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Our Mental Health Blogs

Introduction to Nancy Zacharakis, Author of ‘Recovering from Mental Illness’

Introduction to Nancy Zacharakis, Author of ‘Recovering from Mental Illness’

New author of "Recovering from Mental Illness" blog Nancy Zacharakis talks about her experience recovering from binge eating disorder, anxiety and depression.My name is Nancy Zacharakis and I’m excited to be joining the Recovering from Mental Illness blog at HealthyPlace. I’ve suffered with depression and anxiety for about three years, from the ages of 21-24. My mental illness began after competing in a bikini bodybuilding competition and suffering with binge eating disorder. The unhealthy relationship with food and my body during my 16-week competition preparation was a catalyst for an eating disorder. My binge eating then led me to feel depressed about my life, my body, my relationships, and my career. I suffered from anxiety as well, feeling anxious about what was happening to me, what my future was going to look like and how I was going to deal with this abnormal behavior.

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Coping with a Diagnosis of Mental Illness

Coping with a Diagnosis of Mental Illness

Coping with a diagnosis of mental illness can be scary. I felt fear and eventually relief when I was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. Here's how I cope.

Coping with a diagnosis of a mental illness can be scary, but if you’ve made it to this point, it means you’ve reached out for help. That’s a great first step. You’re on your way to receiving treatment and most likely feeling better. It’s important to cope with mental illness, and it’s important to cope with the diagnosis of mental illness–accepting the illness–too.

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Working While on Disability Should Not Be Penalized

Working While on Disability Should Not Be Penalized

Working while on disability can cost you a lot. You can't live on disability, but you can't work while on disability either. We need disability reform.Working while on disability should not be penalized. I used to work in a restaurant for $8.25 an hour for 20 hours a week. I reported this income to Social Security, and my Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits were terminated. Not only that, but the government told me they overpaid me and I had to pay the money back–all at once. This is not right. Working while on disability should not be penalized.

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Three Reasons People Self-Injure and How to Resist Self-Harm

Three Reasons People Self-Injure and How to Resist Self-Harm

The reasons people self-injure vary, but there are many ways to reign in self-harm to develop better coping skills. Learn reasons for self-harm and how to stop.

Many people with mental illness have their reasons to self-injure but it’s important to resist self-harm urges. While most commonly associated with borderline personality disorder (BPD), self-harm can occur with any mental illness. There are three reasons people self-injure: to punish themselves, to feel something instead of nothing, and to feel stronger.

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Using Emergency Rooms as Mental Health Wards Doesn’t Work

Using Emergency Rooms as Mental Health Wards Doesn’t Work

Sometimes the emergency room becomes a mental health ward. Frequently there are no beds available in psychiatric hospitals so the emergency room is the one place a mental health consumer can be kept relatively safe and under supervision. This has happened to me a few times, and it’s such a problem that USA Today mentioned it in an article series.1 But this is ineffective at best and makes things worse at worst. Here is why using emergency rooms as mental health wards doesn’t work.

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It’s Time to Reform the Mental Healthcare System

It’s Time to Reform the Mental Healthcare System

It’s time to reform the mental healthcare system. It’s been time for years. While the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations made great strides, all that progress could be lost under the new administration (Mental Health Care [In A Perfect World]). Already, Congress voted to reinstate pre-existing conditions (which prior to the Affordable Care Act many insurance agencies used to refuse to cover an individual with mental illness or refuse to cover mental healthcare). Congress also voted to prevent Medicare from negotiating with drug companies to lower prices. And legislation that would have lowered drug prices was shot down–you may have seen the meme naming which politician voted against it and how much money they’ve received from pharmaceutical companies. President-elect Donald Trump needs to take action and reform the mental healthcare system.

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Lack of Treatment for Dual Diagnosis with Substance Abuse

Lack of Treatment for Dual Diagnosis with Substance Abuse

There is a serious lack of treatment for dual diagnosis with substance abuse. A dual diagnosis is two co-occurring mental health conditions, in this case, one of which is a substance abuse disorder. The use of substances as a way to cope with psychiatric symptoms is so common there’s a term for it: “self-medicating.” Treatment for dual diagnosis with substance abuse is critical, but few get treatment.

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How to Help People in Denial of Their Mental Illness

How to Help People in Denial of Their Mental Illness

Do you know people in denial of their mental illness? If so, you know getting them help is impossible. Here's how to help a person stop denying mental illness.

The first stage of mental illness is denial. It’s also a common symptom of mental illness and a barrier to treatment. So how do you help people in denial of their mental illness? While it may seem hopeless, there’s actually quite a bit that you can do.

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How to Recover from Perfectionism or Perfectionistic Standards

How to Recover from Perfectionism or Perfectionistic Standards

Do you know how to recover from perfectionism or perfectionistic standards? Perfectionistic standards are one of the symptoms of borderline personality disorder (BPD), according to schema therapy, which I found tremendously helpful in recovering from BPD. Basically, perfectionistic standards are standards set so high that no human can meet them. When we fail to meet these standards, we begin to think we’re failures and bad people, and that triggers our symptoms such as self-injury. But the good news is we can recover. Here are some suggestions on how to recover from perfectionism or unreasonably high standards.

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Recovering from Sexually Predatory Behavior

Recovering from Sexually Predatory Behavior

How does one recover from sexually predatory behavior? Donald Trump’s recent comments have sparked an avalanche of ugly behavior and comments. What stood out to me was his remark that the women a celebrity abused would not do anything about it because the celebrity is in a position of power–classic sexual predator logic. But some people, despite all the risks, do come forward and have the courage to heal (The Cosby Case Can Teach Us Three Lessons). Here is how we go about recovering from sexually predatory behavior.

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