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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.
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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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Hi Everyone! I just found this forum last night, I wish I had thought about searching for it sooner! Anyway, I really find it so comforting.. Thank you! See ya around the boards!
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Forum Admin  Forum Admin

Eating-disorder patients battle insurers over care

Eating-disorder patients battle insurers over care






Victoria Colliver, Chronicle Staff Writer
September 10, 2011

When Jeanene Harlick's weight dropped to 65 percent of normal, her doctors recommended the San Mateo woman go into an intensive residential treatment facility that specialized in treating anorexia and other eating disorders.

But her health insurer, Blue Shield of California, refused to cover her care - not because it wasn't considered medically necessary, but because her plan excluded coverage for residential treatment programs. Harlick spent almost 10 months in residential treatment, while her parents went hundreds of thousands of dollars into debt to cover the cost.

Harlick, now 37, later sued the insurer.

Getting treatment covered for eating disorders has long been a struggle for many of the 24 million Americans diagnosed with anorexia, bulimia and binge-eating disorder. Intensive residential treatment for eating disorders typically costs $900 to $1,200 per day.

In a significant ruling for those seeking residential treatment for mental health conditions, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco sided with Harlick last month. The three-judge panel ruled Blue Shield's policy excluding residential treatment violates the state's 2000 Mental Health Parity Law, which requires certain serious mental health diagnoses, including eating disorders, to be covered at the same level as physical health.

Major victory for patients

"It's a landmark victory for those suffering with eating disorders," said Lara Gregorio, legislative policy program director for the National Eating Disorders Association. "So many families go bankrupt fighting this and still don't win. It sets a precedent for other states to follow suit."

But the legal battle is not over. On Friday, Blue Shield, which is based in San Francisco, filed a petition for a rehearing in front of the same appellate court panel. A lower court had ruled in favor of the insurer.

Blue Shield spokesman Stephen Shivinsky said the petition is based on "several significant errors in the opinion." According to court documents filed Friday, the insurer argued that state law does not require coverage for all medically necessary treatments and allows plans to set coverage limits.

Harlick's attorney, Lisa Kantor, described the appeal as "desperate" and is convinced the appellate court decision will prevail.

"The point of this decision is (insurers) have to provide all medically necessary treatments for severe mental illnesses," Kantor said. "When you exclude a critical modality of treatment such a residential treatment, you're not providing parity."

California has one of the strongest mental health parity laws in the country, but some argue that anorexia and other mental health conditions are still not treated as comprehensively as physical health, often because they are misunderstood.

While many patients with eating disorders can be treated on an outpatient basis, some patients need hospitalization or the constant supervision of a residential treatment center.

"Residential treatment is a key component of working on eating disorders," said Victoria Green, clinical director of New Dawn Eating Disorders Recovery Centers, which has a residential treatment center in San Francisco.

"You have hospitalization, which only stabilizes somebody medically, and we're the next level of treatment. We treat highly acute people who cannot function in the world," she said, adding that insurers either don't cover the care or authorize just a few days of treatment at a time.

Insurance dictates care

Dr. Neal Anzai, medical director of the eating disorders program at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Berkeley, said his patients have to be "literally on the verge of death" to get hospitalized and then their insurance coverage often dictates how much care or what kind of care comes next.

"It's hard to get people into the hospital, but once they're there, there's a battle whether we can get them down to residential care or partial hospitalization," he said.

In Harlick's case, her insurer would cover hospitalization but not residential care.

Harlick had been battling anorexia and obsessive-compulsive disorder for more than 20 years when her doctors recommended a residential center in 2006. Harlick finally found a suitable inpatient facility in Missouri, where she stayed almost 10 months - from April 2006 to January 2007.

"The treatment I received helped me have a lot more compassion for myself. I do still struggle and am still working on it," said Harlick, who continues to battle with issues of weight and is on disability, but is working to finish her master's in social work at San Francisco State University.

"I'll keep on fighting, but I know if I haven't received the treatment I did, I would most likely be dead," she said.

Harlick said she wants her case to be successful to help other people receive the treatment they need. She also hopes it will legitimize anorexia as a mental illness, and not an obsession with weight and appearance as some people believe.

"It would just be extremely rewarding to think something a little good came out from my struggle because I still feel enormous guilt and shame," said Harlick, referring to her continuing condition as well as the unspecified amount of money her family spent for her treatment.

More than money involved

For Harlick's mother, Robin Watson, the money was the last thing on her mind.

"We were so desperate, we thought we were going to lose our daughter," said Watson, who lives in Burlingame. "We had to move and deal with the consequences later."

While Watson hopes to recoup the treatment costs, she said the three-year court battle has become about more than money. "It's about the discrimination insurance companies put on mental illnesses and the very little understanding they have about eating disorders," she said.

Kantor, Harlick's attorney, filed a petition last week in state Superior Court in Los Angeles for a class-action suit against Blue Shield on similar grounds.

"Jeanene was lucky. Her family knew they needed to take care of her," Kantor said. "I'm scared to find out what will happen to a lot of young women who had this policy and didn't have a family to support them. I don't know how many lives we've lost."

U.s. toll of eating disorders

-- About 24 million Americans have anorexia, bulimia and compulsive overeating disorders. .

-- Anorexia is characterized by self-starvation and weight loss. Binge eating and bulimia can involve behaviors such as vomiting, use of laxatives and excessive exercise.

-- More than 90 percent of sufferers are female, with most being diagnosed as teenagers.

-- Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of all mental health diagnoses.

-- Health effects include fatigue, blood pressure problems, osteoporosis, electrolyte and chemical imbalances, and death.

-- Twenty-three states, including California, have enacted mental health parity laws that require insurers to cover eating disorders, but coverage requirements vary greatly.

Source: National Eating Disorders Association.

E-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/09/10/MN8C1KTQD5.DTL


This article appeared on page A - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle

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