Monday, July 31, 2017

American Psychiatric Association Hosted Annual Meeting in San Diego



A graduate of Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, psychiatrist Dr. Susan Turner operates a private practice in the Flatiron District in New York. To help her remain current in the field, Dr. Susan Turner maintains membership with the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

As an organization dedicated to helping others in the industry to work together and assist those dealing with mental illness, the APA also promotes education and research, represents the profession, and promotes the highest quality of care for those it serves. The APA regularly hosts meetings, conferences, and other special events so members can network, share ideas, and gain training.

One such event is its annual meeting, which has taken place each year for more than 150 years. Themed Prevention through Partnerships, the 2017 event occurred on May 20-24 at the San Diego Convention Center. Attendees had a chance to garner continuing medical education (CME) credit, visit with exhibitors, and participate in debates. The 2018 event is scheduled for May 5-9 in New York City.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Mindfulness Practice for Panic Attacks


As a privately practicing psychiatrist, Dr. Susan Turner has treated many patients with panic disorder. Dr. Susan Turner often incorporates meditation and other mindfulness techniques into the individualized treatment plans that she creates for these indivdiuals.

For the many people who struggle with panic attacks, mindfulness can help to ease feelings of franticness and bring increased calm to both body and mind. Mindfulness refers to any technique that brings the person's awareness into the present moment. For a person with panic disorder, this can mean the chance to escape racing thoughts and experience a feeling of being grounded in reality.

Mindfulness meditation works by counteracting the instinct to push away one's feelings of fear and anxiety. Many people harbor the false belief that they can rid themselves of such emotions by ingoring them. By practicing mindfulness, an indivdiual learns that it can be significantly more effective to accept a feeling, let it pass, and ground oneself in the reality of the present moment.

Many people practice mindfulness in the form of breath awareness. There are a number of ways to do this, though most focus on noticing the feeling of breathing without trying to change it. The simple act of awareness helps to deepen and regulate the breath, which can become erratic during a panic attack.

Other options for mindfulness practice include body awareness, in which the person takes notice of the sensations they feel in individual body parts. Like breath awareness, this technique requires simple, nonjudgmental acceptance of the sensations. 

Those who prefer to focus their attention elsewhere, however, may prefer mindfulness exercises that focus on awareness of their surroundings. By looking around and noticing the objective reality of trees, buildings, furniture, and other nondescript items, without assigning value or emotion to any of them, a person can escape cycling negative thoughts and excessive fear in favor of outside reality.

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Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons alumna Dr. Susan Turner completed her residency training at the Columbia Presbyterian and New...