When the Popchips Ashton Kutcher snafu burst on the Internet on May 3, 2012, I writhed in pain. I wanted to write something about racism without sounding like a lecturing minority or a sniveling child among my mainstream culture colleagues and peers. There is nothing like cries of racism to provoke attention: it is as eye-opening of a subject as getting smacked in the face with a wet trout [do not ask me how it feels to be hit with a trout, because sadly, I do know]. I’ve let a few days go by to allow this latest media incident to settle, not so much with the public, but with the “me” that was initially offended and exasperated. Now I’m ready to share a more personal and intimate look at my racist America.
Recently, I purchased a new pair of running shoes. As I ran along Alki Beach in Seattle, it didn’t take long before my body started to release some upper body tension (likely caused from sitting in front of the computer!), and my mind dropped its thoughts about appointments, seminars, writing projects, and the usual pile of mundane tasks. Passing runners, bikers, walkers, and inline skaters, I wondered how many of these everyday exercise enthusiasts were dedicated to the maintenance of their mental health as much as their physical health. Does exercise improve your mental health?
After a cursory look at the latest articles and studies on topic of exercise and mental health, most of the authors agree on several items. One of these items is simple: while we don’t know WHY exercise improves mental health symptoms, they all agree that exercise is beneficial in the treatment of mental health disorders and distress.
Most articles focus on the relationship of exercise to depression and anxiety. Some ways exercise can help with depression and anxiety symptoms are:
When Psychiatric Labeling Hurts
By B. Imei Hsu, BSN-RN, MAC-LMHC, Artist
Our culture is moving towards a much needed health kick. After decades of being introduced to processed foods and new products sporting the “latest in scientific research and technology”, it is no surprise how often I find myself in conversation with those who have developed a skeptical eye mixed with a little paranoia about the health benefits and consequences of ingesting, integrating, or otherwise experimenting with new products. I observe more people flipping processed food boxes over, looking for ingredients like partially hydrogenated oils, excess sugar and sodium, and mono sodium glutamate (MSG). This kind of interest and investigation into what you are ingesting is a welcome health consciousness I wish everyone would adopt! Yet there is another kind of label of which people should be aware. And this one may be coming directly from your doctor’s office. There are times when psychiatric labeling hurts, and you should learn as much as you can about it in order to make informed decisions about your mental health.
What Is A Psychiatric Label?
Psychiatric labeling, aka psychiatric diagnosis according to one medical model proposed in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM), has become par-for-course in the American medical setting. All licensed practitioners of psychology and psychiatry, including this author, are required to receive education on the use of the DSM codes describing all known psychiatric disorders in reference to billing a client’s insurance, prescribing or recommending medication, sharing client information with a mutual helping professional, and dialoging in a shared language about evidence-based treatment options for a particular diagnostic specifier. What most people do not know is that DSM labeling and diagnosis in the currently accepted medical model is not the only model available. It is, however, the only model third-party payers accept.