Archives for May, 2011

General

Celebrity Personality Disorder: The Insubstantial Self

You won't find Celebrity Personality Disorder in the DSM anytime, soon. But although it isn't an official disorder, it does exist. And it's not just celebrities who are afflicted.
Celebrities, stars, and idols are relatively new phenomena. Sure, there have been famous people (poets, prophets, composers, kings, war heroes and so on) in numerous cultures and time-periods across history. But they were celebrated for actually doing something. No one today will deny that celebrity can be instantly attained and about as substantial as a cream puff.

You probably don't need me to define CPD. I bet you can come up with a great definition all your own. But I'll share with you what some of the main characteristics might be:
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Depression

Five Ways Parents Can Fight Facebook Depression

The American Pediatric Association has recently released a report that describes the increase in Internet-related problems for preteens and teens.

While the report shows some positive benefits of adolescent use of online social media, they site three worrisome problems: cyberbullying/online harassment, sexting, and Facebook depression.

Facebook depression, according to the report, is defined as "depression that develops when preteens and teens spend a great deal of time on social media sites, such as Facebook, and then begin to exhibit classic symptoms of depression. Acceptance by and contact with peers is an important element of adolescent life. The intensity of the online world is thought to be a factor that may trigger depression in some adolescents. As with offline depression, preadolescents and adolescents who suffer from Facebook depression are at risk for social isolation and sometimes turn to risky Internet sites and blogs for "help" that may promote substance abuse, unsafe sexual practices, or aggressive or self-destructive behaviors."

The solution to Facebook depression (as well as online safety issues for kids) isn't rocket-science. We identify five simple things parents can do.
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General

Prayer and Our Health

PsychCentral’s Senior News Editor, Rick Nauert, PhD, shares this interesting look at who’s praying about their health (and who’s not).

Researchers report that more people are praying about their health issues. In fact, there was a 36 percent rise in the number of people praying about their health concerns between 1999 and 2007.

Do you pray about your physical or mental health issues?
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General

Constant Trauma, Abuse Of Mentally Ill In War Torn Somalia

In a recent report, the World Health Organization outlined the seriousness of a mental health crisis brewing in civil-war torn Somalia. In the past, we’ve mentioned the chaotic and constant warfare, the drafting of child-soldiers, and the rising incidents of rape and oppression of women and children in some African countries. (Over the years we’ve worked with several people from African countries including Somalia, Sudan, and Ethiopia, among others, so these human-rights issues are something we’re generally aware of).

Some of the shocking mental health issues that affect several African states are due to the brutal fighting. Many suffer from PTSD and other emotional problems related to sustained trauma.

"We believe every bullet or mortar will cause more people to become mentally ill," said Dr. Abdirahman Ali Awale, a Somali psychiatrist, in this Atlanta Journal Constitution article.

The article also mentions compounding issues, such as drought and famine:
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Depression

Drinking Or Drugging? 10 Reasons To Tell Your Therapist The Truth

If you're seeing a psychologist or counselor for a mental illness, the chances are fairly good that you also drink or take drugs that are not prescribed for you (or abuse drugs that are prescribed for you).

The chances are also fairly good that your therapist has no idea that you are using alcohol or drugs. Many therapists in private practice do not take complete drug and alcohol histories when doing the initial or subsequent evaluations. If you ain’t volunteering the information, they won’t know.

In a mental health program, such as an outpatient clinic, therapists are more likely to ask about your present and past drug and alcohol use, but they don't usually follow up with drug and alcohol tests, so if you don’t feel like sharing the information, they, too, won’t know the truth.

I’m taking advantage of the APA Blog Party to share this important message: If you are in therapy, and you drink or do drugs (whether or not you are also prescribed medication) please let your therapist know. Here’s why:
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General

America The Addicted

Is it something in the water? The weather? Or the culture? A new study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows that substance abuse/addiction (or at least rates of those who enter treatment) has regional variations across the United States. Some thought-provoking examples:

The highest methamphetamine/amphetamine treatment admission rates were in the Pacific region (Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii, and Alaska).

The only region in the U.S. to increase in rates of admission for alcoholism treatment, by a whopping 9 percent over the past decade (for the latest year studied-2008), was the West-North Central region which includes the Dakotas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, and Missouri.

The highest cocaine treatment admission rates were in the Mid-Atlantic region which includes New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
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General

Seven Rules Of Mindful Eating For Health & Weight Loss

The number one weight-loss, and health-improving move I made wasn't just changing the content of my diet. It was my efforts at "mindful eating."

Cultivating an awareness of what exactly a person does when he eats has definitely helped me and has given me the chance to share some of what I've learned. Although I'm not perfect (by any means), and although I still have areas in which I need to improve (I still have lapses), I'm grateful for the redefinition of healthful eating.

1. Choose what your eat. Make an informed decision and think before you choose. Differentiate between a craving/impulse and a nutritional need. Try to choose food that will nourish you. Make exceptions for special occasions. Making an active decision about what to eat empowers you to eat correctly. Remember, there are links between diet and mood, so skip the sugar, hydrogenated fats, high-salt, and white flour-based foods  whenever possible.
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Communication

Mental Illness, Families, and Children: Is This Funny?

C.R. preempts Richard to tell you about an amazing woman: No. Of course mental illness in families and/or children is not funny. It is pretty much totally taboo to poke fun at this topic. But is it possible that there is humor to be found? Video producer Nikol Hasler's done just that.

This week, we got an email from Nikol who's a producer for the non-profit One Economy Corporation. She herself  has been through the foster care system, and has a family history of both mental illness and abuse. She knows her stuff.

Nikol had the strength and insight to take aforementioned "stuff" and reach out to others in analogous situations. Her programs are designed to help low-income families cope with everything from unemployment and housing issues to substance abuse and bullying. She especially excels at parenting issues (which really include all the above issues and a whole lot more).

Her screen presence is utterly professional (she's got loads of charisma), and her scripts are sharp and boundary-shifting. On one of her shows,
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General

Angry On 9/11? Maybe Not!

What was the main feelings Americans were experiencing on 9/11 right after the terror attacks? Virtually everyone we know was sad, frightened, terrorized, worried, grief-stricken, concerned, or shocked.  Then we had heard about a study which said that, overwhelmingly, Americans were angry that day. Guess we were "off-base." We're New Yorkers. Perhaps in other American cities the emotional responses were different?

Perhaps not. Now, a new study exposes a surprising flaw in computerized analysis methods, that made an error which distorted the original conclusion those researchers drew!

I guess you can say we're truth-junkies. We may not always be able to find the whole truth, but we sure try. That's why we love
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General

Childhood Obesity, Junk Food, TV: Who’s Responsible?


Obesity has been linked to everything from cancer to mental illness.  Now, a prospective ban on junk-food advertising targeting children is the subject of a hot policy debate by our friends down-under.

Many Australians are concerned about the growing childhood obesity epidemic and are looking for the cause - and the solution. Some, such as the Obesity Policy Coalition (a group of health agencies), blame
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