Dear Doc Column

The psychiatristWelcome to theDear Doc Column,” a psychiatric version of “Dear-Abby” that’s all about mental health and life.  Feel free to add comments or questions to the comment section below.

3-16-18  “Dear Doc, I’m a nursing student with a problem.  This might sound strange, but I find myself faking sickness to get medical treatment, for no reason at all except I like being a patient.  What’s wrong with me?”

“It sounds like you’ve got yourself into a tough situation, but congratulations on making an enormous step in the right direction: you recognize you have a problem…”  Read more about factitious disorder: faking sickness

1-30-18  “Dear Doc, my husband had an affair last month when he was out of town…  I get paranoid & angry and second-guess everything he does.  I’m also down, super insecure, anxious, snappy, and a thousand other negative adjectives to follow.  Here’s the kicker: we both want to save the marriage. But how do we reconnect after an affair?  Thanks.

“Fixing a relationship after an affair can feel like trying to mend a boat with a hole in it — while you’re floating in the middle of the ocean.  For every bucketful of water you oust, another bucketful seems to seep in…”  Read Saving a marriage after an affair.

1-28-18  Dear Doc, I’m not sure how to deal with the death of this person I care about. I have so many unanswered questions.  Do you have any helpful ideas for coming to terms with grief?

“…There aren’t any easy words of solace I can offer, nothing as healing and instantaneous as I would wish, but here are a few humble reflections that might make a difference…”  Read When someone you love passes away.

Psychiatrist1-27-18  Dear Doc, I’ve just turned 75 and… I keep forgetting where I’ve parked.  I forget names, lose things, forget to take my pills, and have been re-watching movies, forgetting I’ve already seen them.  Any recommendations to keep me going?

“…Dealing with memory deficits can leave you immersed in loss.  You’re grieving the changes in your life.  But, instead of honing in on what you can’t do, it’s important to focus on your abilities and strengths and use those to your advantage…”  Read Help for memory problems.

Doctor1-23-18.  Dear Doc, I sleep too much.  I need 14 hours a night minimum just to function during the day, and even then I end up taking at least two naps/day.  What’s wrong with me?

“Sounds like you’re struggling with hypersomnia, the medical word for ‘sleeps too much.’  Hypersomnia is defined as sleeping long hours at night or having excessive sleepiness during the day…”  Read I sleep too much.

1-20-18  Dear Doc, doctors tell us my aunt has “dementia.”  I know dementia has something to do with the memory, but what exactly is it?  Are there any treatments? 

“… There are many types of dementia.  Some causes are reversible, like normal pressure hydrocephalus, severe hypothyroidism, and vitamin deficiencies.  Medication side effects and depression can also mimic cognitive problems.  Other types are permanent…”  Read My aunt has dementia.

1-17-18  Dear Doc, I have attacks of overeating.  I eat when I’m not hungry and keep eating until I’m ready to explode.  Afterwards I feel horrible.  I think, “I did it again, and now I’m going to gain all this weight.”  What’s wrong with me?

“… In 2013, it was estimated that 2.8 million Americans struggled with Binge Eating Disorder.  That’s three times more people than with anorexia and bulimia combined!”  Read Dangerous over-eating.

1-15-18.    Dear Doc, I just had my first baby and now I’m moody and tearful all the time.  The doctors say I have the “postpartum blues.”  What are post-partum blues, and how do I know I don’t have something more serious?

“…Despite the excitement of having a new child, the “postpartum” period (a big way for saying anything that happens after the baby is born) can be a rough time for the mother…. She’s just lived through the birth process, which is special and amazing and exhausting, and now there’s a new baby to take care of, handed over after delivery without an instruction manual…”  Read Depression after pregnancy.

doctor1-14-18.  Dear Doc, I’m in my 70’s and have noticed my memory seems to be slipping.  I’m having problems remembering people’s names. Does that mean I’m getting Alzheimer’s?

“Many people have just that same question.  As they age, they develop problems remembering names and occasionally forget where they parked their car, and these changes in cognition are downright scary.  So how can you tell the difference between normal aging and Alzheimer’s?  Here’s a quick guide…”  Read Am I getting Alzheimer’s?

1-13-18.  Dear Doc, I’m taking medication for depression and find that my sex drive is zilch.  Is there anything I can take to help with libido?  Thanks.

“It’s unfortunate that many psychiatric medications cause sexual side effects… No worries: there are plenty of medication options to consider for augmenting sex drive…” Read Treating low sex drive.

Kim Rosenthal, MD – psychiatrist 

Please remember that the information you find here is not meant to be a substitute for real medical care.  It isn’t meant to and doesn’t provide professional diagnosis, services, or medical advice to you or any other individual.  Everyone is unique; the ideas you find here, including answers to questions, may not apply to your situation. Please make an appointment with a mental health professional for proper diagnosis and treatment of any psychiatric condition.  Keep in mind that no interaction or information on this website establishes a doctor-patient relationship. 

That said, thanks for visiting.  Now go forth and stamp out mental suffering!


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