Obsessing About Terrorism Is Bad for Your Mental Health

Constant Media-Induced Anxiety Can Inflict Psychological Harm

My patient, Anna, is an African-American woman in her 60s living alone in Los Angeles. She has a progressive arthritis and she walks slowly with the aid of a cane. She no longer meets friends at the movies or at the mall, and won’t go to shows. But her arthritis isn’t the reason she is avoiding public places and limiting her social life. It’s the Paris terrorist attack followed by the San Bernardino attack, not to mention the active shooters that have become routine. She is watching a lot …

The Shaman Who Transformed My Schizophrenic Son

After a Decade Cycling Through Hospitals and Drugs, a Trip to Africa and a Foray into Tribal Medicine Gave Our Family Hope

At the age of 17, after a wonderful summer of fishing and learning to surf, my son, then in his junior year at a Boston high school, told me one …

When a Felony Is No Longer a Felony

How Redefining Nonviolent Crimes Is Changing California’s Justice System

After decades of building prisons and increasing the number of people behind bars, the pendulum of California’s criminal justice system has swung away from incarceration. Among the policies and laws …

This Is Your Mind on Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

I Thought I’d Feel Less Alone After Finding Out That Other People Had This Condition, But I Just Felt More Hopeless

The first time I broke my hand I lied about how it happened. Soccer injury, I told friends who responded with praise instead of concern. My family didn’t even notice. …

Dogs Get Dementia, Too

Our Canine Companions Are Living Longer—and Facing the Same Challenges as Humans

Zeigfield waddled, rather than walked, into my examination room. I had been seeing this obese Dachshund at my veterinary hospital for most of his 17 years, treating many of the …

How Do You Grieve a Distant Father?

My Dad’s Traditional Chinese Upbringing and His Mental Illness Kept Me From Understanding Who He Was—Until the Very End

My father was absent for most of my childhood and adult life. Not in the sense that he abandoned my mother and ran away. Absent in that he was unable …