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My Father’s Flag: Reflections on Veteran’s Day

November 11, 2015  |  Article by Jeffrey C. Anglin, Addiction Counselor
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My father chose February in which to die: Columbus, Ohio’s cruelest month. At least, on the day he was laid to rest, the sun shone magnanimously. When we arrived at the cemetery, I was surprised to see three uniformed Navy soldiers. My dad was a Navy veteran of World War II. He served for several years toward the end of the war, later telling us, “I wouldn’t take a million dollars for the lessons the war taught me, and I wouldn’t take a million dollars to do it again.” That said, the experiences he shared were mostly positive; more McHale’s Navy’s PT 73 than JFK’s PT 109. And his time in the service stayed with him. As he aged, my dad always wore a ball cap while boating, defending his balding pate from the sun. And it was always cocked jauntily to the left. I asked him one time why … Read More

The Baker Act and Mental Health Court in Sarasota

August 4, 2013  |  Article by Jeffrey C. Anglin, Addiction Counselor
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Prior to 1971, the laws in Florida regarding due process and civil rights of persons in mental health facilities – which dated back to 1874 – were in a sorry state of affairs.  With signed affidavits by three laymen and the approval of a county judge, you could be committed to a mental health hospital.  There was no specific period of commitment before a person’s confinement would be reconsidered by a judge. The standards were so lax that, reportedly, the crony of a local judge would periodically have his wife committed so he could carry on a dalliance with another woman.  All this ended in 1971 due to the work of Florida state representative Maxine Baker, who spearheaded the passage of the Florida Mental Health Act. Referring to the treatment of persons with mental illness before the passage of her bill, Representative Baker stated, “In the name of mental health, … Read More

True or False: Scientists Study How We Remember

July 30, 2013  |  Article by Jeffrey C. Anglin, Addiction Counselor
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In the 1958 film Gigi, an older couple recalls in song how they met decades earlier: Him: We met at nine Her: We met at eight Him: I was on time Her: No, you were late Him: Ah, yes, I remember it well Him: We dined with friends Her: We dined alone Him: A tenor sang Her: A baritone Him: Ah, yes, I remember it well It’s happened to all of us.  I will attend my 40th high school class reunion next week, an opportunity for memories that are anywhere from pleasantly fuzzy to outrageously inaccurate.     “The vagaries of human memories are notorious,” wrote James Gorman recently in the New York Times. Many years ago, when I was trained as a psychotherapist, the role of memory was undergoing a radical transformation.  Child sexual abuse was being addressed in psychotherapy and in our culture as never before.  The diagnosis of … Read More

Did Bath Salts Cause Zombie Attacks?

July 24, 2013  |  Article by Jeffrey C. Anglin, Addiction Counselor
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A few months ago, I received a call from a local journalist.  It wasn’t the first time, but I’m always flattered when I’m called upon for my expertise and experience.  The subject is usually related to some trend or event that sells papers or garners viewers, but I confess I was taken by surprise: the reporter wanted to talk about zombies.  New York and Miami had recently seen attacks where – in a psychotic rage – suspects had attempted to eat the face off an unwitting victim.   The culprit in both cases seemed to be bath salts. “Let’s get down to the question everybody is dying to ask,” he said. “Will using bath salts make me eat my spouse’s face off?”  Yes, I told him, but only under some very specific conditions.  You’ve likely combined it with other psychoactive chemicals, you’re already suffering from some preexisting mental illness, and your … Read More

Belief In God And Psychotherapy

July 23, 2013  |  Article by Jeffrey C. Anglin, Addiction Counselor
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For psychotherapy, God has always been a problem.  Among the scientific theories for understanding human behavior, the acknowledgement of the supernatural is generally lacking.  Freud, the founder of our profession, saw God as an illusion based on the infantile need for a powerful father figure.  To him, religion was a convenient instrument for controlling people – the institutional representation of the super-ego, or conscience. Belief in God and psychotherapy share significant traits:  hope, redemption, change, and their similarities spawn a slippery slope.  Thus, every psychotherapist must come to grips with this pesky interface, for even Darwin, the secular scientist, observed, “A belief in all-pervading spiritual agencies seems to be universal.” A good percentage of therapists who hold strong religious faith unabashedly integrate it into their practice, convinced that faith trumps theory.  Others steer far clear of the subject, believing that the power and influence incumbent in the therapist’s role is … Read More

Science Finds Evidence of Depression in Young Children

July 19, 2013  |  Article by Jeffrey C. Anglin, Addiction Counselor
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It’s easy to feel ambivalent about psychotropic medication.  Pharmaceutical manufacturers, insurance companies, and the American Medical Association are some pretty undesirable sorts, and their misdeeds are well documented.  In 2007, Purdue Pharma, its president, top lawyer and former chief medical officer paid $634.5 million in fines for claiming that Oxycontin wasn’t dangerous. There have been reports of unethical experimentation and clinical trials by pharmaceutical companies in Africa using spurious informed consent methods.  And insurance companies? Don’t get me started.  Michael Moore did a scathing expose of this unholy trio in the documentary Sicko. But it’s also true that psychotropic medications serve a valuable role in the treatment of mental illness.  With suicide as the 10th leading cause of death in this country, and depression affecting one in five people sometime during their lifetime, we can’t let our prejudice get in the way of saving lives.  Our antipathy toward psychiatric medication … Read More

Advances in Treatment of Depression

July 19, 2013  |  Article by Jeffrey C. Anglin, Addiction Counselor
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I was born in 1955, as the Dark Ages of mental health treatment in the 20th Century was coming to an end.  There were 600,000 mentally ill people – 356 per 100,000 – more or less permanently hospitalized in public or private asylums.  Those ravaged by severe and persistent mental illness couldn’t walk the streets without being victimized, being arrested for crimes big and small, or worse.   With our limited understanding of mental illness – even though the standard of care varied widely -hospitalization was actually the most humane form of treatment available. Over the next few years, medications that would manage depression and psychosis came into popular use, and these folks were  deinstitutionalized, and treated in community mental health centers.  (President Kennedy, who had a sister with mental illness, enacted the nationwide system.)  Not much progress was made in the next two decades with regard to medication.  The side … Read More

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