Depression: Identifying Signs of Depression in Someone Close to You

Identifying Signs of Depression in Someone Close to You

By Fiona McDermut

            Understanding the signs and symptoms of mental illness is not a simple task, especially when it comes to someone you care about. Even when the signs of mental illness are identified, it is difficult to decide what to do next. The COVID-19 pandemic prompted a 25% increase in cases of depression in the world. In a time of great distress for many, it is vital to look out for the people we love.

            If you suspect that someone you know may be struggling with depression, it is crucial to look out for the following signs:

  • Loss of interest
  • Extreme loss or increase in appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Hopelessness
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
  • Irritability
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, and sexual dysfunction

            Some of these signs may seem obvious, but many who struggle with depression may cut themselves off from the social world. This makes it difficult to detect the warning signs of mental illness. Therefore, it is important to check in on the people you care about, especially during a time in which the majority of social interactions have been cut off, limited, or turned to strictly virtual contact. If someone you know is struggling with symptoms of depression, it may be necessary to seek medical help. There are many causes of depression, many types of depression, and many treatment methods. A mental health care professional will be able to identify the key factors that go into developing a treatment plan that works best for each individual in need.

The following methods are used to treat people with depression:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Hypnosis
  • Antidepressant medication
  • Brain stimulation therapy

            Admitting that one needs help is not an easy task. Therefore, providing support, comfort, and assistance for a loved one can make a tremendous difference in one’s mental health outcomes. Simply having one strong social connection has been shown to have multiple health benefits. Most people are not trained in the treatment of depression, but everyone is capable of spending time with those they love and guiding them through the process of recovery.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://www.who.int/news/item/02-03-2022-covid-19-pandemic-triggers-25-increase-in-prevalence-of-anxiety-and-depression-worldwide#:~:text=COVID%2D19%20pandemic%20triggers%2025,of%20anxiety%20and%20depression%20worldwide

https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/recognizing-symptoms#lostinterest

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The Link between Alcoholism and Depression

By Jenna Chiavelli

Alcoholism and Depression

Alcohol Use Disorder is characterized by disordered drinking that leads to significant distress and changes in behavior. One of the strongest predictors of alcoholism is family history, as genetics can attribute to one’s predisposition to alcoholism. Underlying psychological disorders contribute to alcoholism as well as people turn to substances to numb pain. Socially speaking, one’s environment can lead to alcoholism if the environment favors a culture of drinking.

Addiction is a controlling disease and when mixed with depression, treatment can become even more complex. Depression is a common co-occurring disorder with at least 30%-40% of alcoholics experiencing a depressive disorder. Depression is a mood disorder which can generate persistent feelings of sadness, worthlessness, and pessimism, disrupting everyday life. The combination of addiction and depression is especially harmful as the conditions fuel each other.

Depression Contributing to Alcoholism

Substances like alcohol can be appealing to those suffering from depression, as alcohol’s sedating effects offer an escape from overwhelming feelings of sadness. This form of self-medication can temporarily relieve depressive symptoms, but this is not a permanent solution. Over time, the feelings of sadness linger despite the sedating effects of alcohol, leading those struggling with depression to increase their alcohol intake to suppress the pain. This dangerous cycle contributes to a substance abuse disorder.

Alcoholism Contributing to Depression

Alcohol releases neurotransmitters in the brain, resulting in the euphoric feeling of being drunk. As alcohol users consistently chase this high, the copious amount of alcohol is simultaneously limiting the brain’s ability to sustain neurotransmitters at normal levels. This disruption in the nervous system impacts one’s mood; therefore, when there is a reduction of neurotransmitters a person may feel symptoms of depression. Additionally, alcohol increases the duration and severity of depressive episodes and increases the likelihood of suicidal thoughts. 

Drinking alcohol also alters behavior and fuels acts of impulse. The consequences of one’s drunken actions may be overwhelming leading to feelings of sadness and shame. Heavy drinking can disrupt relationships and interfere with work, damaging one’s social sphere. The constant ramifications from drinking can easily contribute to depression as well.

Treatment for Co-Disorders

In some cases, removing alcohol from the equation is enough to relieve symptoms of depression. In other cases, therapy, rehabilitation, and medications may be necessary. It is important to note that medication alone will not effectively treat co-occurring depression and addiction. Therapy is required in order to understand what originally contributed to one’s depression/addiction. Gaining a deeper understanding to one’s emotions and history could help prevent a relapse in the future. Additionally, confiding in others and sharing stories of similar nature reminds people that they are not alone in their struggles, fostering a sense of community. With a little bit of help, it is possible to break the dangerous cycle of alcohol and depression.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for depression and/or addiction, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources

https://www.addictioncenter.com/alcohol/alcohol-depression/#:~:text=At%20least%2030%25%2D40,of%20the%20symptoms%20of%20depression.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/addiction-recovery/202102/healing-depression-and-addiction

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/alcohol

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Why Men are less likely to Seek Mental Health Services

By Jenna Chiavelli

Why Men are less likely to Seek Mental Health Services

Recent research studies have found that men are less likely to seek mental health assistance compared to their female counterparts. Men are also less likely to disclose a mental health problem to friends and family. This isn’t because men are immune to mental illnesses but rather something larger is deterring men from reaching out for help. So what can psychologists attribute this to? The answer is toxic masculinity.

Toxic masculinity refers to harmful social norms about how men should behave that lead to misogyny, homophobia, violence, and mental health issues. In our society, we typically categorize women as the emotional figures and men as the strong and brave figures. Due to these social norms, people assume that men do not need mental health services as it is perceived as unnatural for men to discuss their emotions and feelings. Men themselves see seeking help as a sign of weakness, tarnishing their masculinity.

The media contributes to this societal problem as well, as a majority of mental health advertisements are targeted towards women and feature women. This further perpetuates the idea that mental health is a women’s issue, rather than a human issue. It is time we stop gendering mental health and remove the stigma surrounding men’s mental health.

Why it Matters

In 2020, men died by suicide 3.88x more than women. White males accounted for 69.68% of suicide deaths in 2020. It is abundantly clear that there are men struggling with mental health conditions, so much so, that they believe suicide is the only answer. If we continue to feed into toxic masculinity, men will continue to avoid help when they need it most. So what can we do about it?

Ways to Help

  1. Educate yourself and others – mental health problems are medical problems that can impact anybody regardless of gender.
  2. Talk openly about mental health – sharing personal experiences with mental health problems can make others more comfortable talking about their own experiences.
  3. Show compassion for those with mental health problems – showing compassion for those suffering can help reduce feelings of shame.  
  4. Check on the men in your life – Men are less likely to share their feelings compared to women, so work on having honest conversations with the men in your life. Let them know that you are there for them and stay alert of any concerning changes in behavior.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources

https://afsp.org/suicide-statistics/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-race-good-health/201902/mental-health-among-boys-and-men-when-is-masculinity-toxic

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Maternal Mental Health Month: Postpartum Depression

Maternal Mental Health Month: Postpartum Depression

By Fiona McDermut

As we come to the end of Maternal Mental Health Month, it is important to recognize postpartum depression which affects one in ten new mothers. Postpartum depression is characterized by significant depressive symptoms following child birth. This is caused by the dramatic drop of hormone levels in the mother. Unfortunately, nearly half of these women are never diagnosed and therefore, never properly treated.

It is crucial to be able to identify what is normal after child birth. It is completely normal to have occasional bouts of sadness due to fluctuation in hormones, also known as “baby blues”. Many women also experience anxious thoughts as a new mother. This is frequent because of the newfound responsibility of being a parent combined with excitement and restlessness. Although these symptoms are not pleasant, they are extremely common and can go away on their own or with simple self-help techniques. Some easy self-help techniques include exercise, listening to music, exposure to morning light, and even physical touch such as more frequent hugs!

On the other hand, worrisome results of childbirth include major depressive disorder (MDD) and psychosis. Although the symptoms of MDD (sadness, lack of pleasure, loss of interest, etc.) are similar to normal feelings after childbirth, if these symptoms persist for more than two weeks, it is no longer something to brush off.

The two main treatments of postpartum depression include psychotherapy and anti-depressant medication. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (IPT) have shown to be the most effective methods of psychotherapy treatment. Many find that the most effective results come from a combination of psychotherapy and medication. While there are many options for treatment, the best course of action is to get new mothers who are suffering from these symptoms in touch with a psychiatric professional as soon as possible, and to work with the doctor directly to select the most effective treatment plan for each individual.

If you or someone you know is struggling with postpartum depression, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/demystifying-psychiatry/201707/possible-new-treatment-post-partum-depression

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/call/201903/post-partum-depression-what-it-is-and-how-it-is-treated

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/call/201701/depression-psychiatrist-s-recommendations-self-care

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Insomnia: How Depression Is Related to Insomnia

By Kim Simone

Symptoms of insomnia occur in approximately 33% to 50% of the adult population and undoubtedly affect a variety of areas of an individual’s life. In addition to a complaint of dissatisfaction with sleep quality or quantity, individuals may have difficulty falling asleep, difficulty maintaining sleep, and early-morning awakening with an inability to fall back to sleep. These difficulties may occur at least 3 nights per week and be present for at least 3 months.

Oftentimes, these sleep disturbances affect various parts of an individual’s daily life. As a result of poor sleep, individuals struggling with insomnia may display difficulties behaviorally, socially, academically.

Those struggling with depression oftentimes present with symptoms of insomnia, as the condition may influence their quality and/or quantity of sleep. Depressive symptoms often influence an individual’s quality of sleep and how much they sleep.

On the contrary, those struggling with insomnia oftentimes present with symptoms of depression. Since feelings of depression may cause individuals to lose interest in their daily activities and withdraw from those closest to them, therapy is often the treatment of choice to alleviate the depressive symptoms that result from a lack of quality and quantity of sleep.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be useful in the treatment of insomnia. CBT-I is a form of CBT specifically aimed in treating the sleep condition. It concentrates on the specific thoughts and behaviors that disrupt sleep and helps in reframing the negative thoughts that may be associated with concepts related to sleep, such as “bed” and “sleep”.  As a result of CBT, anxieties related to sleep may be lessened, therefore, lessening the prevalence of insomnia.  

Sufferers of insomnia may need to speak to their therapist weekly over the course of two to three months to see an improvement in the quality and quantity of their sleep. As a result, symptoms of depression may be lessened, which may further improve the quality and quantity of their sleep.

If you or someone you know is struggling with insomnia and is seeking therapy, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/12119-insomnia#:~:text=They%20affect%20up%20to%2070,at%2010%25%20to%2015%25.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/insomnia

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Depression and Anxiety Post Retirement

By: Ashley Marron

While many people look forward to retirement and its freedom, it can also trigger anxiety, stress, and depression. In fact, the chance of a person facing clinical depression increases by 40% after retirement. People tend to give lots of thought when planning their retirement; whether it’s traveling the world, pursuing new hobbies, or spending more time with family and friends. However, they often overlook the psychological impact of retiring from work. While many new retirees find retiring to be a great relief from escaping the daily grind, they also find that after several months they may miss the sense of identity, meaning, and purpose that came with their job. They lose the structure that their job gave their days, as well as the social-aspect of having co-workers. Retirees may now feel bored and isolated, rather than free, relaxed and fulfilled. They may even grieve the loss of their old life, and feel stressed or worried about how they will now spend the future.

Retiring is a major life change, and it can seriously take a toll on one’s mental health. Seeking help from a professional can help provide coping mechanisms with these challenges of retirement. Therapy can also help in the treatment of depression and anxiety. There are certainly healthy ways to adjust to this new chapter in your life, and it should be an exciting time, not a negative experience. Therapy can help to ensure that your retirement is both rewarding and happy.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for depression or anxiety, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/          

Sources

https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/wellness/post-retirement-depression-recognizing-the-signs/ss-BB1fWAss

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https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/wellness/post-retirement-depression-recognizing-the-signs/ss-BB1fWAss

Psychotherapy: Benefits of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)

By: Jasmyn Cuate

Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that focuses on helping people recognize and change negative thinking patterns into positive, healthier ones. This method is an action-oriented approach helping to overcome any psychological problems or mental distress. The goal of REBT is to help people respond rationally to situations that would cause stress, depression, or other negative feelings. How does it work?

The ABC model is one concept of REBT. The model suggests that we may blame external situations for our unhappiness and it is our interpretation of these situations that truly causes the psychological distress. ABC stands for:

  • A: Activating event, when something happens in your environment
  • B: Belief, describes your thoughts about the situation
  • C: Consequence, which is your emotional response to your belief

With REBT, your therapist will help you learn how to apply the ABC model in your daily life. Your therapist may help you identify the activating event before encouraging you to figure out which belief led you to your negative feelings. Once you’ve identify the underlying issue, your therapist will work with you to change those beliefs and your emotional response towards the issue. Before changing your belief, a process called disputation takes place where your therapist will challenge your irrational beliefs using direct methods such as asking questions which causes you to re-think or have you imagine another point of view that you may have not considered before. REBT can help with Anxiety, Social anxiety disorder, distress, Depression, Disruptive behavior in children, Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and Psychotic symptoms.

Benefits of REBT:

  • Reduce feelings of anger, depression, anxiety, and distress
  • Improves health and quality of life
  • Better social skills and school performance

REBT helps you understand that you are worthy of self-acceptance no matter what even if you or others are struggling; there is no need for shame or guilt because everyone makes mistakes and it’s normal to feel some discomfort. REBT gives insight that others are also worthy of acceptance even if their behavior involves something you don’t like. Overall, REBT helps you have a healthy emotional response on learning from a situation and moving on. This allows you to understand that negative things will sometimes happen in life therefore there is no rational reason to always expect it to be positive when faced with a situation.

If you or someone you know is seeking for cognitive behavioral therapy or rational emotive behavior therapy, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Source: https://www.verywellmind.com/rational-emotive-behavior-therapy-2796000

Depression: How Does it Affect Relationships

By: Jasmyn Cuate

Depression is one of the most common types of mental illness that Americans struggle with each day affecting approximately 1 in 6 Americans. Depression is characterized by feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness, irritability, angry outbursts, or low frustration tolerance, loss of interest in or ability to enjoy usual activities, sleep disturbance, fatigue and lack of energy, appetite disturbance, agitation, anxiety, feelings of worthlessness and guilt, difficulty concentrating, remembering things, making decisions, recurring thoughts of death, and thoughts of suicide.

Many individuals struggling with depression describe it as living in a heavy fog where you lose clarity about your life, start to have self-doubt, changing the way you view friends, family, and partners as well as how you think they view you.

Although many relationships experience problems, a partner dealing with depression or trying to help their partner overcome depression, may find themselves having more challenges to their relationship. Depression can cause overwhelming emotions such as detachment, distrust, and vulnerability. It can cause the partner to pay little attention to the other partner, be less involved, more irritable, start arguments, and have trouble enjoying time together. Factors such as high levels of conflict, lack of communication, difficulty resolving problems, and withdrawal can lead to depression.

Untreated depression can cause a cycle of self-destructive behaviors that can tear relationships apart. Research has shown that when one member of a couple has depression, there is an impact on the well-being of the other partner as well. In fact, BMC Public Health has found that partners of those with mental illnesses, show signs of anxiety and depression themselves.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for depression or experiencing relationship problems due to depression, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/depression/signs-depression

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/mind-guest-blog/the-warning-signs-that-depression-is-affecting-your-relationship/

Borderline Personality Disorder in Men

Borderline Personality Disorder in Men

By Jenn Peraza

Borderline Personality Disorder (also known as BPD) is a personality disorder that is categorized in the DSM-V by intense fears of abandonment, emotional instability in everyday life and relationships, and a distorted sense of self. Studies have found that while BPD is equally as prevalent in men as it is in woman, statistically speaking, seventy-five percent of people with BPD are female. So why are females most likely to get diagnosed with BPD?

While the criteria for men and women with BPD are the same, men and women are more likely to exhibit different maladaptive behaviors. Women will most likely self-harm through eating disorders and cutting while men will more likely self-harm using substances and head banging. Due to this, men are more likely to end up in prison for violent behavior while women are more likely to seek mental health resources to deal with their self-harm.

There’s also a societal stigma around men receiving mental health help. While women are seen as emotional creatures, men are seen as unemotional and are told to “suck it up” or “man up” when they’re upset. Another factor is that the maladaptive behaviors of BPD are discouraged in women and encouraged in men. Men who have tumultuous relationships, aggressive behavior, and exert violent behavior are more likely praised in society than women who express the same symptoms.
Despite this, it is necessary to clear one’s mind of what is seen as typical behavior for men and to encourage the men in your lives to seek mental health help. By overcoming stigmas, more men can receive the necessary help for BPD and live fulfilling lives.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for a personality disorder, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

SOURCE:  https://www.verywellhealth.com/borderline-personality-disorder-in-men-5096081

Unexpected and Unwanted Pregnancy: The Psychological Effects of a Pregnancy One is Not Ready For

By: Rebecca Fernandez

Unexpected and unwanted pregnancies can end in one of three ways. The first: The pregnant woman carries the fetus to term and keeps the child, putting her previous life on hold to raise a child into a life that is not ready for them. The second: the pregnant woman carries the fetus to term and gives the child up for adoption after birth – at which point she may have grown extremely attached to them. Finally, the third: the pregnant woman undergoes an abortion.

While none of the above options are desirable, it is important to note that none of them are any more emotionally destructive than the others. Thus, contrary to many pro-life arguments, abortion isn’t a particular source of trauma. Rather, abortion is a solution to the broader traumatic issue of unexpected and unwanted pregnancy.

The impossible choice can leave a woman feeling helpless and alone. All of the options can be painful and traumatic. Whether the specific thoughts and feelings revolve around the woman losing her previous life and anticipated future to take care of a child, losing a child that she grew attached to throughout her pregnancy, or undergoing an abortion and losing the opportunity to raise a child because she isn’t ready, the lasting effects – grief and otherwise – can remain for a very long time. The different regrets – what-ifs, guilt, sorrow, grief, self-hatred, self-doubt, etc. – stemming from any of these choices all have the potential to linger for the rest of the woman’s life.

For anyone presented with this impossible crossroads, the most important thing to remember is that whatever decision you make is valid. There is no magic solution, and the best one of the three options varies with each individual woman’s situation. All of the options can lead to pain and trauma. To move forward with life after this point, it is important to work through your feelings by talking to friends or loved ones. Speaking with a therapist can be extremely beneficial as well. You are not alone – help is out there.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health after an unexpected or unwanted pregnancy, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/199707/the-effects-abortion

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/200811/abortion-and-the-emotions-it-brings

https://www.guttmacher.org/gpr/2006/08/abortion-and-mental-health-myths-and-realities#