As a psychiatry resident working in New Orleans, I have the opportunity to treat a wide range of interesting people. I also have the great opportunity to work with college students when they show up to the Tulane emergency room in crisis. Something that I often see in these students and other young adults is a pattern of self-injury.
Vampires, werewolves, witches and….the mentally ill? Halloween is a time we face our fears and make light of them by enjoying decorations, costume parties and horror movies. How has mental illness been lumped with the scary and supernatural themes of Halloween? Check out this blog post from Psychology Today that I helped co-write with Broadcast Thought!
The LGBTQ community is a population that is faced with stigma and stereotypes. Because of this, those in this minority population are often more susceptible to mental health issues and are at higher risk for suicide. In fact, LGBTQ adults are 2.5x more likely than heterosexuals to have had a mental health disorder related to mood, anxiety or substance abuse, in their lifetime. Furthermore, the rates of suicide attempt among LGBTQ youth are 20-40% higher than among non-LGBTQ youth.
In this week’s Psych Gumbo, Dr. Holly Peek discusses mental health issues of the LGBTQ community with special guest, Dr. Myo Thwin Myint. Dr. Myint is a physician with training in pediatrics, general psychiatry and child & adolescent psychiatry. Among others, his interests includes LGBTQ mental health.
Here are some recommended resources for more information on LGBTQ mental health:
The doctors of Broadcast Thought provide expert consultation to the media and entertainment industries. Not only are they psychiatrists specializing in forensic, child adolescent, and adult psychiatry, they are also big fans of television, film, comic books, and pop culture. Self proclaimed “big kids,” they use their interests in pop culture to help educate the public about mental illness and decrease stigma by acting as creative consultants, subject matter experts, and co-producers of mental health content in pop culture.
Dr. Holly Peek will be discussing the portrayal of mental health in the media and entertainment industry. She will be interviewing two expert psychiatrists in this field, Dr. Vasilis Pozios and Dr. Praveen Kambam, who specialize in ensuring the portrayal of mental health is both accurate and interesting. These doctors are also just back from presenting at Comic Con in San Diego and are ready to talk about it!
The answer seems to be yes! For those with mild depression, exercise can be used as sole treatment under a psychiatrist’s or mental health professional’s supervision. For those with moderate or severe depression, exercise is a great adjunct for treatment. How does this work and exactly how much exercise does it take? Check out my guest blog post appearing on exercisemenu.com to find out!
Read my article here: Can Exercise Treat Depression?
“When we find ourselves wanting something strong enough, we’ll do just about anything to get it–sometimes at the expense of our bodies, brains, bank accounts and relationships. So why do we sometimes have the irrepressible feeling that we need something–such as food, cigarettes, alcohol, or sex–that we really just want? And how do we satiate that feeling without indulging it?”
Dr. Holly Peek interviews Dr. Omar Manejwala about his newly published book “Craving: Why We Can’t Seem to Get Enough.” On this episode of Psych Gumbo, they explore the phenomenon of cravings and addiction.
Visit Dr. Manejwala’s site at cravingbook.com to learn more and to order a copy of this very interesting book!
There has been a lot of media coverage about the Boston Marathon bombings and the violent events that occurred during that week. Now that we are a few weeks away from the terrorist event, it’s important to realize what many victims of the attack may be experiencing emotionally. Dr. Holly Peek and Dr. Mordi Potash interview New Orleanian and Boston Marathon runner, Tim Phillips. Tim was at the second bomb site during the explosion and spent 40 agonizing minutes searching for loved ones after the attack. Hear his story and learn more about the emotional side of the Boston Marathon terrorist attack.
The five days of terror in Boston began with a horrific bombing and ended with a police shoot out, a capture of a terrorist, and finally celebrations in the street. For the victims, their families, and the people living in Boston, the fear, uncertainty and anger that lasted for those five days undoubtedly caused a great deal of mental distress. For the rest of us glued to our televisions watching non-stop coverage of the terrorist attack, the feelings we experienced were equally unsettling.
Victims and witnesses to the violent events of last week may be faced with a range of negative emotions. Not all negative feelings are pathological. It’s natural to feel anger, frustration, helplessness, grief, sadness or fear after a terrorist event. Acute stress disorder and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) occur when a person has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event and felt an intense fear or helplessness. They may feel detached or be described as “being in a daze” either while the event is happening or afterwards. They will frequently re-experience the event through recurrent dreams, thoughts, or flashbacks and often avoid recollecting the trauma either by avoiding conversations, people, places, or activities they may associate with the event. They have symptoms of increased arousal, including difficulty sleeping, irritability or outbursts of anger, difficulty concentrating or an exaggerated startle response. Symptoms of Acute Stress Disorder begin shortly after the traumatic event and the symptoms last for less than four weeks. Symptoms of PTSD, on the other hand, can present shortly after or months after the event and the symptoms may persist for years.
For the rest of the country, witnessing the events play repeatedly on television may not be enough to induce Acute Stress Disorder or PTSD, but it can certainly cause a sense of uneasiness and a reminder that there are people out there who commit evil acts when they are least expected. Some psychologists have described disasters caused by terrorism such as 9/11 and now the Boston bombings as “collective traumas.” Because of the large scale and unpredictability, collective traumas serve as a reminder that we are all vulnerable to death and harm and we have limited capabilities to protect those we love, thus threatening our sense of security in everyday life. In order to avoid feelings of uneasiness or paranoia, it’s important to keep the perspective that on any given day, the likelihood another attack will occur and that it will happen to you personally is quite low and it’s important to continue engaging in normal activities.
It’s also important to realize for every evil terrorist, there are millions of good people. The number of heroes that emerged in Boston were exponentially higher than the two hateful young men who inflicted so much pain. On the news, we heard stories of all the helpers that emerged during a time when many Bostonians needed help the most, both physically and emotionally. That in itself is reason enough to instill a sense of hope and comfort.
“College is difficult for students suffering from bipolar disorder or mania. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 50 percent of all cases of bipolar disorder onset between the ages of 15 and 25, and a patient’s first manic episode often occurs while in college. Late nights, stress, flexible schedules and exposure to drugs and binge drinking can trigger a manic or depressive state, particularly for people who have a genetic vulnerability to the disorder.”
For more information:
This month’s episode on WTUL 91.5FM is about hallucinogenic drugs on Tulane’s campus. Recently, a very large amount of drugs, estimated in worth of tens of thousands of dollars, were confiscated from the Kappa Sigma Fraternity house. The drugs included MDMA, LSD, opium, and mushrooms, among others. This demonstrates the pervasiveness of hallucinogenic drugs on campus and how it has become part of the common “party culture” that we commonly see. We don’t want to tell people “don’t do drugs,” that’s someone else’s job! But we do want to explain the history of these drugs, what they are, and what positive or negative effects people should expect when choosing to take them. Click above to listen!