Posts Written By Nisha Bhatt

Dr. Jessica Leon, Ph.D: Bringing Therapy to Your Doorstep

Dr. Jessica Leon, Ph.D, traveling therapist, florida

There is a disappointing stigma in society if one discloses that they go to a therapist, but what if your therapist came to you? One unique therapist does just that. I had the pleasure of interviewing counseling psychotherapist, Dr. Jessica Leon, Ph.D., a mother of three young children, who resides in southern Florida. She is the only therapist in the area that will travel an hour to see her patients. Her methods have been effective and her passion in working with children, teens, couples and families emanates through the energy in her voice. She has even landed a few opportunities on reality T.V. Her holistic approach to treating mental health problems and relationships appears effortless, however, it took years of refinement.

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How the hustle and bustle of big city living compromises your happiness

city living in Romania

Can cities compromise our happiness?

As someone who was born and raised in a relatively small, quiet town, I was overwhelmed by the noisy, populated vastness of Chicago when I began college. I would jump every time I heard a car honking outside my dorm, and shivers would run down my spine at each wailing ambulance. I would look both ways ten times before crossing a street, and always felt anxious to take public transportation. While I was enthralled to be in a beautiful city, it took time for me to adjust to the hustle and bustle of city living. Three years later, I can say I am well adjusted, but at what cost?

Studies have shown that city living can negatively affect a person psychologically; resulting in increased levels of stress, lower immune systems, and higher rates of mood disorders.

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This man holds the secret behind never getting sick

Can you confidently say that you have evaded the common cold within the past few years?

The majority of people around the world cannot. One person, however, says his family is no longer affected by sickness. I had the pleasure of interviewing a health and wellness coach from New Jersey, Daniel Green, who can attest to the fact that the common cold no longer afflicts his large family of six. Up until just a few years ago, illnesses such as cold viruses and the flu would spread to each of them like a rampant wildfire. In 2014, Green’s wife realized their family had not become ill for an entire year. What is their secret behind remaining healthy? It is what Green calls a detoxified lifestyle.

In 2010, Dan’s life took a hit when a car accident forced him to change his way of life.

Damage to his knee made it difficult for him to continue participating in sports he once loved, as well as hampering his ability to continue working for his flooring company. As someone who deeply cares about his personal health and the health of his family, the loss of independence and inability to exercise lead to serious weight gain, an issue he struggled with for most of his life. In 2013 he decided to get gastric surgery, which took out 85% of his stomach. He lost 85 pounds in six months, and never felt so healthy in his life, except for when he was afflicted by annual sickness.

Speaking to nutritionists and surgeons about his health further ignited his interest in how his family could avoid common illnesses like the cold and flu. He was adamant on exercise and healthy eating, yet the spread of sickness continued to prevail. He knew there had to be another source of where this illness was festering. When he became a realtor, he noticed black mold in many of the houses he was trying to sell. This led him to looking at his own home, where noticed the same black mold.

He hired a professional who confirmed his suspicions of this black mold, wondering if it was what was contributing to sickness. Even with its removal and to Green’s dismay, the family was still becoming ill. The professional suggested that products and chemicals he used in his home could be the culprit of weakened immune systems. This inspired Green to do some investigating.

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Why rape victims have fragmented and incomplete memories

“I had no power, I had no voice, I was defenseless. My memory loss would be used against me. My testimony was weak, was incomplete, and I was made to believe that perhaps, I am not enough to win this. That’s so damaging. His attorney constantly reminded the jury, the only one we can believe is Brock, because she doesn’t remember. That helplessness was traumatizing.”

The above statement is from a rape victim in the 2016 People v. Brock Allen Turner case. This young woman attended a party at Stanford University and the next thing she knew, she was waking up on a gurney with scratches on her body and pine needles stuck to her. She was informed that she may have been assaulted behind a dumpster. The victim could not remember any details of the assault.

While the gaps in her memory may have been a product of heavy drinking, it is also a possibility that the severe stress on the brain from the assault may have resulted in memory loss or fragmented memories.

This memory loss in rape victims has been shown to pervade throughout one’s life after an assault; an effect that interestingly stems not only from a psychological cause, but a physical one too. We often associate traumatic experiences with only psychological effects, but the brain is also physically altered during these intense stress episodes. While fear is an embedded component to survival, it has major setbacks to a person’s ability to recall.

Severe trauma or stress on the body can alter the normal functioning on the parts of the brain that is responsible for emotion and memory. In a study done by J. Douglas Bremner, MD, it was found that the hippocampus in the brain is most vulnerable to stress. The hippocampus is an important part of the brain responsible for memory and learning new information. It is also important for recalling specific memories that took place during a certain time, place and location. One of Dr. Bremner’s studies measured the loss of neurons (brain cells) in the hippocampus of childhood victims of sexual or physical abuse.

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Mental disorders are more common than you think

About one in four American adults ages 18 and older suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.

Mental illnesses such as mood disorders are prevalent throughout societies around the world, yet these disorders largely remain hidden behind smiling faces and closed doors. Mood disorders like anxiety, depression, bipolar, and obsessive compulsive disorder are just a few common mental illnesses that people in general try to avoid discussing at all costs. Why does a stigma exist around mental illness? Why are those stigmas so difficult to remove? The struggles people face when living with mood disorders or other mental illnesses are real. How they relate to the world and how they relate to others are challenges they face daily. The concept of confiding in others regarding their condition is a complex issue, as the stigmas that are present create problems and build walls.

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Ibogaine: The incredible substance that can cure heroin addiction

We have all experienced a time where we may have really craved something. While the craving may have felt intense at the time, it was either satiated through consumption, or self-control was put to the test and eventually the craving was satisfied. Heroin addicts, however, ill continue to crave heroin more after each use, and attempts to quit result in intense withdrawal or a relapse into the addiction, making daily life activities relentlessly challenging.

What if there was some substance that could curb the immediate withdrawal symptoms that heroin addicts, alcoholics or other drug addicts experience? In 1962, Howard Lotsof, a nineteen-year-old college student at the time, found that there was. It was called ibogaine.

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How sensory deprivation tanks can make you zen

Music blaring, phones buzzing, cars honking, computer screens shining, people talking, and talking..

Our daily lives are typically consumed with distracting sensory stimuli such as these.

Our brain is a powerfully complex organ that will absorb the surrounding sensory input and process it in an orderly fashion, but what if our brains were given a little break from all the sensory stress? What if we were given the opportunity to float in space like an astronaut and ponder the mysteries of the universe? How would depriving the brain of all senses affect physical and psychological functioning? Maybe the thought of this intrigues you, maybe it causes anxiety, but neurophysiologist, John Lily, found a way to remove all sensory input and create an illusion of floating in space.

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My Un-sheltering Experience at a Men’s Housing Center

I’ll never forget that frigid evening in February, walking down the creaky wooden steps that lead to the underground men’s homeless shelter in the northern part of Chicago.

Never had I been truly exposed to a vulnerable population, being that I grew up in a small, privileged, suburban neighborhood that shrouded me from the difficulties pervading all facets of society. As a second year college student, I was volunteering there to fulfill a course requirement, but little did I know that this experience was also going to fill a void in me.

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The opposite of addiction is not sobriety

My best friend in high school was addicted to pot. He kept it a secret from me for close to a year when he went off to college because he knew I had a strong aversion to drugs. I was an innocent teenager who was terrified of illegal substances and could not understand his addiction, as hard as I had tried to. The addiction worsened despite his claims that he was improving. I could see the pain in his eyes when he witnessed my upset, and I could hear the truth in his words when he spoke: “I want to quit.” This drug was slowly turning my best friend into someone I no longer knew. I desperately tried to reach the funny, caring, hardworking guy I once knew, but this lazy, withdrawn college dropout had taken his place. The ensuing fights destroyed the haven of comfort we once shared and the tension between us transpired into compulsive lies with tearful nights. I often wondered if there was anything I could have done to save our friendship. Every vein in my body wanted to reach his heart and free him from his internal prison. Looking back at this experience, I realize how things could have been different. Not with just him, but with all of us.

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