Addiction: Why do some people become addicted, while others do not?

why people become addicted

Guest Blog by Dr. Helen Nasser / Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the National Institute of Health

Drinking a glass of scotch or eating a piece of cake — these are the types of behaviors many of us take enjoyment in. The vast majority indulge in these behaviors on occasion. For some of us, these behaviors become more than casual indulgences and can develop into alcoholism or overeating.

Continue reading Addiction: Why do some people become addicted, while others do not?

Breaking the Code of Silence: Black Americans and Mental Health

black woman mental health

Because of stigma, lack of access and several other factors, only one quarter of Black Americans seek mental health care. Understanding these reasons is the first step toward making a change.

Continue reading Breaking the Code of Silence: Black Americans and Mental Health

Dear Therapist: Let’s Talk About Love, and Hate (Part 1)

Dear Therapist: Let's Talk About Love, and Hate (Part 1)

Falling in love has been one of the most important events of my life, but staying in love continues to be a challenge that I welcome on a daily basis. And, every once in a while, I need a bit of help.

 – by Anonymous Talkspace User 

Love. What can I possibly tell you about it? It is one of the most talked about subjects in human history with endless stories, songs, and works of art being dedicated to it since the dawn of time. But, we still don’t really seem to understand how to cultivate love or how to keep it going. Although almost every person in the world will tell you that love is the most important thing in life, it’s difficult to find people who have experienced real and enduring love with the same partner for an entire lifetime. Continue reading Dear Therapist: Let’s Talk About Love, and Hate (Part 1)

Your Mental Health, As Dictated by the Stars

Your Mental Health, As Dictated by the Stars

Although most people don’t really turn to astrology for their daily doze of mental health guidance, research suggests that our birth months may actually impact our mental states.

It’s a strange concept to wrap our minds around, but in light of scientific evidence, there may be something to it. Continue reading Your Mental Health, As Dictated by the Stars

The Dirty Lowdown on Anticipatory Anxiety

The Dirty Lowdown on Anticipatory Anxiety

Simply put, anticipatory anxiety is a discomforting and disquieting mind game you play on yourself. Do I have your attention yet?

You’re going to the dentist and you feel anxious. You’re about to go take a test and you feel anxious. You’ve been asked to have a meeting with your supervisor and you feel anxious. Do you see a pattern forming?

Anticipatory anxiety is a common discomfort experienced by millions of people. Continue reading The Dirty Lowdown on Anticipatory Anxiety

Why Do Highly Sensitive People Engage in Routines?

Why Do Highly Sensitive People Engage in Routines?

Although it may seem boring to the rest of us, highly sensitive people (HSP) tend to thrive when they follow a routine, which is actually a vital part of their survival strategy.

Have you ever noticed that some people need to follow a routine to stay grounded and productive? As baffling as it maybe for the rest of us to understand, a large percentage of our population is comprised of dedicated creatures of habit; they like to know exactly how their day will unravel and strive to stick to the same routine, day in and day out. This is especially true for highly sensitive people (HSP). Continue reading Why Do Highly Sensitive People Engage in Routines?

What The Beat of Your Heart Can Reveal About Your Mental Health

What The Beat of Your Heart Can Reveal About Your Mental Health

Research suggests high blood pressure is at the heart of rapid cognitive decline. So, there you have it.

We know that it’s extremely important to take care of our hearts. But most of us know this because we’ve been told, over and over again, that a staggering 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States – that’s 1 in every 4 deaths annually! New research, however, indicates that high blood pressure can also significantly impact our mental health – so pay attention. Continue reading What The Beat of Your Heart Can Reveal About Your Mental Health

Dear Therapist: I Know You Can’t Help Me Unless I Sleep

Dear Therapist_I Know You Can’t Help Me Unless I Sleep

As a chronic insomniac, I can honestly tell you that getting enough sleep is crucial for anyone, but especially for those battling mental health disorders.

– by Anonymous Talkspace User  

I want you to look back on your life and think about your mood, behavior, and interactions with other people when you’ve had less than 5 hours of sleep. You were probably irritable, highly susceptible to engaging in conflict, and slow in you thinking but quick in your reactions to unpleasant stimuli. Now, imagine being sleep deprived, while also dealing with a mental disorder. Basically, not sleeping can exacerbate any mental condition, making it significantly worse in people who have trouble sleeping as opposed to those that don’t. Continue reading Dear Therapist: I Know You Can’t Help Me Unless I Sleep

People of Color, Ignore the Stigma and Get Therapy

People of Color, Ignore the Stigma and Get Therapy

If stigma successfully prevents us (people of color) from getting the help we need, unresolved mental health issues can decrease our quality of life, and, in some cases, may even decrease how long we get to live.

For many years, eradicating stigma surrounding mental health in people of color has been a challenge for a variety of reasons. So, to address the problem, Dior Varga, a feminist and mental health activist, recently created a campaign called thePeople of Color Mental Illness Photo Project”. It’s a pretty big deal, because one of the best ways to get rid of, or at least mitigate stigma surrounding a specific group of people is to have members of that group share personal stories about how the issue at hand affects them. Doing so can reduce their own isolation, and that of other people dealing with similar issues, because it allows them to see that there are others who relate. Continue reading People of Color, Ignore the Stigma and Get Therapy

How To Best Support A Survivor of Sexual Assault

How To Best Support A Survivor of Sexual Assault

It can take years for some sexual assault survivors to even acknowledge their experience. Now, putting yourself in their shoes, imagine how difficult it must be to make yourself vulnerable enough to share your experience with another person.

Experiencing sexual assault is one of the most difficult things to live through for anyone. It’s estimated that 1.7% of men and 19.3% of women have been raped in their lifetimes, and these statistics are only based on cases that have been reported. Researchers believe the actual numbers are much higher. In the event that you know someone who has experienced sexual assault, here are some suggestions on how to best support him or her.

Continue reading How To Best Support A Survivor of Sexual Assault