1. 7 Signs You Have an Anxiety Disorder

    January 6, 2014

    7 Signs You Have an Anxiety Disorder

    It’s pretty normal to get nervous on occasion, as anxiety certainly can come when you find yourself in a new situation or having to speak to a crowd.  For some individuals, though, anxiety can become a hindrance to everyday tasks and can take over their lives.

    Maybe you struggle with anxiety more often than an average person or the intensity seems to get a bit out of control at times.  How can you tell if your anxiety is normal or has crossed over into an anxiety disorder?  It’s not always easy to tell, but there are certain signs that will help you identify where you are on the scale of anxiety levels.

    If you happen to experience some of the following signs, you may want to contact a health professional (such as psychiatrist or a clinical psychologist) to discuss your anxiety and how you can manage what you are contending with.

    1. Irrational or extreme fears.  If you are extremely fearful of something or a situation, you may be dealing with irrational thoughts, which can lead to an anxiety disorder called a phobia.  If that phobia disrupts your life in ways that you are not satisfied with, it is time to face that phobia and work on overcoming that irrational fear.
    2. Extreme worry.  Excessive worry is a very common characteristic of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). If you are worrying about all sorts of things most days of the week and your life is suffering in one way or another, you may be suffering from such. It is normal to worry on occasion about something, but when the emotions get out of whack from excessive worry and it is affecting you and others negatively, it’s time to take an honest look at the cause and check into treatments.
    3. Excessive self-consciousness.  Sometimes everyone is self-conscious, but if your world starts revolving around anxiety at the thought of being in public, talking to anyone, or eating in front of people, you may have a social anxiety disorder.  Do you find yourself sweating profusely, getting a stomach ache, feeling nauseated, or stumbling all over your words while being around people?  Feeling that eyes are always on you and being super self-conscious makes for a stressful and fearful life, so if this sounds like you, you could have an anxiety disorder.
    4. Inability to sleep.  Many people have sleep problems, but if you are tossing and turning every night full of anxious thoughts and concerns racing through your mind, you may have an anxiety disorder.
    5. Digestive issues.  Anxiety certainly affects the physical body. In fact, many indigestion problems are directly linked to chronic anxiety and stress.  If you have been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, an ulcer, or other digestive issues, you may be struggling with an anxiety disorder.
    6. Feelings of panic.  Extreme feelings of panic and fear are termed panic attacks. If you find yourself suddenly gripped with paralyzing fear, a feeling of helplessness, intense emptiness feelings, racing heart, chest pain, and breathing problems, chances are you are suffering from a panic attack and require some help in order to manage such.
    7. Compulsiveness. One anxiety disorder that not many people are aware of in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).  The anxious and compulsive thoughts that go along with this can make a person feel like he or she is going crazy. For example, if you have to have every item on your desk in a certain spot and get highly upset when someone moves something- to the point of yelling- you may have an issue with OCD.

    These signs are indicators that something is not quite on target with the way you process and manage stress and anxiety. Treatment for such includes a combination psychotherapy (e.g. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy or CBT), changes in lifestyle (i.e. exercise, yoga, meditation), and healthy diet. Anti-anxiety medications may also be needed to manage severe cases of anxiety. Many people who struggle with anxiety disorders lead happy, healthy, and relaxed lives due to a variety of treatment options.

    Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spaceodissey/2580085025/

     


  2. Escaping Depression: A Middle Class Kid’s Guide

    October 11, 2013

    dealing with depression

    by Tyler Fleck

     

    I feel like a ton of people have this kind of story, the success story that is supposed to be uplifting, and drag how many readers out of a dark hole just on the merit of its ideals and noble notions. But, though I truly hope this can help, this is more of a story of how I dealt with a very dark time in my life, rather than a cure all. I hold no illusions of grandeur, no misappropriated ideals of myself—I know I’m no psychologist or therapist—but, I do know what worked for me, and maybe it can help some of you who might be dealing with a similar issue to work through it. At the least, perhaps it can give you another angle to work from. Anyways, here’s my story of how I was able to defeat depression.

    Background

    When I was younger, I went through a period of time where I felt literally nothing can go right. My friends had all moved away—save a loyal few—I couldn’t catch a break in the dating world, and my family life was crumbling as my favorite relatives left one by one, and my parents divorced. Waking up in the mornings was harder and harder every day, and it came to a point—after one of my best friends and mentors died in a car crash—that I started feeling like the darkness was never going to end.

    I felt depressed, lonely, and sometimes I just wondered what the point was. It was hard, to say the least.

    And yet, at the time, I had this strange dichotomy underscoring my life. It wasn’t really apparent at the time, but I was doing well in school, the bullies—who had marred my life before this difficult time—had all moved on to different targets (or different schools) and I still had those aforementioned loyal friends who always seemed to be there for me, even when we had our differences. But, still, I had my problems, and I had to deal with them, which I did in the only way I knew how—by throwing myself into my passions.

    Escaping the Darkness

    I remember, as a younger kid, when things got really bad, I would retreat into my books and my video games to get away from it all. With all the news as of late, many of you might think that’s wrong, that this would just open up a path for me to become some psycho serial-killer; but, for me, I truly needed the escape. Video games and movies and books gave me a whole separate land to go to that I could be king. Nothing was truly impossible, and I had a chance to get out of my head for a while, and just enjoy life. It’s strange to hear, but I think these fantasy lands actually gave me a strange sort of self-confidence; it was just easier to be me while I was playing/reading, and that transferred into the real world after a while. Even more importantly, I started gaining new friends just through common interests in these medias, which really helped me throughout Jr. High and High school, the period of time when I was rebuilding my life.

    Friends and Therapy

    But, with all this said, I don’t want to promote escapism as the only way to fix your problems. I loved playing video games, reading, and throwing myself into projects that would take my mind off of everything else, but that was only part of what I did to save my mental health. I talked to the people close to me (though there weren’t many), pried the minds of whoever would listen (of which there were even fewer), and did the same for others who needed it. Yeah, at the end of the day, those conversations only lasted a few minutes—and sometimes I would go weeks without anyone to talk about where I was in life—but, those few, fleeting moments of true human connection kept me feeling happy, alive even. It was in those moments that I knew I wasn’t completely alone, and I clung to those as hard as I could. I allowed them to drag me out of the dark place I lived in, and it got me where I am today; a perfectly functioning, outgoing individual.

    I also gained a major appreciation for therapy out of this period of time, as I found a wonderful therapist—a family friend—who was really able to connect to me on an emotional level, and kind of help me through all the bad parts of my life. Honestly, I was really lucky in finding someone who could, in conjunction with my friends, help me see the things that I wasn’t seeing, which I now think is probably the hardest part of getting out of a depressed state. It really was so difficult to appreciate the better parts of my life, when everything else seemed so bad. This is kind of why I have such a high appreciation for therapy now, and is precisely why I it makes me happy to see therapy becoming a much more integral part of our society. I really think that, though it doesn’t work for everyone, just having someone to talk to is the key to getting around the darkness in your life, and a therapist gives you that person if you don’t really have anyone else.

    No Regrets

    The strange thing is, I don’t look back on those moments of darkness and wish they never happened—not anymore at least. I mean, I have no doubt life would have been better then without them, and who knows, maybe it would be better now. But, I honestly feel stronger now because of it. I can see my weaknesses for what they were, and I can push myself as far away from them as possible, which has garnered me a rather large social circle, and an even closer relationship with my friends and family, who stuck with me through thick and thin.

    I know that my story probably isn’t as sad, or as hardship-filled, as many who share here on this blog; but I also know that there are a lot of people out there who do have it good, who have loving friends and family and yet cannot see how great things are because of an unnamed inner turmoil. This story is for you, because sometimes it’s hardest to see that light when it’s everywhere but right in front of you. Just take it from me, someone who has also gone through what you have; you just have to look around a bit to find it.

    Author Bio: Tyler Fleck is a multi-purpose blogger who truly supports the therapeutic industry with all his heart. This is precisely why he wrote this article, to get this stuff out of his head and onto paper, as well as to help support a company whose goal really is quite noble, TurnKey Therapy. So, if you are a therapist looking for a way to connect with more clients, check out TurnKey’s website and their home therapy software. It truly is making a difference in the therapy industry.

    Image Credit: Daniel Horacio Agostini at http://www.flickr.com/photos/dhammza/94194086

     


  3. Understanding Personality Disorders

    October 3, 2013

    by Jessica Galbraith

     

    Personality disorders are widely misunderstood by the general public. Although an estimated 10% of people have some type of personality disorder (Mental Health Foundation), the negative stigma that is attached to them makes diagnosing and follow-up treatment difficult. There are ten major types of personality disorders, which cover a wide range of personality spectrum.

     

    Getting diagnosed can be a challenge in itself, and usually includes psychological testing by a registered psychologist or psychiatrist, extensive interviews, and meeting strict criteria specified by Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by the American Psychiatric Association. Let us explore what exactly constitutes a personality disorder, the diagnostic process, and the treatment options available to those who have been diagnosed.

    Getting diagnosed with a personality disorder can be scary, but also brings relief.

     

    What is a personality disorder?

    Each of us has our own unique personality which determines how we behave, process, and feel. We each react to situations differently, from social engagements to trauma. As we go through life, we learn to cope with these experiences. For someone with a personality disorder, this becomes much more difficult. They may feel isolated, misunderstood, and have a generally hard time in every aspect of life. The illness affects their relationships and how they process their feelings.

     

     

    What types of personality disorders are there?

     

    There are ten officially recognized personality disorders, which are categorized into three groups.

    •  Suspicious Disorders: paranoid personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder, and schizotypal personality disorder.
    •  Emotional and Impulsive Disorders: anti-social personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder
    •  Anxious Disorders: avoidant personality disorder, dependent personality disorder, obsessive compulsive personality disorder

     

    Depression and anxiety are often present with a personality disorder, however the severity can range from mild to unmanageable. In addition, many sufferers deal with issues such as self-harm, eating disorders, panic attacks, and substance abuse.

      on the edge of suicide

    90% of people who commit suicide have a diagnosable personality disorder.

     

    Diagnosing and Treatment

    Getting diagnosed is often the biggest issue in mental health. Most people don’t seek help until they are forced to by family or friends, or until their illness escalates into a serious situation. Once a healthcare professional is able to assess what the person is dealing with, they will check if they meet enough criteria to be officially diagnosed with a disorder. A large majority of people who suffer from a mental health disorder, meet the criteria for two or even three others. There is usually multiple interviews to determine if the issues are constant or only related to a recent life changing event such as a divorce or loss. Once it has been established that they are dealing with a personality disorder, a treatment plan is devised. For many years, the general consensus was that there was no cure for mental illness. This is changing rapidly however, as research and mental illness education is becoming more accepted and prevalent. Those who have been diagnosed with a personality disorder, more often than not, face a lifetime struggle trying to find a balance through medication and therapy. The goal is usually to manage the disorder as much as possible rather than fix it. Medication can help side issues such as anxiety and depression, and psychotherapy is effective in addressing feelings and concerns as they arise.

     

    Common Misconceptions

    Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths out there on mental illness. One of the most common is that personality disorders are not treatable. While treatment is never expected to ‘fix’ the person, it does make life manageable; many people live normal lives with families, jobs, and a functional day-to-day. Another common myth is that mental illness isn’t a real condition. This of course, just isn’t the case. Mental illness is as real as any physical illness and has been linked to genetics and other neurological factors. Mental illness is also commonly believed to be a weakness in a person, and that it is something they should be able to snap out of. These types of misconceptions do tremendous harm to those who suffer with personality disorders. It can deter them in seeking help and creates feelings of shame.

     

    The misconceptions about mental illness are immense, but education initiatives are slowly making their mark.  As the general public becomes more informed, hopefully the myths and stigmas attached to mental illness will fade. There is still very limited research on the long-term benefits of various treatment options, but more and more research is being done. The future for those who suffer with mental illness has never looked better; but there is still a long way to go.

     

     

    Author Bio: Jessica Galbraith is a freelance writer who covers a variety of topics. In addition to freelance writing she is involved in social media recruiting.

    Image Credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mytudut/5180391961 and http://www.flickr.com/photos/h-k-d/3685379062/

     

     

     


  4. How To Recover From a Failed Relationship

    September 23, 2013

    lost love

    by Connie Jameson

    While looking for our one perfect love, we usually run across a few loves that only seem to be “the one and only”. And then we say goodbye to our illusions, which on the other hand usually helps us make the decision of breaking up with our partner.

     

    No matter whether the decision of separation comes from you or your partner, the recovery from a failed relationship is never easy. Living though this period sometimes takes a lot of time and in order to learn how to bear the whole process more easily, you need to have in mind some of the specialists’ advices that will help you turn back to your “normal” way of life sooner.

     

    Separate like grown-ups

     

    Save yourself the insults, arguments, unwanted arguments and infidelity. Be honest with yourself and your ex-partner and try to separate as friends.

     

    Remember that you won’t feel better if you start blaming your partner for everything that happened between you two, because it is very likely to get the same amount of insults and this usually means that things will get ugly.

     

    If you are married and you have made the serious decision of getting divorced, make it as quickly as you can – the sooner all divorce procedures end up, the faster you will be able to start your new life.

     

    Do not idealize your ex

     

    Often, some people who were walked out on, are inclined to create an idealistic image of the person who is no longer in their life and start blaming themselves for losing the Perfect One. Don’t do that. This way you will only create a non-existing image that you will not be willing to let go easily. Try to face the fact that everybody has their flaws. The same applies to your ex.

     

    Leave the home you have shared with your ex

     

    Try to do the same with all the places where you have been together. Do not put some salt in your own wounds and stop visiting your favourite places, trying to remember the good old days. Change your home, choose another restaurant where you can go in the Friday nights and keep yourself away from all the places that are able to recall the pain back.

     

    Find yourself a new hobby

     

    Start working out, or visit the local theatre more often, start going out with some friends, etc. In other words – start doing everything that you have wanted to do when you had a relationship. Watching romantic movies is strictly prohibited, you can see why, right?

     

    Prepare yourself for the changes in your life

     

    When it’s a fact, the separation and the failed relationship is hanging over your head like a sword, and you think that the pain will never go away. That is not the right approach. Try thinking of all the positive things in your life that are yet to follow. It is time to make changes.

     

    Do not make hasty decisions and start a new relationship very soon

     

    Some people rush into a new relationship right after they have broken up with someone just because they are scared of staying alone. Do not become one of these people.

     

    Wait for a while in order to put your feelings in order before letting yourself fall in love again. Have some rest in order to give yourself the opportunity of taking another person into your life. And the most important thing – when that happens sooner or later, do not compare the new person with your ex spouse. This is not healthy for your new relationship.

     

    Take advantage of the separation

     

    Make some conclusions from this painful separation. Analyze your mistakes, as well as the mistakes of your ex. Of course, don’t forget to point out your advantages. In other words – become a better person and starts loving yourself the way you are.

     

     

     

     

    Author Bio: Connie Jameson’ big love is love and health. She is really keen on and loves to reads. Her current job at Shiny deep clean makes her even more sensitive. In her spare time she loves to take walks in the nature.

    Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fotorita/2587226758

     


  5. How to Break the Mental Barriers Caused by Hopelessness and Anxiety

    September 18, 2013

    break mental barriers

    by Sue Chehrenegar

     

    Unlike a brick wall, a mental barrier is not something that is easy to see. Sometimes, friends and family members fail to note the telltale signs of hopelessness and helplessness. They fail to recognize the mental barrier that has resulted in a lack of positive thinking. The person who lacks such thinking often seems to expect that any experience will have a negative outcome.

    Some people fail to note the positive aspect to any situation. Some men and women even refuse to seek out the “silver lining” around any cloud. If such feelings of hopelessness and helplessness are carried to the extreme, the affected individual may find it impossible to see a reason for living. In other words, such a person has failed to recognize the meaning of life.

    Obviously, such feelings could cause someone to consider committing suicide. That is especially true if someone has refused to search for meaning. The people who answer calls to a suicide hot line must be ready to banish a caller’s anxious feelings and to instill renewed hope into the caller’s mind. The caller must show a caring attitude, so that there can be no question that the caller’s perception of failed hope must be re-examined.

    Mankind has been seeking help with problems for centuries. It could not have advanced to the point where it is today, if every potential inventor/innovator chose to give-up, when the going got tough. He or she gained the motivation to continue by recognizing the care and understanding in a friend or relative.  Even if you are not ready to recognize the love of your creator, you can learn to seek out and to find love in the world in which you live.

    That world is full of amazing gifts. As you come across more and more of the gifts that have been bestowed on the people of this world, you should understand better why you ought to be happy and hopeful. Ideally, you will feel less agitated. You will start to feel at ease in your heart and soul.

    Sometimes a person focuses on trying to have a normal life. In that case, he or she may get depressed, after suffering an illness. The person who must live with a medical condition may not have what others view as a normal life. However, once that condition has been treated properly, he or she can enjoy a full and useful life.

    Another behavior that can invite feels of despair is backstabbing. You are not going to have many friends, if you make a habit of backbiting about them constantly. No friend is perfect; still that fact should not be used as an excuse for being disloyal. Friends should help each other to strengthen their talents and skills and to eliminate any big weakness in their character.

    Recently, I learned about the death of a friend’s husband. Soon after I had been informed about that sad news, I discovered that a gentleman who was one of my Facebook friends had been the college roommate of the recently-deceased husband. He even posted on FB the picture of he and his roommate on the day of their graduation.

    At that time, both appeared full of hope. Both appeared to have a very positive attitude, although I do not think that either of them had a job at that time. Eventually both went to graduate school and became college professors. Each discovered how to confront challenges by finding a way to empower the spirit and strengthen exhausted nerves.

    A willingness to open the eyes can be used as a way to empower the spirit and strengthen the nerves. It can aid with recognition of the beauty and love that is in the world; it can facilitate a search for meaning. Those men and women who are ready to acknowledge the presence of that love and beauty are not apt to have disturbing thoughts. Each of them can look forward to a life that is full of meaning and hope.

     

     

    Author Bio: Sue Chehrenegar holds an MS in biomedical research. At one time, she was on the administrative body of a local faith-based group. While serving in that capacity, she had to study literature about violence in the home and listen to differences of opinion, as expressed by one or both members of an unhappy couple.

    Image Credit: Mark Sebastian at http://www.flickr.com/photos/markjsebastian/2820214199


  6. 7 Simple Tips for Getting Through Postpartum Depression

    August 17, 2013

    Postpartum Depression

    by Angela Henderson

     

    Motherhood. It’s suppose to be one of the most rewarding times in your life. A time that is filled with joy, love, excitement, but for many new mothers this is not how they feel, it’s actually the opposite. Overwhelmed, sleep deprived, confused, mother’s guilt, feeling isolated, second guessing and wondering is this what motherhood is really all about.  During pregnancy and the first year following the birth of a baby, women are more likely to experience depression and anxiety then at any other time.  With depression and anxiety impacting so many amazing women it’s important to identify what the difference between new mother baby blues vs a mood disorder is and having a few simple strategies that might help to ease into a more positive experience as a new mother.

     

    Step 1: Identify the Difference between Baby Blues vs Postpartum Depression

     

    All new mothers will experience baby blues to different degrees due to new hormones kicking in and mixed with such a huge life changing moment. It’s important to note that postpartum depression may not happen right away, in fact it maybe many months after the birth or loss of a child when everything starts to peak. Click here for a detailed understanding of the difference between baby blues and postpartum depressions

     

    Step 2: See Your Family Doctor

     

    Your family doctor for the most part, is typically someone who has been in your life for at least a little while and has an understanding of who you are. The sooner you can make an appointment to see your family doctor the better. Be open and honest with your doctor about the way you’ve been feeling. Cry if you need to cry. Your doctor can discuss with you an array of different options that will best suit you. It maybe therapy, it maybe medication, it might a combination, but what ever route you take the process has slowly started on your recovery to feeling better.

     

    Step 3: Surround Yourself with Support

     

    Ruth Nonacs MD/Ph.D wrote a beautifully written book called “A Deeper Shade of Blue”, where she talks about at length the challenges around caring for babies/children in the Western world and the extreme social isolation that comes with this. She also takes it one step further and identifies that “in traditional cultures, a family would gather around the mother directly after the birth of a child, in order to help her learn how to care for her child. But nowadays most women with young children spend most of their time at home, without support and alone.”

     

    So start to surround yourself with support. Join a mother’s group. Most town/cities will have a variety of mother’s groups that you can utilize. By joining a mother’s group, you will have the chance to connect with other women who are going through a similar journey to yourself. They can support you, listen to you, talk to you and cry with you. Mother’s groups are also a wonderful way for your babies to start experiencing the world through play, socialization and new surroundings.

     

    To find a local mother’s group, speak with your family doctor, look in your local newspaper, ask family and friends or even google it.

     

    Another important factor is to ask and accept help from your family. It’s ok to ask for help; in fact it’s a strength. It can also be the small things that increase mothers feeling depressed and anxious; examples: dishes not getting done, laundry piling up, vacuuming etc. Your family will want to help, so let them. They love you and your new baby so embrace this. Ask them to cook you a meal twice a week and invite them to stay and help with the dishes laundry etc. Remember they are family and will do anything for you.

     

    Step 4: Sleep

     

    I believe sleep is the most important part of the equation to feeling better. There has been a lot of research completed around the world that talks about the correlation with depression and lack of sleep. If you don’t have sleep, its simple, your body can not and will not function. Things will start to spiral out of control the less sleep you get, which is difficult in day to day life, but even ten fold when you have a new baby and are already sleep deprived. So the saying “sleep when the baby sleeps” is truly the best advice for mothers. However, the reality of this happening can be difficult especially if you have more than one child, need to work etc.  Therefore, even if you can go to bed early even one night a week at 7:00pm you will start to feel better.

     

    Step 5: Get Some Fresh Air and Sunshine

     

    The majority of us mothers are tired, have limited energy and quite frankly the last thing we want to do is to get dressed and walk out the front door. In saying that, one of the best things we can do as mothers is to get outside for some fresh air and sunshine.

     

    Besides the obvious of getting out and getting exercise, it’s the Vitamin D that is the important part. We are learning that the power of Vitamin D may prevent and even assist in treating symptoms of depression.

    To keep things simple, Vitamin D increases the serotonin levels in the human brain. Serotonin is a chemical that is imperative to maintaining a balanced mood and can even decrease your chances of feeling depressed. In addition, Vitamin D is also necessary for the body’s production of dopamine, which is a potent mood-lifting neurotransmitter, so grab your shoes, pop on your hat and slap on sunscreen and hit the sunshine.

     

    Step 6: Connect with Online Support

     

    We live in a world where technology is at our finger tips, so use the internet as a tool in taking steps to feeling better. There are so many wonderful blogs across the world that focuses on positive components of motherhood, while at the same time being real and remember you are a great mother. I would strongly recommend the following blogs to connect with Be a Fun Mum (http://beafunmum.com/), Seek Act Love (http://seekactlove.com/) and The Imperfect Mum (http://www.theimperfectmum.com.au/)

     

    Step 7: Smile

     

    Remember to smile because “every smile makes you a day younger.” ~Chinese Proverb”

     

    Author Bio:  Angela Henderson is a Clinical Social with a special interest in parental mental health.  In addition to caring for her patients, she sources and supplies toys and products for babies and children that assist them to meet early childhood developmental milestones.  Angela was educated in the United States but is now located in Australia.

    Image source/credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/donhomer/1500448757/

     

     


  7. How to overcome midlife depression?

    August 11, 2013

    midlife depression

    by Emma Brown

     

    Aging is one of the most dreaded realities of human life, which makes each one of us cringe and whine with unease. It is a bitter truth that can be evaded by no one in the world and needs to be handled with care. Though aging is an ineluctable process that hits people after a certain age, midlife depression can wreck havoc in lives of most people during their prime years.

     

    Ideally, aging should be accompanied with the realization of many beautiful facts of life that make you feel content and happy from inside. In reality however, aging brings about a totally different picture in front of us.

     

    Often during our midlife, we face situations where we easily feel depressed and are unable to handle extreme pressures. Midlife crisis can hit anybody and can be one of the most painful things to handle. A major reason for this midlife crisis is the hormonal imbalance faced by most people during this time. Additionally, your changing appearances and slow metabolism along with lower levels of endurance can worsen the problem and make you more whiny!

     

    Symptoms:

    Some of the major symptoms of midlife depression often go overlooked, so it is imperative to be well-acquainted with these in advance. Some common symptoms of this depressing phase include:

     

    • Sadness, emptiness, and anxiety.
    • Sleeping disorder, waking up very early, facing problem to sleep, or excessive sleep.
    • Isolation, losing interest, social withdrawal from meet friends, parties etcetera.
    • Fatigue
    • Loss of self worth, feeling guilty unnecessarily, feeling helpless and hopeless.
    • Losing interest in hobbies and other pastimes.
    • Loss of appetite and weight.
    • Excessive intake of alcohol and drugs
    • Fixation on death, suicidal attempts
    • Body aches and pain that do not go way even after treatment.
    • Crying too often or too much.

     

    This is kind of chronic depression is recurrent and persistent. Chronic depression has impact on both the physical and mental health of an older adult and may worsen due to many new factors. Aging causes changes in body that increase risks of depression. Reduced concentration of foliate in blood and nervous system may contribute to depression, impairment and dementia. Researchers suspect that mid-life depression and Alzheimer’s disease are also closely related.

    Causes can be many, but ultimately depression has very alarming physical effect on elder people. Mortality rate in elderly people having depression issues is more than those who don’t. It is evident and is noticed several times that people suffering from cardiovascular diseases and other illnesses along with depression take more time to recover than the rest.

     

     

    How to tackle midlife depression?

    The loving care and assistance of a loved one often reduces the pain of midlife crisis. Due to increased complications in human lives, basic aging problems have evolved from skin aging concerns to health, physiological and psychological woes as well. Now a days, an effective anti-wrinkle cream alone is not sufficient to deal with this complicated problem. We need advanced solutions and proper medical care to deal with depressing midlife problems.

    It is strongly recommended to deal with midlife crisis as a medical condition and take requisite steps to relieve yourself or your loved ones from this taxing situation. Here’s a brief lowdown on different ways to deal with midlife crisis:

     

    • Feel beautiful about yourself: Midlife often hits your confidence really bad, and makes you feel awful about yourself. It is time to find more ways to look good and feel good about yourself. You can always take out time for treating yourself to good clothes, cosmetics and other aesthetics. You can workout and feel better, by toning your body.
    • Pursue your hobbies: Retirement or midlife means no desinence of youth, but a new beginning. It is indicative of finding a new way of life by seeking solace in something you love to do. You can finally look out and encourage others to pursue their favorite hobbies and do things they love. Many people have discovered newer talents and honed their skills during the testing midlife period.
    • Be more health-centered: Midlife is accompanied by many health disorders that need attention. It is better to place importance on health issues and develop some healthful new habits. Try adopting some of the following:

    1. Healthy eating– You would have tried almost every delicacy in the world by now, so its time to resort to some ideal eating habits. Your old ‘hamburgers and cheese’ habits should now be replaced by ‘Green tea and fresh fruits’.

    2. Quit smoking- Research has shown that people who smoke often end up aging early. Prolonged smoking and binge drinking can result in health issues, which is not advisable during this age.

    3. Exercise- If you’ve been procrastinating exercise for quite a long time, its time to stop now! Regular exercise is essential for good health and well-being. Try to take out time for fitness and exercise regularly.

    • Socialize: Find time to spend with people you love and stay happy. It will surely help you evade most midlife problems. A smile is all it takes to deal with some of the most complicated problems of human life. Smile, socialize and stylize your wardrobe to stay happy and bid adieu to all your aging-related worries.
    • Take proper advice from your family doctors or established medical practitioners who have expertize in dealing with midlife crisis. They can help you ascertain whether the depression is triggered by some health problems, or due to any other factor. You may have to take medications or change the old ones if required. Medical practitioners can assess the extremity of the condition and accordingly take further steps. There are specialized professional psychiatrists called geriatric psychiatrists who treat people afflicted with such psychological problems during midlife.
    • If its not you but someone else who needs care, give them proper time and heal them with loving words and proper care.  If you think something is bothering them, make it a point to gently ask them and devise different ways to make them happy.

    There is no greater miracle than positive thinking and strong will. When these two combine with the right intention, you can observe some of the most beautiful miracles in the world. Use these tools to your advantage and make anyone feel at peace. Happiness is after all, an outcome of good intentions of making others happy.

     

     

     

    Author Bio: Emma Brown is a skin expert by profession. She loves to share her knowledge and experience with people. She regularly contributes her write ups to health or skin care related websites and blogs with most of her writings based on tips for best anti aging skin treatments. In her free time she loves to travel, fashion shows and music.

    Image Source/Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/itsallaboutmich/386699958

     


  8. Natural Ways to Overcome Anxiety and Depression

    July 30, 2013

    Anxiety and depression

    Anxiety and depression are often a result of situations that are out of control: things like injuries, illness, job loss, relationship changes and moving. However, most anxiety and depression can be dealt with naturally instead of through drugs. In fact, natural ways to cope will typically provide faster relief from your distress than medications will. Especially for situational anxiety and depression, embrace these ways to help feel better that go beyond the standard advice of eating healthy, getting adequate sleep and exercising.

     

    Go Against Your Instincts

     

    Feelings of anxiety and depression often cause individuals to retreat from others and from social situations. However, that is the worst thing you can do and will often exacerbate symptoms. Instead, force yourself to get out of the house and spend time with people you usually enjoy. The adage “laughter is the best medicine” really is true when it comes to anxiety and depression. Time spent with friends and favorite family members will likely help you turn the corner and feel much better.

     

    Make and Achieve Goals

     

    A feeling of worthlessness is often a hallmark of depression and anxiety. You can curtail these feelings and help make yourself feel better by simply doing. Take the time to set small achievable, measurable goals. Working on meeting these goals can help take your mind off negative thoughts. The feeling of accomplishment you get with each goal you meet is a step on the ladder to feeling better.

     

    Do Onto Others

     

    When you are down or anxious, one of the best bets to improve your mood is to help others. Find a place to volunteer, cook a meal for someone else, help an expectant or new mother or even just knit, sew or build something for someone else. The action of helping another person provides a rewarding sense of contentment that is unmatched. The increased self-worth you will feel will help you move out of the gloom much more quickly.

     

    Rely on Your Higher Power

     

    Regardless of the religion or belief system, most people have a higher power that they look to. Often, focusing on your spiritual life will bring you a kind of contentment and relief from anxiety and depression that cannot be found in other places. Spend time praying or meditating to refocus your thoughts.

     

    Try a Little Avoidance

     

    Depression and anxiety often mean you are wrapped up in your own thoughts. Getting a break from the course of your own thinking will greatly help you. An easy solution is to settle in with a favorite TV show, preferably one that is upbeat and will keep you from thinking about the issues that are contributing to your depression and anxiety. This mental health break will usually provide you with the space needed to start to feel better.

     

    Try Some Big Picture Thinking

     

    Putting your present situation into perspective can greatly help when it comes to feeling better. That means considering the situation you are in and how its duration compares to your life. In the grand scheme of things, is it worth it affecting you this way? What will you learn from this situation and how will it help you in the long run? Is it worth the angst you are living with?

     

    Reach Out for Support

     

    There is nothing like the empathy you get from someone in the same place or someone who has recently moved past the same kinds of feelings of depression and anxiety. Get the support you need from established support groups for people fighting these issues. You can often find local groups online, but will also find an abundance of virtual support groups that can be even more helpful. Online support groups for depression and anxiety are there for you 24/7, and you can access them from your own home by simply going on the Internet. Get the peace of mind that comes from knowing someone else is in the same place as you.

    In addition to all these natural ways to beat anxiety and depression, focus on healthy daily routines, including getting enough sleep every night, exercising regularly and eating healthily, especially foods known to improve mood such as milk, eggs, salmon, chocolate and those containing vitamin C. By combining a variety of these techniques, you are sure to find the relief you are seeking.

     

    Author Bio: Alex is a marketing coordinator for DIRECTV for Business corporation located in North Florida. In her spare time she offers tips and advice to help those who are battling anxiety and depression.

    Image Credit: Helga Weber

     


  9. Taking it to Heart: the Connection between Mental Illness and Heart Disease

    July 21, 2013

    Mental Illness and Heart Disease

    by Carolyn Heintz

     

    For years, researchers have deliberated the symbiotic connection between mental illness and heart disease. Not only do those living with mental illness have a propensity for developing heart disease, but individuals diagnosed with heart disease are often likely to develop mental health problems. This reciprocal relationship is a complex one that requires vigilance in both (1) actively working to improve heart health and (2) maintaining positive and open communication with your doctors.

     

    Preventing Heart Disease when You Have Preexisting Mental Health Issues

     

    Unfortunately, those living with mental illness are likely to engage in unhealthy heart behaviors like smoking and a poor diet. Additionally, these individuals often suffer from high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which only increase their chances of developing heart disease. The key is to promote heart health by making some necessary lifestyle changes.

     

    First of all, physical activity is absolutely crucial; even adding a short walk after meals can make a substantial difference. For those living with mental illness, it can be difficult to find the motivation for fitness. The key is to find activities that you truly find enjoyable, preferably with a friend or partner who will hold you accountable to routine exercise. Sign up for a salsa dance class, go on regular hikes, whatever you find gratifying—just be sure to do something to get your heart rate up.

     

    Second, adopt a more balanced diet. Remember: moderation is the name of the game. An occasional treat is perfectly acceptable (go for that cupcake!) but don’t overdo it. Operate by the 80/20 rule: 80% of the time make responsible diet choices and leave 20% for treats. Also, make a conscious effort to incorporate more fruits and veggies into your diet and reduce your sodium (salt) intake. Look for choices that are high in fiber and avoid foods that contain bad fats (like saturated and trans-fats). Portion control is also advisable: pay attention to deceptive serving sizes on the “Nutrition Facts” table.

     

    Third, consider adding supplements to your routine. Both fish oil and flaxseed are said to have a beneficial impact on your heart health; but make sure you follow the recommended dosage. In line with this preventative thinking, consider adding preventative screenings to your yearly routine. These health screenings give you a greater awareness of your body and your health and can help avoid health problems later on in life.

     

    Maintaining Mental Health after Heart Disease Diagnosis

     

                It’s a two-way street; a heart disease diagnosis can also spur mental health problems. According to Harvard Mental Health Letter’s “Depression and Heart Disease: Mind and mood affect the heart,” nearly half of all hospitalized heart patients experience some sort of symptoms of depression and up to 20% of said patients will actually develop depression.

     

    Receiving a heart disease diagnosis is a terrifying experience, but it is vital to maintain positive communication with your cardiologist. Ask questions, ask for advice, and don’t be afraid or embarrassed to talk to your doctor about any mental health issues you may experience. Be open about what you are feeling and be receptive to your cardiologist’s advice; you will not shock them with any negative feelings—they’ve seen it all before and can offer valuable guidance over the course of your treatment. Most importantly, remember that half of heart disease patients are feeling the same thing you are and you are not alone.

     

    Mind over Matter

     

                The link between the body and mind is powerful and undeniable. As many of you know, mental illness affects your entire body and the heart is no exception. I know it can be difficult, but it is absolutely crucial to maintain a healthy heart in order to live a full, healthy life. Whether you live with mental illness or heart disease, don’t underestimate the link between the two and make whatever necessary changes to keep both in check.

     

     

    Author Bio: Carolyn Heintz is a nutritionist, mother, and coffee lover. She has dedicated her life to building a comprehensive knowledge of how to eat, exercise, and live well. Her health philosophy consists of rewarding exercise, balanced nutrition, regular preventative health screenings, and lots and lots of laughter. In her spare time, she runs her own health blog “Lifelong Health and Wellness.”

    Image Source: Wikimedia Commons; http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Love_heart.jpg

     


  10. Common Sleeping Disorders And How To Resolve Them

    July 19, 2013

    lack of sleep

    by Dr. Frank Shallenberger

    Almost everyone has experienced trouble sleeping at some time or another. Difficulty sleeping is normal and is typically only a temporary problem, which is often due to stress or another outside factor. If you have problems sleeping on a regular basis and the lack of sleep is interfering with your daily activities, you may have a more serious sleeping problem or a sleeping disorder. Sleeping disorders have other symptoms outside of simply sleepiness and they can have a negative impact on your overall well-being, emotional balance and energy. The following are a few of the most common sleeping disorders and how they can be resolved.

     

    Insomnia

     

    Insomnia is the most common type of sleep disorder. Insomnia prohibits you from getting the amount of sleep that your body needs to wake up feeling refreshed and rested. In most situations, insomnia is a symptom of one or more other problems such as depression, stress, anxiety or a health condition. Insomnia can also be the result of your lifestyle choices such as a lack of exercise, jet lag, excessive consumption of caffeine and/or certain medications. Some common symptoms of insomnia may include:

    • Frequently waking up during the night
    • Trouble falling asleep and/or difficulty getting back to sleep when you wake during the night
    • You have to take something that allows you to get to sleep (sleeping pills)
    • Low energy levels and sleepiness during the day
    • When you do sleep it feels fragmented, light and/or exhausting

    Insomnia can take a toll on your mood, the ability to function in daily activities and energy. Fortunately, there are changes you can make that will help you get a good night’s sleep. For most people, simple changes in lifestyle are the most effective. Taking a natural supplement that works with your body’s own natural rhythm is enough to avoid having to take over-the-counter or prescription sleeping pills.

     

    Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorders

     

    Everyone has an internal biological clock to regulate the 24-hour sleep and wake cycle, which is known as the circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms are primarily cued by light, so in the morning when the sun rises, your brain tells your body it is time to wake-up; when there is less light at night, the brain begins to trigger the release of melatonin, a hormone in your body that makes you sleepy. When the circadian rhythms get thrown off or disrupted, you may begin to feel sleepy, disoriented or groggy at inappropriate times. Many sleeping disorders and sleeping problems are associated with disrupted circadian rhythms such as seasonal affective disorder, jet lag, insomnia and shift work. If you have a circadian rhythm disorder, there are several beneficial treatments you can try such as keeping the room dark and quiet while you are sleeping and well-lit when you are awake. It is also best to avoid exposure to bright light during the evening and to maintain a routine for eating and activity hours. You should make all attempts to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, avoid napping and try to avoid sleep deprivation, stress and fatigue.

     

    Shift Work Sleeping Disorder

     

    Shift work sleeping disorder may occur if your biological clock and work schedule are disrupted or are out of sync. It is common for workers to have a midnight shift, early morning shift or a rotating shift, but these schedules may be forcing your body to work when your brain is signaling sleep time, and vice versa. Many people rapidly adjust to the demands of shift work, while others get significantly less quality sleep. When workers are struggling with shift work sleeping problems, it causes sleepiness and mental lethargy while at work, which can put you at the risk of injury and decrease your productivity. To reduce the impact of shift work on your sleeping patterns, regulate your wake and sleep cycle by limiting your exposure to light when it is time to sleep and increasing exposure to light while at work, use blackout curtains during the daytime when you sleep to block out the sun, and consider taking a natural supplement such as melatonin when it is time to go to sleep.

    The first step to finding a solution for your sleeping problems is identifying what the problem is. While many sleep disorders may require a visit to your physician or CBT sessions with a psychologist, you can address many sleeping problems on your own. A consistent sleep routine, changes in lifestyle, natural sleep supplements and keeping a sleep diary are all beneficial for monitoring your sleeping patterns. For example, keep a sleep journal to record when you went to bed, when you woke up, how many hours of quality sleep you had, the food and beverages you consumed before bedtime and when you exercised. The journal will help you identify what may be preventing you from getting a good night’s sleep.
    When it comes to supplements that aid in sleep disorders, many believe in melatonin or valerian as natural ways to get a good night’s sleep. But the latest research casts doubts on the ability of these nutrients alone to do the job. Reading Beyond Melatonin and Valarian here sheds new perspective on this wide spread problem, and what to do to get that restful, deep sleep we all need.

    Image Credit: Jöshua Barnett