If you - or someone you know - are having thoughts about suicide, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Calls are connected to a certified crisis center nearest the caller's location. Services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you - or someone you know - are having thoughts about suicide, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Calls are connected to a certified crisis center nearest the caller's location. Services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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.
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."
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.
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."
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.
Raising 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."
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
Estela Villanueva-Whitman, Special to the Register; 11:05 p.m. CDT May 18, 2014
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.
bigd847, on 12 January 2011 - 04:37 AM, said:
Instead of wasting up to 20 hours a week playing games I am now spending most of that time here. I was hoping to make a few friends here, now I have a bunch of friends I just haven't met yet. Thanks every one involved.
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
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.
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
Dr. Marc E. Agronin, a geriatric psychiatrist at the Miami
Jewish Health Systems in Florida, is the author of the new book “How We