From the look on my patient’s face, I can tell that I am the last person he wants to see. Unfortunately, he has little choice as his internist won’t refill his prescription for Valium until he is evaluated by a psychiatrist. Valium has been in my patient’s life for decades and was originally prescribed to treat his “nerves.” Time has revealed its troubling side effects—the risk of addiction, falls and memory problems. His new doctor insists on a psychiatric evaluation to see if there is something more to the “nerves”, perhaps an underlying condition that there might be a better, safer treatment for? The internist’s instincts are spot on. The patient has Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) related to a war he fought over 50 years ago. He has little of the hallmark features of PTSD—nightmares, flashbacks, and hypervigilance—rather he has severe avoidance, an often overlooked but … [Read more...] about Avoidance: The Biggest Threat to Our PTSD Awareness
World professional figure skating championships
This college scandal involving celebrities and super wealthy families is all over the news and is shocking. As a mom with two teenage boys heading towards college applications and as a psychologist who does evaluations for kids with learning difficulties (who often need accommodations for testing/college), I have been thinking a lot about the situation. Parents cheating the system for their kids to get into a certain college, though, should not be too much of a surprise as many of us think it is our job as parents to do whatever we need to do to make sure our kids have the best opportunities possible. However, most of us also know that the “do anything” approach also has limits and we want our kids to think and do for themselves. As a psychologist, I think it is also important to consider this scandal in the context of the stress and pressure teenagers are under today. I think about the kids in the scandal who did not know what was being done and what the … [Read more...] about What Do I Say to My Sons About the College Scandal?
Source: Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain Since 2009, I’ve posted 5,116 tweets, which archive my best ideas. Here at Psychology Today, I periodically post the best and most relevant to this blog’s title, How to Do Life. Here’s the current crop: Work On the job I gave the following advice to a tough-minded young man who just got a job: While generally following the Stoics, it's important to be kind. Not a doormat but err on the side of kindness, even if it isn't reciprocated. On a meeting's important topic, be last to chime in. That makes attendees less eager for you to finish so they can add their two cents. And importantly, waiting allows you to incorporate the best of what’s been said and to avoid making an obvious mistake. Today, with everyone so busy, it really helps your cause if you're low-maintenance. Employers Criticism isn’t a dirty word. Tactful criticism accompanied by a suggestion for improvement is part of a manager’s job. Strike a balance: … [Read more...] about How-to-Do-Life Tweets
Source: Wokandapix/Pixabay Today, it’s an article of faith that nearly everyone should finish high school and probably go to college. After all, so the argument goes, high school and college curriculum exposes you to important concepts and improves thinking and communication skills while allowing young adults to explore career and personal directions they wouldn’t pursue on their own. Plus, for most decent jobs, a college degree is virtually required. That, however, doesn’t provide the complete picture, for example, that attending college is far from a guarantor of improved thinking skills and communication skills sufficient to justify the dollar cost and opportunity cost: what the person could have been doing if not stuck behind a student desk. A major study, Academically Adrift, found that 45 percent of college freshmen grew little or not at all in writing and critical thinking between freshman and senior year. The follow-up study found that those weaker … [Read more...] about Why a Smart Self-Starter Might Want to Drop Out
Source: Pixabay The rush—sometimes it starts the moment you get out of bed! You might be late, or have forgotten to do something the night before, or perhaps you’ve overslept. It’s a mad dash to get out of the house and to wherever you need to go. You get in your car and it’s like a force takes over—you find yourself driving fast, refusing to let other drivers get in front of you and taking corners on two wheels. The mad rush continues and careens into your day. What’s the result of the rush? Traffic fatalities have risen significantly as a result of rushing, and by the time you get to your destination you are worn out from the stress of gripping the steering wheel too tightly. You know that rushing and being anxious and worrying about whether you will get there on time—and in one piece— can impact your physical body as well as your mind. And when you rush, you are likely to make more mistakes, overlook things and be less … [Read more...] about It’s Just Not That Important