“Is it weird that I cut myself on purpose?” A 14-year-old girl from a local middle school asked me this question at work last week. In my years as a Teen Xpress counselor, I have been asked about self-injurious behaviors many times. They ask: “What is it about?” “Isn’t it just a way to get attention?” “Why would someone do that?” “Are they trying to kill themselves?” It’s not only teens that ask about self-injury. I’ve ...

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Floor technician. Environmental technician. Life coach. Investment and retirement strategist. Facility safety coordinator. Interventional cardiologist. Cardiothoracic and vascular surgeon. Neurodevelopmental psychologist. Are we hiding behind out words? Worse yet, are we afraid to be who we really are? Maintenance man. Trash man. Knowledgeable and experienced friend. Salesman. Security guard. Doctor. Psychologist. I see it every day. Someone comes to me for a run-of-the-mill mental health problem, absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, and asks for help. For whatever reason, when we get to the social history ...

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Back when Prozac (fluoxetine) and Zoloft (sertraline) were new, I remember the mental acrobatics doctors made to justify giving these drugs to anxious patients. The drugs were approved for treating depression, but we knew they often seemed to help anxiety. The reason, we were told, was that some anxious patients were actually depressed, deep down, and we had just failed to recognize their depression. Now, with studies to support their use ...

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Our nation has recently witnessed another tragedy involving a young adult, with young adult victims. Facts often emerge slowly and it is important not to speculate about diagnoses through the news media; however, it seems clear in this case that mental illness is a factor -- even though few people living with mental illness are violent. To avoid tragedies, solutions are needed.  One area of real promise is early ...

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Mental health patients and their families already pay a hefty price with the stigma of mental illness and the emotional roller coaster they often face dealing with symptoms. But insufficient mental health resources across the United States also means that they must pay a financial price as well in the form of lost productivity, out-of-pocket costs for treatment and sometimes periods of unemployment. A recent USA Today special report estimates that benefits ...

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When my son Ben was 20-years-old, he was finally diagnosed with schizophrenia after five years of chaos and frustration -- what I later came to know had been symptoms of the gradual onset of his illness. At the time, I’d thought he was just having a tough adolescence. I’d thought perhaps he needed more father figures (Ben’s father had deserted the family when Ben and his sister were little, and ...

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Top stories in health and medicine, June 20, 2014From MedPage Today:

  1. The Uninsured: 33 Million and Counting. In the last full year before the Affordable Care Act went into effect, more than 33 million Americans had been without health insurance for more than a year, according to CDC survey.
  2. Gross Anatomy: A Real Twisted Heart. It's nothing but heartache for ...

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Mass murders are becoming a depressingly familiar routine in the United States -- we can now expect to experience a media grabbing shooting about once a month. And the frequency can only increase as future cohorts of copycat killers are spawned by the seductive opportunity to temporarily gain the spotlight. Amidst the anguish and heartbreak felt by the victims' families, there are always two haunting questions. What motivates someone to kill ...

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I have been blogging and tweeting about ADHD a lot lately because I believe that change is in the air. This is the worst of times for ADHD diagnosis because statistics show it is wildly overdiagnosed and overtreated. This is possibly the best of times for ADHD diagnosis because I think we have reached the tipping point and feel hopeful that the ADHD fad will soon begin to fade. We humans are ...

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The headline reads, "Study: Mental illness rate higher in soldiers." The article goes on to offer alarming statistics:

The rate of major depression is five times as high among soldiers as civilians; intermittent explosive disorder, which results in episodes of extreme anger, is six times as high; and post-traumatic stress disorder was nearly 15 times higher than among civilians, the study found.
This would be pretty scary if true -- but ...

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