Need treatment? Find help or get online counseling right now!

Depression

Not All Depression Is Alike: Tips to Improve Situational Depression

The word depression is used in different contexts. Some people claim it for minor problems like being disappointed, hurt or discouraged. Others use it to describe feelings of such heaviness and dejection that they are barely able to function. Symptoms may be so severe that it becomes a life-long debilitating condition where clinical interventions are warranted to redress chemical or hormonal imbalances within the body.

A more common form of depression is very much linked to external circumstances that overwhelm a person’s ability to process and deal with life’s challenges. Difficult experiences or chronic stress can shake one’s sense of self, reduce options, shatter plans and dash hopes for the future. This easily opens the door to feeling lost, worthless and depressed. Hidden within such feelings may be other emotions like anger, fear of the future, disappointment, grief, despair, regret or guilt. Unexamined and unexpressed, they only increase the inner anguish and loss of joy.
Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

Stroller Wars: Parenthood Isn’t for Everyone

“Just wait until you have your own kids; you will see,” a friend’s mother claims. “Kids are such a joy.”

Within ten minutes, I experienced that joy firsthand. As my college buddy and I attempted to fritter away a lazy Saturday, his kid was having a bigger meltdown than Chernobyl. First, she hurled a toy at her young brother. And when that flying projectile didn’t connect, she opted for a solid right hook. That connected -- and induced a shrieking cry heard 'round Seattle.

“Maybe, it is time for Uncle Matt to exit stage right,” I laughed -- exchanging merciful, pitying looks with my college buddy.
Continue Reading

Brain and Behavior

You Can Train Your Brain to Be More Positive with These Steps

The clients I work with tend to have a few things in common: they are smart, ambitious, and highly motivated. Most of them are also stressed to the max.

From the outside, they appear powerful and poised. But on the inside, they worry about their ability to deal with the demands that come along with having a successful career.

If you’re a top-performer, you can probably relate. In fact,
Continue Reading

Depression

Podcast: What Does Postpartum Depression Feel Like?

In this episode of the Psych Central Show, hosts Gabe Howard and Vincent M. Wales speak with guest Christine Hammond, a licensed mental health counselor who has also suffered from postpartum depression in two of her three pregnancies. She shares her story of why neither she nor her husband recognize postpartum depression in the first pregnancy, how it appeared rapidly during the second pregnancy, and the fears they both had that it would occur in the third pregnancy. Christine also speaks of the shame carried by and stigma against mothers dealing with it, as well as postpartum depression’s biggest lie.
Continue Reading

Depression

Suicide Awareness: The Family Secret

When I was 8 years old my uncle died by suicide.

I remember sitting in my family living room with my twin brother during a hot summer day watching a cartoon about rabbits, when I heard the phone ring and then the most heart-wrenching wail I have ever heard come out of my mother. My father immediately came into the room in a stoic and serious manner and told us that our uncle had died. He said not to do anything or say anything to my mother, and quickly left the room.
Continue Reading

Depression

Don’t Worry, Don’t Be Happy: Surprising Perks of Unhappiness

We’ve been told since our first pimple arrived to look in the mirror and say, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and today is going to be a GREAT day, despite this mammoth zit on my chin” while plastering a fake grin on our face.

Positive psychologists have force-fed us affirmations, telling us that the more we say them and try to believe them, that happiness will be ours; that happiness is the only thing we should really care about, because “the pursuit of happiness” is our American right.

But is all of this scientifically sound?
Continue Reading

Depression

Why I Wouldn’t Take Google’s Depression Test

At the end of August, Google decided to make available directly on its site (through a "knowledge panel") the ability to take a depression screening quiz. We know a thing or two about online depression screening quizzes, because back in 1996 I put one of the first interactive depression screening quizzes online, long before Google even existed.

Here's the thing... Depression screening tests -- like the PHQ-9 that Google is now offering on its website -- are super helpful tools to give a person a little more insight into the possibility of having a serious mental illness. The problem with Google offering it is that this mega-marketing company is collecting your health data. Do you really want Google to have this kind of sensitive information about your mood?

Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

The New Normal

“On a scale of 1-10, how do you feel?”

It’s a question that most psychiatrists ask when assessing mood and medication maintenance. The scale is used to monitor feelings of anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. A patient’s response is the main test used for treatment.

But if 1 means that a person feels ecstatic, and 10 means they are suicidal, what is a 6 or a 3? What happens if a patient feels like something is wrong, but nothing has happened? Or if they can’t stop crying since their dog died last week? How much of an impact do average issues have? Are they really feeling an 8 or is the magnitude of sorrow dependent on the specific moment they are experiencing at the time? The scale has problems of its own.
Continue Reading

Alzheimer

Psychology Around the Net: August 26, 2017


Happy Saturday, sweet readers!

Can you believe it's the last weekend of August? I know summer doesn't technically end as soon as August is over, but...where did the summer go?!

Well, before you head out to enjoy the weekend, take some time to catch up on the science of spirituality, why having a best friend as a teenager helps develop a sense of self later in life, how winning the lottery will contribute little to your level of happiness, and more.

Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

Experiencing Goodwill


As someone who shamelessly scours Goodwill for second-hand finds, this confession is particularly painful: New is better.

New experiences -- that is. I will forever cherish my vintage t-shirts and maps.

Over the past year, I have put those vintage maps to use, traveling to five countries.

While traveling can tire (that said, I have a sneaking suspicion that you are not shedding any tears for me), fresh experiences rejuvenate -- at least anecdotally. Even when they seemingly sap every reservoir of energy and patience.
Continue Reading