Tag Archives: Depression

The Tortured Mind of a Genius

Introduction

This Straight, No Chaser looks at the attributes of genius and focuses on the seemingly tortured mind of many such individuals.

genius einstein

Lately I’ve been thinking about a saying I’ve heard for years. “Genius lives on the other side of the fence from insanity.” Quite a few of history’s most celebrated geniuses have embodied this concept. These include renowned artists Vincent van Gogh and Frida Kahlo, literary giants Virginia Woolf, George Orwell, Leo Tolstoy, Edgar Allan Poe, Leo Tolstoy and Sylvia Plath, musicians such as Mozart and Beethoven, scientists such as Sir Isaac Newton and any number of comedic geniuses from Richard Pryor to Robin Williams.

genius insanity

The Tortured Genius

The idea of the tortured genius is not new; in fact the concept is, well, tortured. Research has analyzed this concept from many different angles. The following conclusions are both proven by research and generally accepted within the population at large.

  • Out of great pain and struggle comes creativity.
  • The pressures of success can be too much for one to handle and can drive one into depression and toward suicide.

Genius vs. Insanity

genius insanity 1

The fundamental questions one might consider when looking at your eccentric, friendly neighborhood genius are as follows:

  • Are genius and insanity both products of the same fountain of creativity coming from the brain?
  • Is creativity a product of mental illness?
  • Is mental illness a product of creativity compared against societal norms?
  • Might genius just be a form of insanity?

Be reminded that there are many different forms of mental illness, featuring wildly different clinical signs. Notably, creativity is most strongly linked to mood disorders. These most prominently include bipolar disorder (previously known as manic-depressive disorder), in which individuals display dramatic mood swings between extreme happiness (aka as “mania”) and severe depression.

Medical Facts on Creativity and Mental Illness

Medical research on this issue has uncovered some interesting facts:

  • The same patterns of brain activity occur both when normal individuals display creativity and when bipolar individual emerge from depression and head toward mania.
  • Both geniuses and psychotic individuals have abilities that others don’t when it comes to processing stimuli into brain patterns and then converting these patterns into conscious thought. Psychotic individuals are less able to “filter” stimuli. Instead, they are better able to entertain loose association that other individuals might not make and then deliver these associations to the brain as ideas. In other words, a genius’ beautifully and brilliantly constructed picture or sentence could be interpreted as a normal person’s “nonsense.” Sounds like a lot of conversations that occur about art and music such as jazz, doesn’t it?
  • Geniuses and psychotic individuals are more able to entertain contradictory ideas at the same time than those who are not. This leads to more complex forms of thought and expression. Again, the notion of “nonsense” vs. “expression of genius” comes into play here.

genius steve jobs1 genius steve jobs

The Importance of Functionality

The important consideration here is the notion of functionality. A prominent part of the definition of various psychoses is the inability to function. Perhaps the difference between creative, eccentric and psychotic individuals is to be found in the relative ability to channel that creativity toward productive and societal-accepted endeavors. Of course the concern with the tortured genius is in spite of all evidence to the contrary, including fame, fortune and love, some of these individuals still spiral into depression and other mental illnesses. In some instances, this ends tragically with the loss of life.

genius michael-jackson-on-brink-of-genius-and-insanity

Be mindful that those individuals who display abnormality of thought – even if what you see is creativity or extreme intelligence – have abnormality of thought, or at least unconventional means of thinking. Sometimes this results in horrible outcomes. Take the time to care and make sure your genius isn’t a tortured one.

Follow us!

Ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic. Also, take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. Additionally, as a thank you, we’re offering you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.jeffreysterlingbooks.com. Another free benefit to our readers is introductory pricing with multiple orders and bundles!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK. Likewise, please share our page with your friends on WordPress! Also like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com! Follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright ©2013- 2019 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Tips to Deal with Depression and The Holiday Blues

IntroductionHoliday_Depression-300x199

Have the holiday blues? I don’t mean to bring anyone down during what is supposed to be the ‘most wonderful time of the year,’ but in reality there are many people hurting. For some, life’s tragedies happen this time of year the same as they might any other time. For others, this may have already happened, and this time of year is a permanent reminder of an unfortunate experience. There are others still who struggle with depression, anxiety and mental illness all year. The holiday season can exacerbate these feelings and may make holidays especially long, depressing and potentially dangerous times.

Today’s Straight, No Chaser is not meant to drag you into the dumps but to empower you with tips to assist you in the event this is a difficult time for you. By the way, I’m extremely thankful that you’ve chosen to give me moments of your day and life. I take that gift seriously and hope you continue to find it a worthwhile use of your time.
Holiday Blues and Depression

Here’s five tips to support your holiday mental health.

  1. Remove yourself from stressful environments and avoid situations you know will create conflict, mental duress and/or danger. I can not emphasize this enough. If you put yourself in a bad situation, you can not be surprised when bad things happen.’
  2. Find support. Specifically, have ‘go-to’ friends and family that provide you comforting support. There’s a time and place for tough love, but in the midst of depression or suicidal ideation, ‘buck up’ is not good advice. Know where your support lies and be sure (in advance) that it will be accessible if you need it.
  3. Find success and happiness where it is. During the holidays, people tend to lament what isn’t. That’s not a formula for success. Yes, all of your family may not be around, but celebrating happy memories with the ones you can often fills the room with the joyous presence of loved ones not around. Enjoy the pleasures and successes you do have access to, whether big or small. Focusing on the positive keep you positive.
  4. If you’re struggling, admit it.  You already know you’re hurting. Often the first step to getting past it is acknowledging it. Once done, then you can put coping mechanisms in place to address your feelings.
  5. Avoid holiday activities that will create post-holiday angst. This applies to eating, drinking, shopping and personal interactions. Some use the holiday as an excuse to overindulge as if the consequences won’t be there afterwards. Reread #1 above.

BBKING_SU_C_^_SUNDAYGet Help!

Know when you need professional help. If your support system doesn’t sufficiently address your needs, and you’re feeling severely depressed, can’t function or are suicidal or homicidal, find a physician or mental health professional ASAP. Of course, you can always contact your SterlingMedicalAdvice.com expert. If you type mental health, depression or other keywords into the search bar above, you can access many other Straight, No Chaser blogs on behavioral health concerns that may provide you the support you need. I wish you all the best today and throughout the year, and hopefully the picture above will reflect the only type of blues you’ll have to deal with this year.

Follow us!

Ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic. Also, take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. Additionally, as a thank you, we’re offering you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.jeffreysterlingbooks.com. Another free benefit to our readers is introductory pricing with multiple orders and bundles!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK. Likewise, please share our page with your friends on WordPress! Also like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com! Follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Depression – How to Avoid It, When to Get Help

Introduction

This is the third post in a series on depression and suicide. In our first post, we focused on the magnitude of  clinical depression and suicide. In the second post, we provided tools for depression self-awareness. Finally, in this post we provide tips for you to address depression and an inclination toward suicide. Remember that 844-SMA-TALK and www.sterlingmedicaladvice.com provide crisis mental health services for those in need.

Avoiding Depression

As a physician, I’m not willing to advise you on how to ‘care’ for yourself at home if you’re clinically depressed.  I can discuss how to avoid depression (to the extent possible) and what warning signs should prompt emergent access to care.  If you’re good at accomplishing the items listed below, you have less of a chance of being unhappy and clinically depressed.

  • Avoid alcohol and other mood-altering drugs.
  • Eat healthily.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Remove yourself from negativity, including your choices in friends, mates and work environments.
  • Surround yourself with positivity, including your choices in friends, mates and work environments (Please note this is a different consideration than the previous bullet point.).
  • Learn how to relax and where to go to relax. These considerations include such things as yoga, meditation and your religion/spirituality, not the business end of a bottle or drug use.

Warning Signssuicide HELP_Logo_Master

Look out for these potential warning signs for suicide: Remember that approximately 30% of suicides are preceded by the individual declaring intent.  Be alert for the following additional considerations:

  • Increasing levels of depression, withdrawal, reckless behavior, alcohol and other drug use, and/or desperation.
  • Notice activity that could be a prelude to a suicide attempt, such as obtaining knives, firearms or large quantities of medication.
  • Changing one’s will and settling one’s life affairs in the midst of depression
  • Ongoing comments about lack of worth and desire to end it all.

When to get helpSuicide-Lifeline

The following considerations should prompt an immediate visit to an emergency room or other treatment facility.

  • You have a compelling, overwhelming feeling that you want to hurt yourself, with or without an actual plan.
  • You have a compelling, overwhelming feeling that you want to hurt someone else, with or without an actual plan.
  • Experiences of voices or seeing things or people who are not there occur.
  • You find yourself crying often and uncontrollably for no apparent cause.
  • Your depression has affected your activities of daily living (work, school, consistent forms of recreation or family life) for longer than 2 weeks.
  • You think your current medications are affecting you abnormally and are possibly contributing to making you feel depressed.
  • You have been told or believe that you should cut back on drinking or other drug use.

I wish you and your loved ones all the best in avoiding and/or dealing with this disastrous condition.  I welcome any comments, thoughts or questions.

Follow us!

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic. Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you, we’re offering you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.jeffreysterlingbooks.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress! Like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com! Follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Are You Depressed and/or Suicidal?

Introduction

In our first post on clinical depression and suicide, we looked at the scope of the disease, and in the next post we will provide tips for you to address depression and an inclination toward suicide. In this post, we carefully tread onto your tendencies that may clue you into the need for help. Remember that 844-SMA-TALK and http://www.sterlingmedicaladvice.com provides crisis mental health services for those in need.

areudepressed
I have a strong distaste for do-it-yourself websites that want to ‘screen’ you for depression.  Folks, if you’re wondering whether you’re clinically depressed, you don’t need validation from some makeshift online questionnaire.  That said, if you’d like to learn something, go ahead and find one.  More importantly, seek assistance immediately from a qualified counselor or therapist.  They do wonderful work and can get through to you before you get to yourself.
Instead of a quiz, I will simply give you common signs and symptoms consistent with the diagnosis.  Note the progression in the symptoms.  The bottom line is: odds are, you already know if you need help.  Yes, there are different depression syndromes; I’m not getting into that.  You and a psychiatrist or therapist can sort that out.  Don’t be reassured by a quiz when you already know better.
suicide counseling pix

Signs of depression

You may be depressed if…

  • You feel sad, hopeless, empty, or numb to the point where you wallow in these emotions, and they dominate your existence.
  • There exists a loss of interest in your normal activities of daily living.  It’s not just that you don’t enjoy things.  You don’t even want to be bothered with them.  The desire to have sex goes away.  You don’t enjoy your friends.  You don’t want recreation.  Your interest in eating, sleeping  goes away.  Alternatively, you may not be able to stop sleeping.  Perhaps you can’t breathe (because of your crippling anxiety).  You might actually be depressed if you have these symptoms and didn’t get the ideas from listening to the lyrics of a Toni Braxton song.
  • You find yourself exceedingly irritable and/or anxious. These feelings are explosive and over the top.  You’re waiting, ready and looking for a reason to embrace gloom, doom or anger.

More signs

  • Difficulty moving forward and making decisions exists. This occurs for many reasons.  Your attention may be shot.  Your interests aren’t there.  You’re overwhelmed.  Stuck in a rut is not only where you are, it’s where you want to be.
  • You feel worthless and blame yourself for any and everything.  Again, these feelings are explosive, dramatic and over the top.
  • Thoughts of death and suicide start to occur. This is where things get beyond scary.  You may simply have a passive wishing that things would end and a belief that your friends, family and the rest of the world would be ‘better off’ without you.  There may be fleeting voices that aren’t your own suggesting or commanding suicide as an option.  You may see visions of people telling you to harm yourself.  You may have an active plan.  When depression gets to this point, nothing good is going to happen without intervention.  Never allow someone to make such comments and then pretend as if they were insincere.

suicide-sign-hand-SSPrecipitants

Now consider these most common precipitants for suicide:

  • Difficulties with one’s intimate partner
  • Difficulties with one’s physical health
  • Problems with one’s job
  • Problems with one’s finances

You will have a lot better chance getting someone help at a warning stage than preventing someone from doing something once they have a weapon in their hands.  Approximately 30% of suicides result after the individual has expressed an intent to do so.  Listen up…

Take the signs of depression and any expressed thoughts of suicide seriously.

Follow us!

Ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic. Also, take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. Additionally, as a thank you, we’re offering you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.jeffreysterlingbooks.com. Another free benefit to our readers is introductory pricing with multiple orders and bundles!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK. Likewise, please share our page with your friends on WordPress! Also like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com! Follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Challenges to Your Mental Health and Happiness

Introduction

Mental-health

You all have challenges to your mental health and happiness. We are mindful that there are as many of you unsuccessful as there are successful in navigating these challenges. Everyone has thoughts about the keys to happiness, but we can objectify the conversation! Let’s identify what is most likely to make you unhappy and lead to depression. You may find this hard to believe, but outside of medical causes of psychiatric illness and factors outside of your control, there are actually three choices we make that most commonly adversely impact your happiness and good mental health. Take it as you will, but the data is quite clear. Stay away from these circumstances, and you’re less likely to be unhappy. Sometimes mental health is achieved via addition by subtraction.

Health Problems

HealthIssues

People who are sick or have significant illness in their families generally aren’t happy. Although this may seem obvious and perhaps unfair, given that some illnesses and conditions are inherited or occur haphazardly, be mindful of the things you can control. Of course, this gets to the negative effects of obesity and smoking. More so than any other health-related activities/conditions, these will eventually lead to deteriorating health and subsequent unhappiness.

Job Problemsneed-job

You don’t have enough to do with your time? As the saying goes, an idle mind is the Devil’s workshop. It should be pointed out that neither too much work nor the wrong type of work (i.e., low job satisfaction) seems to promote either happiness or solid mental health. On average, people change careers seven times during their lifetimes. It’s often due to a search for happiness and actually is a good thing to do to avoid being stuck in a bad situation. Follow the job you love, and you’re more likely to be both happy and successful.

Relationship Problems

You make bad relationship choices? Well there’s one specific choice that is shown to be most likely to reduce your happiness—choosing a neurotic partner. What’s neurotic? For one particularly disruptive example, think about the so-called Drama Queen/King. A neurotic partner responds emotionally to events that wouldn’t affect most people, and their reactions tend to be more intense than normal. They’re more likely to interpret minor frustrations as hopelessly difficult. Their negative emotional reactions persist for unusually long periods of time. In short, if you want to be really unhappy, become attached to such a person. They will negatively affect your world, keeping you embroiled in drama and unhappiness, no matter how good the financial, physical, or other parts of your relationship.
Mental Health
Now your results may vary but probably won’t. I’m not make judgements, just sharing the data. Your life choices have consequences as related to your mental health. Choose wisely!

Click here for more on avoiding depression.

Follow us!

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic. Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you, we’re offering you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.jeffreysterlingbooks.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress! Like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com! Follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Depression – How to Avoid It, When to Get Help

depression
This is the third post in a series on depression and suicide. In our first post, we focused on the magnitude of  clinical depression and suicide. In the second post, we provided tools for depression self-awareness. In this post we provide tips for you to address depression and an inclination toward suicide. Remember that 844-SMA-TALK and www.sterlingmedicaladvice.com provides crisis mental health services for those in need.
suicide-stay-informed-stay-connected
As a physician, I’m not willing to advise you on how to ‘care’ for yourself at home if you’re clinically depressed.  I can discuss how to avoid depression (to the extent possible) and what warning signs should prompt emergent access to care.  If you’re good at accomplishing the items listed below, you have less of a chance of being unhappy and clinically depressed.

  • Avoid alcohol and other mood-altering drugs.
  • Eat healthily.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Remove yourself from negativity, including your choices in friends, mates and work environments.
  • Surround yourself with positivity, including your choices in friends, mates and work environments (Please note this is a different consideration than the previous bullet point.).
  • Learn how to relax and where to go to relax (These considerations include such things as yoga, meditation and your religion/spirituality, not the business end of a bottle or drug use.).

suicide HELP_Logo_Master
Look out for these potential warning signs for suicide: Remember that approximately 30% of suicides are preceded by the individual declaring intent.  Be alert for the following additional considerations:

  • Increasing levels of depression, withdrawal, reckless behavior, alcohol and other drug use, and/or desperation.
  • Notice activity that could be a prelude to a suicide attempt, such as obtaining knives, firearms or large quantities of medication.
  • Changing one’s will and settling one’s life affairs in the midst of depression
  • Ongoing comments about lack of worth and desire to end it all.

Suicide-Lifeline
The following considerations should prompt an immediate visit to an emergency room or other treatment facility.

  • You have a compelling, overwhelming feeling that you want to hurt yourself, with or without an actual plan.
  • You have a compelling, overwhelming feeling that you want to hurt someone else, with or without an actual plan.
  • You hear voices or see things or people who are not there.
  • You find yourself crying often and uncontrollably for no apparent cause.
  • Your depression has affected your activities of daily living (work, school, consistent forms of recreation or family life) for longer than 2 weeks.
  • You think your current medications are affecting you abnormally and are possibly contributing to making you feel depressed.
  • You have been told or believe that you should cut back on drinking or other drug use.

I wish you and your loved ones all the best in avoiding and/or dealing with this disastrous condition.  I welcome any comments, thoughts or questions.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Tips to Deal with Depression and The Holiday Blues

Holiday_Depression-300x199
I don’t mean to bring anyone down during what is supposed to be the ‘most wonderful time of the year,’ but in reality there are many people hurting. For some, life’s tragedies happen this time of year the same as they might any other time. For others, this may have already happened, and this time of year is a permanent reminder of an unfortunate experience. For others still who struggle with depression, anxiety and mental illness all year, the holiday season can exacerbate these feelings and may make holidays especially long, depressing and potentially dangerous times.
Today’s Straight, No Chaser is not meant to drag you into the dumps but to empower you with tips to assist you in the event this is a difficult time for you. By the way, I’m extremely thankful that you’ve chosen to give me moments of your day and life. I take that gift seriously and hope you continue to find it a worthwhile use of your time.
HolidayDepression
Here’s five tips for your holiday mental health:

  1. Remove yourself from stressful environments and avoid situations you know will create conflict, mental duress and/or danger. I can not emphasize this enough. If you put yourself in a bad situation, you can not be surprised when bad things happen.’
  2. Find support. Specifically, have ‘go-to’ friends and family that provide you comforting support. There’s a time and place for tough love, but in the midst of depression or suicidal ideation, ‘buck up’ is not good advice. Know where your support lies and be sure (in advance) that it will be accessible if you need it.
  3. Find success and happiness where it is. During the holidays, people tend to lament what isn’t. That’s not a formula for success. Yes, all of your family may not be around, but celebrating happy memories with the ones you can often fills the room with the joyous presence of loved ones not around. Enjoy the pleasures and successes you do have access to, whether big or small. Focusing on the positive keep you positive.
  4. If you’re struggling, admit it.  You already know you’re hurting. Often the first step to getting past it is acknowledging it. Once done, then you can put coping mechanisms in place to address your feelings.
  5. Avoid holiday activities that will create post-holiday angst. This applies to eating, drinking, shopping and personal interactions. Some use the holiday as an excuse to overindulge as if the consequences won’t be there afterwards. Reread #1 above.

BBKING_SU_C_^_SUNDAY
Know when you need professional help. If your support system doesn’t sufficiently address your needs, and you’re feeling severely depressed, can’t function or are suicidal or homicidal, find a physician or mental health professional ASAP. Of course, you can always contact your SterlingMedicalAdvice.com expert. If you type mental health, depression or other keywords into the search bar above, you can access many other Straight, No Chaser blogs on behavioral health concerns that may provide you the support you need. I wish you all the best today and throughout the year, and hopefully the picture above will reflect the only type of blues you’ll have to deal with this year.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Are You Depressed and/or Suicidal?

In our first post on clinical depression and suicide, we looked at the scope of the disease, and in the next post we will provide tips for you to address depression and an inclination toward suicide. In this post, we carefully tread onto your tendencies that may clue you into the need for help. Remember that 844-SMA-TALK and http://www.sterlingmedicaladvice.com provides crisis mental health services for those in need.

areudepressed
I have a strong distaste for do-it-yourself websites that want to ‘screen’ you for depression.  Folks, if you’re wondering whether you’re clinically depressed, you don’t need validation from some makeshift online questionnaire.  That said, if you’d like to learn something, go ahead and find one.  More importantly, seek assistance immediately from a qualified counselor or therapist.  They do wonderful work and can get through to you before you get to yourself.  Instead of a quiz, I will simply give you common signs and symptoms consistent with the diagnosis.  Note the progression in the symptoms.  The bottom line is: odds are, you already know if you need help.  Yes, there are different depression syndromes; I’m not getting into that.  You and a psychiatrist or therapist can sort that out.  Don’t be reassured by a quiz when you already know better.
suicide counseling pix
You may be depressed if…

  • You feel sad, hopeless, empty, or numb to the point where you wallow in these emotions, and they dominate your existence.
  • You have a loss of interest in your normal activities of daily living.  It’s not just that you don’t enjoy things.  You don’t even want to be bothered with them.  You don’t want sex.  You don’t enjoy your friends.  You don’t want recreation.  You can’t eat.  You can’t sleep, or you can’t stop sleeping.  You can’t breathe (because of your crippling anxiety).  You might actually be depressed if you have these symptoms and didn’t get the ideas from listening to the lyrics of a Toni Braxton song.
  • You find yourself exceedingly irritable and/or anxious. These feelings are explosive and over the top.  You’re waiting, ready and looking for a reason to embrace gloom, doom or anger.
  • You have difficulty moving forward and making decisions. This occurs for many reasons.  Your attention may be shot.  Your interests aren’t there.  You’re overwhelmed.  Stuck in a rut is not only where you are, it’s where you want to be.
  • You feel worthless and blame yourself for any and everything.  Again, these feelings are explosive, dramatic and over the top.
  • You have thoughts of death and suicide. This is where things get beyond scary.  You may simply have a passive wishing that things would end and a belief that your friends, family and the rest of the world would be ‘better off’ without you.  You may have fleeting voices that aren’t your own suggesting or commanding suicide as an option.  You may see visions of people telling you to harm yourself.  You may have an active plan.  When depression gets to this point, nothing good is going to happen without intervention.  Never allow someone to make such comments and then pretend as if they were insincere.

suicide-sign-hand-SS
Now consider these most common precipitants for suicide:

  • Problems with one’s intimate partner
  • Problems with one’s physical health
  • Problems with one’s job
  • Problems with one’s finances

You will have a lot better chance getting someone help at a warning stage than preventing someone from doing something once they have a weapon in their hands.  Approximately 30% of suicides result after the individual has expressed an intent to do so.  Listen up…  Take the signs of depression and any expressed thoughts of suicide seriously.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Life, Death and Grief

stages-of-grief
It’s never easy discussing death. Bereavement is the state of mourning and sadness we endure after the death of a loved one. Grief is that process we endure, either in anticipation of death or in bereavement. Humans have been shown to systematically show grief in a predictable way. This Kubler-Ross model famously describes the response of those dying.

  • Denial, accompanied with simultaneous emotional numbness
  • Anger over the loss
  • Bargaining, as if the possibility of staying alive exists
  • Depression and intense mourning
  • Acceptance

The real point of bringing up the grieving process is to point out that the loss of a loved one is an extremely dangerous time for those left behind. In fact, the death of a spouse is the single highest risk factor for one’s own death. I’m sure many of us can think back to an elderly couple who died months apart.
The period of bereavement is a time when people need to come together, provide support and take care of each other. It’s very important that you and your loved ones know that the emotions you will experience are universal and normal. Try to keep that in mind when the time comes. Be reminded that normal grief can last over a year. Don’t feel abnormal because of the difficulties you may be having moving on. It’s healthy to work through your pain.
Common psychological thought describe four trajectories we take in bereavement.

  • Resilience – the attempt to ‘stay strong’ through it all
  • Recovery – evolution toward a healthy honoring and appreciation of the life of the lost
  • Chronic dysfunction – the unfortunate circumstance of being stuck in the mourning process such that it cripples your existence
  • Delayed grief or trauma – the subsequent release and expression of those suppressed emotions

Grief is to be considered a necessary and healthy part of a recovery process that we should learn to embrace. Here’s hoping you find the path to celebrating the lives of your loved ones when they’ve made the final transition.
I welcome any questions you may have.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Depression – How to Avoid It, When to Get Help

depression
This is the third post in a series on depression and suicide. In our first post, we focused on the magnitude of  clinical depression and suicide. In the second post, we provided tools for depression self-awareness. In this post we provide tips for you to address depression and an inclination toward suicide. Remember that 844-SMA-TALK and www.sterlingmedicaladvice.com provides crisis mental health services for those in need.
suicide-stay-informed-stay-connected
As a physician, I’m not willing to advise you on how to ‘care’ for yourself at home if you’re clinically depressed.  I can discuss how to avoid depression (to the extent possible) and what warning signs should prompt emergent access to care.  If you’re good at accomplishing the items listed below, you have less of a chance of being unhappy and clinically depressed.

  • Avoid alcohol and other mood-altering drugs.
  • Eat healthily.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Remove yourself from negativity, including your choices in friends, mates and work environments.
  • Surround yourself with positivity, including your choices in friends, mates and work environments (Please note this is a different consideration than the previous bullet point.).
  • Learn how to relax and where to go to relax (These considerations include such things as yoga, meditation and your religion/spirituality, not the business end of a bottle or drug use.).

suicide HELP_Logo_Master
Look out for these potential warning signs for suicide: Remember that approximately 30% of suicides are preceded by the individual declaring intent.  Be alert for the following additional considerations:

  • Increasing levels of depression, withdrawal, reckless behavior, alcohol and other drug use, and/or desperation.
  • Notice activity that could be a prelude to a suicide attempt, such as obtaining knives, firearms or large quantities of medication.
  • Changing one’s will and settling one’s life affairs in the midst of depression
  • Ongoing comments about lack of worth and desire to end it all.

Suicide-Lifeline
The following considerations should prompt an immediate visit to an emergency room or other treatment facility.

  • You have a compelling, overwhelming feeling that you want to hurt yourself, with or without an actual plan.
  • You have a compelling, overwhelming feeling that you want to hurt someone else, with or without an actual plan.
  • You hear voices or see things or people who are not there.
  • You find yourself crying often and uncontrollably for no apparent cause.
  • Your depression has affected your activities of daily living (work, school, consistent forms of recreation or family life) for longer than 2 weeks.
  • You think your current medications are affecting you abnormally and are possibly contributing to making you feel depressed.
  • You have been told or believe that you should cut back on drinking or other drug use.

I wish you and your loved ones all the best in avoiding and/or dealing with this disastrous condition.  I welcome any comments, thoughts or questions.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Are You Depressed and/or Suicidal?

In our first post on clinical depression and suicide, we looked at the scope of the disease, and in the next post we will provide tips for you to address depression and an inclination toward suicide. In this post, we carefully tread onto your tendencies that may clue you into the need for help. Remember that 844-SMA-TALK and http://www.sterlingmedicaladvice.com provides crisis mental health services for those in need.

areudepressed
I have a strong distaste for do-it-yourself websites that want to ‘screen’ you for depression.  Folks, if you’re wondering whether you’re clinically depressed, you don’t need validation from some makeshift online questionnaire.  That said, if you’d like to learn something, go ahead and find one.  More importantly, seek assistance immediately from a qualified counselor or therapist.  They do wonderful work and can get through to you before you get to yourself.  Instead of a quiz, I will simply give you common signs and symptoms consistent with the diagnosis.  Note the progression in the symptoms.  The bottom line is: odds are, you already know if you need help.  Yes, there are different depression syndromes; I’m not getting into that.  You and a psychiatrist or therapist can sort that out.  Don’t be reassured by a quiz when you already know better.
suicide counseling pix
You may be depressed if…

  • You feel sad, hopeless, empty, or numb to the point where you wallow in these emotions, and they dominate your existence.
  • You have a loss of interest in your normal activities of daily living.  It’s not just that you don’t enjoy things.  You don’t even want to be bothered with them.  You don’t want sex.  You don’t enjoy your friends.  You don’t want recreation.  You can’t eat.  You can’t sleep, or you can’t stop sleeping.  You can’t breathe (because of your crippling anxiety).  You might actually be depressed if you have these symptoms and didn’t get the ideas from listening to the lyrics of a Toni Braxton song.
  • You find yourself exceedingly irritable and/or anxious. These feelings are explosive and over the top.  You’re waiting, ready and looking for a reason to embrace gloom, doom or anger.
  • You have difficulty moving forward and making decisions. This occurs for many reasons.  Your attention may be shot.  Your interests aren’t there.  You’re overwhelmed.  Stuck in a rut is not only where you are, it’s where you want to be.
  • You feel worthless and blame yourself for any and everything.  Again, these feelings are explosive, dramatic and over the top.
  • You have thoughts of death and suicide. This is where things get beyond scary.  You may simply have a passive wishing that things would end and a belief that your friends, family and the rest of the world would be ‘better off’ without you.  You may have fleeting voices that aren’t your own suggesting or commanding suicide as an option.  You may see visions of people telling you to harm yourself.  You may have an active plan.  When depression gets to this point, nothing good is going to happen without intervention.  Never allow someone to make such comments and then pretend as if they were insincere.

suicide-sign-hand-SS
Now consider these most common precipitants for suicide:

  • Problems with one’s intimate partner
  • Problems with one’s physical health
  • Problems with one’s job
  • Problems with one’s finances

You will have a lot better chance getting someone help at a warning stage than preventing someone from doing something once they have a weapon in their hands.  Approximately 30% of suicides result after the individual has expressed an intent to do so.  Listen up…  Take the signs of depression and any expressed thoughts of suicide seriously.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Tips to Deal with Depression and The Holiday Blues

Holiday_Depression-300x199
I don’t mean to bring anyone down during what is supposed to be the ‘most wonderful time of the year,’ but in reality there are many people hurting. For some, life’s tragedies happen this time of year the same as they might any other time. For others, this may have already happened, and this time of year is a permanent reminder of an unfortunate experience. For others still who struggle with depression, anxiety and mental illness all year, the holiday season can exacerbate these feelings and may make holidays especially long, depressing and potentially dangerous times.
Today’s Straight, No Chaser is not meant to drag you into the dumps but to empower you with tips to assist you in the event this is a difficult time for you. By the way, I’m extremely thankful that you’ve chosen to give me moments of your day and life. I take that gift seriously and hope you continue to find it a worthwhile use of your time.
HolidayDepression
Here’s five tips for your holiday mental health:

  1. Remove yourself from stressful environments and avoid situations you know will create conflict, mental duress and/or danger. I can not emphasize this enough. If you put yourself in a bad situation, you can not be surprised when bad things happen.’
  2. Find support. Specifically, have ‘go-to’ friends and family that provide you comforting support. There’s a time and place for tough love, but in the midst of depression or suicidal ideation, ‘buck up’ is not good advice. Know where your support lies and be sure (in advance) that it will be accessible if you need it.
  3. Find success and happiness where it is. During the holidays, people tend to lament what isn’t. That’s not a formula for success. Yes, all of your family may not be around, but celebrating happy memories with the ones you can often fills the room with the joyous presence of loved ones not around. Enjoy the pleasures and successes you do have access to, whether big or small. Focusing on the positive keep you positive.
  4. If you’re struggling, admit it.  You already know you’re hurting. Often the first step to getting past it is acknowledging it. Once done, then you can put coping mechanisms in place to address your feelings.
  5. Avoid holiday activities that will create post-holiday angst. This applies to eating, drinking, shopping and personal interactions. Some use the holiday as an excuse to overindulge as if the consequences won’t be there afterwards. Reread #1 above.

BBKING_SU_C_^_SUNDAY
Know when you need professional help. If your support system doesn’t sufficiently address your needs, and you’re feeling severely depressed, can’t function or are suicidal or homicidal, find a physician or mental health professional ASAP. Of course, you can always contact your SterlingMedicalAdvice.com expert. If you type mental health, depression or other keywords into the search bar above, you can access many other Straight, No Chaser blogs on behavioral health concerns that may provide you the support you need. I wish you all the best today and throughout the year, and hopefully the picture above will reflect the only type of blues you’ll have to deal with this year.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Depression – How to Avoid It, When to Get Help

depression
This is the third post in a series on depression and suicide. In our first post, we focused on the magnitude of  clinical depression and suicide. In the second post, we provided tools for depression self-awareness. In this post we provide tips for you to address depression and an inclination toward suicide. Remember that 844-SMA-TALK and www.sterlingmedicaladvice.com provides crisis mental health services for those in need.
suicide-stay-informed-stay-connected
As a physician, I’m not willing to advise you on how to ‘care’ for yourself at home if you’re clinically depressed.  I can discuss how to avoid depression (to the extent possible) and what warning signs should prompt emergent access to care.  If you’re good at accomplishing the items listed below, you have less of a chance of being unhappy and clinically depressed.

  • Avoid alcohol and other mood-altering drugs.
  • Eat healthily.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Remove yourself from negativity, including your choices in friends, mates and work environments.
  • Surround yourself with positivity, including your choices in friends, mates and work environments (Please note this is a different consideration than the previous bullet point.).
  • Learn how to relax and where to go to relax (These considerations include such things as yoga, meditation and your religion/spirituality, not the business end of a bottle or drug use.).

suicide HELP_Logo_Master
Look out for these potential warning signs for suicide: Remember that approximately 30% of suicides are preceded by the individual declaring intent.  Be alert for the following additional considerations:

  • Increasing levels of depression, withdrawal, reckless behavior, alcohol and other drug use, and/or desperation.
  • Notice activity that could be a prelude to a suicide attempt, such as obtaining knives, firearms or large quantities of medication.
  • Changing one’s will and settling one’s life affairs in the midst of depression
  • Ongoing comments about lack of worth and desire to end it all.

Suicide-Lifeline
The following considerations should prompt an immediate visit to an emergency room or other treatment facility.

  • You have a compelling, overwhelming feeling that you want to hurt yourself, with or without an actual plan.
  • You have a compelling, overwhelming feeling that you want to hurt someone else, with or without an actual plan.
  • You hear voices or see things or people who are not there.
  • You find yourself crying often and uncontrollably for no apparent cause.
  • Your depression has affected your activities of daily living (work, school, consistent forms of recreation or family life) for longer than 2 weeks.
  • You think your current medications are affecting you abnormally and are possibly contributing to making you feel depressed.
  • You have been told or believe that you should cut back on drinking or other drug use.

I wish you and your loved ones all the best in avoiding and/or dealing with this disastrous condition.  I welcome any comments, thoughts or questions.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, AmazonBarnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2015 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Are You Depressed and/or Suicidal?

In our first post on clinical depression and suicide, we looked at the scope of the disease, and in the next post we will provide tips for you to address depression and an inclination toward suicide. In this post, we carefully tread onto your tendencies that may clue you into the need for help. Remember that 844-SMA-TALK and http://www.sterlingmedicaladvice.com provides crisis mental health services for those in need.

areudepressed
I have a strong distaste for do-it-yourself websites that want to ‘screen’ you for depression.  Folks, if you’re wondering whether you’re clinically depressed, you don’t need validation from some makeshift online questionnaire.  That said, if you’d like to learn something, go ahead and find one.  More importantly, seek assistance immediately from a qualified counselor or therapist.  They do wonderful work and can get through to you before you get to yourself.  Instead of a quiz, I will simply give you common signs and symptoms consistent with the diagnosis.  Note the progression in the symptoms.  The bottom line is: odds are, you already know if you need help.  Yes, there are different depression syndromes; I’m not getting into that.  You and a psychiatrist or therapist can sort that out.  Don’t be reassured by a quiz when you already know better.
suicide counseling pix
You may be depressed if…

  • You feel sad, hopeless, empty, or numb to the point where you wallow in these emotions, and they dominate your existence.
  • You have a loss of interest in your normal activities of daily living.  It’s not just that you don’t enjoy things.  You don’t even want to be bothered with them.  You don’t want sex.  You don’t enjoy your friends.  You don’t want recreation.  You can’t eat.  You can’t sleep, or you can’t stop sleeping.  You can’t breathe (because of your crippling anxiety).  You might actually be depressed if you have these symptoms and didn’t get the ideas from listening to the lyrics of a Toni Braxton song.
  • You find yourself exceedingly irritable and/or anxious. These feelings are explosive and over the top.  You’re waiting, ready and looking for a reason to embrace gloom, doom or anger.
  • You have difficulty moving forward and making decisions. This occurs for many reasons.  Your attention may be shot.  Your interests aren’t there.  You’re overwhelmed.  Stuck in a rut is not only where you are, it’s where you want to be.
  • You feel worthless and blame yourself for any and everything.  Again, these feelings are explosive, dramatic and over the top.
  • You have thoughts of death and suicide. This is where things get beyond scary.  You may simply have a passive wishing that things would end and a belief that your friends, family and the rest of the world would be ‘better off’ without you.  You may have fleeting voices that aren’t your own suggesting or commanding suicide as an option.  You may see visions of people telling you to harm yourself.  You may have an active plan.  When depression gets to this point, nothing good is going to happen without intervention.  Never allow someone to make such comments and then pretend as if they were insincere.

suicide-sign-hand-SS
Now consider these most common precipitants for suicide:

  • Problems with one’s intimate partner
  • Problems with one’s physical health
  • Problems with one’s job
  • Problems with one’s finances

You will have a lot better chance getting someone help at a warning stage than preventing someone from doing something once they have a weapon in their hands.  Approximately 30% of suicides result after the individual has expressed an intent to do so.  Listen up…  Take the signs of depression and any expressed thoughts of suicide seriously.
I welcome your comments, thoughts or questions.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, AmazonBarnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2015 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Tips to Deal with Depression and The Holiday Blues

Holiday_Depression-300x199
I don’t mean to bring anyone down during what is supposed to be the ‘most wonderful time of the year,’ but in reality there are many people hurting. For some, life’s tragedies happen this time of year the same as they might any other time. For others, this may have already happened, and this time of year is a permanent reminder of an unfortunate experience. For others still who struggle with depression, anxiety and mental illness all year, the holiday season can exacerbate these feelings and may make holidays especially long, depressing and potentially dangerous times.
Today’s Straight, No Chaser is not meant to drag you into the dumps but to empower you with tips to assist you in the event this is a difficult time for you. By the way, I’m extremely thankful that you’ve chosen to give me moments of your day and life. I take that gift seriously and hope you continue to find it a worthwhile use of your time.
HolidayDepression
Here’s five tips for your holiday mental health:

  1. Remove yourself from stressful environments and avoid situations you know will create conflict, mental duress and/or danger. I can not emphasize this enough. If you put yourself in a bad situation, you can not be surprised when bad things happen.’
  2. Find support. Specifically, have ‘go-to’ friends and family that provide you comforting support. There’s a time and place for tough love, but in the midst of depression or suicidal ideation, ‘buck up’ is not good advice. Know where your support lies and be sure (in advance) that it will be accessible if you need it.
  3. Find success and happiness where it is. During the holidays, people tend to lament what isn’t. That’s not a formula for success. Yes, all of your family may not be around, but celebrating happy memories with the ones you can often fills the room with the joyous presence of loved ones not around. Enjoy the pleasures and successes you do have access to, whether big or small. Focusing on the positive keep you positive.
  4. If you’re struggling, admit it.  You already know you’re hurting. Often the first step to getting past it is acknowledging it. Once done, then you can put coping mechanisms in place to address your feelings.
  5. Avoid holiday activities that will create post-holiday angst. This applies to eating, drinking, shopping and personal interactions. Some use the holiday as an excuse to overindulge as if the consequences won’t be there afterwards. Reread #1 above.

BBKING_SU_C_^_SUNDAY
Know when you need professional help. If your support system doesn’t sufficiently address your needs, and you’re feeling severely depressed, can’t function or are suicidal or homicidal, find a physician or mental health professional ASAP. Of course, you can always contact your SterlingMedicalAdvice.com expert. If you type mental health, depression or other keywords into the search bar above, you can access many other Straight, No Chaser blogs on behavioral health concerns that may provide you the support you need. I wish you all the best today and throughout the year, and hopefully the picture above will reflect the only type of blues you’ll have to deal with this year.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, AmazonBarnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2015 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser In The News: Murders in Virginia, Depression and Violence

logo grey scale

In the news are the horrific live, on-air murders of a television personality and a cameraman. This brings up the relationship between mental health, depression, violent crimes and suicide. Let’s review a few facts on the topic.

  • The number of clinically depressed individuals involved in a violent crime is actually small (3.7% of men and 0.5% of women in a recently published study).
  • That said, the number of clinically depressed individuals involved in a violent crime is above average. Studies have found that the depressed are up to three times more likely to be convicted of a violent crime (1.2% of men and 0.2% of women in the general population).

How can these findings be explained? There are two pretty important considerations.

  1. Depression itself is associated with apathy, guilt, hopelessness and sadness. These are human conditions that can lead one to take actions that would normally not be done and also to do them in a way that wouldn’t normally be done (e.g. more recklessly). Violence certainly is included in the scope of actions such individuals consider under these circumstances.
  2. The percentages noted above relate to associations and are not meant to imply that depression causes violence. There is a difference between rates of performing crimes, getting caught performing crimes and getting convicted performing crimes. There are multiple associations found in those more likely to be diagnosed as clinically depressed (e.g. poverty and other components of a lower socioeconomic status) that independently render one less likely to perform well in the criminal justice system.

So what is the relevance of these facts in the current setting?
Let’s stop pretending it’s not the case that certain conditions exist that amount to a powder keg. Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness in the setting of either mental illness or other conditions (e.g. extreme poverty) explain many actions and societal ills. The better course of action (other than heartfelt mourning) is to be proactive and address conditions that produce these outcomes. It is not sufficient to explain away these conditions by ascribing them to poor mental health. Our societies must better appreciate that in many instances, “poor mental health” is a result of our environment and life circumstances, and are not simply a genetically imposed state of being. Let’s provide better support to those easily identified as being in need, and let’s better combat societal ills that have clearly been identified as risk enhancers for depression, other mental illness and violent crimes.
We offer condolences to all affected in this and many other similar tragedies.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, AmazonBarnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright, Sterling Initiatives, LLC. 2013-2015

Straight, No Chaser: Tips to Deal with Depression and The Holiday Blues

 Holiday_Depression-300x199

I don’t mean to bring anyone down during what is supposed to be the ‘most wonderful time of the year’, but in reality there are many people hurting. For some, life’s tragedies happen this time of year the same as they might any other time. For others, this may have already happened, and this time of year is a permanent reminder of an unfortunate experience. For others still who struggle with depression, anxiety and mental illness all year, the holiday season can exacerbate these feelings and may make holidays especially long, depressing and potentially dangerous times.
Today’s Straight, No Chaser is not meant to drag you into the dumps but to empower you with tips to assist you in the event this is a difficult time for you. By the way, I’m extremely thankful that you’ve chosen to give me moments of your day and life. I take that gift seriously and hope you continue to find it a worthwhile use of your time.
HolidayDepression
Here’s five tips for your holiday mental health:

  1. Remove yourself from stressful environments and avoid situations you know will create conflict, mental duress and/or danger. I can not emphasize this enough. If you put yourself in a bad situation, you can not be surprised when bad things happen.’
  2. Find support. Specifically, have ‘go-to’ friends and family that provide you comforting support. There’s a time and place for tough love, but in the midst of depression or suicidal ideation, ‘buck up’ is not good advice. Know where your support lies and be sure (in advance) that it will be accessible if you need it.
  3. Find success and happiness where it is. During the holidays, people tend to lament what isn’t. That’s not a formula for success. Yes, all of your family may not be around, but celebrating happy memories with the ones you can often fills the room with the joyous presence of loved ones not around. Enjoy the pleasures and successes you do have access to, whether big or small. Focusing on the positive keep you positive.
  4. If you’re struggling, admit it.  You already know you’re hurting. Often the first step to getting past it is acknowledging it. Once done, then you can put coping mechanisms in place to address your feelings.
  5. Avoid holiday activities that will create post-holiday angst. This applies to eating, drinking, shopping and personal interactions. Some use the holiday as an excuse to overindulge as if the consequences won’t be there afterwards. Reread #1 above.

BBKING_SU_C_^_SUNDAY

Know when you need professional help. If your support system doesn’t sufficiently address your needs, and you’re feeling severely depressed, can’t function or are suicidal or homicidal, find a physician or mental health professional ASAP. Of course, you can always contact your SterlingMedicalAdvice.com expert. If you type mental health, depression or other keywords into the search bar above, you can access many other Straight, No Chaser blogs on behavioral health concerns that may provide you the support you need. I wish you all the best today and throughout the year, and hopefully the picture above will reflect the only type of blues you’ll have to deal with this year.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what 844-SMA-TALK and http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress. We are also on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2014 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Depression – How to Avoid It, When to Get Help

depression
This is the third post in a series on depression and suicide. In our first post, we focused on the magnitude of  clinical depression and suicide. In the second post, we provided tools for depression self-awareness. In this post we provide tips for you to address depression and an inclination toward suicide. Remember that 844-SMA-TALK and www.sterlingmedicaladvice.com provides crisis mental health services for those in need.

suicide-stay-informed-stay-connected

As a physician, I’m not willing to advise you on how to ‘care’ for yourself at home if you’re clinically depressed.  I can discuss how to avoid depression (to the extent possible) and what warning signs should prompt emergent access to care.  If you’re good at accomplishing the items listed below, you have less of a chance of being unhappy and clinically depressed.

  • Avoid alcohol and other mood-altering drugs.
  • Eat healthily.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Remove yourself from negativity, including your choices in friends, mates and work environments.
  • Surround yourself with positivity, including your choices in friends, mates and work environments (Please note this is a different consideration than the previous bullet point.).
  • Learn how to relax and where to go to relax (These considerations include such things as yoga, meditation and your religion/spirituality, not the business end of a bottle or drug use.).

suicide HELP_Logo_Master

Look out for these potential warning signs for suicide: Remember that approximately 30% of suicides are preceded by the individual declaring intent.  Be alert for the following additional considerations:

  • Increasing levels of depression, withdrawal, reckless behavior, alcohol and other drug use, and/or desperation.
  • Notice activity that could be a prelude to a suicide attempt, such as obtaining knives, firearms or large quantities of medication.
  • Changing one’s will and settling one’s life affairs in the midst of depression
  • Ongoing comments about lack of worth and desire to end it all.

Suicide-Lifeline

The following considerations should prompt an immediate visit to an emergency room or other treatment facility.

  • You have a compelling, overwhelming feeling that you want to hurt yourself, with or without an actual plan.
  • You have a compelling, overwhelming feeling that you want to hurt someone else, with or without an actual plan.
  • You hear voices or see things or people who are not there.
  • You find yourself crying often and uncontrollably for no apparent cause.
  • Your depression has affected your activities of daily living (work, school, consistent forms of recreation or family life) for longer than 2 weeks.
  • You think your current medications are affecting you abnormally and are possibly contributing to making you feel depressed.
  • You have been told or believe that you should cut back on drinking or other drug use.

I wish you and your loved ones all the best in avoiding and/or dealing with this disastrous condition.  I welcome any comments, thoughts or questions.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what 844-SMA-TALK and http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2014 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress.

Straight, No Chaser: Are You Depressed and/or Suicidal?

In our first post on clinical depression and suicide, we looked at the scope of the disease, and in the next post we will provide tips for you to address depression and an inclination toward suicide. In this post, we carefully tread onto your tendencies that may clue you into the need for help. Remember that 844-SMA-TALK and www.sterlingmedicaladvice.com provides crisis mental health services for those in need.areudepressed
I have a strong distaste for do-it-yourself websites that want to ‘screen’ you for depression.  Folks, if you’re wondering whether you’re clinically depressed, you don’t need validation from some makeshift online questionnaire.  That said, if you’d like to learn something, go ahead and find one.  More importantly, seek assistance immediately from a qualified counselor or therapist.  They do wonderful work and can get through to you before you get to yourself.  Instead of a quiz, I will simply give you common signs and symptoms consistent with the diagnosis.  Note the progression in the symptoms.  The bottom line is: odds are, you already know if you need help.  Yes, there are different depression syndromes; I’m not getting into that.  You and a psychiatrist or therapist can sort that out.  Don’t be reassured by a quiz when you already know better.

suicide counseling pix

You may be depressed if…

  • You feel sad, hopeless, empty, or numb to the point where you wallow in these emotions, and they dominate your existence.
  • You have a loss of interest in your normal activities of daily living.  It’s not just that you don’t enjoy things.  You don’t even want to be bothered with them.  You don’t want sex.  You don’t enjoy your friends.  You don’t want recreation.  You can’t eat.  You can’t sleep, or you can’t stop sleeping.  You can’t breathe (because of your crippling anxiety).  You might actually be depressed if you have these symptoms and didn’t get the ideas from listening to the lyrics of a Toni Braxton song.
  • You find yourself exceedingly irritable and/or anxious. These feelings are explosive and over the top.  You’re waiting, ready and looking for a reason to embrace gloom, doom or anger.
  • You have difficulty moving forward and making decisions. This occurs for many reasons.  Your attention may be shot.  Your interests aren’t there.  You’re overwhelmed.  Stuck in a rut is not only where you are, it’s where you want to be.
  • You feel worthless and blame yourself for any and everything.  Again, these feelings are explosive, dramatic and over the top.
  • You have thoughts of death and suicide. This is where things get beyond scary.  You may simply have a passive wishing that things would end and a belief that your friends, family and the rest of the world would be ‘better off’ without you.  You may have fleeting voices that aren’t your own suggesting or commanding suicide as an option.  You may see visions of people telling you to harm yourself.  You may have an active plan.  When depression gets to this point, nothing good is going to happen without intervention.  Never allow someone to make such comments and then pretend as if they were insincere.

suicide-sign-hand-SS

Now consider these most common precipitants for suicide:

  • Problems with one’s intimate partner
  • Problems with one’s physical health
  • Problems with one’s job
  • Problems with one’s finances

You will have a lot better chance getting someone help at a warning stage than preventing someone from doing something once they have a weapon in their hands.  Approximately 30% of suicides result after the individual has expressed an intent to do so.  Listen up…  Take the signs of depression and any expressed thoughts of suicide seriously.
I welcome your comments, thoughts or questions.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what 844-SMA-TALK and http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2014 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress.

Straight, No Chaser: Suicide Data – Understand the Threat

 robin-williams-by-Samerry[206123] Robin_Williams-Esquire

The death of beloved comedian Robin Williams has hit many like a lead balloon. So successful was he, with seemingly so much for which to live. He was enjoying ongoing success with a hit TV series, upcoming movies and had a loving family. Therein lies the rub. Depression and suicide don’t discriminate by social status, yet we continue to stigmatize those with depression and other mental disorders in a way that we don’t when it comes to disorders of other parts of the body – so much so that his depression seemingly couldn’t be revealed in a way that would have allowed him to truly get the help that could have saved his life. Allow me to honor his death by reviewing depression and suicide in a few Straight, No Chaser posts. Thanks for the memories, Robin. We thought your acting represented the tears of a clown. We never knew your laughs actually masked the pain. You will be missed.suicidemap
There are amazing, shocking and saddening facts about suicide.  It is equally amazing that we aren’t discussing this as an epidemic.  Consider the following information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
There were an average of 105 suicides a day in the U.S. (over 38,000 for 2010).
An estimated 8.3 million adults reported having suicidal thoughts in the past year.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among those aged 15-24, the second among those aged 25-34, the fourth among those aged 35-54, and the eighth among persons aged 55-64.
For those committing suicide:

  • 33.3% tested positive for alcohol.
  • 23% tested positive for antidepressants.
  • 20.8% tested positive for opiates (such as heroin and prescription pain killers).
  • There is one suicide for every 25 attempts.

Females are more likely than males to have had suicidal thoughts, but suicide among males is four times higher than among females (in other words, females think about it and try more often, but males complete the act more often.).
Among Native Americans aged 15-34, suicide is the second leading cause of death, fully 2.5 times higher than the national average.
There are some topics that aren’t amenable to Blogs.  Depression and suicide are among them.  They can’t be done justice.  What I can try to do is break components of the conversation into bite size pieces and give you information to work with.  I’ll do this in three parts.  Above, I’ve shown you the magnitude of suicide.  In the next post, I will help you understand what clinical depression looks like, then finally, I’ll review some Quick Tips to help you prevent falling into the deepest levels of depression and to help you know when immediate attention is required.  Just remember: this isn’t the type of depression that involves having a bad day.  I’m talking about when your downward mood interferes with your activities of daily living.  I’m describing depression that introduces suicide and homicide as an option.  If you don’t read these for yourself, read them for knowledge.  Someone you know may be affected.
I welcome any questions, comments or thoughts.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what 844-SMA-TALK and http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, Facebook @ SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2014 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress.
 

Page 1 of 2
1 2