WHAT are the LONG-TERM (REALLY LONG-TERM) EFFECTS OF CHILD ABUSE, and HOW has the PANDEMIC IMPACTED THIS?

WHAT are the LONG-TERM (REALLY LONG-TERM) EFFECTS OF CHILD ABUSE, and HOW has the PANDEMIC IMPACTED THIS? More specifically, sexual or physical abuse victims as children is more likely to die prematurely as adults. Compared to those who did not experience sexual abuse, people who were sexually abused before the age of 16 were 2.6 times more at risk of dying between the ages of 45 and 58 (middle age).  Physical abuse before the age of 16 increased the risk by 1.7 times.  Neglect increased the risk by 1.4 times. 

Read more

HOW CAN WE DEAL WITH a RISE in ALCOHOL ABUSE DURING the PANDEMIC?

Many anxious, isolated, depressed people during this past 18 months of pandemic living have been drinking more.  Latest estimates are that more than 17 million Americans struggle with alcoholism, and often don’t receive any treatment for it even if they reveal it to a health care professional

Read more

WILL MENTAL HEALTH CARE BE as AVAILABLE as MEDICAL CARE?

A “landmark” settlement with United Healthcare in the state of New York requires UHC to pay $14.3 million to consumers nationwide. This was the first ever joint lawsuit filed by a state (New York) and the federal government. The impacted consumers were either denied coverage or given reduced benefits for mental health and substance use disorders

Read more

WHAT if the PANDEMIC HASN’T MADE US FEEL BAD, BUT WE ALSO DON’T FEEL QUITE RIGHT? – PART 2

As with other forms of psychological distress, naming it is the first step towards dealing with it.  By identifying depression, anxiety, addiction, and other struggles due to the pandemic (see previous blogs), we can begin to take counter steps, including seeking help. The same is true for languishing.

Read more

WHAT if the PANDEMIC HASN’T MADE US FEEL BAD,  BUT WE ALSO DON’T FEEL QUITE RIGHT? – PART 1

Have these many months of the COVID pandemic left you feeling “somewhat joyless and aimless”?  Not quite burned out and without energy.  Not quite hopeless, helpless, and trapped – depressed?  Even as life in LA County and California is opening up towards something close to “normal”, are you not looking forward to much with excitement or even pleasure?  There is a new term for this feeling of “stagnation and emptiness

Read more

DO PSYCHOLOGICAL FACTORS IMPACT the EFFECTIVENESS OF COVID 19 VACCINES, as well as SIDE EFFECTS?

Two recent blogs have summarized how effective the two earliest vaccines are against COVID 19, both in terms of the clinical studies to establish their efficacy, as well as using the experience in Israel as a real-world case study.  In addition to the biological factors involved in vaccine efficacy, there are also psychological factors that impact the efficacy of the vaccine,

Read more

HOW EFFECTIVE ARE COVID-19 VACCINES, REALLY?

HOW EFFECTIVE ARE COVID-19 VACCINES, REALLY?
The most basic measure of the effectiveness of the COVID 19 vaccines is simple:  thus far, only two people have died after being vaccinated, according to reports available. One death in Florida was due to a rare blood disorder, not COVID. One death in California is of still undetermined causes. 

Read more

HOW to HELP KIDS WITH ADHD LEARN DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

ADHD presents special challenges with school efforts and homework, all the  more in the current remote learning programs during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Being able to sit still and sustain focused effort is all the more difficult when learning is limited to screen time.  Please see previous blogs and articles for some of the basic issues involved.  Here are some specific strategies to help

Read more

HOW CAN WE MAINTAIN HOPE in CHALENGING TIMES? – Part 1

Maintaining hope during the recent COVID surge in California and around the country is helpful, even essential, in many ways.  Hope reduces anxiety, despair, and of course depression.  We have more effective coping skills and recover from disappointments more quickly when we have hope.  We are more skilled at problem solving, communicate better, and are more trusting of others. 

Read more

HOW DOES LAUGHTER HELP WITH COVID 19?

In basic biochemical terms, laughter releases nitric oxide, which reduces blood pressure, decreases clotting, and relaxes blood vessels.  A study of older men and women in Japan associated laughter with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.  A Norwegian study found an association between humor and a longer life, especially for women.  Dr. Miller “prescribes” a “deep psychological laugh that elicits tears of joy and relaxation” each day.

Read more

HOW CAN YOU MAINTAIN an EXERCISE ROUTINE?

As the COVID 19 pandemic stretches on and on, maintaining your motivation to exercise may be more and more difficult.  Even though recent blogs have cited the benefits of exercise for our immune system, as well as it being an antidote to depression, anxiety, and sleep difficulties, losing interest and energy for exercise is understandable, even predictable perhaps

Read more

HOW CAN WE LIFT OUR SPIRITS DURING COVID 19?

The last few months of blogs have focused on the COVID 19 pandemic: how to cope; how to help our kids cope; dealing with grief; dealing with psychological issues such as anxiety, depression, sleep difficulties, substance abuse, child abuse, domestic violence; risks of losing insurance coverage for telehealth; strengthening our immune system; maintaining exercise. 

Read more

WILL INSURANCE COMPANIES CONTINUE to COVER TELEHEALTH SERVICES?

Insurance companies are moving towards reducing the benefits for telehealth services. They may be lowering reimbursement levels to pre-COVID 19 levels so that reimbursement to providers will be lower and out-of-pocket co-pays will be higher for patients.  They may also re-institute prior authorizations for services, which is a time-consuming process for providers that often discourages them from even providing service.

Read more

COVID 19 is a MENTAL  HEALTH CRISIS TOO:  DEPRESSION, ANXIETY, SUICIDE RISK, SUBSTANCE ABUSE

COVID 19 is a MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS TOO. Two-plus months into sheltering at home due to the COVID 19 crisis, and beginning to re-open our economy, we are in the midst of another kind of health crisis.  This one has to do with psychological health and well-being. 

Read more