The Challenge of Going Off Psychiatric Drugs

Laura Delano recognized that she was “excellent at everything, but it didn’t mean anything,” her doctor wrote. She grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut, one of the wealthiest communities in the country. Her father is related to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and her mother was introduced to society at a débutante ball at the Waldorf-Astoria. In eighth grade, in 1996, Laura was the class president—she ran on a platform of planting daffodils on the school’s grounds—and among the best squash players in the country. She was one of those rare proportional adolescents with a thriving social life. But she doubted whether she had a “real self underneath.”

The oldest of three sisters, Laura felt as if she were living two separate lives, one onstage and the other in the audience, reacting to an exhausting performance. She snapped at her mother, locked herself in her room, and talked about wanting to die. She had friends at school who cut themselves with razors, and she was intrigued by what seemed to be an act of defiance. She tried it, too. “The pain felt so real and raw and mine,” she said.

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Will your therapist go on strike? 4,000 mental health workers protesting Kaiser Permanente

Thousands of psychologists, therapists, social workers and psychiatric nurses will begin a five-day strike Monday against Kaiser Permanente at more than 100 facilities across California, demanding one of the nation’s largest non-profit HMOs devote more resources to mental health services.

The shortage of mental health professionals is a growing problem nationwide.

“These clinicians are making timely access to mental health care the civil rights issue of our time,” said Sal Rosselli, president of the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW), which organized the strike of approximately 3,600 Kaiser mental health professionals and 400 support staff, including dietitians and health educators.  more

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Talking to Men About Depression

Not so long ago I had to approach a friend to discuss what appeared to me to be a battle with depression. It was clear to me that this debilitating disorder was affecting both him and the people around him, and that some type of loving intervention was needed. But wow, was this a nerve-wracking conversation to have. And I’m a therapist!

Part of the difficulty was that my friend’s symptoms were more about impatience, irritability, and anger than behaviors we typically associate with depression, such as crying, moping, and an inability to get started with any task because everything seems so daunting. And this is often a reason why depression in men can be more difficult to identify than depression in women. Depressed women tend to “act in” (sleeping too much, crying, overeating, drinking too much, failing to fully function, etc.), while depressed men tend to “act out” with unpleasant behaviors. So a depressed woman might look and act depressed, while a depressed man might just seem like he’s being a jerk.  more

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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Can Be Contagious

PTSD sometimes spreads from trauma victims to the people who care for them, including rescue workers, spouses and even therapists

IN BRIEF

  • When caregivers, rescue workers or family members attend to someone with post-traumatic stress disorder who has suffered a horrible experience, a number of them develop “secondary” PTSD, without themselves having witnessed the traumatic event.
  • Stories of trauma, it seems, can become etched into memory as if they were the hearer’s own experiences. This memory transfer may occur because the brain regions that process real and imagined experiences overlap considerably.
  • The more that caregivers or family members empathize with a victim and the less able they are to maintain emotional distance, the more likely it is that they will experience secondary trauma.  more
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Therapists anonymously open up about the funniest and most moving things patients ever said.

Apparently, therapists and psychiatrists also go online, and even these professionals can’t resist throwing their anecdotes into the fray for upvotes.

Below are highlights from several incredible AskReddit threads asking mental health workers to share stories from their patients. Most of the responses are from two threads that ask psychiatrists or psychologists to share “the most profound and insightful comments” they’ve heard in the line of work.

Many of them also made clear that they had changed enough details to keep anyone from identifying patients. Enjoy, and hopefully you don’t realize yours is the psychologist who goes by the username Dr. PonerBenis.  more

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