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The Hardcore Self Help Podcast with Duff the Psych

This is a podcast dedicated to answering your questions about mental health, anxiety, depression, relationships, sex, and life WITHOUT psychobabble BS. I am Dr. Robert Duff, a psychologist from Southern California, but I'm also a regular dude who legitimately wants to help out. I wrote the best selling books Hardcore Self Help: F**k Depression and Hardcore Self Help: F**K Anxiety. Those are available at http://hardcoreselfhelp.com
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The Hardcore Self Help Podcast with Duff the Psych
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Now displaying: 2024
May 24, 2024

Hello, friends!

In today’s episode, we tackle three insightful listener questions that many of you might relate to:

Choosing Not to Have Biological Children Due to Mental Illness: A listener shares their decision to not have biological children to avoid passing on their mental health struggles. They feel confident in this choice but encounter surprise and judgment from others. We discuss the validity of their decision, the heritability of mental health conditions, and the importance of respecting personal choices.

Navigating Barriers to Inpatient Mental Health Treatment: Another listener is considering inpatient treatment but faces significant logistical and financial barriers. We explore the challenges of dealing with insurance, paperwork, and managing life responsibilities during treatment. Suggestions for alternative treatment options like intensive outpatient programs (IOP) and partial-hospitalization programs (PHP) are also discussed.

Addressing Mismatched Sex Drives in a Relationship: A listener in a relationship with differing sex drives seeks advice on how to encourage their partner to address potential low testosterone or other medical issues affecting their libido. We delve into the complexities of communication about sexual needs, potential underlying relationship issues, and strategies for fostering open dialogue and seeking professional help.

As always, you can send me questions to duffthepsych@gmail.com and find the full show notes for this episode at http://duffthepsych.com/episode398.

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BetterHelp This episode is brought to you by BetterHelp. Therapy can help you manage stress and improve mental health. Get started with BetterHelp, an online platform suited to your schedule. Visit betterhelp.com/duff for 10% off your first month.

May 17, 2024

Hello, friends!

In today’s episode, we dive deep into a listener’s question about finding the right therapy for a variety of complex mental health issues. This 29-year-old woman is struggling with childhood trauma, mental health challenges such as anxiety and depression, and relationship issues. She is also seeking guidance on possible autism/ADHD symptoms and needs help navigating the overwhelming array of therapy options available.

We explore the IPA framework (Immediacy, Problem, Approach) to help her and others identify the most suitable types of therapy. Additionally, we discuss the different types of therapists and their qualifications, the importance of cultural competency, and practical tips for finding a good therapist using various resources. This episode is a comprehensive guide for anyone looking to start their therapy journey.

As always, you can send me questions to duffthepsych@gmail.com and find the full show notes for this episode at http://duffthepsych.com/episode397


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May 10, 2024
Hello, friends!
 
In today’s episode, we tackle a profound listener question that may resonate with many of you.
A listener who survived a suicide attempt at 13 is considering reaching out to the pediatric psychiatrist who assessed them during their hospitalization. They feel that the presence of medical students during their assessment was inappropriate and impacted their honesty. They're seeking guidance on how to provide feedback and advocate for their younger self.
 
As always, you can send me questions to duffthepsych@gmail.com and find the full show notes for this episode at http://duffthepsych.com/episode396
 
Links:
 
 
 
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Apr 26, 2024
Hello, friends!
 
In today’s episode, we tackle a profound listener question that may resonate with many of you.
 
A listener struggling with agoraphobia seeks guidance on overcoming their anxiety and finding motivation to pursue exposure exercises. They’ve been working with a therapist and taking anxiety medication but feel stuck. We explore the complexities of agoraphobia, the importance of prolonged exposure, and strategies for building motivation and support.
 
As always, you can send me questions to duffthepsych@gmail.com and find the full show notes for this episode at http://duffthepsych.com/episode395
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Apr 19, 2024
Hello, friends!
 
In today’s episode, we tackle two thought-provoking listener questions that may resonate with many of you:
 
Cymbalta Conundrum: A listener shares their experience with Cymbalta, a medication prescribed for panic disorder. They noticed feeling amazing on days they forgot to take the medication, leading them to wonder if they truly needed it. We explore the concept of conditioned compensatory response, the effects of medication on the body, and the importance of gradual tapering.
 
ADHD Focus Struggles: Another listener struggles with focus and motivation despite trying various medications and strategies. We discuss the complexities of ADHD, the importance of environmental adjustments, and techniques like mindfulness, Pomodoro intervals, and accountability to improve focus and productivity.
 
As always, you can send me questions to duffthepsych@gmail.com and find the full show notes for this episode at http://duffthepsych.com/episode394
 
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Apr 12, 2024

Hello friends!

In today’s episode, we explore the deep and complex emotions involved in expressing love within romantic relationships and the challenging path to recovery following a severe traumatic brain injury. We kick off with a question about the appropriate timing for saying “I love you” in a romantic context, especially considering cultural differences and personal challenges such as being on the autism spectrum. Our listener’s journey brings forward the importance of understanding personal feelings and the unique dynamics of each relationship.

We then shift to an inspiring yet poignant story of miraculous recovery and the persistence of hope. Another listener shares the journey of their mother’s recovery from a severe traumatic brain injury resulting from a car accident. While her recovery has been astonishing, they grapple with the lingering issue of facial numbness. This story highlights the incredible resilience of the human body and spirit, the complexities of the brain's healing process, and the necessity of advocating for comprehensive care that addresses all facets of recovery.

As we navigate these profound topics, remember, whether it's about expressing love or facing the aftermath of a traumatic event, the journey is deeply personal and filled with opportunities for growth and understanding.

As always, you can send your questions to duffthepsych@gmail.com and find the full show notes for this episode at http://duffthepsych.com/episode393

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Apr 5, 2024

Hello friends!

In today’s thoughtful episode, we tackle two profound listener questions that may resonate with many of you:

Contemplating Harm OCD and Supporting a Friend: A listener shares their concerns about how to best support a friend struggling with harm OCD. They've noticed their attempts to help by offering reassurance or checking things for their friend might actually be counterproductive. We dive into the nature of OCD, the impact of well-meaning actions, and how to genuinely support someone without reinforcing their compulsive behavior.

Finding Balance Amidst Life's Transitions: Another listener talks about the challenges of transitioning to a full-time job and living with their partner after college. They've found themselves clinging to rigid routines that have begun to control their life, seeking advice on how to break free from these patterns without losing their sense of stability. We explore the importance of flexibility, communication, and self-awareness in navigating these significant life changes.

As always, you can send me questions to duffthepsych@gmail.com and find the full show notes for this episode at http://duffthepsych.com/episode392

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Mar 29, 2024

Hello friends!

In today’s episode, we tackle two interesting questions that delve into the heart of mental and emotional challenges many of us face.

First, we explore the complex world of panic disorder through the eyes of a 24-year-old graduate student grappling with severe panic attacks. Their story illuminates the physical and psychological intensity of panic disorder, revealing how it transcends mere stress or anxiety to significantly disrupt daily life. We dissect the cycle of fear and avoidance intrinsic to panic disorder and discuss the critical importance of specialized care and therapy in navigating this condition.

Next, we turn our attention to the challenges faced by caregivers of individuals with dementia resulting from traumatic brain injuries (TBI). One listener shares the struggle of balancing caregiving with personal self-care, seeking resources and support to manage this demanding role. We offer guidance on finding online and in-person resources, emphasize the importance of self-care for caregivers, and encourage seeking professional help to ensure both the caregiver's and the loved one's needs are met.

As always, you can send your questions to duffthepsych@gmail.com and find the full show notes for this episode at http://duffthepsych.com/episode391.

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Exploring what truly matters to you can be transformative, and therapy can help. BetterHelp provides convenient, online therapy to fit your life. Start with a questionnaire, match with a licensed therapist, and switch anytime. Focus on what makes you happy with BetterHelp. Get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.com/duff.

Mar 22, 2024

Hello friends! In today’s episode, we tackle two profound listener questions that may resonate with many of you:

  • Dealing with Hurtful Family Comments: A listener is troubled by their mother's deeply hurtful comment, suggesting they have been a source of stress since birth. We explore the emotional impact of such comments, consider the role of health issues in behavior, and discuss strategies for coping and moving forward.

  • Navigating Identity and Therapy: Another listener, a closeted trans man, shares their experience of coming out to their therapist and the mixed responses received. We delve into the importance of understanding and navigating gender identity within therapy, especially in conservative environments, and ponder whether seeking a gender specialist, in addition to their current therapist, might be beneficial.

As always, you can send me questions to duffthepsych@gmail.com and find the full show notes for this episode at http://duffthepsych.com/episode390

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Exploring what truly matters to you can be transformative, and therapy can help. BetterHelp provides convenient, online therapy to fit your life. Start with a questionnaire, match with a licensed therapist, and switch anytime. Focus on what makes you happy with BetterHelp. Get 10% off your first month at betterhelp.com/duff.

Mar 15, 2024

Hello, friends! In today’s episode of the podcast, we dive deep into two incredibly relatable listener questions that touch on emotional and psychological challenges many of us might face.

Our first discussion revolves around the complex emotions of worrying about one’s therapist. One listener shares their concern about being a burden by repeatedly discussing the same issues, particularly body dysmorphia, fearing it might negatively impact their therapist. We unravel this common fear, emphasizing the nature of therapy and the professional capacity of therapists to manage their own feelings and support their clients effectively.

In our second exploration, we address the heart-wrenching situation of a listener navigating the aftermath of an abusive marriage, particularly the impact on their children. This listener’s struggle with their ex-partner’s manipulation and its effect on their relationship with their children brings to light the challenges of co-parenting and protecting one’s mental and emotional well-being during such turbulent times. We offer insights into seeking support, understanding the dynamics at play, and strategies for maintaining a healthy relationship with one’s children amidst external pressures.

As always, your thoughts and questions are invaluable to us. Reach out via duffthepsych@gmail.com or explore more resources at http://duffthepsych.com/episode389. Your journey is important, and we’re here to support you every step of the way.

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Mar 8, 2024

Hello friends!

In today’s episode, we dive into two listener queries that shine a light on the complexities of emotional experiences and relationships. First, we explore the journey of someone grappling with childhood emotional neglect, unpacking the long-term effects of growing up in an environment where emotions were disregarded and undervalued. Our listener shares their struggle with feeling emotionally disconnected and their quest for a path toward healing and emotional awareness.

Then, we shift gears to discuss the challenges faced by a couple when one partner feels uncomfortable with being photographed. This scenario opens up a dialogue on insecurities, the significance of memories captured in photos, and the importance of understanding and respecting each other’s boundaries.

As always, you can send me your questions at duffthepsych@gmail.com and find the full show notes for this episode at http://duffthepsych.com/episode388.

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Mar 1, 2024

Hello friends!

In this episode, we delve into a deeply personal and complex question that touches on the lasting impact of past relationships, the nuances of friendship, and the boundaries within a current, happy marriage. A listener shares their experience of not being able to stop thinking about an ex, despite being happily married and having no desire to rekindle a romantic relationship. They discuss the significance of this past relationship during a pivotal time in their life and ponder whether they should attempt to cultivate a friendship or strive to move on completely.

We explore the importance of acknowledging the role this person played in their life, while also considering the potential implications for their current relationship. The conversation includes practical advice on navigating these feelings, communicating with both the spouse and the ex, and setting healthy boundaries. We also discuss the potential for "relationship drift" and the importance of being honest with oneself about the true motivations and possible outcomes of re-establishing contact.

As always, you can send me questions to duffthepsych@gmail.com and find the full show notes for this episode at http://duffthepsych.com/episode387.

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Feb 23, 2024

Hello friends!

In today’s episode, we delve into two deeply personal and impactful listener questions, uncovering layers of self-discovery, acceptance, and the ongoing journey towards healing and love:

  1. Embarking on a Journey of Self-Discovery and Love: A 32-year-old male shares his transformative journey from battling addiction and isolation to embracing therapy, wellness, and the realization of his deep desire for love and intimacy. Facing fears of rejection, exploring his sexuality, and stepping into the dating scene, he seeks guidance and affirmation that it's never too late to find love and form meaningful connections.

  2. Navigating Mental Health Challenges in the UK: A listener from the UK expresses frustration with the mental health support system, revealing a recent diagnosis of BPD after years of being treated for depression. Despite facing suicidality and feeling abandoned by the healthcare system, they search for hope and strategies to cope with the intense highs and lows of BPD, highlighting the urgent need for compassionate and effective mental health care.

As always, you can send me questions to duffthepsych@gmail.com and find the full show notes for this episode at http://duffthepsych.com/episode386.

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Feb 16, 2024

Hello, friends!

In today’s episode, we tackle two profound listener questions that may resonate with many of you:

Navigating Romantic Relationships and Self-Esteem: A listener seeks advice on managing the anxiety and self-doubt that accompany new romantic relationships. We discuss the concept of "correct rejections" and explore strategies for nurturing a healthy sense of self-esteem, such as focusing on personal growth and savoring moments of joy.

Overcoming Trauma and Self-Doubt: Another listener shares their struggle with self-doubt stemming from a traumatic experience. We emphasize the importance of self-compassion and challenge the stigma associated with seeking help. We discuss the benefits of therapy and self-help resources, as well as the empowering nature of setting challenges and connecting with others.

As always, you can send me questions to duffthepsych@gmail.com and find the full show notes for this episode at http://duffthepsych.com/episode385

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Feb 9, 2024

Hello friends!

In today's in-depth episode, we embark on a comprehensive exploration of depression, a condition that's far more complex than the occasional sadness or the transient moods we all experience. Our journey aims to shed light on the multifaceted nature of depression, affecting individuals across the globe in myriad ways. We delve into the clinical aspects, the personal stories, and the common misconceptions surrounding this pervasive mental health condition.

We start by breaking down the very concept of depression, moving beyond the simple definition to uncover its roots and how it impacts the human experience. Through the lens of the DSM-5, we explore the criteria for diagnosing Major Depressive Disorder, highlighting the diversity of symptoms and the profound effect they have on individuals' lives.

Our discussion takes a personal turn as we examine the experiences of James and Ellie, two hypothetical cases that illustrate the varied manifestations of depression. James, with his outward success masking an internal struggle, and Ellie, facing overt challenges in her transition to college life, offer insights into the silent battles many face.

Addressing common misconceptions, we challenge the stigmas associated with depression, emphasizing its complexity and the fact that it's not a sign of weakness, nor is it something one can simply "snap out of." We also touch upon the idea that depression can affect anyone, regardless of how "good" their life may seem.

As we move towards solutions, we discuss the treatability of depression, underscoring the effectiveness of medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes. We emphasize that for those facing this condition, there is hope, and a multitude of resources available to support their journey towards recovery.

In closing, we reaffirm the importance of understanding, empathy, and support in the battle against depression. We encourage our listeners to reach out for help, to engage in conversations about mental health, and to seek the resources necessary to navigate this challenging yet treatable condition.

As always, you can send me questions to duffthepsych@gmail.com and find the full show notes for this episode, including links to resources and further reading, at http://duffthepsych.com/episode384.

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Jan 26, 2024

Hello friends!

In today's episode, we delve into two compelling listener questions that I'm sure many of you will find relatable and insightful.

Navigating Therapy with a Talkative Therapist: One listener shares their experience with a therapist who often overshadows the session with personal stories, leaving them feeling unheard. This is particularly challenging as the listener is dealing with a controlling spouse with dementia. We explore the importance of feeling heard in therapy, the role of therapist's self-disclosure, and the value of assertiveness in therapeutic relationships. We also discuss the concept of transference and how it can impact therapy sessions.

Considering Alternatives to Adderall: Another listener seeks advice about a close relative looking to taper off Adderall, which they've been dependent on for managing ADHD. We discuss the complexities of ADHD diagnosis and treatment, delve into the pharmacology of Adderall, and explore its side effects and potential for psychological dependence. Additionally, we examine Provigil (Modafinil) as an alternative, highlighting the differences in abuse potential and side effects. We also touch upon other medication options like Strattera, Intunive, Clonidine, and Wellbutrin, and emphasize the role of therapy and coaching in managing ADHD.

As always, your questions and stories bring a depth of understanding to our discussions. If there's something on your mind, don't hesitate to reach out at duffthepsych@gmail.com. For full show notes, please visit http://duffthepsych.com/episode375.

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Jan 19, 2024

Hello friends! In today’s episode, we delve into two compelling listener questions that touch on deeply personal experiences and emotional challenges:

Exploring Identity Through Name Change: Our first question comes from a listener who has recently undergone the significant process of legally changing their name, a journey often intertwined with gender identity and personal transformation. We discuss the complexities of introducing this change in a professional setting, especially in environments where such changes might not be widely accepted. We explore strategies for communicating the change, dealing with potential challenges, and staying true to one's identity.

Confronting Emotional Numbness: The second question addresses a concerning experience of emotional numbness, where even significant life events fail to elicit expected emotional reactions. We delve into the concept of anhedonia, its connection to depression, and the possible causes of this emotional disconnection. Practical advice is offered on how to reconnect with emotions, including mindfulness techniques, behavioral activation, and the importance of considering physical health factors and professional help.

As always, your questions and experiences enrich our discussions and bring valuable insights to our community. If there's a question or topic on your mind, don't hesitate to reach out at duffthepsych@gmail.com. For full show notes and more resources, head to http://duffthepsych.com/episode382.

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Jan 12, 2024

Hello friends!

In today's episode, we delve into two compelling listener questions that many of you might find relatable:

Confronting Career Anxiety in Private Practice: A newly licensed listener, transitioning from a non-profit agency to private practice, shares their struggles with the unpredictability of work and income, leading to increased anxiety. They contemplate returning to a full-time job, questioning the future of their career in mental health. We discuss the common challenges faced in different work settings, strategies for managing career uncertainty, and ways to find a fulfilling path in the mental health profession.

Navigating Highway Anxiety with a Unique Twist: Another listener, who enjoys driving but experiences anxiety on long highway trips, seeks advice for their unusual situation. Despite a well-managed health condition and ruling out vision problems, this anxiety poses a significant obstacle, especially for family commitments requiring long travel. We explore potential triggers, the importance of understanding anxiety's impact, and practical tips for gradually overcoming this specific driving anxiety.

As always, your questions are the heartbeat of our show. Feel free to send your thoughts or inquiries to duffthepsych@gmail.com. For full show notes and more insights, visit http://duffthepsych.com/episode381.

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Jan 5, 2024

Hello friends!

In today's enlightening episode, we delve deep into the intricacies of neurotransmitters, specifically dopamine, and their impact on our behavior and mental health. We also touch on trichotillomania and the role of medications like Wellbutrin in treating such conditions.

Demystifying Dopamine and Serotonin: We kick off by addressing a common oversimplification in the world of mental health. Dopamine and serotonin are often reduced to mere 'happiness' and 'reward' chemicals in popular culture. We explore how these neurotransmitters are far more complex and play a variety of roles in our body, from movement and mood regulation to learning and memory.

Understanding Neurotransmitters: What exactly are neurotransmitters like dopamine? We explain their crucial role in brain communication and their diverse functions. We also discuss other key neurotransmitters such as serotonin, acetylcholine, epinephrine, norepinephrine, GABA, and glutamate.

Dopamine's Role Beyond Pleasure: Moving beyond the 'feel-good molecule' tag, we delve into dopamine's involvement in anticipation of rewards, motivation to pursue goals, and its critical role in learning and habit formation.

Impact of Modern Habits: How do activities like scrolling on social media, playing video games, or watching TV series influence our dopamine levels? We discuss how these activities engage our brain's reward system and the concept of negative reinforcement in avoiding stress or emotional discomfort.

Trichotillomania and Dopamine: Addressing a listener's specific concern, we explore trichotillomania, a complex mental health condition involving recurrent hair pulling. We examine the potential roles of dopamine, serotonin, glutamate, genetic factors, and environmental influences in this disorder.

Wellbutrin - A Closer Look: What about medications like Wellbutrin? We clarify how Wellbutrin, or bupropion, an NDRI, differs from other antidepressants and its effectiveness in treating depression, aiding smoking cessation, and its potential implications in treating trichotillomania.

Final Thoughts and Recommendations: We wrap up by emphasizing the importance of seeking professional advice for personalized treatment plans, especially for conditions like trichotillomania, and encourage listeners to keep sending their thoughtful questions and topics.

As always, you can send me your questions to duffthepsych@gmail.com and find the full show notes for this episode at http://duffthepsych.com/episode380

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