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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.

 

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Latest News

Dating With a Mental Illness

 

Your condition doesn't have to keep you from finding love.

A happy young couple sits and talks in a coffee shop.

 

Having an open and honest conversation with your date can help you decide if he or she will be worth your time and effort.

By + More

When you have a mental illness, the fun of dinner and drinks and the chemistry between the two of you can be dwarfed by worrying over how your date will react when you open up about your condition. If you tell him too soon, you might scare him off. Wait too long, and you run the risk of her feeling misled. So what do you do?

 

Molly Pohlig, a 36-year-old New Yorker, has depression, anxiety and borderline personality disorder – conditions she says have made dating difficult in the past. "Several people were taken aback," she says, "and I've had some relationships or dates end pretty abruptly because of it."

 

 

The issue, says Pohlig, who has written about dating with a mental illness, is that many people have not had any experience interacting with someone with mental illness. "All they’ve seen are TV shows, and they think that if you say, 'I have a mental illness,' it means you’re a psychopath."

 



Published By Lindsay, 2015-01-20 16:47:00 Read More...
Psychotherapy

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 Read More...
Med & Health News

The Surprising Link Between Gut Bacteria And Anxiety

The Huffington Post  |  By Carolyn Gregoire

 

Posted: 01/04/2015 10:05 am EST

 

 

GUT BACTERIA

 

 

In recent years, neuroscientists have become increasingly interested in the idea that there may be a powerful link between the human brain and gut bacteria. And while a growing body of research has provided evidence of the brain-gut connection, most of these studies so far have been conducted on animals.

 

Now, promising new research from neurobiologists at Oxford University offers some preliminary evidence of a connection between gut bacteria and mental health in humans. The researchers found that supplements designed to boost healthy bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract ("prebiotics") may have an anti-anxiety effect insofar as they alter the way that people process emotional information.

 

While probiotics consist of strains of good bacteria, prebiotics are carbohydrates that act as nourishment for those bacteria. With increasing evidence that gut bacteria may exert some influence on brain function and mental health, probiotics and prebiotics are being increasingly studied for the potential alleviation of anxiety and depression symptoms.

 

"Prebiotics are dietary fibers (short chains of sugar molecules) that good bacteria break down, and use to multiply," the study's lead author, Oxford psychiatrist and neurobiologist Dr. Philip Burnet, told The Huffington Post. "Prebiotics are 'food' for good bacteria already present in the gut. Taking prebiotics therefore increases the numbers of all species of good bacteria in the gut, which will theoretically have greater beneficial effects than [introducing] a single species."



Published By Forum Admin, 2015-01-05 03:08:36 Read More...
Featured Topics

Making New Year’s Resolutions Succeed

And enjoy the new year

 
Year after year, we make New Year’s resolutions that over time wither and fade into failed attempts to transform some aspect of our lives. The goals may range from health, exercise, relationships and finances all the way to spiritual and personal growth. The moment that we elect to make a significant change, we may begin to feel a bit of an endorphin rush as we fantasize what it would feel like. Yet, what begins with hopeful optimism gets swallowed into the basin of our life’s disappointments. Once again the high derived from the vision of change surrenders to the dulled resignation of the status quo.

It’s curious as to how we try to evoke change in the same way — year in and year out — with similar results. If we conducted a survey six months after the New Year and asked people about the success of their resolutions, we’d no doubt find an abysmal rate of failure. Our struggle with change is resoundingly stubborn and scant attention is devoted toward understanding why that’s the case. Let’s take a look.

 

Change begins as a thought, underscored by a wish or even stronger, an inspiration. This may set in motion an even stronger feeling, an intention. Most people find themselves somewhere within this continuum. Clearly, where you fall within that range is important toward the eventual outcome but nevertheless insufficient for an assurance of reaching your goal.

 



Published By Forum Admin, 2015-01-02 01:29:25 Read More...
Announcements

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 Read More...
Meds

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 Read More...
Stories

Speakers share about struggles with mental health

 

The diagnosis of bipolar disorder in her 20s came as a relief to Hope Richardson. There was finally a name for what she felt and something that could be done, she said. Because mental illness is a lifelong condition, staying well takes effort, and she's mindful of that every day.

Once afraid of others not liking her and unable to stand up for herself, Richardson said she often walked around with her head down and hair covering her face. She went through bouts of depression and struggled with anger, manic episodes and suicidal thoughts.

Early on, she was hesitant to talk about her condition.

"I didn't want people to know. I was kind of embarrassed and ashamed," said Richardson, 44, of Des Moines.

Through therapy and support, she has learned to "live with," rather than "suffer," mental illness and says the only way to end stigma is to educate others.

She's part of a group of trained speakers who open up about their disorders through In Our Own Voice, a public awareness program sponsored by the National Alliance for Mental Illness Greater Des Moines. The local chapter began offering the program last fall.

Sharing their stories serves as a type of ongoing therapy for the speakers and a chance to paint a realistic picture of mental illness, which affects one in four adults — about 61.5 million Americans every year. One in 17, or 13.6 million Americans, live with a serious mental condition such as schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder.

 



Published By Lindsay, 2014-05-21 14:13:32 Read More...
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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.

Methodology

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

PainStory.org

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