Archives for February, 2011


Scams And Cons: Mentally Ill Victims

Simon didn't want to tell us why he had no money for food. We knew he got SSI and also received some assistance from a mental health program. But here it was, only two days after his check came, and he was asking the grocery store if they could give him some food on credit.

Simon got scammed. It wasn't the first time. He has a severe mental illness and he is lonely. He really wants friends and is willing to do anything to get them-including giving them his money, belongings, and even I.D. A couple of times complete strangers pursued him, conning him out of whatever he had on his person, including his mp3 player, cell phone, and jacket.

Continue Reading


Sidewalk Rage. Grrrrr. Take The Poll!

Have you experienced sidewalk rage? Or, have you been a victim of sidewalk rage? At first glance, "sidewalk rage" seems like just another syndrome in the ever-growing list of syndromes, something for the media to blab about. On second glance, both C.R. and I have had experience with it.

C.R. has a habit of stopping and looking in store windows (in NYC). I guess lots of women (okay, men too) have this habit. In fact, that's probably why store windows are so enticing-they are actually designed to get us to stop and ogle the display. And go in and buy.

But I'm not much of a window shopper (or shopper, period). So, when C.R. is looking at the stuff she likes to look at (books, bed linens, rugs and antiques, handbags, furniture, kitchen equipment, clothing, shoes-I checked, that's the correct order), I look around at the people rushing by. I've noticed, on several occasions that people "shoot" mean looks at C.R. and any other women (okay, men too) standing in their way. Really mean looks.
Continue Reading


Without Meds, Crashing and Burning

For many people with a variety of mental illnesses (bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia, and others), medications can be a lifesaver. They may prevent distressing symptoms from fully expressing and in some cases, eliminate them nearly entirely.

But the downside is that even if meds work, the side effects might be so uncomfortable (or even debilitating), that some might be tempted to cheat-to skip a dose or two, or just go off meds all together.

Continue Reading


Drug Abuse, Depression and Suicide

If you abuse drugs or alcohol you should know that there's a strong correlation between substance abuse and suicidality. Important findings were recently released from SAMHSA's 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

10.8 percent (2.2 million adults age 18 or older) of those who abuse or are addicted to alcohol or drugs had serious thoughts of suicide compared to 3 percent of the population at large. 3.6 percent actually made suicide plans compared to 0.7 percent. And 1.8 percent had attempted suicide compared to 0.3 percent.

Suicide is linked with major depressive disorder, drug and alcohol abuse is linked with major depressive disorder, too as we discussed
Continue Reading


Hiding Stuff From Your Therapist?

It doesn't make sense. You pay a lot of money (or use up your insurance "bank account") to your therapist - and you don't tell them what's really on your mind. You may not even tell them the main reason you are in therapy and just offer a "side" issue for them to focus on!

The above scenario is more common than one might think.

People have many reasons for not confiding fully in their therapists. Shame or embarassment. Fear. Lack of trust. And I argue that it isn't always a bad thing, not every aspect of your life must be shared with your therapist. However, not speaking to your therapist about a mental/emotional health issue or addiction can be self-defeating.
Continue Reading


Do We Love Backwards?

A friend shares her thoughts:

There are two basic views of what love is:

1. Love is a feeling.

2. Love is something you do.

If you want to "fall" in love, feel "lovesick," feel "crazy" with love, than be prepared for the possibility that this kind of "love" might not last.

If you want to commit to another, give to another, and take care of another, without focusing intensely on what you'll get in return, your chances of...
Continue Reading


Depression And Drugs: We Need To Talk!

Last week we shared some of the latest large government *study on mental illness and substance abuse. One set of findings shows a high correlation between mental illness and substance abuse -- not really surprising to those of us who work in both fields.

Depression was one of the mental health issues the study targeted. Some of the findings: 35.7 percent of youths who had major depressive episodes in the past year (2009), used illicit drugs compared with 18 percent among youths who did not have MDE.

Also, youths who had past-year MDE were more likely to be heavy alcohol users-4.2 percent compared to 1.9 percent.

More and more, addiction professionals and agencies are addressing the fact that there is much overlap between mental illness and addiction.
Continue Reading


A Total Twitter Turkey?

First, I want to say: I like Twitter. Really. I check in a couple times a week to see what's up with the people who tweet. I also tweet content I like-sometimes other people's tweets, sometimes my own. Virtually all of them link to what I think is useful information.

I can hear you hard-core Tweeters now: What? A couple times a week? What a wimp. That's no way to get impressive Twitter numbers...

Continue Reading


Is This A Hang Up? Are Phone Calls During Therapy Ever Okay?

Sunflower's been participating in  the PsychCentral forums as well as commenting on blog posts. Recently she wrote about her first visit with a therapist in which the therapist took a phone call -- we asked Sunflower if we could share some of her comments here, at Therapy Soup.

"Her phone went off — over and over.

She never excused herself; never said it was an emergency or anything. She hung up after @ a minute or so, and continued on with my plan, as if that were a normal part of her professional day!


If I forget to turn my phone off, when I’m in an appointment, I apologize, and turn it off, without answering it! Right away!
My appointment time is for that appointment — and nothing more!

I’m sorry, but, I cannot understand this AT ALL!"

When C.R. and I interviewed therapy patients for our book, Therapy Revolution, one of the most common complaints was that therapists took phone calls (or accepted other interruptions), during sessions.

Can a phone call during a therapy session ever be justified?
Continue Reading