Drug overdoses, suicides, and also diseases involving internal organs have caused an increase in middle-aged deaths.  So much so that the life expectancy in the US has actually declined since 2014 after increasing for the previous 60 years.  The largest increase in deaths was in New England and the Ohio Valley. (Ken Pope:  US Life Expectancy Down in Recent Years After Increasing for Decades). 

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Is Counseling a Part of Good Health Care?

“Fifty percent of the patients seeing me for cardiac care are really dealing with psychological issues.”  So said a cardiac physician in an informal conversation recently.  “So, I quiet myself, listen quite a bit, and then watch for an opportunity to counsel the patient about his anxiety, depression, etc.”  This comment was made about patients receiving care after a procedure had been completed.

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Tom sat down for his first hour after his initial evaluation.  I asked him, “How are you doing today?”ffffff

Tom responded slowly, “That’s a good question.  I know that we met last week and I’m beginning to understand some of the feelings I’ve had for a really long time.  I also feel that it will take quite a few hours for us to settle my particular issues.  In the meantime, I do feel depressed some of the time. I don’t want to take any medication. I can’t afford it because I don’t have insurance and I can’t handle the frequent side effect of weight gain.  What can I do to feel less depressed while we’re doing this work?  I used to drink alcohol but I don’t want to do that anymore either.”

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