Why are psychiatric drug side effects so severe? Recently, I complained to my psychiatrist that I felt like my heart was racing. She took my pulse, frowned, broke out her stethoscope, then ordered an electrocardiogram (EKG). The EKG came back abnormal, so the nurse practitioner overseeing it ordered another one. Both EKGs showed that I may have had a mild atrial heart attack. I see a cardiologist on Thursday. How could psychiatric drug side effects be so severe? (Check the side-effects of your psychiatric medications) Keep reading »

Amy Winehouse, an alcoholic, lacked a social support system near the end of her life, according to a recent documentary about the ill-fated singer and songwriter. After watching the revealing and very sad, Amy, last week, I am reminded how critical it is for struggling alcoholics and addicts like Amy Winehouse, to surround themselves with a quality support system (Importance of Drug Addiction Support). Keep reading »

Unfortunately, when it comes to combat posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), additional mental illnesses occurring with combat PTSD is almost the rule, rather than the exception. When one diagnosis exists with another, this is known as comorbidity. Studies have found that of veterans with combat PTSD, about half have an additional, current mental illness diagnosis. Comorbidity makes treating combat PTSD more complicated and, of course, tends to increase suffering for the patient. Here is some more information about mental illnesses that commonly occur with combat PTSD. Keep reading »

Dealing with depression is difficult enough when everything in your life is going swimmingly but what about coping with depression and adversity? How do we cope with adversity and depression at the same time? Keep reading »

I used to wonder, are exercise and mental health related? Can it improve your overall mental health and be as helpful as antidepressants? In my recent experience, I’ve found the answer is yes. I have been through anxiety, depression and depersonalization (feeling a sense of watching yourself and feeling disconnected to others and oneself) and exercise helped to lift my mood during the dark days. The problem is, like many others might find, it’s a constant struggle to stay motivated and develop a love for exercise for your mental health. Keep reading »

White privilege in mental illness is no surprise to many minorities. The case of Natasha McKenna in Fairfax, Virginia–you know, the #BlackLivesMatter death no one is writing about–is an example. McKenna, a petite African-American woman diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 12–died while in police custody. She had been taken out of the psychiatric ward by police, but from there the story gets murky. What is known is that she was beaten by police, then tasered four times while handcuffed behind her back, shackled and in a spit hood. She died from her treatment–which probably would have been vastly different if she weren’t a poor black woman. We are long overdue for a conversation on white privilege and mental illness. Keep reading »

I admit it; I’m a bit of a people pleaser because of bipolar disorder. How is this possible? Well, I suppose I have a bit of a fear of abandonment – as most people with bipolar disorder do. This isn’t an irrational, “please don’t leave me” kind of a thing, it’s the experience of having had people leave my life because of bipolar and not wanting that to happen again. So I try people pleasing because of bipolar. Keep reading »

When there’s infidelity and mental illness in a romantic relationship, it causes pain for both parties which is sometimes irreparable. When infidelity and a mental illness intersect, the fallout can cause the most harm to the person dealing with the disease. Whether one does the cheating or is cheated upon, managing the emotional damage of infidelity in a romantic relationship can be enough to cause or worsen a mental illness episode. Keep reading »

Staying body positive when you have binge eating disorder can be difficult. I have binge eating disorder and it has hugely impacted what my body looks like and how I feel about it. I have starved myself to 160 pounds, I have binged myself to 315 pounds, and I currently sit at a comfortable 210 pounds after gastric sleeve weight loss surgery and a lot of education about health and self-acceptance. I’m doing my best to be body positive in spite of binge eating disorder. Keep reading »

Loving an alcoholic is challenging, regardless of whether or not the alcoholic is in recovery. There are certain personality traits common to alcoholics which add strain to relationships with friends, family, romantic partners, or professional connections when left untethered. What are some of these personality traits that come out when loving an alcoholic and how do they affect these relationships? Keep reading »