Leading Stories, Articles

July 1st, 2010

Is excessive tanning a disorder?

By Ami Albernaz

You’ve perhaps known someone with a seemingly insatiable need to tan, no matter how bronzed he or (probably) she already is. And though these so-called “tanorexics” will probably never enter therapy for their sunbathing habit, there do indeed appear to be some psychological factors that entice people to ignore the well-publicized health risks. Excessive tanning is nothing new. Yet when summer rolls around, efforts to get people to think twice about that “healthy,” sun-kissed glow are renewed. Although melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, kills about one person an hour in the U.S., the threat pales in comparison to [More]

July 1st, 2010

Military Support Program running out of funds

By Pamela Berard

A Connecticut program that provides behavioral health services to soldiers and their families is seeking federal funding to continue. The Military Support Program (MSP) has helped hundreds of military personnel and family members with free confidential outpatient counseling, referrals, advocacy and case management services since its inception in 2007. The state created the program – said to be the first of its kind in the nation to serve both military personnel and family members – with funds from the sale of Fairfield Hills Hospital and it falls under the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. The funds are [More]

July 1st, 2010

Vermont Senate nixes proposal to track free drug samples

By Nan Shnitzler

Last November, the Vermont Department of Mental Health faced budget cuts in excess of $20 million for the 2011 fiscal year. When the legislature adjourned its session in the wee hours May 13, the cut had been trimmed to about $3 million. Credit a slightly improved economy, a few more federal dollars and a state budget approach called Challenges for Change. Challenges for Change is legislation designed to fund desirable outcomes by focusing on efficiencies rather than eliminating services and hiking taxes. On paper, it saved nearly $38 million of a $150 million budget deficit in a total state budget [More]

July 1st, 2010

Q&A: Theory: Psychological development has two dimensions

By Catherine Robertson Souter

A school of thought, first introduced in the 1970s, holds that depression and perhaps most mental illness, stems from disruptions in psychological development. Introduced by Sidney J. Blatt, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and psychology at Yale University, the theory contends that psychological development has two basic dimensions: a sense of self and a relationship with others. Any disruptions or an exaggerated emphasis on either dimension will lead to mental disorders. According to Blatt, this theory is a break from current treatment modalities that would see illness as a cluster of symptoms. In two books on the subject, “Experiences of Depression: [More]

June 1st, 2010

Bullying – 21st century style presents challenges for targets, caregivers

By Phyllis Hanlon

Go back to your middle school years and you’ll probably remember at least one student who picked on the boy with a lisp or the girl who wore glasses. He might have shoved other students in the cafeteria, disrupted the kick ball game on the playground or shouted obscenities from the bus windows. Fast-forward and you’ll find similar behavior today, but with a twist – advanced technological tools and shifts in societal thinking have made bullying a 24/7, equal opportunity problem. Elaine Ducharme, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in private practice in Glastonbury and member of the Connecticut Children and Youth [More]

June 1st, 2010

Study on homelessness offers many insights

By Ami Albernaz

As complex and overwhelming an issue as homelessness is, there’s plenty psychologists can do to tackle its separate components and help alleviate the problem. Such were the findings of a report released in February by an APA presidential task force on psychology’s contribution in ending homelessness. The report, commissioned by James Bray, Ph.D., during his tenure as APA president last year, concludes that psychologists can help on both a one-on-one level – helping to treat substance abuse and other mental health disorders – and by serving as liaisons to community services, whether related to housing, employment or other areas. In [More]

June 1st, 2010

Recognizing and treating adult ADHD

By Nan Shnitzler

Thomas E. Brown, Ph.D., recalls how one adult patient described a case of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: erectile dysfunction of the mind. “That captures the sense of helplessness and puzzlement folks have about this disorder,” says Brown, associate director of the Yale Clinic for Attention and Related Disorders. “Normal people can make themselves focus. For ADHD sufferers, it’s really tough. Everyone gets down on them, parents, teachers, bosses, spouses, even themselves.” The estimated prevalence of adult ADHD is 4.4 percent, according to the National Comorbidity Survey. Only about 11 percent of eligible patients receive treatment. The disorder typically starts in [More]

June 1st, 2010

Getting to know you

By Alan Bodnar Ph.D.

The woman glided into the room on tiptoes, trepidation and confidence contending for control of her gait, her tortured smile reflecting some inner struggle about which we knew almost nothing. She had just arrived at the hospital and was meeting the team of mental health professionals who would provide her care during her stay. She made for the nearest chair, the one next to me and extended her hand in greeting. “Pleased to meet you,” she said, “I’m mildly depressed.” This is not the way people usually introduce themselves and say hello, not even in a mental hospital. I asked [More]

June 1st, 2010

In wake of suicides, anti-bullying bill passed

By Edward Stern J.D.

Bullying. The word itself conjures up images of uneven relationships and unfair advantages. The differentiation or inequality is primarily in size, power and strength. “Merriam-Webster” online defines “to bully” as “to treat abusively” and “to affect by means of force or coercion.” Based on this definition, you would think everyone would be against bullying. Two recent incidents have been in the news involving young people committing suicide. These suicides are thought to have been the result of bullying by schoolmates. Bullying in society appears to be on the rise. This belief and other theories regarding the causes of bullying are [More]

June 1st, 2010

The Interpersonal Theory of Suicide: Guidance for Working with Suicidal Clients

By James K Luiselli EdD ABPP BCBA-D

“The Interpersonal Theory of Suicide: Guidance for Working with Suicidal Clients” By Thomas E. Joiner Jr., Kimberly A. Van Orden, Tracy K. Witte, and M. David Rudd American Psychological Association Washington, D.C., 2009  Interpersonal theory of suicide outlined in valuable work Reviewed By James K. Luiselli, Ed.D., ABPP, BCBA-D Mental health professionals require specialized training to properly assess clients at risk for suicide. Understanding the threat of lethal self-harming behavior, in part, should be based on theories of suicide and respective clinical implications. This book is intended to “demystify clinical work with suicidal patients by grounding this work within a [More]