What can the Target Christmas sweater teach us about OCD?

U-M psychiatrist explains what obsessive-compulsive disorder is REALLY about

target OCD sweater

This week, Target made news for debuting a holiday-themed sweater that labeled OCD as “Obsessive Christmas Disorder” – a play on the condition’s real full name, obsessive compulsive disorder.

Critics are accusing the store as “trivializing mental illness” and are saying that this message “perpetuates myths and misunderstandings.”

We sat down with OCD expert and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry Kate Fitzgerald, M.D., to set the record straight.

How do you identify true OCD?

Fitzgerald_576Dr. Fitzgerald: Typically, we diagnose true OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) in someone who has unusual, intrusive and repetitive worry or fears. These fears or worries may interfere with his or her functioning in some way (school attendance or performance, relationships with family members or peers, involvement in activities). Generally, a person with true OCD reports thoughts or fears that come to mind over and over again, even though they might realize the worries do not make sense. Some examples of obsessive thoughts are fear of contamination, accidental violence, or needing to feel “just right.”
Continue reading

Seeing veterans as people – and patients

U-M experts call attention to more female and young veterans getting care from non-VA teams

vet2

As our nation salutes veterans on Veterans Day, it’s an important chance to remember that 70 percent of our veterans — including the thousands who served in Iraq and Afghanistan — get their health care outside the VA health system.

The VA offers new programs designed to expand access to care. So, civilian doctors, nurses and other health professionals are treating many of those who served — and may not even know of their service.

Plus, more of those veterans are women than in previous generations — 2.2 million in all. This makes caring for veterans even more different than it once was.

At the University of Michigan Medical School, students training for careers in medicine and other health professions can get new training to help them understand how a veteran’s experience in the military can influence his or her health.

Continue reading

Need health insurance? The time to sign up is now!

U-M counselors can help you understand your options under the Affordable Care Act

We've got you coveredEverywhere you go these days, from the supermarket to the cell phone store, you face a dizzying array of choices.

Most of the time, you do your best to pick – and hope you got the best choice.

But what about choosing health insurance?

Right now, anyone can go online at www.healthcare.gov and shop for a health insurance plan for themselves and their family or small business. Many people qualify for financial help to make it easier to afford coverage. Some even qualify for free or low-cost coverage under the Healthy Michigan Plan.

And University of Michigan experts can help you choose the plan that’s right for you.

If you don’t get coverage, you’ll owe a penalty on your taxes next year – and that penalty is getting steeper by the year. So now’s the time to look at your coverage options.

Continue reading

Fitness versus fatness: which matters more?

Two U-M experts weigh in on what the evidence tells us

scale2There is a longstanding debate in the research community about the importance of fitness versus fatness in health. Are exercise and improving fitness more important than eating well and maintaining a healthy weight?

Some researchers argue fatness does not affect health as long as you are fit, which means your heart and lungs are strong. And national campaigns like Let’s Move are focused on exercise for health without a specific focus on weight loss.

Continue reading

After accident: “I was so thankful for that car seat”

Buckle Up For Life grant to help Mott program expand car seat safety education program and free car seat giveaway

carseat2Ariana Jacobs and her newborn daughter were riding in a car with a friend one winter when the car suddenly hit a patch of black ice at a stoplight, careening past oncoming traffic and straight into a tree.

Panicked, the new mom anxiously turned to look in the back seat.

 

Continue reading

Tips and tricks for managing your diabetes at U-M Diabetes Health Fair

Join us for the ninth annual event

iStock_000058425488_Double

If you live with diabetes, you already know it has its fair share of challenges. Checking blood sugar levels constantly, eating properly, and trying to keep sugar levels normal becomes a daily, sometimes even hourly, task. So what if you could pick up a few easy tips and tricks to help with managing your diabetes?

Our U-M Diabetes Education Program has a free health fair designed just for you. In celebration of World Diabetes Day, the program will hold its ninth annual U-M Diabetes Health Fair on Saturday, November 7, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Sheraton Ann Arbor Hotel (3200 Boardwalk St., Ann Arbor, MI 48108).

The fair is free and open to the public, and includes vendors from pump and diabetes supply companies, as well as exhibitors from various U-M Health System departments and programs.

There will also be free health screenings for cholesterol, blood glucose, A1C and BMI, as well as blood pressure checks, and diabetes foot screenings. Continue reading