Archives for Mental Illness
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.
As you read the headline I’m sure you questioned what relevance Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr is to the discussion of mental health and the field of psychiatry. Rarely do we ever hear people emphasize the importance of following the example of Dr. King in our “fight” against society’s lack of knowledge about severe and untreated mental illness. But Dr. King embodied so many sophisticated qualities that add such a rich tapestry of cultural legacy and inheritance to my own life and society in general.
Have you ever had a therapist? Do you know someone who does (or did)? How long did it last? If it ended, why did it end? Sadly, for many of my clients, their therapy ended because they either lost interest, did not feel they were growing and learning, did not see any changes in their behaviors, thoughts, or emotions, and/or felt the therapist was not benefiting them in any way. Finding a good therapist who upholds ethical practices and who is able to provide clients with competent therapy is difficult. It is even more difficult to find a therapist who is naturally nurturing and caring. It may take multiple rounds of therapy before a client is able to determine if the kind of therapy they are receiving is either good or bad. By the time a client notices that their therapy is useless, it is too late and much money, time, and energy has been spent. After a bad experience like this, many clients walk away from therapy and never turn back. This article will discuss 8 reasons for why clients refuse to return to therapy after bad experiences. The purpose of this article is to highlight some of the common challenges of therapy and when it is time to say you've had enough.
Dr. Viktor Frankl, Logotherapist, and author of Man's Search For Meaning, coined the term "iatrogenic neurosis" to describe an illness "caused" or made worse by a provider of healthcare. It's hard to imagine that a health care provider, specifically a mental health professional, could make an illness worse. How is it possible for a professional to create more problems for a client seeking help? If I were to quiz you on the 10 worst signs of a bad therapist would you know what they are? What did you like or dislike? It's often difficult for people to distinguish a good therapist from a bad therapist until something unethical happens.
For most of us, we've had a few rainy days that felt endless. But for the remainder of society, rainy days happen all the time. A lot of people tend to believe that depression is a fleeting emotion and something that cannot destroy the natural flow of one's life. Sadly, some families tend to make depression taboo and refuse to acknowledge it or discuss it. The use of medication further stigmatizes families and causes barriers for open discussion. For fear of appearing "helpless" or "needy," some people suffer in silence all alone until one day their illness becomes so apparent that it's almost impossible to hide.
What does mental illness look like to you? If you walked by someone on the street, would you be able to detect that they are a sufferer? Many of us would struggle with this because there are so many things that cloak illness such as intelligence, prestige, style, culture, or personality. But what do you think a mental health condition is? How would you define it? Could you define it properly? A mental health condition is typically something that interferes with daily functionality and causes difficulties in every aspect of existence (social, emotional, psychological, and even physiological). Symptoms are so obvious and debilitating some times that school or work and home or community life is difficult. A mental health condition often causes behaviors, thinking patterns, and emotions that interferes with relationships, education/employment, and reality testing. This article will emphasize how important it is to refrain from self-evaluation and quick judgments about mental illness.
Last week we discussed the worst things to ever say to someone with a mental illness. Many viewers commented on what their personal experiences have been and how someone's words simply tore them apart, confused them, hurt them, or even empowered them in the long run. What we say to someone who is struggling with something has a great deal to do with our knowledge-base, belief system, life perspective, and ability to care for someone. What we say also has a lot to do with how we have been treated when we have needed help. We are social animals who learn by experience. What we say and do has most likely been learned from some early experience in development. Sadly, we rarely consider the impact we have on someone with the words we use. But in some cases, if a person is taught what to say to someone who is struggling, they can change their perspective and ultimately how they communicate with the sufferer.
We have been talking a lot about psychotic disorders, childhood onset-schizophrenia, delusions, and hallucinations,so lets discuss the differences between the psychotic disorders and ways to cope as a family member, parent, friend, companion, or caregiver to someone who is suffering.
Have you ever had to face the fact that perhaps your loved one or close friend needed to be hospitalized? Was their illness so bad and jeopardizing his or her safety that you considered discussing the need to have the person "sign themselves in?" If so, join the millions of other individuals and families who have had to face this very difficult and emotionally draining situation.