Mindfulness and Mental Health

By Peter Lear, MSW, LCSW, RYT If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.                                                                ~Lao Tzu, 5th Century BCE Mindfulness is an ancient practice that seeks to deepen one’s awareness of the inner workings of the mind to create a healthy separation of the mind’s fluctuations from how we experience life. All of us are subject t...
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Mental Health 101

By Peter Lear, MSW, LCSW, RYT One of my other jobs besides psychotherapist is conducting mental health assessments. At the end of the assessments, I identify an area or two that clients can begin work on to improve their mental health functioning. Most of us do a great job maintaining our mental health functioning AND most of us have periods when we don’t do so well for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it can be a relatively easy fix. A few basic changes can have a powerful effect. The Big T...
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Yoga is Effective Treatment for Depression

By Peter Lear, MA, LCSW, RYT Yoga asanas or postures have been practiced for over 5,000 years. Yoga has been around so long and has continued to grow in popularity in the last 10-15 years it, particularly in the West, for many reasons. One compelling reason is that it has a significant positive effect on mood, according to recent research.* Stress is a part of life; in fact, stress is one factor that enables our emotional and psychological growth by developing healthy coping skills. On the f...
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Teen Marijuana Users Risk Lower IQs

By Peter Lear, LCSW, RYT Researchers in New Zealand have demonstrated that those who begin using marijuana before their 18th birthday risk lower IQs that those who wait until after their 18th birthday. [1] New Zealand ranks as the fifth highest nation in marijuana consumption in the world, behind the United States, whose population has the third highest consumption of marijuana, according to the United Nations.[2] This long-term study gave an IQ test to 1,000 13-year-olds from the same to...
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Research on the Effects of Marijuana

By Peter Lear, MSW, LCSW, RYT Cannabis is becoming decriminalized and legalized in an increasing number of states and this trend will only continue. As marijuana gains even greater mainstream acceptance, it is likely that more young people will try, experiment with, and regularly use cannabis. Some will abuse it and others will become addicted. Pro-marijuana groups in particular claim that marijuana is not addictive. Dr. Leslie L. Iverson, a professor of pharmacology at the University of Cambri...
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Treatment for Cannabis Abuse

By Peter Lear, MSW, LCSW, RYT Cannabis remains the most widely used and abused substance in the United States and Europe. While some people question whether or not a person can become addicted to marijuana or abuse it, the majority of research indicates these conditions do exist. The data is compelling: cannabis abuse causes significant impairments in people’s functioning. Marijuana abuse appears very similar to other substance dependence disorders, although it is likely to be less severe. None...
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