Category Archive Mental Health

ByAnxious Minds

What is Social Anxiety Disorder?

Do you have intense feelings of discomfort and fear when in social situations? You may have social anxiety disorder. Social anxiety disorder affects millions of people around the world and varies greatly from person to person. However, it is important to know that if you find social settings unbearable, you can get help. A doctor will be able to help you treat your social anxiety disorder so that you can live a normal life instead of being paralysed by fear.

It’s hard to pin down the exact symptoms of social anxiety disorder, which is why seeing your doctor is so important. However, some common signs that you may have this disorder include a number of fears. Do you commonly fear social situations? You should see your doctor if your fears reflect the following: fear that all attention is on you, fear of making mistakes, fear of judgement, fear that everyone is better than you, fear of humiliating yourself, or fear that everyone sees your flaws. These fears may or may not cause panic attacks, but always cause intense anxiety. Anxiety may lead to shaking, a pounding heart, blushing, sweating, stammering, nausea, and dizziness.

Shyness is not the same as social anxiety disorder. While you may feel shy in certain situations, social anxiety disorder is physically debilitating to a person experiencing it. In fact, social anxiety disorder may take over a person’s life if left untreated. This disorder usually starts from childhood or early adulthood and can affect everyone, regardless of race, religion, or gender, although women are more likely to develop this disorder than men.

Social anxiety disorder is often found in conjunction with other anxiety disorders. It is also common for a person with social anxiety disorder to try to treat it using drugs or alcohol, which will in turn lead to substance abuse. The best and only way to treat social anxiety disorder is to see your doctor. Therapy and medication can help you work through this disorder so that you can live a healthy and socially active life. Cognitive-behavioural therapy will help you grip your disorder so that you can learn how to make yourself calm down and have less fear in social situations. Medications can be short or long term are can work to block certain inhibitors. Together, you can your doctor can find the perfect treatment for you so that you can take back control of your life. You may have to live with social anxiety disorder for the rest of your life, but it does not have to stop you from being happy.

www.anxiousminds.co.uk

ByAnxious Minds

Sleep and Mood

Sleep and Mood

Drugs, stressful situations, and even excessive noise can affect daily body rhythms and moods. An irregular living schedule can aggravate mood disorders. The old-fashioned sanitarium rest cure was effective with the “nervous” because it put the patient on a regular schedule of sleep, activity, and meals. Below are some kinds of sleep disturbances that can make mood disorder worse.

Insomnia

A person suffering from insomnia has difficulty initiating or maintaining normal sleep, which can result in non-restorative sleep and impairment of daytime functioning. Insomnia includes sleeping too little, difficulty falling asleep, awakening frequently during the night, or waking up early and being unable to get back to sleep. It is characteristic of many mental and physical disorders. Those with depression, for example, may experience overwhelming feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, or guilt, all of which can interrupt sleep. Hypo manics, on the other hand, can be so aroused that getting quality sleep is virtually impossible without medication.

Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome

This is the most common circadian-rhythm sleep disorder that results in insomnia and daytime sleepiness, or somnolence. A short circuit between a person’s biological clock and the 24-hour day causes this sleep disorder. It is commonly found in those with mild or major depression. In addition, certain medications used to treat bipolar disorder may disrupt the sleep-wake cycle.

REM Sleep Abnormalities

REM sleep abnormalities have been implicated by doctors in a variety of psychiatric disorders, including depression, post traumatic stress disorder, some forms of schizophrenia, and other disorders in which psychosis occurs.

Irregular Sleep-Wake Schedule

This sleep disorder is yet another problem that many with Bipolar II experience and in large part results from a lack of lifestyle scheduling. Bipolar drug abusers and/or alcoholics who stay awake all night searching for similar addicts and engaging in drug-seeking behaviour, which results in sleeping the next day, usually experience the reverse sleep-wake cycle.

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ByAnxious Minds

Panic Disorders: Are they Real?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard of people having a panic attack and someone saying that they just wanted attention. Nothing could be farther from the truth. While a panic attack is not the same as some traditional medical conditions, it is both a mental and physical disorder that must be taken very seriously. If you suffer from panic attacks, see a doctor immediately to get your condition under control.

As classified by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), panic disorders are technically under the umbrella of anxiety disorders. Other anxiety disorders include social phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and agoraphobia, among other conditions. Over 10 million people in the United Kingdom alone suffer some kind of anxiety disorder or another.

Panic disorder is characterised by reoccurring panic attacks that often happen spontaneously and unexpectedly. A panic attack is an intense feeling of irrational fear that lasts over a period of time. Some symptoms of a panic attack may or may not include a pounding heart, chest pains, sweating, difficulty breathing, the fear of going crazy, shaking, cold or hot flashed, the choking sensation, and nausea. One panic attack does not mean you should be diagnosed with panic disorder, but if this condition occurs a number of times and interrupts your life, you should see a doctor immediately.

Most people experience the unpleasantness of a panic attack at some point or other in their lives. While this may be a scary experience, you should generally not be concerned unless the month following the panic attack leads to constant worry about have another panic attack, constant worry about a condition that could be related to the attack, or major changes in your lifestyle.

When you have a panic attack, even for the first time, see a doctor. Try to clearly think about the symptoms you’ve experienced and note the time and length of the attack. This information will help your doctor find the best treatment options available for you. Often, panic attacks occur simultaneously with other anxiety disorders, so being clear about your experiences will help your doctor to understand your experiences.

Remember, panic attacks are real. While there may be a few cases where people pretend to have attacks to get attention or for other reasons, this is not the norm. If someone around you is experiencing a panic attack, offer your help and call a doctor immediately to get help for the person.

www.anxiousminds.co.uk

ByAnxious Minds

Panic Attacks: How to Prepare

Panic Attacks: How to Prepare

If you suffer from an anxiety disorder, panic attacks may be a part of your life. Even with proper medication, many patients suffer from panic attacks. Although predicting when a panic attack will happen may be a bit tricky, you can take steps to prepare for these panic attacks in order to take back control of your life.

The first step to taking back that control is to learn to breathe. When a person has a panic attack, often they feel so overwhelmed that they forget to simply breathe properly. Many doctors, therefore, advocating safe breathing practices in order to help calm anyone having a panic attack. In fact, if you’ve ever had a panic attack in public, someone may have tried to get you to breath into a paper bag. This may or may be a good method for you, but the fact is that you should know and practice your breathing exercise before you are panicking. Have a plan—learn calming breathing techniques and practice at least twice a day.

Other relaxing practices may also be able to help your panic attack. Of course, you might find it difficult to even consider meditation when you’re having a panic attack, but by learning this relaxing procedure, you can use some of the same calming techniques that help you to meditate to help you calm down.

Another great way to prepare for a panic attack is to simply know your triggers. Do you have a specific phobia? Is excess stress your downfall? Do certain situations seem impossible for you? When you know what triggers panic reactions, you can do your best to avoid or minimise these situations.

You should also be medically prepared for a panic attack. When you go outside of the home, take with you a list of emergency contacts, which should include your doctor’s number, your local crisis hotline, and members of your personal support systems. You can use these phone numbers yourself if you feel a panic attack starting, or another person will easily find this information in your purse or wallet if you are not capable of helping yourself.

Also take with you a bag to help you feel comfortable and calm down during a panic attack. A crucial part of the bag is any medications you may be taking, along with instructions on taking it. You can also include any items from home that will help you feel more comfortable. This can include herbal tea, a stuffed animal, religious items, photos, rubber bands to snap on your wrist, mints, hand cream, money, a puzzle book, and anything else that may help you relax, stimulated your brain, or distract yourself. Remember, comfort is key.

www.anxiousminds.co.uk

ByAnxious Minds

Mental Health: Not Just the Absence of Mental Disorders

Most people think that mental health only applies to those people who have diagnosable mental disorders. The truth is ALL of us should be concerned about our mental health. It is our basis of being healthy. It is the holistic approach to health. In fact, many people adhere to the belief that mental health is the core of healthiness. Health starts and ends with mental health. It encompasses everything and it is everybody’s business.

For virtually all people, mental health is often neglected until something apparently becomes wrong. Until then, we will have to wait for signs that it is vital to our existence, to our well being, to our relationships with other people, to our perceptions, to our fulfilment and even to our own happiness.

Even though we have achieved great medical advancements, there still seems to be lacks in our general knowledge on mental health. We have developed quick fixes to our physical ailments but we are left far behind with our solutions to mental illnesses. If we have anything, there still remain some loopholes and what we know is inconclusive. We haven’t developed universal treatments for psychological disorders and even assessments and diagnosis of such ailments are flawed.

In the past, the general concept for being healthy is the “absence of disease”. If so, then someone who doesn’t have diagnosable heart attack but experience irrational fear on something like chicken or heights is a healthy person. In fact, no.

While blood pressure, cholesterol level, and body temperature are easy to asses these are still seen as singular components of our health. Disruptions in these mechanisms mean that a person could be physically ill. However, the health of a person is not only associated to how well his body functions but also to how well are his psychological, emotional and social dispositions. Manifestations of mental illness are much harder to asses since most symptoms occur discreetly during the developmental stages of the disorders and internal states are dependent on the subjective nature of the disorder. For example, someone who usually feels “blue” may or may not be diagnosed with depression.

We also have to take into account the social aspect of mental health. People who have sickness have more obvious manifestations that they are ill, therefore the society and immediate environment could easily identify whether or not a person is sick. For mental health, however, ignorance could lead to wrong perceptions. For example, a teenager who became drug-dependent and later committed suicide is viewed as irresponsible and desperate when in fact he may be suffering from a psychological disorder.

A simplistic definition to mental health could be “successful mental functioning”. But what are the parameters of this definition? What could possibly tell us that someone is struggling through mental illness?

a) Someone who is distressed for a prolonged period without apparent, logical reason.

b) Someone who has disruptions in thinking

c) Someone who has altered behaviours and moods

d) Someone who relies on substances such as drugs, alcohol and cigarettes may have issues on their mental health

e) Someone who has impaired social functions

These are just representations of how a person with mental health may behave. However, these are not conclusive bases.

As we may yet to understand, mental health is directly correlated with physical ailment or health. Both may be one and the same but are very different in nature.

www.anxiousminds.co.uk

ByAnxious Minds

Dairy Free Diet to Treat Autism

Parents are turning to their child’s diet to when treating Autism. Some believe that Autistic children have a food sensitivity. They believe dairy, also known as Casein, is one of the foods to cause problems with Autistic children. Removing all dairy from your child’s diet can at first seem very difficult to do. Most kids love cheese and ice cream.

Most people following a dairy free diet also remove Gluten from the diet. The ingredient in dairy that it thought to cause problems is Casein. Casein is a protein found in dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, and some hotdogs. It is very important to read all labels on food the child will be eating.

If you are going to try the dairy free diet with your child you will need to make sure they are getting enough calcium. This can be done with vitamin supplements, or milk substitutes. Many types of food are including calcium.

It is thought that the Casein reacts in the Autistic child’s body causing the unwanted behaviours. They think if the dairy products are removed some of the behaviours will leave. It should take a few months to know if the diet is working for your child. If you are considering removing Gluten from the diet too it is advised to try removing dairy first. The dairy is removed from the body much faster than the Gluten. Gluten can take ten months or more to be completely removed from the body.

Following a Casein free diet can be expensive. Most milk replacements cost double the price of regular milk. Not all stores will carry the dairy free products. They can usually be found at speciality, or health food stores. You can find Casein free products on the internet for mail order. There are also lots of Casein free recipes available online. To save on the cost of Casein free foods some families find another family in their area using the same diet, and share the cost of ingredients by buying in bulk. They then split the foods.

If you choose to try a Casein (dairy) free diet with your Autistic child remember to allow enough time to see if the diet is helping. It can be helpful to keep a journal while trying the diet. Keep a record of behaviours your Autistic child has. Then you can see if the number of behaviours is dropping. If you have not removed Gluten from your child’s diet you may want to consider this if your child is not improving from the dairy free diet.

To find out if your Autistic child has a sensitivity to dairy (Casein) have them allergy tested. This will tell you if you should remove any other foods from the diet. If you are wanting more information about Casein free diets visit your local library. You can find many books that deal with dairy free living. The internet is also a great source of information.

A Casein free diet might be helpful in treating your child’s Autism. It is not a cure for Autism though. It will only help treat some of the symptoms.

www.anxiousminds.co.uk