morgan randall

Counselor Morgan Randall's blog, bookstore and more. A place to explore the paradigm shift to systems thinking that views body and mind as one

Second opinion

Folks, it’s really hard to diagnose just about any illness, let alone mental illness. Primary care physicians are generally not equipped to do it. Go to a mental health professional for a mental health diagnosis. And go to a non-prescriber like a mental health counselor to find out what your non-pharmaceutical options are before you start swallowing pills. Psychotherapy has been proven scientifically to work just as well as meds in the short term and better in the long term.—MR

20 percent of patients with serious conditions are first misdiagnosed

By Lenny Bernsein, The Washington Post, April 4, 2017

More than 20 percent of patients who sought a second opinion at one of the nation’s premier medical institutions had been misdiagnosed by their primary care providers, according to new research released Tuesday.

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April 7th, 2017 | Permalink

The truth is out there

The feds were stupid not to provide quality cannabis for this study so we can prove once and for all that it is dangerous to mental health. My personal study as a mental health counselor has convinced me. If you have PTSD, stay away unless you would like to become more paranoid, reactive and sleepless.—MR

Johns Hopkins was ready to test pot as a treatment for PTSD. Then it quit the study.

By Aaron Gregg, Washington Post, April 2. 2017

Eighteen months after joining a study on using marijuana to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, Johns Hopkins University has pulled out without enrolling any veterans, the latest setback for the long-awaited research.

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April 3rd, 2017 | Permalink

Pipe dream

Cannabis triggers an excess of the reward chemical in the brain, an endogenous opioid. So a heroin addict wanting to withdraw is substituting one opioid for another. Instead of withdrawing, they won’t. Plus, since pot triggers the reward chemical for doing a drug, there is no behavioral reward for NOT doing heroin or anything else productive for that matter. I’ve heard some really ignorant ideas in my lifetime, but this takes the cake.—MR

Addiction Specialists Ponder a Potential Aid: Pot

By MATT RICHTEL, New York Times, 

LOS ANGELES — Nine days after Nikolas Michaud’s latest heroin relapse, the skinny 27-year-old sat on a roof deck at a new drug rehabilitation clinic here. He picked up a bong, filled it with a pinch of marijuana, lit the leaves and inhaled. All this took place in plain view of the clinic’s director.

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March 28th, 2017 | Permalink

Just do it

Yoga is DEFINITELY good for the brain. The reason is simple. Your brain is part of your body. The brain is the hub of the nervous system and the nervous system is everywhere in your body. What’s good for your body is good for the brain. It’s that simple.–MR

Yoga May Be Good for the Brain

By Gretchen Reynolds, New York Times, June 1, 2016

A weekly routine of yoga and meditation may help to stave off aging-related mental decline, according to a study of older adults with memory problems.

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March 5th, 2017 | Permalink

Be there

Suicide is a subject that people don’t want to talk about, but it cannot be ignored out of existence. If someone you know gives you even an inkling that she may be thinking about checking out, don’t ignore it. Encourage her to get help. And, if she tried before, there is a good chance she’ll try again. In both cases, be available. Be there for her. Find others to be there for her. The more people who take an interest in someone’s life, the more likely she will try to live another day. The main reason people kill themselves is because they believe no one will care if they do.—MR

After a Suicide Attempt, the Risk of Another Try

By Jane Brody, New York Times,  

My family is no stranger to suicide and suicide attempts and we are not alone. To recount just two instances:

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February 28th, 2017 | Permalink

Incapacitated to care

It’s not just heroin, opium, Methodone or Oxycodone that blunt parenting instincts, it’s also cannabis. The reason cannabis is addictive is not that cannabis replaces a chemical in the brain making it “primarily addictive” like the above drugs, but because it triggers an inner (endogenous) opioid at levels that are not normal. It’s “secondarily” addictive. We get addicted to these higher levels of our own “reward chemical” and end up craving this inner opioid. An inner opioid has the same effects as an outer one, one of which is blunting feelings of care and connection. The next time you get high on cannabis, watch as the faces of your world recede in importance. I call it “narcissistic personality disorder” in a bong.—MR

Opioids May Interfere With Parenting Instincts, Study Finds

By DONNA DE LA CRUZ. New York Times, 

Some of the most troubling images of the opioid crisis involve parents buying or using drugs with the children in two. Now, new research offers a glimpse into the addicted brain, finding that the drugs appear to blunt a person’s natural parenting instincts.

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February 20th, 2017 | Permalink


You’ve heard of PTSD. This is very much like it, but I’m calling it Post Election Stress Disorder. Women are particularly affected, especially women with PTSD from domestic violence. They feel personally devalued, rejected, unseen, unheard, isolated and unsafe. They have a sense of foreboding and mistrust. They fear losing control over what happens to their bodies. Shock and anger that followed the election gives way, as shock and anger does, to anxiety and depression. Call your therapist. It helps to talk. Particularly to a woman.—MR

He once called it ‘election stress disorder.’ Now the therapist says we’re suffering from this.

By Steven Stosny, The Washington Post, February 6, 2017

As a couples’ therapist specializing in anger and resentment, I was overwhelmed with distress calls during the recent election cycle. The vitriol and pervasive negativity of the campaigns, amplified by 24-hour news and social media, created a level of stress and resentment that intruded into many people’s intimate relationships. I even named it election stress disorder. Yet, as bad as it seemed in those days, there was an end in sight: Nov. 8.

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February 11th, 2017 | Permalink

Can’t sleep?

Eight-five percent of Americans are not getting enough sleep for good health. The Center for Disease Control has deemed it an epidemic. The problem is people are looking at the screens of electronic devices too close to going to sleep tricking the brain into thinking the sun has not gone down. Stupid brain. The smart thing to do is turn off your device at least an hour before lights out and read a book. Not having enough sleep lowers productivity and can cause depression and anxiety.—MR

Sleepless in America: How Digital Devices Keep Us Up All Night by HALLIE JACKSON

Danny Fulton gets into bed every night at 10 p.m., plenty of time for a solid eight hours of rest before his alarm goes off in the morning. But the 31-year-old —who’s struggled to sleep all his life — almost never falls asleep before 3 a.m. Instead, he watches television, plays on his tablet, or checks his phone for work emails.

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January 29th, 2017 | Permalink

Just say “no”

One of the biggest problems with using cannabis is the fact that science doesn’t know if it’s helpful or hurtful because sufficient longterm studies have not been allowed. Science does know it lowers IQ with longterm use and causes cancer at greater rates than cigarettes if smoked. In my personal study over fifty years, I have witnessed and personally experienced its serious harmful effects on the body, mind and relationships many dozens of times. Harm that many do not realize are from cannabis. I fully admit ONCE I saw one of its of its helpful effects. Yay! But in my world, the detriments so far outweigh the benefits, I just say “no.”—MR

Scientists to Government: Make It Easier to Study Marijuana

By The Editorial Board, New York Times, 

Even as more and more states allow their residents to use marijuana, the federal government is continuing to obstruct scientists from studying whether the drug is good or bad for people’s health.

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January 17th, 2017 | Permalink

Successful suicide

It’s just plain easier to succeed at killing yourself with a gun. If you or someone you know is having a bad day, a bad month or a bad year, lock up your guns. Or better yet, get rid of them.—MR

By their own hand with a gun, 58 people will die today

BY STEVEN PETROW, News & Observer, OCTOBER 1, 2016

A year later, I remain haunted by the death of a friend, 39 when he shot himself, because I’m pretty sure his life could have been saved. Local police called his death a “suicide by gunshot.” More than 20,000 people a year in fact take their own lives with a firearm. Yes, it’s true: More people use guns to kill themselves than to kill others, according to 2012 statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Suicides may be the great untold story in the gun debate.

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January 9th, 2017 | Permalink

Get help

Weight loss surgery can be a very good thing for a person’s self esteem and physical health, but it’s a very big deal. It’s a huge adjustment that requires mental health counseling for best results. I’ve had the honor of working with a person who underwent gastric bypass surgery losing 225 pounds so far. This individual has come for counseling every week for over a year to work on the psycho-emotional issues that contributed to the obesity in the first place and the issues that are created by the surgery itself such as the emotional roller coaster created by a cascade of post-surgery hormones. The patient is doing wonderfully and will continue counseling as skin removal surgery is performed. The patient’s advice? Don’t walk this rocky path with just family and friends. They are not trained professionals and can unintentionally do more harm than good.—MR

Weight loss surgery: not everyone lives happily ever after

Medical News Today, by Honor Whitman, 

The American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery state that the number of weight loss surgeries in the US increased from 13,000 in 1998 to over 200,000 in 2008. Reasons for undergoing weight loss surgery can range from health needs to the desire for a confidence boost. But new research suggests that although the surgery may make people happy in some ways, it can also cause problems.

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December 27th, 2016 | Permalink

Drinking on antidepressants

Drinking on antidepressants? In a word: DON’T! Not only can taking an antidepressant like Wellbutrin with alcohol cause seizures, but drinking a depressant (alcohol) with an antidepressant zeros out its effects. In fact, if you stop drinking alcohol you most likely will not need an antidepressant at all.—MR

Drinking on Antidepressants

By STEVEN PETROW, New York Times, 

“So why did you stop drinking?” my friend Brad asked recently when we were out for dinner. “You never seemed to have a drinking problem.”

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December 24th, 2016 | Permalink


If you wish to lose weight, improve your mental health, or become healthier in anyway, the most effective recommendation is DIY, i.e. “do it yourself.” When we turn our weight loss over to a supplement or a gimmick, our mental health to an antidepressant or anxiolytic, or any aspect of our physical, mental or spiritual wellbeing to an outside force promising to be a “silver bullet,” we abdicate our personal responsibility and lessen the healthy learning and growth we would achieve in a progressive, sustainable, natural way. We risk addiction and learn helplessness. I’m not saying don’t listen to your doctor, priest or counselor, but the key word here is “listen.” You, not someone or something else, are the monitor and arbiter of your health and the captain of your soul.—MR

Activity Trackers May Undermine Weight Loss Efforts


Wearable activity monitors can count your steps and track your movements, but they don’t, apparently, help you lose weight. In fact, you might lose more weight without them.

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December 6th, 2016 | Permalink

A healthier life

Reading is one of the most pleasant ways to create a more heathy life. Not only is it relaxing and, therefore, stress reducing, things you can learn by reading support mental and physical health. It also exercises the brain helping to keep it tuned up and helps make you feel less lonely. Bibliotherapy is on my list of protocols, because rather than seeing a counselor only once a week, patients keep sessions going everyday for increased efficacy. Check out the Bodymind Counseling bookstore for books I recommend!—MR

Read Books, Live Longer?

By Nicholas Bakalar, New York Times, August 

Reading books is tied to a longer life, according to a new report.

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November 7th, 2016 | Permalink

Hidden self

 We think we know what we think and why we do what we do. Guess again.—MR

Why You Don’t Know Your Own Mind

by Alex Rosenberg, New York Times, JULY 18, 2016

It is often said that we can never truly know the minds of others, because we can’t “get inside their heads.” Our ability to know our own minds, though, is rarely called into question. It is assumed that your experience of your own consciousness clinches the assertion that you “know your own mind” in a way that no one else can. This is a mistake.

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November 2nd, 2016 | Permalink

You aren’t crazy

There are many disorders, mental and physical, that can be traced back to an imbalanced microbiome, i.e. the system of bacteria in your small intestines. My anxiety and depression, plus a couple dozen other major and minor disorders, disappeared or were pared back substantially when I rebalanced mine. Check out this article I wrote describing my process and the protocol I used. —MR

Gut Bacteria Are Different in People With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

By Nicholas Bakalar, New York Times, WELL, 

A new study has identified a bacterial blueprint for chronic fatigue syndrome, offering further evidence that it is a physical disease with biological causes and not a psychological condition.

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November 1st, 2016 | Permalink

Ask Patton Oswald

Be VERY careful with benzodiazepines, i.e. Xanax, Klonopin, Lorazepam, Valium and other anxiolytics of their class. Congress nearly made them illegal back in the sixties when the pharmaceutical companies fought back to be able to keep making billions from a very dangerous drug. They are not only HIGHLY addictive, but they affect people differently. Some people cannot take them at all and end up in the ER after only a few days. Withdrawal and spring-back effects can be brutal. Longterm use can cause bipolar disorder. Smart docs do not prescribe them for more than a ten-day stretch. While there are times when they may be necessary to ameliorate a nervous breakdown or psychotic break, be ver-ry ver-ry careful.—MR

Patton Oswalt: ‘I’ll Never Be at 100 Percent Again’


WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Michelle McNamara, a 46-year-old true-crime writer, died chasing a serial killer.

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October 27th, 2016 | Permalink

Don’t be fooled

Soda pop is addictive and it rots your brain. If you are having an emotional issue, quitting soda is the first place to start changing your life. Just say “no” to corporate greed.—MR

Coke and Pepsi Give Millions to Public Health, Then Lobby Against It

By ANAHAD O’CONNOR, New York Times, 

The beverage giants Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have given millions of dollars to nearly 100 prominent health groups in recent years, while simultaneously spending millions to defeat public health legislation that would reduce Americans’ soda intake, according to public health researchers.

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October 11th, 2016 | Permalink

Pain resistance

Pain seems straight forward—it just hurts. There must be some physical damage causing it. Right? But research shows is that half of all pain is the memory of it. Another part of pain is the health of your nervous system. Nervous systems that are compromised by alcohol, nicotine or legal or illegal drugs are going to hurt more. In some cases, pain shrinks dramatically or completely disappears when patients withdraw from pain killers or alcohol. You won’t know until you try.—MR

New Ways to Treat Pain Meet Resistance

By Barry Meier and Abby Goodnough, New York Times, 

A few months ago, Douglas Scott, a property manager in Jacksonville, Fla., was taking large doses of narcotic drugs, or opioids, to deal with the pain of back and spine injuries from two recent car accidents. The pills helped ease his pain, but they also caused him to withdraw from his wife, his two children and social life.

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September 12th, 2016 | Permalink

Still true

This classic public service ad is still true after all these years. But now we know it means legal drugs, too.—MR

August 8th, 2016 | Permalink

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