Recovery

New Thinking for an Age-Old Condition: PTSD

Since the dawn of time, humankind has realized that there were negative consequences to experiencing overwhelming stressful situations.

For example, reactions to wartime trauma have many names: soldier’s heart, shell shock, combat fatigue and, since the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III, 1980), Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

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Prince: Fame Highlights the Infamy of Opioid Addiction

I love Prince. My first job was at a movie theater that played Purple Rain for months.

I saw that movie hundreds of times, in five-minute bursts while I left the ticket booth unattended. My first concert was the Purple Rain tour – at the Capital Centre, outside of Washington, DC; one of the first albums I bought with my own money was Dirty Mind, on cassette, no less.

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Zero Suicide: Aspirational or Reality?

It turns out that almost everything I was taught about suicide during my clinical training is not true.

Contrary to what most clinicians are taught, there is clinical protocol we can follow to prevent suicide attempts – apart from locking people up. Very little of this new knowledge about detecting and treating suicidality has translated into practice.

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PTSD: Not Just a “Veteran” Problem

It is frustrating as a retired Army infantry officer to see people assume that veterans, particularly combat vets, live with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). Most do not.

This perception is unfair to veterans, perpetuates a larger misunderstanding of PTSD, and diverts attention away from a larger population in need. Illustrating this problem, a combat vet recently told me about an ill-informed supervisor who replied, “I don’t need you going all PTSD on them…”

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Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Mother’s Call to Action

It should have been a call forgotten without hesitation.

The daycare director called my office to let me know my 18-month-old daughter, Lilly, had eaten sand on the playground. She just wanted to let me know. I mentioned the call to a coworker, and she acted like it wasn’t unusual at all. “Kids test out the world one bite at a time,” I recall her saying. Yet, I didn’t forget the call and probably never will.

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Breaking the ER Recidivist Cycle: Support and Community Engagement

Why do some people visit the emergency room more than others? Further, what can clinicians, specifically, and the community, generally, do about it?

These are questions a Beacon Health Options (Beacon) pilot program at its Connecticut Behavioral Health Partnership wants to answer. Through my work as an intensive care manager (ICM) in the Hartford area, I can suggest some solutions.

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Applied Behavioral Analysis: More With Less for Autism Treatment

With April as National Autism Awareness Month, it’s a good time to recalibrate where we are when it comes to the diagnosis and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

While there is much to celebrate, there is also a reminder for continued vigilance: children receiving Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services achieve better outcomes with fewer hours of intervention, but its use is still well below the ASD prevalence rate.

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Addiction Treatment: Let’s Get Our Definitions Straight

Everyone seems to have a theory about addiction.

Some say it’s a character flaw. Just say no. Others say it’s a victimization. Society has done me wrong. Alcoholics Anonymous says it’s a spiritual emptiness. Find your version of God, and you will find your way. Then, there are neuroscientists who say it’s a chronic brain disease while others say it’s a chronic societal disease.

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Addiction: It may not be us; it may be our cages

Our country’s “War on Drugs” began in 1971 with President Nixon’s declaration that drug use was “public enemy number one in the United States.”

In addition to drugs as a symbol of youthful rebellion and radicalization, America’s new home-turf war was fueled by a growing literature base supporting the biological theory of addiction. However, one of the most interesting experiments to emerge from that era challenged this biological view. It became known as “Rat Park.”

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Addressing the Shortage of Child Psychiatrists—It Doesn’t Take Rocket Science, Phone Call Support Will Do It!

The numbers aren’t good. Approximately, 16-20 percent of the nation’s children and adolescents have some kind of behavioral disturbance, with 4-7 percent suffering from significant functional impairment, according to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. That translates to about 15 million youths who need specialty psychiatry. However, there are only 8,300 practicing child and adolescent psychiatrists. If every youth needing treatment was seen by one, that would be more than 1,800 patients per practitioner – an undoable ratio! However, this problem is not new, and with some creativity and practicality, phone consultation projects have been developed to address it. To get an understanding of just how they work, consider the story of Johnny Marks (a fictional case based…

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