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Anxiety and Panic

Pedophilia OCD: When OCD Targets the Children in Your Life

Rhonda was a kind and religious woman. Most importantly, she adored her kids. However, one day, a fleeting thought showed up in her mind, “Did I touch Ronnie inappropriately,” as she was buckling her son in his car seat. Rhonda became anxious and couldn’t stop worrying about it. “Did I really touch him? What if I did? Am I a pervert? No, I’m not! I would never do such thing! But then, why do I feel anxious? Does that mean I did something wrong? Otherwise, I would not feel anxious.”

These and many similar thoughts began to occupy Rhonda’s mind. The more she tried to “get rid” of the thoughts or figure out why she was having them, the more they stuck.
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Antipsychotic

Living with Schizoaffective Disorder: Myths, Facts, and Prospects


When I was about 22 years old, I was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder bipolar type. I am 29 years old now, and still puzzled -- What exactly constitutes schizoaffective disorder? Moreover, is the illness itself a diagnostic myth or a fact? No one wants to be labeled schizophrenic or even bipolar, but to be labeled schizoaffective -- Is that a “worse” diagnosis or a “better” one?
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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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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

Internet Therapy for Children with OCD

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is condition that affects about 2.2 million Americans and 750,000 people in the UK. It has two key features: thoughts that repeat themselves over and over again (called obsessive thoughts) and feeling that the person must do certain actions repeatedly (compulsions). The person thinks the thoughts are silly, but they cannot stop them. Sometimes only carrying out the actions stops the thoughts for a while. The typical example is thinking that your hands are dirty, even though you know they are not, and having to wash them repeatedly. The person can spend a huge chunk of the day carrying out these compulsions. This often makes it very difficult to function at all. This can be even more tragic when it affects a child.
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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

How New Generation Drugs Are Targeting Depression

Two years ago, I talked with a prominent psychiatrist about what could be done for all the people who have treatment-resistant depression who do not respond -- or only partially respond -- to the drugs on the market today.

“We wait for better drugs to come out,” he said.

I wanted a better answer, because my experience with the newer drugs like Zyprexa (olanzapine) -- atypical neuroleptics (a type of antipsychotic) that were supposed to treat bipolar disorder with fewer side effects than typical mood stabilizers like lithium and Depakote (divalproex sodium) -- proved to be a disaster.

But I am coming around to agree with the psychiatrist.
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Personal

On Seeking Counseling Before You Need To

Many clients I see here in private practice in the Midwestern area of Illinois are often very stressed. They come in appearing very calm and as soon as I get to the point on my questionnaire about what brings them their they tell me, often with tears and a sense of shame about how long they have been struggling due to their busy lives, lack of self-care and fears of the judgement might have about them. We talk about the stressors they have been having throughout their lives and although they often say none at first, the more we talk the more profoundly amazed I am that they are doing so well holding all their emotions in for so long.

I often find myself asking, “why didn’t you come to talk about all your stress earlier?” ... and “why now?” They often give me a list of reasons for not coming in sooner are: that they believed that God could get rid of their anxiety if they prayed more and or their fears if they truly admitted they were stressed/anxious it might get a lot worse.
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General

TAO Connect: What if a Computer Could Help You with Psychotherapy, Alter Your Habits?

Computer-mediated training and psychotherapy -- that is, a computer program (whether an app, a website, or a piece of software) helping you learn something new, especially with regards to your thoughts, behaviors, and habits -- has been with us a long time. One of the pioneers in this space has been Australia's MoodGYM, first launched in 2001. It now has over 1 million users around the world and has been the subject of more than two dozen randomized clinical research trials showing that this inexpensive (or free!) intervention can work wonders on depression, for those who can stick with it. And online therapy has been available since 1996.

I like technology backed by science, because scientific data should drive developing new tools to help us change our thoughts, behaviors, and habits. It shouldn't just come from some random developer's pop psychology understanding of human behavior. Research data demonstrating a new intervention's efficacy is the best answer to countering the placebo effect, which we know is very strong for novel techniques and treatments.

That's why I also like what TAO Connect is doing, because it's based upon research and work pioneered at the University of Florida.

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Psychology

Can Computer-Based Intervention Benefit Our Stress Levels?

Too much stress is a problem we all face, however stress isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes, feeling stressed can lead to more motivation and greater focus. If we overdo it, however, it can have a bad impact on our mental health. This can range from having a short temper, to headaches, to having trouble sleeping, to even becoming unwell.

According to the APA, 75 percent of adults will go through some stress on any given month. In spite of how many people is affected by stress only a few of them will get any help. This may be due to lack of time, worrying about what others may think, thinking we should be able to get over it on our own or simply not being able to afford help. A way to make accessing help more convenient, more private and cheaper is through digital technology, but can web-based treatments really help?
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General

Free Tool to Assess Mental Health Apps

Digital health tools like smartphone apps have been exploding in popularity, and there are now thousands available in the App Store and on Google Play.

Trouble is, most of them have been developed without research, and lack scientific evidence to prove they are effective.

It can be daunting to browse through available mobile apps to choose one that fits your needs and isn't made by an disreputable developer who maybe didn't use evidence, collaborate with clinicians, or co-design the app with people with lived experience. It's equally hard for a therapist or other clinician to recommend apps to clients, not knowing which are trustworthy and popular with users.
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Depression

Even Therapists Get the Blues

"Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them -- every day begin the task anew." -Saint Francis de Sales
My first depressive episode came at the age of 19, again at 23 and then again at 27. A decade later I would graduate with a Masters degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. In that time came pharmacology and psychotherapy.  I also found what behaviors and beliefs helped me take care of myself and have allowed me to maintain my mental health ever since.
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