by Drew Coster
I love the story about how, when generals were parading through the streets of Rome during a victory march, a slave would be tasked with walking behind them saying memento mori — remember you’re mortal.
How great is that? Here’s a Roman general, top of the pile, a massive celebrity (like the Jay-Z of his day), and there’s this slave reminding him that he’s mortal and not to get too high above himself because he too can die.
Personally, I think we need more of that today — humility and the awareness to realize and accept that we are mortal, destined to die.
by George Hofmann
I was going to comment on health care expenditures with an article entitled, “How the High Cost of Health is My Fault.” In it, I would briefly outline my experience with mental illness and detail the cost of caring for it, which, at present, includes medication and doctor visits, totals at least $10,500 per year. Much of this cost is borne by an insurance company.
Then I was going to relate the story about how, in the summer of 2002, I chose to stop taking my medicine the way my doctor directed me to take it, and then I stopped taking my medicine at all.
This was a bad choice. As a result, my illness became an emergency.
Nine hours in the ICU, four days in a private room, and two more weeks of hospital care brought a bill that topped $95,000.
The cost of nine years of care was eaten up by just a few weeks of my irresponsibility. That was cost that the health care industry, including my insurance company, would not have had to bear if I had only taken my medicine as directed.
by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.
You suspect your teen is using drugs. Maybe they’re not acting like themselves. Maybe they’re cutting school or shirking other responsibilities. Maybe their grades are dropping. Or their behavior is worsening. Maybe they’ve started hanging out with a bad crowd.
Maybe they’re being secretive and have even stolen money from your wallet. Maybe their physical appearance has changed with rapid weight loss or red eyes. Maybe you’ve noticed a change in their sleep habits, energy level and mood. Maybe you’ve actually found marijuana or other drugs in their room.
Naturally, the thought and possible confirmation of your child using drugs trigger a rush and range of emotions: anger, frustration, disappointment, sadness, fear.
If you think your child is using drugs, how do you approach them? Where do you start?
by Merrily Sadlovsky, MSW, LCSW
Spring is often the time of year associated with new beginnings, change, and growth.
Spring is also synonymous for the proverbial “spring cleaning” that involves cleaning out the hall closet (also known as the abyss of unused, “not-quite-sure-what to do with” things), the bedroom closet spilling out with clothes you haven’t worn in a year and shoes that you forgot you owned, and in some cases, the entire house or apartment.
This time of year there are numerous articles in magazines and lifestyle segments on the morning talk show circuit featuring professional home organizers espousing spring-cleaning tips to purge the unnecessary things that clutter your physical space.
So this year, why not spring clean your life as well?
by John M. Grohol, Psy.D.
If you were hoping to get some medications prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) while in college or at university, you might be in for a rude surprise.
Colleges and university are cutting back on their involvement with ADHD, primarily due to abuse of the psychiatric medications — stimulants like Ritalin — prescribed to treat the disorder. Students — whether they are malingering the symptoms or actually have it — are prescribed a drug to treat ADHD (sometimes from different providers in different states), then sell a few (or all the) pills on the side. Profit!
Now universities are becoming wise to the epidemic nature of the problem, as some studies have suggested up to a third of college students are illicitly taking ADHD stimulants.
This might help curb the abuse problem, but will it also make it harder for people with actual ADHD to receive treatment?
by Lisa A. Miles
When I was studying psychology in college, I remember having a particular distaste for the behavioral approaches of B.F. Skinner. Defining the sacred depths of being human by behavioral impulses akin to a mouse motivated by cheese was not for me. I was much more into psychoanalytic therapy and Jung.
How then later did I come to embrace cognitive behavioral and related therapies that spell out that we are, essentially, just a mess of behaviors (good and bad)?
If you dig into your family dynamic, and maybe establishing relationships with others from equally dysfunctional backgrounds, you are bound to have a change of heart about old Skinner. Maybe there is something to behaviorism after all, and it can jibe with the deeper therapies that ask you to reflect on early places of pain and identity-molding.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is particularly of interest not just to me, but folks trying to come to grasp with certain subsets of mental illness — borderline personality disorder, bipolar and other depressive disorders. But its principles can be significantly farther-reaching than mental illness circles alone.
by John M. Grohol, Psy.D.
Date: Tuesday, May 7 @ 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. (EST)
Description: This special Mother’s Day webinar features best-selling author and Psych Central blogger Zoë Kessler (ADHD from A to Zoë) and special guest Lisa Aro, aka “Queen of the Distracted.”
Mark it on your calendar now, and check out additional information about the webinar inside…
by Therese J. Borchard
The opposite of depression is not happiness, according to Peter Kramer, author of “Against Depression” and “Listening to Prozac,” it is resilience: the ability to cope with life’s frustrations without falling apart.
Proper treatment doesn’t suppress emotions or dull a person’s ability to feel things deeply. It builds a protective layer — an emotional resilience — to safeguard a depressive from becoming overwhelmed and disabled by the difficulties of daily life.
However, the tools found in happiness research are those I practice in my recovery from depression and anxiety, even though, theoretically, I can be happy and depressed at the same time. I came up with my own recovery program that coincides with the steps toward happiness published in positive psychology studies.
by Brandi-Ann Uyemura, M.A.
Labels can haunt you forever. What makes them particularly insidious is how unaware most of us are to its debilitating affects.
A diagnosis from a doctor, for example, can render you helpless. For some, it can be a death sentence.
Thoughtless words from an insensitive relative or a classmate can be hard to forget even years after the words were spoken.
Unlike the wounds that heal when physically hit, seemingly innocuous words from others, can last a lifetime.
How do you prevent words from doing more harm to you?
This week our top posts addresses some of these issues. One way is by refusing to accept insults thrown at you and focus instead on finding where they are coming from. Maybe someone made you feel bad about your weight, being single, or put you down in front of others. Instead of taking those words in, think about who’s throwing them at you. Is it the result of an old way of thinking, a negative and incorrect belief propelled by society, or an unjust boss? Knowing where these hurtful labels came from can help you to take matters into your own hands. You don’t have to absorb the hurt and pain sent from insensitive people. As you’ll read below, what you do with what others say to you is your choice.
by John M. Grohol, Psy.D.
Pro-anorexia (or “pro-ana”) groups have been around online for over a decade, and we first discussed them here five years ago. More recently, with the rise of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, these groups have found a new life. Often associated with the label “thinspiration,” these groups elevate the idea of being thin to a virtual religion.
People who are all about thinspiration engage in disordered eating in order to be as thin as possible — a common symptom of anorexia. But they don’t see it as a disorder or a problem, making this an insidious problem.
Nonetheless, such eating and self-image problems can result in health problems, even putting the individual’s life at risk.
Some people have sought to get common words or terms that people engaged in thinspiration use banned from social networking websites. One such woman is Torri Singer, a broadcast journalism major who has recently begun a petition to get such terms banned from Twitter.
by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.
Julie Fast’s friend went to the hospital for a terrible colitis attack. “It was so serious they sent her straight to the ER.” After reviewing her medical records and seeing that her friend was taking an antidepressant, the intake nurse said, “Maybe this is all in your head.”
When it comes to mental illness, people say the darnedest things. As illustrated above, even medical staff can make incredibly insensitive and downright despicable remarks.
Others think teasing is okay.
Fast, a coach who works with partners and families of people with bipolar disorder, has heard stories of people getting teased at work. One client’s son works at the vegetable department of a grocery store. He has obsessive-compulsive disorder and poor social skills. When his symptoms flare up, his coworkers will ask questions like, “Why do the labels have to be so perfect? Why do they have to be in line like that?” They’ve also teased him about being in a psychiatric facility.
But most people — hopefully — know that being an outright jerk to someone about their mental illness isn’t just inappropriate and ignorant. It’s cruel.
by YourTango Experts
This guest article from YourTango was written by Susan Heitler.
In relationships, we all have our fights; and having the occasional heated debate between you and your significant other is even healthy.
But when these fights cross into full-blown blow-ups, the argument can quickly get out of hand.
Stay calm and follow these guidelines if you want to avoid a screaming match. Follow these ten tips for effective anger management if you want to enjoy a lasting, loving relationship.