June is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Month

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is most often associated with military veterans but PTSD affects more than those who have experienced combat warfare.

The National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder defines PTSD as a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault.

PTSD does not discriminate, it can happen to anyone.

Here are some facts from the National Center for PTSD:

  • About 7 or 8 out of every 100 people will have PTSD at some point in their lives
  • About eight million adults have PTSD during a given year
  • About 10 out of every 100 women develop PTSD sometime in their lives compared with about 4 out of every 100 men

Symptoms of PTSD vary from person to person, but the most common symptoms are:

  • Replaying the traumatic event over in your mind
  • Anxiety around people or places that trigger memories of the event
  • Feeling on edge and angered easily
  • Feelings of guilt, shame or depression

In 2014, to increase the promotion and public awareness of PTSD and the availability of effective treatments, PTSD Awareness Day, formerly June 27, was expanded to the entire month of June and 2017 marks the fourth consecutive year of the awareness campaign.

Only a mental health or medical professional can properly diagnose PTSD.  The California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) licenses such professionals through the Board of Psychology, Board of Behavioral Sciences and the Medical Board of California.

To check the license status of a mental health or medical professional in California click here.

For more information about PTSD and the National Center for PTSD, view the PTSD Awareness PSA below and visit the VA’s website at https://www.ptsd.va.gov/

 

The Disconnection Effect: Social Media and Young People

By design, social media connects young people to one another on a regular, even minute-by-minute basis. They see pictures and videos of others vacationing, having fancy meals, getting together for parties. What do these social media-driven images leave them feeling like? Oftentimes, disconnected and lonely.

A recent study by the American Journal of Preventative Medicine focused on how U.S. young adults’ extensive social media use (more than two hours a day) can lead to feelings of isolation. The study assessed time and frequency of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Vine. What they found was that the more young people were checking out others’ posts, the higher was their perception of social isolation.

Replacing face-to-face relationships with social media can also affect overall well-being. Research published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health looked into Facebook activity and its effects on physical and mental health, life satisfaction, and body mass index. The study reported that “the negative associations of Facebook use were comparable to or greater in magnitude than the positive impact of offline interactions, which suggests a possible trade-off between offline and online relationships.”

If you’re finding yourself increasingly lonely and even depressed, take important steps to improve your mental health. Cut down on social media use and consider seeking the advice of a professional. To check the license of a professional psychologist, visit the Board of Psychology website at www.psychology.ca.gov.

 

PSYCHOLOGIST ORDERED NOT TO PRACTICE DUE TO FELONY COUNTS

Psychology_Logo_BannerSACRAMENTO – The California Board of Psychology moved to protect the citizens of California last week by exercising its right to obtain an order in criminal court, against psychologist Michael Dane Ward, preventing him from practicing psychology during the pendency of his criminal case.

Read the entire news release here.

Give Yourself a Stress-Free Season

shutterstock_109629779Like it or not, they’re here: the holidays. For many, ‘tis the season of shopping, spiritual celebration, socializing, obligations, travel, and seemingly endless preparations.

Remember that everyone deserves to enjoy the holidays, including you. But if you’ve overcommitted, overspent, overindulged, or overaccommodated, and you feel overwhelmed, the holidays could take an emotional or physical toll. Having a plan in place to prevent stress and depression at this time of year is key. The Mayo Clinic offers the following tips:

  • Be realistic. Families change and grow, and traditions and rituals may as well. Choose a few to keep, and be open to creating new ones. For example, if your adult children can’t come to your house, find different ways to celebrate together such as sharing photos, e-mails, or videos. Consider planning visits for just before or just after the holidays to avoid the inconvenience of peak travel days.
  • Keep up healthy habits. Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to stress and guilt. Have a healthy snack before parties so you don’t go overboard on treats, appetizers, or drinks. Get plenty of sleep and incorporate regular physical activity into each day.
  • Stick to a budget. Before shopping for gifts or food, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then don’t overspend.
  • Learn to say “no.” Saying yes when you should say no could leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity. If your boss asks you to work overtime and it’s not possible to decline, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time.
  • Acknowledge your feelings. If you’re grieving the loss of someone or you can’t be with loved ones for other reasons, realize it’s normal to feel sadness. It’s OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season.

If the stress gets to be too much, employee assistance programs at work may provide access to confidential, no-cost counseling services and resources (check with your human resources department for access). The Department of Consumer Affairs’ Board of Psychology and Board of Behavioral Sciences offer links to mental health resources as well. In addition, our Board of Pharmacy offers fact sheets and publications to help ensure your good times or travel plans are not affected by minor illnesses.

Visit www.dca.ca.gov for more information.

Stress Less During the Holidays

shutterstock_65364775The many joys of the holiday season—giving (and receiving) gifts, cheery decorations and sharing time with those you care about—always come with some level of stress. For some, loads of added stress.

There are worries over busting your spending budget at the mall; traveling itineraries, possibly with costly air travel involved; or perhaps hosting a holiday gathering with a house full of relatives who don’t always get along.

Several things can help you cope with stress during the holidays:

  • Temper expectations. Forget about the perfect gift, the perfect meal, the perfect celebration, the perfect family. Accept imperfections—yours and those of others.
  • Take care of yourself. Pay attention to your needs and feelings. Participate in activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Be mindful of your diet, exercise (spending time outdoors when weather permits), and get plenty of sleep.
  • Stick to a budget. Decide how much you can afford to spend on gifts, and stay with it. Running up charge cards can trigger feelings of guilt later.
  • Make connections. Visit friends. Accept support from those who care about you.
  • Find healthy ways to manage stress.
  • Don’t automatically participate in family traditions or activities if they are particularly stressful solely because that’s just what you have always done—consider alternatives.

If you feel overwhelmed by stress, you may want to talk to a psychologist or other mental health professional. Here are some resources:

Search Warrant Served on Grass Valley Psychologist for Alleged Workers Compensation Billing Fraud

Psychology_Logo_BannerGRASS VALLEY – Peace officers with the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Division of Investigation (DOI) Health Quality Investigation Unit (HQIU), along with the Nevada County District Attorney’s Office, the Department of Insurance, and the U.S. Department of Labor served a search warrant Tuesday on a Grass Valley psychologist suspected of Workers Compensation Fraud.

Pamlyn Kelly, PhD is suspected of fraudulently billing insurance companies for Workers Compensation services that were not provided. The investigation was prompted by a complaint to the California Board of Psychology from a patient, who alleged their insurance was being billed for appointments that never occurred. The Board referred the matter to HQUI for investigation.

The Board has opened an administrative investigation into whether disciplinary action should be taken against Kelly’s license.

Investigators suspect other instances of fraud may have occurred. They are asking any patients of Dr. Kelly whose insurance was billed for services that were not provided to contact HQIU Supervising Investigator Mark Loomis at (916) 263-2585.

# # #

Fresh look, fresh news: California Board of Psychology’s website

Psych PageThe California Board of Psychology’s website has a fresh new look!

Now, consumers and licensees have more user-friendly access to the latest Board news, meeting schedules, as well as links to professional associations, mental health information, and State entities. A link to DCA’s BreEZe system allows site visitors to renew or verify licenses, or file complaints against a licensees or registrants. Check out the site, then keep up with the Board on Facebook and Twitter @BdofPsychology.