“Specialness” of Easter Ruined by Retailers and Indulgent Parents

We’ve just passed through another Easter period and the usual tales of Easter excess have reached my ears once again. Whether or not Easter is celebrated as a religious event in your family, it is still a special time of year for the very least reason that it provides a break in the working and school year. It is a time for family get-togethers or just general unwinding, on a secular if not religious level. Yet the retailers persist in placing Easter eggs out on display almost as soon as Christmas has departed. Certainly after Valentine’s Day has come and … Continue reading

Online Mental Health Support Groups: Are They Useful?

These days pretty much every condition known to man has an online support group. There is really no better support than talking to people who understand and live your condition, whether it be diabetes, stroke or some form of mental illness. There are many online support groups for a range of mental disorders including depression, the anxiety disorders, schizophrenia and panic disorder to name a few. While the concept of joining a group such as these is an excellent one, again, as with selecting a therapist, one needs to be a bit choosy. Online mental health groups can provide daily … Continue reading

I Need Things to Change So I Can Get Better!

This is a common catch-cry among clients I counsel; in fact we all say it to some extent. Clients often want a variety of things to change: their husbands to give them more attention, wives to be more understanding, children to be more appreciative, people to get well, finances to improve, even people to die! But the truth is we can’t change other people, we can really only change ourselves and our attitude to others or the situation we are in. And this is where a lot of people in therapy get stuck. They want other people to change. Sure, … Continue reading

The Stigma of Being a Mental Health Patient

As if it isn’t bad enough to be besieged by depression, bipolar disorder or any number of conditions that may land you in a medical facility for a period of time, there is the added stigma you as a patient may receive from family members, neighbors, acquaintances, even your work colleagues. While the majority of hospital beds are occupied by people suffering from mental and emotional complaints, the topic is still generally not talked about and many people are reluctant to admit to suffering from a mental disorder of some description. However, when the relevant condition deteriorates such that the … Continue reading

The Power of the Mind: “Expensive” Isn’t Always Better

If you ever had any doubts about the way your beliefs shape your experience of life, well, doubt no more! The following study undertaken by the Californian Institute of Technology gives us an insight into just how powerful our beliefs really are. So powerful that they will contravene common sense, and cause us to act and feel in ways that do not reflect reality. Researchers presented subjects with five identical red wines and told them that the wines varied in price from a cheap $5 a bottle to a more expensive $90 a bottle. In reality, the wine was $35 … Continue reading

Telling People about your Mental Illness

Whether we suffer from depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, an eating disorder or one of the many anxiety disorders, there comes a time when decisions have to be made as to who and what to tell about your condition. Sometimes that decision is taken away from us, as when we suffer a psychotic episode, a suicide attempt, or our eating disorder has become obvious even to the most casual observer. I am often asked by clients how they should go about telling people about their illness and who they should tell. It can be quite a challenge to tell others about … Continue reading

Depression Is Still a Stigma

Despite government educational campaigns costing millions and many famous faces coming out of the closet to reveal that the “black dog” has figured prominently on their lives, the stigma surrounding depression and mental illness in general lives on. In a recent Australian survey published in the journal Biomed Central, it was found that 20%, or one in five people, said they would not work with someone suffering from depression. This is despite the fact that depression alone affects a significant proportion of the population. The survey was conducted by Professor Kathy Griffith and Professor Helen Christiansen of the Australian National … Continue reading

More on Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

In our last article on this topic, we looked at the reasons why ECT is used rather than conventional antidepressant medications only. Principally utilized as a last port of call when other medication and modalities have repeatedly failed, ECT is still mired in controversy. While it is and has been a definite lifesaver for many sufferers of deep depression, the technique does not enjoy a high popularity rating. One of the principal reasons for this is that, despite the length of time the method has been in use, coupled with numerous refinelments in techniques, there are several serious side effects. … Continue reading

What is Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)?

Most of us have heard of the term ECT, or electroconvulsive therapy, via TV shows or perhaps through the classic movie one flew over the Cuckoo’s nest. However unless you or a family member have undergone ECT, it is likely that most people know very little about this dramatic and controversial treatment. The effects of electroconvulsive therapy were discovered by accident in the early 20th century. Unfortunately its history is mired by considerable abuse of this technique in its early years. It is now deemed as a safe and reasonably effective treatment for very severe depression by the American psychiatric … Continue reading

Depression and Sex

In a surprising report, an Australian study has shown that women who are depressed have more sex than women who describe themselves as “happy.” This phenomenon occurs in both single-status women and those who are in committed long-term relationships. The survey was conducted among women in Melbourne, Australia, and was presented at a recent mental health conference. The researchers concluded that women suffering from mild to moderate depression have over 30% more sexual activity than their happier counterparts. They also reported that their sex lives consisted of a more varied range of sexual activities, and, if single, were more likely … Continue reading