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A Brief Guide to Imagery Rehearsal Therapy (IRT) for Nightmare Disorders for Clinicians and Patients

In 2010, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine published the first summary guidelines on how to effectively treat nightmare disorder (Aurora et al., 2010). Based on a comprehensive review of the literature, the two top interventions were psychological and pharmacological. They are Imagery Rehearsal Therapy (IRT) and venlafaxine or Prazosin. The data show the two interventions as comparable in efficacy and, therefore, a trial of the psychological intervention -- before medications -- is usually recommended. The context and nature of the nightmares, of course, are central to how best to use this approach and, thus, an equally important recommendation, is that you the client or patient seek the assistance of a clinical provider trained and qualified to deliver this treatment.
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What Stephen Hawking Can Teach Us about Good Mental Health

I woke up Wednesday morning to the news that Stephen Hawking had passed away. My first thought made me smile -- that this incredible scientist who seemed to just will himself to stay alive against overwhelming odds, died on March 14th -- Pi Day.

Maybe that was his choice. Who knows?

Stephen Hawking was a thinker -- a brilliant scientist, professor and author who was known for his groundbreaking work in physics and cosmology. His books aimed to make science accessible to everyone. His more well-known works include A Brief History of Time, The Universe in a Nutshell, and A Briefer History of Time.
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Anxiety and Panic

How Being Sleep Deprived Alters a Brain Connection That Causes Fear and Anxiety

Your co-worker sluggishly walks into the office and tells you they were up all night working on their client pitch. Do you marvel at their dedication and commitment, or do you shrug it off and think, "Yeah, I’ve had plenty of those nights"?

Odds are, your response would be the latter. After all, sleep is for the weak.

It is not uncommon for us to push our bodies to an unhealthy point in hopes of reaching our goals, whether it’s being a good parent and taking care of your newborn, or pulling an all-nighter to cram for the bar exam.
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Exercise & Fitness

6 Appetite Control Secrets from Neuroscience

The latest research in neuroscience offers a crash course in dieting "hacks" to control one's appetite and to decrease food intake. The methods conspire to use the mind to trick oneself into eating less.

1. Reduce Visual Complexity.

According to Rachel Herz, a guest on NPR's Innovation Hub, studies show that single-color jelly beans in a dish are consumed less in one sitting than mixed-color jelly beans. The reason: Mixed-color jelly beans are more visually complex, making them more appetizing to our visual taste receptors.
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6 Ways Binge-Watching May Be Ruining Your Health

Have you ever thought that maybe that innocent Netflix habit could be wreaking havoc on your health? Turns out it might be a dangerous vice you not only want to cut back on, but maybe eliminate it entirely for a while. Read on to discover ways you might be sabotaging your health without even knowing it, as well as possible solutions if you just can’t put the remote down or get off the couch.
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What Doesn’t Work in Dealing with Difficult Emotions—And What Does

Many of Becky Butler’s clients struggle to identify and express their anger. They see it as a difficult emotion to experience—so they don’t.

“Processing and expressing anger can feel intimidating and might make people feel out of control,” said Butler, LPC, ATR-BC, a psychotherapist and board-certified art therapist who works with clients to help meet goals, change unhealthy behaviors, discover new strengths, improve self-expression, and encourage healing. And naturally no one likes to feel out of control.
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Winter Doldrums? 6 Ways to Get a Jump on Spring

“Happiness is a choice. You can choose to be happy. There’s going to be stress in life, but it’s your choice whether you let it affect you or not.” - Valerie Bertinelli

This is the time of year when I’m well past the excitement of the holidays and tired of dealing with winter-related problems or other people’s sour mood due to too many dark days. I’m lucky in the sense that I live in Southern California, so there’s no pileup of snow and ice and bitter cold temperatures to ruin my day. That does not mean, however, that residents here -- like elsewhere in the country -- don’t suffer a bit from the winter doldrums.

Here are six ways to get a jump on spring for those who are eager for warmer weather and the
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Expert Tips for Overcoming Food Addiction

Here's how to take that first small step.

Food addiction is real. And if you're struggling with food addiction, know that you're not alone -- I've been there, too. In fact, the younger you are, the more likely it's your struggle.

From my past experience as a compulsive overeater, I suspect that many food addictions act as pacifiers for pain, fears, and anxieties, and even as ways to celebrate emotional spikes that are positive. Food seems to act as a life enhancer, while offering the illusion of short-term emotional balance.
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When the Rug Gets Yanked Out from Beneath You: An Interview with Joel Metzger

I have known Joel Metzger for perhaps 20 years and was told I needed to meet this resilient thriver and hear his story of rebirth following a traumatic event that forever changed his life.

When we wake up each morning, we generally don’t imagine that this day could be our last on the planet. We go about our business, interacting with family, friends and co-workers, "clocking in and clocking out" on the job, assuming that another 24 hours will be granted to us or that they will be predictable.
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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

Does Vitamin D Deficiency Contribute to Brain Disorders?

There seems to be a lot of talk about Vitamin D deficiency lately, particularly in relation to brain disorders.

I’ve always associated vitamin D with healthy bones, but really, it is important for good overall health. Vitamin D helps our hearts, muscles, lungs and brains work well. Unlike other vitamins, most vitamin D does not come from what we eat, but rather from our exposure to the sun (and possibly from supplements).

With all the emphasis on staying out of the sun and/or wearing sunscreen these days, it’s not surprising that many of us are now deficient in vitamin D.

Another unique characteristic of vitamin D is the fact that our bodies turn it into a hormone called “activated vitamin D” or “calcitriol.”
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Brain and Behavior

The Connection Between Obesity and the Blood-Brain Barrier

The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is an important physiological formation tasked with protecting the brain from multiple chemicals that might circulate in our bloodstream. The BBB obstructs the exchange and movement of most molecules, cells, and proteins in and out of the central nervous system (CNS). This helps to keep the brain “cool” and unaffected by whatever we eat and the kind of infections we encounter.

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