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The Hazards of Being an Empath

By Stacey Colino

Are you an empath? You might consider yourself an empathic person but there’s a difference between having empathy and being an empath (a highly sensitive person who easily absorbs other people’s feelings, energy and stress).

“Having empathy means your heart goes out to another person who’s experiencing joy or pain,” explains Judith Orloff, MD, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA and author of the book, The Empath’s Survival Guide. By contrast, “empaths actually feel other people’s emotions and physical symptoms in their bodies, without the usual defenses most people have.” Read More

Posted on May 22, 2017
pills

Is Opioid Addiction a Middle Class Phenomenon?

Prescription opioid addiction is slashing and burning its way across the American landscape. Since the late 1990s, the rate of narcotic painkiller addiction (and overdose) has soared, and addiction treatment centers are now overflowing with men and women dependent on drugs like OxyContin, fentanyl, Vicodin and Percocet.

The arrival of the 21st century has also been accompanied by a sudden rise in heroin use, and this is directly related to the narcotic painkiller addiction problem. Even though heroin is an illicit drug, it binds with the same receptors in the brain as its prescription opioid cousins, meaning it can be used interchangeably with these drugs. Read More

Posted on May 15, 2017
Couple With Woman Suffering From Depression

6 Tips for Creating Boundaries With Narcissists

Narcissism and self-absorption seem so prevalent these days. Some individuals never outgrow the egocentric childhood belief that their needs are the only important ones. They lack empathy and genuine interest in others.  And they grow into adults with a sense of bold superiority and a desire for respect and admiration from others with little to offer in return. And if things do not unfold as they expect them to, they can become erratic, rude and lash out when criticized.

We meet them in our daily lives as friends and bosses, and we see this behavior in relatives and loved ones. It is common to feel unsettled, manipulated and always put upon or even put down by people who are so self-absorbed. Read More

Posted on May 8, 2017

Cultivating Emotional Agility: Six Small Changes That Will Help You Thrive

By Stacey Colino

Just as developing strength and agility is crucial for physical fitness, the same is true for emotional fitness. In our culture, the strength part of the psychological equation is well understood, given that it’s often equated with having good coping skills and emotional resilience. But the perks of having emotional agility are not as widely appreciated.

In her new book, Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life (Avery, 2016), Susan David, PhD, a psychologist at Harvard Medical School and co-founder and co-director of the Institute of Coaching at McLean Hospital, defines emotional agility as “being flexible with your thoughts and feelings so that you can respond optimally to everyday situations.” Read More

Posted on May 1, 2017

How Addiction Lights Up the Brain: Dopamine (and Other Neurotransmitters) 101

A number of scientific studies have revealed the complex workings of our brain’s motivation and reward center and how neurotransmitters, often referred to as the brain’s “feel-good chemicals,” are released when we desire something or experience pleasure.

Our brains produce numerous natural neurotransmitters that play critical roles in our health and how we feel. The brain also changes its production of these neurotransmitters in response to certain substances or stimuli, and this is why many experts now recognize the role neurotransmitters play in addiction. They explain that we become addicted as chemically induced alterations in neurotransmitter levels confuse the brain’s pleasure and reward mechanisms, driving addiction and, ultimately, challenging recovery. Read More

Posted on April 25, 2017
woman looking out of window

Embracing the ‘Failure’ of Relapse

Relapse is more the rule than the exception in addiction recovery. In fact, relapse is considered a component of addiction, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which says, “Addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.” Instead of viewing relapse as a failure, NIDA recommends that people in recovery should interpret it as a sign that their treatment may need to be reinitiated or adjusted.

According to an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, roughly 60% of recovering addicts relapse within one year of completing treatment for substance abuse. But in addiction recovery we often get second chances, and more, to move past relapse and onward with our sobriety. Read More

Posted on April 21, 2017
dermatillomania

Compulsive Skin Picking – What Is Dermatillomania?

Dermatillomania, also known as skin picking disorder (SPD), is a serious problem in which an individual picks at their skin to the extent that it causes wounds. Many people don’t have an awareness of this condition but 2% to 3% of the population actually struggles with it. Read More

Posted on April 12, 2017
meth paranoia

Meth Paranoia and Domestic Violence Rates

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive, long-lasting chemical substance that affects the central nervous system and creates a feeling of intense euphoria in the user. Meth works by causing the brain to release very high levels of the chemical dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that affects attention, alertness, motivation and motor function. The harmful effects of methamphetamine on the brain, such as meth paranoia, are believed to be caused by the elevated dopamine release. Chronic use of meth can cause depression, fatigue, anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, delusions and violent behavior. Read More

Posted on April 6, 2017
ocd and adhd

Guide to Mental Health Acronyms

Sometimes mental health acronyms can seem like a bowl of alphabet soup. OCD and ADHD. BPD and PTSD. It can be difficult to keep them all straight. Many mental health disorders have long, complicated names that are much easier to refer to once shortened, but this can cause difficulties for those who aren’t sure exactly what each acronym entails. We’ve created a guide to help you better understand what some of the many mental health acronyms stand for and what they mean. Read More

Posted on April 5, 2017
medications for alcoholism

Do Medications for Alcoholism Actually Work?

For those who struggle with a drinking problem, medications for alcoholism are often prescribed in order to allow individuals the opportunity to develop the skills necessary for a path to recovery. Some medications reduce cravings for alcohol while others induce unbearable sickness after drinking alcohol. Read More

Posted on April 4, 2017
anger disorders

Common Symptoms of an Anger Disorder

Anger disorders can lead to aggressive, angry or violent behavior. While anger is a normal human emotion that happens to everyone sooner or later, it can sometimes get completely out of control. If the frequency and severity of angry episodes you are having make you feel like you have lost control of your life, you may have an anger disorder.
Read More

Posted on March 31, 2017
Woman with head in hands

How Subtle Trauma Can Secretly Rule Our Lives

Even the smallest childhood traumas can strongly influence our adult lives. We tend to think of early trauma as violence, sexual abuse, neglect and loss, or as something caused by major catastrophes, crimes or accidents. There are many different levels of overt trauma, but there is also a kind of trauma that is so subtle we barely know it exists.  Read More

Posted on March 31, 2017
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