Beating Addiction, Stress, and Anxiety During the Holidays: An Interview with Howard Samuels, Psy.D.


Today I have the opportunity to interview Howard Samuels, Psy.D., author of “Alive Again: Recovering from Alcoholism and Drug Addiction” on the topic of managing addiction, stress, and anxiety during the holidays. Dr. Samuels is the founder and president of the prestigious The Hills Treatment Center in Los Angeles. He is an internationally renowned recovery expert […]

Is it Worry or General Anxiety Disorder?

You’re worried about X, Y, and Z. You obsess about them for hours every day, maybe for weeks. How do you know whether this is typical worrying, a normal way of processing something that’s important to you, or if you have generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)? Karen Swartz, M.D., the Director of Clinical Programs at the […]

7 Ways to Survive the Holidays


By the time Christmas carols play on three radio stations and the windows of department stores are dressed with red and green glitter, a majority of the human race will have elevated Cortisol levels, the stress hormone that does a good job of preserving us from life-threatening events, but can disrupt almost all of the […]

Words Can Change Your Brain

Sticks and stone may break your bones, but words can change your brain. That’s right. According to Andrew Newberg, M.D. and Mark Robert Waldman, words can literally change your brain. In their book, “Words Can Change Your Brain,” they write: “a single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical […]

7 Ways to Stop Obsessing

Mason Cooley once wrote: “The cure for an obsession: get another one.” That’s about as good advice as any that I’ve heard on how to quiet the annoying voices inside your head. They nag, persist, harass, and endure longer than your patience or composure. I haven’t been very successful at managing mine, as I’m usually […]

Brain Differences Seen in Depressed Preschoolers

brain scans amygdala

New research at Washington University of Medicine in St. Louis shows that the amygdala region of the brain works differently in preschoolers with depression as compared to kids without depression. In the study, the depressed preschoolers had an elevated activity in the amygdala, an almond-shaped cluster of neurons important in processing emotions. While earlier brain scans have showed similar patterns […]

What Not to Say to a Depressed Person


There is nothing worse than feeling like a complete utter failure, crying your eyes out, and then a well-intentioned person comes along and says something that, to your ears, sounds like: “You were right! You are, in fact, a loser.” Good intentions or not, the wrong words hurt. Awhile back, I published a piece,  “10 […]

When You Can’t Get Well: Treatment Resistant Depression and Brain-Imagining Research


Approximately 10 percent of depressed persons are treatment resistant. These folks have not responded to antidepressants or any kind of medication. Their efforts at cognitive-behavioral therapy and other types of therapy have failed. Even sessions of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) have proven unsuccessful. These people are the sickest of the sick, and spend their days in […]