December 30, 2004

Cumulative Trauma Can Worsen Health

WASHINGTON, DC December 13, 2004 -- Cumulative trauma during a person's lifetime can have an overall effect on health in one's later years, according to a study that examines the consequences of traumatic events on older adults' physical health. Also, traumas experienced in adulthood compared to traumas experienced in childhood appear to cause more damage to an older person's (65 and older) health, say researchers of a new study reported on in the December issue of Psychology and Aging published by the American Psychological Association (APA). Traumas are distinguished from other types of stressful life events by their seriousness, like experiencing a serious or life threatening illness, witnessing a violent crime or being in combat.

In a study of 1,518 older adults from a nationwide survey...


Posted by tAPir at 8:25 AM

December 28, 2004

Great Ways To Beat Winter Bugs

Taking vitamins and exercising aren�t all there is to staying well. Enjoying life and having fun can boost your immune system too.

Research is increasingly finding ways of boosting immunity that can enhance the beneficial effects of conventional �healthy living' approaches such as eating the right kind of diet, exercise and taking supplements. There's a growing focus on how the way you feel affects your immune system � and that means simply doing some of the things that make you feel good.

For instance, �There is now a wealth of orthodox medical research from around the world which supports the idea that humour heals,' says stress consultant Robert Holden, who founded the first NHS laughter clinic, as well as a coaching and training organisation called �The Happiness Project'.

�In particular, the science of psychoimmunology [the study of the way the mind affects the immune system] proves conclusively that a happy, joyful approach to life can inspire energy, vitality and health on every level.'

Socialising, relaxing and laughing are among the enjoyable activities being shown to have proven health benefits. So if you're fed up with experts telling you what you have to give up to be healthier, here are a few suggestions on how to boost your wellbeing by actually enjoying yourself more.


Posted by tAPir at 8:20 AM

December 26, 2004

Customize Rituals For The Holidays

It is well known among professionals that anniversary dates and holidays, especially the first one, can be difficult for those whose loved one has passed away. When the loss involves an unnatural death, holidays can seem unbearable and insurmountable. Thoughts of merriment may arouse feelings of guilt and disloyalty.

Life is shattered for those who have lost a loved one to a violent death. In her book on the subject, Janoff-Bulman states that three basic assumptions are shattered after traumatic events, they are:

Life has meaning,
The world is safe
I have worth.

These issues add to the burden for traditional days.

Goffman says that rituals are necessary for the management of fears, and for the adaptation to the changes necessary in relationships after death. Rituals serve to acknowledge change without threatening the overall social order. Ceremonies help with adapting to what has happened. Rituals allow one to be emotionally engaged while creating a safe distance to ease the overwhelming pain of loss. Ceremonies work to compartmentalize the review of losses amid holiday reminders. Symbols help replace painful images and memories.


Posted by tAPir at 8:39 AM

December 24, 2004

Realistic Expectations Make Holidays Happier

(, Va. (Dec. 20, 2004) Tis the season for spending time with family, friends, and for many a therapist. But holiday blues, nagging family stress and overindulgence can be avoided if you set realistic expectations, according to a psychology professor at Virginia Commonwealth University.

The holidays are a busy time for clinical psychologists and psychiatrists who see their schedules fill with some clients who do not get along well with in-laws or other family members, some who experience depression from not having enough money to buy gifts and others who eat and drink too much.

Expectations and lack of preparation are the most common causes of holiday strife, said Sonia R. Banks, Ph.D., director of VCUs Center for Psychological Services and Development. Put those two together and you have a time bomb.


Posted by tAPir at 8:17 AM

December 22, 2004

Holiday Travel Tips: Cut Stress

Whether you�re off to the ski slopes or the distant sunshine, make sure you arrive in fine fettle

It's worth taking a cabin bag that will hold more than the obvious essentials like passport and money so you can pack a few extras to cover you if your luggage should go astray. Remember to include any regular medication you may be taking and if there is room, a change of clothes and a toothbrush. An eye mask, ear plugs, neck rest and inflatable pillow can all help to make the flight more comfortable. Don't be tempted to pack scissors, tweezers or anything sharp in hand luggage as you will only be asked to leave them behind them at security.

Wear loose, comfortable clothing and a sweater or jacket that you can put on or take off depending on the cabin air temperature which can vary from one airline to another. Some experts recommend you wear shoes half a size bigger than normal as feet and ankles can swell in the air, but if this is impractical, opt for a pair that don't constrict your feet.


Posted by tAPir at 8:20 AM

December 20, 2004

Breathing Exercises For Better Relaxation

A few nice deep breaths can be so relaxing. It can be a quick and easy stress reliever. You can do this anytime. You can do this anywhere. It is not visible to others.

And the good news can be that because you are less stressed, you will handle things more easily.

Word has it that when people are stressed, they tend to take short little breaths rather than deep, relaxing ones. Is this true for you? Check it out.

Quick and Easy Stress Management Breathing Exercise:


Posted by tAPir at 5:30 AM

December 18, 2004

R & R For Healing Body And Brain Strain

The gently rolling, blue-green aquamarine waters are beckoning. Not surprising considering the attempt to induce a comatose state by having positioned a beach towel and my limp form in direct line with the blinding, sweltering rays of the West Coast Florida August sun. Beads of sweat are trickling down my forehead while the rest of me is being wrapped and mummified in an unmerciful heat and humidity index. Within ten minutes, I concede. What happened to the narcissistic, early 20s worshipper who would prayerfully commune with (okay, lazily luxuriate in the splendor of) the sun god for hours on end? And, of course, this idyllic, daylong meditation was only interrupted by nubile visions and shy flirtations, devouring those oil soaked yet crisp boardwalk fries along with body surfing in the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean off Long Island.

Alas, the quest for 20th sensory overload has "matured" into the search for sensual-serenity mode some decades later. Pushing my sweaty, gritty body off the towel I trudge...


Posted by tAPir at 8:04 AM

December 17, 2004

Regulators Recommend Restricted Use Of Drug

Associated Press - December 06, 2004

NEW YORK - British regulators recommended on Monday that physicians restrict the use of the anti-depressant Efexor from drugmaker Wyeth because its use could have side effects for heart health and pose other potential risks that require more careful monitoring than other drugs in the class. Wyeth said it would challenge the decision, but its shares slipped 3 percent.

The United Kingdom's Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency said the drug, which is marketed as Effexor...


Posted by tAPir at 8:10 AM

December 16, 2004

Attitudes And Genetics

American Psychological Association has announced a study that shows that attitudes are learned, but that differences between people in many attitudes are also partly attributable to genetic factors. These include attitudes as diverse as whether one likes roller coaster rides to controversial social issues such as attitudes toward abortion and the death penalty for murder.

Study authors James M. Olson, Ph.D., Philip A. Vernon, Ph.D. and Julie Aitken Harris, Ph.D., of the University of Western Ontario and Kerry L. Jang, Ph.D., of the University of British Columbia, surveyed 336 pairs of adult Canadian twins (both fraternal and identical) to explore the role of genetic factors in creating differences between individuals in attitudes. By comparing the responses to attitude questions between the identical and fraternal twins, (for example, "My overall attitude toward doing crossword puzzles is" with answers ranging from "extremely unfavorable" to "extremely favorable") the researchers were able to determine which attitudes were more influenced by genetic factors.

Of the 30 individual attitude items on the survey...


Posted by tAPir at 8:16 AM

December 15, 2004

Depression In Dementia: Diagnosis And Treatment

The occurrence of neuropsychiatric symptoms in dementia patients has been well established (Rovner et al., 1990). Of patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD), 78% suffer depressive symptoms, 77% have agitation and 69% have psychotic symptoms, with over half experiencing all three symptoms (Tractenberg et al., 2003). The diagnosis and treatment of mood symptoms in this population remains a challenge for physicians (Harman et al., 2002). It is important to recognize and treat these neuropsychiatric symptoms, as they result in increased morbidity, mortality and health care costs (Janzing et al., 1999). Mandatory depression screening in nursing homes can improve treatment rates (Cohen et al., 2003).

Major depression and other, less severe forms of depression frequently form part of the clinical presentation of dementia. Depression with reversible cognitive impairment may be a prodrome for dementia rather than a separate and distinct disorder (Janzing et al., 1999).

Diagnostic Difficulties

Depression may be challenging to assess in a patient...


Posted by tAPir at 8:20 AM

December 14, 2004

Global Rise In Antidepressants Prescribed To Children

Children throughout the world are increasingly being prescribed antidepressants and other drugs designed to calm or stimulate the brain, finds new research. Prescription rates increased the most in the U.K., the research suggests.

In one study, researchers from the University of London analyzed prescribing trends in nine countries, based on information provided by an international database (IMS MIDAS) between 2000 and 2002. The database contains a representative sample of medical practitioners in each country.

The information was collected on children and adolescents up to the age...


Posted by tAPir at 8:21 AM

December 13, 2004

Headache And Psychiatric Comorbidity

It is clear that comorbid factors are significant in the development and maintenance of headaches (Lipton and Silberstein, 1994). Originally coined by Feinstein (1970), the term comorbidity is used to refer to the greater than coincidental association of two conditions in the same individual. When the relationship between two disorders may be the result of pure chance, this is not considered to be comorbidity. It can be hypothesized that psychiatric factors and headaches may interact in three general ways: 1) etiologic, which would be extremely rare; 2) psychophysiologic or biobehavioral--in this case there is a real physiologic disorder that can be influenced by psychological factors (which is true of virtually any medical disorder); and 3) environmental or genetic risk factors that produce a brain state giving rise to both conditions (i.e., there may be some common biology underlying both conditions) (Puca, 2000; Sheftell and Atlas, in press). This last mechanism seems to be the most likely one underlying comorbidity of chronic headache and other medical disorders. Many have oversimplified the relationship between pain and psychiatric comorbidity, for example, viewing chronic pain as the cause of comorbid depression or...


Posted by tAPir at 8:13 AM

December 11, 2004

Anxiety And Exercise: Moderation Is The Key

Summary: You don't have to push yourself to the limit to get fit. Why moderationis the name of the game.

Moderation for Long-Term Exercise
If you're beginning a new workout regimen, don't expect too much of yourself--or too little. Results of a study by researchers at Duke University Medical Center suggest that, left to their own devices, people gravitate to a moderate exercise program that's neither...


Posted by tAPir at 8:13 AM

December 10, 2004

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Does It Exist?

Joan realized that something was wrong. She had swollen glands, trouble thinking clearly, and dragged through her day. She seemed to be more sensitive to everything in her environment. After a careful examination by the doctor and multiple blood tests, she was told she was HIV+.

Ellen had a bout with the flu and never seemed to recover. She had swollen glands, trouble thinking clearly, and dragged through her day. She seemed to be more sensitive to everything in her environment. After going to several different doctors and having multiple blood tests, she was told she had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Is this an illness or is it an acceptable label for hypochondriacs? Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a controversial illness. There are some in the medical community who believe strongly that this illness exists and there are many who think Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a "catch all" for sloppy diagnosticians. The public is split in a similar fashion to the medical community. Some believe it is truly a debilitating illness, with people being sick for months and usually years, sometimes never recovering. Others believe that it is a convenient diagnosis for those who are "burned out," depressed, or chronically symptomatic.

A growing number of medical professionals blame the controversy on troublesome diagnostic criteria put out by the Center for Disease Control in 1988. There were several problems with that criteria:


Posted by tAPir at 8:20 AM

December 9, 2004

Manage Your Money And Your Stress

FOR MANY OF US, charting our financial future is fraught with fear,insecurity, impulsivity--feelings that can capsize a savings or retirement plan, or even discourage us from investing in the first place.

INVESTING IS A SIMPLE MATTER: buy good stocks and hold on to them, and time will make you rich. This is the most common bit of advice given to beginning investors. But if it's true that investing is so simple, then why do people wind up losing money on stocks, view the market as a major gamble, or feel too intimidated to invest in the first place? Because every emotional drive associated with money gets played out in investing: the longing for security, the guilt engendered by greed, the quest for power and self-esteem, the fear of being abandoned, the search for love, the dream of omnipotence. And when these constellations of emotions intersect with the churning, manic-depressive mood gyrations of the market itself, the result can be financially dangerous.

In recent years, more people have...


Posted by tAPir at 9:51 AM

December 8, 2004

When Your Time Is Not Your Own

One advantage of getting older should be the chance to step off the treadmill and start pleasing yourself � so here�s how.

You rush around all day, and by the time evening arrives all you want to do is sink into the chair. Then it's time for bed and before you know it, it's time to get up again but you still feel tired. You never have time to catch up on yourself, to do the things you really enjoy. If this sounds familiar it's time to take stock, to free up some time for you � to make more �me time'.

Start by taking a long hard look at your lifestyle. Why are you always chasing your tail? According to Gladeana McMahon, fellow of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, if you have recently retired, the work ethic may be so deeply ingrained that it has become your own worst enemy. But now is the time to adjust your pace. The sense of hurry left over from a busy working life does not have to govern your days any more unless you want it to.

�You must stand back and ask yourself: �Why am I going on like this?"', says Gladeana. Tell yourself and your friends that you have worked hard all your life and your reward is to make more time for yourself � and that's what you intend to do from now on. Other people may assume that you will be there to help out whenever they need you � whether it's baby-sitting, organising a charity raffle or collecting for a jumble sale � but don't feel obliged to do everything you're asked to do. According to Gladeana you are more likely to succeed in making more �me time' if you say what you mean to do out loud, even if you do feel a bit silly at the time.

Is this you?
You may also be going about things in the wrong way. See if any of the following personality types sound familiar...


Posted by tAPir at 8:24 AM

December 7, 2004

Family Health History Can Be Ally Against Disease

WASHINGTON -- At family gatherings, talk of the latest ailments is a dinnertime staple. Federal health officials want Americans to take that a bit further over the Thanksgiving weekend and serve up a little health genealogy that could benefit current and future generations.

Knowing who had what type of cancer or developed mental illness at a certain age can be critical information for family members years later, says U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona, who yesterday announced the initiative to collect family health histories.

"The bottom line is that knowing your family history can save your life," Carmona said. "Millions of dollars in medical research, equipment and knowledge can't give us the information that this simple tool can."

The Department of Health and Human Services has developed a downloadable computer program, "My Family Health Portrait," to help families collect and organize their health histories.

Although most people know that certain illnesses...


Posted by tAPir at 7:41 AM

December 6, 2004

Pets: More Than Just Good Company

There is now a lot of research suggesting that a pet is more than a good companion.

Once described as a nation of shopkeepers, we Brits might now be more accurately labelled a dog-loving people, and thousands of us demonstrate this fact each year by attending Crufts. Possibly the most celebrated dog show in the world, Crufts offers visitors the opportunity to see over 20,000 top pedigree dogs compete to achieve the prestigious title of 'Best In Show'.

While show dogs have their appeal, however, there's a lot more to be said about the attractions of owning less exotic canine pets. There's an increasing amount of scientific evidence that dogs are actually good for our health.

Blood pressure benefits

According to the Society of Companion Animal Studies (SCAS), having a dog, cat or other pet around could bring health benefits for a whole range of people and save the NHS �1bn a year. Sam Ahmedzai, Professor of Palliative Medicine at Sheffield University Medical School, and former Chair of SCAS, suggests that the potential health benefits of owning or having access to a pet animal are being under-exploited. Professor Ahmedzai cited one study of 18 people and their dogs which found that time spent stroking and talking to the dogs resulted in subjects reducing their blood pressure, increasing levels of phenylethylamine and endorphin (the body's natural mood-enhancing and pain-relieving chemicals) and decreasing levels of cortisol, a substance associated with stress.


Posted by tAPir at 8:23 AM

December 4, 2004

Unsound Bodies Lead To Unsound Minds

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 10 (HealthDayNews) -- If you needed another reason to get up off the couch and start exercising, a new study provides one: Along with lowering your risk of heart disease, keeping fit and eating healthy foods may also help prevent dementia.

The study found that older people who have metabolic syndrome, a group of cardiovascular risk factors, had a 20 percent higher risk of cognitive impairment compared to people without the syndrome.

"Having a sharp mind as you age may not be dumb luck, but rather may result from...


Posted by tAPir at 8:59 AM

December 3, 2004

Mood Music

Music is famously the food of love but the latest studies suggest it can also help ease depression, calm anxiety and aid recovery from illness.

The benefits of music have been recognised by healers since time immemorial and today an increasing body of scientific research supports this ancient wisdom.

�Whereas we use words to communicate facts, we use music to communicate and evoke emotions,' says psychologist Dr Mike Lowis of University College Northampton. He has conducted research into the way that music can stimulate what he calls 'peak experiences' � moments of intense clarity and almost mystical euphoria. He attributes this to music's unique ability to unite the left (logical) and right (emotional) sides of our brains.

Play it again, Sam

As the makers of films and TV programmes � not to mention ads � well know, the right choice of music can create a mood faster than set, costume or script. �You only have to hear a snippet of a tune you have heard at a moment of high emotion to re-experience that emotion,' says Lowis.

Music can also help distract us from pain, lift a miserable mood and even nudge our bodies into regulating their natural rhythms. �The emotional effects are believed to...


Posted by tAPir at 8:16 AM

December 2, 2004

Massage For Health

There are many styles of massage but all are based on the principle of using touch to promote healing.

There are many different types of massage on offer today but all have developed from the age-old concept of touch as a natural form of healing and, especially, of pain relief. Depending on the type of massage they practise, different therapists will offer different explanations as to how the effect is achieved. They may use theories compatible with orthodox western medicine (relaxing muscle tension, improving blood flow and so on); they...


Posted by tAPir at 6:50 AM

December 1, 2004

Genomics And Medicine

NEW ORLEANS - When the human genome was unveiled in 2001, researchers made a point of saying that there is no genetic basis for what we call race--whether someone is Asian, African-American, or Caucasian. Mostly, that's true. There is much more variation within any single racial subgroup than there is between them.

So how do we explain the new heart failure pill tested by NitroMed (nasdaq: NTMD - news - people )?

The pill, a fixed combination of two generic ingredients, is the first drug tested only in African-Americans. Results unveiled this morning here at the American Heart Association meeting and published online in the New England Journal of Medicine are stunning. On top of the best treatments available, BiDil still increased survival of African-American heart failure patients by 43% compared with a sugar pill, while cutting hospitalizations by 33%. That's particularly impressive because heart failure, a chronic weakening of the heart's ability to pump blood, has a 50% mortality rate over five years.

Previously, BiDil had never been a true success...


Posted by tAPir at 9:12 AM

November 30, 2004

Coping With Urges

Changing an addictive habit usually means coping with sometimes relentless urges. Urges often dominate thinking and interfere with the daily routine. Many people give up because they believe they can't function without their habit.

Remember that urges, in and of themselves, are normal. We all experience craving in varying degrees every day. Because your habit has been important to you for a long time, it is unreasonable to expect urges to vanish completely. If they do, don't be surprised if they occur a month or two down the road.

The "three Ds" can be helpful in coping with urges and craving, whether these urges are related to alcohol or drug use, overeating, tobacco use or any habit you are attempting to change. The Ds stand for:


Posted by tAPir at 8:47 AM

November 29, 2004

Munchausen By Internet: Faking Illness Online

Online Support for People with Illness

The Internet is a medium of choice for millions of people who need health-related information. Medical websites have multiplied exponentially over the past several years. Thousands of virtual support groups have sprung up for those suffering from particular illnesses. Whether formatted as chat rooms, as newsgroups, or in other ways, they offer patients and families the chance to share their hopes, fears, and knowledge with others experiencing life as they are. These online groups can counter isolation and serve as bastions of understanding, deep concern, and even affection.

Unfortunately, cyberspace resources are sometimes deliberately misused by people intent on deceiving others. False product claims in spam are perhaps the best-known example. But even in the relative intimacy of health support groups, individuals may choose to mislead others by pretending to have illnesses they do not. They divert the attention of the group toward their feigned battles with cancer, multiple sclerosis, anorexia nervosa, or other ailments. The eventual discovery of the deceptions can be devastating. One group member called it "emotional rape" to have cared so deeply about a person who lied to her and others from his first post on.

Munchausen by Internet

For decades, physicians have known about so-called factitious disorder, better known in its severe form as Munchausen syndrome...


Posted by tAPir at 9:05 AM

November 27, 2004

Overcoming Phobias

Phobias are on the increase, but there�s no reason to suffer in silence if you�re plagued by an irrational fear.

Fear's not all bad. In fact, it helps keep us alive. It warns us to steer clear of dangerous situations and is a natural response to immediate threats. But sometimes fear can get out of control and start to govern our lives. At this point, fear becomes phobia.

A phobia � the word derives from the Greek word for �fear' � is a fear completely out of proportion to the perceived threat behind it. �Fear is a natural emotion which is usually exhibited in response to a dangerous situation, but a phobia is an irrational fear of any object or situation,' says Nicky Lidbetter, senior manager at the National Phobics Society. �Sufferers realise that the fear they experience is irrational, but are often unable to control it.'

When fear takes over

Many of us may not like spiders much, or feel scared during thunderstorms, but what distinguishes a phobia from an ordinary fear or dislike is the effect in can have on the affected individual's everyday life.

Fear becomes a phobia when sufferers...


Posted by tAPir at 8:59 AM

November 25, 2004

Tired Of Being Tired?

Feeling tired all the time is such a common complaint that it�s even got its own acronym: TATT, but its causes and treatment vary.

When you've got a lot on your plate, you're bound to feel tired sometimes, but when tiredness is ever-present or starts to interfere with normal living, it needs to be investigated properly. First, you need to rule out a physical cause with the help of your GP. The commonest ones are anaemia, thyroid problems, glandular fever and diabetes, and most doctors will take blood and urine tests to check for these.

However, it's estimated that comparatively few cases of TATT actually have a physical cause. It's more likely to be down to stress, depression, boredom, poor sleep habits or simply being very busy. Getting the right amount of exercise and relaxation, eating the right food at the right times and having the necessary amount of sleep can all help you to get your energy back.

Dr Joe Fitzgibbon is the author of Feeling Tired All the Time (Gill and Macmillan, �7.99). He estimates that out of 100 cases of TATT, only five or so will have a physical cause such as anaemia. Up to 70 per cent will be caused by depression, but for the remaining 25 per cent, other avenues must be explored.

�Not all tiredness is depression,' he explains. �There are some...


Posted by tAPir at 9:55 PM

November 24, 2004

Relaxation Techniques

The idea that anyone needs to learn how to relax may seem strange � isn�t it just what you do at the end of the day in front of the TV or over a meal with friends?

For some people this may be the case, but most of us know that it's not always that easy to switch off: anxiety and stress won't always go away just because we want them to. Even though you may appear to be relaxing, your brain may still be churning over, trying to reconcile the pressures and concerns that arise from having too much to do, trying to meet the needs of family and friends, of work or home responsibilities and so on. When this continues for any length of time, not only does it affect your mental wellbeing, it also can have consequences in terms of physical ill effects: muscular aches and pains, headache, indigestion and increased susceptibility to infection, for example.

The effects of stress
When you are feeling threatened or anxious, your body reacts as if you were facing a real physical threat, such as an attack by an aggressive enemy or a wild animal. In such a situation, you can either run away or fight back and evolution has conditioned your body to make physical changes to ensure that you can do either with maximum efficiency. These changes are what are meant by the �fight or flight' response: all bodily functions not crucial to immediate survival, such as digestion, are slowed and maximum energy resources are allocated to the muscles, and your heart and breathing rates increase. In prehistoric times, once the crisis was over � that is, once you had defeated or escaped the immediate threat � all these functions would return to normal. Unfortunately, when the stress is the result of psychological rather than physical stress, the changes...


Posted by tAPir at 9:17 AM

November 23, 2004

Do You Worry Yourself Sick?

We all worry from time to time, but when it starts to affect your enjoyment of life, it�s time to take action.

�Worry is characterised by the question �What if...?�, says Dr Gillian Butler, clinical psychologist at Oxford''s Warneford Hospital. �It is about the risk or threat of something bad happening in the future and whether you could cope if it did. It can also be rather vague. Just a sense that something might go wrong, and not being sure what to do to prevent it.'

So what causes some people to be worriers? �Worry is a perfectly normal human reaction,' says psychiatrist Professor Brice Pitt. �Some people are born worriers and to a certain extent once a worrier always a worrier. It may be genetic'. Dr Butler believes experiences in early life may also be a factor. �People who worry a lot have been shown to find uncertainty especially hard to tolerate. There is also evidence to suggest that as children many adult worriers were genuinely in situations that threatened to overwhelm their abilities to cope at the time � for example looking after an alcoholic parent, being left in charge of young siblings, sick parents, lack of protection, that kind of thing. It's no wonder they learned to worry: to think ahead about what might go wrong, and about how they might deal with it, with an anxious sort of feeling that they might not be able to do so.'

Some experts attribute temperamental characteristics such...


Posted by tAPir at 7:25 AM

November 22, 2004

Give Yourself A Winter Once-over

As the days draw in and the temperatures plummet, resist the urge to hibernate under the duvet by helping yourself to better health.

When it's warm and sunny and the days are long, it's great to be outside, to exercise and enjoy lots of antioxidant-rich fruits and salads. Come October, the rocket leaves are left on the shelves while we fill our baskets with hearty, stodgy foods. But ironically, our bodies have a much greater need for immune system-boosting foods in the winter months to help us fight off viruses.

Soul food

Foods your soul will thank you for include lean meat, cheese and eggs - all rich in tryptophans; chemicals that the body can convert into serotonin, the happy hormone that boosts your mood. Combine them with complex carbohydrates such as oats and whole grains to aid absorption of tryptophans and benefit from a slow release of energy. Simple carbs like white bread will send you soaring on a sugar high followed by a dramatic drop in blood glucose. The answer? Ditch the white bread muffins and start your day with a bowl of comforting porridge instead. A good way to end it would be with a supper of omega 3-rich salmon or mackerel, as several studies have linked high intake of omega 3 fats with lower rates of depression.


Posted by tAPir at 8:51 AM

November 20, 2004

The Emotional Brain: Lessons From Fear Conditioning

You are walking through the woods, and you see a coiled shape lying across your path. Instantly -- before you even think "A snake!" -- your brain begins to respond fearfully to the danger. Fear is an ancient emotion involved in a number of mental disorders, says neuroscientist and NIMH grantee Dr. Joseph LeDoux of New York University. His research and that of fellow scientists, reported at the 24th annual Mathilde Solowey Award Lecture in the Neurosciences at NIH on May 8, has shown that the fear response has been tightly conserved in evolution, and probably follows much the same pattern in humans and other vertebrates.

Dr. Joseph LeDoux

According to LeDoux, he and others are making progress in tracing the brain circuitry underlying the fear response. Research attention is now focused on the amygdala, a small almond-shaped structure deep inside the brain. A portion of the amygdala known as the lateral nucleus appears to play a key role in fear conditioning, an experimental procedure in which an animal (rats were used in most of these experiments) is taught to fear a harmless stimulus such as a sound tone. The conditioning is accomplished by pairing the tone with a mild electrical shock to the animal's foot. After a few times, the animal comes to exhibit...


Posted by tAPir at 9:11 AM

November 19, 2004

Caffeine: Cut It Out

It can get to be a habit � and one you are better off without.

A really strong cup of coffee or a can of cola can wake you up and make you feel as if your brain is firing on all cylinders and there is no doubt that the effect is real. The reason is that both drinks - and, to a lesser extent, tea and hot chocolate � contain caffeine (trimethylxanthine). In medical terms, this substance is known to be a cardiac (heart) stimulant and a mild diuretic, which means it encourages the body to excrete urine. Coffee made from ground beans has the highest caffeine content (instant has less), followed by cola, hot chocolate and tea.

Caffeine has its effects because the molecules lock on to receptors in the brain which would otherwise be used by a natural chemical called adenosine. Normally, this makes you feel sleepy and causes the blood vessels to dilate. By blocking the action of adenosine, caffeine makes the blood vessels constrict and promotes the release of adrenaline, the �fight or flight hormone, so you feel mildly excited, your muscles tense and your heartbeat quickens. Your body releases dopamine, so your mood is enhanced. Six hours after a dose of caffeine, half of it still remains in your system, so you may find it hard to sleep properly. If you regularly consume a lot of caffeine, your system gets a taste for it and stages a protest if suddenly deprived of its regular �fix'. You may feel tired and even a little depressed, but the most common symptom of caffeine withdrawal is a headache as the blood vessels in your brain dilate once more.

Giving up
It's up to you whether you decide to taper off your consumption...


Posted by tAPir at 7:26 AM

November 18, 2004

Mental Health Changes Coming To City

Changes in emergency mental health intervention in Bedford are yielding good results, judging from the first three months of a new system, organizers say.

The success of the transition in Bedford has implications for Lynchburg as well. Central Virginia Community Services, which took over emergency mental health at Bedford Community Hospital this summer, likely will take on the same role in Lynchburg in January...


Posted by tAPir at 9:01 AM

November 17, 2004

Antidepressant Use And HRT Have Inverse Relationship

CPA: Antidepressant Use and Hormone Replacement Therapy Have Inverse Relationship Among Postmenopausal Women

By Louise Gagnon
MONTREAL, QC -- October 20, 2004 - There is an inverse relationship between the prescription of antidepressants and the prescription of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) amongst women of menopausal age in Ontario, according to study findings.

In light of the negative publicity resulting from the outcome of the Women's Health Initiative that found detrimental effects of HRT, researchers investigated the effect that the negative publicity had on prescribing practices. Study investigator Roger McIntyre, MD, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto, and head of the Mood Disorders Clinic at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, presented the findings here at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Canadian Psychiatric Association.

"We found that there was an abrupt decrease...


Posted by tAPir at 9:05 AM

November 16, 2004

Mental Health Service Use In NYC Rises Only Slightly

(Health Behavior News Service) -- New Yorkers' use of mental health services rose only slightly during the year after the September 11, 2001, World Trade Center attacks compared with the year before the attacks, a recent study suggests. But the number of mental health visits among people already receiving treatment increased after the attacks.

The study is one of the few to look at long-term use of community mental health services within a population after a major catastrophic event, say Joseph A. Boscarino, Ph.D., M.P.H., and colleagues at the New York Academy of Medicine and Florida State University. Their findings appear in the journal General Hospital Psychiatry.

"Following the World Trade Center attacks, mental health service providers geared up to provide mental health services for thousands of New Yorkers potentially affected by this event," Boscarino says. "This major increase in utilization, however, never...


Posted by tAPir at 9:17 AM

November 15, 2004

Health Woes Continue

A national health report released Monday shows that progress in the nation's overall healthiness is slowing dramatically and even declining in some areas -- a trend that's reflected locally.

Increases in obesity, the number of uninsured individuals and child poverty slowed progress across the nation, according to the report.

Ohio and Kentucky ranked 26th and 39th, respectively, in overall healthiness -- the same positions they held last year.

While both states held their ground in the rankings, the report also shows obesity, smoking and other problems continue to plague Ohio and Kentucky.

The report, "America's Health: State Health Rankings," is produced annually by several nonprofit health organizations and rates the 50 states on 18 measurements. They include personal risk factors such as smoking and obesity; environmental risk factors such as child poverty, crime and disease; public health policies such as spending per person; and outcomes such as cancer deaths and mortality rates.

Both Ohio and Kentucky contributed to the national obesity epidemic, ranking among the top...


Posted by tAPir at 9:12 AM

November 13, 2004

Mental Health Sector "In Crisis"

MENTALLY ill patients were forced to sleep on the floor or kept in seclusion for days because of NSW's chronically under-resourced mental health system, a forum was told today.

Unions, health professionals and frontline workers launched a campaign for better care of the mentally ill at NSW Parliament House.

The Mental Health Workers Alliance (MHWA) is a joint initiative of the NSW Police Association, the NSW Nurses Association, the Australia Salaried Medical Officers Federation, the Health Services Union and the Australian Services Union.

Toby Raeburn, nursing unit manager at the Matthew Talbot Hostel for homeless men in inner Sydney, said mental health care was a basic human right, but it was not available to all.

"The mental health system is going downhill for sure," Mr Raeburn said


Posted by tAPir at 9:13 AM

November 12, 2004

Drugs for GERD Linked To Pneumonia

Heartburn Drugs Linked To Pneumonia
October 27, 2004

CHICAGO (AP) -- Widely used heartburn and ulcer drugs such as Nexium, Pepcid and Prilosec can make people more susceptible to pneumonia, probably because they reduce germ-killing stomach acid, Dutch researchers found in a study of more than 300,000 patients.

The highest risks occurred with more powerful acid-fighting drugs called proton pump inhibitors, which are sold in the United States under such brand names as Nexium, Prevacid and Prilosec. Over nearly three years, users of these drugs faced almost double the risk of developing pneumonia compared with former users.

Users of another class of acid-fighting drugs that includes cimetidine and famotidine -- sold in the United States as Tagamet and Pepcid -- also faced an elevated risk.

The study was led by researcher Robert J.F. Laheij at University Medical Center St. Radboud in Nijmegen, Netherlands, and appears in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association.

The acid in normal stomach fluids generally...


Posted by tAPir at 8:53 AM

November 11, 2004

Depression Rates Escalate On Campus

The �common cold of mental health,� is more common at NAU.

Health experts at Fronske Health Center and Counseling and Testing report the number of students seeking help with depression is increasing.

In the fiscal year 2002-2003, 184 students came into Counseling and Testing with depression, said director Chris Gunn. The number jumped to 214 students in the 2003-2004 school year.

Fronske Health Center has also witnessed a rise in students seeking help with depression, said Dr. Timothy Flemming, Chief of Staff.

Between Aug. 16 and Oct. 25 of this year, 114 patients were diagnosed with depression at Fronske Health Center, Flemming said.

�My impression is that over the past five years we have seen an increase in the number of students coming to the Fronske Health Center with depression,� Flemming said. �The increase has been gradual though. I think it represents the increased awareness and willingness of students to accept the diagnosis and accept treatment.�

Gunn said more than 1,100 students sough counseling last year for a variety of reasons.

One NAU student, who wished to remain unnamed, said she was diagnosed with depression in middle school, but it was difficult for her to accept.

�The symptoms of depression were first recognized...


Posted by tAPir at 9:34 AM

November 10, 2004

Nation Needs Education On Psychotropic Drugs

Now that the election is over, let's hope the White House can focus on the issue of the overmedication of young people with psychotropic drugs, namely, the prescription of stimulants, such as Ritalin, for children diagnosed with attention-deficit (hyperactivity) disorder.

For starters, there is no scientific basis for the diagnosis of ADHD. If a child is bored, distracted and/or boisterous in the classroom, he is often believed to be suffering from ADHD as opposed to, say, childhood.

Every child in public school is required to undergo testing for attention-deficit disorder. The most recent analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 1.6 million elementary school children were diagnosed with ADHD between 1997 and 1998.

By drugging these children into complacency, the pharmaceutical companies make lots of money off of children acting like children. A recent study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that Ritalin has addictive qualities and cardiac side effects similar to those of cocaine. Nonetheless, doctors, school counselors and misinformed parents continue to push the stuff to kids.


Posted by tAPir at 9:16 AM

November 9, 2004

Concern About Home Care Closures

A worried family today joined the growing tide of concerned people who fear their relatives will suffer if specialist care homes in Norfolk are closed.

Plans by the Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health Trust Partnership to close five homes which provide care to more than 100 elderly and mentally ill patients has sparked fears among community members who say care in the community would not be enough.

Janet Hawkins' father, 82-year-old Robert Whitmore, suffers from dementia and is currently being assessed at Julian House in the city, where he has been for the last six weeks.

Last week the Evening News reported how the campaign to prevent the closure of Ellacombe House on Ella Street, Norwich, Cygnet House in Long Stratton, Rebecca House in North Walsham and two units of the old Hellesdon Hospital has caused outrage across the county...


Posted by tAPir at 9:19 AM

November 8, 2004

New Research Needed To Reduce Suicide In Our Young People

UK - Youth suicide is a major global public health issue and consistently ranks as one of the leading cause of death for adolescents aged 15 -19. Suicide accounts for 30% of deaths in the 15-24 year age group. Studies have shown that many young people that die by suicide or who make a serious attempt have a recognisable psychiatric disorder such as depression, anxiety, conduct disorder and substance abuse at the time of their attempt.

Youth suicide prevention, is a joint initiative between the Health Development Agency, the Institute of Public Health in Ireland and Programme for Action in Ireland. It aims to identify all systematic reviews in this field and to analyse and combine the evidence to highlight what measures work to prevent youth suicide.

Professor Mike Kelly, Director of Evidence and Guidance, HDA said:

�Suicide and suicidal behaviour in young people is a significant public health issue. While suicide rates are higher in young adults, many of the risk factors and associated behaviour patterns are established in adolescence. This makes the development of evidence-based suicide prevention strategies a priority for our society. To achieve this, we need the involvement of...


Posted by tAPir at 8:31 AM

November 6, 2004

Alcohol Problems Soar In Guam

Alcohol has become and is still the number one cause of family violence in Guam, say officials of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse drug and alcohol branch.

Statistics have revealed that from October 2003 through April 2004, there were 36 outpatient clients and 34 intensive outpatient clients at the branch.

Paca Remengesau, supervisor for the drug and alcohol branch, said all these family violence and drug/alcohol-related cases were referred to the department by the court system.

"They got into family violence while...


Posted by tAPir at 9:09 AM

November 5, 2004

Helplessness Can Drive You Crazy

Summary: What to do when loved ones battle depression. How to work on keeping a relationship working when one partner is battles depression. Also keeping communication with an unhappy 15-year-old son.

Q: I love my wife, but she's driving me crazy. She's been going through her own personal hell for the last few months with depression. She's in therapy and on medications. I'd love to be able to help her, but I don't know what to do. I don't want to baby her, but I also don't want to push her too much. How do I handle a depressed family member?

Compassionately, lovingly and firmly. The last thing anyone needs is to be blamed for depression. I'm pleased you don't seem to be doing that. People don't choose to be depressed, nor do they stay depressed because it's such a rewarding experience.

Many depressed people don't do much to help themselves. It is the nature of the disorder to make...


Posted by tAPir at 8:44 AM

November 4, 2004

Stress Causes Forgetfulness

WASHINGTON (AP) -- How many people have gotten home after a blindingly stressful day and realize they've forgotten some important event or errand? Well, now at least there's a scientific explanation for the oversight. Stress makes you forgetful.

People going on stage or taking an exam or finding themselves in similarly tough situations already knew this, of course.

But a team of researchers has found how it happens, a discovery that they say could point the way to better treatments for such illnesses as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Stressful situations in which the individual has no control were found to activate an enzyme in the brain called protein kinase C, which impairs the short-term memory and other...


Posted by tAPir at 8:42 AM

November 3, 2004

Viewpoint: Mental Health Reform

Mental Health reform is a pressing, loaded topic which much be approached delicately, but with a great deal of vigilance.
Mental Health reformation is a pressing, loaded topic which must be approached delicately, but with a great deal of vigilance.

In a sense I consider myself an advocate for the mentally ill, as I myself have suffered bouts of severe depression, and have attempted to seek treatment by various recourse over the past 8 years. The means have included involvement in an excellant partial program as well as individual therapy, and one very harrowing stay at a state hospital (self commital).

A very real part of the problem as far as funding in my opinion is that the standard healthcare provider for the average American is sparse in this arena. Part of that I believe is due to the stigma and misunderstanding often associated with varied forms of mental illness.

Often, too often when one approaches...


Posted by tAPir at 8:47 AM

November 2, 2004

Therapy-resistant OCD Responsive To Topiramate

MONTREAL, QUEBEC -- October 19, 2004 -- Topiramate is effective add-on therapy for some patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) who have proved resistant to traditional treatment, according to results of an open-series study presented here at the 54th Canadian Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting.

"A sub-group of patients�responded to the addition of topiramate in their therapy," said Michael Van Ameringen, MD, Principal Investigator and Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. "We have taken [patients'] OCD from very severe to very minimal by adding topiramate to their therapy. It appears promising."


Posted by tAPir at 7:37 AM

November 1, 2004

Depression: It Hurts The Body

Depression is a disorder of the body as much as of the mind. Consider that several of the core symptoms of the condition manifest in body systems: depression invariably expresses itself in a change of appetite, usually inhibiting the desire to eat, but occasionally reversing course, as in atypical depression, and increasing it.

Similarly, the body's need for restorative sleep is profoundly disturbed, and nearly all depressed individuals experience sleep problems; 80% complain of insomnia, another 15% sleep excessively. Insomnia by itself appears to be a risk factor for depression. Most patients complain of body fatigue. In many, energy loss is so overwhelming that physical movement is arduous and grinds to a paralyzing halt.

Increasingly, there's evidence that depression involves various body systems. There seems to be a complex relationship between depression and the heart. Depression raises the risk of heart disease; it also magnifies the deadliness of existing cardiac problems. It's not clear why, although researchers have found that depression alters blood platelets, circulating elements that are responsible for clotting.

What's more, depression leaves footprints on the...


Posted by tAPir at 8:33 AM

October 30, 2004

The Difference Between Panic And Anxiety

What's the difference between worry and panic? Your brain knows, though until now many scientists didn't. Recent research by Wendy Heller, Ph.D., shows that the two states originate in different cerebral hemispheres -- and that previous research had often confused them.

Scientists studying anxiety had produced conflicting reports of its site in the brain, says Heller, because they failed to distinguish anxious apprehension (worry) from anxious arousal (panic). In an effort to sort out the two, Heller and her colleagues compared the brain activity of a group of people who often felt anxious apprehension and...


Posted by tAPir at 8:57 AM

October 29, 2004

Faith And Mental Health: The Link

A Spiritually Inclined Student Is A Happier Student: Study Finds Link Between Faith And Mental Health
October 27, 2004

(USA TODAY) -- College students who participate in religious activities are more likely to have better emotional and mental health than students with no religious involvement, according to a national study of students at 46 wide-ranging colleges and universities.

In addition, students who don't participate in religious activities are more than twice as likely to report poor mental health or depression than students who attend religious services frequently.

Being religious or spiritual certainly seems to contribute to one's sense of psychological well-being, says Alexander Astin, co-principal investigator for the study of 3,680 third-year college students. The study was released this week by the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California-Los Angeles.

Those who participate in religious activities also are less likely to feel...


Posted by tAPir at 9:04 AM

October 28, 2004

Behavior Therapy Urged For Kids With OCD

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 27 (HealthDayNews) -- If you have a child or teenager who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder, a new study strongly suggests that cognitive-behavior therapy should be part of any treatment plan.

The study, which appears in the Oct. 27 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that cognitive-behavior therapy was more effective at relieving the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder than treatment solely with the antidepressant sertraline (Zoloft). However, the study also found a combination of the two was the most effective of all.

"We examined the relative benefit of three active treatments -- cognitive-behavior therapy alone, medication management alone, a combination of...


Posted by tAPir at 7:57 AM

October 27, 2004

Questions Raised Over Antidepressant Safety In The Young

TUESDAY, Oct. 26 (HealthDayNews) -- Mice who were given the generic equivalent of Prozac soon after they were born were prone to anxiety and depression as adults, new research concludes.

Even though the study was not done in humans, it does raise questions about the safety of antidepressants in pregnant women and in young children.

"It seems a reasonable conclusion that these medications are probably acting differently in an underdeveloped nervous system than in a developed nervous system," said Dr. Jay Gingrich, senior author of the study, which appears in the Oct. 29 issue of Science. Gingrich presented the results Tuesday at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego.

The findings come less than two weeks after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration mandated stronger "black box" warnings -- the government's strongest safety alert -- for all antidepressants. That move was largely an outcome of a continuing controversy over...


Posted by tAPir at 7:58 AM

October 26, 2004

Race And Mental Health Disparity

It is a sad fact of life that disparities in insurance coverage and stigma collaborate to keep access to mental health care lagging behind physical health care for everyone. Overall, only one third of Americans with a mental health problem get care. Still, the percentage of African Americans receiving needed care is half that of whites.

California psychologist Gloria Morrow contends that the distrust and stigma that blacks feel about mental-health treatment stem in part from difficulty in finding a therapist to whom they can comfortably relate. African Americans comprise less than 2% of licensed psychiatrists in California and less than 4% of mental-health providers nationally. Mental-health practitioners "don't 'get it' when they are working with people who don't look like them," she insists.

One effect is to shift sufferers into care settings...


Posted by tAPir at 9:03 AM

October 25, 2004

Part of Brain That Extinguishes Fears Found

The areas of the brain involved in learning fears have been known, but new research now identifies the areas involved in extinguishing those fears.

"We have been able to identify neural circuits of extinction learning in humans," said study author Elizabeth Phelps, an associate professor of psychology and neural science from New York University. "This is important, because extinction is a model we can use to look at how we get rid of fears we have learned."

Phelps and her colleagues found the area called the amygdala is a key in both learning and unlearning fears. They also found the ventral medial prefrontal cortex is critical for the long-term extinction of fears, according to their report in the Sept. 16 issue of Neuron.


Posted by tAPir at 9:18 AM

October 23, 2004

Most Palpitations Are Harmless Corrections

If you feel your heart skip a beat, it's probably nothing serious, says an article in the July issue of Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource.

It's likely that your heart didn't actually skip a beat, and what you felt was an early extra heartbeat. When your heart has an early heartbeat, it delays a little longer than normal before it beats again. To you, that may feel like your heart actually skipped a beat.


Posted by tAPir at 9:21 AM

October 22, 2004

Protein Found To Regulate Sleep, Anxiety

brain protein that regulates sleep and anxiety may offer a target for the development of new drugs to treat conditions such as sleep and anxiety disorders and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

In research with rodents, University of California, Irvine scientists found that neuropeptide S (NPS) increases alertness, suppresses sleep and...


Posted by tAPir at 9:05 AM

October 21, 2004

Scholarship Applications For Those Battling Mental Illnesses

NEW YORK, Oct. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- The Center for Reintegration, a non-profit organization working to improve the lives of persons with mental illness, today announced that applications for the 2005-2006 Lilly Moving Lives Forward Reintegration Scholarship are currently available. Interested candidates can now obtain the application from the Center For Reintegration's website at The application deadline is January 14, 2005.

Sponsored by Eli Lilly and Company, the scholarship program was designed to help persons with...


Posted by tAPir at 8:01 AM

October 20, 2004

Mental Health Factoids

* More than 54 million Americans have a mental disorder in any given year, although fewer than 8 million seek treatment (SGRMH, 1999).

* Depression and anxiety disorders � the two most common mental illnesses � each affect 19 million American adults annually (NIMH, 1999).

* Approximately 12 million women in the United States experience depression every year � roughly twice the rate of men (NIMH, 1999).

* One percent of the population (more than 2.5 million Americans) has schizophrenia (Schizophrenia Bulletin, 1998).

* Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, affects more than 2 million Americans (NIMH, 2000).

* Each year, eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa affect millions of Americans, 85-90 percent of whom are teens and young adult women (NMHA, 2000).

* Depression greatly increases the risk of developing heart disease. People with depression are four times more likely to have a heart attack than those with no history of depression (NIMH, 1998).

* Approximately 15 percent of all adults who have a mental illness in any given year also experience a co-occurring substance abuse disorder, which complicates treatment (SGRMH, 1999).

* Up to one-half of all visits to primary care physicians are due to conditions that are caused or exacerbated by mental or emotional problems (CFHC, 1998).


Posted by tAPir at 9:34 AM

October 19, 2004

Is It Just Insomnia?

If you're having trouble dozing at night, the resulting fatigue you feel may be the least of your problems: Insomnia may often be a symptom of a more serious mental disorder.

About a third of U.S. adults suffer from insomnia, yet less than 5% see a physician to treat the problem. Perhaps they should, say Washington State University (WSU) researchers who have found a link between insomnia and...


Posted by tAPir at 8:45 AM

October 18, 2004

Avoid Catastrophic Thinking

There are things we can change about ourselves and things we cannot. Concentrate your energy on what is possible -- too much time has been wasted.

This is the age of psychotherapy and the age of self-improvement. Millions are struggling to change. We diet, we jog, we meditate. We adopt new modes of thought to counteract our depressions. We practice relaxation to curtail stress. We exercise to expand our memory and to quadruple our reading speed. We adopt draconian regimens to give up smoking. We come out of the closet or we try to become heterosexual. We seek to lose our taste for alcohol. We seek more meaning in life. We try to extend our life span.

Sometimes it works. But distressingly often, self-improvement and psychotherapy fail. The cost is enormous. We think we are worthless. We feel guilty and ashamed. We believe we have no willpower and that we are failures. We give up trying to change.

On the other hand, this is not only the age of self-improvement and therapy, but also the age of...


Posted by tAPir at 8:06 AM

October 16, 2004

Sugar Addiction And Dopamine Levels

Sugar addiction is more than a trite expression people use to describe their sweet tooth. A pattern of fasting and overloading on sugary foods may foster dependence, according to a study published in Obesity Research.

"People with a genetic predisposition for addiction can become overly dependent on sugar, particularly if they periodically stop eating and then binge," warns Bart Hoebel, Ph.D., a psychologist at Princeton University who led the study. "Laboratory experiments with rats showed that signs...


Posted by tAPir at 9:14 AM

October 15, 2004

Chronic Anxiety Can Lead To Breakdown Of Function

While short spurts of stress can boost the immune system, lengthy doses lead to a breakdown of immune function, says a study in the July issue of the Psychological Bulletin.

Canadian and American researchers analyzed the findings of 293 studies that included a total of 18,941 people. This review of previous research confirmed that stress does alter the immune system.


Posted by tAPir at 9:20 AM

October 14, 2004

Confusion For Parents And Doctors Regarding FDA Antidepressant Warning

An advisory panel of the FDA (USA) accepted publicly that antidepressants can bring on suicidal thoughts in a number of teenagers who are being treated for depression. According to the panel, there should be stronger �black box� warnings on the drugs. The problem here is that the warning should not deter people who need antidepressants from taking them.

The leading cause of teenage deaths in the USA is accidents, followed by homicides, followed by suicide. In many cases, intensive counselling alone does not help teenagers with depression. The health professional, and the parent(s) have a challenge in treating the depression. In most cases the antidepressants help the patients.

Antidepressants that work well with adults also work well for the majority of teenagers and young people.

Health experts are asking that the warnings on the drugs should emphasize close observation of the teenager during the...


Posted by tAPir at 8:50 AM

October 13, 2004

Sweat The Stress Out

A good dose of exercise may help ease your depression or anxiety.

Even just 10 minutes of moderate exercise can improve your mood, says an article in the July issue of Mayo Clinic HealthSource.

Benefits of exercise include:


Posted by tAPir at 9:24 AM

October 12, 2004

Our Second Brain: The Stomach

Summary: States that human stomach has neurotransmitters similar to the brain. Functions of the stomach; How does the stomach communicates with the brain.

Ever get a gut feeling about someone, or I anxious butterflies in your stomach? That's because you have a second brain in your bowel, according to Michael Gershon, M.D., author of The Second Brain (HarperCollins, 1999), and a neurobiologist at New York's Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. Gershon recently explained to PT how an independent network of over 100 billion neurons in the gut not only signals our bodies to stress but causes illness.

Q Why do we need a second brain?

A Most importantly, to...


Posted by tAPir at 8:46 AM

October 11, 2004

Anxiety And Depression: Two Sides Of The Same Coin

Anxiety and Depression Together

The disorders are two sides of the same coin. Over the past couple of years, clinicians and researchers alike have been moving towards a new conclusion: Depression and anxiety are not two disorders that coexist. They are two faces of one disorder.

Are you anxious or are you depressed? In the world of mental health care, where exact diagnosis dictates treatment, anxiety and depression are regarded as two distinct disorders. But in the world of real people, many suffer from both conditions. In fact, most mood disorders present as a combination of anxiety and depression. Surveys show that 60-70% of those with depression also have anxiety. And half of those with chronic anxiety also have clinically significant symptoms of depression.

The coexistence of anxiety and depression...


October 9, 2004

Pediatricians Treating More Children With Behavioral Health Disorders

WINSTON-SALEM, NC -- September 7, 2004 -- Pediatricians are diagnosing and treating a growing number of children with behavioral health problems. However, they do not always feel comfortable or sufficiently trained to fill this new role, according to a study from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

The study involved interviews with community pediatricians who estimated that an average of about 15 percent of the children they see have behavioral health problems, said Jane Williams, Ph.D., lead author of the study. The report was published in the September issue of Pediatrics.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is the most common behavioral health disorder seen by pediatricians, she said. The pediatricians �expressed a high level of comfort with the diagnosis and frequently or occasionally prescribed stimulants� to treat it.

But when a child is suffering from anxiety or depression, the pediatricians felt...


Posted by tAPir at 8:50 AM

October 8, 2004

FDA To Study Antidepressant Effect On Adults

The Food and Drug Administration will examine clinical trial data for thousands of depressed adults to see if they, like children, suffered increased suicidal thoughts and behaviors while taking antidepressants.

Dr. Janet Woodcock, acting FDA deputy commissioner, could not say how long the exhaustive analysis would take or how much it would cost.


Posted by tAPir at 7:03 AM

October 7, 2004

Stress: It's Far From Simple

It�s blamed for causing a range of symptoms and health problems, but stress isn�t all bad.

Stress has become something of a buzzword in recent times, but it can have different effects, depending on its nature, duration and the individual concerned, says a new report. Two researchers from the Universities of Kentucky and British Columbia have analysed nearly 300...


Posted by tAPir at 9:28 AM

October 6, 2004

Medications And Ramadan

Fasting during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan could lead to problems for Muslims taking oral prescription drugs, says an article in this week's issue of the British Medical Journal.

This year, Ramadan begins Oct. 15. During this month, adult Muslims must refrain from consuming any food, beverages and oral drugs between dawn and dusk. Many Muslim patients who have chronic diseases choose to fast even though Islamic rules say they don't have to, the article noted.


Posted by tAPir at 8:07 AM

October 5, 2004

Gender Impact on Mental Health

Gender matters when it comes to how people deal with mental health problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder.

The difference between men and women may be evident in how they react to such disorders, which symptoms are most prominent, and whether or not they seek help.

For example, women are twice as likely to suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than men, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health...


Posted by tAPir at 7:44 AM

October 4, 2004

New Therapy On Depression Finds Phone Is Effective

Debates about the safety and effectiveness of treatments for depression miss a basic reality about the disease: most people affected by it do not seek help at all, and those who do commonly neglect to complete counseling or drug regimens recommended by doctors. For at least a third of the people who try them, treatments of any kind fall short, surveys show.

But improving success rates may be a matter of picking up the phone, according to a report today in the Journal of the American Medical Association. In a large-scale, 18-month study, doctors in Seattle found that ...


Posted by tAPir at 7:44 AM

October 2, 2004

Calculated Risk-taking And Success

During the 1994 Los Angeles earthquake, my house convulsed in the dark. I leaped from my bed to the hall doorway moments before a bookcase fell across the spot where I had been sleeping. Was my action a gamble or a calculated risk? Was I lucky? When we buy stock, change jobs, buy more computer technology, get married or buy a lottery ticket are we gambling or taking a calculated risk? What's luck got to do with it?

In these turn of the century years, chaos and change bring disruption and opportunity to almost every area of our lives. Job security, gender roles and viable opportunities are in continual change. To keep our balance, survive and thrive we need to be clear and focused in our actions. Every choice we make, including the choice to do nothing, involves some kind of risk. A gamble has a high probability of loss. A calculated risk has a much higher probability of a positive outcome. Knowing the difference is essential to our success.

To make successful decisions and take positive action we must be in the realistic present. Emotional decision making can be lethal when governed by unexamined personal weaknesses and wounds from childhood. Finding and resolving old patterns of emotional highs and lows increases our ability to make a calculated risk. Even if old patterns are not resolved, acknowledging them and setting them aside during decision making can create better chances for being a winner.

Here is a comparison check list of traits and tendencies for gamblers and calculated risk takers.


Posted by tAPir at 9:18 AM

October 1, 2004

Caffeine Withdrawal Recognized As Real Disorder

BETHESDA, MD -- September 29, 2004 -- If you missed your morning coffee and now you have a headache and difficulty concentrating, you might be able to blame it on caffeine withdrawal. In general, the more caffeine consumed, the more severe withdrawal symptoms are likely to be, but as little as one standard cup of coffee a day can produce caffeine addiction, according to a Johns Hopkins study that reviewed over 170 years of caffeine withdrawal research.

Results of the Johns Hopkins study should result in caffeine withdrawal being included in the next edition of the DSM or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, considered the bible of mental disorders, and the diagnosis should be updated in the World Health Organization's ICD, or The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems.

"Caffeine is the world's most commonly used stimulant, and it's cheap and readily available so people can...


Posted by tAPir at 9:16 AM

September 30, 2004

Anxiety Disorders May Be Seeded Early

The roots of anxiety disorders may reach back to infancy, say US scientists. They have found that mice that lack certain receptors in the first days of their lives are unusually anxious in adulthood - even if the receptors are later restored.

The neurotransmitter serotonin has long been associated with mood. Recently, it has been found that mice lacking receptors for serotonin are abnormally anxious, though no one was sure which receptors in particular were responsible.

To track these down, Cornelius Gross at Columbia University in New York and his colleagues created a line of mice that...


Posted by tAPir at 8:46 AM

September 29, 2004

Research Offers Reasons For Smoking

Many people make New Year's Resolutions to quit smoking. Two weeks into the new year many have relapsed and smoked a cigarette. New psychological research offers some reasons for this. One study found that if you can resist the urge to smoke, you will experience fewer cravings. Another study found that people with high self-esteem are especially likely to reject information suggesting that their health behavior (in this case smoking) has been unwise or risky.

In the first study, which appears in the February issue of the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association (APA), psychological researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University assessed smoking urges several times daily in 214 smokers who quit for at least 24 hours while participating in the study. Each participant was equipped with a palm-top computer to record their urges to smoke. The research revealed that how much craving a person experiences on a given day predicts the likelihood of relapse the next day. But the best predictor of relapse was morning craving -- the stronger the craving was...


Posted by tAPir at 8:56 AM

September 28, 2004

Confidence In Your Own Terms

Before starting to work on confidence, I recommend freeing yourself from the pressure to "be a confident person." Confidence isn't so much a personality trait as how comfortable you feel in particular situations.

See for yourself. Take out a piece of paper and write down all the situations you can think of when you feel less confident than you'd like. Now consider everything else you do. Tidying up, watching TV, surfing the Internet....There are dozens of situations you do face confidently. Think, too, if there's been a time when a friend you admired for his/her confidence voiced a problem with a situation you have no trouble with yourself. Even the most outgoing person at the office can freeze up on a first date!

The second tip is to focus on what you do feel rather than what you don't. How do you feel in those situations on your list? Worried? Self-conscious? Embarrassed? You might find, as I do, that when people talk of confidence, what they really mean is the absence of anxiety or self-consciousness. The last tip is to look carefully at the situations on your list. What do they have in common? Type of place? Type or number of people (strangers, professionals, big parties)? Which are the worst? Which are the best ? What do you feel is expected of you?


Posted by tAPir at 8:55 AM

September 27, 2004

Help For Memory Under Stress

MIND-training gurus will tell you that while there is no such thing as a photographic memory, only effective memory techniques.

Psychologists categorise memory as sensory, working and long- term. Sensory memory is stimulated by our five senses and only those that grab our attention are passed into our short-term memory. These will eventually fade if they are not transferred to our long-term memory (the storage unit).

An example is learning the multiplication tables. When we first learn them (through our visual-audio senses), we read and repeat the tables after our teacher without committing them into our working memory until we are tested.

Knowing that we will be punished for not knowing the multiplication tables, we then...


Posted by tAPir at 9:22 AM

September 25, 2004

A New Age Of Innocence

A rash of new books is urging a rebirth of humility and decorum. No one would deny that our culture has become crass and vulgar, but these books have another, more insidious message: they equate innocence with ignorance.

KEEPING WATCH OVER YOUR KIDS' innocence is no easy task. Just ask Michael and Diane Medved, authors of Saving Childhood: Protecting Our Children From the National Assault on Innocence (Harper Collins, 1998). It's not enough to ban television from your home, as the Medveds have, to limit videos to six G-rated hours a week, to carefully screen prospective playmates. Threats to your children's blissful ignorance can still sneak past: a Girl Scout manual contains references to sex. A Judy Blume novel, recommended by a kindly librarian, mentions menstruation. Classmates let slip the names of the Spice Girls.

Fortunately for the Medveds, their offspring have joined in the effort to preserve their naivete. Should the news come on during the family's Sunday drives, the proud parents recount, "our children immediately beg us to turn off the radio, lest they hear something" that "spoils their contentment." And when a haunting song from the soundtrack of Showboat! plays on the stereo, their daughters scream "Fast forward! Fast forward!" because "they wouldn't even consider hearing lyrics that predict sadness or trouble on the horizon."

The Medveds' efforts to safeguard their children's tender sensibilities border on the fanatical (they have forbidden their eldest daughter to read any books published after 1960). But it's hard not to sympathize with their concerns. If innocence is not quite under assault, it has been treated none too gently by the late twentieth century, with its bruising rounds of sex and violence, cynicism and corruption. Our appalled fascination with schoolboy murderers and tiny beauty queens has its source in the fear that childhood's magic has faded, replaced by something harder and harsher.


Posted by tAPir at 6:49 AM

September 24, 2004

Effectiveness of Hypnosis

Imagine yourself lying on an operating table in a humid hospital tent near abattle front during the Vietnam War. Writhing in agony, you plead with the medics to give you something to relieve the pain in your leg. But the supply lines were interrupted hours ago and there is no more anesthetic. What's more, the leg can't be saved. If they don't operate immediately, you hear someone saying in the background, you're going to bleed to death.

The nurse seems unexpectedly centered as she sits beside you, leans over, and looks into your eyes. "It's going to be all right," she says, and you can't help noticing the smell of the soap she uses and the tiny lines around the comers of her mouth. "I know you're a little nervous," she slowly continues, "but you're in excellent hands. You're just going to feel a little pressure while we fix you up." She is so reassuring that you find yourself wanting to believe her. You also find yourself going along with the suggestion that you're only a little nervous, and even feeling relieved to know you're in excellent hands.

As the surgeon attends to your leg, the nurse continues talking to you as though nothing unusual is happening. "You just feel a little more pressure," she says calmly, and you find yourself imagining that none of the pain you've been experiencing all along is really that bad. The operation is completed in what seems like no time at all.

It never occurs to you that you are under the influence of hypnosis, but that is what they tell you when you later ask what happened. You are thankful for the relief you experienced while the surgeon sawed off your leg. You are testimony to the popular belief that hypnosis is a special state of consciousness in which many mental feats become possible--such as enduring surgery sans anesthesia.


Posted by tAPir at 7:58 AM

September 23, 2004

Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is one of the most controversial diagnoses in psychology today. Since it was first introduced in the DSM, psychologists and psychiatrists have been trying to give the somewhat amorphous concepts behind BPD a concrete form. Kernberg's explication of what he calls Borderline Personality Organization is the most general, while Gunderson, though a psychoanalyst, is considered by many to have taken the most scientific approach to defining BPD. The Diagnostic Interview for Borderlines and the DIB-Revised were developed from research done by Gunderson, Kolb, and Zanarini. Finally, there is the "official" DSM-IV definition.
Some researchers, like Judith Herman, believe that BPD is a name given to a particular manifestation of post-traumatic stress disorder: in Trauma and Recovery, she theorizes that when PTSD takes a form that emphasizes heavily its elements of identity and relationship disturbance, it gets called BPD; when the somatic (body) elements are emphasized, it gets called hysteria, and when the dissociative/deformation of consciousness elements are the focus, it gets called DID/MPD. Others believe that the term "borderline personality" has been so misunderstood and misused that trying to refine it is pointless and suggest instead simply scrapping the term...


Posted by tAPir at 9:12 AM

Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is one of the most controversial diagnoses in psychology today. Since it was first introduced in the DSM, psychologists and psychiatrists have been trying to give the somewhat amorphous concepts behind BPD a concrete form. Kernberg's explication of what he calls Borderline Personality Organization is the most general, while Gunderson, though a psychoanalyst, is considered by many to have taken the most scientific approach to defining BPD. The Diagnostic Interview for Borderlines and the DIB-Revised were developed from research done by Gunderson, Kolb, and Zanarini. Finally, there is the "official" DSM-IV definition.
Some researchers, like Judith Herman, believe that BPD is a name given to a particular manifestation of post-traumatic stress disorder: in Trauma and Recovery, she theorizes that when PTSD takes a form that emphasizes heavily its elements of identity and relationship disturbance, it gets called BPD; when the somatic (body) elements are emphasized, it gets called hysteria, and when the dissociative/deformation of consciousness elements are the focus, it gets called DID/MPD. Others believe that the term "borderline personality" has been so misunderstood and misused that trying to refine it is pointless and suggest instead simply scrapping the term...


Posted by tAPir at 9:12 AM

September 22, 2004

New Antidepressant Aids Fibromyalgia Sufferers

A new antidepressant called duloxetine improved symptoms of fibromyalgia -- a chronic and painful musculoskeletal disorder -- in women but not in men, researchers report.

Duloxetine (brand name Cymbalta) was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (news - web sites) to treat major depression and nerve pain suffered by those with diabetes. In the new study, published in the September issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism, the drug was used "off-label," which is legal.

"Antidepressants have been used to treat fibromyalgia for over 10 years," said study author Dr. Lesley Arnold, an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. "The problem has been those medications are poorly tolerated," she said, adding that side effects include weight gain, potential heart problems and excess sedation.


Posted by tAPir at 9:13 AM

September 21, 2004

Vagus Nerve Stimulation For Chronic Depression

CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA -� New long-term findings demonstrate that patients with difficult to treat chronic or recurrent depression continue to respond to vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) therapy for up to two years.

Results from the 60-patient long-term study, led by Mark George, MD, distinguished professor, departments of Psychiatry, Radiology and Neurology at the Medical University of South Carolina, indicate that extended treatment with VNS is associated with the elimination or reduction of depressive symptoms and an improved ability to perform daily functions.

The study, conducted to determine whether the promising results seen in an acute phase (three month) pilot study were sustained after one to two years of treatment with VNS, used remission and response rates as the primary indicators of success. Response means that a patient�s depression symptoms were cut in half; remission means that a patient has become virtually symptom-free. The study found that depressed patients with VNS improved over time in terms of remission and response and also improved in their ability to function:


Posted by tAPir at 9:18 AM

September 20, 2004

Pain Common Side Effect Of Depression

WASHINGTON, DC -- August 25, 2004 -- Physical symptoms are nearly as common as emotional ones in patients suffering from depression, according to Indiana University School of Medicine research published in the August issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Patients with depression frequently talk to their physicians about symptoms such as headache, back or muscle pain, stomach ache and dizziness instead of symptoms more commonly associated with depression such as fatigue, lack of motivation and moodiness, says Kurt Kroenke, M.D., professor of medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics at IU and a research scientist at the Regenstrief Institute, Inc.

"Depression is a risk factor for symptoms of pain," he said. "The most reports of pain - such as muscle pain, headaches, leg pain - are two or three times more common in people with depression."


Posted by tAPir at 8:48 AM

September 18, 2004

Social Phobia: A Personal Story

Living with social-phobia is like a balancing act. You are always balancing the pros and cons of leaving your house and running the risk of having to speak to someone. My illness has manifested to a point where I can no longer leave my house without a great deal of stress. Some days I am okay to go to familiar places. Other days will find me locked in my house with the curtains drawn.

I have not been able to work since 1989. I'm on disability now for my income. It isn't so bad really. I kind of appreciate the freedom of not having a job. I have never liked working. I did it out of neccessity but this social-phobia thing has stopped all that part. The fact that there were people that I had to relate to made it almost impossible for me to go in each day.

Let me start at the beginning. I guess you can say I have had socialphobia all my life. My earliest memories related to socialphobia were of quitting a ballet class because I thought my knees looked deformed and everyone was laughing at the ugly goose trying to be graceful. It was humiliating to point of pain. Pain in my head, fear I couldn't take the emotional rollercoaster anymore and pleaded with my mother to allow me to quit. When she asked me why I just said I didn't like it and no more was said and she allowed me to quit.

Another episode was my piano lessons. I couldn't perform for the private tutor because of stress. I couldn't make him understand I practiced my lesson but when he came my nerve went out the window and my fingers hit all the wrong keys. I was sure he considered me a complete and hopeless case. So again I quit.


Posted by tAPir at 9:28 AM

September 17, 2004

FDA Resisting Antidepressant Probe Lawmakers

Republican lawmakers on Thursday charged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration with hindering a congressional probe into whether the agency suppressed a possible link between antidepressant use and suicidal behavior in youth.

Rep. Joe Barton ... chairman of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, said the FDA (news - web sites) has been uncooperative during the committee's seven-month inquiry.

"Unfortunately, over the last several months, the committee has been met mostly with stonewalling, slow-rolling and plain incompetency from the FDA," said Barton, of Texas.


Posted by tAPir at 8:37 AM

September 16, 2004

Dissociative Identity Disorder

You have dissociative identity disorder, the psychiatrist told me. My mouth hung open in disbelief. This was the third psychiatrist I had seen in six months for evaluation, and this one was on the roster of official court ordered psychiatrists for the county. I had gone to him on my own hoping for a different diagnosis, and was sorely disappointed. Images of Sybil, or an out of control alter frothing at the mouth, flashed into my mind. I worried that I would be seen by others in this light. I knew very little about DID at that time, and had no idea how wrong my misconceptions of it were.

Dissociative identity disorder (DID, formerly called MPD, or multiple personality disorder) is a psychological response to trauma that is usually severe and occurs early in childhood. For the person with DID, the challenge is learning to cope with daily life, while healing from the traumatic events of childhood. In this article, I will be sharing from my perspective both as a health professional, and a survivor, on how to cope with DID. This is NOT meant to replace therapy with a qualified therapist or psychiatrist, but only meant to be informational based on one persons experiences with DID.


Posted by tAPir at 9:11 AM

September 15, 2004

New Warnings Sought On Antidepressants

When the Food and Drug Administration opens an advisory committee hearing tomorrow into the safety of antidepressants, several committee members will push for tougher warnings saying that a child or teenager given the drugs can become suicidal in the first weeks of therapy, they said in interviews.

"I want the warning strengthened," said Dr. Richard Gorman, a member of the committee and a pediatrician from Ellicott City, Md. "I would also like the pharmaceutical companies to send out letters to doctors saying that, in kids, this stuff doesn't work."

Dr. James McGough, another committee member and a professor of clinical psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles, also said he wanted stronger warnings.

For more than a year, agency officials have struggled to find the appropriate balance between warning patients about the possible suicide risk of antidepressants and reassuring those patients that drug therapy can be an effective and safe remedy.


Posted by tAPir at 8:18 AM

September 14, 2004

Mental Illness And The Medical Profession

Somehow we never expect our doctor or psychiatrist to get sick. After all, isn�t their role is to guide us through our own suffering? So what happens when your doctor or psychiatrist experiences a mental illness? This week: the personal and candid stories of two health professionals, on mental health, their unexpected experiences of stigma within the profession, and the challenges of accepting one�s own vulnerabilities in a work culture that demands invincibility.


Natasha Mitchell: Hello there, Natasha Mitchell with this week�s edition of All in the Mind. Thanks for tuning in.

A slightly different program for you today, with two intimate stories of stigma and mental illness � but this time, from members of the medical profession itself. Somehow we just never expect our doctor or our psychiatrist to get sick. We all like to believe that they�re the invincible ones, and that their role is to guide us through our experiences of illness.

As it happens, many doctors aren�t very good at seeking help with personal health problems, and this is especially the case when it comes to their mental health. Self-diagnosis and self-medication among doctors is not uncommon, and as we�ll hear today, stigma towards mental illness exists even amongst their peers, in the very profession that�s charged with treating it.

So it�s rare to hear physicians and psychiatrists talk publicly about their experiences, for fear of the implications it could have for their careers. The two people you�ll hear from today are both successful in their work, but nevertheless � and much to their frustration � they�re still dealing with the ramifications of having experienced mental illness well over a decade ago.

Jill: While we continue to hide it, then nothing will ever change, because stigma can only really exist in an environment of shame. Without shame there is essentially no stigma, and while we continue to hide mental illness and hide the experience, then we perpetuate the stigma. I heard a wonderful suggestion just on that subject yesterday, which was that perhaps we should be encouraging everyone to tick the box marked �I have a mental illness� � and when asked what it is, just say �oh, I have a phobia of spiders�.

Chris: This is to the detriment of people in the medical profession who are supposed to be...


Posted by tAPir at 8:00 AM

September 13, 2004

Abuse Of Anti Anxiety Drugs Rises

Nation�s ER�s Report: Abuse of Anti-Anxiety Drugs Up

The number of drug-abuse related visits to hospital emergency rooms (ERs) involving benzodiazepine medications exceeded 100,000 in 2002, a 41 percent increase since 1995, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration�s Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN). Nearly half of the emergency department (ED) visits involving benzodiazapines -- which include such psychotherapeutic sedatives as Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, and Ativan -- were connected with suicidal ideation, gestures or attempts.


Posted by tAPir at 9:15 AM

September 11, 2004

Ten Points To Remember During Panic Attacks

1. It does not matter �f you feel frightened, bewildered, unreal, unsteady. These feelings are nothing more than an exaggeration of the normal bodily reactions to stress.

2. Just because you have these sensations doesn�t mean you are very sick. These feelings are just unpleasant & frightening, not dangerous. Nothing worse will happen to you.

3. Let your feelings come. They�ve been �n charge of you. You�ve been pumping them up & making them more acute. Stop pumping. Don�t run away from panic. When you feel the panic mount, take a deep breath & as you breathe out...


Posted by tAPir at 9:03 AM

September 10, 2004

Gene Makes Women Prone To Anxiety

Women seem to react worse to negative experiences Genes could explain why women are more prone to stress-related anxiety and mood disorders. US researchers have pinpointed a variation in a gene which controls regulation of a key brain chemical linked to mood.

Their work, on monkeys, suggests people with this variant may be more likely to react badly to negative experiences.

The US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse study appears in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

There is much we can do after our genes are laid down to enhance our ability to cope with stress.

Iain Ryrie The researchers focused on a particular variant of the gene, known as the s allele.

People with this variant produce less of a protein that is involved in regulating levels of a chemical called serotonin in the brain.


Posted by tAPir at 9:04 AM

September 9, 2004

Ten Thousand Steps To Health

Walk (at least) 10,000 steps

Walking throughout the day touted as gradual, realistic approach to fitness

Just as people have looked historically to 12-step programs to restore sanity and sobriety, they now are looking to a 10,000-step program to restore a healthy weight or to maintain it.

From groups like America on the Move and AARP to employers like Piedmont Hospital that reward walkers with the most steps to the king of fast foods, McDonald's, people are recognizing that walking � throughout the day � is a key way to nudge Americans out of sedentary lifestyles.


Step calculus: While losing weight is challenging to millions, the basic premise is simple: Take in less energy � or calories � than the amount of energy expended. Counting steps and adjusting calorie intake accordingly can be a useful tool in doing that. Consider the additional steps necessary to compensate for ordering larger sizes of some common fast-food items:

Based on a successful pilot walking program in Richmond and Madison, Wis., AARP will launch a walking program in 12 states, including Georgia, beginning July 1.

Millions of people have long turned to walking for exercise, but what's different now is walking throughout the day � in the office, at school � and measuring steps with step counters or pedometers clipped onto belts, trousers or shorts. The new walking attitude also focuses on small improvements and learning about energy balance in weight control.


Posted by tAPir at 8:30 AM

September 8, 2004

Alcohol Has No Direct Effect On Social Anxiety

The belief that one has received alcohol, but not alcohol itself, reduces social anxiety, according to study findings published �n the August issue of The American Journal of Psychiatry.

Dr. Joseph Himle, of the University of Michigan �n Ann Arbor & colleagues asked 40 patients diagnosed with social phobia to give two impromptu speeches �n front of a small audience. In the randomized, double-blind study, half of the group received placebo before both speeches. The other half received placebo before...


Posted by tAPir at 9:22 AM

September 7, 2004

New Antidepressant Launched In US

INDIANAPOLIS, IN -- August 24, 2004 -- Cymbalta� (duloxetine HCl; pronounced SIM-BALL-TA), a new treatment for major depression, is now available by prescription in pharmacies across the United States, Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY) announced today.

More than half of the nation's pharmacies, including drug store chains and independents, have stocked Cymbalta and can begin filling prescriptions immediately. Lilly expects more than 80 percent of pharmacies -- more than 44,000 stores -- to have Cymbalta on their shelves by Aug. 30. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Cymbalta, a balanced and potent selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SSNRI), on Aug. 3 for the treatment of major depression.

"The availability of Cymbalta is a long-awaited milestone for patients and physicians -- it's an effective antidepressant that helps treat both...


Posted by tAPir at 8:55 AM

September 6, 2004

New Disease of the Week: A Panic Story

New Disease of the Week
by Snit

I had been having a somewhat bad several days - not horrible, mind you, not so bad I had missed work or ended up calling 911 or spending the night in the emergency room, but still bad. The night before I had not slept well, nor the several nights before that. Just as I would be falling asleep, I would feel one side of my body begin to go numb. I would get startled, and become *convinced* I was having a stroke or a heart attack or some such.

Considering that, the day was as good as I would expect. I felt weak and woozy and had a few minor attacks of faintness and palpitations, but managed to at least look productive and finally made it to 5:00. It was Friday. A whole weekend to sleep in and unwind.

I came home and relaxed in front of the tube. I ate some dinner. As food will often do, it made me feel even weaker. I took my temperature. It was low; about 97.1. Ah ha! When my temperature is cool, I take a warm bath, my temperature increases, and I feel better.

I filled the tub with warm water, added a few drops of soothing lavender oil, and grabbed a book. As I got into the tub I noticed a new spot or freckle or whatever on my leg. Hmmm... thoughts of skin cancer made my pulse quicken, but soon the water and the scent and the book helped me to relax. Ahhh... a piece of heaven. Then IT happened.

I looked down at my legs. The legs I had JUST inspected for spots. On my right leg - just above the knee. IT was there. A big, nasty horrible looking bruise that had appeared from NOWHERE. I was stunned. It was, without exaggeration, easily the size of my palm. And what an awful shade of blue-black. This was it! Mysterious bruises. My blood vessels were rupturing for no reason. This explained the weakness and the numbness and... and EVERYTHING. I was dying. I had only moments to spare. Soon I would pass out. My heart started to race. I ... must ... get ... help ...

I jumped from the shower and RAN to the phone to call 911. Before I dialed, I looked at my leg one more time. Was it really THAT bad. It *was* a very unhealthy color. For a leg. Very much the color of the book I had been reading. The book I had rested on my leg. Right at that spot. Not such a bad color for a book.

I rubbed the "bruise" and it smeared. And I lived to tell this story.


Posted by tAPir at 8:57 AM

September 4, 2004

Marijuana-like Drug Eludes Scientists

As Ricky Williams fights social anxiety disorder with marijuana, scientists are working to take advantage of the plant's anti-anxiety properties while avoiding the drug's side effects.

Ricky Williams' claim that marijuana helps stave off social anxiety may have scientific merit, but developing a drug that could produce similar results will take years, medical experts said Thursday.

In lab animals, higher levels of cannabinoids -- the compounds found in marijuana, and which occur naturally in the brain -- sometimes decrease anxiety.

Scientists are trying to develop a drug that would replicate this effect in humans. But even under the rosiest circumstances, it will take nearly a decade to bring the drug to market.

In the meantime, scientists recommend against smoking marijuana to relax.


Posted by tAPir at 9:12 AM

September 3, 2004

FDA To Issue New Antidepressant Warnings

WASHINGTON (AP) - A new Food and Drug Administration analysis backs earlier suggestions of a link between at least some antidepressants used by children and suicidal tendencies, prompting the agency to prepare new warnings.

Exactly what those warnings will say, and which drugs will be affected, hasn't been settled, according to FDA documents released Friday. The agency will take the debate to its scientific advisers next month for help in deciding.

"While there remains a signal of risk ... for some drugs in some trials, it is important to note that the data are not black-and-white in providing a clear and definitive answer," FDA psychiatric drugs chief Dr. Thomas Laughren wrote the advisory panel this week.

The controversy has simmered since last year, when British health authorities declared that a list of popular antidepressants might sometimes increase the risk of suicidal behavior in children and teenagers, and declared all but one - Prozac - unsuitable for depressed youth.

It's a difficult issue to sort out because depression itself can lead to suicide, and studies show that antidepressants have helped adult depressed patients recover. But, Prozac is the only drug FDA-approved to treat pediatric depression and there is little scientific evidence that any other antidepressant works in that age group, thus deepening concern about even potential risks.


Posted by tAPir at 9:28 AM

September 2, 2004

The Art Of Avoiding Depression

In every way, depression is a growing problem. Rates of depression have steadily climbed over the last 50 years and are significantly higher in those born after 1945 than in those born before In addition, the average age of on set of a first depressive episode is steadily decreasing--it is now mid-20s whereas it once was mid-30s. Cross-cultural data show that the United States has a higher rate of depression than almost any other country, and that as Asian countries Westernize their rates of depression increase correspondingly.

The data make it abundantly clear that these changes are not the product of individual biochemistry or of family genetics but of pathology within our culture. There are many depressogenic factors operating in our culture. Information overload is one. Since 1945 we have accumulated at least as much information as we had throughout history until then. The more information there is, the more we end up essentially skimming the surface. This leads to a style of thinking in which we see only the big picture and miss the depth of detail. As a result, when we are faced with difficult problems, we do not recognize the many small steps that solutions typically require; things feel overwhelming and insurmountable, leading us to give up before we even start.


Posted by tAPir at 8:27 AM

September 1, 2004

Depression And Smoking

Depression is associated with an increased frequency of smoking. Addicted smokers are characterized by preoccupation with smoking, abnormal attachment to cigarettes and anticipation of brain reward from the drugs in cigarette smoke. Attempts to quit smoking often lead to a decreased level of pleasure and undesirable mood swings. Thus, once the brain has adapted to the daily dose of the drug, it seems abnormal to the brain if the user attempts to abstain.
Individuals with underlying or current depressive symptoms are more likely to experience mood disturbances when they attempt to quit. Furthermore, it appears that smoking may mask an underlying depression in some smokers.

New research has suggested that there may be something in cigarette smoke that has antidepressant properties, which explains why cigarette smoking is much more common among depressed patients. A survey of 3,000 individuals in the St. Louis area confirmed that lifetime frequency of major depression was more common among smokers than nonsmokers (6.6 vs. 2.9 percent) This study also demonstrated that smokers who reported at least one episode of major depression were less likely to succeed in smoking cessation programs than smokers without depression (14 vs. 28 percent). These findings have...


Posted by tAPir at 9:30 AM

August 31, 2004

Manage Sources of Stress

Family, marriage, work, and even our own thinking can become sources of stress. Life today is filled with sources of stress much of which cannot be avoided. Often the best we can do is find ways of effectively coping. To be effective we must recognize both the source of stress and appropriate techniques for dealing it.

Family. Families are a complex network of interactions. Each family is a system and hence each interaction and each personality affects the entire system. If one person is ill in your family, it is clear how that illness disrupts the everyday flow of the system. Likewise, it affects the system when one member of the family is angry or depressed. An alcoholic in the family disrupts the system and often leads to the system trying to adapt to the family member. Sometimes that adaptation creates difficulties as well.

The family, like the human body, tries to compensate for an organ that is not functioning up to par. Our entire body may be thrown out of alignment by an injury to an arm or a leg, for example. Similarly, the family in an attempt to compensate for one of its members, may be thrown out of alignment and become dysfunctional. When this occurs it is time to seek professional help. Psychologists and family therapists can help the family focus on the communication styles that throw the family out of alignment.


Posted by tAPir at 9:30 AM

August 30, 2004

5-HTP And The Serotonin Connection

The amino acid tryptophan, present in protein foods, plays a role in a number of biochemical reactions in the body. Some tryptophan becomes protein, some is converted into niacin (vitamin B3) and some enters the brain to become the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin, a key brain chemical, is responsible for producing, among other things, a feeling of calm and well-being. Three decades of research connects various states of depression and anxiety with altered amounts of serotonin.

In the 1970s and 1980s, tryptophan became a popular nutritional supplement because of its role as a precursor to serotonin. Tryptophan proved to be remarkably effective at alleviating symptoms of depression, but in 1989 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the retail sale of tryptophan after a contaminated batch from a single Japanese manufacturer caused a serious condition known as eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS). Although tryptophan itself was not clearly implicated in causing EMS, FDA has steadfastly maintained its ban. Fortunately, another substance has come to light as a natural precursor to serotonin: 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP). Derived from the seed pods of Griffonia simplicifolia, a West African plant, 5-HTP is a close relative of tryptophan and part of the metabolic pathway that leads to serotonin production:


Posted by tAPir at 8:39 AM

August 28, 2004

Fat Intake And Depression


Summary: Answers a question about the link of reduced fat and cholesterol intake with depression and anxiety. Importance of fat for the body; Most dangerous fat for the body found in processed foods; Recommended healthy fats.

Q: I'm a slender 30-year-old woman who does not need to lose weight, but does want to eat as healthful a diet as possible. However, whenever I lower my fat intake, I find I get nervous and depressed. Is there a logical explanation for this, or is it simply my imagination?

A. No, it's not your imagination--your body and brain both need fat to function properly. Studies have linked reduced cholesterol and fat intake with depression and anxiety. Fat is especially important...


Posted by tAPir at 9:19 AM

August 27, 2004

Anxiety And Fragile "X" Syndrome

What Medical Intervention Needs to be Sought for Children With Fragile X Syndrome to Help in Sensory Processing?

Several areas that affect sensory processing may be helped by medication, in addition to counseling, environmental adjustments, and behavioral plans. Anxiety, aggression, and attention are all areas that are affected by sensory overload issues.

Anxiety may be a significant problem for most males and some females with fragile X syndrome. The serotonin agents are often prescribed to help lower anxiety levels (see section on Medication by Dr. Hagerman).

Aggressive outbursts affect some males with fragile X syndrome. Some of the serotonin agents may be helpful, in that they reduce the anxiety that causes the outbursts.

A third area that often requires medical intervention for many children is that of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). (See also the section on Behavior for more information on ADHD). Attention problems interact with sensory overload issues, in that the affected person attends to too many stimuli (the sound of the fluorescent lights, the sight of too many decorations on the wall, etc.).


Posted by tAPir at 9:05 AM

August 26, 2004

Does Weather Affect Your Mood?

Ever been cranky when it is too hot? Have you ever been listless or depressed when its cold or rainy? Can the weather affect our mood? This has always been an intriguing subject. It has been studied by scientists and sociologists. One would think so, just to make an educated guess, especially if it has happened to you. Like when the days are extremely hot, and you feel irritated or moody for no apparent reason. And what about when it is cold or rainy and gloomy and you feel sad, meloncoly, even depressed, but you can't quite put your finger on it. Is there any evidence to substantiate these seemingly bizarre occurances? Phenomenon? Or is there a direct connection between the two?

There are studies that link weather with long periods of high temperatures to increase in crime. It is believed that people get irritable and hostile when it is extremely hot. Several law enforcement agencies have statistics that shows te correlation of the two. Think about how you felt if ever you had experienced a heat wave: hot, irritable, frustrated, maybe even angry.

Another way that has been proven and documented that the weather can affect your mood is called SAD. SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder. SAD is a syndrome characterized by depression...


Posted by tAPir at 8:44 AM

August 25, 2004

Blues Around The World

In the West, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is mostly a winter phenomenon. But two new studies reveal that in other locales, that's not necessarily the case.

Wintertime depression has been linked to melatonin, a hormone we naturally release when darkness falls, which makes us sleepy. Some scientists believe that as day length wanes, melatonin secretion Increases, causing the lethargy linked with SAD. It would follow that SAD would be pervasive in Iceland, where there is very low light during the winter. But a recent study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry showed no evidence of seasonal mood change among Icelanders. The near absence of winter depression was likely caused by a genetic selection process favoring "those who had full stamina during the winter" and could survive the plagues, volcanoes and ice that have pure-reeled Iceland over the past millennium, says Hogni Oskarsson, M.D., a psychiatrist at Ulleval Hospital in Oslo, Norway.


Posted by tAPir at 9:53 AM

August 24, 2004

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety refers to a developmental stage during which the child experiences anxiety when separated from the primary care giver (usually the mother). It is normal between 8 months of age and may last until 14 months old.

In young children, their unwillingness to leave a parent or a caregiver is a sign that attachments have developed between the caregiver and child. They are beginning to understand that each object (including people) in the environment is different and permanent. Young children cannot yet understand time, therefore they do not know when or even if you will ever come back. Children at this stage are struggling between feelings of striking out on their own and yet wanting to stay safe by a parent or caregiver�s side.

Although separation anxieties are normal among infants and toddlers, they are not appropriate for older children or adolescents and may represent symptoms of separation anxiety disorder. To reach the diagnostic threshold for this disorder, the anxiety or fear must cause distress or affect social, academic, or job functioning and must last at least 1 month (American Psychiatric Association, 1994). Children with separation anxiety may cling to their parent and have difficulty falling asleep by themselves at night. When separated, they may fear that...


Posted by tAPir at 9:28 AM

August 23, 2004

Getting The Mental Health Care That's Right For You

Who needs mental health care? Under the guidelines of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by the American Psychiatric Association virtually any person could be diagnosed as having a mental disorder. What is the difference between the person who appears to be successfully dealing with their life, the person who requires individual or family counseling, and the person who requires more intensive interventions such as medication or hospitalization? For the most part the difference is a matter of degree, or severity of the problem.

One method of measuring a persons need for mental health care is the Global Assessment of Functioning outlined by the American Psychiatric Association in the DSM. This assessment tool rates the persons capacity to function in three areas of their life; family, social and work or school. A person who is having severe problems coping in two or three of these areas needs help; likewise a person who is only having problems in one of these areas, but the problems are so debilitating that the person is totally nonfunctional in that area also needs help. A person who is only having mild to moderate problems in one or two of these areas can usually copy without outside intervention. A good rule of thumb to use in considering mental health care is how comfortable the individual is with their situation. If the individual is satisfied with the way their life is going, then intervention is most likely not needed.


Posted by tAPir at 9:22 AM

August 22, 2004

Doing Better, Feeling Worse

Count among the legacies of divorce a certain amount of relationship anxiety. If your parents were divorced, you're likely to think your own marriage is in trouble-even when it isn't.

Men and women whose parents split while they were growing up are just as likely to have a happy marriage as are folks from intact families, reports a team of Michigan sociologists. But even when happily married, they are more likely to think that their own marriage is full of conflict.

Adult children of divorce are 70% more likely than their peers from nonfractured families to fear their marriage is suffering. They're also more inclined to consider divorce in the face of marital problems. Having seen their parents split up, they accept divorce as an option.


Posted by tAPir at 9:43 AM

August 21, 2004

Understanding Intermittent Explosive Disorder

Intermittent Explosive Disorder falls in the category of Impulse-Control Disorders. This disorder is characterized by frequent and often unpredictable episodes of extreme anger or physical outbursts. Between episodes, there is typically no evidence of violence or physical threat. Often genuine regret is expressed after the outburst. Most patients are young men and history will often involve frequent traffic accidents, moving violations and possibly sexual impulsivity. These patients may exhibit extreme sensitivity to alcohol. This disorder is a controversial category because some clinicians believe that it is only a symptom of other diagnoses rather than a disorder on its own (Morrison, 1995).


Posted by tAPir at 9:28 AM

August 20, 2004

Friendship, The Hug Drug

It just may be that no drug is more effective than a good, meaningful chat. In a new study, British researchers have demonstrated the healing power of friendship.

A group of chronically depressed women living in London were randomly assigned to receive a volunteer "befriender" or were placed on a waiting list for one. The befrienders were instructed to be confidants to the depressed women, meeting them regularly for chats over coffee or outings.

Tirril Harris, Ph.D., of Guy's, King's and St. Thomas' schools of medicine in London reports in the Journal of Psychiatry that among the women who saw their volunteer friends regularly throughout the year, 72% experienced a remission in depression compared with just 45% in the control group. That's about the same success rate as antidepressants or cognitive therapy, says Harris.


Posted by tAPir at 9:31 AM

August 19, 2004

Food Neophobia: The Nose Knows

We all have finicky friends who wrinkle their noses at sushi and consider pizza an exotic eat. Now there's a name for their cuisine-challenged condition: food neophobia, or anxiety over trying new foods.

Robert A. Frank, Ph.D., a psychologist at the University of Cincinnati, asked over 300 men and women to rate the smells of foodstuffs like canned asparagus while wearing a "sniffometer," a device which measures the depth of their nasal inhales. They then completed surveys rating their reactions to unfamiliar foods. Neophobics, or those deeming themselves hesitant to try new things, found the smell of strange foods less pleasant and tended to sniff with less vigor than their neophilic, or more culinarily adventurous, counterparts.

Scientists found no differences in the two groups' physical thresholds for intensity of smell and taste, so Frank contends that neophobia is a matter of attitude, not chemistry.


Posted by tAPir at 8:34 AM

August 18, 2004

A Confidence Building Kit

There's more than one way to use the word "confidence." Apart from relaxed or natural, it can also mean "certain" as in "I am confident you will be able to help me." The opposite is uncertainty or doubt. This is true for confidence, the feeling, as well.

For many people, "confidence" is really the absence of anxiety. Anxiety comes in when you're not sure what will happen and start asking "What if?" Think of some situations where you feel less confident than you'd like. What are your "what if's?" What if I say the wrong thing? What if I faint? What if I can't get home? When people get anxious, one "what if" often leads to another, worse "what if" which leaves a lot of questions but no answers.

By Answering your Own Questions With "Then I Will.."


Posted by tAPir at 9:23 AM

August 17, 2004

Anxiety Sufferer Heal Thyself

About 38 million people in 100 countries take Prozac to ease their depression and anxiety. This is just a small indication of the number of people worldwide who rely on medication for emotional pain. At the same time, record numbers are seeking other types of therapy for stress, anxiety and depression.

Stress, anxiety, depression -- while many turn to medication, David Servan-Schreiber, M.D., believes there may be a better option. "What we�re moving towards now is...


Posted by tAPir at 8:15 AM

August 16, 2004

How Much Therapy is Enough?

Feel like you've spent as much time with Shrinky as Woody Allen has? Wondering if you're ever going to get off the proverbial couch? Contrary to what you might think, therapists don't see their patients as lifelong meal tickets.

"In the course of treatment, you obviously touch on a lot of issues," says Leonard Tuzman, DSW, CSW, director of social work services at Hillside Hospital, a part of the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System in New York. "You could continue to work ad nauseum on all those issues, but at some point, patients need to take what they've learned in therapy out into the community. A therapist shouldn't foster lifelong dependency."

"The job of therapy is...


Posted by tAPir at 9:22 AM

August 15, 2004

Tanning Improves Mood

The promise of darker skin lures people to tanning beds. But the relaxing effects of ultraviolet (UV) light keep them coming back, a new study shows.

This newest study examines the complex reasons why people keep returning to tanning beds, despite the skin cancer dangers. Is it just for the darker skin? Or is something else happening? Recent research shows that UV exposure puts tanners in a better mood.

"We believe that ultraviolet light has an effect on mood...


Posted by tAPir at 9:43 AM

August 14, 2004

Anxiety in Children Often Overlooked

Anxiety symptoms and disorders are the number one health problem in America, ranging from a simple Adjustment Disorder to more difficult and debilitating disorders such as Panic Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. According to the most recent data, the lifetime prevalence for anxiety disorders as a whole in adults is about 25%; the frequency in children is unknown, but felt to be significantly underreported and under-diagnosed. More specifically Social Anxiety Disorder has a lifetime risk of 17%, while Panic Disorder occurs in approximately 1-3% of the adult population.

Although quite common, Anxiety Disorders in children often are overlooked or misjudged...


Posted by tAPir at 9:30 AM

August 13, 2004

When Sleep Becomes A Nightmare

Doctors and researchers are finally paying attention to an obscure neurological disorder that disrupts the sleep of countless people worldwide, forcing them to get up and walk around or face discomfort throughout the night.

Experts say many "restless leg syndrome" sufferers don't realize they have an illness and fail to seek help. Some even think the condition is perfectly normal until a bedmate breaks the news that it isn't.

But even now, about a decade into the disease's renaissance as a topic of attention, not everyone takes it seriously.


Posted by tAPir at 9:05 AM

August 12, 2004

Alternatives for Mood Disorders

There are lots of alternative treatments for clinical depression and anxiety disorders, but you may need tried-and-true treatments.

There's growing evidence that caviar, exercise, SAM-e, even meditation can help ease mood disorders. Sounds like more fun than antidepressants -- but psychiatrists don't take it lightly.

In fact, some are concerned. People who rely on alternatives too much -- who don't get treatment that is proven to be effective -- can slip into a more serious clinical depression or anxiety disorder before they realize it.

"There's highly suggestive evidence that some alternatives, especially SAM-e and omega-3 fatty acids, can help, but it's not conclusive," says Andrew F. Leuchter, MD, vice-chair of psychiatry at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute.

"When someone needs treatment, we have to look at what really works," he says. "The real danger is that somebody with serious illness could forgo getting an effective treatment for months, even years."


Posted by tAPir at 8:35 AM

August 11, 2004

Anxiety and Night Eating Syndrome

Most of us have indulged in a snack by the light of the fridge late at night. Those who do it too excessively and too compulsively, however, may have a relatively unknown type of eating disorder: night eating syndrome.

Colleen Rand, Ph.D., of the University of Florida at Gainesville, says that those afflicted may consume half or more of their daily calories after 7 p.m. Because they feel guilty (or simply aren't hunt gry), night eaters may also experience "morning anorexia," abstaining from eating the next day. Night eaters are also frequently troubled by insomnia, which Rand believes might be caused by the same tension and anxiety that drives their overeating.

A study Rand and her colleagues conducted revealed that, among patients so obese that they had to have surgery, 58 percent had experienced night eating syndrome (and 27 percent continued to do so even after surgery). The syndrome's prevalence among the general population was far lower--about 1.5 percent...


Posted by tAPir at 8:31 AM

August 10, 2004

Why Don't Men Like Group Therapy?

In a new study, a group of Canadian researchers focuses on this Mars-Venus issue: Just how much do men really get from short-term group therapy -- especially after a significant loss, like the death of a spouse?

In his study, women got relief from depression, anxiety, and general distress through group therapy -- while men were "virtually unchanged," writes researcher Anthony S. Joyce, PhD, with the University of Alberta and University of Alberta Hospital Site.

Men are often outnumbered by...


Posted by tAPir at 9:22 AM

August 9, 2004

Antidepressant Rx: Careful Monitoring Needed

Who prescribed your antidepressant? Not a psychiatrist, most likely.

Up to 80% of antidepressants are prescribed by primary care doctors - and given the high rate of clinical depression, "that's a good thing," says David Feinberg, MD, a clinical psychiatrist with the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute.

In fact, many insurance plans require a primary care doctor be the first step in treatment.


Posted by tAPir at 9:20 AM

August 8, 2004

Social Phobia Can Last A Lifetime

Most people associate phobias with specific objects, animals or places. But one of the common phobias occurs across a wide spectrum of life situations & can therefore impair many parts of a person�s life. A social phobia �s the persistent, intense fear of social or performance situations. It can be one of the most debilitating of all phobias, yet �s often untreated, even though there are effective ways to overcome �t.

People with social phobia often know that their fears are excessive or unreasonable. They see others cope with & even take enjoyment �n situations that they dread. They wish they could be as relaxed as most people are when they are with others socially. If they are called upon to be the center of attention or to perform �n front of others, they panic. This often interferes with work situations where they are observed by a supervisor.


Posted by tAPir at 9:41 AM

August 7, 2004

I Told You I Was Ill!

Do you know someone who�s convinced they�re ill even when doctors can find nothing wrong? For sufferers, their family and friends, hypochondria is no joke.

Some estimates suggest that one fifth of patients seen by GPs are actually suffering from health anxiety, rather than a physical illness. The character who habitually mistakes their migraine for a brain tumour, or insists their head cold is SARS is often a figure of fun � think Woody Allen or Archie Glover in Only When I Laugh. But for some people, anxiety about their physical well being can become an illness in itself.

Most of us fret about our health from time to time. Perhaps that's why it's so easy to dismiss those most likely to have �I told you I was ill' inscribed on their tombstones. However, there is a point at which this sort of anxiety becomes quite debilitating in itself, and develops into hypochondria.


Posted by tAPir at 9:13 AM

August 6, 2004

Therapeutic Forgetting

Remorse. Heartbreak. Embarrassment. If we could erase memories that haunt us, would we? Should we? Scientists who work with patients suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are developing a new science that has been called "therapeutic forgetting."

But by erasing traumatic memories, are we changing the person? Are we erasing capacity for empathy?

Last year, the President's Council on Bioethics expressed concern that "memory numbing ... could dull the sting of one's own shameful acts ... allow a criminal to numb the memory of his or her victims.

"Separating subjective experience of memory from the true nature of the experience that is remembered cannot be underestimated," says the Council's report. "Do those who suffer evil have a duty to remember and bear witness, lest we forget the very horrors that haunt them?"


Posted by tAPir at 9:21 AM

August 5, 2004

FDA Approves New Antidepressant

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Food and Drug Administration approved sale of a new antidepressant for adults on Wednesday. Called Cymbalta, it should be on pharmacy shelves by late in the month.

Maker Eli Lilly & Co. is banking on Cymbalta as a successor to its once-blockbuster Prozac. Cymbalta, known chemically as duloxetine, is one of a newer class of antidepressants that targets two brain chemicals involved in depression, serotonin and norepinephrine.


Posted by tAPir at 8:48 AM

August 4, 2004

Anxiety During Pregnancy Linked to Kids' Behavior Problems Later

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Women who are chronically stressed out during the middle of a pregnancy are more likely to give birth to children who develop behavioral problems later in life, researchers reported Friday.

The investigators found that women who were very anxious between the 12th and 22nd weeks of their pregnancies were more likely to have children who were also anxious and showed symptoms of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

However, anxiety that occurred later in pregnancy did not appear to influence children's behavior.

Study author Dr. Bea R. H. Van den Bergh explained that women who were highly anxious often had trouble coping with the daily stresses and strains of normal life. For instance, some were struggling with interpersonal relations at work, or because they were living with their in-laws, she said.

She cautioned that children were affected when women experienced prolonged bouts of anxiety, and women should not fear that if they feel anxious for one minute during pregnancy, their children will suffer.


Posted by tAPir at 9:26 AM

August 3, 2004

DEA Approves Trial Use of Ecstasy in Trauma Cases

(March 2, 2004) -- Capping a 17-year effort by a small but committed group of activists, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration has agreed to let a South Carolina physician treat 12 trauma victims with the illegal street drug ecstasy in what will be the first U.S.-approved study of the recreational drug's therapeutic potential.

The DEA's move marks a historic turn for a drug that has long been both venerated and vilified.

Ecstasy, also known as MDMA, is popular among casual drug users for its reputed capacity to engender feelings of love, trust and compassion. The government classifies it with LSD and heroin as a drug with no known medical use and high potential for abuse.

Although the study's approval is by no means a federal endorsement of uncontrolled use, it will give ecstasy's proponents their first legitimate opportunity to prove the drug can offer medical benefits.


Posted by tAPir at 9:39 AM

August 2, 2004

Summer Anxiety

Are the symptoms of your anxiety disorder worse during hot weather? You may not be imagining it. When your body becomes too hot, you may experience symptoms similar to those of an anxiety disorder. If you do not take care of yourself when the weather is hot, you may find your anxiety symptoms escalating.

When your body becomes hot, it works to cool itself. You know your body is working the way it's supposed to be because you will be sweating. This physical change alone, however, is enough to increase anxiety for some. If you are focused on any bodily change (and many people with anxiety are), then you may become concerned that the sweating is related to anxiety or is even the beginning of a panic attack.

In certain situations, your body may not be able to keep cooling itself adequately, particularly if you are not taking care of yourself. Symptoms of too much heat include:

Nausea and vomiting
Difficulty breathing and hyperventilation
Anxiety and mental confusion
Pale, clammy skin
Sound familiar? These are all possible symptoms of anxiety and panic.


Posted by tAPir at 8:52 AM

August 1, 2004

The Case for Active Teens

July 1, 2004 -- Playing sports or just being active may help adolescents reduce their risk of depression, according to a new study.

The study shows that 7th graders who were physically active were less likely to suffer from depression, and students who increased their level of physical activity during the next two years had a lower risk of becoming depressed.

Researchers say...


Posted by tAPir at 8:32 AM

July 31, 2004

Depressed Moms-to-be Lighten Up

PITTSBURGH (Ivanhoe Broadcast News) -- Post-partum depression and even depression during pregnancy are common, but treating the condition can be especially challenging. Antidepressants are rarely recommended for pregnant or breast feeding women. So what�s a woman to do for help?

Motherhood was always in the plans for Laura Stinson. "I always knew I wanted to have four. Then, I had two and said, 'That was enough,'" Laura says.

"Then we were blessed with two extras."

Laura can say that today, but when she was pregnant with Sarah, depression set in.


Posted by tAPir at 9:29 AM

July 30, 2004

Meditate Your Way to Recovery

How many thoughts do we have each day? Some conscientious wag has counted and come up with a figure of 60,000. Of these, 58,000 are apparently the same thoughts we had yesterday. No wonder we are bored with our own company. However, clever people - and in particular creative people - have gaps between thoughts, which is why they come up with new ideas. Simply put, this seems to me what transcendental meditation does: it transcends - or goes beyond - thought, providing these gaps and allowing the mind to programme itself afresh. You do it for 20 minutes, morning and evening.

I learnt about it 15 years ago. A friend I met on a train had just taken it up and I was curious. I don't know what I was expecting but certainly not what happened, which was that after two months I could climb the stairs without taking a puff of my inhaler. I had suffered from asthma since the age of six. They said six puffs of the inhaler a day would fix it, but I was having about 20. After coping with the stairs, I left the inhaler behind when I went out. Then I went away for the weekend without it. Then I forgot about it altogether and haven't used it for years. I learnt that during meditation our oxygen intake drops by 16 per cent.


Posted by tAPir at 9:26 AM

July 29, 2004

Are We Hooked On Happy Pills?

(June 7, 2004) -- Americans' use of medications like Prozac has soared over the past few years. Is our growing pill habit a necessary antidote for our increasingly stressful lives, or do we just feel entitled to happiness on demand?

Crippling Stress
It happened on a sultry September morning in 1998, right after Denise Pinel, then 38, dropped off her two sons for their first day back at school after a busy summer. Walking through the door of her Westminster, California, home, she felt achingly empty. Suddenly, Pinel was enveloped by a suffocating sense of dread: Her heart started racing, her head pounded, and she couldn't catch her breath. "I was so frightened; I thought I was having a heart attack," she recalls.

Her symptoms subsided after a few hours, but over the next two weeks she had several similar episodes. "I felt like I was spiraling out of control," says Pinel, who finally sought help from her family doctor. After reviewing her symptoms and giving her a physical, the doctor diagnosed...


Posted by tAPir at 8:33 AM

July 27, 2004

Medicare Drug Cards: A Good Deal?

Financial advantages of complicated plan vary greatly among senior citizens

Nearly two months after introduction of the new Medicare drug discount cards, one thing is clear: The program is very helpful, of little help and of no help at all.
Which one is it? That depends on whom you ask.

Confused yet?

So are the many senior citizens still trying to figure out what the drug cards are all about.


Posted by tAPir at 9:37 AM

July 26, 2004

Selective Mutism: Unspoken Fear

A deep, inherited anxiety renders children with selective mutism literally speechless

(January 16, 2004) -- The child sits at the back of the classroom and never speaks. His teacher has tried every technique she knows to get him to open up, to respond in even the simplest of ways. Nothing. The boy sits there, silent and stone-faced.

The teacher is frustrated, maybe a little angry. The boy's parents are baffled. At home, their son talks all of the time. No one knows what to do.


Posted by tAPir at 8:33 AM

July 25, 2004

Experts Debate Effects of Violent Games

July 5, 2004
NEW YORK (AP) -- It's hard to find clear answers in the debate between the makers of video games and activists who claim the electronic diversions are destroying an entire generation.

One side claims there is no evidence that games have any damaging psychological effect on the people who play them. The other says the link between game-playing and aggression is as strong as the link between cigarettes and cancer.

A 2001 report by the surgeon general wasn't much help: While noting that media violence had a small effect on physical aggression and a moderate impact on "aggressive thinking," it concluded by saying, "The impact of video games on violent behavior remains to be determined."

When defending games, the industry often cites a 2000 Washington State Department of Health study that found "research evidence is not supportive of a major public concern that...


Posted by tAPir at 10:02 AM

July 24, 2004

Stopping Compulsive Shopping

Shopping can be fun -- and for some even a way to make them feel better -- but it can also become compulsive and addictive just like gambling. Now one drug is putting an end to the obsession for some.

Ada Spade suffered from compulsive shopping -- a clinically diagnosed impulse control disorder. "Even when the brain was telling me, 'You don't need this. You don't need to go to the store.' The rest of the body was not cooperating."


Posted by tAPir at 9:15 AM

July 23, 2004

Take Care When Taking Herbal Supplements

Many people take herbal supplements and believe they are safe simply because they are available on store shelves. There are many supplements that could lead to complications for your health, yet they are still available. One of the more common supplements that has received a FDA warning is kava kava.

Kava kava is a root that is native to the islands of the South Pacific. The root has long been used in ceremonies and tribal rituals. It is chewed or brewed into a beverage. When it is not used for ceremonial rituals, kava is used for the psychiatric treatment of anxiety and insomnia.

Kava is a depressant of the central nervous system, much like alcohol. When taken in large quantities, kava produces euphoria very similar to alcohol intoxication. It is used to reduce anxiety, relieve stress, calm an irritable bladder, provide mild pain relief and as a sleep aid. The general dosage for kava kava is 100 to 200 milligrams of extract taken two to three times a day. This supplement usually takes six to eight weeks for a maximum effect.

Kava can enhance the effects of many drugs such as...


Posted by tAPir at 7:42 AM

July 22, 2004

Understanding Depersonalization and Derealization

What is depersonalization?
Depersonalization is a change in an individuals self-awareness, during anxiety disorder, such that they feel detached from their own experiences, with the self, the body and mind seeming alien or distant.

Although incredibly disturbing to experience depersonalization is quite harmless, it just feels dreadful. It is caused by a shift of perception in the part of the brain that provides us with awareness of our environment an disappears after anxiety levels have been reduced back down to a 'normal' level. Anxiety disorder is the primary cause of these symptoms.

Terms commonly used to describe depersonalization include:


Posted by tAPir at 9:20 AM

July 21, 2004

The Brave New World of Virtual Therapy

July 7, 2004 � You're sitting with your therapist in a lovely green park, telling him about a disturbing dream you had the other night. When he asks you to describe it, you decide to first change your appearance, dim the sun and then begin your story.

No, it's not the real world, but a kind of therapy that Kate Anthony, a London-based therapist, and others envision for the near future.

In virtual, computer enhanced therapy, the therapist and patient engage in healthy discussions through computer animated characters that represent themselves. The patient chooses...


Posted by tAPir at 9:13 AM

July 20, 2004

Coping With Driving Anxiety

Mary Anne Catalano used to be terrified of the highways in Canada.

The 26-year-old athletic therapist spent more than three years completely avoiding the high-speed arteries for fear of getting in an accident or losing control.

"The highway seemed like the scariest thing ever _ it was just way too high-speed," said Catalano, who estimates she added an extra half-hour to her commute every day by opting for a slower route to school from her home in Etobicoke, Ontario.

Catalano is one of thousands of Canadian drivers who experience some degree of anxiety when it comes to getting behind the wheel, said Dr. Martin Antony, director of the Anxiety Treatment and Research Center at St. Joseph's Healthcare in Hamilton, Ontario.

And although most of those individuals never seek treatment for their fear, 1 percent to 5 percent of Canadians develop...


Posted by tAPir at 9:13 AM

July 19, 2004

Avoidant Personality Disorder Overlap With Social Phobia Disorder

Avoidant personality disorder (APD) �s considered to be an active-detached personality pattern, meaning that avoidants purposefully avoid people due to fears of humiliation & rejection. It �s thought to be a pathological syndromal extension of the �normal inhibited� personality, which �s characterized by a watchful behavioral appearance, shy interpersonal conduct, a preoccupied cognitive style, uneasy affective expression & a lonely self-perception ( Millon & Everly ). According to this view, the avoidant pattern seems to range �n varying degrees along a symptomological continuum from mild to extreme. In mild cases, a person may be said to be normally shy, whereas extreme cases indicate personality disorder.


Posted by tAPir at 9:19 AM

July 18, 2004

Psychiatric Medications Pharmacology

Here you'll find the usage, dosage, and side-effects of various psychiatric medications such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, and antianxiety medications.

The information in the "psychiatric medications pharmacology section" of has been selectively abstracted from various sources. The intended use is as an educational aid and does not cover all possible uses, actions, precautions, side effects, or interactions of any of these medications. This information is not intended as medical advice for individual problems or for making an evaluation as to the risks and benefits of taking a particular drug.
The information here should not be used as a substitute for a consultation or visit with your family physician or other health care provider.


Posted by tAPir at 9:40 AM

July 17, 2004

Mentally Ill Kids Locked Away

(AP) Thousands of mentally ill youths are unnecessarily put in juvenile detention centers to await mental health treatment, a House committee reported Wednesday.

Centers usually are not equipped to treat mental illness, and in some cases the youths have not been charged with a crime, said the report by the Democratic staff of the House Government Reform Committee.

"The use of juvenile detention facilities to house youth waiting for community mental health services is widespread and a serious national problem," said the report, which found that two-thirds of juvenile detention facilities hold youths who are waiting for mental health treatment.


Posted by tAPir at 9:33 AM

July 16, 2004

What Price Happiness?

SYDNEY (Reuters) - You don't need millions to be happy. At The Happiness Institute in Australia, a couple of hundred dollars may do the trick.

Since the institute opened its doors this year, men and women of all ages have been paying A$200 an hour (US$140) for lessons in how to feel great.

Businesses are spending as much as A$6,000 on half-day happiness workshops for their staff.

"You can actually increase your happiness levels. That's what we teach," said Timothy Sharp, founder of institute, which also offers group sessions from A$30 a head.

"We take people from zero and try to put a positive in their happiness bank account. You don't have to settle just for OKness. It's no more OK than having a zero bank balance. You can have a lot more," Sharp told Reuters.

Experts say only about 15 percent of happiness comes from income, assets and other financial factors. As much as 90 percent comes from elements such as...


Posted by tAPir at 9:20 AM

July 15, 2004

Grant for Post-Disaster Mental Health Treatment

NEW YORK (AP) _ The National Institutes of Health awarded $1.5 million Wednesday to establish a center to train researchers to study mental health after a disaster or terrorist attack.

The grant to the New York Academy of Medicine and the Medical University of South Carolina will set up the Disaster Research Education and Mentoring Center. It will train scientists to collect better data about people's mental health after disasters to help coordinate post-disaster relief services and health policy, leaders of the center said.


Posted by tAPir at 8:33 AM

July 14, 2004

Symptoms of Stress as Warning Signals

It's far better to deal with any symptom of stress earlier rather than later. Stress is a condition that can build up over time if left unchecked. So, become watchful for any anxiety stress symptoms.

Our bodies tell us through symptoms of stress that something is wrong. It is important to be alert to such anxiety stress symptoms and understand the situations that cause them.

A persistent symptom of stress can be a considerable health risk as they deplete your immune system. Some research even claims that 90% of illness is stress-related.


Posted by tAPir at 9:17 AM

July 13, 2004

Dealing With Obsessive Thoughts

Obsessions are normal thoughts exaggerated with increased duration and intensity. Everyone has unwanted thoughts some of the time. Doubt makes the thoughts stronger. It is important to remember that no matter what the content of the obsessive thoughts, people with obsessions are very unlikely to actually carry out the negative ideas themselves. Obsessions do not have anything to do with the character and morals of the person or what is really happening or about to happen in a person�s life. Always remember that obsessive thoughts don�t really mean anything - they are just static from the striatal area of the brain. Do not judge yourself because of the obsessive thoughts or search for meaning in them. Obsessions are stimulated by anxiety and anxiety is stimulated by the brain as well as other events like sleep, diet, exercise, stress, etc.

Obsessive tendencies tend to be cyclical based on life-phase, environmental stressors, and even season of the year. Most people with obsessive tendencies...


Posted by tAPir at 9:12 AM

July 12, 2004

Storm Phobia

(June 26, 2004) -- You probably know a storm phobic and don't even realize it. It's believed nearly 8 million Americans suffer from weather anxieties.

Jesus Flores is one of them. "If there was a threat of overnight storms, especially if those storms were to be severe I would grab a blanket, a weather radio, and something to drink and I would barricade myself in the closet and sort of listen in to the weather stations."

Jesus's experience is typical as we discovered in e-mails from other storm phobics...


Posted by tAPir at 9:25 AM

July 11, 2004

Stressed Women Seek Fatty Foods

(AP) Tough day at work? That might be one more reason to watch what you eat when you get home.

It is well-established that people often eat to relieve stress. But a study published in the monthly Journal of Applied Social Psychology found that even after the stress was over, women who were more frustrated by it ate more fatty foods than those who were not as frustrated.

One surprising finding: Men's snack preferences stayed the same, regardless of their stress levels.

"A lot of studies have looked at ...


Posted by tAPir at 9:45 AM

July 10, 2004

Mental Health Court Helping Kids

The 13-year-old St. Bernard boy was always rambunctious, but no more so than other boys.

Then, when kids started teasing him last year, he fought back with his fists. The fights prompted school officials to call his home, his mother said. Then came a notice in the mail ordering the boy to appear in juvenile court on a charge of disorderly conduct.

But court officials found that the sixth-grader wasn't a bad kid with a bad temper and a long rap sheet. He was mentally ill. And that was the cause of his outbursts and violence.

So, instead of putting him in a jail cell, the new Hamilton County Juvenile Mental Health Court - one of the first in the nation - let him stay home and sent a team of professionals to him and his family to treat his illness. The boy, diagnosed as bipolar, is the first child to complete the requirements of the court, which started in January.


Posted by tAPir at 9:24 AM

July 9, 2004

Depression and Fibromyalgia

The problem with fibromyalgia is that many of its symptoms mimic those of other diseases. Matallana saw 37 doctors over two years and was given high-level steroids during the eight months she was treated for lupus - a disease she never had.

Doctors can be puzzled by the array of symptoms, which besides widespread stiffness and aching often include fatigue, headache, irritable bowel, sleep disturbances and depression. Although the condition has no cure, it's not terminal and it does not deteriorate or damage the body.

Roland Staud, associate professor of medicine at the University of Florida, said that patients also experience hypersensitivity to touch, temperature, sound and electric stimuli.

The condition was once dismissed by doctors as...


Posted by tAPir at 9:21 AM

July 8, 2004

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: What is it?

CBT views the client as an active participant in his or her own treatment. It is seen as beneficial if the client understands exactly what is involved in treatment, and the theory behind why certain treatment protocols are chosen.. Here is what you could expect if you sought CBT treatment for an anxiety problem.

The focus of Therapy is to help the client learn new ways to think about and behave towards situations which create anxiety.

CBT is formulated on the hypothesis that significant contributions to the development and maintenance of anxiety disorders include faulty learning experiences and distorted thinking. The focus of therapy is to help the client learn...


Posted by tAPir at 8:42 AM

July 7, 2004

Panic Spells Traced to Chemical in the Brain

Sudden heart-pounding panic attacks are most likely caused by abnormalities in the brain, new evidence suggests, reinforcing earlier research on animals.

People with panic disorder, according to scientists at the National Institutes of Health, have drastic reductions of a type of serotonin receptor, called 5-HT1A, in three areas of the brain. The findings, reported last week in The Journal of Neuroscience, lend credence to the suspicion that serotonin dysfunction plays a role in the disorder.

"This provides evidence...


Posted by tAPir at 8:57 AM

July 6, 2004

Understanding Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Everyone has bothersome worries now and again. Worries that consume a person are called "obsessions." Obsessions are uninvited or "intrusive" thoughts, urges or images that surface in the mind over and over again. People with OCD usually know that their obsessions are creations of their own minds, but they can't control, ignore or get rid of them.

Often people with OCD will try to reduce or suppress their obsessions by acting out certain rituals. Many people have rituals, or specific ways of doing things. For people with OCD, however, rituals may become "stuck," and last for hours. When taken to this extreme, rituals are called "compulsions."

When obsessions and compulsions get out of control...


Posted by tAPir at 9:39 AM

July 5, 2004

Estrogen Involved in Stress Response

New research from Yale University may help explain why women are twice as likely as men to suffer from stress-related mental illnesses such as depression. Animal studies show that high levels of the female sex hormone estrogen affect the brain's ability to deal with stress.

Estrogen was found to amplify the stress response in areas of the brain most closely identified with depression and other stress-related mental illnesses. Researchers say the findings...


Posted by tAPir at 9:10 AM

July 4, 2004

Filing an ADA Employment Discrimination Charge: Making it Work For You

Do many people with psychiatric disabilities file employment discrimination charges?

Yes. Psychiatric disabilities are among the most frequent disabilities cited by individuals who file ADA employment discrimination charges. In recent years, psychiatric disabilities have been cited in roughly 15 percent of the charges filed under the ADA each year.

Over what issues do people with psychiatric disabilities tend to file charges?

The reason that most people with psychiatric disabilities file charges is because...


July 3, 2004

Insurance Costs Largest Barrier To Those Seeking Mental Health Treatment

Nearly half of Americans have had someone in their household seek mental health treatment, but most still perceive cost and lack of insurance coverage as barriers.

May 14, 2004 (AXcess News) Washington DC - Nearly half of Americans have had someone in their household seek mental health treatment, but most still perceive cost and lack of insurance coverage as barriers according to national poll results released today by the American Psychological Association (APA).

The poll also shows that stigma about seeking mental health treatment is increasingly less of a barrier to getting treatment. Nearly half (48%) of American households have had someone see a mental health professional and nine out of 10 Americans say they are likely to consult or recommend a mental health professional if they or a family member are experiencing a problem.

Those polled say lack of insurance coverage (87%) and concerns about the cost of treatment (81%) are important reasons not to seek help from a mental health professional. More and more Americans (85%) think health insurance should cover mental health services, up from....


Posted by tAPir at 9:09 AM

July 2, 2004

Understanding Agoraphobia

Agoraphobia affects about a third of all people with Panic disorders. In studies of agoraphobics it was found that the majority of sufferers also had Panic attacks and the Panic attacks always started before the agoraphobia. In about 75% of the cases studied, agoraphobic episodes began within a year of the initial Panic attack. This can be attributable to the sufferer not wanting the embarrassment of having a Panic attack in public and so they remain at home where they feel safe.

Agoraphobia is not, as many people believe, just about open spaces. It is really a fear of being in any place or situation where the sufferer does not feel safe or where the sufferer feels trapped, and he/she is driven by an uncontrollable urge to escape to a place of safety which, in most cases, is his/her own home.

Defined as: Anxiety about being in places from which escape might be difficult (or embarrassing) or in which help may not be available in the event of having an unexpected or situationally predisposed Panic Attack or panic-like symptoms. Agoraphobic fears typically involve...


Posted by tAPir at 9:20 AM

July 1, 2004

Anxiety Disorders: A Family Affair

Psychiatric researchers have long been trying to understand the origins of mental illness. For a considerable period of time, there were two camps that appeared to be at odds with each other, the well-known Nature-Nurture debate. It goes something like this:

Nature: �Mental illness is just something you are born with, and no matter what happens to you in life, you can�t escape your fate of suffering.�

Nurture: �One�s emotional health is determined by the sum of life experiences. Therefore, if you have a mental illness, blame it on your upbringing or other experiences in your life.�

Various lines of research seemed to...


Posted by tAPir at 8:46 AM

June 30, 2004

Topiramate May Have Role In Treatment Resistant OCD

PARIS, FRANCE -- June 23, 2004 -- Results of a small pilot study suggest that adjunctive use of topiramate may benefit patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) that is resistant to treatment with a serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SRI).

The new data on topiramate, an anticonvulsant agent that is thought to have glutamatergic properties, were reported here on June 23rd at the XXIV Collegium Internationale Neuro-psychopharmacologicum Congress.

Michael Van Ameringen, MD, Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada, presented results on 16 patients in whom topiramate was gradually added in titrated dose increments to a maximum of 400 mg/day over a period of 14 to 26 weeks.


Posted by tAPir at 8:52 AM

June 29, 2004

IBS And Stress

What is irritable bowel syndrome?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a problem with the intestines. In people with IBS, the intestines squeeze too hard or not hard enough and cause food to move too quickly or too slowly through the intestines.

IBS is also called functional bowel syndrome, irritable colon (the large intestine is also called the colon), spastic bowel and spastic colon. It's not the same as inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis.


Posted by tAPir at 9:25 AM

June 28, 2004

Mental Health System in Trouble, Survey Says

Community leaders are more worried about the status of the mental health system than the general public, according to a new nationwide survey by Campaign for the Mind of America.

Nov 13, 2003 (SHFW) WASHINGTON - Community leaders are more worried about the status of the mental health system than the general public, according to a new nationwide survey released Monday by the Campaign for the Mind of America.

"Americans are rightly concerned about the inadequacy of health care in our country, but one part of the health care that is dramatically worse than the rest" is the mental health care system, said Richard C. Birkel, executive director of NAMI - the Nation's Voice on Mental Illness. "We're still in the free fall. The situation is a national, even international, disgrace and increasingly dangerous."

The Campaign for the Mind of America is a multi-year national and state initiative to increase access to mental health treatment services by changing federal and state public policies and priorities.


Posted by tAPir at 9:05 AM

June 27, 2004

Low Serotonin Levels Linked to Suicide and Aggression


Aggression, suicide again linked to reduced serotonin activity
A recent report adds to the growing body of evidence linking low serotonin levels to aggression and suicidal behavior.

G. P. Placidi and colleagues studied 93 individuals suffering from depression, measuring their cerebrospinal fluid levels of metabolites of the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. They found that higher lifetime levels of aggression were strongly correlated with lower cerebrospinal fluid levels of 5-hydroxyindolacetic acid (5- HIAA), the major metabolite of serotonin. In addition, their data showed...


Posted by tAPir at 9:53 AM

June 26, 2004

FDA Takes More Time to Review Lilly Drug

Delay on Cymbalta, seen as a potential gold mine, isn't tied to suicide, firm says.

The Food and Drug Administration has extended by three months its deadline to decide on Eli Lilly and Co.'s application to sell the potential blockbuster antidepressant Cymbalta.

The drug gained attention after the suicide of Traci Johnson, a healthy 19-year-old woman who took the drug during a Lilly clinical trial.

Lilly spokesman David Shaffer said the extension is not related to the Feb. 7 suicide at Lilly's Indianapolis clinic.

"It absolutely is not related to that (suicide)," Shaffer said. "We'd know what the subject is they're looking at right now, and that's not it."

Lilly is counting on Cymbalta, which analysts say could generate sales of more than $1 billion a year, to step into the gap left by its former No. 1 Prozac, an antidepressant that lost U.S. patent protection in 2001.


Posted by tAPir at 9:27 AM

June 25, 2004

Tiagabine Effective for Treatment of Anxiety in Patients With Inadequate Response to Selective SSRIs

PARIS, FRANCE -- June 21, 2004 -- Tiagabine may provide effective augmentation therapy in patients with generalized anxiety disorder who are partial responders to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) therapy, researchers reported here on June 21st at the at the XXIV Collegium Internationale Neuro-psychopharmacologicum Congress.

Tiagabine selectively inhibits gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) reuptake and the GAT-1 GABA transporter, thus increasing its synaptic GABA availability.


Posted by tAPir at 9:25 AM

June 24, 2004

Anxiety Fighting Foods

Anxiety and panic can interfere with normal life and certain nutrients may help the body and mind to cope. The B vitamins (niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, B6, biotin, pantothenic acid, B12, folic acid) are all important for the healthy functioning of the nervous system, especially the production of the key chemical messengers in the brain called neurotransmitters. Thiamin is particularly beneficial...


Posted by tAPir at 8:38 AM

June 23, 2004

Glaxo to Post all Drug Trial Results on Web

NEW YORK (AP) � GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), which has been sued by the New York attorney general for fraud for withholding critical clinical information, announced Friday it will post the results of all of its drug trials on the Web.
Glaxo's announcement comes two weeks after the lawsuit was filed, and three days after the an American Medical Association resolution called on the government to create a public registry for all drug study results.


Posted by tAPir at 9:16 AM

June 22, 2004

Hyper Arousal Linked to Fragile X Syndrome

Problems with both hyper vigilance (or hyper arousal) and hypo arousal are seen in many persons with fragile X syndrome. In early development, parents often notice the infant's hypersensitivity to sounds, light, touch, and textures. Many infants and young children with fragile X show difficulties in sleeping, with hypersensitivity to sounds or light. Difficulties in falling asleep or in staying asleep may persist long past when other children are sleeping through the night. Sleep disturbances may be related to a reduction in rapid eye movement sleep and abnormal EEG patterns.


Posted by tAPir at 9:04 AM

June 20, 2004

The Challenge of Menopausal Depression

ANAHEIM, CA -- May 14, 2004 -- Depression commonly accompanies menopause and in fact is more common in the perimenopausal years. Treatment is challenging given the new take on hormonal treatments following the early halt to the Women's Health Initiative study.

In a presentation here May 13th at the Annual Pri-Med West Conference and Exhibition, Karen J. Carlson, MD, assistant professor of medicine and deputy director of the Center of Excellence in Women's Health, Harvard Medical School, and director, Women's Health Associates, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, said that women who are at risk for depression in their menopausal years are those...


Posted by tAPir at 9:18 AM

June 19, 2004

Is Guilt Standing in the Way of Your Personal Wellness?

When Cathy posted her message on the Panic/Anxiety Disorders Support Forum, many people responded to her, urging her to let go of the guilt. How quickly most of us feel compassion for someone like Cathy, but many of us are slow to let go of our own guilt.

Guilt may make recovery from anxiety disorders difficult. It may lead to self-hatred, like it has for Cathy. If you find yourself feeling guilty on a regular basis, you may want to face it and learn what you can do about it.

What Is Guilt?

Guilt is the inability to forgive oneself for a perceived wrongdoing. Perceived wrongdoing means...


Posted by tAPir at 8:15 AM

June 18, 2004

Eating Disorders Linked to OCD

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Scientists have noted that many people with the eating disorders anorexia nervosa and bulimia also have obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, a condition that cause people to repeat thoughts or acts for no apparent reason. Given this association, some have speculated that eating disorders may be genetically linked in some way to OCD. A new study from Italian researchers seems to confirm those speculations.

In this study, investigators measured the incidence of OCD among first-degree relatives of female subjects with eating disorders and compared it to the incidence among relatives of women without eating disorders.


Posted by tAPir at 9:19 AM

June 17, 2004

Early Sleep Problems, Later Drug and Anxiety Problems?

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Boys who have trouble sleeping between the ages of 3 and 5 may be at higher risk of drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes and using drugs as young teenagers, new research suggests.

Kids who often struggled to fall asleep or were overtired were also more likely to show symptoms of anxiety or depression and have attention problems later in life.

Study author Dr. Maria Wong of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor cautioned that many children have sleeping problems...


Posted by tAPir at 9:28 AM

June 16, 2004

Choosing a Good Therapist

You deserve a competent counselor, someone who can really help you, and not hurt you, or waste your time. You probably agree. But do you know how to find one? Do you know how to tell a good therapist from a bad therapist? I found that people put up with unsound and even dangerous and abusive behavior from their therapists and counselors, simply because they don�t know that they don�t have to.

In the course of my cyberspace travels, I have met many readers who gave up on psychotherapy, because of a bad experience. If they had known just a little about how psychotherapy works, and what they should have expected, they might have been able to avoid a bad therapist, and find the help they deserved.

So in this article, I will try to equip you, as a consumer, with one method you can use to judge whether you are getting the help you need.

When you do find the right therapist, you will be truly amazed at the dramatic difference good counseling can make in your life -- you can at last begin your journey toward the inner wholeness you long for.


Posted by tAPir at 8:37 AM

June 15, 2004

Tell Someone About Your Anxiety Disorder

A challenge for many with anxiety disorders is explaining them to others. Whether it's a spouse or a co-worker, you can make the task easier by planning ahead.

Difficulty: Average

Time Required: Varies

Here's How:
1. To begin your preparations, consider writing your thoughts regarding each of the steps listed here. Writing can help you clarify your thoughts and reasons for each decision you make.


Posted by tAPir at 8:45 AM

June 14, 2004

Considering PTSD in the Treatment of Female Victims of Intimate Partner Violence

While most anxiety disorders are characterized by fear of a situation or object that people generally do not find threatening, posttraumatic stress disorder develops in response to experiences that would be considered traumatic or terrifying to most people (e.g., a life-threatening situation, serious injury or threat to one's physical integrity). Individuals can respond to these experiences with intense fear, horror or a sense of helplessness. The DSM-IV characterizes PTSD in three clusters of symptoms:


Posted by tAPir at 9:12 AM

June 13, 2004

Yohimbe Tree Bark Could Revolutionize Treatment of Anxiety Disorders

New findings at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute demonstrate the potential of a substance found in yohimbe tree bark to accelerate recovery from anxiety disorders suffered by millions of Americans.

In the latest in a series of studies of how mice acquire, express and extinguish conditioned fear, the UCLA team finds yohimbine helps mice learn to overcome the fear faster by enhancing the effects of the natural release of adrenaline. Adrenaline prompts physiological changes such as increased heart and metabolism rates in response to physical and mental stress.

Writing in the March/April edition of the peer-reviewed journal Learning and Memory, the team reported that...


Posted by tAPir at 9:51 AM

June 12, 2004

Study Shows Mental Disorders Prevalent in 14 Countries

Mental illnesses including anxiety disorders and depression are common and under-treated in many developed and developing countries, with the highest rate found in the United States, according to a study of 14 countries.

Based on face-to-face diagnostic surveys in the homes of 60,463 adults, the study found that mental ailments affect more than 10 percent of people queried in more than half the countries surveyed.


Posted by tAPir at 9:16 AM

June 11, 2004

Psychological Debriefing Does Not Prevent Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Individuals exposed to horrifying, life-threatening events are at heightened risk for posttraumatic stress disorder. Given the substantial personal and societal costs of chronic PTSD, mental health care professionals have developed early intervention methods designed to mitigate acute emotional distress and prevent the emergence of posttraumatic psychopathology. The method most widely used throughout the world is psychological debriefing.

Psychological debriefing is a brief crisis intervention usually administered within days of a traumatic event (Raphael and Wilson, 2000). A debriefing session, especially if done with a group of individuals (e.g., firefighters), usually lasts...


Posted by tAPir at 9:14 AM

June 10, 2004

Consensus Panel Urges Monitoring for Metabolic Effects of Atypical Antipsychotics

A recent Consensus Statement formulated by four major medical associations encouraged physicians to screen and monitor their patients on atypical antipsychotics for signs of rapid weight gain or other problems leading to obesity, diabetes and dyslipidemia. Yet, that same Consensus Statement has potentially evoked disagreements among pharmaceutical companies.

The Consensus Statement, published in the February issues of Diabetes Care and Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, was issued by an eight-person panel representing the American Diabetes Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and the North American Association for the Study of Obesity. The panelists not only reviewed clinical studies examining the relationships between second-generation antipsychotics and diabetes, but they also heard presentations from experts in the fields of psychiatry, obesity and diabetes and from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and pharmaceutical company representatives.


Posted by tAPir at 8:52 AM

June 9, 2004

Imaginary Maladies Online Internet Spreads "Cyberchondria"

At her most worried, Melissa Woyechowsky sometimes spent four hours a day on the Internet looking up her symptoms. There was the tingling, the numbness in her limbs, insomnia, fatigue. She fretted over them all.

"Multiple sclerosis was a big one,'' she said. "And HIV and cancer. I was doing these searches, and it had almost a magical aspect to it. I was on the Internet and an MS ad popped up. I thought, 'It's a sign.' "

It turns out that Woyechowsky, an artist in the Southern California desert town of Twentynine Palms who used to live in San Francisco, had none of those maladies. What she had, she learned later, was health anxiety, a fixation that affects an estimated 2 to 3 percent of adults in America, but which often goes undiagnosed -- though not undiscussed, at least on the Internet.

Doctors used to call it by a common name ...


Posted by tAPir at 8:39 AM

June 8, 2004

Does tAPir Need a Diet?

tAPir Diet Discussed

Recently, we asked "Does the tAPir Need a Diet?"

The tAPir Staff has gotten messages expressing concern that the Bulletin Board has become too large, too difficult to navigate, and (because of that) too divisive. We have no immediate plans to change anything but are interested in getting a feel for the opinion of the tAPir Community.

The Results
Does the tAPir Need a Diet?

no, the tAPir would be cuter if plumper [ 3 ] [5.00%]
no, the tAPir is just right [ 30 ] [50.00%]
yes, the tAPir needs a bit of the no-carbs [ 16 ] [26.67%]
yes, the tAPir needs gastric bypass [ 11 ] [18.33%]
Total Votes: 60

We have nearly a 50/50 split so our poll, while informative, didn't decide the issue for us. For now, we will leave things as they are but will likely combine a few forums in the future and eliminate subforums altogether.

Thanks for your input.

Posted by tAPir at 9:32 AM

June 7, 2004

Greater Severity Of Depressive Symptoms Correlates With Increased Risk Of Stroke

Greater severity of depressive symptoms correlates with increased risk of stroke among whites, according to research presented at the American Academy of Neurology 56th Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

Greater severity of depressive symptoms correlates with increased risk of stroke among whites, according to research presented at the American Academy of Neurology 56th Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

The same relationship was not found among blacks or Hispanics, although this may be due to limitations in the tool used to assess depression, according to lead study author Ji Chong, MD, clinical stroke fellow at the Neurological Institute, Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City.

"Studies have found depressive symptoms to be a risk factor for stroke," said Chong, "but it is not clear if greater levels of depression confer greater risk." To answer this question, she and her colleagues...


Posted by tAPir at 8:54 AM

June 6, 2004

Sensitivity Allergies Affect Lifestyle

Allyson Ollivier, a 51-year-old Provo resident, was once healthy and active. Employed by a local lasik-eye surgeon, Ollivier worked part-time assisting in eye surgeries and lasik eye procedures.

A little less than a year ago, Ollivier returned home to find that the carpet had been removed and the base of the floor sanded off as part of a remodeling project she and her husband were doing.

Immediately she felt her respiratory system begin to close off. As she struggled to breathe, she was unaware of the chemical hazard she had just encountered. An extremely high level of formaldehyde, a colorless, flammable gas, had triggered a condition she was not aware affected her-multiple chemical sensitivity.

"It was something I had never heard of," Ollivier said. "If I had heard about it before I learned what it actually was, I would have thought it sounded far-fetched, too."

About 35 million Americans suffer...


Posted by tAPir at 9:40 AM

June 5, 2004

Depression Diagnosis Rate Rising Among US Children Along With SSRI Use

NEW YORK, NY -- May 5, 2004 -- Over the past 12 years there has been a significant increase in the rate of children and adolescents in the U.S. who are diagnosed with depression and in rate of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) being prescribed for children with depression, researchers reported here on May 4th at the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting.

"We found that antidepressant use has grown among children aged 5 to 18 years old," said lead investigator Linda Robinson, MSPH, Research Coordinator, Pharmacoeconomics Division, Pharmacoepidemiology Unit, School of Pharmacy, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington.

"In 1998 the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry suggested against...


Posted by tAPir at 9:07 AM

June 4, 2004

Vertigo: Anxiety? Allergies?

It's often difficult to understand how such symptoms as ringing or buzzing in the ears, earaches, altered hearing, or even vertigo (dizziness) can be connected to a muscle-spasm problem originating with the teeth. The connection is a small muscle called the tensor veli palatini.


The Tensor veli palatini has a number of functions, including involvement in the closing of the eustachian tubes. This tube connects the throat to the middle ear and keeps the air pressure in the middle ear the same as that of the outside atmosphere. Normally this happens without our knowing it, but in certain cases, such as flying in an airplane, this change is noticeable.

The Tensor veli palatini is supplied with nerve signals from a branch of the same nerve that supplies the external pterygoid muscle. When the Lateral pterygoids are in spasm, the Tensor veli palatini also can go into spasm because the nerve stimuli go to both muscles.

When this tiny muscle goes into spasm, it closes off the eustachian tube and produces symptoms...


Posted by tAPir at 9:06 AM

June 3, 2004

Risperidone Might Be Effective as Augmentation in Treatment-Resistant Patients With Generalized Anxiety Disorder

MIAMI, FL -- March 22, 2004 -- Low doses of risperidone might be useful as an additional medication in patients with generalised anxiety disorder who are treatment-resistant, researchers said here on March 13th at the Anxiety Disorders Association of America 24th Annual Conference.

"We realise that there are a number of patients with generalised anxiety disorder who do not respond to treatment. So we started looking at atypical antipsychotics to see if the properties of a drug like risperidone in very low doses (from.5 mg to 1.5 mg) could be beneficial. We used the lower doses to avoid potential side effects which could ...


Posted by tAPir at 7:52 AM

June 2, 2004

Escitalopram Appears to Achieve Better Tolerability Than Venlafaxine XR Among Patients with Depression

NEW YORK, NY -- May 10, 2004 -- Escitalopram achieved a better risk/benefit profile than did venlafaxine XR in the treatment of depression, according to the findings of a randomized, head-to-head, double-blind study.

"The most significant finding in this study is the differences in tolerability of the two drugs. Escitalopram patients discontinued at a far lower rate due to side effects or adverse events than venlafaxine-treated patients, and this difference was statistically significant, " said lead researcher Robert Bielski, MD, clinical director at Summit Research Network Institute in Okemos, Michigan. Dr. Bielski reported the study's findings here on May 6 at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting.


Posted by tAPir at 9:34 AM

June 1, 2004

Freedom Boost For Panic Disorder

Ray has not been to the West End theatre for about 25 years, despite his yearning to see a play. He finds it difficult to do most things people take for granted, like walking in the park or going shopping.

Ray has suffered from agoraphobia - a fear of open spaces and public places - for the best part of his adult life.

He is overcoming his condition and now wants to help others do the same with a new...


Posted by tAPir at 9:00 AM

May 31, 2004

UK Research Team Improves Beta Blocker Delivery Using Tree-like Polymers

Dendrimers as oral drug transporters

Dendrimers, those tree-like polymers formed from branched monomers, may one day turn up in prescription drugs. Several studies have already shown that they can act as carriers for poorly soluble drug molecules, and even for DNA in gene therapy.

Researchers at the University of Manchester, UK, have now shown that packaging a drug in a dendrimer host not only makes it soluble but also allows it to bypass the transporter protein that would normally stop it from being absorbed in the intestines after it has been taken orally.

Antony D�Emanuele�s group is studying the uptake of propranolol (a beta blocker and anti-anxiety drug) using monolayers of a human cell line known as...


Posted by tAPir at 9:27 AM

May 30, 2004

Laugh Your Way To Recovery

Counselor Fights mental Illness With Comedy

Most people think you have to be nuts to do stand-up comedy. However, counsellor and stand-up comic David Granirer offers it as a form of therapy. Granirer is the founder of "Comedy Courage," a course where people with mental illness turn their problems into comedy, then perform their acts at a gala showcase.

Vancouver, B.C. (PRWEB) April 28, 2004 -� Most people think you have to be nuts to do stand-up comedy. However, counsellor and stand-up comic David Granirer offers it as a form of therapy.

Granirer is the founder of "Comedy Courage," a course where people with mental illness turn their problems into comedy, then perform their acts at a gala showcase.


Posted by tAPir at 9:32 AM

May 28, 2004

Tuberculosis Drug May Help To Cure Phobias

A drug used to treat tuberculosis may also help people to overcome a fear of spiders or other phobias. Doctors in the United States believe D-cycloserine could also help people with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Tests on 30 patients terrified of heights has found the drug, when used in combination with therapy, helped them overcome their fears.

While further research is needed, experts told Chemistry & Industry magazine the findings were exciting.

Millions of people around the world suffer from phobias. Those with severe phobias sometimes...


Posted by tAPir at 9:13 AM

May 27, 2004

When A Fear Becomes A Phobia

Snakes, spiders, high places & public speaking make many people uncomfortable. But for some, these objects & settings cause overwhelming feelings of fear & apprehension � a reaction defined as a phobia.

�Phobias are fears which are excessive compared to the reactions most people might have to the same object or �n the same situation,� explains Dr. Stephen Dager, co-director of the University of Washington Center for Anxiety & Depression. �If a fear of something �s so strong you will do nearly anything to try & avoid �t, �t may be a phobia.�

Common phobias include...


Posted by tAPir at 8:44 AM

Michelle's Email Phobia

Michelle LaPrise's email phobia

Hi Gary,

After talking with a fellow-tapper, I came to the realization I have "email phobia." I get panicky when I see all my unread emails - especially yours. So I avoid them all and don't look at emails til I "have time". If I try to pick out the urgent ones...


Posted by tAPir at 8:40 AM

May 26, 2004

Mass Hysteria: Witch Hunts And The Winds Of Rumor

"Mass sociogenic illness" (MSI), a form of mass hysteria, demonstrates the process. In MSI, mere sight and sound, like disabling viruses, can make so many people feel so sick that within minutes an entire town's ambulances are summoned. One such case occurred in a summer program in Florida for disadvantaged kids (Desenclos, Gardner, & Horan, 1992). Every day at noon, the 150 children gathered in a dining hall where they were served pre-packaged lunches. As lunch began one day, a girl complained that her sandwich didn't taste right: she felt nauseated, and came back from the restroom reporting that she had thrown up. Others began to complain that their stomachs hurt too and that the sandwiches really did taste funny. Then a number of them described having headaches, tingling in their hands and feet, and abdominal cramping. The supervisor, obviously worried about all the complaints, announced to the horrified children that the food might be poisoned. They were told to stop eating immediately.


Posted by tAPir at 9:22 AM

May 25, 2004

Girls and Puberty: The Crisis Years

The teen-age years have never been easy. They can be especially difficult for girls, who experience hormonal influences that wreck their prepubescent physical equality with boys, cause radical changes in body shape and weight and sometimes touch off emotional and reproductive upheavals. But for many reasons, the challenges facing adolescent girls have never been greater than they are today.

An unprecedented number of girls fall from the grace of childhood innocence to discover cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, depression, eating disorders and unwanted pregnancies.


Posted by tAPir at 9:15 AM

May 24, 2004

The Mental State of the Union

I'm Okay, If You Say So

I'm sane, no, really, I am.

I'm not insane. No, really, I'm not.

Except...I've struggled with clinical depression and drug addiction, and these are both diseases of the brain. For a long time I made the same mistakes in life over and over, knowing better each time -- but doing it anyway. I was married and divorced four times before I figured out that I was giving in to relationship-wrecking compulsive behavior.

But since I don't rave on the street, I don't stalk people or have delusions of grandeur or hallucinate or hear voices, let's pretend I'm not crazy.

When I was young, I was in a mental hospital because of an overdose of a powerful street drug.

The drug that put me there made me temporarily psychotic. I chased my mother around and smashed windows and I bit a cop on the leg as he cuffed me and I writhed vomiting and hallucinating in the back of his police car.


Posted by tAPir at 9:15 AM

May 22, 2004

Early Intervention Helps Childhood OCD

At the age of 8, Elyse Monti of East Greenwich, R.I., was staying up half the night to do homework. It's not that her teachers were piling it on. It's that in Elyse's mind, it had to be perfect.

"All my obsessions were on school," she says. "Am I doing this right? I'd spend hours on homework. If I couldn't get a math problem, I'd start crying."

Elyse has obsessive-compulsive disorder, OCD, an anxiety disorder that affects about 1% of children and about 2.3% of adults. OCD causes intrusive, repetitive, often fearful thoughts, such as an excessive dread of germs. These fears result in compulsive behaviors, such as the need to constantly wash hands or the inability to eat in restaurants.

About a third of adults with the disorder say their symptoms began in childhood, but effective treatments for children are not widely known, and therapists familiar with OCD in children are rare. (Related quiz: Does your child have OCD?)


Posted by tAPir at 9:29 AM

May 19, 2004

The Roots of Optimism

A boy asks a girl to the school dance, and she says no. Will he decide that he is a social failure and begin to withdraw, or simply ask another girl and hope for a better result? If he is programmed for optimism, the boy will probably go to the dance with a date. What's not clear, however, is how he got programmed in the first place.

As it turns out, researchers say, the answer is a complex blend of psychology, physical sciences, and common sense. Hoping to explain why some adults bear up while others dwell on pain and slide into depression, researchers are discovering that resilience and a hopeful outlook begin-and must begin to take root-in childhood.

If children are optimistic, they are likely to have a happier, healthier life, with less illness, more success, and greater joy in their lives.


Posted by tAPir at 9:22 AM

May 18, 2004

Why Millions of Women Are Hooked On The Happy Pill

British GPs are prescribing drugs for depression in unprecedented quantities. But is this really the best cure? Luisa Dilner reports

Sunday April 18, 2004
The Observer

Death and taxes used to be the only certainties in life. For British women, we can now add another one: depression. Statistics may show that one in four women becomes depressed at some time, but a magazine survey this week claims that more than half of British women have taken antidepressants.
Unofficially at least, depression is an expected life experience for women, slipped in somewhere between having children, looking after elderly parents and either divorce or retirement. Is life now so difficult for women that it's normal to be depressed?


Posted by tAPir at 9:04 AM

May 15, 2004

Right Parenting Better for Schizophrenics Than The Right Drugs

Sunday April 25, 2004
The Observer

Many psychiatrists believe that schizophrenia's tendency to run in families implies that it is heritable. While less than one per cent of the general population are likely to get the illness in their lifetime, 17 per cent do so if one of their parents had it. The figure rises to 46 per cent if both parents did. But the view that just being raised by schizophrenics might be a cause of schizophrenia is...


Posted by tAPir at 7:16 AM

May 14, 2004

People With Depression Tend to Seek Negative Feedback

New Study Contributes to Understanding Why Depression Is So Difficult
For Some People To Shake Off

Someone who is "down in the dumps" or feeling "blue" might welcome and be cheered by a kind word. Someone with clinical depression, however, not only might not welcome such a gesture, but might prefer to hear something negative. That's the finding of a new study published in the August edition of the American Psychological Association's (APA) Journal of Abnormal Psychology which suggests that depressed people not only avoid favorable feedback, they actively seek negative feedback.


Posted by tAPir at 9:34 AM

May 11, 2004

Anxiety and Cabin Fever

WASHINGTON -- Being stuck indoors, especially during the winter, is bad enough; it is even worse under crowded conditions. But, according to a new study that looks at the effects of household crowding on people's well-being, architecture can make all the difference.

This study, appearing in the current issue of the American Psychological Association's (APA) Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and authored by psychologists Gary W. Evans, Ph.D., Stephen J. Lepore, Ph.D., and attorney Alex Schroeder, J.D., found that residents living in crowded homes with greater architectural depth...


Posted by tAPir at 8:58 AM

May 10, 2004

Talk Therapy May Help Hypochondriacs

Patients' symptoms were significantly lowered, study finds.

A type of talk therapy can help hypochondriacs recognize their illnesses are only in their heads, a study said Tuesday.

The condition, which afflicts one in 20 Americans and siphons $150 billion from the U.S. economy, is marked by persistent fear or a belief that one has a serious, undiagnosed illness.

Currently, there is no widely accepted treatment for hypochondria, which researchers said is often misunderstood and rarely studied.


Posted by tAPir at 9:18 AM

May 9, 2004

Ghosts of Trauma Past

It can be caused by just about anything - a horrific event at work, bullying, a road or rail accident, domestic violence, sexual abuse - and at any age. My oldest client was 83, my youngest eight.
An incident will have been so shattering that it dramatically changes the situation they're in and influences the way they'll behave and think for years. In contrast with other responses to disaster, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has delayed effects. Feelings of anger and terror don't go away; they are continually re-triggered in panic attacks and flashbacks.

Your heart pounds, you feel dizzy, everything makes you jump out of your skin. Adrenaline is pumped round your body. After an attack, you're lethargic; it's like letting air out of a balloon.

There is no cure, but there are ways of learning to cope. A simple thing like...


Posted by tAPir at 9:48 AM

May 7, 2004

Doctors "Forced" to Overprescribe Antidepressants

GPs know they are overprescribing antidepressant drugs such as Prozac and Seroxat, but believe the lack of other forms of help for those suffering from mild depression and stress leaves them no choice, a survey reveals today.
The survey shows that 80% of GPs believe they are writing too many prescriptions for the SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), as the class of drugs made famous by Prozac is known.


Posted by tAPir at 9:12 AM

May 6, 2004

Chocolate May Benefit the Unborn

Women who eat chocolate while they are pregnant give birth to happier and more active babies. Chocolate also seems to benefit the babies of women who are stressed during pregnancy, making the infants less fearful, a study suggested yesterday.


Posted by tAPir at 8:55 AM

May 5, 2004

Drug May Help People Unlearn Fears

Study: Tuberculosis medication useful in treating phobias

NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 10 - Scientists say a pill may help people overcome their worst phobias. In a small study released Monday, a drug already on the market for tuberculosis helped people who were terrified of heights get over that fear with only two therapy sessions instead of the usual seven or eight.

The study, led by Michael Davis, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Emory University School of Medicine, was described at a session about unlearning fears at the Society for Neuroscience meeting.

Davis based his work on research...


Posted by tAPir at 9:14 AM

May 2, 2004

Prozac Mother and Child

Here's the scene: my doctor's office, packets of trial-size Viagra in ridiculously erect stacks upon his desk; in a bowl, a scramble of candied goods in blister pouches � the by-now-passe Prozac, the mild, middle of the road Zoloft, the newer, niftier stuff like Remeron and Effexor; it's all mixed together in a foiled, tinselly heap. My doctor reaches out � he is a tall, lanky man with black hair that falls like fresh ink before his eyes � and tosses me six free panels of the Prozac. "One hundred twenty milligrams a day," he says. "Let's see if that does it."


Posted by tAPir at 9:49 AM

May 1, 2004

SSRI Dangers for Children "Suppressed"

Drug companies have deliberately suppressed evidence that many antidepressants are unsuitable or even dangerous for children, according to psychiatrists and child health experts.

Researchers uncovered unpublished data about clinical trials of the most popular antidepressants on the market, known as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which raise serious doubts about prescribing them to children.

Published studies have so far indicated that the benefits have outweighed risks for all five drugs studied...


Posted by tAPir at 9:41 AM

April 29, 2004

Negative Drug Research Withheld

Drug companies have been accused of failing to publish drug trials which do not give the "right" result.

Regulatory bodies found it harder to make balanced decisions when negative information was not available, the Lancet medical journal said.


Posted by tAPir at 8:32 AM

April 28, 2004

Therapy Dogs Help Calm Human Patients

Nathan Torres gave a wordless shout and rushed into the hall as fast as his little 18-month-old legs would carry him. His father, Luis Torres, smoothed out the kinks in the tube attaching Nathan to medical equipment, stretching it out to help the toddler reach for warm muzzles and furry backs. The therapy dogs had come to visit.

Nathan would be flying to Denver to see a specialist for his pulmonary hypertension. But, for that moment last month, the Albuquerque boy had a distraction from doctors and tests at the University of New Mexico's Children's Hospital.

His mother, Mayra Torres, crouching in the doorway to supervise, smiled at his enthusiasm. "He really likes it," she said.

The magic of animals as healers has gotten increasing attention over the years as pets have comforted people who need a little love, a little diversion, a little contact with normalcy in a world that has been turned upside down.


Posted by tAPir at 9:51 AM

April 24, 2004

Movies That Involve Anxiety Disorders

Copycat (1995) (agoraphobia)
Sigourney Weaver plays a psychiatrist who specializes in serial killers. She suffers from agoraphobia and her only link to the outside world is her computer. A serial killer who copies the methods of famous serial killers (hence the title) threatens her on-line. Holly Hunter plays a cop who is on the trail of the killer. Together they try to identify him and, hopefully, despatch him.

Matchstick Men (2003) (agoraphobia, OCD)
Meet Roy and Frank, a couple of professional small-time con artists. What Roy, a veteran of the grift, and Frank, his ambitious prot�g�, are swindling these days are "water filtration systems," bargain-basement water filters bought by unsuspecting people who pay ten times their value in order to win bogus prizes like cars, jewelry and overseas vacations--which they never collect. These scams net the flim-flam men a few hundred here, another thousand there, which eventually adds up to a lucrative partnership. Roy's private life, however, is not so successful. An obsessive-compulsive agoraphobe with no personal relationships to call his own, Roy is barely hanging on to his wits, and when his idiosyncrasies begin to threaten his criminal productivity he's forced to seek the help of a psychoanalyst just to keep him in working order. While Roy is looking for a quick fix, his therapy begets more than he bargained for: the revelation that he has a teenage daughter--a child whose existence he suspected but never dared confirm. What's more troubling, 14-year-old Angela wants to meet the father she never knew. At first, Angela's appearance disrupts her neurotic father's carefully ordered routine. Soon, however, with his own unique spin on parenthood, Roy begins to enjoy a relationship he never dreamed of having with his daughter. But while he develops paternal feelings for the 14-year-old, she's developing a fascination with Daddy's questionable career.

As Good As It Gets (1997) (OCD)
New York City. Melvin Udall, a cranky, bigoted, obsessive-compulsive writer, finds his life turned upside down when neighboring gay artist Simon is hospitalized and his dog is entrusted to Melvin. In addition, Carol, the only waitress who will tolerate him, must leave work to care for her sick son, making it impossible for Melvin to eat breakfast.

What About Bob? (1991) (OCD)
Bob Wiley is a neurotic man, who has a habit of clinging onto his therapists. His last one not being able to deal with him sends him to Leo Marvin. After having just one session, Bob thinks the world of Dr. Marvin. However, the doctor's leaving to spend the rest of the summer with his family, which throws Bob into utter despair. He calls the doctor constantly demanding to see him but the doctor says he is on vacation and cuts Bob off. He manages to find out where he is and goes there. The doctor's family takes a liking to him but the doctor feels that he is just intrusive. And no matter what he does Bob just won't go away and everybody thinks that Leo is being mean.

Analyze This (1999) (panic)
Ben Sobol, Psychiatrist, has a few problems: His son spies on his patients when they open up their heart, his parents don't want to attend his upcoming wedding and his patients' problems don't challenge him at all. Paul Vitti, Godfather, has a few problems as well: Sudden anxiety attacks in public, a certain disability to kill people and his best part ceasing service when needed. One day, Ben unfortunately crashes into one of Vitti's cars. The exchange of Ben's business card is followed by a business visit of Don Paul Vitti himself, who wants to be free of inner conflict within two weeks, before all the Mafia Dons meet. Now, Ben Sobol feels somewhat challenged, as his wedding is soon, his only patient keeps him busy by regarding Ben's duty as a 24 hour standby and the feds keep forcing him to spy on Paul Vitti. And how do you treat a patient who usually solves problems with a gun?

Analyze That (2002) (panic)
The mafia's Paul Vitti (De Niro) is back in prison and will need some serious counseling when he gets out. Naturally, he returns to his analyst Dr. Ben Sobel (Crystal) for help and finds that Sobel needs some serious help himself as he has inherited the family practice, as well as an excess stock of stress.

High Anxiety (1978) (phobia)
Dr. Richard Thorndyke arrives as new administrator of the Psychoneurotic Institute for the Very, VERY Nervous to discover some suspicious goings-on. When he's framed for murder, Dr. Thorndyke must confront his own psychiatric condition, "high anxiety," in order to clear his name. An homage to the films of Alfred Hitchcock; contains many parodies of famous Hitchcock scenes from THE BIRDS, PSYCHO, and VERTIGO.

Dream Team, The (1989) (a variety of mental illnesses)
Dr. Weitzman works with patients in a sanitarium. Convinced that all that his "group" needs is a some fresh air and some time away from the sanitarium, he pursuades the administration to allow him to take them to a ballgame. Unfortunately, he accidentally stumbles across a crime in progress and ends up in hospital. The group are stranded in New York City, forced to cope with a place which is often more bizarre than their sanitarium.

Vertigo (1958) (phobia)
San Francisco police detective Scottie Fergusson develops a fear of heights and is forced to retire when a colleague falls to his death during a chase. An old college friend (Gavin Elster) hires Scottie to watch his wife Madeleine who has become obsessed with the past. Scottie follows her around San Francisco and is drawn into a complex plot.

Accused, The (1988) (ptsd)
Sarah Tobias goes to her local bar and is gang-raped by three men. The district attorney on the case is Katheryn Murphy who wants to prove that although Sarah had taken drugs that night and was acting provocatively while in the bar, this is no reason for her to be so brutally attacked and the men responsible should be brought to justice.

The Odd Couple (OCD)
Walter Mathau and Jack Lemmon team up again for THE ODD COUPLE-a truly timeless classic that was very provocative at the time it was released. Swearing, divorce, sexual references... THE ODD COUPLE shouldn't have been rated G that's for sure. But have a good time watching this timeless classic, and you'll have some nice whole hearted laughs.

Forrest Gump (1994) (ptsd)
The story follows the life of low I.Q. Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) and his meeting with the love of his life Jenny. The film chronicles his accidental experiences with some of the most important people and events in America from the late 1950's through the 1970's including a meeting with Elvis Presley, JFK, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, fighting in Vietnam, etc. The problem is, he's too stupid to realize the significance of his actions. Forrest becomes representative of the baby boomer generation having walked through life blindly.

I Am Sam (2001) (agoraphobia)
Sam Dawson has the mental capacity of a 7-year-old. He works at a Starbucks and is obsessed with the Beatles. He has a daughter with a homeless woman; she abandons them as soon as they leave the hospital. He names his daughter Lucy Diamond (after the Beatles song), and raises her. But as she reaches age 7 herself, Sam's limitations start to become a problem at school; she's intentionally holding back to avoid looking smarter than him. The authorities take her away, and Sam shames high-priced lawyer Rita Harrison into taking his case pro bono. In the process, he teaches her a great deal about love, and whether it's really all you need.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) (simple phobia)
Renowned archeologist and expert in the occult, Dr. Indiana Jones, is hired by the U.S. Government to find the Ark of the Covenant, which is believed to still hold the ten commandments. Unfortunately, agents of Hitler are also after the Ark. Indy, and his ex-flame Marion, escape from various close scrapes in a quest that takes them from Nepal to Cairo.

Posted by tAPir at 9:58 AM

April 23, 2004

A writer on depression...

The past four years of my life are a blur. When I try to place certain things that happened to me, it's a real struggle to get the days, weeks, months to fall into place. It's rather like hearing a song I used to love blaring from a passing car and being unable to remember who it's by. That is what it feels like to come out of a major depressive episode. At the moment, settled at 75mg of Efexor XL, I've come to a clearing in my life where I can stand still and breathe a sigh of relief. The worst of this recent depression is finally behind me.
It started in mid-1999. Soon afterwards, I went to the doctor begging for antidepressants, having nearly chucked myself off a bridge into the Thames. Almost five years later, with spring around the corner, I am ready to shed a skin. I'm at a point where it feels emotionally safe to look back. When you are going through the worst of depression, you daren't look back, not even to yesterday. Everything is too raw, too painful, too volatile. But eventually, you reach this clearing in the woods and it feels OK to sit on a fallen tree and say to yourself, thank God that's over.


Posted by tAPir at 1:23 AM

April 22, 2004

Television Blamed for Suicide Rise

A young woman slashes her wrists. A prisoner hangs herself in a cell. A man swallows scores of paracetamol tablets in a desperate bid to end his life.
The three haunting scenes all feature in television story lines which have provoked alarm from mental health charities who fear the media are becoming increasingly irresponsible in their treatment of suicide and self-harm.

Suicide awareness groups have highlighted several recent television dramas that have given cause for concern. These include Footballers' Wives and an episode of the prison drama Bad Girls, both of which showed one of the main characters hanging herself. Samaritans points out that prisoners are seven times more likely to take their lives than the average person.


Posted by tAPir at 9:33 AM

April 21, 2004

The Calming Effects of Song

Studies show song can help calm patients

By Laura Pope

"With brain imaging as their main measuring tool, neuroscientists from a variety of settings � including Dartmouth College, Harvard, Duke University, Montreal Neurological Institute and Deaconess Medical Center � have clearly connected the positive effects of music on the brain with respect to increasing pain threshold, elevating emotion and reducing anxiety..."


Posted by tAPir at 9:14 AM

April 19, 2004

Coping With Anxiety During Terror Alerts

Coping With Anxiety
During High Risk Terrorism Alerts

Advice from the American Psychiatric Association

Fear and anxiety are normal human reactions to a perceived threat or danger. However, such uncertainty is manageable if people keep the threat in perspective, the American Psychiatric Association said today.

�The raised national terrorist threat index to �high risk� provokes anxiety in all of us,� says Paul S. Appelbaum, M.D., APA President. �But knowledge and information based on facts can help us manage that understandable anxiety.�


Posted by tAPir at 10:11 AM

April 17, 2004

Women and Anxiety: Twice as Vulnerable as Men

Women are more prone to anxiety due to a variety of biological, psychological and cultural factors. Although the exact cause is unknown, recent research suggests that fluctuations in the levels of female reproductive hormones and cycles play an important role in women's enhanced vulnerability to anxiety. There is also some evidence that women become more anxious when their levels of estrogen and progesterone are low, such as in premenstrual syndrome (PMS), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), post-partum depression, and menopause.


Posted by tAPir at 11:26 PM

Curb That Sweet Tooth?

Many anxious/depressed people find comfort in sweets...this may be one reason why:

Sweet tooth gene found

One lump or two? The difference could be a gene.

23 April 2001


Sweet genes are made of this.

Two research teams trawling the human and mouse genomes think they have pulled out the gene for a sweet tooth. The difference between those of us who take three sugars and those who opt for none could all be due to the gene T1r3 --


Posted by at 10:17 AM

April 15, 2004

On Campus: The Doctors Are �In�

On Campus: The Doctors Are �In�

At Indiana�s Ball State University, counselors have set up �stress-free zones� equipped with massage chairs and stress-relieving toys

College therapists say they�re seeing more kids asking for help. But they worry most about the ones they can�t reach

Rhonda Venable�s first appointment last Monday was with a severely depressed sophomore who�s worried he�s too promiscuous. After the session, Venable, associate director of Vanderbilt University�s counseling center, met with a bipolar teenager, assessed an anxious student for signs of schizophrenia and arranged emergency hospitalization for an upperclassman threatening suicide. �It was very much an ordinary day,� says Venable.

Read More

Posted by tAPir at 3:14 PM

April 14, 2004

Study of the Internet Anxiety Disorder Community


The following results are based on a questionnaire circulated within the anxiety disorder community on the Internet. From December, 2000, to April, 2001, a total of 67 responses were received from a variety of on-line groups devoted to anxiety disorders (including anxiety disorders in general, panic disorder (PD), agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social phobia, chronic phobias or the like). These on-line groups included both Usenet and web-based forums of diverse nationality. Consequently, these results reflect a specific cross section of the general anxiety disorder community; namely, patients with Internet access who have an active interest in anxiety disorders and/or fellow patients.

Numbers preceded by the letter 'R' refer to specific respondents. No names are used to protect confidentiality. All other numbers are tallies and percentages of specific types of responses.

Read more here.

Posted by tAPir at 10:24 PM

April 10, 2004

Mensans and Their Obsessions

At the joint Los Angeles and Channel Islands RG in February, Carol Young and I did a session on Obsessive/Compulsive Confessions. Each person who reveals their obsessive or compulsive behavior gets a certificate suitable for framing. It was SRO and so much fun that it warrants a repeat whenever we get the chance.

The first chance came at Asilomar, where I did it with Donna Woolums. Some of the same people attended, but the confessions were different.

First, a disclaimer. Medical advice is not given at these sessions, but we do preface each session with some basic information. Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder is exactly that, a disorder. It is treatable, often with medication. Our object was NOT to make fun of anyone suffering from this disorder, we only wanted to share our own obsessive/compulsive secrets.

There are a few that we are all familiar with, like toilet paper. An overwhelming majority of Mensans are "over" people. Some of us are sufficiently obsessive about this to have actually changed the paper in homes we visit.

Read more

Posted by tAPir at 9:24 PM

April 7, 2004

Pooh suffers 'psychological problems'

Winnie the Pooh, Christopher Robin and their forest friends are "seriously troubled individuals" according to Canadian researchers.

Far from being the innocent world it appears to be on the surface, Hundred Acre Wood is, say the reseachers, a place where psycho-social problems are not recognised or treated.

more �

Posted by tAPir at 10:24 PM

April 5, 2004

Nausea And Anxiety Link

Nausea Sometimes A Red Flag For Anxiety And Depression

People who experience nausea may be suffering from anxiety or depression, possible causes that should be investigated before aggressive treatments are begun for gastrointestinal disorders, according to a new study.

�This may lead to avoidance of long-term use of potentially harmful medications for nausea, unnecessary medical investigation and probably a better quality of life for the patients,� says lead author Tone Tangen Haug, M.D., Ph.D., of Haukeland University Hospital in Norway.

more �

Posted by tAPir at 10:24 PM

April 3, 2004

Social Security Disability, Is it for you?

Social Security Disability help site

This site lists a number of various links to information on what Social Security Disability is, who it's for, what disorders and diseases are covered by it, and how to press the issue if your initial application is turned down.

more �

Posted by tAPir at 10:24 PM

April 1, 2004

Happiness: The Goal Of Medicine?

The identity clinic

"Become who you are," wrote the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. A century later, millions of people are taking Nietzsche's advice to heart. Instead of turning to philosophy, however, they are using drugs and surgery. "I feel like myself again on Seroxat," says the woman in the anti-depressant advertisements; and so do users of Prozac, Ritalin, Botox, Propecia, Xenical, anabolic steroids, cosmetic surgery, hormone replacement therapy and even sex-reassignment surgery.

more �

Posted by tAPir at 10:24 PM

March 31, 2004


Alden, an occasional contributor to tAPir, has written the most wide-ranging and intelligent summary of the current research about anxiety disorders that we know of on the web. His essay is both thorough and provocative and represents the gold standard of knowledgable presentation by someone who is not a medical professional.

more �

Posted by tAPir at 10:24 PM

March 30, 2004


What is arrhythmia?
An arrhythmia is a change in the regular beat of the heart. The heart may seem to skip a beat or beat irregularly or very fast or very slowly.

Does having an arrhythmia mean that a person has heart disease?
Many times, there is no recognizable cause of an arrhythmia. Heart disease may cause arrhythmias. Other causes include: stress, caffeine, tobacco, diet pills, and cough and cold medicines.

more �

Posted by tAPir at 11:24 PM

March 29, 2004

Did Darwin have Panic Disorder?

Curt Suplee, Washington Post

Charles Darwin might never have revolutionized biology with his theory of evolution if he had not suffered from chronic mental illness that turned him into a scholarly recluse, a provocative new study concludes. Before he was out of his twenties, Darwin succumbed to a mysterious, debilitating condition that various authorities attributed over the years to bad nerves, tropical disease, arsenic poisoning, intellectual exhaustion, dyspepsia, "suppressed gout" or other complaints. That condition, two physicians argue in this week's issue of the "Journal of the Amrican Medical Association," was most likely a form of panic disorder aggravated by agoraphobia. The combination kept the celebrated naturalist removed from society and probably forced him to focus on the epochal concept of natural selection, according to Thomas Barloon and Russell Noyes of the University of Iowa College of Medicine. "Had it not been for this illness," they write, "his theory of evolution might not have become the all-consuming passion that produced "On the Origin of Species."

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Posted by tAPir at 11:24 PM

March 28, 2004

Inquiry into Eli Lilly's practices

Eli Lilly, the US pharmaceutical firm, yesterday said US prosecutors were investigating the company's marketing practices for certain of its best selling drugs, including the antidepressant Prozac.

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Posted by tAPir at 9:24 PM

March 27, 2004

Teens and Anxiety

It's 1:15 AM and Morgan can't sleep because she's worried about the math test she has in the morning. Actually, it seems like she worries about almost everything these days. What if she oversleeps and misses the bus? Did she remember to put pads in her bag in case she gets her period tomorrow? Why hadn't Maya called her back tonight? How will she work at the store all day Saturday and still have time to write the paper that's due on Monday? It's another 45 minutes before Morgan is finally able to drift off.

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Posted by tAPir at 10:24 PM

March 26, 2004

FDA Warning Fuels need for federal protections against forced multi-billion dollar psychiatric drugging in schools.

On Monday, March 22, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a public health advisory putting doctors on notice and to be vigilant for signs of suicidality or worsening depression with the use of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant drugs use. Patients, families and other caregivers are also warned. The Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), an international psychiatric watchdog group, says the warning does not go far enough�the potential for antidepressants to cause suicidal and self-injurious behavior has been established�the drugs should not be prescribed to children at all.

More than a decade ago, in the U.S., CCHR presented evidence of SSRIs causing violent and suicidal behavior to the FDA, forcing it to hold an inquiry. Based on biased psychiatrists� report and pharmaceutical interests, the FDA exonerated the drugs. Since then, thousands of SSRI adverse reactions and deaths have been reported to the FDA.

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Posted by tAPir at 10:24 PM

March 19, 2004

Modern medicine vs The real world

written by Hart

While I don�t want to turn into one of those people who recites her every ache, pain, and ill, to every Jack, Jane, and Jill, I have had my fair share of doctor visits in the past number of years and weeks, and I have come to one conclusion so far: Modern medical advice can only go so far in my life, and then I�m on my own.

Don�t get me wrong � I love doctors. Have a family friend who�s a physician�s assistant, had doctors on hand to help me out during a bad spot in labor, and I�m fairly certain that my life has been saved or substantially improved on many occasions thanks to the ministrations of the medicos I�ve known.

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Posted by tAPir at 10:24 PM

March 18, 2004

Withdrawing from Paxil - The Almost Complete Guide

The only complete information about withdrawing from Paxil, from beginning to end, has been piecing together message board postings from those folks who have actually done it. There has been a big need for this information in one source - not just bits and pieces. I've tried to gather as much as I could from former Paxil patient's experiences (including my own) to share with those attempting to quit Paxil. Now there can be a source to direct people to for all of this information ; instead of having to post it over and over again. Feel free to print, share, and give links to this document.

When withdrawing from Paxil, you have to decide which method is right for you. Everyone is different, so experiment. Tapering the dosage down over a period of time seems to be the preferred way to stop - versus quitting Paxil "cold turkey". The withdrawal symptoms during tapering are generally much less intense than cold turkey quitting.

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Posted by tAPir at 10:24 PM

Making The Decision For Meds

Medication: A difficult decision

Many of us do not hesitate to take over-the-counter remedies for headaches, colds and back pain. Many of us listen to our doctors when they prescribe antibiotics for strept throat and other infections. But the same is not true when it comes to medications for anxiety disorders.

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Posted by tAPir at 10:24 PM

March 17, 2004

Restless Legs

Over the years I've noticed that a good many people who suffer from anxiety disorders also suffer from something called "Restless Legs Syndrome".

I do myself, although the incidences and severity are not terribly disruptive. I can go for weeks....months, even, with no occurrances, and then out of the blue it starts again....that creepy, crawly worms/bugs under the skin feeling that makes the sufferer have to move his legs around to relieve it.

Some people take meds to relieve the symptoms...for people with severe symptoms, this is probably a good idea, as the symptoms can seriously affect sleep patterns. But for those of us who don't want to take meds, there seemed to be few options...

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Posted by tAPir at 10:24 PM

March 16, 2004

Study Shows St. John's Wort Ineffective for Major Depression of Moderate Severity

An extract of the herb St. John's wort was no more effective for treating major depression of moderate severity than placebo, according to research published in the April 10 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.1 The randomized, double-blind trial compared the use of a standardized extract of St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) to a placebo for treating major depression of moderate severity. The multi-site trial, involving 340 participants, also compared the FDA-approved antidepressant drug sertraline (Zoloft�) to placebo as a way to measure how sensitive the trial was to detecting antidepressant effects.

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Posted by tAPir at 10:24 PM