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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

Your Pets Are Actually Improving Your Social Life

 

 

  If you've been wondering whether or not you should get a pet, here's a pretty good reason to: A new study reveals that young adults who have a strong connection

with a pet also experience social and relationship benefits.

 

Posted:

"Our findings suggest that it may not be whether an animal is present in an individual's life that is most significant but rather the quality of that relationship," said the paper's author, Megan Mueller, Ph.D., a developmental psychologist and research assistant professor at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, in a statement. “The young adults in the study who had strong attachment to pets reported feeling more connected to their communities and relationships.”

For the study, published in the journal Applied Developmental Science, more than 500 young adults (ages 18 to 26) were surveyed about their attitudes toward and interaction with animals, as well as their general characteristics (confidence, caring, depression, etc).



Published By Lindsay, 2014-02-04 03:36:14 Read More...
Psychotherapy

I love you with all my brain?

If you have any doubt about what love is, all you have to do is listen to the music through the last several decades. It’s a many-splendored thing and it is a battlefield.

 

 

It’s been lost, found, thrown away, knocked, stopped, made and fallin’ into. But you can’t buy it and you sure can’t hurry it.

 

 

Evidently there are different kinds — baby, puppy, jungle, secret, young, endless, runaway, gangsta, sexy, summer, bleeding, international and even a muskrat type that lasts around 40 years. Sorry, Captain and Tennille.


There are seas of love, cradles of love, chapels of love, soldiers of love, freeways of love and rollercoasters of love. Apparently you can find it in shacks, in the air, on two way highways, on trains and boats even in elevators.

It can be tender, true, jealous, easy, sweet, tainted, bizarre, groovy and a hurtin’ thing

It is the answer, it will conquer all and it is all you need.

Evidently there are different kinds — baby, puppy, jungle, secret, young, endless, runaway, gangsta, sexy, summer, bleeding, international and even a muskrat type that lasts around 40 years. Sorry, Captain and Tennille.


There are seas of love, cradles of love, chapels of love, soldiers of love, freeways of love and rollercoasters of love. Apparently you can find it in shacks, in the air, on two way highways, on trains and boats even in elevators.

It can be tender, true, jealous, easy, sweet, tainted, bizarre, groovy and a hurtin’ thing

It is the answer, it will conquer all and it is all you need.

 

‘With all my brain’

 



Published By Forum Admin, 2014-02-08 16:07:33 Read More...
Med & Health News

Signs You're Depressed — and Don't Know It


The beginning of the year is a bummer for many — the combination of dark days, no more holidays to look forward to and never-ending bad weather make this time of year ripe for Seasonal Affected Disorder, or clinical depression with a seasonal onset.
 
 



The major symptoms of SAD and clinical depression are the same, Dr. Brandon Gibb, a psychology professor at Binghamton University, told weather.com. You’ll experience an enduring sadness most of the day every day for at least two weeks. (It’s this duration that separates true clinical depression from a few sad moods.) You’ll also experience a loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy.

“The other really key thing is [depression] starts to get in the way of things: work, your ability to do your job, your relationships with people,” he said.

But for some people, there are more subtle signs, counterintuitive to traditional depressive symptoms. Even if you’re working hard at work and going out with your friends, you still could be depressed, in fact.

  Some people find it hard to accept compliments when they’re depressed or when their depression is starting to return. One explanation: A compliment disrupts a depressed person’s low self-esteem, so he or she refuses to accept it. Feeling self-centered (when’s the last time you complimented someone else?) is also a sign someone is retreating toward depression.

 



Published By Forum Admin, 2014-03-20 11:18:38 Read More...
Featured Topics

Fact vs. fiction: Ending the stigma of mental illness

Many times we think we understand something well, but we may just not have all the facts.

 When it comes to mental illnesses, there is a misunderstanding on what it is, and most importantly what it isn’t. If you are considering treatment for yourself or someone you love, it is crucial to differentiate between fact and fiction. Here’s some help to know the truth:

FICTION: Only “crazy” people get mental health treatment.

FACT: Mental illness can happen to anyone. You are not alone. The National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMH) states that “one in four adults, approximately 61.5 million Americans, experience mental illness in a given year and approximately 20% of youth ages 13 to 18 experience some kind of mental disorder in a given year.”

FICTION: Mental illness is a sign of weakness.

FACT: Mental illness is not caused by personal weakness. It is a disease like any other and cannot be easily cured by positive thinking or willpower. Mental illness is not related to a person’s character or intelligence. It falls along a continuum of severity. Some people require proper treatment.



Published By Lindsay, 2014-03-17 18:43:20 Read More...
Announcements

Petting Away Depression

You've seen the TV commercials, the person in black and white and sad while they watch their friends and family in color happy as can be? Then the sad individual gets help, sees the world in color and has a dog run into frame to play with them, or they are suddenly on the couch petting their beloved cat. Well, there's a reason for that, pets can help individuals with depression/illnesses/anxiety.

"Pets offer an unconditional love that can be very helpful to people with depression," says Ian Cook, MD, a psychiatrist and director of the Depression Research and Clinic Program at UCLA.

Depression affects millions of individuals in the USA alone. A lot of people reading this suffer from some form or know someone who does. A pet might not be right for everyone, so don't just show up with a pet one day for someone you know with depression.

 



Published By Lindsay, 2014-02-27 20:42:41 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

Casey's Story: defeating my demons and taking control of my life

 

At twenty years old, my 6 year battle with anorexia nervosa had finally caused my life to come crashing down.

 
Anorexia, anxiety, depression, gp, occupational therapy

 

My eating disorder had taken complete control of my mind and dominated my every thought. In just a few months I had lost over 2 stone, had drastically reduced the amount I was eating to just 200-300 calories a day and was wasting the little energy I had on excessive exercise. For so long, my ‘diet’ had given me a false sense of control and now it was apparent that, in reality, it was something that was controlling me.

I was finally forced to reach out for help when my starvation and decreasing health made it impossible to keep up with my student lifestyle. I had become depressed, was in a constant state of anxiety and no longer had the energy to pretend everything was OK. I was lost, confused and desperate for a way out, but felt unable to confide in any one.

 

My thoughts were so distorted by my illness; I was convinced that I was ‘much too big’ to have an eating disorder, despite being underweight, felt my friends and family would not understand, thinking I was just an attention-seeker. However, when I finally found the courage to reach out for help, the response I received was over-whelming and I could not have got where I am today without their support.

 

For a long time I was in denial of how ill I was, and was under the delusion that I would be able to continue at university and recover. However, it soon became clear that this was not possible and the decision was made to suspend my studies, return home and concentrate on recovery. I was diagnosed with anorexia and referred to a specialist eating disorder team, consisting of a psychologist, an occupational therapist and a dietician.

 



Published By Lindsay, 2014-01-23 17:11:31 Read More...
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Lindsay  Lindsay

Shedding a Protective Cocoon, Woven by Delusions

The woman described the sensation as a delicate flicker, like a moth trapped in a small gauze bag. She ran her slender fingers repeatedly over the spot in her slightly distended abdomen and said, “Doctor, right here.”

Sometimes, she told me, the flicker gave way to a more forceful kick that rippled beneath her hand and then spread like a warm tide over her body. She felt contented and soothed as she imagined the baby growing inside.

I was tempted to smile, but I kept still. An actual pregnancy would have been international news: the woman was 83 years old, recovering from a hip fracture and pneumonia. But her delusion was not unique. Indeed, our nursing home was having something of a baby boom.

Just the day before, another woman who had recently suffered a stroke insisted that she had given birth to twin boys, who were now crying in the adjacent nursery. I reminded her that she was 90, but my words were no match for the force of her belief. She looked at me blankly and called again for her babies.

Her husband, distraught, begged me to consider some pharmacologic remedy. But I was struck not by any mental suffering on the woman’s part, but by the opposite.

In the face of terrible losses and confusion, her mind had found refuge in imaginary children. Their coos and cries brought comfort and hope.

Pseudocyesis, as delusional pregnancy is called, is neither common late in life nor a normal response to aging or illness. It is a form of psychosis, and it can lead to severe anxiety or disruptive behavior that must be treated.

But it is too easy to see pathology in what may actually be a protective mechanism in the aging brain. What a psychiatrist might call a symptom held deep meaning for each woman, and prompted them to focus on recovering from severe illness.

In each case, I had to act in the opposite direction of my instinct as a doctor. Medication might have only sedated them and even taken away a protective cocoon. Instead I let time do its work: the delusions faded, and physical and mental recovery took hold.

Such examples are relatively rare and, one might argue, easily romanticized. But they hold a larger lesson about the aging brain.

What we perceive as a brain in flight or decline, disengaging from the world or tumbling into a netherworld of oldness, might actually be a more selective, creative and wiser brain.

The paradox is that even as the normal aging brain loses capacity across numerous discrete skills — memory-processing speed, verbal reasoning and visuospatial ability, to name a few — it is simultaneously growing in knowledge, emotional maturity, adaptability to change and even levels of well-being and happiness.

I witnessed this common phenomenon in a couple I know well. The woman is a sharp and active 82-year-old who only recently retired as a social worker. Her new husband, now 92, was a World War II bomber pilot and retired marketing genius who always prided himself on his mental discipline and physical stamina.

Recently he began to complain bitterly of creeping short-term memory impairment and a general slowing of his motor functions. Both factors can bring him great unhappiness. During a recent meeting, however, I pressed him on his complaints, asking, “Is that all there is to growing old — decline, slowing and loss?”

His bride interrupted and told how their relationship was unique because of old age, in many ways deeper and more intimate than either had experienced as younger people.

Even as his memory declined, she said, his emotional maturity and wisdom had increased, opening perspectives and relationships he had never had before. Here was old age — and an aging brain — acting as a force that added even as it took away.

In telling this tale as a relatively young doctor who works primarily with older individuals, I could easily be accused of painting an overly rosy picture of what I want growing old to be.

If so, I plead guilty. But I do so in the spirit of the gerontologist Thomas Cole, who suggests that the ways in which we look at old age begin to constitute its reality.

We will all grow old, and despite the inevitable changes we do have choices. Indeed, growing evidence suggests that the aging brain retains and even increases the potential for resilience, growth and well-being.

I have seen this lesson lived in my friends, loved ones and older patients, whether free of illness or fettered by it. I saw it in the two older women whose imagined pregnancies brought needed hope at a time of threatened despair. Their fervent wishes, though unattainable, allowed them to achieve something better.

Similarly, we can all hope for a vital and meaningful old age — for our elders, ourselves and our children. In the end, we may actually get what we wish for.

Dr. Marc E. Agronin, a geriatric psychiatrist at the Miami Jewish Health Systems in Florida, is the author of the new book “How We Age.”

Dr. Marc E. Agronin, a geriatric psychiatrist at the Miami Jewish Health Systems in Florida, is the author of the new book “How We Age.”

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