Clinically Speaking is a blog that will allow anyone to learn about Social Work, case presentations in psychotherapy, and the relationship of pop culture in psychology. Come one...come all!!!

Monday, October 29, 2012

High Winds, High Tides, High Floods=(you guessed it) High Anxiety

Dear Hurricane Sandy,
Have you ever known anyone who has mental health or behavioral health issues? If you do than your are basically ignoring the fact that for people who do not have these issues are feeling high anxiety, so imagine if you take anti-anxiety medications, or you are a parent who who has a child with ADHD at home because school is closed, or a senior citizen who has dementia in an evacuation area, did ya ever think about those people? Well since this is a Hurricane and not a human, pretty difficult for any thought processing to be going on. For all of us who do have emotions and do think what can we do to decrease these feelings? 
Answer: anything and everything to keep your mind off the weather. Seriously. I have no real clinical advice for these situations other than head the warnings and precautions of your local officials and for lack of better words "weather the storm" (how could I resist that cliché?)  Stay occupied, enjoy the day off and make sure you are safe and read a lot of blogs! 

I hope this added to decreasing your anxiety levels, I will have more occupying your day off Hurricane Sandy posts! 
Breathe in and breathe out!

Have a safe day!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Got Flu? Get a Flu Shot...Got PTSD? Get a PTSD Shot...Wait What?

Not into vaccines in general, but this sounds, sounds pretty remarkable. reported on this potential vaccine, but is a bit late to this party because in December of 2011 Wired magazine reported on this same potentiality of a "cure"(not a fan of that terminology either). Either way, the link is posted below on both articles. article 2011: PTSD Vaccination
FoxNews article 2012: PTSD Vaccination

One more interesting, fairly new treatment is the usage of services dogs to help those veterans cope with having PTSD. Click here for the link.

Over many blog posts I have spoken about the new interventions that clinicians and practitioners have been developing in treating all the different ailments that our war veterans have been enduring in specifically PTSD. This is proof that although we have not fully been able to conquer all ailments they are certainly paying attention over the influx of suicide and PTSD of current war veterans.  

Have a good one!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Music To My (Patient's who have Depression & Alzheimers) Ears...

When I was in undergrad (a few moons ago), I had a friend who wrote a paper on humor and psychology, which stole my thunder at the time. However, I did have another “out of the box” type of therapy in psychology, and that was music (my thesis was Music and Psychology). Music plays a role in everyone's life from owning an iPod, to realizing that most movies would not be as good if it didn't have the right music for each scene.

So, does music play a role in psychology? Turns out very much so in treating people with Depression, Anxiety and Alzheimer’s.

When I did research on there was data to support the reasoning that music helps with people suffering from Alzheimer's was that the music that was being played for the patients in session was music from their youth and young adulthood sparking the patient to learn(remember) the songs which would kick start their anterograde memory helping them recall events from those points in time. On the Alzheimer's Foundation of America website they dedicate an entire page to the usage of music therapy with people suffering from Alzheimer's and Dementia. Here is the link Music Therapy and Alzheimer's

There recently has been many news and medical outlets that have reported the usage of music therapy. BBC news reported that researchers at the University of Jyväskylä, said: "Our trial has shown that music therapy, when added to standard care helps people to improve their levels of depression and anxiety...After three months, patients receiving music therapy showed a greater improvement in scores of anxiety and depression than the other set of patients." Furthermore Fox News reported that Indiana University, Purdue University Indianapolis collaborated with Drexel University to in study to exam the usage of music therapy and people who have depression or anxiety who have also been given a cancer diagnosis. Debra Burns, the lead researcher reported that "Compared to patients who only received standard cancer treatment, the combined data from the studies suggested that patients who also had music treatment rated their anxiety and pain lower and had higher mood scores. In addition, their heart rates were lower by about four beats per minute; on average...There was no effect, however, on how patients rated their depression or fatigue."

The article goes on to dispute the effectiveness but it’s worth noting that these are some of the advances in "outside the box" thinking.  Patients with mental illness need to consider every form of therapy before entering treatment, as well as clinicians being able to say "oh play therapy or CBT isn’t for everyone let's try something else".

Again, just another example of how the mental health field continues to develop. 

Happy Friday and Happy Football!!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

PTSD more prevalent post 9/11?

To begin this post, I would just like to take a moment to remember those who lost someone on one of the most infamous day in history and how that event has shaped our lives today.
Since I am clinician at heart my mind began to think about how 9/11 has shaped the world of mental health specifically PTSD and so I posed a question to the Twittersphere- "Has PTSD become more prevalent post 9/11 and the beginning of the war on terror or have we become more educated since then? 

In October and November of 2001, 2,733 people across the United States found that 11.2% of New York City residents had PTSD, and 4% of U.S. residents had PTSD. Another study of 998 adults in New York City five to nine weeks after the attacks found that 7.5% had PTSD. Statistics go on and on about the effects of that day. What about overall? 

As reported by Jennifer Ferryman on her blog, "PTSD was documented in individuals who were indirectly exposed to trauma that did not directly involve a family member or other close person. 4% of individuals living outside of the attack sites who were indirectly exposed to the tragedies via television were found to have symptoms of PTSD (Zimering et al, 2006)."

Ok so it may be that there has been an increase, but what about people who experienced PTSD and it was related to abuse in India, or death in the family in Taiwan having nothing to do with 9/11?

While I have not found any data to support the increase (or decrease) in PTSD Dx, when I did research of PTSD articles from before 9/11 versus after 9/11 there was in flux of research, blogs and op-ed articles related to PTSD for survivors of all natural disasters whether it was tsunami in japan or Hurricane Katrina or military vets. One could deduce that it would be a combination of both, increase of reported cases as well as people in general becoming more knowledgeable on all things specifically medical and mental health. 

Just something to ponder...

Have a safe 9/11/12

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Attention: Clean up on aisle six! Food and Mood!

Food and mood for the right attitude(see what I did there). I recently ran a group on the effects of physical ailments and anger management(Jealous you weren't there? You should be!) That led me to a whole host of different ways to view the body and mental health. I knew that there is data that supports that if you have a balanced diet it has numerous effects on your mental health. I decided to take the liberty with the help of Mind Sanctuary to list a few easy ways to incorporate certain food and vitamins to ensure good mental health. Most of these you probably eat already so at least you can feel good when you eat them!

Oranges(Vitamin C)
Strawberries (Vitamin C)
Bell Peppers (Vitamin C)
Fish(Omega 3)
Fish(Omega 3)
Did I mention Fish?(Omega 3)
Bran/Rice/ Wheat/Oat (Magnesium)
Almonds, Cashews, and Mixed nut, Pine Nuts(Magnesium)
Low Fat Roast Beef(Zinc)

Vitamin C – Depression
Omega 3 – Depression and Poor Memory
Magnesium – Anxiety, Depression, Irritability, Stress, Insomnia
Zinc – depression, confusion, blank mind, loss of appetite, lack of motivation

You eat all of the above and now you should eat more of that stuff because of all the added benefits it comes with!

Short post for your Thursday!
Have a good one!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dog's are a man's best friend...and Therapist? Pets and Therapy!

Weird topic right? Totally I agree. Yet it did catch your eye, right? When I read that there is significant impact a pet can have on a person's mental health I was immediately intriguing and very very skeptical of the impact it would have. Alas, let's go fetch a bone!!!!

I read via that animal assisted therapy has been able to decrease feelings of depression and anxiety due to the animal giving compassion during the visit which automatically makes a person feel happier. That's nice and all, but is there data to suggest that something more is going on?

As reported by psychiatrist Dr. Carole Lieberman, author of Coping With Terrorism: Dreams Interrupted. She noted that it has tremendous amount of impact on people who have been Dx with PTSD as she stated "Being around an animal can cause biochemical changes in our brains that make us feel calmer, safer and happier. In addition, caring for a pet can help take our thoughts off our own fears. “[When you] prove to yourself that you can take care of another living creature,” Dr. Lieberman says, “It “reassures you that you can take care of yourself.” This makes pet therapy especially useful for men and women coping with trauma such as returning veterans, who are relearning how to live in the civilian world."*1

OK, now we're getting somewhere, we are in the store looking around but I am not sure I want to buy what you're selling...

In a study that was conducted by Joan Esnayra Ph.D. & Craig Love, Ph.D. of A Survey of Mental Health Patients Utilizing Psychiatric Service Dogs, the results concluded that "Most are severely mentally ill by any number of reasonable measures. They are medicated but continue to experience refractory symptoms. Mood and Anxiety Disorders predominate. Importantly, a majority report that use of a Psychiatric Service Dog has diminished symptoms. A substantial minority report reduced psychotropic medication usage subsequent to canine partnership. This is true more so among those with anxiety-related disorders. This finding is consistent with the claims of Mason, who report that among a cohort of psychotherapists, animal-assisted therapy (AAT) was deemed most successful with clients who have Anxiety Disorders (Mason and Hagan, 1999)".*2

Have a good Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Some interesting links for you!

Here are some links to interesting articles that are "trending" right now on the web.

New post tomorrow on "Dog's are a man's best friend...and therapist? Pets and Therapy!"

Here is a link about the debate whether to allow psychologists to prescribe medication:

Here is a link about Teen usage of Pot could hard memory and IQ:

Enjoy! Happy Tuesday!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Yoga and Mental Health

As we read in the previous post, depression effects 12 million people year round I was interested in alternative ways to treat depression and came across one interesting treatment that not only helps treat depression but anxiety, ADHD and PTSD too. Yoga! So gals throw on those mental yoga pants and guys break out those mental under armor shirts and let’s get our mats ready!! 

When some of you think yoga, you probably think "I can’t bend like that" or "I'd rather relax at home with the TV...that's meditation". Though there are many positive effects of participating in yoga for many types of people.  

Earlier this month there was a study published by University of Michigan Health System about the correlation between expectant mothers and depression. The study reported that "Pregnant women who were identified as psychiatrically high risk and who participated in a 10-week mindfulness yoga intervention saw significant reductions in depressive symptoms...mothers-to-be also reported stronger attachment to their babies in the womb".* If this could work with pregnant women who have a whole host of different things going on hormonally, I wonder what could it do to a man with PTSD? or even a child with ADHD? 

In an effort to answer these questions as I always do I go surfing...the net. I found a website called, which reported a study that was conducted with veterans of war who have a Dx of PTSD. The article reported that "they (veterans) engaged in a program featuring guided meditation, yoga asanas (stretching poses), stress reduction techniques and breathing exercises. After six weeks the group had an overall decrease of 15 points on the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS), moving the group from moderate to severe anxiety down to mild through moderate. The improvement was dramatic and the control group showed no improvement." Umm...awesome! No words!

One of the pillars of yoga is being able to improve concentration. With the combination of the stretching and poses it has been known whether you have ADHD or not to improve concentration. (Just something to think about-if the child can’t concentrate to begin with how will he/she be able to do the stretching or poses? A different post for a different day)

Anxiety? The other pillar, which I always thought the real reason people do yoga is for the deep breathing and relaxation techniques...need I say more when we are talking about anxiety?

Whether you go now to your closest gym or not, you cannot deny the positive attributes that yoga can play in a person with mental illness.

Thank you class- NAMASTE!
Have a good day and good weekend!