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Trouble Is a Gift: A Story of Addiction, Recovery & Hope

April 5th, 2014
“But finally, there I was alone in this apartment, sitting in a chair, staring at the radiator waiting for the little guy to crawl out from behind it. Knowing the bottle was going to be empty in another minute. Wondering how I’m going to get money to buy a new one or if I should ...

Perfectionism’s Trap: Matthew McConaughey’s Impossible Chase

Perfectionism's Trap: Matthew McConaughey's Impossible ChasePerfectionism is an addiction, meaning we’re repeatedly unable to stop our perfectionist behaviors. Like other addictions, perfectionism varies in severity and can have negative consequences. It harms our self-esteem, makes us unable to accept other people’s differences and their mistakes and ...

Picking up the Pieces After the Betrayal of Cheating

Picking up the Pieces After the Betrayal of CheatingIt must be cellular: Men and women automatically feel humiliated when their partner cheats, even though they themselves have done nothing to be ashamed of. Too often, people feel embarrassed for their partner's behavior, whether it's domestic violence, ...

Rethink Those Failed New Year’s Resolutions

Rethink Those Failed New Year's ResolutionsIt’s not even the middle of January and those New Year’s resolutions are already history. You’ve fallen off the diet, started smoking again or given up on the exercise routine. You feel bad about yourself for not being able to put your good intentions into action for even two weeks. Two weeks! You scold yourself for having no willpower or for failing yet once again. You sigh and give up, perhaps rationalizing away the project. You can always claim no time, too much stress, or peer pressure, right? Wrong. You know you’re rationalizing but oh well. You can take some comfort in knowing that you are not alone. Almost 90 percent of New Year’s resolutions dissolve within a month. The enthusiasm about a new year and a new beginning quickly fades. Life takes over. All the reasons you developed whatever bad habit you wanted to fix are still there. But all is not lost. You can still make that important change, whatever it was. You may just have to rethink how to go about it.

Fathers Reconnecting with Abandoned Kids

Fathers Reconnecting with Abandoned KidsJesse came to therapy with an important project in mind. Mine was not the first office he’d been to. He’d already been in a rehab program where he kicked a 10-year drug habit that had ruined his health, his marriage and his ...

Obsessed: America’s Food Addiction — and My Own

BOOK REVIEW.
Have you ever heard a skinny, super successful, professional woman spouting the horrors of obesity? We all have, and the widespread reaction from anyone who has ever struggled with their weight is along the lines of: “Please shut up.” MSNBC’s Morning Joe’s Mika Brzezinski has been publicly ridiculed and even vilified for doing it. But ...

Book Review: Finding Ultra

BOOK REVIEW.
Recently I read the memoir of an endurance athlete, Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World's Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself. It tells the story of Rich Roll, who, after a promising swimming career, falls victim to alcoholism and unhealthy eating - crippling his relationships, career and health. On the ...

Talking to Your Teen About Alcohol

Talking to Your Teen About AlcoholPartying. Everyone is doing it. Drinking on weekends and getting a buzz on is what being young is all about, right? Wrong. It’s much more complicated than that. It’s true that 75 percent of American teens have given alcohol a try by ...

Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families

Adult Children of Dysfunctional FamiliesCharles L. Whitfield's 1987 book Healing the Child Within is aimed at adult children of dysfunctional families. The ideas he presented synced up with the 12-step recovery movements for families afflicted by alcohol and addiction (Al-Anon, Nar-Anon). It made perfect sense that ...

How to Talk to Your Alcoholic Partner

How to Talk to Your Alcoholic PartnerOne of the many things that addiction takes away is the ability to communicate honestly and directly. It’s not the easiest thing in the world to begin with. But intermarital communication can be even more of a minefield because of the ...

Effective Addiction Treatment: The Minnesota Alternative

BOOK REVIEW.
There are a lot of textbooks and study guides already available in the addictions treatment field. But Paula DeSanto’s book aims to stand out from those by establishing itself as part of an entirely new therapeutic model. The model is said to be based on a holistic, person-centered approach to treatment that draws heavily upon recent ...

Why America’s Addiction Treatment System Is Broken & What You Can Do

Why America's Addiction Treatment System Is Broken & What You Can DoWe know a lot about addiction. We know that addiction is a complex brain disease – not a weakness or lack of willpower. We know its risk factors include “genetic predisposition, structural and functional brain vulnerabilities, ...

Together Alone: Computers, Technology & Kids

Together Alone: Computers, Technology & KidsWhat’s happening in the ad world these days? One TV ad running in my area is of a mother who, the narrator chirps, is a master multitasker. She is on a cell phone while making her kids breakfast and sending them off ...

Public Service Psychiatry

Public Service PsychiatryWho says psychiatry is a profession in an ivory tower, alone? The image many have of psychiatrists is that of a scholar working at the elite level of psychological theory and practice, working with wealthy clientele in a private practice setting or forced to ...

A Compassionate Approach to Addiction Intervention

BOOK REVIEW.
Interventions make for interesting reality television, but how are they done in the real world? How do you get someone you care about who is drinking himself, or herself, into oblivion into treatment? And how do you do that in a respectful way that both honors the person's rights and also helps them move towards ...

Not Otherwise Specified: Anxiety & the Work of Dr. Robert Hudak

Not Otherwise Specified: Anxiety & the Work of Dr. Robert HudakSouthwest Pennsylvania National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) held its annual conference at the beginning of April, and one of their afternoon breakout workshop presenters was Dr. Robert Hudak, assistant professor of psychiatry at Western Psychiatric ...

Clinicians on the Couch: 10 Questions with Psychologist Linda Hatch

Clinicians on the Couch: 10 Questions with Psychologist Linda HatchOur monthly series delves into the personal and professional lives of clinicians from all over the U.S. Therapists reveal everything from the trials and triumphs of conducting therapy to their career path and coping strategies. This month ...

Right Now Enough is Enough! Overcoming Addictions & Bad Habits for Good

BOOK REVIEW.
As someone who has battled substance abuse, I was curious as to how a book could help the reader “overcome” addiction in a matter of 30 days or less. This undertaking, in Right Now Enough is Enough, by Peter Andrew Sacco, is an especially large one, given that so many loyal AA, NA, and other 12-step program ...

Obesity, Genetics, Depression and Weight Loss

Obesity, Genetics, Depression and Weight LossThere are a lot of different opinions and strong emotions when it comes to the topic of obesity and weight loss. This article is simply another opinion about obesity in America. By writing this article, I am ...

Almost Addicted: Is My (or My Loved One’s) Drug Use a Problem?

BOOK REVIEW.
Harvard Medical School’s “Almost Effect” series is increasingly valuable in a world where mental health issues are starting to be seen on a grayscale rather than in black and white. The series, which includes Almost a Psychopath: Do I (or Does Someone I Know) Have a Problem with Manipulation and Lack of Empathy? and Almost Alcoholic: Is My ...

Breaking the Cycle of Shame and Self-Destructive Behavior

Breaking the Cycle of Shame and Self-Destructive BehaviorShame is: “I am bad” vs. “I did something bad.” Shame involves an internalized feeling of being exposed and humiliated. Shame is different from guilt. Shame is a feeling of badness about the self. Guilt is about behavior -- ...

Are You an Enabler?

Are You an Enabler?Enabling is a term often used in the context of a relationship with an addict. It might be a drug addict or alcoholic, a gambler, or a compulsive overeater. Enablers, rather than addicts, suffer the effects of the addict’s behavior. Enabling ...

Signs You Are Verbally Abused: Part I

Signs You Are Verbally Abused: Part INote: Issues of verbal control can exist in any relationship, heterosexual, gay or lesbian, male towards a female partner or the other way around. Since more is known about verbal abuse in relationships where a ...