The importance of mental health is constantly in the headlines, as prominent public figures such as Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, and Britney Spears share about their mental health challenges on social media and other platforms.
Healthy sleep is critical for physical and mental health. For many people, nightmares and dream-related content can severely impact sleep. What makes a dream a nightmare and why do nightmares happen? Dr. Kaz and George share their reoccurring nightmares and discuss practical information on how health professionals have worked to develop medication and other strategies to effectively reduce the frequency and intensity of nightmares.
More information and specific instructions about the "Nightmare Protocol" may be found in the DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition, by Marsha M. Linehan (2015).
Interested in hearing more on the topic of dreams from Dr. Kaz? See this interview by Cory Hepola on KARE11 Breaking the News: "Do our dreams have meaning?" from Nov 13, 2017.
Will the medication class of benzodiazepines follow in the footsteps of opioids as the next harmful medication epidemic? In this first episode of Season 2 of The Mind Deconstructed Podcast, Dr. Kaz and George confront this controversial subject. Twelve percent of the United States population is prescribed a medication in this class every year. We explore the risks and benefits. You decide!
After a bit of a hiatus, Dr. Kaz and George return with a special episode recorded in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month. Dr. Kaz and George were delighted to participate in the first ever "Mental Health Awareness Day" at the Minnesota State Fair sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness Minnesota and the Minnesota State Advisory Council's Sub-Committee on Children's Mental Health. Listen to recorded questions from attendees on the topics of advocacy, mindfulness, the role of work in recovery, and how to best maintain hope for others who may have lost their own capacity for hope.
Are antidepressant medications just "happy pills"? How should an antidepressant medication be expected to work? How long should a person take antidepressant medication and what happens when these medications are discontinued? Dr. Kaz, with help from her brother, George, provides an overview of the most frequently prescribed antidepressant medications, including the types of symptoms these medications are used to treat and common side-effects.
In the shadow of two public deaths by suicide and alarming data from the Centers for Disease Control on the increasing number of suicides, Dr. Kaz and George explore the impact and legacy of suicide. How does such an event impact surviving children and other family members? Are traumatic events that happen during childhood of greater significance that events which happen when we are older? How can we best understand and support children and adolescents who experience adverse childhood events? What types of events or circumstances constitute 'adversity'? Does ongoing, chronic invalidation and lack of representation in society count?
In the time between the recording and the posting of Episode 18: Mental Illness and School, we have learned of the death of fashion designer, Kate Spade; Chef, Anthony Bourdain; and received the Centers for Disease Control's 2018 report on increased rates of suicide across the United States. George and my hearts weigh heavily with these news stories. We can't possibly imagine the extent of this lost potential and devastation for surviving loved ones and our community.
As we reflect on the multiple stressors, barriers and issues facing people in their daily lives, George and I explore the intersection of mental illness and our educational system. I share a phenomena called "new tank syndrome" and its effect on students navigating new contexts, as they pursue their education. How can you assist a student who may be struggling? What resources do schools provide to support students with mental health challenges?
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month. Inspired by these events, Dr. Kaz and George explore self-injurious behavior. Common and sometimes difficult to understand, Dr. Kaz describes different patterns for self-injurious behavior and some of the drivers of these behaviors. How are impulsive self-aggression (punching a wall), intentional self-harm (cutting, burning), and even nail-biting, skin-picking and hair-pulling different from one another? What are possible treatments or strategies to reduce the harm associated with these behaviors, while still meeting the mental health needs of each individual?
It's the second anniversary of Prince's tragic death. As details unfold regarding his struggle with pain and use of opioid medications, we better understand the cost associated with problematic use of this class of medications and the pattern of taking pills or other substances to address chronic pain or other symptoms. From caffeine, food, and nicotine, to alcohol, marijuana and opioids- when are these substances helpful for emotion regulation and when do these substances harm more than help? Dr. Kaz and George begin to explore the potential function of these substances and associated risks.
Dr. Kaz and George explore mental illness issues related to pregnancy, including planning, pregnancy itself, and the period of time after a baby's birth. Topics discussed include the "baby blues", major depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and psychosis. Dr. Kaz also shares about a rarely discussed, but common issue: post-partum obsessive compulsive disorder. This is a condition in which new parents experience intrusive and unwanted thoughts or mental images related to the health and safety of their child. Differentiating this condition from post-partum psychosis could be a matter of life and death!
The person who recently killed and injured people in Texas through bomb attacks (known as the "Austin Bomber") reportedly referred to himself as a "psychopath" in writings found in the investigation following his death. In this episode of The Mind Deconstructed Podcast, Dr. Kaz provides important definitions of words which are commonly misunderstood, such as "psychopath" and "psychosis"- terms with completely different definitions. For psychotic illnesses, such as schizophrenia, what are people living with the symptoms of these illnesses experiencing and what can be done to improve management of symptoms?
Kevin Love, professional basketball player for the Cleveland Cavaliers, recently wrote an essay called "Everybody is is Going Through Something" describing the impact of his panic disorder and the role of early lessons learned during his childhood. In this episode of The Mind Deconstructed Podcast, Dr. Kaz and George discuss children and adolescents with "big feelings" (emotional sensitivity which results in intense, frequent, and often confusing emotional states). Why do some people have big feelings? How can we help children and adults with big feelings learn to understand and manage their experiences? Dr. Kaz discusses a technique to practice in these situation which can make all the difference.
Dr. Kaz and George, Minnesota sister and brother duo, tackle the topic of shame; "It's a biggie!". What is the function of this intensely painful emotion? Is shame potentially fatal? How is shame related to psychiatric disorders? Dr. Kaz shares a technique to reduce the intensity of shame. In this increasingly digital world, the stakes have never been higher!
We all experience anxiety. Sometimes anxiety helps us meet our goals. Anxiety can also rise to the point of extreme intolerability or can be so constant that wellbeing is substantially negatively impacted. Where is this line? What are some common medical causes of anxiety? Could caffeine, nicotine, or energy drinks really be part of the problem? When is a medication needed? Dr. Kaz teaches George some simple and proven techniques to rapidly reduce intolerable anxiety or panic when it happens.
Fun with PhotoShop. Original photo sourced from NightmaresFearFactory.com
Is it ethical for psychiatrists to comment on the mental health of public figures? What if the health and safety of the nation is at stake? Dr. Kaz and George take the opportunity to define terms being discussed in the media as relates to the President's recent physical exam. What is a cognitive screen? How is this different than a psychiatric evaluation? Dr. Kaz administers the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) to George. This screening tool may be used without permission for educational purposes. Hear George take this exam and learn the results of his screening.
Why is it so hard to stop playing that video game and go to bed? What is that feeling of irresistible tension that prompts a person to check a text alert? When is a passion or interest considered an addictive behavior? Dr. Kaz and George talk about the line between interest and obsession and options for treatment for when behaviors feel beyond one's control.
Dr. Kaz and George continue their discussion of traumatic experiences and their impact on mental health and well being. This episode addresses PTSD treatment, including medication, side effects, and therapeutic approaches. More controversial approaches, such as marijuana and MDMA ("ecstasy") are also explored in this episode.
Erratum: In this episode, I mistakenly state that the two FDA approved medications for PTSD are sertraline and citalopram. The correct selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for PTSD treatment sertraline (Zoloft) and paroxetine (Paxil).
Please take note of this information and I apologize for this error.
Hello Podcast friends,
I wanted to share with you a little information about our collaboration with my favorite artist, Adam Swanson. He is a Duluth, MN, artist and he has authorized use of images of his paintings in our podcast project. Here is more information about Adam's magnificent work.
Photo credit: Eddy Gilmore
On this episode of The Mind Deconstructed podcast, Dr. Kaz and George walk through the basic elements of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including common questions those with lived experience of trauma and their loved ones may be asking. Why do some people develop PTSD and others do not, even if they have experienced similar types of trauma? Does the timing, intensity and frequency of traumatic events matter? After a traumatic event, how much time passes before someone is considered to have PTSD? This episode will provide you with the basic understanding and future episodes will provide even more details, including treatment approaches.
Following recent events in Las Vegas and Somalia, Dr. Kaz and George discuss common mental health reactions to instances of mass violence as described by the Uniformed Services University Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress. Dr. Kaz shares common experiences such as grief for the sense of loss of safety and vulnerability. George draws parallels to his time serving as a Marine in Iraq and Afghanistan and wonders what soldiers may teach us about traumatic stress.
With George's help, Dr. Kaz discusses the diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder and its difficult and unnecessarily stigmatized history in the field of mental health. The episode features Chuck's essay, which brings this issue to a personal level.
Dear The Mind Deconstructed Podcast Audience,
Episode #5 is on the topic of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). We discuss how the understanding of this disorder has changed over time.
We'll share Chuck's story. Chuck suffered his whole life and learned about the diagnosis of BPD at age 60. His essay eloquently describes the impact of going his whole life without being told something many of his treatment providers likely knew.
We were only able to discuss portions of his essay, so he was kind enough to allow his entire essay to be published on this website. I still feel my heart sink every time I read this essay. I'm relieved he finally understands his diagnosis and has acquired the tools necessary to survive and manage symptoms which had previously dominated his life.
Thanks for listening and for bearing witness to Chuck's story.
Dr. Kaz and George discuss the very prevalent and painful topic of suicide. Dr. Kaz shares a framework for understanding how suicidal thoughts and urges relate to (or occur independently of) mental health disorders. How can you create a safe space for a loved one to talk about the difficult topic of suicide? George shares a poignant quote from David Foster Wallace, a American author, who died of suicide, to help shed light on what a person with suicidal thoughts may be enduring.
Dr. Kaz and George cover the topics of depression and suicide from the perspective of a trained psychiatrist. A heated debate on Twitter spurs a discussion revealing the stigma of mental health disorders. What causes depression? Dr. Kaz shares some common treatment approaches.
From Freud's couch to online worksheets, Dr. Kaz talks about common forms of therapy and provides lots of great information to help our audience better understand the range of available therapies, including supportive, cognitive behavior, dialectical behavior, and psychodynamic therapy. How would someone choose between these therapies? How does therapy work?
An introduction to psychiatry and mental health wellness with Dr. Kaz and George. What's the difference between a psychologist and psychologist? Why should we pay attention to mental health? You never know when this information will come in handy for you or someone you love.