Wednesday, November 23, 2011
When it comes to emotional problems, therapy is a needed treatment

By Dr. Anthony Policastro

There are many medical related issues that take long periods of time to develop. These include things like anxiety and depression. In our current instant gratification culture, people tend to look for the short cut solution to problems which does not make sense logically. Using medication for anxiety treats the symptoms but does not cure the problem. Using medication for depression also treats the symptoms but does not cure the problem. This is like someone who develops a fever. They can take Tylenol or ibuprofen for the fever. However, when the medication wears off, the fever comes back. We need to find the reason for the fever. Once that is treated, the Tylenol or ibuprofen are no longer needed. While we are waiting for the treatment to work, we continue treating the fever. Once the underlying problem is cured, fever medications are no longer needed. The same approach is necessary when dealing with emotional problems. Using a medication to treat the symptoms only treats the symptoms. It does not cure the underlying problem. Once the medication is stopped, the symptoms come back. The only way to stop the need for the medication long term is to correct the underlying problem. Most underlying problems took months or years to develop. That means that the treatment will also take time. Some underlying problems are easier to treat than others. These problems have a specific cause and have not been present very long. An example is helping a depressed individual get over the death of a loved one. These types of situations are the exception. Most people will have a need for an extended period of therapy. Unfortunately, most people have little desire for getting the therapy that is needed. They are looking for the instant gratification of a medication that helps them feel better. The result is that they might wind up remaining on medication for a much longer period than is necessary. Another issue is the desire to begin medication before beginning therapy for the condition. That makes some sense when the symptoms are disabling. However, in most cases, patients do not have symptoms that warrant medication. Therapy might be all that is necessary. Again they want the quick fix which might help the symptoms. If you think about it, the only thing the quick fix does is allow the underlying problem to get worse. It doesnt get treated or get better. The symptoms are only being temporarily controlled. The underlying problem is getting worse. The result is that once the individual does get help, the problem has been present for a longer period of time which means a longer period of treatment will be necessary. The bottom line is that there are no short cuts for treating emotional issues. They develop over time. Proper treatment takes time. Medications help control the symptoms but they do not cure the disease.

NAR-ANON support group Take Heart, Be Strong is a support group available to those family members and friends who are concerned about the drug/alcohol addiction of a loved one. We find people in NAR-ANON who understand what we are going through and are ready to share their experience, strength and hope to help us. This group meets at 7 p.m. every Thursday in the Youth Room at Crossroad Community Church, 20684 State Forest Rd., Georgetown. If you are interested or know someone who might be, call Beth at 302-745-0466. This is an anonymous program and there are no obligations. Attendance is welcome with no prior arrangements. For more information and other meeting locations, visit

UD hosts states biggest blood drive Blue Hen supporters made history recently in a massive blood drive competition. More than 1,350 blood donors registered to give blood at four drives taking place simultaneously on Wednesday, Nov. 16, throughout University of Delawares campus. After tallying the results, we were absolutely thrilled. The event surpassed our previous one-day record of 900 registered donors, said Roy Roper, Blood Bank president and CEO. The blood drive event at UD was part of a competition against the other 11 schools in the Colonial Athletic Association to recruit the most blood donors in one day. UD won the first four years of this annual competition but has lost to Drexel University the past five years.

Other competing schools include: College of William and Mary, Hofstra University, Drexel University, George Mason University, Towson University, Northeastern University, Georgia State University, James Madison University, Old Dominion University, UNC Wilmington and Virginia Commonwealth University.

Summit on communicable diseases Health care professionals are invited to register for the 2011 Health Summit: Communicable Diseases on Dec. 2 in Newark. The summit runs from 7 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. at the Embassy Suites, located at 654 S. College Ave. The Health Summit is an annual event that provides the opportunity for interested physicians, pharmacists, nurses and other allied health care professionals to discuss information on new medical advances, updated guidelines, breaking research and national and state requirements relevant to the prevention and treatment of communicable diseases. Nov. 28 is the registration deadline for the summit, which is sponsored by Delawares Division of Public Health (DPH) in collaboration with the Medical Society of Delaware (MSD).Local and nationally recognized speakers will present topical issues and be available for discussion with participants. Attendees may earn five AMA PRA Category 1 credits. DPH Director Karyl T. Rattay, MD, MS will give a presentation on seasonal influenza. Other presentations include vaccination of health care workers, diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB) infection, viral hepatitis, and adolescent wellness and sexual health. To register, for credentials or more information, contact Cheryl Botbyl, Medical Society of Delaware, at 302-224-5193 or by email at Information on the conference is also available by calling the Delaware Immunization Program at 1-800-282-8672.

Breast cancer support group Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, Inc. (DBCC) has expanded its Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey, a program for women newly-diagnosed with breast cancer, by partnering with Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center in Seaford. The free, monthly program is offered at the Cancer Center located at 801 Middleford Road, Seaford, the third Thursday of each month from 3 to 4 p.m. To learn more, call Lois Wilkinson at 672-6435. Registration is required and light refreshments and small gifts are provided.

Relay for Life fundraiser Dr. Marie Wolfgang is again sponsoring a 12 night Winter Getaway Cruise to the Southern Caribbean as a fundraiser for Relay for Life, sailing from Cape Liberty, N.J. on Feb. 10. The itinerary includes St. Thomas, St. Kitts, St. Johns (Antigua), St. Lucia and St. Maarten (Philipsburg). Transportation to and from the dock is available. For a brochure, call or visit Dr. Wolfgangs office at One Cedar Ave. in Seaford, 629-4471. Space is limited.

Bereavement luncheons Delaware Hospices New Beginnings bereavement luncheons are an informal way to meet and talk with others, who have had similar loss experiences. Lunch begins at noon and is followed by a brief program.The location rotates each week of the month throughout Sussex County. New Beginnings luncheons are open to the public. Registration is not required.There is no fee except the cost of your lunch. For more information, call Midge Dinatale or Paul Ganster at 856-7717.

New depression support groups If you have been diagnosed with depression, are currently receiving treatment and need extra support, join the Mental Health Association in Delawares newest depression support groups. The support groups provide a safe and comfortable environment for adults who may be struggling with depressionto find others who may be going through similar experiences, learn coping skills and take back control of their life by being proactive. A support group meets in Seaford every Wednesday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The location of the meeting is provided only to registered members. To register, contact the Mental Health Association in Delaware at 302-654-6833 or 800-287-6423. These new groups are made possible due to a grant received from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delawares BluePrints for the Community program.