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    And the Winner (in 206 Countries) is… Our Top Five Blogs for 2019 – Bipolar Disorder, Genetic Testing, and Existential Crisis

    Reader, presidential primary season is officially upon us—and so is the primary-season news cycle. As to the latter, I admit—we aren’t even a month into the process of sorting out a presidential nominee, but I’m already exhausted! But what I find most fatiguing about this process isn’t the onslaught of primary headlines, it’s the rote repetition of ideas, “hot takes”, and controversial opinions that reappear every four years in a cycle that seemingly cannot be broken. While politicians may change, certain headlines look uncannily similar from one primary season to the next—a particularly popular example, of late, is the headline reading something along the lines of: “Why Do We Let Iowa Vote First?” But this question implies another, more fundamental question, to which we intuitively know the answer: “Why does it matter which state votes first?” It matters because, whether we like to admit it or not, we are swayed by each other’s opinions. When a candidate wins votes, there is a natural inclination to see them as more legitimate, or more worthy of the vote we may eventually give them. To a point, quantifiable data can help us sort through the noise—it can provide needed constraints on what can feel like a glut of information.

    This blog is no place for politics, but in honor of our primary season, this week I’m providing you with a ranking system of our own—a list you can devour on your own time, based on the feedback of your peers from all around the world, across 206 countries. Below, you’ll find a list of our top five blogs, ranked according to the number of people who’ve read them!

    #5 - Readers in 74 Countries Move this Post to the Fifth Spot for 2019


    Genetic Testing and Depression, Anxiety and Bipolar Disorder: Could a Simple Cheek Swab be the Missing Link in Your Mental Health Treatment?

    When William* came into my office for the first time, I asked him, like any other new patient, “What brings you in to see me today?” He just looked at me and said, “I feel good. But I’m not well.”

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    #4 - Readers in 99 Countries Put This Post In Our Fourth Spot for 2019


    When You’re Not Really Bipolar After All: Anatomy of the Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder

    For the first few years after I arrived in the DC area, I took call at two local hospital emergency rooms as a way to gain more experience, and build my private practice. One evening I was paged to come into the Emergency Department to evaluate a man who hadn’t slept in 3 days. When I arrived, the ED staff had taken an initial history and reported to me that the man was full of energy, his thoughts were racing out of control, and that he had suffered from episodes of depression in the past. He was also exhibiting signs of grandiosity, with thoughts that were excessively ambitious. The ED staff suspected that this man was having a classic manic episode and asked for a consult to rule out bipolar disorder. But it turned out that after looking at his lab work and a urine sample, this patient was actually found to be intoxicated on cocaine, which mirrors symptoms of bipolar mania. Interestingly, cocaine withdrawal symptoms can produce a severe, but transient depression, that may also seemingly confirm an erroneous diagnosis of bipolar disorder. It was an example of how “checking the boxes” on a list of diagnostic criteria (similar to using an algorithm to solve a math problem) without looking at the patient in a broader context and ruling out other conditions, could lead healthcare professionals down the wrong path when diagnosing bipolar disorder.
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    #3 - Readers in 122 Countries Send This Post To Third Place in 2019


    DNA: I Am Who I Am… or Am I? – Session Ten

    Surf’s Up: Use Your Genetic Code to Ride the Stress Wave with Ease. The COMT Gene

    Dear Reader: Have you planned out your grocery list for the week yet? What are you going to serve on the dinner table tonight? When’s the last time you worked out, anyway? How’s that coworker you’ve been brooding about for the last few weeks—or more importantly, how are you managing that conflict with your spouse? Are you going to get that big project done in time… and what about your kid’s end-of-the-year schedule? And by the way, did you pay your taxes? Chop chop!

    Last question: What’s happening to your body and emotional state right now as you read through this list of impatient inquiries?
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    #2 - Readers in 147 Countries Make This Post About ADHD The Runner-up for 2019


    I Have Trouble with Attention and Focus, What’s Wrong with My Brain? Do I have ADHD?

    This Weekly Insight is a bit longer than usual, as it provides an in-depth understanding of what to do if you or someone you love is suffering from problems with focus and attention. It includes tips on how this condition should be comprehensively evaluated, potential causes of these symptoms other than ADHD, and stories of what was uncovered in the course of the evaluation and treatment of “Samantha” and “Jay.”

    If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), or believe that you or they may be suffering from this condition, our session today offers both helpful ideas and hope for improvement. Let’s begin with understanding the existential experience of the person who struggles with ADHD, which hopefully will lead to the development of empathy and compassion.
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    #1 - Readers in 176 Countries Put this Heartfelt Post in the Top Spot for 2019


    13 Reasons Why… & Why Not. Is Suicide Your Only Way Out?

    A Personal Message from Bruce Alan Kehr, M.D., for High School and College Students

    Have you ever felt like Hannah in 13 Reasons Why? Do you think no one cares, nobody understands how you feel, or believes what you’re going through? Do you feel all alone?

    If so, my heart goes out to you. I want to help ease your pain. Please let me try. I have treated many suicidal teens and young adults, and helped them back away from the abyss. Below are 13 reasons WHY teens have told me they considered suicide (including Hannah’s reasons). Then are 13 reasons WHY NOT to do it — based on what these young people wish they knew when they were in the dark night of their soul — and why they ultimately chose life over death.
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    Wherever You May Be Around the World,
    Thank You For Reading!



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