Warning Signs for Depression in Seniors

The signs of depression in senior citizens can be subtle — especially if the person does not want to acknowledge that they have a problem. For today’s older adults, an admission of a mental problem like depression often meant a trip to an institution for care. That would make me reluctant to speak up, for sure. Knowing the warning signs of depression in seniors can help. Depression that comes late in life may not look like the depression seen in younger people. Watch for mood changes — especially in the wake of a major life change like moving, losing a … Continue reading

Does Your Doctor Think You Are A Hypochondriac?

There certainly exists a disorder involving the belief that you are suffering from illnesses that you aren’t. It’s called hypochondriasis and there is also an associated illness called somatization disorder. Fortunately, both conditions are quite rare. Therefore most people who go to the doctor with a physical ailment that concerns them need either a positive diagnosis that they can work with or reassurance that there is nothing to be concerned about. However, if your file should include a diagnosis of a mental illness, all that may change. Unless you have a reasonable doctor, many of the physical conditions you may … Continue reading

Does Your Doctor Not Understand Mental Illness?

I am often frustrated when one of my clients goes to see their doctor for a physical ailment and is basically dismissed, or at best, condescended to, simply because they have a record of mental illness, either past or present. It seems that once you have suffered from depression or anxiety, or worse still, one of the major mental illnesses, every little twinge, whether it be in your stomach or your big toe, is often put down to a symptom of mental illness. Yes, they will tell you that “It’s all in your mind, dear.” I once had a patient … 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 most 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 sufferer is … Continue reading

Mental Illness is REAL

My job as a psychologist is to assist people suffering from emotional problems to lead happier, more productive lives via a variety of treatments and techniques. My aim when I started blogging on Families was to provide articles of interest on a wide range of subjects that are part of the human condition. I also sought to provide accurate information about what constitutes a mental disorder and to that end, I usually provide a list of DSM-IV criteria for each disorder so that the reader is made fully aware of both the number and types of criteria that must be … Continue reading

Young Hollywood Battles Depression

Is it just me or have you noticed that this month’s entertainment magazines are all touting “exclusive” interviews with members of Hollywood’s younger set who are going public with their battles with depression? Several weeks ago I read that actor Zach Braff admitted that in real life he resembles the depressed character he plays in the movie “Garden State” more than the engaging doctor he plays on the NBC sitcom “Scrubs.” “I think I suffer from some mild depression,” the 31-year-old actor recently said in Parade magazine. “So to have millions of people go, ‘I watched your movie and related’ … Continue reading

How Ann dealt with Julie (or How to Stop Being a Doormat)

Remember Ann? She got dumped by Julie just days before Julie had agreed to accompany Ann to the doctors. Ann had given her six weeks notice of the impending appointment yet Julie phoned to cancel three days before the Big Day. And it was a big day for Ann, as she suffered from clinical anxiety plus she was about to do something that would cause anxiety in itself, that is, visit her therapist. As we read in Still Talking but Not Walking, Ann successfully made it to her session. But Ann has taken an even bigger step. She has told … Continue reading

Still Talking but Not Walking?

Remember Ann and her “friend” Julie from Do you Talk the Talk but not Walk the Walk? Julie had upset Ann terribly because she had promised to take Ann, who suffered from an anxiety disorder, to the doctors. Although Ann had given Julie seven weeks notice, Julie reneged on her promise just days before and left Ann not only in the lurch, but extremely upset. But I have some good news about Ann. She was determined that she wouldn’t allow Julie to prevent her from getting to the doctor’s, even though initially she had no idea who she could get … Continue reading

When others blame your mental illness for every emotion you feel

There are several aspects to the stigma of mental illness. The first one is obvious. Many people do not want to reveal that they have a mental illness due to possible detrimental effects on their careers and personal relationships. This is understandable as sadly the prejudice attached to having a chronic mental illness of any variety is still alive and well in our society. Stereotypical thinking of what a person who suffers from bipolar, schizophrenia, depression and the raft of anxiety disorders is like is peppered with theories largely based on Hollywood hype and the furtive whispers of misinformed neighbors, … Continue reading

Do You Talk the Talk, but not Walk the Walk?

This week I had to deal with an incident which is unfortunately very common in everyday life, but when it happens to a person suffering from a mental illness or some sort of emotional breakdown, it is even more devastating. It appears the world is not short on people who make promises to others, but at the last minute, will renege without a thought for the devastated person they leave in their wake. Do you do this? Occasionally, we really cannot make good our promises because of extenuating circumstances, but there are people who actually make a habit of making … Continue reading