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social anxiety disorder

Mental Illnesses on Movies

Movie attractions about mental illnesses

Recently I wrote about the premiere of a new movie, Mania Days, which stars Katie Holmes and is based on the life of the author who has Bipolar disorder.  One of our Facebook friends asked where it could be seen.

Well, the answer, in short, is “not yet”.  It is an independent film and caught my eye because it premiered in Austin TX, near where Old Fox MovietoneI live. Unfortunately, no matter how good it is, it won’t be released on the “big screen” until the writer/director/producer has an offer from a large movie production company – for a lot of money.

He may get one of those offers at upcoming independent film festivals, and the prospects look good as the film has received positive reviews.  It is likely that no matter how good the film is, we won’t see it in theaters for several months, if not longer. (It will probably be available on DVD though)

Sorry if it was a big tease.  In any case, it got me thinking that there are some well-known and available movies that you can see.  Maybe you have seen them, but you probably haven’t seen all or even most of them.

The good news is that since mental disorders tend to produce notable or even outrageous and shocking behaviors, they do make good subjects for movies.  This list is only a few of the movies that I have seen – and in many of them, there is no clear “diagnosis” for the characters but the symptoms are there.

Borderline Personality Disorder

Most of the films that feature characters that may have borderline personality disorder focus on murderous women.  Certainly BPD doesn’t only affect females but it does make good movie fodder.

•    Fatal Attraction
•    Single White Female
•    Casino
•    The Cable Guy
•    Margot at the Wedding
•    The Crush

Anxiety Disorders –

Anxiety disorders are harder to see in a movie as a single issue as they often occur with other disorders – as they do in real life.

•    Ordinary People
•    Parenthood

Social Anxiety Disorder

Can result in avoiding being in public, speech disorders and fears of other social situations.

•    The Kings Speech

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

OCD is a real problem, but many people don’t realize how debilitating it can be.  In addition, it is also an anxiety disorder but doesn’t show as well on the screen.

•    The Aviator
•    As good as it gets

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD often follows a “war” event – but can follow other traumatic events. In most cases, these events are “acute” but in some cases they are chronic, occurring over a period of many years.

•    Prince of Tides
•    Forrest Gump
•    Born on the Fourth of July
•    First Blood
•    Sudden Impact
•    Reign Over Me
•    The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Autism

There is really only one good example that I know of – and it is a classic.  That said, it is not an exact example as Autism is a “spectrum disorder” that ranges from high-functioning to non-functioning.

•    Rain Man
•    The Boy Who Could Fly

Bipolar Disorder

There are actually a lot of movies that can be seen showing bipolar disorder though. Rarely do they discuss the actual diagnosis but here are a few good ones.

•    Mad Love
•    Blind Date
•    Michael Clayton
•    Manic
•    Of Two Minds

Clinical depression

In most cases, clinical depression doesn’t look good on a screen.  Unless the character has some other event going on, watching someone not do anything doesn’t attract movie attention.  In these cases, there were other things going on in the movie that made them interesting.

•    The Fire Within
•    Leaving Las Vegas
•    Rushmore

Silver Linings PlaybookAnd the winner for “Most Psychiatric Disorders Featured in One Movie” goes to:

•    Silver Linings Playbook
•    Girl Interrupted

Both movies show a number of intertwining psychiatric disorders including anxiety, depression, borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder, and eating disorder, are great films and two you really shouldn’t miss.

Most of these movies should be available on DVD.

Melissa Lind

List of films featuring mental disorders

New Online Tools for Anxiety Disorders

What can online tools for Anxiety Disorders do for free?

There has been a dramatic upsurge in websites, smartphone apps and hi-tech gadgets to monitor health conditions such as blood pressure, heart rate, and calorie output – all physical measurementsMental health doesn’t easily lend itself to computer monitoring.  Most people who need intervention go to a therapist or other mental health professional.  When that isn’t affordable, people usually “go it alone” which can have disastrous results.

Online Tools for Anxiety DisordersA new company “Joyable”, is developing an online web platform for people with anxiety disorders.  The company is a start-up venture that aims to create online tools for a variety of mental health conditions.  So far, they have raised over $2 million from Venture Capitalists – and “Angel Investors” which may bode well for additional funding.  Joyable will be starting with Social Anxiety Disorder but plans expansion into other conditions such as generalized anxiety, OCD, PTSD and others.  The big problem with this development is that it isn’t cheap.

The company plans to offer their online tools for a significant cost of $99 / month. Though hi-tech has entered the medical field in other areas, costs are usually low, if not free and available on a smartphone.  The developers state that their program is usable on a smartphone or tablet through the internet. They also have plans to develop a native app for smartphones and tablets as well, but they will probably still charge for the service.

The NIH reports that 15 million Americans may suffer from Social Anxiety Disorder but only about 15 percent of those are adequately treated – leaving 12 million or so, with unattended issues.  The good news is that there are online tools for people with a variety of mental health conditions, and some of those are free.

Not to disparage therapy – but a lot of it is talk and even with insurance, it can be expensive.  You talk, the therapist talks, you talk, the therapist listens.  If you are in group therapy – you also have to listen while others talk.  Sometimes the problems match your own; sometimes they don’t.  In a lot of cases, you may be able to get some insight from hearing others talk about the same thing – but the best information is stuff that you learn about yourself.

The best place to start looking for help online is through forums – nearly always free.  You can find plenty of people with nearly any mental disorder that you can chat with and take or leave the advice as you want.  There is also no shortage of educational – and even entertaining websites (like this one) that offer information, quizzes, daily planning – all for free.

Smartphone for Anxiety DisorderIf you are willing to pay a bit, there are online therapists who are cheaper than going to an office.  Therapists who will attend you privately on the computer – or even by phone.  Joyable is planning on offering three categories of activities – education, cognitive exercises, and behavioral activities.  They plan to have “coaches” who are “empathetic” and “good listeners” – trained by the company.

Psychologists oversee the program, but it is not very likely that you will get personal attention from a licensed professional.   With a little bit of work, you can probably get much of the same service at a low cost – or even without spending a dime. But for the future, the attention that the service may bring might provide promise and signal hope for people with mental disorders.

One development often leads to another. An App, even at a cost may provide assistance for those who won’t otherwise receive adequate care – particularly with disorder such as PTSD that don’t often get enough or the right kind of attention.  For now, you can probably skip the cost – and gather up the services yourself.

Melissa Lind

Zoloft for a Treatment of Depression

Is it safe to use Zoloft for a treatment of depression?

Zoloft is a common antidepressant that doctors prescribe for the treatment of depression and depression symptoms. Zoloft is a very gentle antidepressant but has a powerful effect as well.

Depression and ZoloftZoloft can start working in as little as a week, although it could take up to three weeks to feel the symptoms of depression easing. Zoloft is safe to take for an extended period; however, one should never stop taking Zoloft “cold turkey.”

It isn’t addictive, in the truest sense of the word, but Zoloft is an SSRI, which means that it is forcing a change in the brain chemistry. Because of this, your doctor will most likely “wean” your body off of Zoloft slowly by reducing the dosages, and allowing your brain to do more of the work without help from the medication.

Zoloft is not just prescribed for the treatment of depression. Research has also found that it is a suitable medication for the treatment of panic disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and social anxiety disorder.

There are side effects associated with the use of Zoloft. These include impotence and/or changes in sex drive and libido, upset stomach, drowsiness, anxiety, irritability, urination problems, appetite changes, headaches, constipation or diarrhea, blurred vision, nightmares, insomnia, hair loss, dry mouth, sweating, muscle spasms, slowed speech, irregular heartbeat, and tremors.

Symtoms of DepressionBefore taking Zoloft, your doctor needs to know if you have a history of mania, suicidal thoughts, high blood pressure, kidney disease, liver disease, heart disease, seizures, enlarged prostate, urination problems, thyroid problems, or glaucoma.

Despite the potential side effects, most people don’t have any trouble with Zoloft, and it is one of the most-prescribed drugs for the treatment of depression. It is also considered one of the safest drugs for depression treatment. If you suffer from depression, you should definitely discuss Zoloft with your physician.

Zoloft for depression treatment despite potential side effects

What is Social Anxiety Disorder?

man-suffering-an-anxiety-at

Social anxiety disorder takes many forms.

It can be described as an inappropriately inflated sense of self-consciousness. In some people, social anxiety appears in their constant worries that others are watching them critically. In others, it can lead to situations where they simply refuse to engage in any social interaction.

Almost everyone is, on some level, familiar with depression, but social anxiety disorder does not get as much attention as other mental health problems. Fairly well known is also, anxiety, in the form of panic attacks and similar problems. Despite the fact that social anxiety disorder is the third most common mental health problem facing Americans, it still is not well understood by most people.

The quality of a person`s life can significantly be reduced by social anxiety disorder in its less severe form, and in its more extreme forms, the disorder can be almost entirely debilitating, rendering a person totally unable to interact with others.

There is no cure for social anxiety disorder. Unlike the better-known problems of depression and panic disorders, no medications developed show any significant ability to combat the problem. Those diagnosed with depression, or who suffer with panic attacks, may be able to relieve symptoms with prescription medications, but the person with social anxiety disorder has to rely on other treatment modalities.

The only form of treatment that has shown to provide any real substantive change among those with a social anxiety disorder is therapy based on a cognitive model. It is possible for someone saddled with this problem to improve his or her health markedly over time, by increasing awareness, learning coping skills, and retraining thought patterns. Research indicates that many sufferers begin to notice a significant improvement in their condition after a few dozen visits to a behavior therapist. Often, group therapy is an included part of the treatment regimen.

It should be noted that not everyone who worries what others think about him or her has an anxiety disorder. The problem arises when those concerns become too powerful and prevent the individual from engaging in otherwise desired interactions. It is quite common to have a bit of concern about what others might think of your new haircut. It is perfectly normal, to allow your mind to be overwhelmingly preoccupied with such consideration, or to let your worries interfere with your ability to function, in an appropriate manner.

If a person experience significant discomfort as lumps in your throat, fear, or unreasonable worry about social interactions, he or she may be experiencing an anxiety disorder and should seek the advice of a medical professional. The problem is treatable with cognitive therapy, and it is possible to live a life without the irrational nonstop worries and inabilities to interact that are hallmarks of social anxiety disorder.