Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New Health Care Articles Blog

Please visit our new "health care articles" BLOG


We are accepting articles for review and consideration for publication on our Blog.
Email inquiries to: info@aihcp.org

Friday, January 27, 2012

Don't Confuse Grief With Depression from Huffington Post

A front page story by Ben Carey in January 24th's New York Times carries the poetic title: 'When does a broken heart become a diagnosis?' It describes a puzzling proposal by D.S.M. 5 to transform what is now considered normal grief into Major Depressive Disorder.

D.S.M. IV already recognizes that some people respond to loss with severe problems that warrant immediate attention. It therefore encourages the diagnosis of major depression whenever bereavement is persistent or is associated with severe, impairing, delusional, or suicidal symptoms. D.S.M. IV thus makes a crucial distinction between the transient pain of expectable grief and the severe and/or persistent symptoms of major depression. D.S.M. 5 proposes to eliminate this distinction. It would allow the diagnosis of major depressive disorder after only two weeks of fairly mild symptoms.

Friday, January 20, 2012

10 Things Not to Say to a Cancer Patient from Huffington post

When I was diagnosed with leukemia last May, I couldn't imagine what lay ahead for me. The last eight months may have well been eight years. It's been a blur of blood tests and bone marrow biopsies, fevers and infections. Any cancer patient can tell you that the disease turns you into an ersatz medical student, whether you like it or not. But navigating the social dynamics of living with cancer -- communicating with family and friends about my diagnosis, symptoms, fears and hopes -- was a challenge I did not expect.

The oncology world is overdue for an etiquette guide. As a commenter noted on my blog, unless you're Seth Rogen in 50/50, there's no script for what to say to someone with a life-threatening illness. But if you can avoid saying these 10 things, you're off to a good start:

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I Hear You: Responding to Cries for Emotional Help from Huffington Post

Cries for emotional help come in all forms. We witness these cries in ways direct and indirect: from outright requests to help me stay alive to the less direct but no less obvious self-starvation of anorexia or leaving empty pill bottles or illegal drugs in plain sight.

We recently witnessed a modern-age cry for help when Sinead O'Connor declared on Twitter: "does any1 know a psychiatrist in dublin or wicklow who could urgently see me today please? im really un-well... and in danger." Why a celebrity needs Twitter to find a psychiatrist is beyond me. Sure, we can all quip about how hard it is to get an appointment with a doctor, but I suspect that is not what this was about.

Nor can I know since I am not personally familiar with this celebrity, her medical community or resources, or for that matter her state of mind when she turned to such a ubiquitous form of social media for help. But as a psychiatrist I understand how people reach out in ways that we need to listen to: The ultimate fear is that they will find no one there, which is the saddest situation of all. Suicide, as has been said, is not just the product of hopelessness; it is the result of believing that you are all alone, with no one to turn to and no means of exiting from the psychic pain that is crushing your soul.

For more please press the link.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Healing With Hurt Feelings from Huffington Post

Hurt Feelings. They're like noses. We all have them. They come in all shapes and sizes. They can come suddenly like a cloud and bring the rain or build up slowly and then consume us like a tornado. They can be so powerful that they can make us lose complete perspective of our reality. You overhear your colleagues are having a get together at the end of the day, but you haven't been invited. You feel excluded. Hurt feelings show up. You find out that someone you thought was a good friend has been talking about you behind your back. You feel betrayed. Hurt feelings show up. You're having dinner with your girlfriend, and she says she wants more space and wants to date other men. Clunk. Couldn't she at least have waited 'til after dessert? You leave dinner feeling hurt and abandoned.

Wouldn't life be so much easier without hurt feelings? Well, maybe. But I believe that hurt feelings can also provide a powerful opportunity for self-awareness and healing. If outer reality is a reflection of inner reality, then when hurt feelings show up, we can take the opportunity to ask ourselves what has been suppressed and unexpressed. If in my outer world there is something that produces hurt and pain, then there must be something inside me that is still unresolved. The question then becomes what to do with hurt feelings when they show up, and what can we learn from them. The theme of this blog series and of my new book is how to use everything that life puts on our path as a way to unbind our hearts. Hurt feelings can then serve as a tunnel, through which we can come to the other side to the freedom of our heart.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

How Grief Can Break Your Heart from Time

Grief is a powerful emotion, and the latest research shows just how damaging it can be, especially for the heart.

The sobering results, appearing in the journal Circulation, are the first to compare how grief affects an individual’s heart-disease risk within a period of time. Previous studies have documented that people losing loved ones tend to have more heart problems than those who aren’t bereaved. In the current analysis, lead author Elizabeth Mostofsky and her colleagues took a unique approach by calculating an individual’s “average loss” of loved ones over a year, by asking how many people study participants had lost in the past year and comparing that figure to the number of loved ones that same person lost during the study period in question, which included the most recent day and week preceding a heart attack. Because all the participants were heart-attack patients, that allowed her to calculate the effect that losing a loved one had on each individual’s heart-attack risk.

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Dog's Gentle Death from Huffington Post

Our family will always remember this holiday season as the time Sugar died. Sugar was a mixed breed, mostly lab/border-collie type. She exhibited the best character traits of every gene she carried and seemed to bear none of any breed's drawbacks. She was a real credit to her species.

A member of my daughter's household, Sugar was one of my "grand dogs," for whom it was my privilege to dog-sit if her parents went somewhere she was not welcome. Those unwelcome places were few and far between because Sugar met love and enthusiasm everywhere she went. Friends would vie for the chance to keep her when her parents left town. But, I'm proud to say, my daughter believed I was her favorite sitter, so I always got first dibs on her company.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Depression and Complementary Health Practices from NCCAM

Depression is a medical condition that affects nearly 21 million American adults each year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Mood, thoughts, physical health, and behavior all may be affected. Among the common symptoms of depression are persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings; feelings of hopelessness, guilt, and/or worthlessness; restlessness or irritability; fatigue; difficulty concentrating; insomnia; overeating, or loss of appetite; and/or thoughts of suicide.

Many people with a depressive illness never seek treatment. But the majority, even those with the most severe depression, can get better with treatment. Depression can be treated effectively with conventional medicine, including antidepressants and certain types of psychotherapy.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A New Year, a New Yesterday from Nurse Together

Yesterday was what it was. Or was it?

If your memory is like mine, I can’t remember where I parked my car an hour ago. How can I possibly think that my memories from a year ago - or a decade ago - are accurate?

Next question: How much weight do memories of past events color your present relationships and viewpoints?

I don’t know about you, but as I thought about that for myself, something inside me went... flooop.

The Will and Ways of Hope from Huffington Post

Talent, skill, ability -- whatever you want to call it -- will not get you there. Sure, it helps. But a wealth of psychological research over the past few decades show loud and clear that it's the psychological vehicles that really get you there. You can have the best engine in the world, but if you can't be bothered to drive it, you won't get anywhere.

Psychologists have proposed lots of different vehicles over the years: grit, conscientiousness, self-efficacy, optimism, passion, inspiration, etc. They are all important. One vehicle, however, is -- I believe -- particularly undervalued and under-appreciated in psychology and society. That's hope.

Got The Post-Holiday Blues? Here's How To Beat 'Em from Huffington Post

Wait ... hear that? That's our collective sigh marking the fact that the great holiday season of 2011 has finally come to a close.

And while for many of us, that is indeed a relief -- there's no more cooking, no more cleaning, no more forced New Year's revelry -- the post-holiday period can represent a real time of sadness and readjustment, too.

Each of us has our own personal blend of apres-holidays feelings, but there are many issues and emotions that crop up again, and again and again. So we went to a team of experts to ask for some advice on what you can do -- right now -- to help beat those post-holiday blues.