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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Weekend Funnies: Easter Bunny on the Couch

I'm not sure about what any of you gave up for lent, but I gave up chocolate. Wow...only one more day to go!


Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday Free Association Chain

The word is....


RULES: First commenter free associates (writes the first word that comes to mind) with the above word. Second commenter free associates to the first commenter's word, and so on. Remember - the FIRST thing that comes to mind.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Review of Afterlife by Hank Hanegraaff

Today I'm reviewing Hank Hanegraaff's new book Afterlife: What You Need to Know About Heaven, the Hereafter, and Near-Death Experiences. You might know Hank from his radio program, The Bible Answer Man.

Here's a blurb from Hank's website:

If there was ever a need-to-know book, AfterLife is it. On his daily call-in radio show, the most common questions Hank fields are about the hereafter. For instance, millions are voraciously reading about the near-death experiences of young children. Consumers are desperate for knowledge and reassurance about what comes after life on this earth. Hank Hanegraaff, one of the most remarkable theological minds of the 21st century, explains the marvelous way this physical life connects our past to our eternal future. AfterLife gives readers a clear and concrete understanding about what happens after death to us and to those we love.

One quick glance at Amazon's Religion & Spirituality category yields a plethora of recent books about near-death experiences (NDEs). To name three that are extremely popular: Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife by Eben Alexander, To Heaven and Back: A Doctor's Extraordinary Account of Her Death, Heaven, Angels, and Life Again: A True Story by Mary C. Neal, and Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back by Todd Burpo.

So I was very interested in a more critical look at these near-death experiences, and I found that in Hank's book.  He makes the case clear for the need to evaluate all these books cautiously and carefully. He points out that the myriad of NDEs can not all be true because many of them contradict or cancel each other out. Hank lines them up against what the Bible says, illuminating them all as a whole.

For example, some have NDEs that include Hell or judgment, but others experience no need for anything like that. Can both be true? Or possibly each holds only a piece of the puzzle. Either way, Hank makes a great case for approaching these subjective experiences with caution. Perhaps this just appeals to my analytical brain, but I think we'd all do wiser to be more keen about what we ingest and call fact.

Hank answers questions like the following:
  • What is heaven like? Will there be pets there? Sex? Will we age?
  • What happens between death and heaven? Will we have a temporary body?
  • Is there a transitional hell? What about purgatory? Did Jesus descend into hell?
  • Doesn't a loving God want everyone in heaven? Will all religions lead to heaven? Does suicide prevent entrance into heaven? Can the cremated be resurrected?
  • What about the end times? When will the second coming happen? Will Christians be on earth or heaven during the Tribulation?
  • What must someone do to have eternal life?
Quite fascinating read, really, and definitely one of those books that you'll find yourself thinking about and musing over long after you close the last page.

You can click on the title to purchase AfterLifefrom Amazon.
Hank Hanegraaff is host of the Bible Answer Man broadcast, heard daily throughout the United States and Canada via radio, satellite radio Sirius-XM 131, and the Internet. He's author of the runaway bestsellers The Prayer of Jesus and The Complete Bible Answer Book-Collector's Edition. He and his wife, Kathy, are parents to twelve children.

Let's Analyze

Have you read any of the books mentioned about the afterlife or near-death experiences? What's your take? Do you think we should take those accounts in unequivocally or should we be more cautious?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Character Clinic: Helping Characters Gain Confidence

This clinic is brought to you by Sharon, who is writing a romantic suspense about Kate, a smart, talented singer/songwriter/musician. Her dad was a pro baseball player, and her mother played the glamorous role of his wife. Her mother expected Kate to follow in her footsteps, but instead, Kate was more interested in palling around with her brothers. Kate resents her mother's criticism, but also feels badly that she was less than her mother expected/wanted. She just wants to be loved as she is.

Sharon wants to know: Since Kate is a beautiful, talented woman who underestimates herself in both those areas, how can she come to a more realistic assessment of herself and gain confidence and self-esteem?

This is a great question, Sharon, because it really gets at the heart of so many of our heroine's struggles. It underscores how important a parent's unconditional love is toward their children. When a child feels that they are not enough, and indeed, get that message through either verbal or nonverbal means, it's extremely damaging to their psyche.

Let me explain why.

Birth to age 7 is called the imprint period, and a child's brain soaks up everything like a sponge and a child will indiscriminately believe anything you tell them. The belief that she isn't supposed to be who she is will become part of her implicit memory.

Implicit memory differs from explicit memory in this way: explicit consists of factual data that you can consciously recall whereas implicit data consists of ingrained skills/thoughts that we know so well they slide into our subconscious mind.

Kate knows how to ride a bike, brush her teeth, well as believe that she isn't good enough as she is. She got into this habitual pattern of evaluating herself over and over again--and no doubt her mother reinforced that time and time again--and now that belief is part of her implicit thought.

So it would be no easy feat for her to overcome this ingrained lack of confidence without some interventions. Therapeutically, this would involve delving into her past, as there is probably one incident above all others that defines how she thinks her mother feels about her. Fictionally, her character arc will conclude when you revisit this incident somehow in her black moment.

As an adult, she has the mental capacity needed to challenge this belief about her identity that she adopted when she was very young. Other characters will no doubt be utilized to help build her self-esteem, as well. It will take patience and repetitive actions on their part (say, on the part of your hero) to help Kate believe she really is accepted the way she is.

Let's Analyze

I'm sure there are authors out there reading this blog that have characters who can relate to Kate. At some point, we've all felt like we weren't enough. Did you have your characters pinpoint an exact time in their childhood when this belief really took root?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Character Archetypes 101

This week begins a new series on archetypes. This post is to introduce the concept (b/c I know writers who have no idea what an archetype is) and then I'll expound on the types themselves in subsequent posts.

What Is An Archetype?

 For literary purposes, here's our definition:

archetype \ˈär-ki-ˌtīp\ (are-ka-type) a typical example of a person/character. 

Derived from the Greek arche (beginning, origin) and type (pattern, model), the word literally means "first molded" or "first of its kind." Archetypes are universally understood across cultures. Carl Jung was the first to realize that stories were penned across the world, spanning past and present, that had characters with the same essence, and he called these archetypes.

Jung called an archetype "a universal and recurring image, pattern or motif representing a typical human experience." They evoke emotions and themes that the vast majority of people can relate to, and this gives them a psychological power writers for sure need to tap into. 

Why Use Archetypes?

What can a writer expect to gain through better understanding archetypes? Archetypes are informative, telling a writer about the character's instincts, feelings, thoughts, values, and drives. It's what fuels his actions and motivates him.

Uber important stuff.

The archetype is who the character is, his or her identity. It's their essence--and this never changes in a story. I like to think of an archetype as the bones of your character. Like scaffolding, or a framework. You never define a character's archetype by their actions, because any archetype can perform any action. The defining question to determine archetype will always by WHY you character does what s/he does.

Most characters will have several archetypes at play within themselves, but usually one will emerge primary and dominate the others more often than not.

Where Can You Find Out More About Archetypes?

Here's a few books for your library you might want to grab on the subject:

The Archetypes and The Collective Unconscious by Carl Jung
Archetypes by Caroline Myss
The Hero and the Outlaw by Margaret Mark and Carol Pearson
The Complete Writer's Guide to Heroes and Heroines by Tami Cowden
The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell
45 Master Characters by Victoria Schmidt

As a result, there are several variations of lists of archetypes, ranging from 7 types to 70+ (no joke). It seems that several versions use 12 primary types, and those will be the ones I'll expound on in future posts.

Let's Analyze

Have you had much experience with archetypes in your writing journey? Or have you been wondering what they were all about, but didn't want to appear foolish by not exactly knowing what they were? (Don't worry, you're not alone!)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Weekend Funnies: The Real Reason People Go To Therapy

How true, how true.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday Free Association Chain

The word is....


RULES: First commenter free associates (writes the first word that comes to mind) with the above word. Second commenter free associates to the first commenter's word, and so on. Remember - the FIRST thing that comes to mind.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Google Reader Goes Bye-Bye July 1st

Perhaps you've already heard of the pending death of Google Reader. This means that if you have subscribed to The Character Therapist via RSS feed and mainly use Reader to get your updates, you will be out in the cold come July 1st, 2013.

What can you do? 2 things:

 1) Subscribe to my newsletter.

If you aren't interested in receiving posts as they become available (I post Mondays and Wednesdays, then have Free Association Fridays and Weekend Funnies on Saturdays), then consider signing up for my quarterly newsletter below. I am working on my inaugural edition, and I'll be sure to include links to my most popular posts so you won't miss out.

It only takes a second, plus you'll get a complimentary copy of my Writer's Guide to Character Motivation just for doing so.


2) Subscribe to my blog via email.

Email will never go away, and you will be assured to receive the latest posts from me in your inbox. I post Mondays and Wednesdays, then have Free Association Fridays and Weekend Funnies on Saturdays, so you would receive about 3-4 emails a week. You can easily click on the link if you're interested that day, or just delete it. But at least YOU have the power to decide!

All you have to do is put your email in the box below and you're set. You can thank Google for giving you about 4 months to make this transition, but why wait?

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner
Either way, we can still stay connected.

Looking forward,

Monday, March 18, 2013

A New Question to Ask Your Characters

There's a new push in the mental health field, and I'm proud to say that California truly is on the cutting edge of this research. It's being called trauma-focused perspective or having a "trauma lens" with regards to treatment and diagnosis.

With the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th Edition, coming out in the next month or so, changes are being made to how trauma is defined, determined, and dealt with.

It's becoming very clear that most people have some sort of trauma in their background. It's not so much a question of IF the person has trauma, but HOW MUCH trauma they have. Therapists who do not assess for trauma are doing their clients an injustice.

So how should this inform your writing?

The medical model influences the way we think about a lot of things. Instead of looking at positives and strengths, we often focus on areas of weakness or symptoms. As a result, a typical question to our characters (and to other people) is couched this way:

What is wrong with you?

There is an assumption when reading (and writing) a book that something is wrong with the characters...something that needs to be fixed before the end of the book.

Character's can't remain static, they have to change. We use the character flaw to inform our writing and the character arc process, much like a therapist uses a diagnosis to inform treatment. Flaws need to be "healed" or at the very least improved upon by novel's end.

But I'd like to propose another question that you should ask your character, based on the field of psychology and the trauma lens that we need to view people (and characters!) through:

What has happened to you?

This is a huge shift from thinking about symptoms (flaws, if you will) and thinking about story. No one develops a flaw in isolation or out of the blue. Their environment, family, friends, etc., all play a role in shaping that character, giving them a reason to do what they do, or think the way they do.

What this question is really asking for is BACKSTORY.

Having a solid understanding of your character's background, their upbringing, their family dynamics, whether or not they had an attachment to caregivers, their social supports...all of this factors into the development of their flaw, which is where your story starts, in medias res (in the middle of things), before their world gets rocked by the call to action.

A character's flaw does not define them. Their backstory gives context to the flaw's development. (Click to tweet!)

So take time to understand your character's backstory. It'll be the skeleton on which you hang the muscles and skin of your story. Just like a real skeleton, the readers will never see it, but it will govern and guide the story start to finish.

Let's Analyze

What do you think about asking the new question of "What happened to you?" instead of "What's wrong with you?" How might this impact your understanding of characterization...and people in general?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Weekend Funnies: The Bathtub Test

One day I asked my therapist, "How do you determine whether or not a client should be put in a psychiatric facility?"

"Well," he said, "we fill up a bathtub, then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the person to empty the bathtub."

"Oh, I understand," I said. "A sane person would use the bucket because it is bigger than the spoon or the teacup."

"No" he said. "A sane person would pull the plug. Do you want a bed near the window?"

Thanks to Ed for this one!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday Free Association Chain

The word is....


RULES: First commenter free associates (writes the first word that comes to mind) with the above word. Second commenter free associates to the first commenter's word, and so on. Remember - the FIRST thing that comes to mind.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Character Clinic: Preventing Whiny Characters

Mollie sent in this character clinic back before I closed my site to freebie assessments. I just now realized that I still had about 5 or so in the queue! (Sorry guys and gals!)

Mollie is writing a YA fantasy about 17-year-old Seraphina, the last living Nephilim on earth. Her mother moved them from England to the U.S. after her father went missing in the British military. Her mother died, but not before Sera said several things to her she now regrets. She was raped earlier that year at school.

Mollie wants to know: How can I make her seem real and react to the death of her mom, the supernatural gifts she's been given, moving to a new country, etc., in a way that is believable without sounding whiny?

What Mollie has brought to the table blog is this question:

What is the line between having issues and being whiny?

People read books about characters with issues. Most main characters have been through at least one traumatic experience, if not more. Writers can definitely fall victim to the trapping that the more issues, the sadder the backstory, the more intense trauma, etc., will make their character more real and relatable.

Authors don't want to minimize pain or handle it poorly to where the reader is rolling their eyes at the whiny angst and melodrama (which YA is especially known for due to the dramatic nature of teenagers).

There is such a thing as too many issues. I wrote a post that was subsequently reblogged over 39,000 times on Tumblr that addressed this very issue. This is something people are thinking about. Is there a point when you can give your character too hard a time?

I have a couple of suggestions for how you can portray her pain, but not overdo it. Here's my take:

1) Have someone else notice it.

We don't utilize the observations of others much in our own lives. We are egocentric people, and we go through life thinking about ourselves...our actions and words. But we don't act or talk in a vacuum. Utilize the other characters to notice, for example, how reluctant she is around men, or how she shies away from physical contact of any sort. You don't have to put the reader in her head, listening to her internal monologue about how scared men make her.

2) Make sure she doesn't complain ALL the time.

Readers will actually take a little whine if the story captivates them. (Um, Twilight, anyone?). A good way to do this is to avoid emotion words. Sounds odd, I know, but focus instead of showing her emotion. Trust the reader enough to know that they will pick up on the emotion without you hitting them over the head with it.

3) Utilize a little humor and/or sarcasm.

This can be accomplished through the character's voice or even the narrator's. When a character knows how to laugh at herself, even if the moment is more serious...this can lighten the mood for the reader.

4) Have her be proactive about her pain.

It's one thing for a character to sit around and lament their woes day in and day out. But it's another who laments their woes and actually gets off the couch to try to do something about it. If she's got issues with the rape, have her seek counseling services. If she regrets what she said to her mom, have her journal her thoughts or write her a letter to leave at the graveside. The gestures don't have to be life-changing, and it actually makes for a better story when the character makes some misguided gestures to alleviate their pain.

Let's Analyze

What other ways could someone prevent having a whiny character? What examples of whiny characters come to mind, so that we can learn how NOT to do it?

Monday, March 11, 2013

A Therapist's Take on Silver Linings Playbook

I saw Silver Linings Playbook over the weekend, and I have to say....this is one movie that gripped me start to finish. Excellent acting and real-to-life portrayal of life with mental illness.

Bradley Cooper astonished me. Until now, I've always thought of him as the quintessential  good-looking romcom actor, but he proved himself with this flick.

Don't read any further if you don't want a few spoilers!

Here is a synopsis if you want to reacquaint yourself with the movie.

The Good

1) Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and Robert DeNiro blow the acting out of the water. 

All three suffer from significant mental illnesses (Cooper has bipolar, Lawrence is a reformed sex addict with recurring bouts of depression, and DeNiro has a serious gambling problem combined with OCD-like superstition. When they first meet, Cooper and Lawrence share a funny, yet inappropriate, dinner conversation about the types of medications they have taken. Cooper has no filter on what he says, and combined with Lawrence's reckless, brash, and devil-may-care attitude, they make quite the pair.

2) The family dynamics are so true to life of families dealing with mental illness.

Cooper's older brother is the "good" son, the overachiever. He rubs his successes in his brother's face at their very first meeting after Cooper gets out of the mental hospital. Cooper's mother checks him out right after his 8 months is over, against doctor's advice, and brings him home. She enables not only her son's issues, but also her husband's. DeNiro is amazing as the superstitious bookmaking (gambling) father, and he shamelessly feeds his addiction by using his Cooper and putting him situations he's not ready for.

3) There is a great mix of laugh-out-loud and gut-wrenching moments.

The dance competition that Cooper agrees to be a part of with Lawrence is just one of the funniest scenes I've ever witnessed. Their attempt at a "dirty dancing" style life ends with her crotch in his face for several moments. Great big belly laughs! There's also another hysterically dysfunctional scene when DeNiro is negotiating the biggest gamble of his life and the scene is so chaotic and's just something you don't want to miss.

On the other hand, it's so sad to realize that Cooper walked in on his wife, snapped, and nearly killed someone. The song that was playing while his wife had the affair is a constant trigger for him, and he goes into a rage when he hears it. When Cooper goes off his meds, thinking he's doing better, he had a breakdown that wakes up the entire neighborhood. It had me and my therapist friend holding our hands over our mouths, totally wrapped up in the drama.

The Bad

The therapist would lose his license in real life.

Not sure how the the author of the book portrayed the therapist, but in the flick, he behaves unethically. He plays the song that triggers Cooper while he's in the waiting room, an uncontrolled environment. Cooper loses it and scares everyone in the waiting room, and the therapist just says, "I wanted to see if it was still a problem for you." WHAT? If a therapist was going to do something like this, it would be in session where no one would be in harm's way.

The therapist runs into Cooper at an Eagles game and tells him that on that day, they aren't therapist and client, but "brothers." I get that he's referring to rooting for the same side in a sports competition, but you are always in a therapeutic relationship with a matter where you are. You're never friends.

Perhaps the most damning thing he does is go to Cooper's house after they all get arrested at the game for fighting. The therapist is there while the very dysfunctional scene ensues with DeNiro and the gambling, and stands by while his client is placed in a horrible situation as part of a parlay of the bet. He says nothing. He attends the dance competition and gives the whole incredibly unstable betting thing his silent seal of approval. In all honesty, he should lose his license.

Let's Analyze

As you can see, the good far outweighs the bad! Go see this film if you haven't already. If you have seen the film, what did you think of it? Wasn't the acting amazing?

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Weekend Funnies: Hardest OCD Decision EVER

 Thanks to my husband for tagging me with this photo on facebook!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Friday Free Association Chain

The word is....


RULES: First commenter free associates (writes the first word that comes to mind) with the above word. Second commenter free associates to the first commenter's word, and so on. Remember - the FIRST thing that comes to mind.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Medical Issues Masqurading as Mental Illness Part II

I'm so honored to have Jordyn Redwood back today! If you missed her post Monday, click here. Once again, we're crossblogging on each other's blog. My post today focuses on types of serial killers.

It's all yours, Jordyn.


Acute Intermittent Porphyria
I’m continuing my two-part series on medical conditions that can initially present as psychiatric ones. Last post I talked about Cerebral Salt Wasting Syndrome which can happen in patients who have suffered head injury.
Today, something new. Something I hadn’t even heard of until now.
I work with physicians on a daily basis in my job as a pediatric ER nurse. Now, all of them are smart but a couple are UBER-smart and if your kid is the zebra in the forest you would definitely want one of these two ladies to be on.
I posed Jeannie’s request to one of these women and the first thing to slip off her tongue was Acute Intermittent Porphyria. And then when she said it was a genetic condition—my ears were all sorts of perked up more because I am a medical nerd at heart and love learning new things.
Just what is Acute Intermittent Porphyria or AIP?
AIP is a group of rare diseases that are passed down from families where the important part of hemoglobin (which is attached to your red blood cells) is not made properly as the result of a deficiency of certain enzymes. Heme is also found in certain muscles.
AIP is an autosomal dominant disease. The leading problem is neurologic damage that can first show as psychiatric manifestations like anxiety, agitation, hallucinations, hysteria, delirium and depression and these patients are commonly misdiagnosed as having a psychiatric illness. There are 1-5 cases per 100,000 people but can be as high as 60-100 cases per 100,000 people in northern Sweden. It affects women more than men. Hmm—I wonder if this lends to the initial psychiatric diagnosis. Most patients become sick between the ages of 18-40.
The normal sequence during an acute attack is abdominal pain, followed by psychiatric symptoms and then peripheral neuropathies. Patients can be symptom free between attacks.
One important step in the diagnosis is to check the patient’s urine for porphobilinogen and I can tell you that this is not a common urine test at all.
Treatment is to decrease heme synthesis and reduce the precursors of porphyrin. This is accomplished by giving the patient high doses of glucose (sugar) for mild attacks and hematin for severe attacks. Narcotics can be used effectively for pain control.
What do you think? Have you ever heard of this particular genetic disease?
If interested in learning more—please follow the links that I used as a reference for this piece.
Thanks so much Jeannie for hosting me! It’s been a pleasure to be here with your readers.
And if you’re a writer looking for medical help—I run a medical blog for authors (what Jeannie does only on the medical side.) You can find it at
Jordyn Redwood is a pediatric ER nurse by day, suspense novelist by night. She hosts Redwood’s Medical Edge, a blog devoted to helping contemporary and historical authors write medically accurate fiction. Her first two novels, Proof and Poison, garnered starred reviews from Library Journal and have been endorsed by the likes of Dr. Richard Mabry, Lynette Eason, and Mike Dellosso to name a few. You can connect with Jordyn via her website at

Thanks, Jordyn, for taking the time to inform us of these amazing disorders that we could wrangle into our fiction.

Let's Analyze

After reading about Cerebral SaltWasting Syndrome and Acute Intermittent Porphyria, what are your thoughts about leading readers along a merry chase? You get them thinking that a character has a serious psychological problem, only to resolve it with a medical problem that's easily treated?

Monday, March 4, 2013

Medical Issues Masquerading as Mental Illness - Part 1

Life surprises me, especially with regards to how people connect. My guest blogger this week, Jordyn Redwood, and I discovered each other through our blogs. She runs a blog devoted to helping authors write medically accurate fiction.

Sound familiar? It's what I try to do with this blog, except I focus on psychological consistency and feasibility. Jordyn and I are crossblogging this week on each other's blog, with my post today focusing on common characteristics of psychopaths, and her post featuring medical issues that sometimes present as psychological ones.

Writers, this stuff is invaluable, so I hope you continue reading. Without further ado, here's Jordyn!


Cerebral Salt Wasting Syndrome
I’m honored to be here at The Character Therapist. I’ll be interested to hear some of Jeannie’s thoughts on the character issues going on in my latest medical thriller Poison. I think there will be plenty for her to diagnose! Is there truly such a thing as repressed memories? Can hypnosis influence someone to do something they don’t want to do? Is brainwashing possible?
Hmm . . .
I’m taking the opposite side of Jeannie’s couch and talking about medical conditions that can initially present like psychiatric ones. Those that some physicians could even diagnose as mental disorders. This is one reason why it is preferred that a patient see a licensed physician first—particularly with what may be initially thought of as a psychiatric complaint to rule out a medical cause.
During my years as a PICU nurse (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) I took care of a young girl who had been involved in a car accident and suffered a head injury. Over the course of a couple of days she became increasingly agitated and paranoid. We do try to calm children by giving them distraction activities (games, watching TV, etc) to keep their minds off what is happening medically. It was around Christmastime and I put on the older, Claymation version of Rudolph and the Yeti.
Well, as this young patient of mine watched this movie it caused her to completely come unhinged and she also began to have hallucinations of bugs and other things crawling over her. In light of her head injury, the physician first thought of a medical cause but if a patient were to present with the paranoia and hallucinations and the medical team didn’t know about previous head injury (like a patient who perhaps was knocked over the head with a beer bottle several days before, was knocked out, but seemingly okay after that and never sought treatment) we might first assume a psychiatric issue.
What this patient had was a condition known as Cerebral SaltWasting Syndrome. Cerebral salt wasting syndrome usually develops in the first week following brain injury. A good friend of mine’s husband actually developed this syndrome after he’d fallen out of a top bunk onto a cement floor incurring several serious head and neck injuries. Other brain events that can lead to this condition include brain tumor, brain surgery, stroke and a brain bleed. It can also occur in the absence of brain disease. 
The exact mechanism is not clear but what happens biologically is the kidneys begin leaking excessive amounts of salt (or sodium). The body is very sensitive to increases and decreases in sodium. Normal levels are 135-145 mmol/L.
The patient can have hallucinations, confusion, lethargy, agitation, headache, altered consciousness, seizures and subsequent coma. Severity of symptoms is directly related to the level and loss of sodium. The lower the number the more symptomatic the patient is.
Treatment: These patients need to be admitted in the hospital. Sodium levels cannot be corrected too quickly or more problems can ensue for the patient. They must be monitored under direct medical care. Usually, hypertonic (IV solutions with a lot of sodium) fluids are given to the patient to restore sodium and balance fluid. Once the patient is stable—they may need to take salt supplements.
Good news is the syndrome usually spontaneously resolved in 2-4 weeks.

Thanks so much for this info, Jordyn. Don't forget to come back on Wednesday for Part Two in this series!

Jordyn Redwood is a pediatric ER nurse by day, suspense novelist by night. She hosts Redwood’s Medical Edge, a blog devoted to helping contemporary and historical authors write medically accurate fiction. Her first two novels, Proof and Poison, garnered starred reviews from Library Journal and have been endorsed by the likes of Dr. Richard Mabry, Lynette Eason, and Mike Dellosso to name a few. You can connect with Jordyn via her website at

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Weekend Funnies: OCD Cat...You Gotta See This!


"Don't step on the cracks!"

Friday, March 1, 2013

Roundtable Discussion: Free Association and Blog Stats

I'm curious about two things:

1) Should I continue with Friday Free Association Chains? 

Initially, it was to be a way for readers to leave comments on my blog in a non-threatening way, as many of my blog posts don't lend themselves to normal comments. But lately, it seems interest is waning, as comments have been fairly dismal in number, and I'm totally up for trying something else...I just have no idea what. What else might fit with my blog niche?

2) Does anyone out there know why my stats basically tripled this past week? 

No joke. It's completely baffled me, though I'm not complaining! Did some college professor somewhere tell their entire class to come to my site? Seems this post is generating all the hits.

Let's Analyze

Please, please, please give me some feedback about either question #1 or #2. I will be your biggest fan!