Archives for August, 2011

General

The Impact of Illness on Loved Ones: Vicarious Trauma

Ideas of vicarious trauma have long been applied to healthcare and disaster relief workers as well as mental health professionals who work with severely traumatized populations.  Other labels capturing facets of vicarious trauma have included secondary post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and compassion fatigue.

These concepts however, are rarely applied to loved ones (friends and family) impacted by illness. The foremost author on compassion fatigue, Charles Figley, has used the term “family burnout” to describe the...
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Aging

Caretakers, Is Your Workplace Taking Care of You?

A recent report by AARP, as described in the North Carolina publication The Progressive Pulse, finds that in North Carolina alone, million residents cared for a family member, partner or friend with a chronic illness.

That’s a lot for one state. Regarding the entire country, the AARP Report notes that “in 2009, about million family caregivers in the United States provided care to an adult with limitations in daily activities at any...
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Aging

Aging and Insurance Disparities: The Example of Dental Health

There is a lot we have to do to take care of ourselves these days. Current recommendations regarding optimal health include eating multiple fruits and vegetables, getting a lot of uninterrupted sleep (in a dark room, no less), plenty of moderate exercise and not smoking or drinking alcohol (though alcohol guidelines vary from moderate use to not at all depending on the study). We also need to manage depression, anxiety and stress, as these contribute...
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Aging

Medical Limits: Chronic Pain Syndrome

A survey in 2000 revealed that 42% of Americans are in physical pain every day and 89% report experiencing pain monthly. Chronic pain is a serious problem and likely to increase given our increased longevity.

When pain becomes chronic, there are a number of psychological and physical effects, including depression, slowing of metabolism, sleep disturbance, physical deconditioning and changes in appetite and sexual behavior. Although pain can start out as a symptom, it can...
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Aging

Good Intentions Gone Awry: Helping People With Chronic Pain

Physical pain is one of the least understood perceptions in all of emotional life. Pain is deeply personal and hard to define. A lack of knowing how someone feels, however, does not mean that you cannot be supportive. Loved ones play a tremendous role in the experience of pain. Good relationships can be a buffer against the limitations caused by chronic pain.

Patients with chronic pain are charged with a number of options regarding managing their...
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General

Why We Love Shark Week

Last week I had the pleasure of being at the American Psychological Association (APA) Meeting in Washington,   In addition to being surrounded by nearly 14,000 psychologists and having access to cutting edge presentations by some of the best clinicians and researchers in the field, something else amazing was going on. It was Shark Week.

No, this is not some clever and not so subtle metaphor about the APA. I am referring to the Discovery...
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