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Our mission is to create an atmosphere that is both supportive and informative in a caring, safe environment for our members to talk to their peers about depression, anxiety, mood disorders, medications, therapy and recovery.

Our vision is to advance the public awareness of mental health issues so as to eliminate the stigma that surrounds depression and mood disorders through education and advocacy, as well as striving to obtain quality medical care for mental health patients, as it is no different from any other medical illness.


Latest News

'I want this to be joyous': Edinburgh fringe's startling shows about depression



In cabaret shows and musicals such as My Beautiful Black Dog,

performers at the fringe are breaking the taboo of mental health





‘People don’t want to talk about this stuff’ … Brigitte Aphrodite’s My Beautiful Black Dog. Photograph: Olivier Richomme

As a nation, the UK has never excelled at talking about its own state of mind. From discussions about depression to frank admissions of unhappiness, such matters have mostly remained taboo in favour of maintaining that very British stiff upper lip.

However, at this year’s Edinburgh festival fringe, mental health has emerged as an unexpected theme, with performers and comedians increasingly creating and championing pieces that break through the stigma.

As is reflective of the breadth of the fringe itself, these ideas and issues around mental health are being presented in pieces spanning standup and musicals to monologues and dramatic lectures. Already grabbing headlines is Fake It ’Til You Make It, a show created by comedian Bryony Kimmings and advertising executive Tim Grayburn.


Published By Forum Admin, 2015-08-09 19:15:11

How Distorted Thinking Increases Stress and Anxiety

10 cognitive distortions that make things worse for us.



I learned about cognitive distortions in the 1990s from a book by David Burns called Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy. I’d just moved from the faculty wing at U.C. Davis’ law school to serve as the dean of students. I knew how to teach law…but I didn’t feel competent to help students who were struggling emotionally.


When I shared my concerns with a friend who was a therapist, she recommended Feeling Good. She said it would help me recognize when a student was engaged in distorted thinking patterns that were increasing his or her stress and anxiety. I don’t know who benefitted more from the book: the students I was trying to help or me personally!


Many years later, after I became chronically ill, I found the notes I’d taken on ten cognitive distortions that Burns discusses in Feeling Good. I immediately realized that I had a new life challenge to apply them to. I’m indebted to him for this piece. I’ll describe each cognitive distortion and then include a suggestion or two for how to counter it.



Of course, before you can counter distorted thinking, you have to become aware that you’re engaging in it. To this end, it might be beneficial to make a list of the ten distortions and then look it over every few days. Or, you could write down some of your stressful and anxious thoughts and then look to see which of the ten distortions they fall under.


In my examples, I’ll focus on distortions that the chronically ill are prone to, but those of you who are in good health can substitute a word or two and I’m confident you’ll recognize yourself in these examples.



Published By Lindsay, 2015-01-15 21:23:38
Med & Health News

Depression and teens

Learning that your teen has depression can be terrifying for a parent – concerns range from getting the right treatment to general safety. It was estimated in 2013 that 8 percent of high school students attempted suicide one or more times in the previous 12 months, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And now, a reanalysis of data in The BMJ last week found that Paxil, one of the most prescribed antidepressants on the market, is ineffective and even harmful for treating major depression in adolescents.

The new findings are in contrast to the original study from 2001. Researchers of the original industry-funded study found Paxil, just one of a group of serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, was safe and effective. The reanalysis showed that a number of adolescents from the original study did experience increased thoughts of suicide. But the suicidal thoughts were simply counted as generic adverse events and not clearly presented in the results.

For a long time, there have been some indications that these medicines may raise the rates of thoughts of self-harm in adolescents. This led the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2007 to issue a “black box” warning about increases in suicidal thoughts. In December 2014, the warning was revised to state that attempts at self-harm decreased in patients ages 24 and older with anti-depressant use, but there was no change on the warning for adolescents.

During this nearly decade long discussion, most psychiatrists and many other mental health professionals felt that the warnings were too strict. As a result, they thought many teens were not getting the help that they needed – while others worried that these medicines were possibly harmful. 

What has followed in the wake of this latest reanalysis are stories in the press which have raised the issue of the safety and effectiveness of some antidepressant medications for adolescents.  


Published By Lindsay, 2015-09-24 15:23:31
Featured Topics

No more excuses: Move it or lose it!




Sore knees keeping you from a brisk walk through Valley Forge? Waiting out an aching back before hitting the Y? Ironically, lack of exercise is likely the reason your body is inflamed. Waiting for it to magically heal itself is not only dangerous but could be making it worse. It’s time to dump the excuses and start cycling, hiking and even singing your way back to a healthier and happier lifestyle. You would be surprised at how quickly and favorably your body will respond to even a moderate, low-impact workout.

Reality check
Did you know that every one pound gained puts approximately three to 10 pounds more pressure on your knees when walking, running or climbing stairs? Wincing through a barre class may seem overwhelming at first, but keeping your weight healthy, your muscles flexible and your bones strong are essential to pain relief. The endorphin high after a romp on the Radnor Trail can help ease depression; a weekly dance class can work wonders, increasing memory skills and warding off dementia.
No one knows the magical healing benefits of exercise better than the staff at Bryn Mawr Rehab. Domenica Hottenstein of Paoli is a rehab nurse for patients with brain or joint injuries. “Daily exercise is paramount in the rehabilitation process. We get each patient on his or her feet every day no matter what current condition. Even if they are unable to move themselves, our specialists will physically move them until they can.” Domenica says she still marvels at how quickly the human body can recover as long as it keeps pushing its limits every day.
This lesson became very real for Domenica, 49, last winter when she slipped on black ice and severely injured her ankle, requiring surgery, bed rest and a long recovery process. An active runner, Mojo friend and busy mother of three teenagers, she was devastated but she didn’t sit still for long. “I knew it would get better if I did the time,” Domenica says, “and if I didn’t try to stay in shape, it would take twice as long for me to recover.” With the assistance of her doctor and physical therapist, Domenica developed a workout regimen with high-intensity upper-body movements and lots of loud music. It worked. Less than a year later, she is as fit, trim and youthful as she was before her injury.

High intensity/Low-impact tips

As they say, if it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you. It’s up to you to be creative and persistent in finding enjoyable activities that push you physically. Even moderate exercise can do wonders to ease pain and keep your weight in check. Consult your doctor and/or physical therapist to learn your limitations, but don’t let them become a “reason” to sit on the sidelines.

Upper-body cardio

It’s a myth that a good cardiovascular workout needs to be high impact – with feet leaving the ground – in order to get results. Not true! As long as your heart rate has been elevated for a minimum of 20 consecutive minutes, you’re getting a great workout and you can certainly get there with low impact exercises. To add intensity, try accessing the upper body with more power and strength. The more muscle groups used simultaneously, the more calories burned and the bigger the metabolic boost. For instance, if walking is your activity of choice, walk briskly. Consciously engage your core by walking tall with your shoulders down and back. It makes me crazy to see people “power walking” with their arms flaccidly at their sides! Increase intensity by treating your arms like they are weights. Bringing them up higher with more force brings more muscles to life and gives you more bang for your efforts.

Continuous movement

Are you someone who stops moving just when your breath gets a little choppy? If so, you are cheating yourself. Keep moving until you reach a level of fatigue and then reach beyond it – regularly and frequently. If your muscles are sore the next day, congrats! It’s a desirable sign that your body is repairing itself and getting stronger for its next play date. Please note that pain is not good. Lay off that movement until you consult a professional.


Published By Lindsay, 2015-03-23 15:23:10

Increasing Alcohol Taxes Could Help Reduce Binge Drinking

Increasing Alcohol Taxes Could Help Reduce Binge Drinking, Study Suggests


alcoholismRaising alcohol taxes may help reduce the binge drinking rate, according to researchers at Boston University.

They found a one percent increase in alcohol prices due to taxes was associated with a 1.4 percent decrease in binge drinking.

The more alcohol taxes increase, the more binge drinking rates decrease, the researchers report in Addiction.

Binge drinking is defined as having five or more drinks in one sitting for men, or four or more drinks for women and causes more than half of the almost 90,000 alcohol-related deaths in the United States annually, HealthDay reports.

Tennessee, the state with the highest taxes on beer, had the lowest binge drinking rate (6.6 percent) in 2010. In contrast, the states with the lowest alcohol taxes (Delaware, Montana and Wisconsin), had the highest binge drinking rates.

In 2010, the Task Force on Community Preventive Services, an independent panel of public health and prevention experts, recommended increasing taxes on the sale of alcoholic beverages, "on the basis of strong evidence of the effectiveness of this policy in reducing excessive consumption and related harms."

Published By Forum Admin, 2015-01-20 16:24:53

Celexa May Help Ease Alzheimer's-Linked Agitation

Study finds it might be safer alternative to standard antipsychotics


TUESDAY, Feb. 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The antidepressant Celexa shows promise in easing the agitation people with Alzheimer's disease often suffer, and may offer a safer alternative to antipsychotic drugs, a new study finds.

"Agitation is one of the worst symptoms for patients and their families: it puts the Alzheimer's patient at risk for other system overloads (cardiac, infection), wears them out physically, and exhausts caregivers and families," noted one expert, Dr. Alan Manevitz, a clinical psychiatrist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

He said that while antipsychotic drugs are typically used to help ease the agitation, they are also associated with a higher risk of death for Alzheimer's patients, so safer alternatives would be welcome.

The new study was led by Dr. Constantine Lyketsos, director of the Johns Hopkins Memory and Alzheimer's Treatment Center in Baltimore. It included 186 Alzheimer's patients with agitation symptoms such as emotional distress, aggression, irritability, and excessive movem




Published By Lindsay, 2014-02-19 18:21:07

Comedians at the Edinburgh Fringe are blowing up the stigma of mental health


Image: Vicky Leta/Mashable

EDINBURGH — One of the buzziest shows at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe is about depression. Severe clinical depression in fact. Bryony Kimmings and her partner Tim Grayburn’s Fake It 'Til You Make It, which explores in depth Grayburn’s secret depression and nervous breakdown, hogged the headlines over the festival’s opening days and is sold out for its entire run.

They’re not the only artists who have focussed on mental health; this year’s programme is packed with productions that take aim at the issue, from Brigitte Aphrodite’s My Beautiful Black Dog to stand-up Carl Donnelly’s Jive Ass Honky and cabaret star Le Gateau Chocolat’s Black, a production whose blurb quotes Maya Angelou: "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

See also: Semicolon tattoos are a new way to talk about mental health


Published By Lindsay, 2015-08-12 18:47:01
Member Testimonials
stleesharon, on 09 April 2012 - 04:43 PM, said: Thanks! It's amazing how you guys can manage the forum so well and replying so fast! I always wanted to find people who truly understands psychological disorder and to encourage and be encouraged. ^^
Lindsay  Lindsay

Patients Suffering From Chronic Pain Feel Anxious Or Depressed As A Result Of Their Pain

Three In Five Patients Feel Depressed Or Anxious As A Result Of Their Pain
22 Oct 2008   

Despite treatment efforts, chronic pain management is failing one in three (n = 377) patients suffering from severe chronic pain, and three in five (n = 336) patients feel moderately or extremely anxious or depressed as a result of their pain. Whilst eight in ten (n = 377) chronic pain patients are taking prescription medication, one in two (n = 307) of these patients are suffering the additional burden of side effects. These are the findings released today from the interim data from PainSTORY (Pain Study Tracking Ongoing Responses for Year), the first survey of its kind to provide in-depth insight into how chronic pain impacts the lives of patients over one year in 13 European countries.

Today's data provide a picture of patients' lives over the three months since the survey was initiated and shows that despite consultation with a healthcare professional and treatment patients are still struggling with their pain, impacting patients' quality of life.

"Interim results from PainSTORY are important and highlight that patients continue to suffer from chronic pain despite seeking medical attention," said Dr Varrassi, President of the European Federation of IASP Chapters, a leading pain society. "The medical community need to provide adequate treatment for patients in moderate-severe pain, but there seems to still be barriers that need to be overcome".

Since their initial interview three months ago, for 77 percent (n = 377) of patients the level of pain they experience has either stayed the same or even deteriorated further. 33% (n=377) of patients continue to suffer from severe chronic pain, 15% (n = 377) had progressed from moderate to severe pain, and 1% (n = 377) from mild to severe pain.

PainSTORY shows that both the physical and psychological aspects of patients' lives are affected by their pain. Six out of ten (n = 336) patients are experiencing problems walking about and over half (n= 336) experience problems sleeping. The influence of pain also extends into patients' working lives, and almost half (n = 195) have changed the way they work. "I couldn't interact. The pain trapped me and I couldn't socialise. I felt like a prisoner of the pain and really conditioned by it," said patient 14 from the United Kingdom.

Today's data show patients are being prescribed suboptimal treatment for their pain. Of the 81 percent (n = 377) of patients in moderate-severe pain on prescription medication, only 13 percent were prescribed strong opioids. Over half of patients were suffering at least one side effect as a result of their prescribed medication (n = 162), including constipation, dizziness and drowsiness, which are common symptoms for both weak and strong opioids.

"Side effects are affecting these patients. Patients are finding themselves in situations where they need to choose between using pain relief medications, or compromising their pain management by not taking medications to avoid the burden of side effects," stated Professor Erdine from the World Institute of Pain. "We are interested to see the next wave of results for PainSTORY. There has already been some interesting issues that have been brought to light. This survey demonstrates the pressing need for improved management of pain across Europe."

About the survey

PainSTORY (Pain Study Tracking Ongoing Responses for a Year) is the first study of its kind to track patients with chronic pain for a year, providing a picture of the lives of people living in pain, and the management of pain in 13 European countries.

Baseline results from the study show that chronic pain has a significant impact on the daily lives of patients. The survey aims to better understand the management of chronic pain across Europe.

The PainSTORY survey is being conducted by an independent research company, IPSOS, in collaboration with the following independent third parties:

- European Federation of IASP Chapters
- World Institute of Pain
- Arthritis and Rheumatism International
- OPEN Minds
The survey is sponsored by a restricted educational grant from Mundipharma International Limited.


PainSTORY recruited patients suffering from non-malignant (osteoarthritis, back pain / lower back pain, osteoporosis, neuropathic pain, mixed pain, other long term pain), moderate to severe (rate 5-10 on a pain scale) chronic pain (i.e. lasting for more than three months). Respondents are studied for 12 months. The research is being carried out in 13 countries across Europe: United Kingdom, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Norway by an independent research company, IPSOS.

The study consists of four waves of qualitative interviews between April 2008 and March 2009. Interim engagement activities between the four waves are sent to patients to provide additional insight, such as diaries and lifebooks. Comparisons between baseline data and subsequent wave results will show how the impact of pain and pain management changes over the course of a year.

About the European Week Against Pain

The European Week Against Pain (EWAP) which takes place annually, was started as part of the European Federation of IASP Chapters' (EFIC's), Europe Against Pain Initiative, in October 2001. EWAP aims to create more awareness of pain as a major healthcare problem amongst the general public, healthcare workers and healthcare policy makers.

The theme of this year's EWAP is fibromyalgia, a widespread musculoskeletal pain and fatigue disorder that occurs predominately in women. Unexplained widespread pain occurs in about 10% of the general adult population in Western countries, with approximately half of those affected meeting American College of Rheumatology (ACR) classification criteria for fibromyalgia.

The PainSTORY survey was sponsored by a restricted educational grant from Mundipharma International Ltd, Cambridge, England 

Forum Admins note:  results from the pain story is in the link below. 3-2010



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