Mental Health

Untangling the Knot of Comorbid PTSD and Addiction

Published on June 4th, 2014 in Mental Health

Because it’s not uncommon for two conditions to show up at the same time, medicine has a word for the phenomenon – comorbidity. In the case of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), many people with the condition are often struggling with some form of addiction at the same time. A person who is willing to seek help for PTSD can be gently helped to also address their addiction issue, but treating the PTSD should take precedence. This treatment approach is referred to as the trauma-informed method.

Why Do Some People Develop Delayed PTSD?

Published on May 5th, 2014 in Mental Health

Why Do Some People Develop Delayed PTSD?Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a potentially debilitating response to life-threatening events that occurs in a significant minority of adults and children. Established guidelines prevent doctors from diagnosing PTSD until 30 days after a traumatic event. However, some people develop a delayed form of the disorder and don’t display any symptoms for a number of months after the opening of this diagnostic window. In a study published in August 2013 in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, an Australian research team investigated the potential causes for delayed PTSD. This team concluded that people with delayed symptoms have certain backgrounds that distinguish them from people who experience the effects of post-traumatic stress relatively rapidly.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Treats PTSD Effectively

Published on April 4th, 2014 in Mental Health

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Treats PTSD EffectivelyThe treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be challenging, given its varied symptoms and that it can appear in combination with other disorders, such as anxiety or depression. Common symptoms appearing with PTSD can include flashbacks, insomnia, difficulty focusing and other symptoms commonly associated with anxiety or depression. A recent study showed that cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) alleviated the symptoms of PTSD by mitigating the biological disturbances that occur in the brain following a traumatic event.

The study, which appeared in Biological Psychiatry, was produced by researchers at the  University of Szegen in Hungary. Led by Dr. Szabolcs Kéri, the researchers examined 39 individuals diagnosed with PTSD and noted biological changes exhibited following involvement in CBT. 

Women Living in Cities More Prone to Postpartum Depression

Published on January 27th, 2014 in Mental Health

Postpartum depression is a severe and lasting type of depression that is distinct from the usual baby blues. Giving birth, especially for the first time, is a life-changing event. New mothers are faced with a host of challenges, including worrying about how to raise a child, financial considerations and how the baby will strain the relationship with the father.

In addition to these natural worries and concerns, new mothers are also faced with the physical demands of childbirth and childcare. Pregnancy causes huge changes to a woman’s life and to her body. Hormones shift and result in powerful emotions that seem uncontrollable. For a woman who has to deal with postpartum depression on top of everything else, motherhood can get off to a rocky start.

Motherhood and Mental Illness: Be Willing to Reach Out for Help

Published on January 3rd, 2014 in Mental Health

To meet Allie, you’d never guess what happened in 2009. She’s tall and slender, demure and intelligent. She has a sweet nature and is genuinely interested in people and animals. A little bit shy, she can easily be brought out of her shell when asked about her fossil collection or any discussion about travel. She loves to sing with the minister of her church, though she’d never take a solo. And she’s an active home-school mom; she wanted to have a direct influence on her son’s education and be able to take him out into the natural world as often as possible, because she believes that is where real learning happens.

But one October afternoon in 2009, when her son was only 6, Allie had given in and taken him to a giant toy store in her town. Normally, she preferred to spend time with him in parks and alongside streams, but he’d been begging for a certain Hot Wheels set. Feeling agitated and inpatient, Allie relented. But something about the sky high racks filled with too-brightly colored boxes, the harsh florescent lights and the running, screaming children—including her own son—began to overwhelm her. Before she knew it, she’d dashed out of the store and into the confines of her Volvo station wagon, where she said she felt safer. Two hours went by while Allie sat in her car; she doesn’t remember what she thought about. Eventually, store personal discovered a little boy alone and in tears looking for his mother. The police were called to the scene, which finally got Allie’s attention. But when confronted, she became combative.

Study Examines Whether Mental Fatigue Influences Gambling Behaviors

Published on September 22nd, 2013 in Mental Health

177247852Understanding how gambling behaviors develop into pathological gambling patterns is becoming more important as the opportunities to gamble have increased. There have been significant access changes because online gambling is readily available to those who possess a smartphone or a laptop.

Given that gambling can be done just about anytime and anywhere, there are many factors to consider when evaluating which ones lead to more risk-taking behaviors. A recent study evaluated the effects of mental fatigue on risk-taking, including an examination of not only cognitive depletion, but also how previous outcomes influenced gambling behaviors (Kostek & Ashrafioun, 2013).

Debt Is Hazardous to Your Mental Health

Published on September 4th, 2013 in Mental Health

Debt Is Hazardous to Your Mental HealthHave you ever struggled with credit card debt, paying only the minimum each month? Have you gotten to the end of the month only to find your checking account overdrawn and your bills piling up? Do you look at your student loans and see years of payments in your future? If so, you know what it feels like to have debt and the stress that debt places on you. If you share that debt with someone, you know the strain it puts on relationships. It should come as no surprise to you that researchers have proven the physical and mental toll that debt puts on your health.

Gambling Addiction May Develop As a Way to Handle Stress

Published on August 19th, 2013 in Mental Health

Gambling Addiction May Develop As a Way to Handle StressAddiction to illegal drugs and addiction to alcohol often co-occur within an individual with a mental disorder, such as depression or anxiety. In addition, those with a substance use disorder may cite stress as a factor that led to the development of their addiction.

When it comes to pathological gambling, there may be a connection to stress, and gambling may be a way that some individuals self-medicate to reduce the effects of stress in their lives. With the recent explosion of online gambling options, individuals may have this type of self-medication available at all times.

Binge-Eating Disorder Is Now a Mental Illness

Published on August 17th, 2013 in Mental Health

Binge-Eating Disorder Is Now a Mental IllnessBinge/purge anorexia (also known as binge-eating/purging type anorexia) is a subtype of the eating disorder anorexia nervosa that varies somewhat from the common perception of that disorder. People affected by binge/purge anorexia participate in some of the same behaviors that characterize two other diagnosable eating disorders, called bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder. However, each of these disorders differs from the other in important ways, and doctors use the dissimilarities between the conditions to make accurate diagnoses in their patients.

Chronic Pain Sufferers Likely to Have Anxiety, Study Finds

Published on August 16th, 2013 in Mental Health

Chronic Pain Sufferers Likely to Have Anxiety, Study FindsThe medical community is increasingly finding that mental and physical health are closely intertwined. Screenings for multiple areas of mental health are important when treating physical health concerns because many physical health conditions, and particularly those of a chronic nature, are connected with mental health issues.

A new study provides evidence that anxiety is closely linked to chronic pain. In research led by Kurt Kroenke, M.D., a professor of medicine at IndianaUniversity in Indianapolis, findings show that individuals being treated for chronic pain often exhibit symptoms of anxiety.

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