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Mind Matters 

As a practicing psychiatrist for the last 20 years, Dr. Donna Mancuso (229 Bellemeade Blvd., Suite 420, Gretna, 392-8348) has helped adult patients cope with and overcome a variety of life stressors, interpersonal conflicts and disorders. In addition to her private practice " through which she offers medication management, psychotherapy and psychoanalysis " Mancuso has a subspecialty in forensic psychiatry, which focuses on the interface between the law and mental health. That part of her practice includes psychiatric consultations in legal matters, expert court testimony and work with both perpetrators and victims. The common thread that binds Mancuso's work is the goal of helping patients achieve personal growth and improve their quality of life.

'The majority of patients come in for depression or anxiety or other life problems," Mancuso says. 'But not everyone is having an acute crisis in their lives. Sometimes people are dissatisfied with aspects of their personalities and want to work on those in order to have more content lives. They're interested in looking into what drives their behavior and working on changing the behavior so that their lives flow more easily."

During the holidays, feelings of sadness and loneliness can arise from or be exacerbated by everything from unrealistic expectations about the season to relationship losses and financial limitations. Mancuso recommends people reduce those stresses by eliminating or limiting alcohol; getting regular exercise; thinking of creative, inexpensive ways to give gifts; volunteering; celebrating the season with others; and planning something to look forward to after the holidays. If sadness, sleeplessness, crying spells, low energy or suicidal thoughts persist, she recommends seeking professional help.

Two years ago, Mancuso began sharing office space with Dr. Daphne Glindmeyer, a psychiatrist who sees adult and older adolescent patients. She also has a subspecialty in forensic psychiatry. While Glindmeyer focuses primarily on medication management, she often refers patients to Mancuso for psychotherapy or psychoanalysis. This comprehensive approach insures that all of their patients' needs are met. Mancuso, the past president of the Louisiana Psychiatric Medical Association, and Glindmeyer, the current president, both were included in the annual Best Doctors In America list this year. They share a perspective that patients should be active, informed participants in their health care.

'The patient is the customer," says Glindmeyer, who advises anyone seeking treatment to shop around for the right patient-doctor fit. 'We want what's best for them."

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