ADAA Public Blogs

ADAA's evidence-based mental health blog featuring mental health professionals.

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For the second year in a row, ADAA member David H. Rosmarin, PhD, ABPP, ran a fundraising campaign in conjunction with his Philadelphia marathon, raising a total of over $5,000 for ADAA. Dr. Rosmarin is raising awareness about depression and sat down with ADAA to talk about this mental health illness.
As the Executive Director of ADAA, I am always thrilled when we realize our work is making a difference and that we are reaching farther and wider. So, when the Hadassah Foundation, a mental health organization in Cameroon, contacted ADAA with a request to access our free member-created, publicly available, evidence-based resources, we not only acquiesced, we collaborated.  
Men experience more feelings than just anger. Can you own your anxieties and face them in effective and sustainable ways? Can you let yourself feel sadness, grief, or depression without shutting down or avoiding the feelings?
ADAA Blog Post by Ashley Smith, PhD - Research shows that the more present we are, the happier we tend to be, even when the present moment isn’t pleasant or enjoyable. Rumination is a sneaky mental habit that zaps us of joy. This is where gratitude can be particularly helpful.
In BDD, people are tormented by obsessive thoughts associated with a part or parts of their physical appearance being flawed in some way, yet these flaws tend not to be noticeable to anyone but themselves.
Exercise can play a multifaceted role in alleviating symptoms of depression and anxiety. Learn more in this blog post published in partnership with bodybuilding.com.
It may feel like your social skills are a little rusty due to COVID-19. The activities that we used to do, such as attending a social gathering or sharing a meal, may feel awkward or anxiety producing. It is normal to feel this way in the context of the pandemic.

If you engage in some positive distracting activities during this crisis, then the flow of the day will move like a steady stream rather than a slow drip.

Time might seem to go by slowly and you only measure your day by the time between newscasts.

Do not just stay glued to the tv related to the pandemic.

Look up a new recipe and try to cook it. Get creative with what you have in the pantry.

The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly and abruptly changed human life in unexpected ways. In the last few months, since the COVID-19 stay at home restrictions came into place, millions of people have been working from home and practicing social distancing. As the lockdown restrictions are getting lifted or eased in various places, most people are experiencing some degree of re-entry anxiety, as they contemplate or attempt to navigate some degree of resumption of required pre-lockdown activities, such as going to work.

Fear, uncertainty, and anxiety are bound to be heightened with wide-scale disease outbreaks that are contagious, particularly when they involve a new, previously unknown disease-causing agent, as is the case with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This fear and anxiety can especially affect people already suffering from anxiety, and repeated news cycles about the spread of coronavirus do not help this anxiety.

The onset of OCD typically occurs during adolescence, with 25% of cases starting by age 14. Because teens typically live at home, accommodations by family members are common. Accommodations occur when others attempt to aid sufferers by assisting in rituals.

Checking my email last night, I noticed that “coronavirus” appeared in the subject line of about 70% of the messages. It makes sense that the Wall Street Journal, CNN, Fox News, and The Washington Post would be featuring stories, but Wired and The Atlantic and other newsletters have all caught COVID-19 fever. The media are turning this into a payday. I don’t begrudge them that. Panic sells. It’s good business.

Are you feeling sad or lonely this Valentine’s Day? We don’t usually associate Valentine’s Day with depression, but if you’ve recently gone through a breakup or if you’re dealing with persistent disappointment in your love life, Valentine’s Day can be a depressing affair.

Emotions Related to Loss

Many different emotions can arise when a romantic relationship ends, including sadness and depression.

Most of us started out playing sports for fun. Practices and games were a chance to meet up with friends (old and new), to get away from our work-a-day lives, and take on an athletic challenge that got our hearts pumping and our endorphins firing.  

For many competitors, however, there’s a point at which the fun-dial gets turned down, and the pressure to perform makes our heads spin, our hands sweat, and we start fearing mistakes rather than embracing opportunities to improve.   

Did you know the inability to experience your emotions causes anxious sensations? But that does not mean it's part of an anxiety condition. 

One of my favorite concepts to challenge in session is the idea of "My Anxiety." It's often a term people will use when they are struggling with both an anxiety condition and emotional regulation. People suffering from an anxiety condition will often begin labeling uncomfortable emotions as an anxious state or part of an anxiety condition- like generalized anxiety, OCD, or panic disorder. 

It’s easy to feel unsettled when we hear unsettling news on television or social media, particularly when several events happen at once. The combination of Kobe Bryant’s death, the fires in Australia, and the spread of the Corona virus, can trigger an escalation of anxiety or depression for those already in a fragile state. It’s normal to experience an emotional reaction to events such as these but we don’t want them to overwhelm us.  We can prevent stories in the media from hitting us hard emotionally by taking four simple steps. 

ADAA member Dave Carbonell, PhD wrote this blog post to accompany his new ADAA webinar. 

“The harder I try, the worst it gets!”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2016 alone, there were an estimated 7,277,000 police reported traffic accidents in the United States. Most of the time, the initial concern has to do with any physical injuries for the people involved and getting help immediately. After the accident, when that initial shock has subsided, many fail to recognize how these accidents effect their emotional and mental health. 

We all have that one feature on our face or bodies that we don’t like. Maybe your nose tip is a millimeter longer than you would prefer? Perhaps you feel that your cheekbones can be more pronounced? No matter the issue, body insecurity is common among us all. The most prominent evidence of this can be found in the media. 

View the ADAA Live Webinar with ADAA members Drs. Kissen and Greene - What Are Intrusive Thoughts and How Can You Deal with Them?

If you suffer from anxiety, you probably have a contentious and complicated relationship with your mind. It feels like your mind tortures you. It gives you all these thoughts about what you should be scared of and horrible things that could happen to you.  

The “unknown” is anxiety provoking for just about everyone. So how will this upcoming school year be for our teens? We don't know, and neither do they. Rightfully so, this time of year can generate lots of emotions; feelings of happiness for new school supplies, reuniting with friends and some new back to school clothes, but it can also bring up feelings of fear. The dreadful feelings associated with summer ending, the fear of new classes, new teachers and being in a new grade can all make those feelings of uncertainty and discomfort increase.

Discussing mental health is difficult for everyone, especially for those who experience their own mental health challenges. Our society has made this a taboo topic, which only exacerbates the issue. As we all know, when mental health is not talked about, the stigma continues, leaving people who are suffering alone and in silence. Here are some quick tips on how to stay informed for yourself and the people in your life to keep the conversation going and help end the stigma.

Educate yourself.

Living with chronic illness can sometimes feel like an insurmountable challenge. It can be demoralizing, scary, isolating, and frustrating. But there is hope. Read on to learn several helpful strategies to cope with chronic illness.

The loss of a loved one to suicide is a far too common tragedy. In 2017 alone, 47,173 people in the United States died by suicide [1] and it is estimated that an average of 135 people are exposed to each suicide death [2]. These suicide survivors include immediate and extended family members, friends, coworkers, classmates, and any others who were close to the deceased. Following a suicide loss, survivors may experience profound distress and emotional pain as well as feelings of stigma, guilt, and shame [3].

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, Drs. Debra Kissen and Kevin Chapman hosted a Twitter chat under the title #MythBusters where they debunked common myths surrounding anxiety and provided the actual corresponding facts.

M1: Taking some deep breaths or breathing into a brown paper bag will help you when you feel anxious.

College is an exciting time for many young adults. It’s a time of newfound freedom, opportunity to expand one’s social network, develop new friendships, engage intellectually and consider one’s future career paths. However, it can be a challenging and stressful time for many. For many, it is the first time they are not living at home where there is a built-in support network. First time college students also have to learn to navigate a cadre of new demands, set their own schedules, find effective routines, and balance a variety of demands in order to succeed.

Imagine one morning you wake up to a loud sound of explosion, and in disbelief find out the whole city is in chaos. There is no electricity, no tap water, grocery stores are closed indefinitely, and there is no gas for the car. Control of your neighborhood constantly transitions between different groups who may treat you differently based on your religion or ethnicity, and yourself and your family are under constant threat of torture, and injuries, or even loss of life. This is what happened in Syria.

Friends and family are great at being the go-to support for the occasional ups and downs we experience in our day-to-day lives. Venting to them can feel uplifting, but in order to learn tools to overcome life’s challenges feel and feel empowered in the long run, seeking professional help may be the best route. However, sometimes there is a barrier. The most common being the costs that seems to get in between people wanting to create change but not having the funds to do so.

I’ve had this terrible thought I can’t get out of my head. I saw a post on Facebook from a girl I met at a party in college and remembered an incident from ten years ago. We were both pretty drunk and started fooling around.  I went back to her room, and we ended up having sex. I don’t remember much else.  In the morning, it was awkward, but she didn’t seem upset. We never hooked up again.  I hardly ever ran into her. But when we did see each other, she was friendly. Still, I can’t stop thinking I raped her. What if I was so drunk I don’t know what really happened?

On February 7, 2019, ADAA held a Twitter chat under the title #GotOCD. ADAA member experts Jonathan Grayson, PhD and Jenny Yip, PsyD, ABPP answered questions on the different types of OCD and treatment. Read the Q&A below:
 

Modern life keeps us very busy.

We find ourselves ignoring the fundamentals like our health, family, friends, community etc.

All that neglect causes dysfunction in our lives.

We try desperately to fix the problem after it becomes a significant issue. In other words, we are attempting to reverse the damage once it has already become a disorder.

As a physician, this neglect is something I see among my patients every day.

On November 13, 2018, ADAA held a Twitter chat under the title #HolidayDepression. ADAA members Mary Alvord and Shane Owens answered questions on coping with depression during the holiday season.


Q1: How common is depression during the holidays?

We conceptualize OCD as a biologically based mental health disorder whereby a person experiences intrusive unwelcome thoughts (obsessions) and engages in rituals (compulsions) to get rid of the anxiety (or any uncomfortable feeling) associated with these thoughts.

Often overlooked in conceptualizing OCD are the physical sensations that folks may focus on, rather than a primary disturbing thought.

On October 11, 2018, ADAA held a Twitter chat under the title #SocialAnxietyADAA. ADAA members Debra Kissen and Holly Scott answered questions on the signs and symptoms of social anxiety as well as coping tips and strategies.
 

1: What are the signs and symptoms of social anxiety? 

Peggy, an attorney in her late 30s, establishes rituals to protect herself from aging and in her mind, becoming ugly. These rituals include 20 to 30 facial wraps a day, washing her face 40 times from morning until night, applying her cosmetics in a ritualized order, and constantly standing in front of mirrors to scrutinize the symmetry of her legs. These rituals last 8 hours a day every single day and cost over $10,000 a month to maintain.