Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Depression: Cup of Soup

There are correlations, sometimes causative, between physical illnesses and mental illnesses. For example, the American Diabetes Association says that people with diabetes have a greater risk of depression than those without the disease. Diabetics are not alone. After a heart attack or cardiac surgery, patients are naturally likely to feel depressed. But for some, especially those with cardiovascular disease, as many as 15 percent experience major depression. For those who've had coronary artery bypass surgery the number is as high as 20 percent. There may be many reasons why this is so. For some, the fear and sadness triggered by having a debilitating illness, if left unchecked, can develop into major depression. But sometimes the diseases themselves can cause physiological changes that mimic depression, especially in the case of diabetes.

Your Therapist's Recommendations: Up Close and Personal

To give our readers a better sense of what an effective mental health treatment plan looks like, I have been recreating a treatment plan here through a series of blog posts. To see other posts in the Mental Health Treatment Plan series, please click here. The next section of the mental health treatment plan is often referred to as “Recommendations.” Recommendations are closely related to our previous post in the Mental Health Treatment Plan series, the section about Partners in Therapy. Recommendations, which may require serious thought, fine-tuned perception, as well as practical research by your therapist, may actually refer to some of your partners in therapy. For example, your therapist may recommend that you see another type of professional while you are in therapy, such as a psychiatrist, a medical doctor, a social worker, and so on who might also be described as a partner in therapy. He might be specific—for example, he may recommend you get a complete physical in order to determine that your symptoms don’t have a physiological basis. Or he might suggest that you do a particular activity with a supportive friend or family member.


Positive Thinking Vs. Victim Identity

Rarely do opposing viewpoints divide people so dramatically, or influence people’s lives in so many areas than the two main opposing outlooks on the subject of victimhood. The question of one’s status as victim—specifically as it pertains to emotional problems and psychotherapy—is something we write about in Therapy Revolution. On the one hand some people might need to affirm that they were at one point innocent victims in order to get rid of crippling shame/blame/guilt. On the other, some may have to give up their status as victims, in order to learn to take responsibility for their thoughts, speech, and actions.

Schizophrenia and Crime in the News

Are those suffering from schizophrenia more likely to commit violent crimes? It depends. Most people with schizophrenia though suffer quietly. The disease usually only makes headlines when bad things happen, skewing our perspectives of this sometimes unsettling mental illness that affects nearly one percent...


Computer Gone Wild: Learning to Let Go

We’re a little behind on blog posts because of major—and literally life-changing—technical difficulties. We decided to blog about dealing with our computer problems and what we learned in the process. Read on to experience the highlights (and lowlights) of our “computer crash” journal. Day 1: Sometime early February. The recovery drive is full—how strange. What’s up with that? Google the problem and find out that we are not the only ones, but the solutions offered are either written in undecipherable tech-speak or simply don’t work.  Ignore problem.

Those We Love and Those We Don't: Partners in Therapy

To give our readers a better sense of what an effective mental health treatment plan looks like, I have been recreating a treatment plan here through a series of blog posts. To see other posts in the Mental Health Treatment Plan series, please click here. Relationship—to God, self, family, friends, coworkers, and others—is for many of us the most defining, challenging, and rewarding aspect of our lives. Broken hearts, misunderstood murmurings, deep and abiding love, retreat, annoyance, inspiration, even anger, are the messy colors with which relationships finger-paint our days. While work, sports, even spiritual service and other activities may excite or dismay us, when it comes to our relationships we can never quite pin down our feelings—they are always in flux due to the ever-changing dynamics of intention, emotions, and shifting meaning.

Am I Better, Yet?: The Mental Health Treatment Plan Series

Recently, radio host Michael Dresser made a very apt comparison. He said that it seems that therapy can be approached at least somewhat starting like a business. Having a business plan certainly helps and in terms of assessing goals, addressing budgetary concerns, and so on, the comparison holds. But what about in terms of time-frame projections, that is, target dates for progress? I contend that the business-plan model can work. In therapy, as in business, one should set target dates for achieving goals and schedule regular check-ins to make sure that things are on the right track.

Find Your Inner Spartacus

It is a beloved Jewish teaching that when it comes to spiritual service and growth, one can learn lessons from every person. For example, the 18th century mystic Reb Zusha said that from a child, one can learn to never sit still and to keep striving for what he wants. From a thief, one can learn to keep trying to attain the “treasure” (that is, spiritual growth)—if a thief fails one night, he will try the next night, and so on. The same holds true for the path of one’s psycho-emotional growth. When it comes to recovery, whether it is recovery from a mental illness or an addiction, one can learn a lot from all kinds of people. Even from a rather violent (though compelling), figure currently in the public’s eye, the ancient gladiator, Spartacus.

Does Therapy Work? My Answer in Audio & Text

Some patients say that psychotherapy (without medication) is helpful less than half the time! Though this percentage varies depending on diagnosis and much of the reporting is anecdotal, there is at a detailed and well-done 2003-2004 study that focuses on depression and its treatment. SAMHSA, the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, reports that: