News Articles Week of September 27th - October 1st

  • Sunday, October 03, 2021 5:03 PM
    Message # 11137648
    Valentino Travieso (Administrator)

    Ways That Mental Health Professionals Can Encourage COVID-19 Vaccination

    I know there are differences of opinion about the COVID vaccines, but for those who believe the benefits outweigh the dangers, I think many of us believe that discussions are preferable to mandates.  Mental health professionals are often trained in the skills that help people become open to new perspectives.  This article discusses why the author believes we could become helpfully involved in these discussions. Click here to read full article.

    The ABCs of CBD, THC, Medical Marijuana, and More

    This is a brief article by Rebeca Siegal, a psychiatrist at the Amen Clinic.  She has written a book The Brain on Cannabis:  What You Should Know About Recreational and Medical Marijuana, which was released on September 28.  She is a doctor who uses medical marijuana with some of her patients and believes in some situations it can be helpful.  A nicely balanced discussion of both sides of the issue. Click here to read full article.

    Do Video Games Exacerbate ADHD?

    Although this article has ADHD in its title, I think the article has lots of good ideas for any parent with children.  It recognizes that the Internet has lots of good things it offers children and teens but gives some reasonable limits parents can set for their children. Click here to read full article.

    “I Branded Myself a Misunderstood Freak. But It Was ADHD All Along.”

    Sometimes parents don’t tell their children they have ADHD because they fear that it will label them.  I remember one counseling student who told me that she struggled through high school and college and graduate school but didn’t know why.  She was in danger of being dismissed from her internship site because she wasn’t keeping up with her progress notes.  When she shared this with her parents, they told her that she had been diagnosed with ADHD when she was a child but they never told her nor had medication prescribed for her because they didn’t want her to be “labeled.”  She had quite a bit of anger to work through because she had suffered so many years unnecessarily because of her parent’s decision.  Once she got on medication her ability to keep up with her progress notes rapidly changed and she finished her internship and her master’s degree successfully.

    This article illustrates how a diagnosis can be life changing.  If you are working with a family where the parents are reluctant to let their child know they have ADHD, this article might be useful in helping them to see that telling their child the truth, while it might take some processing for the child to accept, can ultimately be the most loving thing they could do. Click here to read full article.

    Confessions of a Racing Mind: My Silent Battle with OCD

    Here is an interesting article by a graduate counseling student (now a therapist) and how her OCD affected her studies and has affected her life.  It tells about her attempts at using medication to calm her obsessive thoughts (and why the fourth one, which helped her OCD but disrupted her sleep to such an extent that she eventually stopped it).  Then she shares a type of psychotherapy that has helped.  And she has some thoughtful discussion about therapists and whether they should ever share their humanness.  In case you don’t have OCD, this is a good introduction to what life is like for our clients who do have it. Click here to read full article.

    Two Excellent Books on OCD

    If you are interested in learning more about OCD or helping clients who have OCD, I would recommend two books, both written by psychiatrists.  The first is “Can Christianity Cure Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?” by Ian Osborn, M.D.  This has a fascinating discussion of people throughout history who have probably had OCD.  In the Middle Ages this was called “scruples” because people who had this were often scrupulous about judging all their behavior.  Apparently Martin Luther had severe OCD, and there are legends of priests manning the confessional booths who would run when they saw Martin Luther coming, for his confessions would often be excruciatingly detailed and would last for hours. 

    Luther was eventually assigned to teach theology and as he was studying the book of Romans he saw Romans 1:17 “The righteous will live by faith.”  This insight Is thought to be the impetus for the Reformation since the Roman Catholic Church of that time taught that sins could only be atoned for by penances and indulgences.  Thus it is very possible that the Reformation would not have been started by Luther if it were not for his severe OCD.  The insight that Luther experienced, and the approach to OCD recommended in this book can be seen as the theological analogue of the secular version of the psychotherapy mentioned in the article above.  This is an excellent book that is a pleasure to read.  You’ll find that many other notable figures in history also probably suffered from OCD, including John Bunyan, the author of “Pilgrim’s Progress, the second-most-read book in the world after the Bible.  If you have completed your studies and have the time to do some recreational reading, I highly encourage you to consider reading it.

    Another good book for those interested in OCD is the book “Brain Lock:  Free Yourself from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder:  A Four-Step Self-Treatment Method to Change Your Brain Chemistry” by Jeffrey Schwartz, M.D. While this book doesn’t contain much of the fascinating history of the previous book it includes a practical, non-medication method that can help people with their obsessions and compulsions.  Since many people with OCD will often anxiously obsess about taking medication, a non-medication approach is often helpful.  

    The Best Books to Understand What Bipolar Is REALLY Like

    This compilation of books was created by a person who writes often about bipolar disorder.  It includes first person accounts of what it is like to experience bipolar, as well as books written by people who have loved ones who have bipolar disorder.  If you counsel clients with bipolar disorder, or counsel persons who have a loved one with bipolar disorder, this list might be helpful to them. Click here to read full article.

    More Empathy Means Better Care, Less Medical Liability

    Although this research was addressed to physicians, I think its findings have relevance for us as counselors.  Several previous studies have shown that empathy in doctors almost universally goes down during medical training. This study found that when doctors were given a short course in empathy and subsequently showed empathy, patients viewed them as more warm and more competent.  But it also found that empathy training increased doctors’ job satisfaction and resulted in less burnout.  And lastly, it reduced the likelihood of lawsuits by patients.  Most of us received solid empathy training in our counseling programs, but other research shows that as we get further away from our training, our adherence to things we were taught may wane.  This research can remind us that we should continue to use our empathy training, no matter how far we are from our initial training. Click here to read full article.

    The STI Epidemic Is Out of Control

    Even though COVID supposedly put a damper on dating for these last eighteen months, the incidence of sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia have continued to rise for the sixth straight year in a row.  It is important to realize that many people with STis look healthy, and that casual sex with one person exposes oneself not only to any STIs that person may have, but to every person that other person they may have had sex with, and every person those persons may have had sex with.  Once again we need to remind young adults (these are the age group where STIs are growing most rapidly) that saving oneself for marriage is not only biblical, but also wise. Click here to read full article.

    Young-Onset Dementia More Prevalent Than Previously Estimated

    This is not something we wanted to hear, but a meta-analysis from 95 studies from around the world found that young-onset dementias (defined as onset of dementia before age 65) were more common than previously believed.  Often these were not Alzheimer’s dementia, but from other sources such as alcohol-induced dementia, HIV dementia, Huntington’s Disease or frontotemporal dementia.  From a practical perspective, if you have a middle-aged person with treatment-resistant depression who begins complaining of memory problems, a referral for further analysis may be warranted.  However, it’s probably not wise to say anything to the client about the possibility of dementia since memory problems often occur with major depression.  But if you work with middle-aged adults this possibility is something to be aware of, because the cognitive decline in people with early-onset dementia is often more rapid than with Alzheimers. Click here to read full article.

    Cancer Without Chemotherapy: ‘A Totally Different World’

    This isn’t a counseling article, but it’s some encouraging news that you might be able to share with someone who has gotten the dreaded news of a diagnosis of cancer.  For many years the primary go-to therapy was chemotherapy, which often came with severe side-effects.  Now a number of alternative therapies are available, especially for breast cancer and lung cancer.  This article discusses what some of them are. Click here to read full article.

    The Most Problematic Issue with Bipolar Disorder: Normalcy

    The author of this article, a person with bipolar disorder himself, discusses what he considers the most difficult problem in having bipolar disorder—those periods of normalcy between episodes, when to outsiders you seem completely normal, and then are surprised when a bipolar episode emerges. Click here to read full article.

    Relationship Minimalism

    There’s a new trend among some new influencers—minimizing their relationships, i.e., only maintaining relationships with a small number of people. I certainly don’t recommend it—I think our lives are enriched by relationships with others, and that the feedback we get from others who disagree with us helps us become wiser people.  But you may want to become aware of this new trend, since you may have clients who are considering embracing this trend. Click here to read full article.

    Sexual Attraction Fluidity and Well-Being in Men: A Therapeutic Outcome Study

    This is a well-done study that uses a combination of EMDR and mindful self-compassion to help people with unwanted same-sex attractions to modify and lessen those unwanted attractions.  It showed that with therapy some 75 men in the study were able to reduce unwanted attractions and increase their feeling of overall well-being. The study will be published in the Journal of Human Sexuality and is available here. Click here to read full article.

    7 Differences Between Male and Female Brains

    Based on reviews of many thousands of brain scans, Dr. Amen gives a summary of some of the general differences between male and female brains.  (And for those of you who wonder if men even have brains, it affirms that they do; they just work differently than female brains.) Click here to read full article.

    Does Slight Autism Risk with Epidurals Matter?

    Two studies, one in Canada and one in Denmark, found a slight increase in having a child with one of the autism spectrum disorders when mothers had epidurals during delivery.  This has caused some pregnant women to have questions about whether they should have epidurals.   The two reviewers who wrote this editorial conclude that there are risk-benefit choices with any medical procedure, but they suggest that if the obstetrician recommends an epidural for a specific woman in a specific situation, that woman should not hesitate to follow their obstetrician’s recommendation. Click here to read full article.

    Here are 5 sus TikTok trends you should definitely stay away from

    TikTok is definitely becoming very popular with young people, and as we know, the prefrontal cortex doesn’t completely mature until about 25, so you may have some young clients who might be tempted to try some of these things.  If you work with teens and young adults, you might want to know some of the things they are being tempted to try. Click here to read full article.

    More Relapses for Patients Who Stopped Antidepressants

    Some depressed people, after they start feeling better, stop taking their antidepressants without consulting their prescribing physician.  This study (double blind), because had both groups continued taking medication, but one group was taking a placebo and the other was taking an actual antidepressant.  The study found a significantly higher percentage of people who were taking the placebo relapsed into depression than those who stayed on the antidepressant.  

    You may have clients who think taking antidepressants is like taking aspirin for headache—when the headache is gone, stop taking aspirin.  Similarly, when the depression seems to be going away, they can stop taking their antidepressant.  Encourage such clients to consult with their prescribing professional first to lessen the chances of the depression recurring. Click here to read full article.

    I hope you enjoyed one or more of these articles.

    Have a nice weekend!

    Henry Virkler


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