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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?

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Binge Eating

Podcast: What Does Binge Eating Disorder Feel Like?

In this episode of the Psych Central Show, hosts Gabe Howard and Vincent M. Wales discuss Binge Eating Disorder. At his heaviest, Gabe weighed 550 pounds. He describes in detail how he went from a “normal-sized” guy to being morbidly obese, his return to being “normal-sized,” and addresses the question of whether he was, in fact, addicted to food. During the second half of the show, our hosts welcome Lisa, a woman who was with Gabe during this period of his life. She shares her experience of what it was like being with someone with binge eating disorder and how he finally confronted it.
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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.
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Anxiety and Panic

Requiem for a Nightmare


I am a recovering praise fiend.  

As a little boy, I would sprint home and unload my day’s events to my nonplussed mother.

“Hi, Mom, I earned an A on my English paper,” I would gush. And then my tone would drop an octave, “But I earned a B on that math quiz.” Dropping my head, I would then sulk to the kitchen table. That B would invoke a night of heavy soul-searching and, at times, self-flagellation (“What happened? How could I get a B on that math quiz?”). While amusing now -- in an awkward, semi-embarrassed way, my self-reporting entailed more than a daily academic update. It represented my unquenchable thirst for praise.
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Anger

The Problem with Yelling


“The problem with verbal abuse is there is no evidence,” Marta shared. She came for help with a long-standing depression.

“What do you mean lack of evidence?” I asked.

“When people are physically or sexually abused it’s concrete and real. But verbal abuse is amorphous. I feel like if I told someone I was verbally abused, they’d think I was just complaining about being yelled at,” Marta explained.

“It’s much more than that,” I confirmed.

“Much more,” she said.
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Anxiety and Panic

Sharing Knowledge of Your Mental Health Issues

We were on Route 9 in between Kremmling and Silverthorne, Colorado. Our ultimate destination was Colorado Springs. To say that we were out in the boonies was an understatement. Mountains rose up to the right and left of us. I was enjoying the solitude when suddenly my cell phone rang.

Who could be calling me?

It was a New York City area code and a phone number that I didn’t immediately recognize. I was surprised I could even get cell phone service at this altitude.
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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.

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Addiction

5 Ways to Safely ‘Get High’ with Your Kids


Everyone needs to feel EXTRA alive sometimes.

I've been thinking lately about the term “getting high”, as it is so commonly used in our culture today.

As a student of NLP (neuro-linguistic programming), I know the real power our language has in influencing our lives.

This leads me to wonder about the relationship between how we define getting high and the epidemic we now face with substance use disorder in our country.

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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.
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Anger

Bloody Brothers: The Fraying of Sibling Relationships

Blood is thicker than water?

Well, what if the blood contains petty feuds, simmering resentments, and the occasional volcanic eruption?

Welcome to the fraught world of sibling relationships.

Spending our childhood terrorizing our Des Moines neighborhood, my brothers and I were thicker than thieves. In the family scrapbook, there are endearingly awkward photos of my brothers and me mugging with oversized tennis trophies. Or vacationing in Colorado. Or celebrating the latest family milestone. With our toothy grins, the pictures radiate a boundless joy.
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