Looking for relief from anxiety, depression or stress? If you live in one of the 80 million U.S. households with a pet, you may be able to find help right at home in the form of a wet nose or a wagging tail. You can call it the pet effect. Any pet owner will tell you that living with a pet comes with many benefits, including constant companionship, love and affection. It’s also no surprise that 98% of pet owners consider their pet to be a member of the family. Not only are people happier in the presence of animals, they’re also healthier. In a survey of pet owners, 74% of pet owners reported mental health improvements from pet ownership, and 75% of pet owners reported a friend’s or family member’s mental health has improved from pet ownership.
Mental health is an integral part of children’s overall health. However, strong mental health starts prior to stepping into a therapist’s office. Children who practice mental health skills regularly could reduce their risk for mental illness and relapse.
Research is no longer solely the province of the lab coat-wearing scientist. People diagnosed with mental illnesses, their family caregivers, healthcare providers, and social workers all can play a role in the research that affects the treatment of mental health. The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, or PCORI, is spearheading efforts to ensure the meaningful involvement of patients and other healthcare stakeholders throughout the research process. In the area of mental health, a patient-centered approach is critical.
In my first meeting with new patients who struggle with OCD and anxiety, I explain that the type of psychotherapy I practice, Exposure and Response Prevention, involves encouraging them to feel uncomfortable. It’s a type of therapy that they will not particularly “enjoy,” but it’s a therapy that will hopefully get them back to enjoying their lives.
Many people wonder if their therapy is really helping them overcome their problem. Why? They often have therapists who tell them that they are doing well, but their therapist does not make clear to them what they mean by making progress. Does it mean facing your emotions, being able to talk about difficult things, or does it mean that you feel better and function better? Many people also like their therapist’s kindness and empathy, but feel guilty about questioning the outcome because their therapist is so nice even though they are not getting better. Unless you clarify with your therapist what a good outcome is at the start of therapy by mentioning your goals and agree what recovery looks like, then you may be likely to go to therapy for years without any noticeable improvement in your daily life. So, here are some hot tips for questions to ask to determine is your therapist is really helpful.
Everyone has bad days when things just aren’t going well and we just feel off. This can be in response to some bad news like getting a grade that is less than stellar or your friends are too busy to hang out. Sometimes when we find our bad day seems to last day after day, then that may mean something else is going on. Depression is a term that covers a great deal of meanings and references. In economics, depression refers to a “sustained, long-term, downturn in economic activity in one or more economies.” In kinesiology, depression is “an anatomical term of motion that refers to downward movement, the opposite of elevation.” In weather, depression refers to “an area of low atmospheric pressure characterized by rain and unstable weather.” In terms of mood, depression refers to a sustained mood that is low, sad, down, blue. When the mood continues for two weeks or more and occurs for most of the day that may indicate an illness called major depression. Read more.
Mark Bermudez, and an art student at Florida International University, reached out to ADAA a few months ago to let us know that he was working on a project for his Graphic Design III class where he would create a series of posters that explain how mental illnesses can affect people through the use of metaphor.
The decision to take medication for mental health is a very important one, and it often takes place when symptoms of anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues have intensified, which can make the decision process much harder. The following questions can help ease the process and guide you in your conversation with your doctor and in the ongoing treatment process.
When I last sat down to reflect on my journey with anxiety I was nervous, timid, and YES even a little ANXIOUS. I wanted to share my story with the “right” spin or the “right” perspective. I gave just enough details to get the point across and deflect the focus away from me and my “issues."  That was 5 or 6 months ago when I put those words down on paper. The mistake I made when first sharing my story was not emphasizing how much I battle to excel everyday. These are called “Stories of Triumph” and I did not express the battle I fight daily to excel in spite of my anxiety.
Perfectionistic teens are on a mission to demonstrate perfection in everything that they do. This coping style, though, often results in debilitating anxiety. Such teens constantly fear making even the smallest of mistakes, fearing that this signifies failure and worthlessness. How can we help anxious teens reduce their unhealthy perfectionism?