What is confabulation? Relationship to false memories and Wernicke-Korsakoff’s syndrome

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

What is confabulation?
Photo courtesy of pixabay.

What is confabulation?

Confabulation is sometimes called “honest lying” because the person telling the tale actually believes that it is true despite the apparent inaccuracy of their story.  It is related to false memories but appears to have specific causes other than incorrect memory storage and retrieval or implanted false memories.

Confabulation is that tendency for the brains of people who can’t remember things to try to fill in the gaps of missing memory thereby making up an explanation that will answer questions. This is particularly common among chronic alcoholics, though other brain issues also cause these symptoms.

It is common in chronic alcoholics, particularly those with Wernicke-Korsakoff’s syndrome. These two syndromes used to be listed separately but current usage is to consider them both parts of the same disorder.

The Wernicke part has to do with eye movements, confusion, uncoordinated movement and sometimes even losing consciousness followed by death, which is always a bad side effect of any activity.

Wernicke-Korsakoff’s syndrome is caused by a lack of Thiamine (vitamin B-1) as a result of chronic alcoholism or malnutrition.  This condition is sometimes referred to in alcoholism literature as “wet brain.” While it is treatable to some degree many chronic alcoholics never recover from the condition. In addition to confabulation and blackouts people with Korsakoff’s syndrome develop amnesia, lack insight, have reduced speech and stop caring about themselves and others.

The brains of chronic alcoholics shrink in volume and cells stop working resulting in many defects in thinking and memory.

Some authors report that confabulation results from gaps in the memory do to Blackouts or brownouts after which the brain needs to fill in the gaps by adding details from other events in the alcoholic’s life or by suggesting things that are possible even if they did not happen.

Sometimes these explanations are fantastic but it is the only explanation the person with confabulation can imagine. Confabulation can occur even without amnesia and can be extra details added onto memories.

With repeated efforts to fill in those gaps in memory, the alcoholic begins to believe those created memories.

Confabulation is also seen in people with traumatic brain injuries, Alzheimer’s disease or those with a severe mental illness which has interfered with the accurate storing of memories. This and other memory problems can also be found in people with eating disorders or excessive vomiting which results in poor nutrition to the brain.

Confabulation is most commonly verbal as in storytelling to self and others. It can become actions when the impaired person believes the story and takes action on that false memory.

The person confabulating can become confused and mix events from their real-life experiences with fictional accounts and stories they have heard in the past. They are especially at risk to confuse time, believing they did something yesterday which they did months or even years ago. They will swear they attended an appointment yesterday at an agency they have not visited in many months or possibly years.

Those with Korsakoff’s syndrome also get sources of information confused believing that they were told something by a counselor or case manager when they heard it from a friend or drinking buddies.

This might be a good place to repeat the rule of counseling. If there is any chance that the symptoms are caused by a medical condition and Wernicke-Korsakoff’s syndrome, eating disorders and other conditions causing confabulation clearly have medical causes, see a medical doctor first.

Mental health treatments are only effective once the medical issues are managed.

This post was, I realize, a bit brief. I thought while we were talking about thinking problems that affect memory it was important to remind readers of the way in which alcohol, drugs, and medical issues might be impacting those memory issues.

It would be a mistake to dismiss memory issues, confabulation or other thinking defects as being purely psychological or learning based, without the client having been checked out by a medical doctor to rule out underlying medical issues.

Here is hoping that this post on confabulation, Wernicke-Korsakoff’s syndrome and false memories was helpful and got you thinking about these issues.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

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Will the Counselor, therapist, psychologist keep your secret or tell?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Keeping your secrets?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Just how confidential is confidentiality.

Just what is confidential and what is not is a major concern to clients in mental health treatment. I have written several posts in the past on this subject but from the number of searches on this subject, we need to talk some more about this. Links to some of the past posts are at the end of this post.

Confidentiality and its cousin privilege, are legal as well as ethical concepts.  Laws can vary greatly from place to place. Check in the jurisdiction you live in and ask the person you are seeing if you have concerns about this.

We spend a lot of time on these issues in graduate school. We are supposed to explain this to clients when we first see them. Beginning counselors tend to spend a lot of time telling new clients more than most clients want to know. After a few years of doing therapy, the amount the client gets told declines and sometimes slips below the minimum the client needs. If your provider has said less than you need to know please ask.

Please remember I am talking about this from a counselor’s point of view, how we try to meet our legal and ethical responsibilities in practice. For the law in this, you should consult a lawyer.

Here are the general rules.

Everything you tell your therapist-counselor is confidential UNLESS it falls into a required or permitted exception.

1. Danger to self is reportable.

If you are eminently suicidal we can break confidentiality to keep the client alive. We are supposed to do this whether we want to or not. In practice, it is a judgment call whether the client has thoughts but does not intend to carry through or if they plan to kill themselves soon. Our response may vary depending on the circumstances.

2. Danger to others gets reported.

If you say you intend to kill someone in the future this gets reported. Past crimes are generally not reportable unless they fall under one of the other exceptions. Throwing a book at your sister is not a danger to others.

3. Child abuse, abuse of an elderly or disabled person needs reporting.

Generally, all abuse of a child gets reported if the provider has a reason to suspect the child is being abused. The counselor is not responsible for investigating, only to report to authorities. Someone who murdered a child would have committed child abuse and this past crime could be a mandated report in some places.

4. If the counselor needs to consult with another professional.

In this case, they tell the minimum they need to get the answers they need. They might talk to another professional about your treatment, to a lawyer about what is reportable or to a billing person. They can “use” the information you give them to help in your treatment and their getting paid for providing it, but they are not supposed to “disclose” that information to people who do not need to know. Counselors sometimes call their lawyers to find out what they need to keep confidential and what they need to disclose.

5. If you are Gravely Disabled they need to report to get you help.

If the client can’t feed themselves or use clothing and shelter the counselor needs to call someone and get this person help.

6. You sue your counselor and they can talk about treating you.

If you sue your counselor for doing a bad job they get to introduce your records and prove what you said and why they did what they did.

7. If you introduce your mental status into a court proceeding they will be required to tell things.

Once you use your mental illness as a defense in court for something you are charged with all your mental health records may come out.

8. You are not the client and are not paying for the counseling.

If you are sent for a court-ordered examination, a child protective service interview or other assessment paid for by someone else you will probably be asked to sign a release of information so that the person paying for the services can see what happened.

No release and there will be no treatment. Once you sign that release the person who is paying or who ordered the assessment and or treatment gets reports. You can revoke this sometimes, but not all the time, and what has been disclosed cannot, of course, be taken back and remade confidential.

9. You are a collateral person in a session.

If you go with your partner or child and they are the person being treated you may not be getting any confidentiality on what you say. You should ask about this before you stay things and then want them kept secret.

10. A court subpoenas your records.

This gets problematic. The counselor or therapist will try to keep some things confidential by asserting privilege but that is up to the lawyers and the judge. If this is a worry to you talk to your lawyer before you see the counselor and see if there is a chance this will come up in court.

One last thought. There are some clients who come for therapy and talk extensively about how guilty they feel about past crimes and how they want to change. They don’t usually give all the details of the crimes. There are others who seem to want to brag about what great criminals they are and they don’t want to change. The ones who don’t want to change frequently say things that end up needing to be disclosed.

Facing the things you have done wrong and trying to change is a huge part of recovery.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Memory March – How to improve your memory and motivation

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Puzzle

Memory pieces.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Your memory can be improved with a little effort, some motivation will help.

This month let’s take a look at memory, its role in our life and how you might improve it. Contrary to popular belief a good memory is not something you are either born with or you will never have.

There are ways to work on improving your memory regardless of how good a memory you started with. I want to keep this Memory March discussion on a practical basis. There has been a ton of research on memory over the years. This research has given us some insights into how the brain works but that information has not always translated into anything all that practical.

We can describe memory “systems” and parts of the brain involved, but the systems do not at this point correlate well with the brain parts and those parts of the brain serve many functions beyond memory.

From a practical point of view, there are ways to improve your memory, thinking and mental acuity that has little to do with the way your brain is shaped and how much supposed intelligence you have or do not have. We have noted in past posts that some very smart people can do dumb things and some average people come up with some surprising ideas.

Having a good memory may begin with how much storage capacity your brain has but the efficiency of storage and how you use those abilities can make a tremendous difference.

A long time ago before we discovered ADHD and learning disabilities, there used to be some programs on memory improvement and mind development. New advances in medications and learning techniques have been helpful, but to date, we have found no magic pill that makes your memory better and the elusive part of learning remains learning how to learn.

Things you can do to improve your memory and mental efficiency.

A good memory is not something we are born with. In the early years, children’s memories are primarily stored as pictures. There are processes for consolidating those memories. As children move into the school years what they can remember is largely influenced by how many words they know. Memories begin to be stored in the brain as stories.

Much of our memory is about being a good storyteller. Very young children are often good “storytellers” meaning they can invent fantastic tales full of creativity. What they lack is the ability to consolidate those stories’ so they can be retold time after time. As we get older our storytelling abilities crystallize.

Fortunately for those of us with sometimes faulty memories, learning to remember stories is a skill that can be learned.

Don’t confuse a good memory with IQ or being smart. There are plenty of people who are smart in the IQ sense. They score very well on standardized tests. But can they remember anything? Not much! Those stories about the absent-minded professor have a lot of truth to them. Being smart does not mean you can remember anything outside your primary interest.

Having a good memory is more a skill than something you are born with. Skills can be learned and they can be improved with practice.

Over the course of Memory March, I will try to offer some everyday suggestions on how to improve your memory, your mental efficiency, and your productivity. There will be some suggested exercises. You may do them or not. I have borrowed some of these ideas from old memory improvement and mental efficiency texts but where possible have updated them for our current terminology and understandings. Can’t say the ideas are all that original and I will try to give credit where credit is due.

My hope is that these memory posts will be helpful. We will also need to say a few things about motivation. Being motivated to remember things helps the memory. I have written in the past about internal and external motivation. Through the month I plan to talk some more about motivation.

Links to a few of the older posts on both memory and motivation will appear at the end of these posts.

Let’s end this post with a simple memory prompt.

Please remember to leave a comment about memory, motivation and how this may lead you towards your happy life.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Is it the Bipolar or is it me? Confusion and self-doubt.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Who am I?
Photo courtesy of pixabay.

The struggles to find you when you have Bipolar or another mental illness.

People who grow up with a mental illness have a difficult time finding out who they are separate from their disorder. The younger you are when the symptoms start the more difficult it is to find out who you are during those times the symptoms are at a severe point. People with other mental illnesses may experience this same confusion but it is easiest to illustrate by discussing the effects of Bipolar Disorder on self-doubt.

Youth with Bipolar disorder have a second set of tasks to navigate over and above those all teen’s experience. Finding you who you are is a necessary task of adolescence. Much of that sense of self is developed as a result of the experiences you have. For the person with Bipolar Disorder, the person who has those experiences changes depending on the severity of symptoms.

In the early stages of the disorder, the disease goes largely undiagnosed. The person who will someday get that bipolar diagnosis may spend 20 years or more struggling with out of control emotions before they discover that those unpredictable mood swings are a result of their disease, not some defect in who they are.

When you have symptoms, try to control them, but find you are out of control more than in, it is easy to begin to doubt yourself and to begin to hate yourself. Before receiving their diagnosis many youths with Bipolar Disorders have been led to believe they are “bad kids” and that they should be able to do things they find far outside their abilities.

The person with Bipolar Disorder will experience a large discrepancy between who they are supposed to be and who they are. Despite their best efforts, who they feel they are, will change depending on whether they are in a manic, hypomanic, depressive or mixed phase.

The peak onset for Bipolar is between fifteen and nineteen years of age, precisely those late teen years when you need to establish who you are as a separate person from your caregivers and friends.

The earlier the onset of Bipolar Disorder the more difficult it becomes to define what is the disorder and what part of these feeling and behaviors are you.

Often the person with Bipolar will report that they don’t know how they feel. A given situation will make them feel happy one day and sad or angry the next. This creates extreme self-doubt.

Having a mind or body that betrays you can lead to self-hate. In the early stages of Bipolar Disorder, before the diagnosis, there is a high risk that you will come to hate yourself for having uncontrollable and unpredictable moods.

Clients sometimes report during a severe episode “This is not who I am.” They have the feeling that there are three or more of them, the depressed person, the manic person and sometimes there is that person that is them without the symptoms.

Someone with Bipolar Disorder may find that they shift between being an introvert and being an extrovert depending on the state of their illness. They can easily become confused as to which is the real them.

After a particularly manic episode or a really low depressive episode, the person with Bipolar Disorder may find themselves saying “That is not me, I don’t want to be like that.”

The result of all these conflicts in their self-image can leave a person in the early phase of Bipolar Disorder with negative self-beliefs. These beliefs are likely to persist into adulthood and then change slowly if at all. The person that they find themselves to be on medication or after therapy is a whole different person to the previous untreated person.

One risk for the undiagnosed person is the tendency to become a chameleon. Not knowing who they really are deep down they try to blend in and assume the roles of others around them. This results in an unstable self that is one way today and another tomorrow.

A common refrain is “I don’t like myself.” Or “I can’t do anything right.” Shaking these beliefs and sorting out who you are separate from your disorder is a difficult but necessary process.

Because of the mood swings between depression and mania the person with bipolar disorder faces unique challenges in finding who they really are separate from their diagnosis.

People with other mental and emotional problems will expertise these conflicts in varying ways. The key task is to learn that you are not your diagnosis and that your condition does not define who and what you will become.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

How far is it to Contentment?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Contentment

Contentment
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

We know about wants and needs, pain and suffering but what about contentment?

 

Contentment has been defined variously as “calm satisfaction” or the feeling you get when you reach your destination. Some say it includes ease of mind making it a very rare commodity indeed.

One traditional belief was that you worked hard here on earth, lived correctly and then when you died you go to heaven, or something like that, where you are allowed to finally be happy and contented. With the decline in religious beliefs, it is becoming difficult for people to fathom the idea of waiting till you die to finally be happy or contented.

There are some who would argue that contentment is not a good thing. Contented people are happy where they are. Contented people enjoy the journey and are in no rush to reach the destination. Most of us live life as if we can’t wait for it to be over.

There are those who argue that human progress is dependent on pain. That without an unhappiness people would become lazy and unmotivated. There is no denying that pain can motivate. Some find it hard to give up their belief that we need to be in pain and suffering. They tell us that it is part of the human condition. In truth, the pain may happen to all of us but the suffering is optional.

Two people can live is similar life circumstances, experience similar pain or trauma and one is able to maintain their attitude while the other suffers. The difference is not in what they experience but in their attitude towards the events of their life.

One source of unhappiness is the constantly moving expectations we set for our lives and ourselves. When your goal is “more” no amount of having can get you there.

Many a person who has struggled to reach a goal finds a deep depression after their accomplishment. They lack the ability to appreciate what they have accomplished, always wanting more.

Contentment is the emotional equivalent of eating. Some people are driven to eat long after the hunger has been satiated. You can feel intense pain if having arrived at a goal you are unable to enjoy that success and need to constantly be chasing the next one.

Those who do things because they love what they do, in addition to finding they may be paid to do what they would want to do anyway, also find that they are happy and content because they are enjoying the journey not fretting about the goal.

One great source of contentment is having friends and a positive support system. People who have supportive others in their life are more likely to be content. Extroverts find it easy to be with and around others and are often happy as a result. But introverts who make conscious efforts to develop and maintain a positive relationship with others are also more likely to be content.

Reaching a goal that you have set for yourself is extremely important in achieving happiness and contentment. People who have struggled to reach a goal in order to please a parent or other person in their life are frequently disappointed when reaching that goal is hollow and emotionally unrewarding. Make sure the goal you are working on is one that matters to you.

While poverty may make us unhappy, no amount of money seems to make people content. As our income or wealth expands beyond our basic needs so do our expectations. The wealthy pay larger bills than the poor but are often no more content. As you climb the pyramid the danger of being pushed off rises. The truly content person is able to pause and enjoy the things they have accomplished, the friends they have and give themselves credit for what they have accomplished along the way.

Contentment we find is not so much a feeling as it is a skill which you can practice any time or place you find yourself.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

How to turn anxiety into paranoia

By David Joel Miller.

Grim Reaper

Paranoia.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Some days it is a short trip from anxiety to paranoia.

The higher the volume is turned up on your anxiety control the greater the risk that this could lead to paranoia.

Some caveats here. In this context, I am not talking about one of the paranoia’s that are currently diagnosable as a mental illness. Most people say Paranoid-schizophrenia as if it was all one word. There are lots of people with schizophrenia that are not paranoid. There are also people who suffer from paranoid personality disorder who do not have schizophrenia.

This discussion is about people without those two diagnosable illnesses who have some feeling that looks like paranoia during the course of another illness or even without meeting criteria for a diagnosis. In other words, this is about the dictionary definition of paranoia not the DSM definition of a paranoid mental illness.

Yes, in my opinion, you can have paranoid thoughts and not have a mental illness with the word paranoia in it.

One definition of Paranoia is an unfounded, exaggerated or unreasonable distrust of others not based on facts. This is fear based and makes you question others motives.

Here is how a case of paranoia might begin.

You are very fearful, sensitive and worried about what others think of you. You have “trust issues” and are not sure if people are really your friends or might want to harm you.

People who have been victimized in the past are especially at risk for these kinds of trust issues and for good reason. They have been harmed by someone in the past and may feel that they were too trusting.

One day this anxious person, let’s call her Annid. This is one of those made up names contracted from her mother’s name Ann and her father’s name, David. I don’t know an Annid or an Ann and David combination so I think I am safe here.

One day Annid is walking down the street and she hears footsteps behind her. She walks faster but the footsteps are still there. She looks over her shoulder and there is someone there. Let’s make this person a man. She is afraid of men because she was attacked by a man in an alley. This would be even worse if the man who attacked her was a member of a particular race and the man behind her was the same race.

At the corner, she decides to cross the street to get away from this man. She notices out of the corner of her eye he stops at the corner to talk to another man. She is becoming more anxious.

When the light changes the second man turns and follows her across the street. She walks faster but every time she looks back there is a man back there. She is not sure if this is either of the two men she saw before but there is always one behind her.

Eventually, she ducks into a coffee place and has some coffee. She decides to wait a bit to get rid of those men who are following her. But when she leaves the coffee place there across the street are 5 or 6, men all standing together and one of them looks like that man who was following her. Same sports team shirt and everything.

At this point, convinced she is being followed by a gang of men she ducks back into the coffee place and calls a friend who comes to pick her up and take her home.

Unchecked this fear that men are following her can grow until she is unable to leave the house.

One problem for this woman is that no matter where in this town she may walk there may be a man walking behind her.

Is this an irrational fear? Maybe, maybe not. Having been the victim of an assault once there is proof that a man could assault her. Is this fear excessive? Probably. The chances that every man on the street is following her and plans to assault her are very low, most of the time.

The challenge for this person and other people with paranoid symptoms is to reasonably evaluate the situation, assess for danger and still keep this fear of another assault from keeping her a prisoner in her home.

Now so far in this example, I have said that Annid has a history of being a victim. What if she has never been victimized?

She might have had a friend who was assaulted or heard a story on T. V. about assaults in her town. If she had a preexisting anxiety disorder even if nothing had ever happened to her she might keep looking over her shoulder believing that constant vigilance will keep her safe. And if you keep looking for something you will begin to see it.

See how easy it is to turn a fear in your mind into a belief that there is a real danger. We have even had cases where someone believing they were in danger pulled out a gun and shot a person who just happened to be going in the same direction they were. Family members have killed other family members in the mistaken belief that there was an intruder in the house.

High levels of fear can create the situation in which everything becomes scary.

If you have anxiety issues or feel threatened and unsafe, consider getting professional assistance both in determining if this is a real threat and in learning to manage your anxiety or other issues before that emotional problem turns you into a paranoid person.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Mental Health, Self-improvement & Happy life –Counselorssoapbox.com January 2013 Best of Blog

Counselorssoapbox.com

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Taking stock of where we are in this no longer New Year – January Recap.

One month of 2013 come and gone, time to reflect on where we are and where we are going. So far this month we have talked a lot about taking stock of where you are and deciding where you are going. This happy life journey is all about becoming who you truly want to be.

I noticed that there are still a lot of people coming in to join us that are reading last year’s posts about diseases and disorders. When you are stuck in depression, anxiety or substance abuse you may not be ready to begin a journey towards happiness. First, you need to define what your issues are.

Occasionally we may need to take a detour to help someone catch up with the direction towards happiness. As we progress I we will continue to examine the research that I come across, things that may explain why some of us have certain of life’s struggles and how you might overcome them.

One goal for this New Year has been to get these blog posts out on a regular basis. That seems to be working. I find I am able to write posts ahead of time and schedule them to appear on their appointed day. This has avoided those times when life and work prevent me from writing a post.

The progress on the book has been slow but I continue to work on getting it finished. The plan is to have a book published by year’s end. I will mention some other writing projects as we go along.

I will endeavor to keep the shameless self-promotion to a minimum but my writer friends tell me that spreading the word about your writing is a requirement in this strange new e-book universe.

Here are some of the top viewed posts from this month, January 2013:

  1. How much should you tell a therapist? 
  2. Do people really forget what happened when drinking? – Blackouts 
  3. 6 ways to recover from Complex Trauma or Complex PTSD                         
  4. What is the difference between Depression and Major Depressive Disorder?   
  5. Why can’t we forget the painful past?       
  6. Are you Hyperthymic?      
  7. Do therapists have to report a crime?                
  8. Which border is Borderline Intellectual Functioning on?   
  9. Do others harm your self-esteem?          
  10. Is nicotine a stimulant or a depressant?      
  11. Sleep Paralysis – What causes it? Is it related to PTSD or demons?     
  12. Levels or types of Borderline Personality Disorder

Thanks if you were one of the early readers. If you missed one or want a second look the links are above.

Thanks, folks.

This year we will continue our journey through cleaning up our past, learning to cope with feelings and problems and designing the kind of person we want to be. As always your comments are welcome.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.