Nelsan Ellis’ family helped fight addiction stigma by speaking out about his death

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In the immediate wake of Nelsan Ellis’ death from complications following heart failure, his family did something remarkable. 

On Monday, after news of Ellis’ death spread, they chose to elaborate on how the 39-year-old True Blood actor experienced heart failure in the first place. 

The health crisis was brought on by alcohol withdrawal, they said in a statement delivered to The Hollywood Reporter by Ellis’ manager. In fact, Ellis had long battled addictions to both drugs and alcohol, and had made several previous attempts to receive treatment.  Read more…

More about Mental Health, Addiction, Carrie Fisher, Nelsan Ellis, and Substance Use

Put your smartphone away, you’re missing the entire history of you

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No, you’re not that important or busy. Put your smartphone away and pay more attention to the world around you.

Better yet, leave your smartphone over there, where you can’t get to it for a few hours. 

Now breathe deep and try not to panic. The world (probably) isn’t going to end while you’re deprived of your mobile pacifier. That’s what a lot of us are thinking, but we’re too heads down in our smartphones to tell each other that. 

The Handmaid’s Tale, The Hunger Games, the Divergent series, somehow none of these dystopian sci-fi parables have prepared us for a techno-centric world in which the shuffling, oblivious zombies are us. In 2016, a report in the Wall Street Journal cited stats from the Consumer Product Safety Commission indicating that emergency room visits by distracted pedestrians using mobile phones were up 124 percent from 2014. The same report claimed that such accidents have increased 10-fold from 2006. Let there be no doubt, although we’re increasingly aware of our distracted driving problems, we also have a serious distracted walking problem.  Read more…

More about Smartphone, Addiction, and Tech

The ‘digital wellness lady’ is on a mission to make you unplug

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Step into the Center for Digital Wellness and you’ll likely hear people chatting and that’s about it. Because that’s what the Wi-Fi disabled room at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, is for re-connecting and interacting with your fellow humans — no screens, gizmos, or gadgets in the way.

You might find the center’s founder, Sylvia Frejd, a minister and counselor by training, in the conversation corner with the fireplace lit, or at the so-called “kitchen table,” ready for a chat and face-to-face interaction. “Look up,” she advises students — and faculty and staff — often walking with their heads down in their phones. “Experience the world around you.”  Read more…

More about Addiction, Gadgets, Smartphones, Devices, and Gen Z

Even Selena Gomez feels like sh*t when she looks at Instagram

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Being Instagram famous isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, even when you’re a super-famous celebrity.

In a new Vogue interview, singer and actress Selena Gomez, who is also the most-followed person on Instagram with 113 million followers, confessed she is no longer in control of her own Instagram account.

Citing fatigue with the photo and video-sharing platform, Gomez says she deleted the app from her phone and doesn’t have the password to it. 

So who the heck is posting on her account if it’s not her? Like so many celebrity social media accounts, Gomez has an assistant who now runs her Insta account and carefully crafts a public image to present to fans. Read more…

More about Addiction, Social Media, Instagram, Selena Gomez, and Tech

‘I saw my fear’: How psychedelic therapy is making a comeback

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After learning in 2010 that she had Stage 1 ovarian cancer, Dinah Bazer felt optimistic. Her doctors had just removed the grapefruit-sized tumor bulging from her belly and started her on a course of chemotherapy.   

“I thought, when the chemo is over, we’ll celebrate,” Bazer, who is now 69, recalled. “But it was the exact opposite.”

Bazer’s cancer was in remission, yet she felt terrified by the possibility of its return. Every check-up filled her with dread. She gained weight stress-eating bags of Halloween candy in her Brooklyn home. The upbeat spirit she’d shown her husband and two grown daughters was completely gone.    Read more…

More about Medicine, Cancer, Treatment, Addiction, and Anxiety