Life Challenges

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Schizophrenia: An Overview

What are the symptoms of schizophrenia? My teenage daughter's behavior has become strangely erratic. I'm scared because schizophrenia runs in my family. Is it possible I'm doing something to make the situation worse?




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Depression: An Overview

What does depression look like? My husband has been unusually withdrawn and seems emotionally "low." His sadness has become a regular part of life in our household, and I'm concerned. What can I do?

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Anxiety Disorders: An Overview

I'm a worrier, and the problem is getting worse. I've heard people talk about "anxiety disorders," but I don't know what that means. How can I tell if my worry is normal or if I have an anxiety disorder? And what should I do?

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Bipolar Disorder: An Overview





What is bipolar disorder? I'm worried about my son. He's showing symptoms of depression or some other mental illness, but I don't know enough to be sure. If he is bipolar, does he have any hope of leading a normal life?



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Father Behaves Inappropriately Toward Son’s Wife and Other Women





How should I respond to my dad's inappropriate behavior toward my wife and other young women? I've expressed my concerns to him, but he says this is just the way he is and that he has no intention of changing. I've decided it would be best if we don't spend time with him anymore, but this devastates my mom; she still wants to see us. My wife says she's willing to make the sacrifice by enduring my dad's treatment, but I don't want her to do that. How can I protect her dignity without depriving innocent parties of a desired relationship with one another?

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Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

What can you tell me about a form of therapy called "Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing" (EMDR)? I went through an extremely traumatic experience when I was young, and the memory continues to haunt me to this day. It can be triggered by the smallest sensations – for example, the smell of the gardenias that were growing in our yard at the time. At such moments all the negative feelings associated with the event come flooding back into my mind, and I'm overwhelmed to the point of being unable to function. A friend told me that EMDR might help, but I'm not sure what to think. It sounds a little creepy to me – like hypnosis or mind control. As a Christian, I don't want to get involved in anything of that kind. What's your perspective?    

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Narcissism: Personality Patterns and Concerns

What exactly is a "narcissist"? I've always assumed this is just a popular way of describing an extremely egotistical person, but lately I've heard the word used as if it were some sort of technical term – as if someone could actually be diagnosed with "narcissism." I have a personal reason for asking: My spouse is very self-centered, and his behavior has hurt our relationship in many ways over the years. Now I'm wondering if he might be dealing with a serious psychological problem. What do you think?

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Caring for Children and Elderly Parents Simultaneously

Should we be considering the possibility of taking my aging mother into our home while we're still in the process of raising three kids? We have two teens and a middle-schooler. We don't really like the idea of placing my mom in a nursing home, but we also don't want to alter family dynamics too much at this temperamental stage in our children's development. What kinds of challenges do you think we might be facing?

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Protecting the Dignity of an Aging Loved One

What would it take to help an aging parent maintain the greatest possible sense of his own human dignity, worth, and independence? My wife and I are more than willing to take care of my aging father, but he's always been a proud man, and we don't want to crush his spirit. How do we protect him against the feeling that he's becoming useless?

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What to Do About Long Hours on the Job

How much time should I devote to my work? My job requires me to put in long hours every week. As a result I'm not able to give as much attention to other things – including my family – as I'd like. In your opinion, how much time is too much time for work? Do you suggest I look for another job?

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Addictions: Choosing an Accountability Partner

As a recovering addict, how can I find someone to walk with me through the difficult beginning stages of the healing process? Do you have any advice on choosing an accountability partner and what this relationship should look like? I'd really appreciate any suggestions you can offer.

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Helping a Child Victim of Incestuous Sexual Abuse

How should I respond to the discovery that an adult member of the extended family of a friend has been forcing one of the children to engage in sexual acts with him? I don't want to intrude in other people's business, but now that I'm in possession of this information I feel responsible to do something about it. Do you have any recommendations?

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How to Help a Victim of Sexual Assault

How can I help a friend who was recently raped? So far, I'm the only person she's told. She's paralyzed with feelings of shame and guilt. She's also afraid that she'll only make a bad situation worse if she reports the incident or goes to the police. What should I do?

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Adult Seeking Help After Sexual Assault

I've just become a victim of rape. I desperately need help and don't know where to find it – what should I do now? So far, I haven't told anyone. I'm ashamed to admit this to friends and family, and I'm afraid I'll only make a bad situation worse if I go to the police. Meanwhile, I feel so dirty, guilty, worthless, desperate, and scared that I can hardly think or make a move.

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Perspectives on the Legalization of Marijuana

What's wrong with marijuana? Personally, I don't see any reason why it shouldn't be legalized. Many people have assured me that pot isn't addictive. Besides, several states have already legalized it for medical or recreational purposes. Can you tell me why it shouldn't be legal across the board?

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Spouse Uses Marijuana

Do you think it's wrong for my spouse to smoke marijuana? He's been a fairly regular user for most of our married life, and I've never seen it as a big problem since many people have assured me that pot isn't addictive. But he's been using it more often lately, and sometimes he even smokes in front of the children. So I've begun to have my doubts. Do you think this is a serious issue? What should I do about it?

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How to Avoid Enabling a Spouse's Gambling Addiction

How do I know if I'm "enabling" my spouse's compulsive gambling problem? I don't want to do anything that might encourage his behavior. And while I'm on the subject, what exactly does it mean to be an "enabler"?

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Facts About and Perspectives on Medical Marijuana

What are your thoughts on the merits of medical marijuana? Do you think it should be legalized? My newspaper has run a series of stories recently about its supposed benefits. I really don't know what to think. Can you help me sort this out?

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Selecting a Physician

Do you have any suggestions about what qualities I should look for in a doctor? Our family doctor just moved out of town. She referred me to another physician, but I think I'd like to check around for other options.

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Building a Good Relationship with Your Doctor

What can I do to establish and maintain an effective relationship with my doctor? I've had some pretty lousy experiences in the past, but I'm having some health problems and I know I shouldn't put off getting the attention I need. A friend just told me about a new doctor that I'm considering seeing. What can I do to make this a good experience?

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Medical Treatment of Depression and Anxiety

How long should I take antidepressants? After struggling with anxiety and depression for several years, I finally decided to see a doctor about my problem. He put me on an antidepressant, and it's definitely improved my mood. But I'm worried that I'll have to take this drug for the rest of my life. Would it be dangerous to stop taking it?

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Understanding Media Influence

Are the entertainment media really as powerful as we're often led to believe? The argument is regularly made that violence in society is directly attributable to violence in movies, television, and popular music. Is this really true? I'll admit that I'm skeptical. It's hard for me to believe that people actually go out and commit crimes simply because they've seen something similar in a film. What do you think?

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Proselytizing in the Classroom

Does a Christian teacher have a right to "witness" to others on the job? I'd like your opinion on the following scenario. A friend of mine recently graduated from Bible college and interviewed for a job at a local preschool. One of the interviewers, being aware of her educational and religious background, expressed some concerns and asked her if she was absolutely certain that she could refrain from "proselytizing." My friend said yes. As for myself, I was absolutely furious when she told me this story. After thinking about it some more, I'm not sure how I would have responded in her position. Is it appropriate for employers to ask such questions? Doesn't this amount to religious discrimination? Do you think the administrators of this preschool have crossed a line?

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Christians and Social Drinking

What does the Bible have to say about moderate alcohol consumption? Gradually I'm becoming aware of an increasing openness to social drinking in our circle of Christian friends. As a matter of fact, this seems to be the new norm. I'm not sure that I feel comfortable with this, and I'm wondering what your views are on this issue

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