Aging

Trauma and Medical Illness

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is on our minds lately, often as it relates to veterans. However, people with medical illnesses develop PTSD too, and this happens more often than you might imagine.

As you may know, the DSM IV-TR (4th ed., American Psychiatric Association, text revision, 2000) requires the following criteria for PTSD: (a) a traumatic event that involves actual or threatened death, or the threat of physical integrity to self or others and the person’s...
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Aging

When Optimism and Denial Collide

There has been a lot of press lately regarding boomers who refuse to acknowledge aging.  For example, The Detroit Free Press offers one of many recent articles on how baby boomers view aging.  Among the highlights, a majority of those polled say old age begins at age 70 and a quarter of respondent’s say it begins at 80! A third of boomers polled feel confident about growing older, and a shockingly low percentage worry...
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Aging

Till Mid-Life Do We Part: Boomers and Marriage

You may have been hearing about rising rates of divorce among married, heterosexual baby boomers. While I am an advocate for any adult couple choosing not to stay together for any reason, the current rates of divorce in this cohort are striking. The Star Tribune reports that a quarter of all divorces occur in persons married more than 20 years and overall, rates of divorce are rising among straight boomer couples.

Although certain high profile...
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General

Do You Trust Your Doctor?

Throughout history, populations have looked for people to take away mental, physical, and spiritual troubles. Shamans, priests, folk healers, and even psychics provided hope. In the 5th Century , Western Medicine offered additional help, although the majority of cures and symptomatic relief that physicians could provide were not really developed until the late 19th century.

For a long time physicians had little more than their personalities and bedside manner at their disposal. Now, with unprecedented advances...
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Aging

Anxiety and Illness: What’s Adaptive?

Although many people assume that anxiety is negative, this emotion is a normal part of human existence. Our bodies are equipped with the sympathetic nervous system, in which physiological arousal lets us know when we are upset or may be in danger.

This is an important part of the fight/flight response, which we developed in order to survive as a species.

Anxiety as a reaction to serious illness is normal. Since anxiety is a part of life,...
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General

Pain and Meds: It’s Complicated

As a new blogger to Psych Central, I am still getting acquainted with the wealth of resources and great writing on this site. I recently came across a number of fascinating articles by Dr. Junig. His most recent posts address proposed changes to the Schedule Class of hydrocodone/acetaminophen and Vicodin, which would make these medications classified as Schedule II drugs, and make them slightly harder to obtain.

This change sounds reasonable, though I am unsure...
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Aging

Denial, Control, and Compliance to Medical Advice

Noncompliance, sometimes referred to as nonadherence, is when patients either do not do what a doctor has prescribed or continues to engage in behaviors that cause or exacerbate illness.

Although many of us would like to believe that we take good care of our bodies, in fact, a number of us do not.

Estimates of noncompliance vary depending on the study, but range from 25%-50%. Though there a lot of reasons we do not take care...
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General

The Steep Costs of Caregiving

Though hardly a surprise to caretakers, a recent story in The Wall Street Journal reports that more baby boomers are taking care of elderly parents. Kelly Greene reports that since 1994 the number of adults in caregiving roles has tripled. Boomers, who are most often in this position, are literally paying the price.

Greene reports, “The financial toll on care providers who are 50 or older averages $303,880 per person in lost wages, pensions and...
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Aging

Frustrated With Your Doctor? Why Physicians Aren’t More Supportive

Coming from a psychology background, I found myself quite shocked almost two decades ago when I began working in hospitals and outpatient medical clinics. Not only was it jarring that everyone around me literally moved so much faster than I did, but it was equally unsettling that when talking with a physician, I found that I had about 20 seconds to say what was on my mind before being interrupted!

Indeed, some research has found...
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Aging

The Driving Force of Fear in Health Care Decision Making

Among all of the discussions taking place regarding Medicare financing these days, my mind has been wandering back to 2009, when there was an escalating and embarrassing incident regarding the idea of Death Panels.

It turns out that Death Panels were in the news again earlier this year with author Wendell Potter of The Huffington Post pointing out that insurance companies do, in fact, already make decisions about who can receive certain advanced medical interventions.

Remember...
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