BLACK MAN HURTING: Do Doctors Fail to Diagnose Depression in Our Men? – EBONY

Black Man Face
Black Man Face (Photo credit: Dr Case)

 

BLACK MAN HURTING:

 

Do Doctors Fail to Diagnose Depression in Our Men?

 

A recent study shows Black men are unlikely to be prescribed antidepressants. Michael Arceneaux says he knows all too well how doctors miss the boat with Black men’s mental health

 

By Michael Arceneaux Writer

 

BLACK MAN HURTING:
Do Doctors Fail to Diagnose Depression in Our Men?

 

I’m not surprised by the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health survey’s findings that doctors are far less likely to prescribe antidepressants to Black and Latino patients afflicted with major depressive disorder than their white counterparts.

 

In their findings, race, payment source, physician ownership status and geographical region were all listed as factors that play into whether physicians decide to prescribe antidepressants to patients. Moreover, age and payment source influence which types of antidepressants patients receive. As a result, Caucasians are 1.52 times more likely to be prescribed antidepressants than Black and Latino patients being treated for major depressive disorders.

 

The disparity in antidepressant usage between Whites and minorities often centers on stigmas within minority communities. It’s about time the focus shifted towards how the role the attitudes of others factor into the gap.

 

Though I was never treated for a specific major depressive disorder, I have had painful bouts with depression and anxiety through the years – and encounters with careless doctors who bypassed obvious symptoms due to their own silly biases. Less than a year ago there was a period where I feared standing up would invite the kind of pain sure to knock me down. During one week in particular, each new day brought on an even more excruciating headache than the one before. When I did finally manage to stand up, I noticed that I had broken out in several different rashes across various parts of my body. As freaked out as I was about the exterior, I was more worried that I could barely function without needing to lay down every other hour. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me.

 

via BLACK MAN HURTING: Do Doctors Fail to Diagnose Depression in Our Men? – Wellness & Empowerment – EBONY.

 

The Use of Drumming as Cure for Children with PTSD

Djembe

The Use of Drumming as Cure for Children with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Copyright © 2003 by David Otieno Akombo, Ph.D

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can be an extremely debilitating condition that can occur after exposure to a terrifying event in which grave physical harm occurred or was merely threatened. Traumatic events that can trigger PTSD include violent armed conflict like that of Somalia, Rwanda and Burundi, and Sudan. Others may include personal assaults such as rape or mugging, natural or human-caused disasters, accidents, or military combat such as the veterans who are serving in Iraq or those who served in Vietnam and the Gulf Wars; rescue workers involved in the aftermath of disasters of the World Trade Center, survivors of accidents, rape, physical and sexual abuse, and other crimes; immigrants fleeing violence in their countries; survivors of the 1998 Nairobi US Embassy Bombing among others.

Effective treatments have now been developed to help people with PTSD. Research is also helping more scientists to better understand the condition and how it affects both the brain and body. Different forms of music such as drumming are becoming an important therapeutic tool. Drumming exercises greatly reduce stress among Vietnam veterans and other victims of trauma, apparently by altering their brain-wave patterns.

The effect of drum in the treatment of diseases should not be disputed. Since our ancestors first struck sticks and rocks against the ground, drumming has been a sacred ritual in many societies.(1) This belief emanates from the fact that throughout the world, the drum has been used for healing purposes. The traditional peo

ples of Africa, the Aboriginals of Australia, the Balinese of Southeast Asia, the Native American Indians, the ancient Celts among others all used drumming to bring the rain, the sun, a bountiful harvest, successful hunting and good health.(2) The drum has also been used in tribal societies with shamanistic traditions while communicating with the gods. In West-African wisdom teachings, Cottel (2001) noted that emotional disturbance manifests as an irregular rhythm that blocks the vital physical energy flow. Cottel also refers to current medical research which has shown that stress is a cause of ninety eight percent of all diseases such as heart attacks, strokes, immune system breakdowns, among others. Recent biofeedback studies (for example, Spintge 1992; Harner 1990; McIntosh 1996) show that drumming along with our own heartbeats alters brainwave patterns (increasing alpha) and dramatically reduces stress. Unlike the western cultures which rely on material evidence such as infection from bacteria or viruses, cell production such as cancer, or genetic defective chromosomes, the non-western cultures, relate to the diseases from a cultural perspective connecting the etiology to the metaphysical world. Their understanding of the disease etiology is embedded in their cosmology. For example the Luo tribesmen of Kenya believe that HIV/AIDS is caused by a curse. In this perspective, a curse is viewed as evil pronounced or invoked by another living person or the spirit of the dead. Among the Luo tribe, drum ensembles are performed with the object of exorcising the bad spirit from the patients.

Among the many African tribes, regular and balanced meter are regarded as a sign of good health. Even in improvisations, the performers are expected to render an exact replica of a standardized musical practice. These mythologies that relay regular and replicated rhythms to heal the person in an immediate and powerful way by removing blockages and releasing tension can be seen in the performance of a Kenyan tribal ritual dance, ngoma of the Taita as well. During this performance, a glissando is played by the lead drummer by gliding his left hand from the middle of the drum to the edge (kusira ngoma). By doing this, the drummer not only provides an expressively emotional pattern at the climax of the healing ritual but also provides a functional significance to the healing process because it is during this moment that the drummer sedates the pepo spirit to descend and exorcise the evil spirits from the patients. Kusira ngoma, which literally translates into “going beyond with music,” is the climax of the healing ritual and its ultimate extreme. This is the stage at which the patients shiver, fall to the ground and ultimately go into trance. During this healing ceremony, the master drummer controls the emotions of the patient while the patient unlocks his or her inner subconscious mind. In the middle of the performance when the interlocking parts become intense, the patient is induced to a state where they start to dance pathogenically as they respond to the mwazindika drum, letting their souls soar into the supernatural world to meet the deity. In a similar supernatural mediation, Cornelius (1990: 127) found that the Afro-Cuban bata drums were believed to be capable of talking and communicating directly with the Orishas, Yoruba gods. But this power of the drum to be able to speak is also possibly seen as a catalyst to helping people to talk. Ms. Ruth Noonan, a practicing music therapist in Longmont United Hospital in Colorado has observed that in her recent practice, she has witnessed the drumming helping a patient to regain speech:

via The Use of Drumming as Cure for Children with PTSD.

DEPRESSION: One Black Man’s Story – Wellness & Empowerment – EBONY

DEPRESSION: One Black Man’s Story – Wellness & Empowerment – EBONY. When my grades started dropping senior year of high school, I didn’t think much of it. School had never held much interest to me and I had always done just enough to “get by” anyway, so not being able to focus in Physics or AP Government wasn’t a big deal to me. And I never had many true friends, just a bunch of associates who came in out and of my life, so the fact that I closed myself off from them didn’t register as a warning sign. The sleeping in late, the not eating, the constant worrying about things that hadn’t happened…I thought I was just being my normal, neurotic self.

But staring in the mirror, wondering how much blood there would be if I bashed my head against it, wasn’t normal. Sitting at the dinner table thinking about taking the knife I’m using to cut my steak to slit my wrists, wasn’t normal. Something was missing.

I had thought about suicide before, but never in any real way. It was always a “what if?” Now, it had become a “maybe I should…” I learned firsthand what the true meaning of the word “depression” was.

Something was missing, but I had no idea what.

I “got over” it though. I moved past it. I never spoke a word of it to anyone. I was “better.”

Two years later, I wasn’t just “better”, I thought I was completely “cured.” I spent the summer in Atlanta working a well-paying internship, going to concerts every week, meeting some of my heroes, just enjoying life.

Then I bought the Gnarls Barkley album, St. Elsewhere. I was taken aback. I realized I wasn’t too far removed from the space Cee-Lo was singing from. The isolation, the helplessness, the feeling of being trapped inside your own mind and it being locked from the outside and there is no one around to pick the key up from under the welcome mat to let you out…these feelings were all too familiar. I never spoke a word of it to anyone. No matter. Cee-Lo was doing that for me.

There’s a song toward the middle of the album called “Just a Thought” that is a hauntingly accurate description of what goes through a person’s mind while suffering from severe depression. Each verse ends with the phrase “…and I tried, everything but suicide, but it crossed my mind.” I could only nod silently in agreement as he belted out the most secret of my thoughts for the whole world to hear.

Psychotherapy and change

Deutsch: Phrenologie
Deutsch: Phrenologie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

People in psychotherapy change at different rates.  Most often I find that this relates to numerous factors.  It may for instance be related to the age at which a trauma occurred, complexity of current life situation and influences, interplay of personality characteristics, and so forth.

I use a puzzle metaphor to explain various aspects of the therapeutic process.

What takes place in treatment is similar to putting together a puzzle.  There’s a catch to the whole process though.  It’s as if we have all kinds of puzzle pieces for a puzzle and we don’t have the original picture from the puzzle box to guide us.  There is something very interesting about the mind along these lines.  It has been examined from Gestalt psychology with a process that is called “closure.”  The idea of closure is that the mind fills in the gaps to produce a “unified whole” or a Gestalt.   As we’re putting together the puzzle pieces about how you can become the person you want to become, more of the picture is obtained.  There is a point at which adding just one more puzzle piece allows the mind to form a Gestalt and mentally see the final outcome.  Once that happens, everything becomes clear as to the direction needed.

And this process also takes place on an unconscious level.  The mind has built in self-corrective measures and begins searching for these corrective measures during psychotherapy.  Automatically, while we are asleep and dreaming, or we are staring off into space thinking about nothing in particular, the mind continues this process.

I also use this metaphor to explain why some people are able to change rather rapidly and others take much longer.

Some people’s problems are like a puzzle that a young child might be able to put together.  It may only have 8 pieces, and it only takes putting a couple of pieces together to get the Gestalt of the picture.  Others are like a 1000 piece puzzle.  This type of puzzle takes a great deal more searching, effort, and trial and error.  It takes longer to be able to get that feeling of making progress.  It takes longer to get the Gestalt of the picture.

Each individual has his or her own unique way of changing.  Some patient’s will put most of the puzzle together before they make a single change.  They have to know what the full picture is before they feel comfortable in changing.  Sometimes this process happens completely unconsciously.  Others are very deliberate, and utilize a great deal of conscious effort in placing each piece and make a shift or change with each piece that is connected.

Jung’s Red Book

A new biography, Jung the Mystic: The Esoteric Dimensions of Carl Jung’s Life and Teachings, highlights Jung’s a life-long fascination with the otherworldly and transcendent aspects of human experience. It rightly places Jung in the context of other major mystical seekers and teachers, such as Rudolf Steiner, G. I. Gurdjieff, and Emanuel Swedenborg.

Gary Lachman
The book’s author is Gary Lachman, a widely respected writer on esoteric themes (as well as a founding member of the 80s rock band Blondie!). Lachman explores how, as a professional adult, Jung tended to hide and even deny this spiritual/esoteric/occult aspect of his life. Two dramatic personal experiences, thirty years apart, were to finally transform Jung into an openly mystical psychologist and an inspiration for today’s transpersonal movement. And between those two experiences came the creation of his great masterpiece, a hand-written book which for decades was virtually unknown outside his immediate family: The Red Book. In 2009, the Red Book was finally allowed to be published for the first time, an event which continues to generate a lot of buzz. Some see it as a work of literary genius, others see it as evidence of a psychotic breakdown. I’m with Lachman — I think it is a good idea to see The Red Book in the context of the current of mysticism and other-worldly weirdness running throughout Jung’s life. Lachman shows that even as a child, Jung was immersed in a world in which spirituality and the paranormal were the norm.

Long Term Psychotherapy Works Best

Psychotherapy Works Best Over the Long Term


TUESDAY, Sept. 30 (HealthDay News) — People with complex mental disorders or personality disorders would benefit from long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy that lasts at least a year or longer, according to new research.

Published in the Oct. 1 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, the German study found that compared to the more commonly used short-term therapy, long-term psychotherapy left people better off. In fact, the number of therapy sessions the patients had was directly correlated to improvements in symptoms.

“Long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy was significantly superior to shorter forms of psychotherapy applied in the control groups. This was true with regard to overall effectiveness, target problems, and personality functioning,” said the study’s lead author, Falk Leichsenring, a professor of psychotherapy research in the department of psychosomatic medicine and psychotherapy at the University of Giessen in Germany.

“With regard to overall effectiveness, on average, patients with complex mental disorders were better off after treatment with long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy than 96 percent of the patients in the comparison groups. Thus, this meta-analysis provides evidence that long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy is an effective treatment for complex mental disorders,” said Leichsenring.

“This study provides a great value for doctors and for patients, and one would hope could have an influence on policy decisions,” added Dr. Charles Goodstein, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine and Langone Medical Center in New York City.

Complex mental disorders include problems such as depression or anxiety that continue for long periods of time. Psychodynamic therapy, according to Leichsenring, is therapy that puts the focus on the therapist-patient relationship and the importance of developing that relationship. Leichsenring said this is a key difference between this type of therapy and some of the shorter-term options, such as cognitive behavioral therapy.

Leichsenring and his colleague, Sven Rabung, from University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, reviewed the medical literature to find studies that compared long-term psychodynamic therapy lasting a year or more to other forms of therapy. They found 23 studies with 1,053 patients. Eleven of the studies were randomized, controlled trials, and 12 were observational studies.

Overall effectiveness, resolution of the target problem, and personality functioning were superior in the long-term psychodynamic therapy groups than in the comparison groups, according to the analysis.

The bottom line: “Long-term psychodynamic psychotherapy is superior to short-term treatments in patients with complex mental disorders,” Leichsenring said.

But the problem, according to Goodstein, is that insurance companies often don’t want to pay for long-term therapy, perhaps believing medications and short-term therapy are more cost-effective options.

For someone who’s just started having symptoms — considered an acute problem — short-term therapy may be helpful, according to Goodstein. But, for those who’ve had mental health symptoms chronically, short-term therapy may boost them to a “barely livable level” but not to a good quality of life.

So, what’s the ideal number of visits? It really depends on the individual and their specific problem, but Leichsenring said, “there is evidence that most patients with acute distress benefit sufficiently from 25 sessions. For patients with chronic distress, about 50 sessions are required to achieve a response rate of 70 percent. For patients with personality disorders, there is evidence that about 200 sessions, or 2 years of treatment, are required to achieve recovery in 75 percent of the patients.”

More information

To learn more about psychotherapy, including psychodynamic psychotherapy, visit the America Psychiatric Association’s Healthy Minds Web site.

SOURCES: Falk Leichsenring, D.Sc., professor, psychotherapy research, department of psychosomatic medicine and psychotherapy, University of Giessen, Germany; Charles Goodstein, M.D., clinical professor, psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine and NYU Langone Medical Center, New York City; Oct. 1, 2008, Journal of the American Medical Association

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

African-American Women and Depression

Stigma of mental illness: treating African American women for depressionPosted on July 28, 2010 by shlimentalhealth

Providers who successfully treat African-American women understand that treatment has to be personalized: contextually relevant to the client’s life. Black folks as a rule take extreme exception to being treated as “a case” of a diagnostic category. The quality of the interpersonal relationship regardless of the type of treatment is crucial to effective care outcomes.
One of the things that would help reduce the stigma of depressive illness is to more widely inform clients that: mild to moderate depression may be effectively treated with psychotherapy; and medication is more likely to be effective in severe cases of depression in concert with psychotherapy.
Our women need to know that therapy will help their unique and highly personal situation with clear benefits:
I can talk to somebody who will understand (my situation, race, religion, and family contexts).
I can change how I think view situations and think more positively in the moment.
I can learn about healthy options and practice preventative strategies.
I can practice new behaviors that will bring me peace of mind and/or social success.
I can get the emotional support that I need without burdening my family and friends.
I can learn to become more confident, empowered.
I can learn how to let go and let others do things for me sometimes.
I can feel worthy, unashamed, attractive, smart…
I can feel healthier, stronger, sleep better, eat wisely…feel well again.
More African-American women who have been successfully treated for depression need to have their stories publicized or shared among friends/family so that the word gets out: “I had issues and dealt with them. Hallelujah!”
Reference: Dr. Carlene Smith, Ph.D. 
Student Health and Counceling Services 

Putting Together the Puzzle of Psychotherapy

People in psychotherapy change at different rates.  Most often I find that this relates to numerous factors.  It may for instance be related to the age at which a trauma occurred, complexity of current life situation and influences, interplay of personality characteristics, and so forth.

I use a puzzle metaphor to explain various aspects of the therapeutic process.

What takes place in treatment is similar to putting together a puzzle.  There’s a catch to the whole process though.  It’s as if we have all kinds of puzzle pieces for a puzzle and we don’t have the original picture from the puzzle box to guide us.  There is something very interesting about the mind along these lines.  It has been examined from Gestalt psychology with a process that is called “closure.”  The idea of closure is that the mind fills in the gaps to produce a “unified whole” or a Gestalt.   As we’re putting together the puzzle pieces about how you can become the person you want to become, more of the picture is obtained.  There is a point at which adding just one more puzzle piece allows the mind to form a Gestalt and mentally see the final outcome.  Once that happens, everything becomes clear as to the direction needed.

And this process also takes place on an unconscious level.  The mind has built in self-corrective measures and begins searching for these corrective measures during psychotherapy.  Automatically, while we are asleep and dreaming, or we are staring off into space thinking about nothing in particular, the mind continues this process.

I also use this metaphor to explain why some people are able to change rather rapidly and others take much longer.

Some people’s problems are like a puzzle that a young child might be able to put together.  It may only have 8 pieces, and it only takes putting a couple of pieces together to get the Gestalt of the picture.  Others are like a 1000 piece puzzle.  This type of puzzle takes a great deal more searching, effort, and trial and error.  It takes longer to be able to get that feeling of making progress.  It takes longer to get the Gestalt of the picture.

Each individual has his or her own unique way of changing.  Some patient’s will put most of the puzzle together before they make a single change.  They have to know what the full picture is before they feel comfortable in changing.  Sometimes this process happens completely unconsciously.  Others are very deliberate, and utilize a great deal of conscious effort in placing each piece and make a shift or change with each piece that is connected.

Co-Intelligence

From the Co-Intelligence Institute:
http://www.co-intelligence.org/I-6_CI_manifestations.html

Six basic manifestations of co-intelligence
If we are going to take wholeness, interconnectedness and co-creativity seriously, we are going to have to face some very challenging implications regarding intelligence:

First: Intelligence must involve more than logical reason, since rationality constitutes only a tiny piece of our full capacity to learn from and relate to life.
Second: Intelligence must involve more than learning how to control and predict things, since that does not engage the powerful co-creativity of life.
Third: Intelligence must be far more than personal, since even ants can together generate an intelligence that’s greater than they have individually.
Fourth: Intelligence needs to reach far beyond the obvious, since whatever is obvious is connected to things that aren’t so obvious, and intelligence should engage with the wholeness and relatedness of things, as much as possible.
Fifth: Intelligence should be able to arise among us and through us, as a result of our kinship in the interconnected family of life.
Sixth: It would seem likely that some form of intelligence would exist beyond us–in and beyond the living world–built into the very wholeness of life.

There is more to intelligence than brains and logic. There is multi-modal intelligence.
There is more to intelligence than successfully predicting and controlling things. There is collaborative intelligence.
There is more to intelligence than individual intelligence. There is collective intelligence.
There is more to intelligence than solving the problems in front of our faces. There is wisdom.
There is more to intelligence than a solitary capacity exercised within the life of a single entity. There is resonant intelligence.
There is more to intelligence than human intelligence. There is universal intelligence.
These are the six basic manifestations of co-intelligence identified so far.