mental health

/Tag:mental health

Medical and Self-Help Treatment Options for PTSD

This is part 2 in my series on PTSD. See part 1, “How the Brain Is Physically Changed With PTSD,” here. Soldiers of the Connecticut National Guard’s 143rd MP Co, stationed in Afghanistan, say a prayer for the families and the community of Newtown, CT. (US National Guard photo, December 18, 2012.) by James Hubbard, MD, MPH Say someone is robbed at gunpoint, or they’re walking down the street and their best friend is shot and killed in front of them. We think to ourselves, “Poor person. How can they ever cope with something like that?” Certainly we expect they’re going to need counseling. Soldiers in a war zone may face these same events over and over, for days or weeks upon end. Others are abused behind closed doors. These people, and many others, are at high risk for post-traumatic stress disorder. Because so many people have PTSD in wartimes (like right now), we learn a lot during these times about treating the disorder, not only in soldiers but in the public at large. […]

By | June 1st, 2015|General|5 Comments

How the Brain Is Physically Changed With PTSD

Paratroopers from 3rd Platoon, Company B, 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division prepare to load a CH-47 Chinook Helicopter in the Bermel District of the Paktika province in eastern Afghanistan, Oct. 13, during an air-assault mission to detain a known militant. (Photo by U.S. Army Pfc. Andrya Hill, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division Public Affairs.) by James Hubbard, MD, MPH With Memorial Day just past, I thought I might write on a fairly common medical problem that affects many soldiers coming back from war: post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The reason I find this appropriate for The Survival Doctor is soldiers are not the only ones who can be affected. This same disorder can hit anyone who has experienced a major trauma or trauma of a loved one. Let me emphasize I do know that Memorial Day is meant to remember the men and women who have died in defense of our country. We should never forget and always honor their sacrifice, not only on Memorial Day but every day. But I think we should also not forget the permanently altered lives of the loved ones they left behind and those whose lives have been forever changed in any form from the direct horrors of war. Why Do Some People Get PTSD and Others Don’t? […]

By | May 26th, 2015|General|8 Comments

How to Reduce Asthma Attacks and Panic Attacks by Retraining Your Breathing

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH  What do asthma attacks and panic attacks have in common, besides the fact that they’re both more likely during a disaster? They both cause you to hyperventilate (breathe faster), which in turn makes them worse. There’s a breathing technique that can help stop the cycle. But it’s the opposite of what you probably think. It’s not deep breathing; it’s slow, shallow breathing. And practicing it can even help prevent attacks from coming on. But you have to learn to do it properly—preferably straight from a professional. […]

By | December 3rd, 2014|General|10 Comments

How to Stay Calm in the Middle of Chaos

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH I used to be like one of those fainting goats. If I saw an accident or was in danger, my mind just shut off. Apparently, something inside me thought, if I ignore it, it’ll go away. But that was before I got into medicine. Now I know that there’s a good possibility that if I don’t take charge right away, worse things will happen. If you’re reading this, you’re likely to someday be in this situation also. But how to stay calm and take leadership? I have a few suggestions. […]

By | March 19th, 2013|General|12 Comments

Medical Reasons for Unexplained Weight Gain: 8 Causes

There are medical causes for seemingly unexplained weight gain. Here, we describe eight reasons, along with some typical symptoms and treatments. [Editor’s note: This article was originally hosted on, our sister site. It’s now featured here as part of our new general-health section.] […]

Coping With Loss

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH This summer in Colorado Springs, with over 300 houses in flames, there were firefighters trying to save salvageable homes while they knew theirs were burning to the ground. How do you cope with that? Most who deal in rescues know you don’t—at least right then. You put it in a little corner of the back of your mind, and it smolders … and smolders. If you don’t finally deal with it, it can (like the fire to the houses) permanently damage, even destroy you, both mentally and physically. Whether it be injury, death, loss of property, or loss of a way of life, coping with loss is central to moving on. As a doctor, I’ve seen too many times of major loss to remember them all. And like most of you, I’ve experienced it also. […]

By | December 11th, 2012|General|10 Comments

Why Am I Depressed When I Should Be Happy?

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH What to do about depression was a question not easily answered back when I started practicing. There were really no good medical options. The few drugs available had major side effects. Psychotherapy helped, but good therapists were few and far between where I lived. And then there was the stigma. Everyone thought any mental problem meant you were weak of mind and body. A strong person just toughed it out and suffered in silence. […]

By | December 7th, 2012|General|28 Comments

8 Natural Anxiety Relievers: Which Ones Really Work; Which One Can Be Deadly

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH Just ask anyone who survived a natural disaster, or has health or financial problems or family issues: anxiety can get you down. Top it with an uncertain future, and it can be downright debilitating. If it gets too bad, you go to a doctor or therapist, but what if there came a time you couldn’t get there. What natural anxiety relievers could help? If you’re under some stress right now, you might even want to give a couple a test run so you’ll know what works in the future. Of course, always check with your doctor since none of these can take the place of expert medical care. […]

By | December 4th, 2012|General|37 Comments

Panic Attacks: What to Do for Your Worst Nightmare

Artist Brad Siskin’s representation of a panic attack. by James Hubbard, MD, MPH Anyone preparing for a disaster needs to know what to do for a panic attack. We’re all susceptible during extreme stress. No matter how stoic or brave you are, it could happen, and for that period of time, you’re totally disabled. You can’t think straight or physically do much of anything. Those of you who have experienced a panic attack (anxiety attack) know what I mean. If you haven’t, try to think of a time when you were most afraid, maybe it was just for a second, but you thought you were going to die. Now, imagine having that feeling for ten, fifteen minutes or more. […]

By | November 29th, 2012|General|38 Comments