3 Ways to Tackle Addiction Before It Starts

Think your life hasn’t been touched by addiction? Think again. We are all affected, both in terms of missing out on the lost potential of those struggling with drugs or alcohol and in dealing with the wreckage left behind.

About a third of hospital costs are linked to addiction and substance use, for example, according to statistics from The Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia...

Mental Health

What Schools Really Need to Teach: Mental Health

September is Suicide Prevention Month. It’s also the month when most students head back to school for a new year of challenges. That makes this a fitting time to ask: Are we teaching our kids what they really need to know?

For all our worry about things such as Common Core, standardized tests and class sizes, a bigger concern should be how resilient our students are. How able...


3 Things an Addiction Expert Wishes Every Parent Knew

Each day you can keep your child away from alcohol or other drugs, the better.

If there’s a common thread among the people we treat for addiction, it’s this — many started young. Multiple studies confirm it: The sooner a person experiments with drugs or alcohol, the more likely it is to become a problem for them.

For example, researchers have found that about 40% of those who started drinking at age 14 or...

Mental Health

4 Things to Look for in a Trauma Therapist

To heal from trauma means finally dealing with the source of the trauma, whether it’s childhood abuse or neglect, combat experiences, or a natural disaster or a violent assault. How can this be done, however, when trauma provokes such negative and overwhelming feelings - feelings that most try hard to keep safely buried?

Therapy can be a vital step, helping the person feel safe enough to revisit their...

Mental Health

5 Ways to Stop Accentuating the Negative

Where we humans are concerned, the bad gets more attention than the good.

Studies confirm it:

We feel criticism more than compliments.
We have a better memory for tragedy than triumph.
We give more weight to potential losses than potential gains.
We pay more attention to angry faces than happy ones.
We have more richly descriptive vocabulary for negative experiences than positive ones.

Researchers call it negativity bias, and it...


Does a Handout to the Homeless Help or Hurt?

We walk down a city street or stop at a stoplight and the panhandler is there, cardboard sign in hand, seeking a handout. What should we do? Close our eyes or open our wallet? Most crucially, no matter what course we decide on, are we helping or hurting?

Because I treat those who are mentally ill and addicted, a population widely represented among those on the streets, I am sometimes asked what I think is the appropriate response when approached for money.

Mental Health

What’s Your Personal Happiness Score?

Happiness is hard to quantify, but for the third time since 2012, the World Happiness Report has done just that: gathered data from around the world and ranked countries from most to least happy. It’s not just a feel-good exercise. The goal of the report is to build recognition of the elements most likely to create happiness within nations and promote their spread across the globe. A successful society, after...


Are Sibling Battles Hurting Your Kids’ Mental Health?

“He hit me!” “Who said you could wear that?” “Make her leave me alone!” Such is the soundtrack of most parents’ lives, and to a certain degree, we shrug it off. After all, siblings fight, and why wouldn’t they? They are captive audiences – forced to share belongings, attention and personal space. It’s fertile ground for conflict.

The good news is all that squabbling can teach valuable social lessons, such as negotiation, compromise and patience. But increasingly, research is making clear that the fighting we tend to accept as just part of growing up is also capable of inflicting lasting psychological wounds.