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Can Exercise be a Treatment for Depression?

DepressionThe 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?

 

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Craving: Why We Can’t Seem to Get Enough

“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!

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Story of a Boston Marathon Survivor

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.

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Emotional Recovery after the Boston Bombing

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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.

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Bipolar disorder can emerge in college students

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“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.”

Learn more about bipolar disorder in young adults in the latest article for The Hullabaloo: 

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For more information:

National Institute on Mental Health: Bipolar Disorder

College students vulnerable to bipolar disorder

Back to school with bipolar? How college can unleash mania

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Hallucinogenic Drugs on Tulane’s Campus

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!

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Are we doing enough for mental health on college campuses?

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Over the past several years, our nation has witnessed mass shootings and episodes of violence that have been committed by young, college aged adults. Among other issues such as gun control, this has brought to national attention the need for expanded mental health services on college campuses. It is estimated that one-fifth of college students will experience a mental illness. Furthermore, suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students. Despite the obvious and increasing need for mental health services, college campuses remain underfunded to provide adequate services to their students. Read my article in The Hullabaloo to learn more:  

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Other interesting articles:

Mental Health Breakdown: when Harvard fails its students

University mental health services strained under increased need

Colleges struggling with growing demand of mental health services

 

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OCD: what it is and what it isn’t

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“I’m so OCD!” is a phrase we may use from time to time when describing the fact we must have our closet clean, the crooked picture on the wall bothers us, or when the desk drawer has to be organized in a particular way. However, OCD stands for obsessive compulsive disorder and is often a misused term in daily conversation . OCD can be a very debilitating mental health condition and when left untreated it can be devastating for a patient and their families. OCD symptoms can be made worse in times of stress and is often diagnosed in childhood or early adulthood. Stressful transitions in college can also exacerbated symptoms of college students suffering from OCD. Read my latest article in The Hullabaloo to find out what OCD is, and what it isn’t!

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Psychostimulants on Campus: the good and the ugly

Our first episode of Psych Gumbo for WTUL Radio, New Orleans on 91.5FM. Click above to listen!

 

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Men Suffer from Eating Disorders Too

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In recognition of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, I wanted to highlight an important yet often ignored aspect of eating disorders. The number of men suffering from body image issues and eating disorders is growing, however, many men do not seek treatment because eating disorders are often viewed as a “female issue.” Recently at Paris Fashion Week, dangerously thin appearing male models were seen walking the runway, launching a social media firestorm discussing men and eating disorders. More men are also suffering from “muscle dysmorphia.” Learn more in my article from The Hullabaloo:

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Other Links:

National Association for Males with Eating Disorders

“Manorexia” on the rise: men with eating disorders face stigma with getting treatment

More Men Suffering from Eating Disorders


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