a meaningful dialogue on mental health with Psych Week, a weeklong programming event from Sunday, May 2, through Thursday, May 6. With premieres airing nightly at 9 PM (ET/PT), Psych Week will profile individuals dealing with a spectrum of afflictions and addictions, from anxiety disorders and schizophrenia to multiple personalities and bizarre compulsions.

“Discovery Health is putting an unprecedented emphasis on mental wellness, presenting an unfiltered look at a variety of rare and common mental disorders through the eyes of the people who live with them,” said Laura Michalchyshyn, president and general manager of Discovery Health.

“With Psych Week’s six premiere programs and expansive online offerings, Discovery Health hopes to defuse preexisting taboos and raise awareness for mental health—while also providing our audience with information and resources to help improve their own lives.” Click to read more and watch a preview video…

3 Comments to
Psych Week on Discovery Health

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  1. I thought it was odd that there was nothing on the #1 most common mental disorder, unipolar depression.

    On FB, I noticed that many commenters are stuck on the notion that mental illness is nothing but a “chemical imbalance.” Lots of education still to be done. So far I’ve seen the program “Anxious” and the therapy was entirely behavioral, with no meds, so maybe it will open some eyes!

  2. The key is telling your body there won’t be any more famines. There are two primary ways of doing this:

    1. Eat real food. When you’re eating quality food and it’s assimilated efficiently, the body begins to receive what it needs to function at its best. This is one very important step in turning off the famine response. The presence of nutrient-dense food in the diet signals to the body that there is plenty of food available and there’s no need to pile on fat stores. Digestion is also an important part of this equation because you want to make sure the real food you eat is assimilated properly. Including raw and cultured foods in your diet on a regular basis can improve your digestive health and ensure you’re getting the most out of your food.

    2. Reduce stress. Another folly of modern society is the intense level of stress most of us are exposed to, often since very early childhood. Stress induces the famine response as much as dieting. After all, the body doesn’t distinguish between types of stresses; the same biochemical reactions occur whether you’re stressed by your work, a difficult marriage, lack of real food, poor sleep habits or any number of stressors. So it’s very important to address this and take the appropriate steps to reducing and managing the stress in your life. Read more about the stress connection to weight loss here and here and here.

    Without addressing these two components, a healthy body composition is virtually impossible to achieve. Plus, healthy food choices reduce stress, and reducing stress makes it easier to choose healthier food. So making one small change at a time really can add up, and the right choices will come more naturally over time. Granted, this involves patience and won’t produce results like “Lose 10 pounds in one week!” But it will set you on the path to lasting health.

  3. “Approximately 1 in 3 Americans meet the criteria for having a mental illness…”

    And a long time ago Freud wrote “The Psychopathology of Everyday Life”… It is a continuum, with only some reaching the level of diagnosis.

  4. I wrote a comment on 4/26/10 on the website “stop drugging our children”. I will not go into the sorrow that it will bring; however, my child was diagnosed with “childhood schizophrenia” at the age of 5, because she would not stay in a classroom, she was a happy, otherwise, normal child, who wanted to stay with her mom. All families are “different”, parents do not come with a set of rules, their own “complexes” or “power plays”, whatever, will sometimes set the scene for an unknowingly “selfish” attitude towards their child, usually their first born. They may be outgoing and in need of praise or workaholics, who have not been taught how to raise children. They love their child but are not entirely devoted to it, many times they feel the child is “in the way” and can be annoying when they want to have friends over, whatever; some children will not be affected by this type of behavior; however, an intensely emotional child can and will,feel unloved and unattended and will do things purposely to get the attention of the parents, who will, in return, show anger and more resentment towards their offspring, then, of course, there are the relatives, who will give their advice, which is usually bad, and start “comparing” their “overly intelligent son or daughter” to your hyperactive child who is now the main focus, throughout the family and friends. This is the beginning of a downward spiral for all involved. By the time the child is ready for school,without the self confidence, that has not been instilled, he is a complete failure, ready for the “child psychology team to “evaluate” him. Of course, the child will not react favorably and the first offer to a parent is “what they call “tranquilizers”, drugs so toxic that they can change the brain in no time at all, it affects (and damages) all parts of the brain necessary for cognition, emotion,everything that makes you human, although these drugs are also used on animals (remember the ape that attacked its owners best friend, tearing off part of her face). Before you allow any so called “expert” to analyze your child, do a little research. THIS IS YOUR CHILD! It’s worth it. Read what the drugs contain and you will be shocked. I found out too late for my daughter, the people involved were getting big bucks for all of the visits and meetings, etc. and prescribing poison for my child, just to keep her down, well, if you hold back the hands of a clock, eventually it will stop ticking, and that is exactly how these drugs work, they hold back the brain from working normally. Look, we are all born with different genes, my in-laws were extremely hyperactive, even as adults, my own husband cannot sit still for a minute but he was never drugged to stop that behavior, yet he became a great builder, he had to use his hands, he had to keep busy. I beg you, before you consent to drugging your child, listen to parents who are “against” drugging. My child was put on Stelazine and Thorazine at 6 years old. She swallowed an entire bottle of “pretty blue pills” simply because I told her not to touch the bottle. The child will react to any form of criticism so you must distract him in a positive way, no matter how he pulls away from you, never show anger or hostility. You are the adult. This little girl in the documentary reminded me of my little Helen, so innocent and so lovely and so damned..remember, the advice they are giving you is putting money in their pockets, if your child gets worse, they will never blame it on the drugs (in fear of a lawsuit) they will even suggest a “residential” setting,where, I am sorry to say, usually employs child predators and the like. If you can afford to have one parent stay at home, do so and home teach the child, it is now available but please do not drug your child. I cried when I saw that darling little girl exhibiting the same drug related actions that my girl did. My daughter is now a woman and has been drug free for 27 years. It took 10 years to merely stabilize her, it is not easy,but, its penance for your lack of understanding and tolerance, although unknowingly, you have submitted your child to a life worse than death. My child is now 47 years old, looks like Brooke Shields, never had a friend, never had a relative, except my Dad, that loved her and, although I found out why she became worse on the drugs, it was already too late. I would like to write a book about her experience but I think she has suffered enough. She now knows we love her, she now is no longer afraid, she now trusts us and she can now live alone, in our former residence. We live nearby and see her daily. She is happy but has lost her youth, due to the selfish teachers and “professionals” that do not want to work with a child but would rather “drug” them into a world of “madness”. I beg the Schofields to slowly withdraw this dear little girl from those toxic drugs, do things that make her happy, sacrifice your social life and be the parents you could have, and should have, been. May God Bless you and your family and help you to heed my advice.We have been to hell and back, you still have time. Listen to what your futures will be if you keep her on drugs. I fear, somehow, that the father is already showing signs of extreme discontent. We did and are now paying for it. Good luck! A sorry mother.

  5. I would suggest that the parents remove this lovely child slowly, for all mind altering drugs, and work with her anxiety level as much as possible. Drugging is a “quick fix” that will eventually destroy her mind. She is still young enough to be saved, if not, she will retreat into a fantasy world from which, she can never return. She needs YOU not drugs, not meetings with “other” drugged children. Take her along with you, forget the friends and relatives, they really do not care about you or HER for that matter. She is not mentally ill, you can still regain her trust, not by telling her she is different, but by “accepting” that she is an emotional child, who needs more love than you can imagine. You will regret your actions if you don’t read up on the dangers of these drugs. Good luck!

  6. It would benefit the mental health community and people overall if the series included those who appear to have a normal level of mental health, but who struggle each day to get out of bed, or isolate, avoid relationships, or who have low life quality despite “appearing” functional or successful.

    People with depression, dysthmia, schizophrenia, adults with bipolar, and anxiety disorders – but who are functional, who are trying to be good parents despite their illness, have careers, are getting educations, doing great things, are caring people, etc.

    These types of documentaries can add to the stigma and further prevent mental illness from being talked about in a mature, open manner. People are afraid of discrimination, losing jobs, being blamed as a bad parent, being veiwed as less than, scared to tell the new girlfriend he is taking antidepressants, or losing friends.

    I think its important to highlight schizophrenia and other less common disorders, but the majority of the topics chosen are not the most common ailments people suffer from. Highlighting “the Woman with 15 Personalities”, the “Enraged” and “Strange Addictions” only leads the less-informed to develop their already negative views of the mentally ill by showing only the most provocative cases. It reinforces peoples’ fear and the “strangeness” of the mentally ill, which leads to ostracization, while ignoring the millions who work and live right alongside the mentally healthy general public – those who are suffering silently, with an invisible illness, but who cannot seek support or have the dignity of understanding from those surrounding them due to societal views.

    It’s gotten better, but the media still needs to change its course for the benefit of our society. The mass media, such as TV, could really make a difference if it portrayed popular characters with a leading role with depression or bipolar, for example, instead of the source of jokes or entertainment from the rest of the cast or casting them as criminals, drama queens, or totally dysfunctional people.

  7. Please repeat this weeks shows!

  8. Basically mental health in a way can be divided into two categories, behavioral (like borderline), and physiological (like schizophrenia or depression). Some, like sociopathy seem mixtures of both (due to different brain activity compared to “normal” people). Often treatment is a one-two punch, drugs to combat physical effects, and therapy to “retrain” detrimental behaviors.
    I’d like to say some people can do with out medication or minor therapy (and some can), but unfortunately for more heavy duty cases, like paranoid schizophrenia this may not be an idea to flirt with (see John Hyde). I really hate to see people hold a “myth” that if they can love/nurture, ect. ect. enough it will correct or totally prevent everything. These are usually the families that go through the most denial or self-blame when a mental illness strikes their home. Look at the case of Jasmine Richards, she had a seemingly loving and involved family, yet she was a conduct disorder (i.e. a budding sociopath) that resented them and wanted them killed, and in fact went on the become the youngest killer in Canada so far.
    Also few people realize a disease like schizophrenia can actually cause a sort of brain “shriveling” and is a considered degenerative. One purpose of the medicines is to try to stave this off, and early detection is recommended. Unfortunately they also come with hefty side effects.
    Believe it or not, heavily medicating someone is still a last resort of sorts. With long term cases in treatment facilities or “half way” houses, I’ve seen the question of “does this medication need to be continued with this patient” frequently posed. Sometimes a drug is pulled, and left off their “roster” permanently. Sometimes it’s deemed that they fared better with it and are put back on.

  9. I AM THE PARENT OF A JUVINILE SCHIZOPHRENIC. HE NEVER TOOK A PILL UNTIL AFTER HIS FIRST COMPLETE MENTAL BREAKDOWN AS AN ADULT. I CAN TELL YOU THAT HE NEEDS HIS MEDICINE. WHEN HE WAS FIRST SENT TO US AFTER HE LEFT THE MENTAL WARD OF OUR HOMETWON HOSPITAL HE WAS COMPLETELY IN ANOTHER WORLD. HE HALLUCINATED CONSTANTLY. I WOULD RETURN HOME TO FIND NEIGHBORHOOD CHILDREN IN MY YARD WATCHING HIM FIGHTING WITH AN UNSEEN ENEMY. SO LET ME SAY THAT UNLESS YOU HAVE EXPERIENCED IT YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO MAKE ANYONE FEEL GUILTY ABOUT MEDICATING A CHILD OR AN ADULT VICTIM. I SOUGHT MEDICAL HELP FOR MY SON FROM THE MENTAL HEALTH COMMUNITY FOR MY SON SINCE HE WAS IN THE 1ST OR SECOND GRADE. NOT ENOUGH TIME OR SPACE HERE TO GO INTO DETAIL EXCEPT TO SAY THAT HE WAS NEVER DIAGNOSED CORRECTLY UNTIL AFTER HIS FIRST BREAKDOWN AT THE AGE OF ABOUT 26. I ALWAYS KNEW HE WAS SCHIZOPHRENIC BUT NO ONE AGREED WITH ME UNTIL HE FLEW (AS SICK AS HE WAS ) ALL THE WAY FROM FLORIDA TO HAWAII WHERE WE CURRENTLY LIVE ALONE. NO ONE ACCOMPANIED HIM. SEEING THE CONDITION HE WAS IN I WAS SHOCKED HE MADE IT SAFELY. 5 MINUTES WITH AN E.R. PSYCH DOCTOR AND HE WAS FINALLY PUT ON THE APPROPRIATE MEDICATION. WHILE MY SON WILL NEVER BE “NORMAL” BY SOCIETY’S DEFINITION…. HE DID GET VERY MUCH BETTER. ABLE TO WORK…..BUT ALWAYS FOUND TO BE PECULIAR BY OTHERS NO DOUBT. HIS CONDITION SEEMS TO BE MORPHING INTO NEW AND CONCERNING AREAS AND HE CAN BE VERY AGGRESSIVE AND NASTY AT TIMES. HE HAS POTENTIAL TO BE VIOLENT. I UNDERSTAND THIS AND WORRY THAT HE MAY NOT BE ABLE TO LIVE AT HOME FOR MUCH LONGER. MY SON HAS NEVER HAD A DATE, WILL NEVER MARRY AND NEVER KNOW THE PRIDE IN BEING A FATHER. SAD TRUTHS. HE IS NOW A SOON TO BE 38 YR. OLD SCHIZOPHRENIC. HIS BIRTHDAY IN MAY 10TH. I DO NOT KNOW HOW TO GET IN CONTACT WITH MICHAEL AND SUSAN SCHOFIELD. I HAVE TRIED. IF THE DISCOVERY HEALTH CHANNEL AND CREATOR OF THIS BLOG KNOW HOW TO DIRECT THEM TO MY EMAIL ADDRESS I WOULD VERY MUCH APPRECIATE IT.

  10. AFTER POSTING THE ARTICLE I REALISED THAT MY EMAIL ADDRESS DID NOT APPEAR. I WILL SHARE IT.

    LEKILI6B@AOL.COM

  11. Did anyone else have trouble viewing the show “anxious”. I have a moderate SA/ApvD and was looking forward to seeing this show, but instead they had some “stories from E.R”, I set my dvr to another replay that was at 1 a.m, but again, they didnt show it.
    Any idea what the problem is, I’m pretty dissapointed.

  12. i am bipolar, and so is my 12 year old daughter. she’s always had issues with temper and being stubborn. we thought that she was just an extraordinarily difficult child, but about a year and a half ago, I was diagnosed bipolar.

    Once medicated and feeling much more balanced, I noticed the similarities betweeen me and my daughter.

    Shortly thereafter she was diagnosed and medicated. Needless to say, the medication has changed her life. She had set herself up with a reputation of being mean and bossy, flying off the handle and none of the kids at her school wanted anything to do with her, and she was kicked out of one school.

    We tried for so long to understand the problems that she had, blaming on behavior issues that could be corrected by scolding or teaching.

    Now that she is medicated she is a different girl. She has friends, she enjoys herself, has a social life. I implore all those here screaming about not medicating their children understand that there are cases where it is beneficial and necessary. My daughter is much happier now that things are under control. She always knew she had issues but couldn’t help herself before.

  13. I want to reply to all of you dear parents who are going through the heartache I have, and will continue, to experience due to the disability of our children, who must suffer the consequences of “being different”. I am much older than you and, although age does not matter, there are many years that I have lived through this nightmare. I, like you, trusted the mental health system and, unfortunately, it caused the slow deterioration of my child’s neurotransmitters. If you read up on what drugs really do to the brain, it will shock you; however, when you are suffering while you watch your child slip away, you cannot possibly understand why someone, who also has a child with a disability, would condemn the use of drugs…well, I will tell you a story, not everyone has your loved one’s interest at heart. I tried to form a group in my county, here in New Jersey, I gave it a name and advertised in the County newspaper. Women, with children like mine who simply did not fit in, came from all over. We met at as I recall in one of those western style restaurants, It was so heartwarming to discuss our problems, woman to woman. We could relax and not feel so helpless…when the “child study team’ at the special school my daughter attended, heard about my “group”, he advised me to seek the County mental health agency, I did and I was advised I could use their facility to meet with potential parents to discuss our mutual problems…well..within a day or two, a woman entered the room (a psychologist) who joined in and, of course, took over the entire group,we no longer had the cohesive closeness that I had encountered with my intimate group, we were now instructed to seek “drugs” as an alternative. Most of the mothers no longer attended, I was made the “secretary” of the “my” group, funding went to the mental health agency and I was pushed out of the picture completely as the “psychologist” representing the agency now made all the decisions and would “advise” me not to warn parents about the “potential” dangers of these drugs, although there was one set of parents, that I met in the hall where they were explaining that their daughter was “cutting off her hair and her clothing”, since my daughter had exhibited the same behavior when being placed on “Haldol”, I begged them to avoid any form of anti-psychotic; however, the Psychologist heard my discussion and told me not to interfere since I had no knowledge of how serious this problem was. I withdrew from the group and it is still flourishing under the logo I created and, sadly, there are the unfortunate parents who truly are looking for a panacea, a miracle drug that will turn everything around…well..it won’t. When you marry you make a commitment, “till death do us part”..I use this commitment for my daughter because she is the unfortunate victim of my poor choices, my innocence and misunderstanding of the “mental health system”. I worry, especially, for the very young children, who are exhibiting “different” behavior, this has been going on for years, we are all genetically different and we must accept a child who does not fit into the “norm”. Have you noticed how many television ads are popping up everywhere for “mere depression”. I could write a book on that alone, I get so angry when I see what is happening to our young people, they are being misled by these money hungry drug companies. I know you are suffering and I know your pain, my lovely daughter has lost all of her youth but this did not have to be, if we had understood why she was so unhappy, we could have stopped it in the early stages but, like many other parents, we gravitate towards the “happy” child, the “good” child and never pick up on the fact that the “little troublemaker” is in paid. Please read anything you can by “Dr.Breggin” before you attempt to use any chemicals to stop your child’s behavior. Of course, if this is a serious mental problem that occurred later in life, then you are probably already aware of its consequences and are doing the right thing but.. I fear drugging children..believe me..I know..We are living the reality of our poor judgment when we thought we needed help the most…All my daughter needed was love..I would like to write a book that will “help” parents but I have to consider how it will affect my personal life and, of course, my daughter’s; however, I truly WANT to warn parents not to fall into that horrible trap…with drugs!!A “sorry mother” & “sad parent” God Bless You and your loved one!!

  14. “Sad Parent”, Haldol is not a drug that you are “put on,” it’s a “tranquilizer”. It’s sometimes used when someone becomes a threat to others or themselves.
    As someone who has been on medication at a couple points in my life, I can say there is a fine line and a point where not getting someone (like a minor) mental health help can be a form of cruelty in itself. Mental health professionals can be subject to corruption just like doctors who are supposed to be caring for our health, but that doesn’t mean that the process of going to a doctor is detrimental.
    Mental health (unlike sociology, I’d say) is a very scientific field. It’s often closely tied to neurological studies; how the brain works, and what happens when certain areas of the brain function abnormally. The human body and brain produces a lot of hormones and chemicals. Sometimes things don’t function like they should. When we have problems with the hormone insulin, we call it Diabetes. The same thing can happen to chemicals of the brain that affect mood and cognition.
    If it’s a purely behavior disorder where someone has essentially learned to be a “brat,” you might be able to change it. However, you cannot “love” away a true mental illness.

  15. Lenore, I just had a chance to review your comment in response to mine of June 9. I, as you, truly believed in what was conveyed to me by the Mental Health System. I am sure that, if a child is born mildly retarded or with some type of brain damage, then it would be prudent to consider medication if the child is assaultive; however, 9 out of 10 times, a child’s anger is due to due to stress factors that the child cannot cope with; therefore, an unfavorable reaction Lenore, my first day at school, I was so traumatized that I kicked the teacher and principal in the legs and had to be escorted to the “Kindergarten” class. I wanted my mother, clear and simple and, I did not know how to handle my stress, I survived because in those days, there were no “child study teams” and psychotropic drugs to stop a child in its tracks. Please, I beg you, read up on these drugs and you will understand how truly dangerous they are. My child had every brain scan possible, there was no damage noted, it was definitely the drugs that changed her depersonalized her and led her to a path of destruction. Do not believe the experts, just check the suicide rate with psychiatrists and that might open your eyes. Read up on what drugs can do….they are not tranquilizers, that is an old outdated word..they are chemicals that pass the blood brain barrier and enter the brain by fooling the brain into thinking it is a cell, it then “destroys” the natural cells and takes its place. This destruction is similar to senility or Alzheimers Disease, only the unfortunate victim is usually young as was my child. I pray for you Lenore that you will read up on this as, perhaps, you or your loved one may be in great danger. Good luck. sad parent

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