Addiction

Does Tough Love Lead to Wellness? A Glimpse into One Family’s Experience with Addiction

Heroin abuse in the United States is reaching epidemic proportions. According to SAMHSA, between 2007 and 2012, the number of heroin users has doubled from an estimated 375,000 to over 665,000. Additionally, in 2010, the number of deaths as a direct result of overdose surpassed auto accident deaths.  

It is impossible to avoid the facts about heroin. We are bombarded daily by the national and local media and extensive online resources. So, is tough love the answer?
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Addiction

Addiction: Accepting the Treatment Norm Is Not an Option

For over fifty years the treatment industry has categorically failed. Personal experience of this writer as well as objective data has demonstrated that 3-5% of individuals who complete residential treatment will remain “sober” for a year or more. Additionally, according to the Baldwin Research Institute Inc., over 90% of all treatment in the U.S. is 12-step based and over 95% teach the disease concept. From any perspective and surely from a business perspective, a 95% failure rate is utterly unacceptable. Why does society and the medical/clinical community accept these findings? The answer seems to be “this is how we have always done it.”
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General

How the Repeal of Obamacare Will Impact People with Mental Illness

When the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") was passed into law seven years ago, it signaled a fundamental change in America's healthcare system. After all, in every other first-world, industrialized nation, healthcare is a basic right of citizens. Only in the U.S. has healthcare been seen as primarily a business -- one where profits can be put before people's health.

Now as the Republicans seek to unmake Obamacare with a "repeal and replace" effort, questions have are arising about how exactly this will impact individuals -- both those who depend on Obamacare as a lifeline to affordable healthcare and those who don't. There's a lot of fear and misinformation out there right now, so I'd like to set the record straight.

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Aging

Video: Medical Conditions That Can Cause Psychiatric Symptoms

It seems like common sense that psychological problems require psychological solutions. If anxiety is interfering in your life, then surely the appropriate treatment is psychotherapy or anxiety medication, right?

In reality, though, other medical conditions can sometimes masquerade as psychiatric conditions. Hyperthyroidism can cause anxiety, and vitamin B-12 deficiency can cause paranoia, to give only two examples.
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General

How to Mindfully Fire Toxic Friends & Loved Ones: A Shrink’s Guide to Setting Boundaries

"Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it" - unknown 

As a Manhattan-based psychotherapist working with a high-functioning adult population, I am always surprised to encounter a repetitive theme in my office. People, no matter how smart, successful, and savvy, find it impossible to break up with their toxic jobs, relationships, and friends. Clients repeatedly walk into my practice frustrated with their life-draining, dysfunctional relationships or jobs.
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Borderline Personality

Experience the Freedom of Living in the Present: DBT Skills Anyone Can Use

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a highly effective evidence-based treatment that was originally developed by Marsha Linehan in the late 1980s for the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder (Linehan, 1993). Today, it is used for the treatment of a variety of mental health issues such as depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, substance dependence, and eating disorders.
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General

E-therapy Provider Talkspace Under Fire, CEO Oren Frank Responds

Talkspace, one of the latest attempts to try and provide online therapy (a modality available to people since 1996), is under fire yet again. This time it comes from Cat Ferguson writing over at The Verge, questioning Talkspace's patient anonymity protections and the use of freelance therapists to staff their service.

The article, published last week, is based upon first-hand accounts of presentations, emails, and interviews with numerous Talkspace therapists. And despite Talkspace's insistence that therapists are freelancers, the firm apparently forbade therapists from talking to the reporter -- an odd directive if the company isn't your boss.

Let's see what The Verge discovered -- and get exclusive responses from Talkspace's CEO.

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Brain and Behavior

Suddenly, VC Guy Notices Mental Health Care

The quality and resources available to mental health care and treatment in the United States has been on the downswing since the 1980s. It started with the closing of government-run state psychiatric hospitals (putting our most at-need patients at risk, and often, on the streets), without the government offering a comprehensive network of community-based care to take their place.

Then managed care -- companies driven by profit and greed -- came along and mid-level managers with no mental health background started dictating exactly what kind of mental health treatment was appropriate to which patients.

Now we live in a time where venture capital (VC) firms believe that technology can magically solve many of the ills connected with receiving high-quality, timely mental health care. But of course, like the managed care companies that came before them, many too are simply driven by potential profits and their return on investment, all the while offering the "solution" of lower-quality, shoddier care.

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Depression

The Holidays, Family, and Depression: A Survival Guide

There is no good time of the year to have mild to moderate depression. Once the end of the year holiday season rolls around, it isn’t a matter of dealing with the same routine day in and day out. Now there are holiday parties to attend, relatives to see, and other expectations that are either of your own making or imposed by others. While it may not seem possible, you can survive the holidays, including time that you feel must be spent with relatives you would rather avoid. Here are some tips that will help. 
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Happiness

The Termination Olympics

I once read that therapy, like a poem, is never finished, but abandoned. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. When I decided to leave therapy after six years, I felt that my life’s narrative had been thoroughly excavated, and that significant internal shifts had solidified. Feeling psychically sated, I assumed that the wind-down would be a quiet and somewhat boring review of all the work that had brought me to this point. 

Turned out, there was nothing quiet or boring about it.  
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Antidepressant

PODCAST: Aspirin, Yes; Psych Meds, No – Why the Difference?

In this episode of the Psych Central Show, Gabe and Vincent discuss why so many people stop taking medication for psychiatric disorders or even refuse to start on them at all.  In a society that is always searching for a “magic pill,” why are so many people resistant to the idea of taking medication to treat mental illness?  Why do doctors and others so easily dismiss the complaints of side effects?  And does stigma prevent many from getting the treatment they need?  Gabe and Vincent give advice and reassurance on how to cope with the many pitfalls of being “med compliant.”

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