CBT Effective for Internet Addiction – Nancy

Internet gaming addiction is a growing concern internationally, and the number of patients complaining of serious problems that result from their uncontrolled internet use is on the rise.  A recently published study from Germany looked at Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) as a strategy to help these patients regain control of their internet use. The study took 143 men who had …

Crime and Children – Nancy

How do we teach children to be confident, compassionate and resilient?  How do we keep our kids safe without scaring them too much?  In the past generation, the USA has developed a real obsession with protecting our children from violent crime.  Many of us are old enough to remember the first appearances of pictures of missing children on milk cartons.  …

Stanford Mood Disorders Education Day

Stanford University will be hosting a Mood Disorders Education Day for families, communities and “Moodsurfers” themselves.  The event is free, including a light breakfast and lunch, but you must pre-register to attend.  Here’s the link for registration.  The organizers say that the event usually fills up quickly, so it’s better to register early.  Also, they request that you notify them …

Two Minute Meditation for Energized States – Nancy

Meditation sounds like such a good idea, but who has time?  Especially when you’re energized and it feels like the world is your oyster.  Colors are brighter and light and shadow so much richer – who has time for meditation?  And yet, it’s when we’re in those high energy states that we know risky behavior is just around the corner.  …

Attachment Behavior – Nancy

Does a stable romantic relationship give you a sense of security, or is it a source of anxiety?  Do you have a partner who gets anxious at any potential separation between the two of you?  Adult romantic relationships often reenact behaviors learned in infancy called attachment behavior. Attachment behavior theory looks at how infants develop relationships with their primary caregivers …

Gardening Therapy – Nancy

Can gardening play a role in mental health recovery and maintenance?  A growing body of evidence and experience is showing strong positive results in getting people to make a closer connection with plants and growing things as part of treatment for a wide variety of conditions.  From just taking Alzheimer’s patients on a walk through a garden to a six-month …

Anger – Nancy

Can getting angry ever be good for you?  Is anger a cause or a symptom of mental illness? Do men get angry more often than women?  Does anger always have to be a part of life? Aristotle is quoted as saying: “Anybody can become angry – that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the …

Maternal Depressive Symptoms – Nancy

Interventions to reduce maternal depressive symptoms, especially during infancy may have lasting effects on child neurological development.  A longitudinal study recently published in the Netherlands has found that children whose mothers exhibited depressive symptoms during their infancy have measurable reductions in brain size even by age 10.  These findings provide evidence for an observed link between maternal depression and ADHD …

Evolutionary Value of Depression – Nancy

People often ask if there is some evolutionary or adaptive advantage to depression, perhaps hoping that there is at least some reason behind the painful experience.  There are certainly some reasons to speculate about possible evolutionary advantages of depression, but it is difficult to structure research to give definitive answers to things that happened far in the past. First, we …

Creativity and Mental Illness – Nancy

A link between creativity and mental illness has been a long-standing area of conjecture, and there have been some recent attempts to research such a link, with varying results.  The first major problem is that there is no real agreed-upon definition of “creativity”, and therefore no way to pinpoint people in the general population who have it (or more of …

Media Consumption and Stress – Nancy

A well-documented link between media consumption and stress may be exacerbated by a “cycle of distress” in which individuals who feel greater stress and even trauma from watching televised coverage of violent events such as a mass shooting, are more likely to worry about such events re-occuring in the future, and therefore more likely to consume more media accounts of …

Impulsivity and Bipolar – Nancy

Several recent studies are looking at the interaction between bipolar and increased impulsiveness.  Impulsivity is often found as a component of bipolar, but researchers remain uncertain whether it is a core trait of the disorder or a separate characteristic.  Impulsiveness has different behavioral factors, including: “1) Non-planning Impulsiveness, which refers to a present orientation or failure to consider the future; …

Vulnerability – Nancy

Vulnerability!  If your first response is “Ummm, no, thanks”, you’re not alone.  Vulnerability sounds like something we want to get away from, not something to cultivate.  Yet researcher Dr. Brené Brown of the University of Houston has done considerable study of this topic and her findings are that being or becoming vulnerable to risk, to emotional upset, to shame and …

Learned helplessness – Nancy

“What’s the use”.  “It won’t work anyway”.  Do you find yourself thinking hopelessly and helplessly about your own situation, unable to find any constructive steps to take to move forward? Learned helplessness is what psychologists call it when a patient believes strongly that no action they can possibly take will make their situation better.  It’s the “dark side” – or …

Heroism – Nancy

Are you trying to be the hero of someone else’s life?  It’s surprising how often we fall into this trap.  We want to be seen as good and helpful people, and we see that someone we love seems to be struggling.  So we jump in and “help” them “solve” their problem.  Why doesn’t that make them happy? “Rescuing” people can …

Spring Forward?

Those of us in the United States tried to remember what happens to the clock with daylight savings time using the phrase “spring forward and fall back.” In California daylight savings time has been accompanied by a week of the sunniest weather in a couple of months. For whatever reason, in our practice at Gateway Psychiatric there has been a sudden uptick …

Neuroplasticity – Nancy

Can you change your brain?  Recent research in the field of “neuroplasticity” suggests that the human brain continues to change and adapt throughout life.  Furthermore, there is  clear evidence that an individual can affect the changes to their own brain structure by how they pay attention to stimuli around them. The implication of this research is that, for example, a …

Religious Faith and Mental Health – Nancy

More and more studies are finding a link between religious and spiritual practices and improvements in mental health, including significant reductions in anxiety and reduced risk of depressive illness. While it is somewhat difficult to study this field, due to the wide variety of definitions and practices in the field of religion and spirituality, researchers are beginning to find ways …

Parenting and Mental Health – Nancy

Parenting is a tough job, and there’s no lack of critics telling you you’re doing it wrong.  However, common sense, backed up by research can give some dependable sign posts along the way.  A recent study1  of parents of children with anxiety discovered that the mothers of children with social anxiety  disorder helped them with tasks more frequently than mothers …