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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

The Critical Role Nutrition Plays in Mental Health

One of the most unrecognized factors in the development of mental health is the role of nutrition. The link between diet and mental health is growing as the field of Nutritional Psychiatry/Psychology expands. This field is becoming more impactful as epidemics continue to make headlines surrounding the health of our country and world. We know nutrition has substantial physical impacts, but it is the mental impacts of nutrition that are gaining traction with additional research and heightening awareness around this topic.
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Anorexia

Eating Disorders Breed Disconnection

I have worked with hundreds of women who struggle with disordered eating and poor body image. Some clients obsessively track calories or Weight Watcher’s points. Some try to restrict their food intake all day then order large quantities of food to binge on at night. Some purge after meals or excessively exercise. Others restrict entire food groups. Some have tried every fad diet. Some say mean things to themselves when they look in the mirror, in hopes that this will motivate change. Some have found a community -- in Weight Watchers or Overeaters Anonymous -- to hold them accountable or to reinforce their guilt after a weekly weigh in. Some have convinced themselves that a juice cleanse is necessary for detox. Some only eat “clean” foods. Some only eat purple foods. Some never eat purple foods... (Those last two I haven’t come across, but I imagine someday I will).
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Addiction

What Are the Signs of Binge Eating Disorder?

Binge eating is often something we have done at one time or another. Perhaps at a celebration or a birthday, we have continued to eat just for the taste or because it feels good. Binge Eating Disorder is different.

The signs of Binge Eating Disorder include:

Feeling uncomfortably full while continuing to eat
Eating a lot of food quickly despite lack of hunger
Feeling out of control
Shame surrounding food

If you eat more than others during the same situation or meal time and have binged at least once a week for three months, you may have Binge Eating Disorder.
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Happiness

Neither Here Nor There: The Health Hazards of Commuting

I live in San Diego and am in a doctorate program in Los Angeles. 124 miles door to door. One hour and 59 minutes one way with no traffic, up to four hours in the unpredictable concrete and freeway maze that is life in Southern California.   

And yes, it is exactly as draining as it sounds.

Commuting can be soul-sucking. There is something incredibly debilitating and defeating about realizing that what waits for you at the end of a ten-hour day of class is a two-hour appointment with the 5 freeway. It is unforgiving and impersonal in nature. The 5 does not care whether you’ve had a hard day, or that your hips hurt from an IT band strain and too much time in the car. It gives no leeway when your eyes burn with exhaustion or the times you would give anything to be home just twenty minutes earlier.
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Antidepressant

How I Dealt with Depression After Brain Surgery


Once again I was on the phone to my friend, sobbing. She’d put up with my tears every day since I left the hospital. Two or three daily meltdowns were the norm.

Many of my tears were over things that would have merely irritated me before: misplaced scissors, dirty socks in the middle of the living room, a brief computer glitch.

I have cavernous angiomas, tangles of malformed blood vessels, scattered throughout my brain. Two of them -- one larger than a golf ball in my right parietal lobe, and the other, smaller, in my brain stem -- had bled, and I underwent brain surgeries to remove them.
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Caregivers

Bouncing Back: Resilient Thrivers Tell Their Stories

This is the first in a series of articles about people who have survived life challenges that they never anticipated. For each of them, the unexpected brought lessons and skills that have helped them to move from victim to survivor to thriver.

Albert Borris is a 58-year-old man who lives in the Philadelphia suburb of Moorestown, New Jersey. For three decades, he worked as a Student Assistance Counselor in a high school setting, guiding young people who were facing psychological and addiction oriented challenges. According to his colleagues and those whose lives he touched -- likely thousands over the years -- he was superb at his job. He is the father of three children; two young sons and a daughter who is following in her father’s footsteps professionally, now in graduate school earning her Masters of Social Work.
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Brain and Behavior

A Connection Between the Zika Virus and Curing Brain Cancer?


Not long ago, Zika virus was dominating headlines. A new infection was hardly ever heard about before then, yet is now affecting hundreds of thousands of people in Latin America, causing disfiguration and microcephalia in new-born babies. Microcephalia is caused by severe delayed and abnormal development of the brain, resulting in the range of intellectual disability, dwarfism, poor motor functions and speech. With no cure or even preventive vaccination available, many women in the most affected regions were reportedly considering postponing any planned pregnancies.

The virus was actually discovered back in 1947 in Zika forest in Uganda (and this is where its name comes from). The pathogen is related to better known viruses causing dengue and yellow fever. The disease is spread predominantly by one type of mosquito and was a rare occurrence until the epidemics of 2015–2016, when in Brazil alone well over 100,000 cases were reported. The disease caused particular concern as it coincided with the run-up to the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro.
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Bipolar

A Spotlight on Award-Winning Advocate and Everyday Hero Gabe Howard

For years Gabe Howard teetered between a mania that made him “wild” and a depression that made him suicidal. When he was manic, he’d stay awake for days. He’d drink and use drugs. He’d take unnecessary risks. He felt invincible.

When he was depressed, he felt utterly worthless and alone. He constantly thought about suicide and even had a plan. “I wanted to die and believed that no one would miss me,” said Howard.

He was struggling...
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Children and Teens

The Importance of the Pediatrician

A recent study published in the June 12th edition of JAMA Psychiatry poses the question:

Can a pediatric-based brief behavioral treatment outperform assisted referral to outpatient mental health for youths with anxiety and depression?

In this randomized clinical trial, researchers discovered that a brief intervention delivered at the pediatrician’s office can indeed significantly help children and teenagers who are dealing with depression and anxiety. In addition, the young people who received this treatment actually fared better than those who were referred to outpatient mental health care.

This study reinforces what I have long believed -- pediatricians can play an invaluable role in all areas of young people’s health. They are typically the first ones consulted when there are issues that need addressing and this alone makes them one of our most important resources for our children and young adults.
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