Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Failing Stigma and Treatment of Mental Illness

The Failing Stigma and Treatment of Mental Illness

By P.D. Alleva

Paul Alleva
Unless we are all missing something, it seems that the stigma of being declared mentally ill or mentally incompetent is rapidly turning into a nightmare. The most recent evidence, German Wings flight 9525's copilot's ravenous and murderous behavior. Reports indicate he had torn up doctor reports that he was unfit to fly based on a psychosomatic illness concerning his eyes. His mental wellness is contingent on taking prescribed medications for depression prescribed by his doctor.

We've got to ask ourselves, what is wrong in the world when we've seen so much violence and lives lost as a result of untreated and avoided mental wellness issues? What is the stigma people look to avoid that turns into untreated symptoms that result in mass chaos and destruction?

People suffering from mental health symptoms are often deemed as outcasts, following their reported and diagnosed symptoms to the extreme, while looking to persecute the people in the environment who they believe would not understand or scoff at the pain and suffering they are going through. And then there are the pills or medications that turn their minds into zombies.

Psychiatry has become a religion of sorts, providing the answer to all of our problems in a nice little pill with side effects so long it takes a speed talker speaking at a billion words a minute to list them all in one commercial. Who would want to take such a pill? And of course the irony of medication sets in as well, over time the patient begins to feel better so they come off their medication, but the main reason they felt better was because of the medication. At the same time, going on and off medication sends the neurochemicals into a frenzy and the patient and doctor have to begin all over again, adjusting and readjusting pills and dosages until the desired effect has taken place. Six months later, the process begins again. Getting the right dosage and pills for any particular person is a crap shoot; you'd have better luck hitting a bull's eye with a blind fold on.

Of course I'm not necessarily talking about the average person who is prescribed Lexapro for stress or mild depression by their primary care physician. That's the equivalent of taking a vitamin for your brain. I'm talking about the severe mentally ill, whose industry has been accepted and guided by the American Psychological Association (APA) and the insurance company you're paying a hefty monthly premium to TELL YOU HOW TO LIVE YOUR LIFE. The APA has got a book on this subject, it's called the DSM, now in its fifth edition and used by doctors and psychiatrists the country over to label patients for the muddled up, messed up and screwed up way for which they think while offering no understanding of treatment other than a jagged little pill for the rest of their lives, confining patients to a prison of the mind. Our mental wellness as a person and as a society have got to come up with something that's a whole ton better than these so called experts of the trade. Unfortunately, it appears the power of original and creative thought has gone by the way side as a result of scientific research performed on rats in captivity.

So it seems we've come to a cross road and are questioning what is truly the best way to treat matters of mental wellness. Let's try this on for size; acceptance, understanding, and empathy. Most of my patients say the same thing day in and day out, it's not the voices they hear that they are afraid of, it's the stigma associated with the people around them that terrifies them the most. People suffering from severe mental illness want to be accepted, not ousted by society. They want to lead normal and productive lives just like the rest of us and they require a supportive environment to do so.

I'm not saying to allow potential psychopaths to run amok in the streets while we sit around and coddle them to sleep every night, not at all. If a patient reports suicidal or homicidal thoughts, that person needs to be committed for prolonged care, or if a schizophrenic client hears voices that are telling them to hurt themselves or others, yes that person should be placed on medication, there are always exceptions. However, the majority of people suffering from severe mental illness do not exhibit such extreme hallucinations or delusions. It would be unfair to poke and prod at such people just because of the stigma associated with hearing voices or because it's become the standard of care handed down by insurance and pharmaceutical companies as the best practice to treat any such symptomology.

On another note, practitioners need to be held to a higher standard, specifically related to the greater good of society. Should a doctor, therapist or psychiatrist treat a person who they deem is unfit to carry on their job duties, it should be their responsibility to disclose such information on their own and not wait for the patient to self-disclose. Seriously, the doctor has a patient in their office they feel is unfit to work, who is a pilot in control of the care and safety of hundreds of people, and he/she leaves it up to the patent to disclose this information.

The regulation of HIPPA laws, which define patient confidentiality and the rights of both patient and doctor to disclose or even more, NOT to disclose personal information to anyone outside the doctor's office, has placed society at risk for a hostile takeover. Our infamous co-pilot of flight 9525 was told to self-disclose his illness to his employer. As we all know that did not happen, assuming that this was due to the doctor's inability to disclose this information as a result of "patient confidentiality," designated by HIPPA, so the task came upon the co-pilot (I'm not mentioning his name for a reason), to do so.

I believe it's time to rethink and change up laws, rules and regulations of HIPPA. Perhaps 150 people would still be with us. What do you think?

P.D. Alleva, MSW,  is the founding owner of Lifescape Solutions and Evolve Mental Health which he opened in December of 2011, based on a new model of healing and psychotherapy called Spiritual Growth Therapy. He is also the author of the fiction novel, Indifference, which was published in 2013 and the upcoming fiction novels, A Billion Tiny Moments in Time..., and Celestial Silence along with the nonfiction philosophical novel, The Zombie Apocalypse. He has also created his own model of hypnotherapy training, Clinical Hypnosis with Spiritual Growth Therapy and Spiritual Growth Therapy Training. Alleva has created highly successful models for working with self-harm, trauma and PTSD, and continues to develop new adaptations of the models he has created.

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Melatonin proves effective as anti-depressent among women with breast cancer

A study of the use of melatonin as an anti-depressent for patients with breast cancer has proved positive, according to an article in the  June 2014 Breast Cancer Research and Treatment Journal.

The study showed that "melatonin significantly reduced the risk of depressive symptoms in women with breast cancer during a three-month period after surgery."

Researchers undertook the study because depression, anxiety and sleep disturbances are known problems in patients with breast cancer and since the effect of melatonin as an antidepressant in humans with cancer had not been investigated.

"We investigated whether melatonin could lower the risk of depressive symptoms in women with breast cancer in a three-month period after surgery and assessed the effect of melatonin on subjective parameters: anxiety, sleep, general well-being, fatigue, pain and sleepiness," said Melissa V. Hansen, the lead investigator.

Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial undertaken from July 2011 to December 2012 at a department of breast surgery in Copenhagen, Denmark. Women, 30-75 years, undergoing surgery for breast cancer and without signs of depression on Major Depression Inventory (MDI) were included 1 week before surgery and received 6 mg oral melatonin or placebo for 3 months.

The primary outcome was the incidence of depressive symptoms measured by MDI. The secondary outcomes were area under the curve (AUC) for the subjective parameters. 54 patients were randomized to melatonin (n = 28) or placebo (n = 26) and 11 withdrew from the study (10 placebo group and 1 melatonin group, P = 0.002).

The risk of developing depressive symptoms was significantly lower with melatonin than with placebo (3 [11 %] of 27 vs. 9 [45 %] of 20; relative risk 0.25 [95 % CI 0.077-0.80]), giving a NNT of 3.0 [95 % CI 1.7-11.0]. No significant differences were found between AUC for the subjective parameters. No differences in side effects were found (P = 0.78).


Melissa V Hansen, Lærke T Andersen, Michael T Madsen, Ida Hageman, Lars S Rasmussen, Susanne Bokmand, Jacob Rosenberg, & Ismail Gögenur. (2014, June).  Effect of melatonin on depressive symptoms and anxiety in patients undergoing breast cancer surgery: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment Journal. 145(3):683-95. Epub 2014 Apr 23. PMID: 24756186

'One Girl Wellness' Founder Offers Tips for Mindfulness, Self-Compassion, and Self-Love

Susan Bodiker
Susan Bodiker is a former 'fat girl' – and she will be the first one to tell you that. Like so many women, her body image issues started at a young age, and it didn't matter if she was at a weight of 120, 130, or 140 – she still saw a 'fat girl' staring back at her in the mirror. It was only when she learned to nourish her mind and heart first that she lost the weight and gained the confidence to create a meaningful, happy life – and she wants that to be every girl's story.

Bodiker founded One Girl Wellness, a health-coaching consultancy dedicated to "raising stronger women one girl at a time." She shares her journey and guidance for others to find that strength in her new book, Fat Girl: How to Let Go of Your Weight and Get on With Your Life, a roadmap to greater self-knowledge, self-awareness and self-esteem.

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  • How Does This Make You Feel? Women excel in dieting usually at the same rate they do self-loathing. The key to reversing that: Learning "body self-compassion"

About Susan Bodiker: 
With 30 years' experience as a copywriter, broadcast producer and account planner, Susan Bodiker has developed branding, image and fund-raising campaigns for advocacy, association, health care, nonprofit, professional practice and retail clients. She has also created print, broadcast and digital advertising, training materials and web content for a range of local and national marketers—from AARP to the YMCA. She is the founder of One Girl Wellness, a health-coaching consultancy dedicated to "raising stronger women one girl at a time".

Fat Girl: How to Let Go of Your Weight and Get on With Your Life can be purchased from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and through all major booksellers.
Connect with Susan Bodiker on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and GoodReads.

IKEA Is (Literally) Rolling Out Vegan Meatballs

When most people think of IKEA, they think of strange-sounding, tongue-twisting Swedish furniture names (with no shortage of umlauts), that one dresser everyone has, and, of course, Swedish meatballs under a thick coating of gravy. Definitely not vegetables.

But that’s about to change because IKEA’s famed meatballs are finally going vegan. Tomorrow, the GRÖNSAKSBULLAR will debut in the company’s U.S. restaurants nationwide (except Carson, CA, for some reason). They’re completely meat, gluten, soy, dairy and GMO-free. They even have kale in them.

Along with everyone’s favorite cruciferous vegetable, the “veggie balls” are made with chickpeas, pea starch, carrots, corn, red bell peppers, seasonings, onion, and canola oil, and they’re served over a sweet potato sauce. You can get 10 of ‘em for $4.49. And, so IKEA claims, the meatless ball is more sustainable than the original version.

But is it actually better for you? Check out the nutritional labels, side by side:

The veggie balls have 60 less calories overall per 100 gram serving, and almost half the fat. Note that they do, however, also contain 170mg more sodium than their meaty predecessor — but salt, apparently, isn’t that big a deal anymore.

“We wanted to add a really good vegetarian alternative to our menu. More and more people choose vegetarian alternatives for different reasons — some to save the planet, others for health reasons,” Annika Pettersson, an IKEA Food product developer, told Gothamist. “Our goal was to create something as appreciated as the loved meatball, but without animal content.”

Another spokesperson for IKEA told Gothamist that specific sides for the new platter hadn’t been determined quite yet, but that their chefs were “developing new dishes with fresh ingredients to accompany the veggie balls.”

And to keep the health ball rolling, on April 27, IKEA will be introducing the KYCKLINGBULLAR, a chicken-based meatball that’s gluten-, dairy-, and antibiotic-free.

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In other words, IKEA’s got some balls. They’ve become more of a main attraction than a sideshow.



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Pain Management Webinar: "The Role Diet & Hydration Play in Health & Wellness"

Topical BioMedics Hosts April Pain Management Webinar 

Topical BioMedics is hosting its free monthly pain management webinar on Tuesday, April 14th, featuring the topic "The Role Diet & Hydration Play in Health & Wellness." The webinar, which is free and open to the public, will be streamed live from 12pm to 1pm, then archived and accessible on demand 24/7.  

RHINEBECK, NY, April 10—Topical BioMedics, Inc., announces its April Pain Management Webinar will be held on Tuesday, April 14th, from 12pm – 1pm, streamed live and then archived and accessible on demand 24/7.  Registration is free and open to the public by clicking on the following link: Comments and questions are invited "real time" during the webinar, and questions may also be submitted in advance by emailing

The topic for the April webinar is "The Role Diet & Hydration Play in Health & Wellness."  The session will be hosted by Lou Paradise, company president, chief of research, and pain management expert.

"Many people are unaware of the importance of diet and hydration to health, wellness, and pain management," says Mr. Paradise.  "Proper hydration is vital to good health, but not all beverages are created equal.  In fact, some actually cause the body to become dehydrated.  Also, certain foods can cause inflammation, which contributes to pain issues.  Moreover, a poor diet can contribute to diabetes, heart and respiratory problems as well as compromise the immune system." 

During the webinar, participants will learn to make healthy choices:  what to eat and drink, what to avoid, and why.  This will enable individuals to take a more proactive role in their health, and discover how changing their diet can affect the way they feel.

Topical BioMedics' Pain Management Workshop series was launched in February 2015, and takes place the second Tuesday of every month.  Topics covered will include discussions on pain and the body's healing chemistries, inflammation and the immune system, and how lifestyle factors such as exercise, hydration, and nutrition affect our health.    In addition, specific conditions and ailments will be addressed, including:  diabetes; fibromyalgia; arthritis; carpal tunnel; sports injuries; Plantar fasciitis, neuropathy, and more.  Future workshops will also feature guest speakers from various health modalities, including chiropractic care, acupuncture, and nutrition. 

For more information, please call Patricia Martin, Marketing Director, at 845-871-4900 ext. 1113 or email


Pain management specialist Lou Paradise is president and chief of research of Topical BioMedics, Inc., a Certified B Corp headquartered in Rhinebeck, NY. Mr. Paradise is an accomplished researcher with over four decades of work dedicated to how the body heals itself and how pain can guide us to the correct treatment protocol. He is also a decorated US Marine Corps combat veteran serving two tours in Vietnam as a helicopter combat/medivac/rescue crew chief. He frequently serves as an expert speaker on the use of natural medicines for pain relief, and how a patient-centered sustainable healthcare model can reverse and prevent the massive abuse of Rx opioid painkillers for unresolved pain, and other pressing social issues including what we can do to stop and reverse the trend of our over-medicated society.

A member of the American Association of Homeopathic Pharmacists, Mr. Paradise conducts pain management seminars and participates in addressing compliance issues related to regulated natural medicines.  Mr. Paradise invented Topricin Pain Relief and Healing Cream to safely and effectively address the injuries he sustained as a result of the physical demands of flying hundreds of helicopter combat/rescue mission in Vietnam. The product has been designated as "The 21st Century standard of care for pain management" by Dr. Woodson Merrill, executive director, Center for Health & Healing.  As a complement to primary care, Topricin bridges the gap between natural medicines and the conventional medical community.

Mr. Paradise regularly addresses clinical audiences on the use of his company's proprietary topical healing technologies that addresses the cause of the pain at the cellular level. The products effectively treat acute and chronic pain associated with arthritis, lower back, nerve and foot pain as well as trauma injury (including post-surgical trauma), diabetic and chemo-induced neuropathy, and are known to reduce or eliminate the need for chemical pain pills and measurably improve clinical outcomes. He is also fluent on other aspects of health, wellness, and healing. Mr. Paradise is especially sensitive to health challenges of children, the elderly and fellow veterans.


Topical BioMedics is a research and development leader in topical patented natural biomedicines for pain relief. The company's flagship product, Topricin® Pain Relief and Healing Cream, was introduced in 1994 and is now a leading natural therapeutic brand. A patented combination biomedicine formula, Topricin has been awarded additional patents for the treatment of pain associated with fibromyalgia and neuropathy. 

For over two-decades the company has assisted hundreds of thousands of people suffering with pain and those addicted to painkillers achieve fully restored and robust, healthy living. Lou Paradise, president and chief of research, is a dedicated man on a mission to make sure every person knows all their options, so as to reduce or eliminate the need for OTC chemical pain pills and the hazardous side effects they produce. This includes the reversing the massive addiction to opioid Rx painkillers in the U.S., an epidemic that is ruining lives and families and is undermining the very fabric of our country.  It is possible to reverse these trends, end suffering and restore hope and quality of life.

The Topricin family of natural healing products also includes Topricin Foot Therapy Cream, specially formulated to treat painful foot and ankle issues and conditions, and Topricin for Children, which received the Parent Tested Parent Approved Seal of Approval (with 5% of sales donated to a pediatric cancer foundation). Made in the U.S.A., all Topricin products are federally-regulated over-the-counter medicines with no known side effects, no parabens, petroleum, or other harsh chemicals, odorless non-irritating and wonderfully moisturizing to the skin
Topical BioMedics also offers TopTrack, an app for on-the-go pain tracking and monitoring.   TopTrack is available free of charge for iPad via the App Store, and will roll out on additional devices in the coming months. .  TopTrack is a great tool that allows a patient to monitor their pain, and downloadable so they can share the data with their doctor.

Topricin is available in independent pharmacies, natural food and co-op stores nationwide, including Whole Foods, Sprouts, Pharmaca, The Vitamin Shoppe, Fred Meyer, Wegmans, CVS (Foot Care Section), Walgreens (Diabetic Section), and other fine retailers, as well as directly from the company.
For more information visit 

Doctor gives tips on how to live better and happier

BETHLEHEM, Pa. — Who doesn't want a life filled with thriving positivity and high-life satisfaction? Do you seek meaning and purpose in life with a healthy balance between work and life, and positive friendships and relationships?

Dr. Marsha W. Snyder explains how to do this in her new book, Positive Health: Flourishing Lives, Wellbeing in Doctors.

With a focus on solving the epidemic of ill-being in the medical profession, often beginning in the first year of medical school, Positive Health is a must-read for all professionals, student-professionals and administrators in the medical field.

"The addition of a Positive Health curriculum in medical school and as continuing medical education for doctors, will eliminate the 40 to 60-percent rate of ill-being in doctors worldwide and will encourage doctors to teach positive health to their patients, resulting in a thriving population," said Snyder.

Increasing positive health in doctors and healthcare personnel will lead to increased employee and patient satisfaction, decreased cost of care, fewer employee sick days, decreased staff turnover, more efficient and effective healthcare teams, and decreased medical errors, among numerous other benefits.

Positive Health: Flourishing Lives, Wellbeing in Doctors
By: Dr. Marsha W. Snyder
ISBN: 978-1-45259-830-7
Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and WestBow Press

About the author

Dr. Marsha W. Snyder is a trailblazer. A doctor of medicine, with a Masters degree in Applied Positive Psychology, she is a leader and teacher in Positive Health, Physicians' health, medical education curricula and leadership skills. Due to impactful personal and professional experience, she has devoted her career to helping individuals and organizations realize their potential to deliver compassionate, cost-effective, error-free care. Dr. Snyder has worked with medical schools to advance faculty, student and population thriving and wellbeing. She lives in Bethlehem, PA.