Maureen O'Brien LCSW ACSW - Psychotherapy & Counseling in Albany, New York

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New attention for an old therapy to treat PTSD, anxiety, and more – The Boston Globe

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is seen as effective treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder

Steve Girard couldn’t shake the memory of recovering a 3-year-old girl during an underwater search and rescue mission, and handing her dead body to her grieving parents.

A 50-year-old Army veteran who served in the Joint Special Operations Task Force in Iraq, Girard kept seeing the little girl’s face in excruciatingly sharp focus. For nearly 16 years, this memory and the suffering he saw later on a humanitarian mission to Guatemala tormented him, interrupting his sleep and pushing him to quit his commission as a police officer in Chesterfield. “I couldn’t adapt to my own family,’’ he said. “I wasn’t the same person who left and came back.’’

Then Girard sought treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder at the Northampton VA Medical Center. Girard hasn’t forgotten the little girl, but he no longer sees her face nor suffers from the memory. He credits the relief to Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR. The therapy typically requires the patient to focus on blinking lights or a practitioner’s finger moving back and forth, usually for a few minutes at a time, while recalling the disturbing memories. In some instances, alternating tones in the ears or electrical pulses in the palms are used instead of visual cues.

Once highly controversial, EMDR has made gains in acceptance. In 2004, both the American Psychiatric Association and the Department of Defense recommended it as an effective treatment for PTSD. In May, the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services, recognized EMDR as an evidence-based treatment for depression and anxiety as well as for PTSD.

Critics of the treatment still have reservations – even for the treatment of PTSD in combat veterans, the VA ranks EMDR only third as a recommended treatment, behind cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure therapy.

And no one knows exactly how EMDR works. The general theory is that mentally revisiting traumatizing experiences while different parts of the brain are stimulated by the alternating sensations helps the patient overwrite the stored memory with one that has lost its pain and intensity.

Used first in 1987, EMDR has been the subject of dozens of clinical and research studies, including one 1997 randomized clinical trial funded by the managed health care organization Kaiser Permanente, which found that among 67 subjects in an HMO setting, all single-trauma and 77 percent of multiple-trauma patients no longer had PTSD after six 50-minute sessions.

The recognition by the federal mental health agency is important because it will likely make funding available to study EMDR, says Deborah Korn, a Cambridge psychologist who was a co-investigator on a 2007 randomized clinical trial of 77 patients that compared EMDR with Prozac. The study, led by Bessel van der Kolk – past president of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies and medical director of the Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute in Brookline – found that six months after treatment stopped, EMDR patients had fewer symptoms of PTSD and depression than the patients who had been on Prozac.

Korn says that some form of trauma is often at the heart of mental and emotional problems. Sometimes it’s a complex trauma, like child or spousal abuse, but it can also be a single event, such as a car accident, bereavement, or a painful divorce.

“You can sometimes see transformation in three sessions, sometimes in 20 minutes,’’ she says. “Other people, it takes months and months. Sometimes it’s a matter of unhooking something that opens up information processing in a way that allows for transformation.’’

Maureen Richardson, a licensed mental heath counselor and registered nurse who uses EMDR in her practice at Interfaith Social Services in Quincy, points to the case of a 63-year-old woman who had suffered from a panic disorder for 10 years.

Although the patient had been prescribed Paxil, she would wake up in the middle of the night with night sweats, unable to breathe. A childhood victim of abuse by family members, she had suffered from anxiety for years.

Richardson suggested EMDR therapy. After four sessions, the patient started feeling better. Her anger dissipated and the night sweats went away.

Richardson says EMDR allowed the patient to reprocess the emotions associated with the memory. “She began to realize it wasn’t her fault and that some one should have attended to it. . . . She wasn’t a bad person, she was just a child.’’

Girard, the Army veteran, says that EMDR changed the visual images in his brain. “It made my memory like picture frames in a movie. The film was still going by, but I had the opportunity to slow it down and change it, in a better way.’’

Harvard sleep researcher Robert Stickgold believes that the constant shifting of focus in the eye movements alters brain chemicals and puts it in a state similar to REM sleep, the natural process where the brain deals with the day’s events.

“If the brain can’t process the trauma and transform it somehow, you are stuck with that raw memory in its original form,’’ he said.

Steven Silver, a Marine and Army National Guard veteran, psychologist, and coauthor of a book on EMDR, “Light in the Heart of Darkness,’’ points to brain imaging data supporting the REM sleep theory.

Silver also notes studies on patients undergoing EMDR have shown physical changes in the brain, including an expansion in the hippocampus – an area that shrinks in people with chronic PTSD.

“We don’t know exactly how psychotherapy works either. But with EMDR, because of all the brain-based studies, we have a better idea. We’re no longer arguing about whether EMDR works, but what causes it to work,’’ he says.

Therapists stress that EMDR therapy is not a cure for everything. Richardson says she is cautious about using it, for fear of bringing up memories patients are not prepared to deal with. Christine Wolff, a psychologist in Waltham, says that she uses EMDR therapy in only about 10 percent of her patients. She considers EMDR a useful tool because so many different mental health problems are trauma-based – “but if you have a long history of problems in your life, it won’t cure you in 10 sessions,’’ she says.

Back at the Northampton VA Medical Center, the administration increased the number of therapists trained in EMDR from one last year to 10 this year. Theodore Olejnik , the therapist who brought EMDR to the center, is the suicide prevention coordinator. As such, he says, he sees only the most dire cases.

During 24 years of active duty with the Air Force, Olejnik recalls treating PTSD victims in the early years strictly with talk therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy, which focus on breaking dysfunctional patterns of thought. “I kept thinking there had to be a better, quicker method.’’

After treatment with EMDR, he says, “so many combat veterans here have said, ‘Ted, you literally brought me out of my ashes, made me whole again.’ ’’

Jan Brogan can be reached at

Source: New attention for an old therapy to treat PTSD, anxiety, and more – The Boston Globe

News about 2017 Medicare premiums and deductibles

Last week, as the shock and awe over Donald Trump’s election victory continued to consume us, Medicare announced roughly 10 percent increases in 2017 rates for many Part B premiums and the program’s annual deductible. This is a very big deal.

This is a very big deal, because the increases had earlier been forecast at roughly double this size. However, Medicare says it had sufficient financial reserves to absorb half the expected 2017 rise in Part B expenses. It’s good news for consumers who might have expected to pay more.

The agency also announced modest increases for Part A, which covers care in hospitals, nursing homes and some in-home care. Premiums and deductibles next year for Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug plans already have been set and are not affected by the Part A and Part B changes.

Part B primarily covers expenses for doctors, other outpatient care and durable medical equipment. Its annual deductible will rise from $166 this year to $183 in 2017.

Monthly Part B premiums are $104.90 a month this year for about 70 percent of Medicare enrollees. These premiums are deducted from monthly Social Security payments. Under a Social Security provision known as the “hold harmless” rule, Social Security payments cannot decline from one year to the next. Higher Part B premiums normally are funded by Social Security’s annual cost of living adjustment, or COLA. (Click link below for remainder of article)

Source: The surprising news about 2017 Medicare premiums and deductibles you may have missed

PTSD from Motor Vehicle-related Accidents

Researchers are looking more closely at motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) as a common cause of traumatic stress. In one large study, accidents were shown to be the traumatic event most frequently experienced by males (25%) and the second most frequent traumatic event experienced by females (13%) in the United States. Over 100 billion dollars are spent every year to take care of the damage caused by auto accidents. Survivors of MVAs often also experience emotional distress as a result of such accidents. Mental health difficulties such as posttraumatic stress, depression, and anxiety are problems survivors of severe MVAs may exhibit. This fact sheet addresses important issues related to MVAs, including how many people experience serious MVAs, how many people develop MVA-related Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other psychological reactions, what the risk factors are for MVA-related PTSD, and what kind of treatments help MVA-related PTSD.

Below are some articles and resources for survivors of accidents and other forms of trauma.

The Trauma Tool Kit






Was Part of Your Childhood Deprived by Emotional Incest?

Author: R. Skip Johnson

The term “emotional incest” was coined by Kenneth Adams, Ph.D. to label the state of cross-generational bonding within a family, whereby a child (normally of the opposite sex) becomes a surrogate spouse for their mother or father. “Emotional Enmeshment” is another term often used. And the term “emotional parentification” describes a similar concept – it describes the process of role reversal whereby a child is obliged to act as parent to their own parent.

Patricia Love, Ed.D., past president of the International Association for Marriage and Family Counseling, defines emotional incest as “a style of parenting in which parents turn to their children, not to their partners, for emotional support.”  According to Love, emotionally incestuous parents may appear to be loving and devoted and they may spend a great deal of time with their children and lavish them with praise and material gifts – but, in the final analysis, their love is not a nurturing love, it’s a means to satisfy their own needs.

The term “emotional incest” was coined by Kenneth Adams, Ph.D. to label the state of cross-generational bonding within a family, whereby a child (normally of the opposite sex) becomes a surrogate spouse for their mother or father. “Emotional Enmeshment” is another term often used. And the term “emotional parentification” describes a similar concept – it describes the process of role reversal whereby a child is obliged to act as parent to their own parent.

Many parents and children are close. Closeness is healthy and desirable. The difference between a healthy close relationship and an incestuous one is that in a healthy close relationship a parent takes care of a child’s needs in an age-appropriate way without making the child feel responsible the emotional needs of the parents needs. In an emotionally incestuous relationship, instead of the parent meeting the needs of the child, the child is meeting the needs of the parent.

Emotional incest happens when the natural boundary between parental caregiver, nurturer, and protector is crossed and the child becomes the defacto caregiver, nurturer and protector of the parent. This typically occurs when a the marriage unravels or when there is a broken family dynamic (e.g., substance abuse, infidelity, mental illness and the dependency upon a child increases.  One or both parent may engage the child in talks about adult issues and adult feelings to a child as if they were a peer. The child may be called upon to satisfy adult needs such as intimacy, companionship, romantic stimulation, advice, problem solving, ego fulfillment, and/or emotional release. Sometimes both parents will dump on a child in a way that puts the child in the middle of disagreements between the parents – with each complaining about the other.

What ensues is a role that the child is not capable of fulfilling yet might feel special or privileged in so doing. Clearly in this dynamic the child is covertly, emotionally abandoned by the parent(s) and being robbed of her or his childhood.

Emotionally incestuous parents often slip into an “invasive” role without any intention to harm their children.

It’s important to remember that there are different levels of severity in emotional incest. Sometimes emotional incest is extremely severe and debilitating, and other times it’s more moderate and can almost go unnoticed.

The impact is nonetheless harmful.


What are the effects of emotional incest on a child?

According to Dr. Love, “Being a parent’s primary source of support is a heavy burden for young children as they are forced to suppress their own needs to satisfy the needs of the adults“. Because of this role reversal, they are rarely given adequate protection, guidance, or discipline, and they are exposed to experiences well beyond their years.

Emotional incest from either parent is devastating to the child’s ability to be able to set boundaries and take care of getting their own needs met when they become an adult. This type of abuse, when inflicted by the opposite sex parent, can have a devastating effect on the adult/child’s relationship with his/her own sexuality and gender, and their ability to have successful intimate relationships as an adult.

For practical reasons, elder children are generally chosen for the familial “parental” role – very often the first-born children who were put in the anomalous role. However, gender considerations mean that sometimes the eldest boy or eldest girl was selected, even if they are not the oldest child overall, for such reasons as the preference to match the sex of the missing parent.

In adolescence and adulthood, they are likely to be plagued by one or more of the following difficulties:

  1. Guilt about practicing self care especially – an unrealistic sense of obligation to that parent
  1. Difficulties related to sexual identity or gender
  1. Feelings of inadequacy
  1. Love/hate relationship with offending parent
  1. Difficulty in maintaining relationships due to abused individual’s idealization and devaluation of others and an inappropriate expectations placed on partners
  1. Compulsivity that can include sex, substances, alcohol, work, food
  1. Patterns of excessive triangulation (indirect communication) in work, family or romantic relationships
  1. Issues related to sex addiction/avoidance or love addiction/avoidance

What are the effects of emotional incest on the family?

Emotional incest affects all members of a family.   Love identifies five models:

The Invasive Parent is enmeshed with a child in order to meet his/her needs that are not being met in an adult relationship

The Chosen Child is enmeshed with the invasive parent; often treated as “all good” and favored, but their own needs to develop as an individual, to make mistakes and learn, to receive structure and discipline, etc. are actually neglected. Chosen children can also be treated as scapegoats, used not just for emotional support but for the release of anger and tension.

The Left-Out Spouse spouse of invasive parent, is often shut out of exclusive parent-child bond; may turn to workaholism, alcohol, affairs, or other unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with an unhappy life at home

The Left-Out Child(ren) a non-favored child, may be neglected or receive less of the family’s resources; may bond with the left out spouse

Spouse of the Chosen Child when the chosen child grows up and marries, his/her spouse may find him/herself engaged in a rather disturbing triangle with the chosen child and invasive parent


Emotional incest is deeply personal

It is difficult to let go of the wish for perfect parents. We cling to an idealized view of our caretakers because on some level we still view life through the eyes of a child and we still believe we are dependent on our parents for survival. When we see flaws in their characters our very existence can seem threatened. Deep down we may be saying “No one is taking care of me

To cope with this anxiety, we often hold on to the dream that our parents’ faults will magically disappear: this visit, our parents will be sensitive to our needs; this reunion will be smooth and uneventful; this phone call or this letter will repair old wounds and bring us closer together.

Not surprisingly, the character flaws we have the hardest time accepting are the ones that wounded us most during childhood. When our parents act in destructive and familiar ways, our present anguish is magnified by our early pain. Underneath our grown-up dismay is a little child crying out for more love and safety.


Recovering from Emotional Incest

An abused individual can attain emancipation and self empowerment with patience, perseverance, and self awareness.

According to Debra L. Kaplan, MA, LPC, an intensive out-patient counselor specializing in emotional incest recovery, the process of recovery is five-fold:

  1. Identify the family of origin and the particular family dynamics involved
  1. Recognize any patterns of emotional incest between caregivers and the abused individual
  1. Learn to set boundaries with that parent. In the case of a deceased caregiver work with a therapist who can help facilitate empty chair work or another experientially based modality for grief and loss
  1. Acknowledge any feelings of abandonment as a result of the emotional incest
  1. Work toward individuation and separation by learning to reparent the self (Inner child work)

Kaplan notes that journeying from wounded child to healthy adult does not occur in isolation. In addition to therapy, individuals should enlist the help of spouses in working through unresolved abuse.  Kaplan also says “much support can be gained by working with the issues as they arise while in relationship. Sharing of one’s experiences can be mutually healing within the context of a support group or among other healthy interactions.

Source: Was Part of Your Childhood Deprived by Emotional Incest? | BPDFamily

Dear Google, Is There a Shrink for That? – The New York Times

What does it take to feel understood?

This is arguably the single question helping to reshape the modern psychotherapeutic landscape.

Perhaps nowhere is this phenomenon more evident than in the realm of psychotherapies designed for people who identify as L.G.B.T. Therapists, both gay and straight, have increasingly started practices geared specifically toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and, most recently, transgendered patients. (Not to mention those patients who prefer not to identify with any one category.)

For Matthew Silverstein, a psychologist in West Hollywood, Calif., this development springs from dire necessity. “There’s a tortured history of practices that have been called psychotherapy,” Dr. Silverstein said, referring to notorious techniques like “conversion therapy” that purport to change patients from gay to straight and that continue to be practiced to this day. “There’s still a vulnerability that many L.G.B.T. patients feel when coming into a psychological treatment,” he said.

For Dr. Silverstein and others, the advent of specialization has created “safe refuges” for patients who for so long were without recourse to anything of the kind. “Until the 1970s, we simply didn’t have the tools,” he said. “There wasn’t an understanding of gay identity, or of gayness as a cultural or developmental process.”

For the psychologist Douglas Sadownick, a colleague at Antioch University in Culver City, Calif., there is an added layer of emphasis. “We work on the assumption that gay people have their own psychology, they have their own blueprints,” he said.

It is with this conviction that Dr. Sadownick runs one of the country’s first and only clinical psychology master’s programs dedicated to L.G.B.T. studies, which he helped found at Antioch in 2006.

Undoubtedly, the Internet has contributed to the shifting therapeutic landscape. Where before, word of mouth was crucial to the search for a therapist, prospective patients are now likely to take to the web, and faced with thousands of anonymous possibilities, look for some way in which to determine who may be the best fit, whose boxes check their own boxes.

And many therapists, in turn, feel the pressure to fold themselves into recognizable categories. For Rachel Sussman, a psychologist in New York who self-describes as a “relationship specialist” (from first date to breakup), it seemed necessary to carefully brand herself to build a practice.

And then there are those therapists who become accidental specialists, stumbling into a niche, as Lawrence Josephs did, after appearing in a documentary that made its way to YouTube. “Thanks to Google I am getting more patients looking for someone they think of as an infidelity expert,” he wrote last year in The New York Times.

Like so much to do with psychotherapy itself, the new specialization is largely an urban phenomenon. Take Jocelyn Charnas, known as “the wedding doctor” in certain New York circles, who came to her specialty through personal experience.

A practicing psychologist, she had recently gotten married and was aware that there was all too little conversation revolving around the psychological challenges of the experience. “When you get engaged, it’s the ring, the venue, the flowers, which is all wonderful and interesting, but nobody seemed to be talking about the universal experience that this is also difficult,” she said.

For Dr. Charnas, weddings are not just weddings, but rather pressure-cooker moments that contain layer upon layer of psychologically fraught material. “Typically, it’s really not whether you’re having roses or lilies that is keeping you up at night,” she said. “While that may be the manifest content of it, the underlying content could be a number of things, like fears of disappointing your mother, or disappointing yourself. There are so many latent emotions.”

Thus, for Dr. Charnas, within weddings lies the very fullness of human experience. This is what makes every case different, every stressed-out bride-to-be distinct from the last.

In Los Altos, Calif., the psychologist Howard Scott Warshaw has developed his own brand as “The Silicon Valley Therapist,” specializing in everything that he says makes Silicon Valley unique: the particular personality type that is suited for computer programming but less adept at parsing human ambiguity, the environment that seems to expect nothing less than extraordinary achievement.

“Some of these engineers, they love the software world, because it provides a metaphor of looking at life that really makes sense and facilitates their entire worldview,” Mr. Warshaw said. “So if you’re going to deal with someone like that and you can’t speak that language, there’s going to be a real communication problem.”

But many clinicians would contend that shared experience is irrelevant to the treatment of their patients. “This whole idea that when you walk in the door, there’s a template for: ‘We are the same, and out of that sameness we can build an immediate rapport, to me that seems like a very problematic notion,” said Michael Garfinkle, a psychoanalyst in New York. “My basic orientation, especially at the beginning, is a great curiosity and openness to what I’m hearing. There’s a recognition that it takes a long time to learn the way that someone speaks.”

Dr. Garfinkle is often asked by prospective patients, “Do you have a specialty?”

This is how he likes to respond: “My youngest patient is 9, my oldest patient is 82. My patient who’s most well is mildly anxious, my most severely ill patient, so to speak, is someone who has been in and out of hospitals with schizophrenia for most of his life.”

Similarly, Justin Shubert, a psychologist in Los Angeles and the director ofSilver Lake Psychotherapy, is quick to note that seeing a therapist whose label matches your label is not without its hazards.

“It can be limiting because you may end up with someone with a narrower perspective,” Dr. Shubert said. “Just because someone understands what it’s like to work with a Hasidic Jew, doesn’t mean that they understand what it’s like to have two sisters, or to be depressed.”

But in all this talk of software development cycles and maximized potential, it’s easy to lose sight of something much more fundamental, a persistent truth that surfaces again and again when therapists talk about what actually helps their patients.

As Dr. Shubert observed, “Regardless of the technique that the therapist uses, it’s the relationship itself that heals.”

His perception is hardly newfangled. Freud himself had something to say on this subject. In a letter to Carl Jung, written in 1906, he put it thus: “Psychoanalysis is, in essence, a cure through love.”

Source: Dear Google, Is There a Shrink for That? – The New York Times

What Is a Dissociative Disorder?

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) (known in the past as Multiple Personality Disorder-MPD) and other Dissociative Disorders are now understood to be fairly common effects of severe trauma in early childhood. The most common cause is extreme, repeated physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse.

People with Dissociative Disorders may experience any of the following: depression, mood swings, suicidal thoughts or attempts, sleep disorders (insomnia, night terrors, and sleep walking), panic attacks and phobias (flashbacks, reactions to reminders of the trauma), alcohol and drug abuse, compulsions and rituals, psychotic-like symptoms, and eating disorders. In addition, individuals can experience headaches, amnesias, time loss, trances, and “out-of-body experiences.” Some people with Dissociative Disorders have a tendency toward self-persecution, self-sabotage, and even violence (both self-inflicted and outwardly directed).

Source: What Is a Dissociative Disorder? (From the Sidran Foundation)

Signs and Symptoms (from

While the official DID symptom list is short, the signs of DID are numerous. Dissociative behavior is divided into two categories: detachment and compartmentalization. Detachment is “a voluntary or involuntary feeling or emotion that accompanies a sense of separation from normal associations or environment” while compartmentalization isolation or splitting off of part of the personality or mind with lack of communication and consistency between the parts.”

People with DID often also suffer from borderline personality disorder characteristics, somatization disorder (physical symptoms without cause), major depression, posttraumatic stress disorder and suicide attempts.

The signs of dissociative identity disorder include a number of characteristics regarding the multiple personalities including:

  • Personalities are discrepant (disagreeing) and often opposite.
  • Each personality is well-ingrained with its own memories, behavioral patterns and social relationships that govern its behavior.
  • Transition from one personality to another is often sudden and brought on by stress.

Other signs of DID include:

  • Amnesia or blackouts (in the absence of substance use)
  • Being called by a strange name by someone who claims to know the person well
  • Finding oneself somewhere when no memory of getting there (absent substance use)
  • The person referring to him or herself as “we”
  • The person being told that they did certain things to don’t recall.
  • The person feeling they have been accused of lying when they truly believe they haven’t.
  • The person may find unfamiliar objects or samples of strange handwriting or drawing.
  • Sleepwalking and automatic writing (such as those in fugue states)
  • Auditory hallucinations
  • Phobias; fear, often undifferentiated
  • Difficulty in parenting and responding to own children
  • Problems trusting others
  • Hostility and anger
  • A sense of betrayal
  • Problems with sexual adjustment
  • Increased levels of sexual behavior
  • Prostitution
  • Substance abuse

What is Catastrophizing? | Psych Central

Catastrophizing is an irrational thought a lot of us have in believing that something is far worse than it actually is. Catastrophizing can generally can take two forms.

The first of these is making a catastrophe out of a situation. For instance, if you’re a salesperson and haven’t made a sale in awhile, you may believe you are a complete and utter failure and you will lose your job. … Another example is believing that if you make one small mistake at your job, you may get fired. This kind of Catastrophizing takes a current situation and gives it a truly negative “spin.” 

The second kind of Catastrophizing is closely linked to the first, but it is more mental and more future oriented.This kind of Catastrophizing occurs when we look to the future and anticipate all the things that are going to go wrong. … Because we believe something will go wrong, we make it go wrong.

Falling prey to Catastrophizing is like striking out in your mind before you even get to the plate. Both of these types of Catastrophizing limit your opportunities in life, work, relationships and more. It can affect our entire outlook in life, and create a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure, disappointment and underachievement.

Both may lead you to self-pity, to an irrational, negative belief about the situation, and to a feeling of hopelessness about your future prospects. Further, both of these types of Catastrophizing will define either the presence or absence of alternative possibilities, and possibly paralyze you from going further with efforts toward your goals in life.

Battling Catastophizing

The first step to dealing with Catastrophizing is to recognize when you’re doing it. The sooner you do this, the quicker you’ll be able to start focusing on stopping it. It may be helpful to start recording your negative thoughts to yourself on a pad of paper or little journal (or your PDA or such) that you carry with you at all times. Write down what happened as objectively as possible, what you thought about the situation, and then what your reaction or behaviors were.

Over a week’s time, you’ll begin to see a pattern emerge of when you’re most likely to Catastrophize, and some of the thoughts or situations that most likely lead to it.


Stopping yourself from Catastrophizing takes a lot of conscious effort on your part, patience, and time. But if you try these few steps and really start answering yourself back, these irrational thoughts that serve no positive purpose will soon lessen in frequency and strength.

Source: What is Catastrophizing? | Psych Central

Scientists Move Closer to Understanding Schizophrenia’s Cause – The New York Times

A new study provides researchers with their first biological handle on the disorder, and helps explain why it often begins at a relatively young age.

Scientists reported on Wednesday that they had taken a significant step toward understanding the cause of schizophrenia, in a landmark study that provides the first rigorously tested insight into the biology behind any common psychiatric disorder.

More than two million Americans have a diagnosis of schizophrenia, which is characterized by delusional thinking and hallucinations. The drugs available to treat it blunt some of its symptoms but do not touch the underlying cause.

The finding, published in the journal Nature, will not lead to new treatments soon, experts said, nor to widely available testing for individual risk. But the results provide researchers with their first biological handle on an ancient disorder whose cause has confounded modern science for generations. The finding also helps explain some other mysteries, including why the disorder often begins in adolescence or young adulthood.

Source: Scientists Move Closer to Understanding Schizophrenia’s Cause – The New York Times