While confronting our fears, discerning our angers and resentments, or unloading on friends or a therapist may be helpful, there is another school of mental health thought emphasizing distraction and humor. Carol Tavris says one of the best antidotes to the kind of anger that sticks in one’s craw is to see a funny movie–explained […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Suicide rates are unacceptably high. A U.S. soldier, present or recent past, is said to kill himself or herself every eighty minutes. In countries suffering economic crises, the situation is in some ways even more tragic. Reuters reports that “behind every suicide in crisis-stricken countries such as Greece there are up to 20 more people […]By: Evander Lomke
Some occupations appear to put persons employed in them at risk for eating disorders. Flight attendants, dancers, actors—persons in these lines of work must maintain unforgiving standards of weight and general appearance in order to ply their trade. As such, they may employ tactics of severe calories-restriction or eating, and then throwing up. (Binging-and-purging as […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Antipsychotic medications have an interesting history. In the early 20th century, Thorazine was used as an anesthetic during surgery. In the 1940s, a patient with schizophrenia found that after surgery that the delusions and hallucinations had disappeared. Within a few short years this medication was being used for treatment of schizophrenia and two decades later […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
By all accounts Mary Todd Lincoln led a difficult and tragic life despite her early upbringing with material comforts and blessings. She married Abraham Lincoln when she was twenty three and was often alone rearing four sons while Lincoln embarked upon his upward political climb. Of her four sons, one died in 1850, another during […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
There’s something about the Deep South that inspires the writing of great literature (think William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote) more than, for example, North Dakota. Likewise, we think of “the grand diagnoses” in psychiatry more than we do, say, about Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Prince of Tides is a 1991 movie capturing the lowland beauty […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) lists conditions present in a child that can qualify him or her for special services in the educational system in preschool. These are: *Chromosomal Abnormalities (e.g., Down syndrome) *Syndromes (e.g., fetal alcohol syndrome) *Neuromuscular Disorder (e.g., cerebral palsy, spina bifida) *Central nervous system (CNS) abnormality (e.g., caused by bacterial/viral […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
The American Psychological Association has announced, in the January 2012 issue of American Psychologist, “Guidelines for Assessment of and Intervention With Persons of Disabilities.” This document lists twenty-two practice-guidelines for psychologists who work with persons displaying disabilities of various kinds. The task force for this report was chaired by Kurt F. Geisinger of the University […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Elaine Aron pioneered new ground over a decade ago when she wrote the trade book The Highly Sensitive Person; this was followed up by a workbook, a book on parenting children who are highly sensitive, and even a primer for therapists. Highly Sensitive Persons (HSP), in her view (which incorporates findings from important developmental psychologists […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Finally Hollywood has discovered a good man with the right stuff to play the part of an incredibly loving father who happens to be a graduate of the Bronx High School of Science, loves baseball, and who has just a enough of Asperger’s syndrome qualities (a mere scent) to bond closely with his nine-year-old, a […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
American Psychological Association Announces Guidelines for Psychologist Involvement in Pharmacological Issues
In the recent yearly “Reports of the Association” issue of the American Psychologist (December 2011), the American Psychological Association announced “Practice Guidelines Regarding Psychologists’ Involvement in Pharmacological Issues.” This report notes several factors that will make psychologists more involved in medication-management issues. One survey noted that the number of Americans using antidepressants increased from 6.7 […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Ann Carrns, writing in the January 11, 2012, New York Times, notes a new financial tool, one geared for families with individuals who have special needs: “Families with children who have special needs or disabilities face even bigger hurdles than most people when it comes to planning for their financial futures. Merrill Lynch Wealth Management […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
The December 22, 2011, edition of the New York Times brings out another article on the problems and abuses in New York State public groups homes where developmentally disabled persons reside. It is important to note that the focus of the NYT articles has been on “public” rather than private group homes. Many of the […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
Here is a letter I received from Jesse Close: Dear William: Share your story with Bring Change 2 Mind. I was 47 by the time I was properly diagnosed with bipolar disorder. For most of my life, my illness went undiagnosed and untreated. Life is much better now. A proper diagnosis and treatment helped tremendously, […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
The following is based on interviews with Alexandra Styron. I first met Alexandra Styron at a reading of her new book, Reading My Father: A Memoir (Scribner, 2011). She was appearing at the Quogue Public Library on Long Island. It was one of those beautiful midsummer afternoons that remind one so much of Henry James’s […]By: Dr. Melissa Wanamaker
Among the millions of Facebook responses generated each day, some are posted by persons who display varying degrees of suicide potential and risk. In an attempt to deal with this constructively, Facebook (according to an article in the December 10, 2001, Boston Globe) will begin a service in which Facebook users can let Facebook know […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
In most cases psychiatric drugs are not valuable commodities on the street: antipsychotics and antidepressants with names such as Thorazine, Haldol, Resperidal, Tofranil, SSRIs, Wellbutrin, Abilify, Lithium, and others generally must build up a therapeutic dosage in the bloodstream to become effective. There is no immediate “rush” or feeling of euphoria. In acute-psychiatric illness, a […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
I came across this memoir (with its compelling title, somewhat reminiscent of the work of Clarice Lispector) upon learning its author, Carol Hebald, had been awarded (six years before) the same fellowship I had been given as an undergraduate. The foreword is by iconoclast Thomas Stephen Szasz, known for his anti-traditional “anti-views” of psychotherapy. In […]By: Evander Lomke
What are mental bears? A person who is asked NOT to think aloud about a white bear will more often than not mention this same white bear: at least once a minute. So “white bears” have come to mean all sorts of unwanted thoughts that cause annoyance to even extreme frustration to those who experience […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.
It is a great service to the public when prominent people share their struggles with psychological conditions like depression. This often gives others the courage to seek treatment and acknowledge their need for help. Dick Cavett’s biography in Wikipedia notes: “Cavett has openly discussed his bouts with clinical depression, an illness that first affected him […]By: William Van Ornum, Ph.D.