The intersection of physical and mental health

“Despair” (public domain art)

A good part of my medical practice at Hennepin Healthcare is in mental health.  Although I’m a general internist, meaning I specialize in chronic diseases of adults, I have a special interest in the intersection of medical and mental illness.  Consequently, I spend a hefty portion of my days on the inpatient psychiatry units.  So when a piece came out in the New York Times this week, I was immediately drawn to it.  Written by Dr. Dhruv Khullar from New York-Presbyterian Hospital, it is entitled The Largest Health Care Disparity We Don’t Talk About.  I strongly encourage you to read it.

This is particularly of interest to me since I have also been part of a group of five medical systems across the country who have recently published our own experience in caring for people with mental illness. You can read our very brief paper at the Annals of Internal Medicine.

In this post I’ll talk a bit about my own experience in caring for patients with mental health conditions.  I’ll end with a few suggestions. Continue reading “The intersection of physical and mental health”

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Quick tips: shingles, dementia & depression, high blood pressure medications

Since you asked . . . here’s another “Quick tips” post from last week’s Healthy Matters broadcast.    I have included links to point you toward reliable information if you want to learn more.  The Internet is full of not-so-reliable information so I try to include sources that I think you can trust.  That’s assuming you trust me.  As my texting daughter would say “hahahaha”!

 

To listen to the podcast of this recent “Open Lines” show, click this banner and look for April 29, 2018 show (Healthy Matters show #485)

On to the questions from listeners . . .

Continue reading “Quick tips: shingles, dementia & depression, high blood pressure medications”

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Learning about depression with psychiatrist Eduardo Colón

Dr. Eduardo Colon

Hey, everybody.   Check out this fact:  about 16 million people in the United States will experience an episode of depression every year.  That’s about 7% of the population.  By some estimates, depression is in the top 3 causes of disability (source:  World Health Organization).

To help us learn a bit more about this condition, I asked my colleague Dr. Eduardo Colón to be my in-studio guest on last Sunday’s Healthy Matters broadcast.  It was a great show!  Dr. Colón is the Chief of Psychiatry at HCMC and he has been on the show a few times over the years.  This is terrific since you will not find a wiser and kinder psychiatrist than he.  I really encourage you to listen to the podcast so you can hear Dr. Colón explain things much better than I can in this written form.  

You can learn more about Dr. Colón from this Minneapolis Star Tribune article which appeared shortly after he was named Chief of Psychiatry.  He gives an insider perspective on mental health care in our community that is worth a read.

I’ll use this blog post as a written companion of sorts for the audio podcast of that radio show.  I’ll try to encapsulate a few topics from the show and include some links for more information.

First of all, download the audio podcast here to listen to whenever you want.  Once at the podcast site, select Healthy Matters show #475, February 11, 2018).

Podcasts

A wealth of information on depression

Here’s what Dr. Colón covered on the show, and you can click the links to jump to specific topics that interest you.

Continue reading “Learning about depression with psychiatrist Eduardo Colón”

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Insomnia Part 1: Maybe you should just count sheep.

By John Fowler from Placitas, NM, USA
By John Fowler from Placitas, NM, USA

I think I may hold the world record for the fastest time in falling asleep.  Usually I’m out about a nanosecond after my head hits the pillow.  And that’s just at night.  I’m pretty good at falling asleep just about anywhere during the day as well.  I think it’s a relic from my medical training days where the ability to sleep anywhere at anytime comes in really handy.

So falling asleep?  No problem for me.

But every now and then, somewhere around 2 or 3:00 in the middle of the night, I wake up.  And when this happens, I almost immediately start thinking about a zillion different thoughts.  Last week when I inexplicably woke up at 3:00 a.m., I started thinking about a creepy discovery that my wife and I had made earlier in the day.  It involved rodents, birdseed, and a crack in our house’s foundation.  So my mind was racing, lying in bed in the middle of the night, and nothing I could do helped me get back to sleep.

I seriously considered counting sheep until I realized that the specifics of how one actually counts sheep while lying in bed are not apparent to me.  Do you envision sheep leaping over a fence like in a cartoon?  Or do the sheep pass in front of you in a single file line?  Perhaps there is an audio component and you count the “baa” sounds.

Does anybody really know how to count sheep to help insomnia?  I’m desperate here.  So let’s turn elsewhere for some tips on sleep.

In this post you will find:

  • Two short videos about insomnia.
  • Links to insomnia resources.
  • Some background about the types of insomnia.
  • Practical tips to help you sleep.

Continue reading “Insomnia Part 1: Maybe you should just count sheep.”

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