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Monthly Archives: August 2008

  1. Amazing Mom Caregiving A Brain-Injured Son

    We got this exquisite, moving email in response to my request for input for the Caregiver Stress imagery. This Mom was so tuned in to her feelings and so fearlessly honest about owning her experiences, her description offered invaluable insight for the imagery-writing.

    But I also thought it would be hugely helpful for others struggling under similar conditions - anyone caring for injured, impaired or chronically ill loved ones. I asked permission to post it and got her thumbs up. Here it is. It’s long but worth every minute it takes to read. What an awe-inspiring woman this is!

    (P.S. Sidebar: The Caregiver Stress imagery is now written and ready to be recorded.)

    Dear BR,

    I was a full time caregiver to our severely brain-injured teenage son, with my husband overseas and our younger son to care for. This was for eight months, following six months of hospitals, and included a dozen surgeries, several of which were life and death - four of which took place after he came home. He is now confined to a state mental facility by the courts because of the extreme behavioral issues caused by the brain injury.

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  2. Lifting Depression for Family Caregivers of Mentally Ill

    An Italian study out of the Psychology Department of the University of Padua examined the impact of cognitive-behavioral therapy on the depressive symptoms of those who provide care at home for severely ill psychiatric patients.

    Forty caregivers who were depressed or at risk of depression were randomly assigned to either a cognitive behavioral treatment (CBT) group or a mutual support treatment (MST) group, led respectively by 2 psychotherapists and 1 psychologist- facilitator. Before and after intervention, all participants were individually assessed with the Beck Depression Inventory and Family Problems questionnaire.

    Both the CBT and MST therapies produced reductions in depression, though in the MST groups the trend was not significant. Nevertheless, analysis of the clinical significance of change in the Beck Depression Inventory score for each subject showed an improvement in 58.3% of depressed caregivers treated with CBT and in 45.4% of those treated with MST. And unlike CBT, MST produced an improvement in two dimensions of family burden.
    Citation: Michielin P, Cenedese C, Cristofoli M, Zaros N. [Usefulness and effectiveness of group cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy and mutual support group therapy for depressed caregivers of psychiatric patients] G Ital Med Lav Ergon. 2007 Jul-Sep;29(3 Suppl B):B18-25. [email protected] [Article in Italian]
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  3. A Terrific Tale Of Transformation From Trauma

    I downloaded the HEALING TRAUMA mp3 a couple weeks ago and I have had a major transformation in my life. I would never have dreamed it possible, but here I am feeling free from anxiety, insomnia, and fear. I have more confidence and a sense of peace in my life. All this is new to me. I have been so fearful of so many things throughout my life. Now, not so.
     
    I have listened to the mp3 religiously since downloading it. I took the weekend before last and really focused upon my healing. I listened to the mp3 twice a day, giving myself the time to process and nap when I felt like it. I journaled pages and pages. By the end of the weekend, I was feeling so unlike myself - in a good way.

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  4. Meta-Analysis: Relaxation Training’s Impact On Anxiety

    Researchers from the Psychology Research Laboratory at San Giuseppe Hospital in Verbania, Italy, performed a meta-analysis of studies evaluating the effectiveness of relaxation training for anxiety.

    The studies were published between 1997-2007 and included randomized, controlled trials, as well as simple observational studies without control groups, evaluating the efficacy of relaxation training [including Jacobson's progressive relaxation, autogenic training, applied relaxation and meditation] for anxiety problems and disorders.

    Comprehensive electronic searches through Pubmed, Psychinfo and Cochrane Registers yielded 27 qualified studies. The primary outcome was degree of anxiety, measured with psychometric questionnaires. Meta-analysis was undertaken synthesizing the data from all trials, distinguishing within and between effect sizes.

    As hypothesized, relaxation training showed medium-to-large effect sizes in the treatment of anxiety. Efficacy was higher for meditation, among volunteers and for longer durations of treatments. The researchers conclude that their results show consistent and significant efficacy for relaxation training’s impact on the reduction of anxiety.

    Citation:Manzoni GM, Pagnini F, Castelnuovo G, Molinari E. Relaxation training for anxiety: a ten-years systematic review with meta-analysis. BMC Psychiatry. 2008 Jun 2; 8: page 41. [email protected]
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  5. Why It’s So Hard To Lose Weight After the First 25 Pounds

    Hi!
    I have read in the archives that with people who have a lot of weight to lose, that they stop loosing weight after 25 lbs. I am morbidly obese and have found that to be true, but have never heard that it was a common issue. Can you direct me to more information about this problem and what do I do about it???
    Thanks!
    Jill

    Hi, Jill,
    I first learned this from a research nurse at Roosevelt-St. Luke's in NY, where there is a highly regarded program for dealing with obesity and weight loss. She told me that after about 25 pounds, an ancient, built-in survival mechanism kicks in which slows down metabolism - a throwback from the days when famine could strike and people or humanoids or whatever the heck we were at the time, could starve to death. I'm sorry, but I don't remember her name. But I do know the name of her friend and colleague, because she’s my friend and colleague too - a certified diabetes educator/nurse practitioner named Jane Seley, RN, CDE, also from NY, who is passionately committed to helping people with diabetes. She may know more about this or else could maybe put you in touch with somebody with special expertise who can help. Good luck with whatever approach you decide to use.

    Ed. Note: Jill got the suggestion to contact Louis Aronne MD, 1165 York Ave, New York, NY 10021, Phone: (212) 583-1000. He has a comprehensive center with nutritionists and clinical trials of new medications.



    All best,

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  6. What To Do for Burnout, Depression & Lack of Motivation

    This Week's Q & A: Question:
    What tapes do you recommend for burnout, depression, lack of motivation and procrastination? Basically, I can't get going and have little desire to get going. I have been working with a counselor who recommends your work.
    Girard


    Hi, Girard.
    Well, as I'm sure you already know, you need to muster up some energy to get yourself out of this, and your main symptom is that you feel no energy... a circular problem, to be sure. The main symptom of depression is the tamping down of our natural energy, so that we feel inert, dispirited and too tired to move, liberally sprinkled with a feeling of "why bother, anyway?". So somehow you've got to marshall enough inner “juice” to give yourself a jump start to get this ball rolling. Then, hopefully, you'll have some momentum to sustain some change. Here are some thoughts:

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  7. Twelve Years Depression Free

    This Depression imagery was the favorite of the Vietnam vets at the Brecksville V.A. up until the time we created the Healing Trauma imagery for them. This trauma survivor, suffering from chronic depression, actually calls imagery a miracle.. (When it works, it really works!). Here is what she emailed us:

    I had chronic, debilitating depression all my life due to physical and sexual abuse, and I had desperately tried everything to alleviate it, from medication to hypnosis. I read everything I could get my hands on. Nothing worked -- at best there would be brief lessening of pain, but nothing significant. I really felt doomed, as if my situation was hopeless.

    Then, one day, I bought Bellruth's (sic) tape, and it literally changed my life.Twelve years later I am still free of depression -- but only when I listen to this tape periodically to keep up the treatment. It used to be I had to listen to it every day. But over time, I was able to listen to it less frequently, and now I only listen to it when I feel myself sinking back.

    What is so powerful about this tape compared with everything else out there? I think there is something about Bellruth's imagery and the way that she directs the body’s energy through it that seems to cause an inner shift to take place. For me, the imagery on the Depression tape is particularly powerful because it generates a new energy source that seems to well up inside, and it's a powerful feminine source. Stress and negativity and self-hatred become displaced by that energy. It's really remarkable -- definitely the closest thing to a miracle I've ever experienced. I'm grateful. Needless to say, I've worn out many copies of that tape--and have ordered many more to give away to others who have struggled as I have. My life is completely different thanks to this tape/CD.

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  8. Mindfulness-Based Chronic Pain Management Study

    Researchers from St Michael's Hospital in Toronto conducted a 2 year follow-up study on the effects of a 10-week, 2 hours per week, Mindfulness-Based Chronic Pain Management course on chronic pain. The 99 chronic pain patients received the course either via traditional face-to-face, in-person teaching (Present site group) or via videoconferencing from their local hospital site (Distant site group) for those in rural areas, far from direct access to care. Wait list patients served as controls.

    Pre- and postcourse measures of quality of life, pain catastrophizing and usual pain ratings were collected over a period of two years. Patients at Present and Distant sites achieved similar gains in mental health (P < 0.01) and pain catastrophizing levels (P < 0.01) relative to controls. However, the Present site group obtained significantly higher scores on the physical dimension of quality of life (P < 0.01) and lower usual-pain ratings (P < 0.05) than the Distant site group.

    The results suggest that videoconferencing is an effective mode of delivery for the Mindfulness course and may represent a new way of helping chronic pain patients in rural areas manage their suffering, but it is not as effective as in-person teaching.
    Citation:Gardner-Nix J, Backman S, Barbati J, Grummitt J. Evaluating distance education of a mindfulness-based meditation programme for chronic pain management. Journal of Telemedicine & Telecare. 2008;14(2):88-92. [email protected]
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  9. The new Health Journeys blog is here!

    People, people, our new blog is here at last! We really like the look and feel of it, but more importantly, it’s now organized to smoothly deliver by health topic all the content we’ve been happily stashing away in our humongous archives for the past several years. So, for instance, if you hit "Headache", you get all the research, all the Q & A’s and all the inspiring stories that relate to headache. (And if you only want the research, as we know some of you do, that has its very own tab along the top.) Hopefully the new organization is self-explanatory and you’ll have a good time romping around in all this newly accessible content.

    And of course now - finally! - you can comment on any article you wish, however and whenever the spirit moves you. Please do not hold back! We like to hear it all (and Lord knows, we have..) - all the ideas and opinions; all the praise and the scoldings; the networking and referrals; and all the helpful suggestions for others.

    This is a work in progress, still being tweaked. So tell us what you think needs massaging and we’ll take it back to our designer. We apologize for the pages not all matching yet - our shopping cart and calendar still use the old design at the moment, but that will change.
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  10. ...And Way More Reaction to Cancer/Feelings Discussion

    Hello again, good people.
    Well, here it is, our blog format at last!  The participation in this Feelings-Don’t-Effect-Cancer-Outcomes discussion - as evidenced by comments, scoldings, applause, personal stories, thoughtful introspection and sheer traffic - has gone beyond anything we’ve ever seen in this forum before. This is great!  Add your comments directly, by all means.  And please  feel free to forward this page to anyone you think could use it - someone with cancer, their well-meaning family/friends or a health professional acting too much like the "positivity police".

    We re-posted most of the comments we had permission to show you below. And for those of you who came in late, I reported on a study mentioned in the Harvard Health Letter that found that feelings had no effect on cancer outcomes. The initial response was a lot of very upset people. This second wave of emails, posted below, does a great job of amplifying what I was trying to say and provides more layers and sophistication to the discussion. Let us know what works and what doesn't and we'll keep tweaking this new feature. (After this week, you'll be able to respond to each individual comment... but this week, since we manually transferred them, you can't.)

    Take a look at the reader responses and you’ll get the general idea.

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