Archives for General
Do you know someone who seems to self medicate with alcohol to cope with life, symptoms of a mental health diagnosis, or simply to de-stress? It is a known fact that alcohol is often the "drug" of use for individuals suffering from a mental health condition. Alcohol is a substance that either works as a medication for symptoms that are becoming out of control or a way to increase the properties of a psychotropic drug. Either way, alcohol can be a dangerous substance if used unwisely and to self-medicate. As you know, alcohol is such a socially acceptable substance that many people won't suspect anything is wrong with someone who frequently drinks alcohol. Why would there be? Alcohol is found almost everywhere and almost in every restaurant across the nation. It isn't being sold in a variety of flavors at a restaurant, it can be found in a variety of foods. Alcohol is also culturally acceptable as many kids from higher socio-economic statuses tend to drink wine with dinner at various ages. It's no wonder so many people use and become addicted to alcohol. Unfortunately, out of control alcohol use can lead to a variety of challenges including increased depression. This article will highlight some of the ways that alcohol negatively affects those with mental health challenges.
Abuse is a very difficult topic to discuss with my clients. It is even more difficult to accept when it you are the target of the abuser. Abuse can come in many forms, even sneaky forms, and it takes not only experience with people and relationships but also appropriate boundaries to cope. Abuse can be described as any act that creates some form of suffering for the target of the abuse. The targeted person can suffer multiple emotional and psychological wounds, even if the abuse is physical. The psychological and emotional wounds can lead to decreased self-esteem, fear, uncertainty, lack of motivation, anhedonia (lack of pleasure in things once desired or enjoyed), and mental health symptoms. Considering all of this, can you imagine how vulnerable a person can be living with and trying to cope with someone who has an untreated or severe mental illness but also engages in abusing others? This article will briefly discuss the "victims" of the abuser who also struggles with mental health challenges. This article is meant to highlight the emotional toll abuse takes on an individual and possible considerations for the victim.
Do you have a therapist? What about a psychiatrist to prescribe medication? How do you feel about them? Mental health care has become a controversial field for many reasons but most clients and families are fearful of being mistreated, misdiagnosed, used, misunderstood, controlled, and mistreated. It is a sad reality that fearful and uncertain clients drop out of therapy completely. Others may self-medicate or speak to and learn from family and friends who can offer suggestions or "therapy" for free. In my sessions with clients, I often remind parents and families that they have, what we can conceptualize as, 50% control over their treatment. For example, clients can decide who to see for therapy or medication management, refuse to pay for services that they are not satisfied by, file a grievance if they are not satisfied with their service, among many other things. This article will review and discuss some of the things that you should keep in mind while seeking mental health care for yourself or someone you love.
Do you know an emotionally avoidant and detached parent/guardian? If so, what makes that person so emotionally unavailable? Is it a mental illness, personality disorder, or something else such as a job, career goal, or educational endeavor? Whatever it is, having an emotionally unavailable parent or guardian can lead to a lifelong journey of unstable or failed relationships, emotional neediness, empty voids, identity confusion, poor attachment to others, low self-esteem and self-efficacy (the feeling of mastery), etc. Research has identified the importance of all infants and developing children having an appropriate, warm, and loving attachment to a mother figure during the developmental years. Without an appropriate, warm, and loving parental figure, children are likely to develop multiple personality, emotional, and psychological difficulties. For many of my clients, the absence of a loving parental figure has resulted in an increase in psychiatric symptoms, school and academic difficulties, fear of abandonment, and many other challenges. This article will discuss the aftereffects or consequences of growing up without an emotionally available parent.
Do you diagnose yourself? If so, how?
For many of my clients the process of diagnosing themselves and others involves a quick Google search and a couple of minutes looking at WebMD or the Mayo Clinic's Symptom check lists. For others, self-diagnosis may occur after speaking with friends who have been formally diagnosed (i.e., diagnosed by a mental health professional) or who also diagnose themselves.
Unfortunately, self-diagnosis can lead to great confusion, fear, and uncertainty. A former 19-year-old client of mine believed she was severely depressed for years after reading the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), a manual used by mental health professionals to communicate about certain disorders. After meeting with a medical doctor at the age of 35, to her surprise, she was not depressed but suffering from an autoimmune deficiency. Not only did she lose years she could have used treating her medical condition, but she also confused her family. This article will discuss the topic of self-diagnosis and reasons why we should all avoid self-diagnosis.
How do you sleep at night? Are you comfortable or do you experience the stress and anxiety of the day coming down upon you? Does your mind race or does it calm down to prepare for rest? Do you sleep in the dark or with a light? However you choose to sleep, sleep is supposed to be a peaceful "journey" for the heart, soul, and mind to de-stress from the daily activities and heal your mind for the next day's activities. Sleep is not supposed to disrupt your life but heal and mend the body for the future. But sadly, many people struggle with sleep - not just falling asleep and staying asleep, but experiencing the process of sleep without stress and anxiety. For example, sleep disorders such as narcolepsy or insomnia can create a great deal of stress for the sleeper. In many other cases, sleep disorders, also known as parasomnias, can create some of the most frightening symptoms ever experienced. This article will explore and discuss 2 hallucinations that often affect the individual before falling asleep and during the process of transitioning to a sleep state and a wakeful state.
It's not easy living with a mental health condition or someone who is suffering from mental health challenges, especially when it is severe or chronic. It's even harder trying to get others to understand what it feels like to struggle or what it feels like to watch a loved one struggle. Until you experience mental illness (either yourself or through someone else), you have no idea how sensitive everyone is and how important it is to be careful with what you say.
Have you ever experienced depression or know someone who has? What has been your self-talk (things you say to yourself to help yourself overcome the depressed mood) or things that you have said to others who appear depressed? Perhaps you make statements such as "cheer up!" "It will get better" or "you won't be depressed forever." Do you think such statements are helpful? It wasn't until I became a therapist and started working with families and young children that I learned what should and should not be said to someone who is struggling with a mental health condition.
Having worked with children and adolescents for over 6 years I find that each and every one of their family members either mention that they do not believe a diagnosis is correct or mention that they absolutely hate diagnostic labels. With high levels of stigma, social pressure, cliques in workplaces, school, and communities, and media portrayals can you blame them? If you are someone who has received a psychiatric label what were your thoughts at the time and how did you cope with it? Many of my clients often disregard the label and act as if it doesn't exist, defy treatment recommendations, or accept the diagnosis but become buried in deep depression. This article will discuss the labels that clients often have trouble with to emphasize their challenges and their emotions.
It's amazing that Christmas has always been described as one of the most beautiful, magical, and divine holidays of the year. This time of the year often opens the heart of many strangers to the needs of others. Homelessness, world hunger, giving and sharing, love, and joy are just a few words that are frequently used during this time of the year. People are so much more conscious of the needs of others and are more willing to spread love and warmth. But sadly, Christmas time can also bring a great deal of stress, primarily for individuals who have struggled with income, family relationships, a marriage or parent-child relationship, hunger, homelessness, medical conditions, and mental illness among many other things. For the stressed and the oppressed, Christmas only reminds them of the daily pressures they have to cope with. This article will explore some of the common issues that occur around this time of year and offer ways to cope.
Do you personally know a narcissist who seems perfect in every way of the word perfect? Is it possible that this person is a great actor/actress with a thin layer of confidence hidden under the confident, self-assured surface? For many narcissists this calm demeanor is exactly what the problem is. For family and friends of my previous narcissistic clients, the narcissist is often "unphased and shows no guilt." For other narcissists, their ego is often stroked by how well they can manipulate others and any strike to their weak ego could send you crying for help. According to Susan Heitler, clinical psychologist and writer for Psychologytoday.com on narcissism, "