talk therapy

  1. Mental illness for everyone

    You might not feel mentally ill -- but you are. You just haven't been diagnosed yet.

    The psychiatric industry is getting ready to update its "bible," the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, and you're not going to believe what's inside it.

    Just about every common emotion, condition, quirk, challenging life event, or personal flaw will become a disorder to be diagnosed and treated in the new book.

    It's so wacky even the shrinks themselves are protesting it: More than 11,000 mental health professionals and counting have signed an online petition to stop it before it's published.

    But maybe they don't really mean that -- maybe they're just suffering from "oppositional defiant disorder," one of the many proposed new conditions.

    Yes, I AM serious.

    That one's actually aimed at kids, of course, and it's what we used to just call "being a brat" or maybe even a "teenager." The definition includes "performs deliberate actions to annoy others."

    Can you think of a single kid who has never deliberately annoyed others?

    Of course, children aren't the only ones being targeted. You're in the crosshairs, too.

    Sad over the death of a loved one? No you're not! You're actually mentally ill, locked in a battle with "chronic depressive disorder."

    At least you'll have company: That same label is also going to be slapped on anyone who's lonely or just plain unhappy.

    Don't give a hoot about stuff? You've got apathy syndrome. I'd tell you more about that one...but I just don't care.

    Spending too much time online? You need treatment for Internet addiction disorder. No more House Calls for you!

    Even serious and violent crime would get a makeover in the new book. Rapists, for example, are just sick now -- fighting off "paraphilic coercive disorder."

    You just can't make this stuff up.

    Once you have millions of new "sick" patients, you get millions of new customers -- and not for some simple talk therapy. Talk therapy is on the outs -- many shrinks don't offer it, and many insurance companies offer little to no coverage for it.

    No, the real goal here is to get more patients on meds, because everyone wins: Shrinks make more in 15-minute sessions renewing and tweaking prescriptions than they ever did in 45-minute talk therapy sessions. It's cheaper per patient for insurers. And, of course, the drug industry loves it so much they'd print the new book themselves if they could.

    Everyone wins -- well, except you of course.

    I'm not done with mental health yet. Keep reading for the latest on depression.

  2. Antidepressants make depression worse

    Turns out antidepressants are even worse than ineffective: In a huge number of patients, they can actually make depression worse.

    And that's not even including the people who take these meds and actually kill themselves -- a known side effect of some antidepressants.

    Researchers looked at data from seven studies that compared either the drug Cymbalta or another SSRI antidepressant to a placebo and found that 76.3 percent of the patients responded to anything at all -- including the placebo.

    They claim people who took the med did better than those on the placebo -- but then again, they only looked at six studies. Other studies have found that placebos work every bit as well as common antidepressants.

    But the point here isn't the remarkable power of the placebo -- it's that at least the placebo didn't make the depression worse. You can't say the same about meds: Up to a fifth of all patients who took antidepressants ended up with worse depression.

    Since close to 30 million Americans take antidepressants each year, that means nearly 6 million people are actually getting worse instead of better because of the "cure."

    Some cure.

    And along with making the depression worse, common antidepressant drugs have been linked to stroke, suicide, personality changes, cognitive decline and sex problems… just to name a few of the biggies.

    I know that beating depression isn't always easy -- but you don't have to take those risks to do it. As I've told you in the past, St. John's wort has proven to be at least as effective as meds -- at least as effective as meds when they actually work, I should add -- with very little risk.

    Another natural option is the amino acid SAMe, which is so effective it's widely used instead of meds in Europe. In addition, exercise, talk therapy and magnetic therapy have all shown they can help beat depression -- including the kinds of serious depression you think you'll never get over.

    For more on the best ways to beat depression without going near a pill bottle, visit the Web site of the Health Sciences Institute and enter "depression" into the find a cure box.

  3. Poor sleep linked to hypertension

    If you're battling blood pressure problems, you don't need another med -- you just need better sleep... and that doesn't necessarily mean more sleep.
  4. The sad, quiet death of talk therapy

    Talk therapy has proven time and again to be every bit as effective as drugs for conditions like depression--without the nasty side effects.
  5. Seniors beat insomnia with sleep counseling

    While anyone can face insomnia, seniors in particular often have problems conking out and staying out--sometimes because of all the meds they take-- and too many doctors are too quick to give them yet another med
  6. Talking yourself to sleep

    If you're not getting enough sleep, don't be so quick to reach for that pill bottle.

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