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Posted in Trauma and PTSD

Recovery From Physical Injury Helps Resolve PTSD Symptoms

People affected by PTSD and certain other mental health problems may see a substantial reduction or complete resolution of their symptoms if they recover from related physical health issues, according to recent results published by a team of American researchers.

Serious, potentially life-threatening physical health problems are known for their ability to act as triggers for the onset of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In a study published in December 2014 in the journal Critical Care Medicine, researchers from two U.S. universities explored what happens to the PTSD symptoms (and other mental health symptoms) of people who recover from severe physical injury. These researchers concluded that long-term physical recovery significantly improves the odds that affected individuals will no longer have diagnosable related mental health problems.

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Posted in Addiction Research

New Study Links Marijuana to Schizophrenia

As two states have voted to legalize recreational marijuana, and several others will vote on legalization in upcoming elections, the federal government has been evaluating the information about the potential risks related to marijuana use. On June 5, 2014, members of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) published the results of their evaluation in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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Posted in Early Recovery

Nurturing Touch as a Recovery Tool

Humans are hardwired to give and receive touch. As infants, it’s the way we explore the world around us. Even before we can see clearly, our skin — the largest organ in the body — is in contact with our environment. Newborn bodies respond to the temperature in the room, the texture of whatever is swaddling them, and the sensation of whoever is tending to them.

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Posted in Mental Health

Substance Abuse, Psychosis Affect Men and Women Differently

Significant numbers of the people in the U.S. dealing with serious substance-related issues also have symptoms of a highly destabilizing mental state called psychosis. Some affected individuals meet the basic criteria used to identify a substance- and mental health-related condition called dual diagnosis. In a study published in September 2014 in the Journal of Dual Diagnosis, researchers from two U.S. universities used a two-year project to compare the gender-based differences in the effects of simultaneous substance problems and psychosis-related symptoms. These researchers identified several such differences that may ultimately affect the course of successful treatment.

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Posted in Addiction Research

How Much Do Addiction, Other Forms of Mental Illness and Psychological Trauma Overlap?

An addiction to drugs or alcohol is acknowledged by the American Psychiatric Association as part of a larger diagnosable mental illness known as substance use disorder. In many cases, people who qualify for a substance use disorder diagnosis also qualify for a diagnosis of at least one other form of mental illness. Psychological trauma resulting from exposure to certain life events can also increase the odds that any person will develop certain diagnosable mental health problems. In a study published in January 2014 in the journal Mental Health and Substance Use, researchers from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center investigated the extent to which substance addiction, other mental illnesses and psychological trauma overlap in the general population.

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Posted in Trauma and PTSD

ECT Reduces Mortality in Patients with PTSD and Major Depression

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious and complex anxiety disorder that can affect anyone who experiences or even witnesses a traumatizing event. Major depressive disorder (MDD) is exactly what it sounds like – more than mild depression, it is long-term depression that interferes with a person’s ability to carry on a normal life. When the two conditions appear together, as they often do, the combination can be life-altering for the patient. Looking for the most effective way to treat the comorbid (existing together) conditions is a high priority. A new, retroactive study suggests that the best results may come when patients receive electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

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Posted in Mental Health

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

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.

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Posted in Mental Health

Debt Is Hazardous to Your Mental Health

Have 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.

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Posted in Eating Disorders

Anorexia More Deadly Than Other Mental Health Disorders

Eating disorders affect 24 million Americans. They are serious mental health disorders and are considered to be the deadliest of all mental illnesses. Just how dangerous eating disorders really are has been the subject of a couple of recent studies in the United Kingdom.

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Posted in Addiction Treatment

Addiction: Behavioral Health Issue, Mental Health Disorder or Something Else?

Decades of scientific research have made clear that addiction is not a moral failing, a character flaw or a sign of weakness, but rather a chronic brain disease. Still, it typically falls under the umbrella of behavioral health. Some suggest that this classification is contributing to the stigma surrounding addiction. Is “behavioral health” a stigmatizing term?

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