Category Archive Mental Health

ByAnxious Minds

Taking Manic Depression Seriously

Manic depression, or bipolar depression is considered one of the worst types of depression that people can suffer from.

Characterised by sudden and extreme changes in their mood, Manic depression is said to be called as such because manic refers to the ‘ups’ while depression refers to the ‘downs’.

A lot of people experience erratic changes in their moods, some times these mood swings may not just be caused by PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome) or stress. Doctors actually have diagnosed mood swings as a common symptom of depression.

But when these mood swings have gone to utmost absurdity, from getting irked by the simplest of things. For example, not getting your favourite ice cream flavour. This may not be just a sign of brattiness, but when getting irked means you swear at the ice cream vendor and throw absurd tantrums, this may be the onset of manic depression. The manic, or ‘ups’, in manic depression is described as to be the times when a person suffering from manic depression may experience overly high periods, consisting of heightened energy, a sudden outburst of euphoric mood, extreme irritability, racing thoughts, or aggressive behaviour.

According to therapists, someone suffering from manic depression may have these manic periods where they experience sudden outbursts of euphoric and elevated mood swings and may go through this for as long as a week, sometimes even longer than that.

When it comes to the  ‘low’ or ‘down’ periods, as its name suggests can actually bring someone who is suffering from manic depression may experience very similar symptoms to those who are suffering from actual depression. People who are suffering from manic depression may experience episodes showing a depressed state of mind, a feeling of worthlessness and being unloved, which may start to corrupt the individual’s mind. Various symptoms, including showing guilt, extreme sadness, anxiety attacks, feeling of not belonging, extreme pessimism and obvious loss for pleasure are all ways in which manic depression could start to appear.

According to therapists, an individual who is depressed consistently for more than a week can officially be diagnosed as someone who is suffering from manic depression.

In spite of being one of the most common, yet severe types of depressive disorder, Manic depression, according to doctors can be treated. There is no reason to worry too much about it, just follow the proper procedures that the therapist will instruct you to do, take the properly prescribed medications in order to help you (or your friend or loved one) overcome manic depression before it becomes too late. Also, individuals who are suffering from manic depression should always be able to see their therapists on a regular basis so as to be able to release their pent-up emotions to some one who can interpret and understand what they’re going through a lot better, compared to “normal” people.

Although positive results for a manic depressive patient can still be achieved from natural alternatives, a proper and more lasting relief from manic depressive symptoms can still be best acquired through seeing cognitive behaviour therapists. Contrary to some beliefs, when it comes to psychiatric treatments, psychiatrists, preferably cognitive behaviour therapists are arguably the best ones to consult for manic depression, as well as the ones who’ll most probably be able to cure manic depression.

ByAnxious Minds

Loving Someone with OCD

Have you seen a person who consumes a considerable amount of time in ensuring that she or he has really turned off the light? Or has spent hours in just securing the door lock before bedtime? Or perhaps, your loved one, who perpetually cooks the pizza in a microwave oven, making sure that it’s really well done? These could be signs that a person is suffering from OCD.

The latest advancement in medical research asserts that the problem lies in the sufferer’s impaired amygdala, the human brain’s centre for basic emotions, including fear. Generally, the patient is aware of her or his behaviour’s irrationality. The sufferer may or may not be aware that something is amiss, or that the irrationality is a disease in itself. The amygdala of the person suffering from OCD is believed to be misbehaving.

The question now is, what if this person is your girlfriend, wife, boyfriend or husband. This somewhat odd behaviour surely sets the stage for strains in a relationship. Is it worth it? Do OCD and relationships really work?

Like the amygdala itself, the relationship of non-sufferer with a person suffering from OCD is always on the verge of misfiring. The non-sufferer feels perpetually uncomfortable or awkward trying to understand a peculiar behaviour on display.

The OCD sufferer may feel a great degree of desperation, knowing that their loved ones really have a hard time understanding them.

From this perspective, both the OCD and non-OCD persons suffer. Multiply a singular instance of this friction between those involved. The pressure is immense, with both the parties.

But, taken from a different perspective, living with a person suffering from OCD can be the blessing. A stable relationship with an OCD may be an opportunity to reflect on the things we consider important, things that we cherish. This relationship, will not only challenge our traditional concept of loving relationship but will challenge us to understand the meaning of a committed relationship.

ByAnxious Minds

Learning Healthy Anger Management Strategies

When treating or dealing with anger issues, there are many suggestions for anger management strategies. Each of them is intended to help people who are hot-tempered and frequently have fits of rage. Anger, although a healthy and normal response to upsetting situations, can be intense to the point of violence. When a person experiences regular episodes of angry or reckless behaviour there is a problem. A problem that needs to be dealt with. Anger management strategies are designed to help an individual return to a healthy, normal existence.

Taking a time-out is considered a healthy management strategy. Removing oneself from a situation or person that makes a person angry is practising time-out. This anger management strategy might simply require a ride in the car or a walk on the beach. Playing sports or working out will help an individual to use up some of the extra energy without involving others. Some other suggestions for time-out are reading, listening to music or sitting alone in silence. Each of these activities is a healthy anger management strategy.

A second example of a healthy anger management strategy is, owning up to the anger. Although the anger is usually brought on by an irritating situation or a confrontation with another individual, the anger actually belongs to the troubled person. Only the person who’s experiencing the anger issues can control their outbursts. Only the person with anger issues can learn anger management strategies and how to deal with their feelings in a healthy way. When an individual becomes mad or upset they need to try to disclose the reasons for their anger whether it is hurt, fear, frustration sadness, confusion, jealousy or whatever seems to bring unleash the rage.

Another healthy anger management strategy is to look back on those situations that upset an individual and try to find ways to make changes. Learning the cause of the anger may help the individual to avoid those situations. Not only might the person learn to avoid these incidents but they might also choose to take what they’ve learned and attempt to deal with the situation without bursting into a frenzy.

The fourth suggestion regarding healthy management strategies is to confront the situation or person. Talk to the person or people involved, calmly of course, to try to determine the root of the problem. The angry individual might actually discover that the whole thing was a mix-up, a misunderstanding. The individual might also try asking the person or people in the situation to think about their behaviour and perhaps even change it. It may be surprising what people would be willing to do to help the person who is attempting to deal with their problems with anger. Hopefully, everything will work out for the best. If not there has to be room for acceptance. Sometimes a person must simply accept the situations and people cannot change and either deal with it or walk away.

Learning healthy anger management strategies should be considered by those with anger problems. There are many books published regarding anger and anger management. There is also a wealth of information available online for those who are attempting to deal with their anger by learning healthy anger management strategies.

ByAnxious Minds

Finding the right Depression Medication

Always feeling under the weather?

Always not in the mood to be around others and have a good time?

If you’re suffering from prolonged sadness for quite some time now, you should face these bouts of depression and get yourself diagnosed by a psychiatrist, they’re doctors who can actually help you out with your problem. Additionally, they can advise you on the various depression treatments, including depression medication that doctors prescribe to their depression patients.

Fortunately, depression can now be cured, especially when diagnosed early, depressed individuals can actually be treated through therapy and depression medication, although it may be a bit costly, a person’s good mental health is something that shouldn’t be scrimped on. Cognitive behavioural talk or interpersonal talk is incredibly healthy depression treatments that are just some of the available psychosocial depression treatments that cognitive behaviour therapists can offer to their patients, both actually prove to be able to produce fruitful and positive results even for just short-term sessions, around ten to twenty weeks are almost always, already enough to get a depression patient slowly begin their recovery towards a sound mental health.

Before getting started with depression medication, the depressed patient must first get themselves to a reputable doctor, to receive a diagnosis of which type of depression the patient is actually suffering from, whether it is clinical depression, manic depression or any other type. It’s best that you’re sure what you’re actually dealing with since there are various depression medications that are available on the market, you should make sure that you get the most appropriate one, the one that’ll actually cure your depression.

There’s actually a wide variety of anti-depressant depression medications available to help treat those who are suffering from depressive disorders. The more popular ones are those that are of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) variant then there are the tricyclics while the other popular variant is the monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI). These depression medications (the SSRI variant as well as the other newer depression medication available in the market) are a much safer alternative than the tricyclics, since they have fewer side-effects as opposed to the tricyclics depression medication variant.

Sometimes, doctors actually find it more effective to mix up these depression medications, depending on the needs of the individual, the doctor might actually prescribe a variety of depression medication to help cure one’s depression. Also, the dosages of depression medication can actually be increased or lowered depending on what the doctor finds to be the most effective. However, when it comes to taking these medications, patients are highly advised to never mix up depression medications or to pick out which dosages to take without consulting their doctors first.

Anti-anxiety drugs or sedatives, however, should never be mistaken as depression medication. Even though these anti-anxiety drugs are often prescribed along with depression medication, they don’t actually help cure one’s depression illness. Their mere purpose is to help calm one’s nerves which is why depression medications are still needed to be taken by the depression patient.

There are actually some common side-effects from depression medication, usually coming from the tricyclic variety. Some people tend to not mind these side-effects from depression medication, however, if it does become to much of a bother and may end up ruining one’s ability to function properly, it’s best to go immediately to your doctor and report the side-effects. Quite common side-effects from depression medication are the following:

Dry mouth: always having the irritating feeling of being hydrated, it’s best to always have some water nearby so as to have something to drink whenever dry mouth occurs, chewing sugar-free gum as well as brushing your teeth after every meal is also a good idea.

Constipation: cure such discomfort by eating and taking in a lot of fibre to help aid your digestion.

Blurry vision: another temporary side-effect, this one’s quite easy to pass but if it proves to be too much of a bother, consult your doctor immediately.

Headaches: quite common with the newer kinds of depression medication, it’s really not a big deal and will actually go away easily.

Insomnia: first-time users may actually experience this depression medication side-effect but it usually just happens during the first few weeks of taking the depression medication, asking your doctor to lower the dosage of the depression medication may actually help you with this side-effect, as well as the time of day wherein you take your depression medication can actually have something to do with your sleeping problem.

ByAnxious Minds

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in the Home

Obsessive compulsive disorder, also known as OCD, is just one of the many kinds of anxiety disorders affecting millions of people around the world. People with OCD often find that they do specific rituals in their day to day lives and these obsessions can make it very difficult to interact with people in public. However, if you stay home all the time, you are actually hurting yourself even more. There are many ways to OCD proof your home in order to move forward with your treatment and  overcome the OCD in your life completely.

First, you need to identify your obsessions. People obsess with everything from fear of dying to germs. Your obsessions will be the things you think about all the time, even when you wish you weren’t thinking about them. Next, identify your compulsions. Compulsions will be things that you feel like you must do because of you obsessions. For example, you may feel like you need to clean you bathroom a certain number of times a day or say a phrase a certain number of times repeatedly. Knowing your specific obsessions and compulsions is not difficult, but it is nevertheless the first step to helping to improve your condition while at home.

OCD might become a regular part of your life while you are at home, whereas you might be able to control yourself more readily when you are in public. Why? You may simply find it embarrassing to give in to your obsessions when you are around other people. That proves that you can actually have control, you just don’t want to, for whatever reason, when you are at home. To combat this, invite friends into your home often. When your home becomes, essentially, a public place, you’ll be less tempted to give in to your obsessions and compulsions, and over time your brain will be automatically programmed to perceive your home as somewhere where these activities are not ok.

Another great way to combat OCD in the home is to purchase a stopwatch. Whenever you begin to obsess about something stop the watch, and when you’re back in control, stop the watch. Do this throughout the day and then every night check out your total time for the day. You may be surprised about the time you’ve been wasting! Chart your progress and keep in mind this waste whenever you begin to obsess—you could be doing more enjoyable things with your time. OCD affects everyone, not just you, so by stopping your OCD behavior in the home you can work on a positive step towards recovery for yourself and those around you.

ByAnxious Minds

10 Ways to Manage Work Stress for Women

Women are more prone to the workplace because of the many roles they play in life: as a career woman, wife, mother, daughter, and friend. Women work way beyond the 9-5 shift, often having to rush home to cook dinner, help the kids with homework, and prepare the next day’s office attire for the hubby. The stress and anxiety caused by endless tasks and impossible deadlines in a high-speed, high-tech world have made women’s lives a living web of complexity.

The question is: How can women cope with stress and anxiety? The first step is to dissect the problem and understand how these psychological and emotional conditions make women’s lives more difficult.

Stress is a combination of fatigue, restlessness, depression, over-focusing, and over-all gloominess that is a consequence of overwork and other domestic or personal problems. The difficulty of trying to balance time between work and the home has caused many women to suffer from stress. Personal or relationship issues like divorce or separation have also been the cause of anxiety panic attacks among women. Women who own and manage their own business are also prone to stress. Their high drive for business success cannot always protect them from times of depression and overwork. Career women, on the other hand, have to confront office politics, gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and the fear of being laid-off.

But there’s still hope for over-worked, stressed women. Here are some practical ways for women to reduce and manage work-related stress:

1. Put up relaxing scenes- It could be a poster or a small painting with beautiful scenery. You can even download screensavers of beaches, waterfalls, clear lakes and other scenes that help create a serene mood.

2. The To-Do-List- Use that Post-Its or other stick-on notepads. Colour-code your notes and even put up an alarm in your computer to remind you of priority tasks. The key is to know what to do first.

3. Timeout – As they say, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Take some time out to take a breather. Do way from reading emails the mostly junk. Do stimulate activities like sudoku or brainteaser. Reading some inspirational books like Chicken Soup for the Soul.

4. Rearrange your workstation – Add some homey look to your workstation… put up photo frames of your family or favourite pet. Whenever you feel stressed out just glance at their happy faces or cuteness —and you’ll find yourself smiling back!

5. When a plant isn’t just a plant – Having a plant around your workplace is good stress relief. Studies show that looking at something green like a plant helps soothe your eyes after facing the computer monitor all day or after reading for a long time. Focusing on a green plant will have a soothing effect.

6. Exercise – Walking, climbing the stairs, or going out to run helps fight stress. Physical activity helps get rid of tension. During a workout, your body releases endorphins which helps your body to relax. Endorphins also act as natural painkillers. There are a lot of exercise videos that you can use ranging from the standard aerobics to pilates, tae-bo, and a host of other fitness programs.

7. De-clutter- A cluttered workstation like pens, pencils, notepads, tons of papers spread around every inch of your workplace adds to your stress. Make your work environment more appealing by organizing your things and throwing away things you no longer need.

8. Set Boundaries- Communicate and assert yourself, make your co-workers know when you are more available for chit-chat.

9. Go less in your caffeine intake- caffeine even is popularly known as a stimulant, too much of it adds to stress even leads to depression.

10. Eat a good breakfast- Don’ skip meals even if you are indeed in a hurry. Studies show that if you make it a practice to eat breakfast every day, your body gets more the needed proteins to give you an energy boost to face the working day.

Beat work-related stress without beating yourself up. Learn how to relax. Sure…we have duties and responsibilities but if you don’t learn to relax—burn out is what you get! Make an effort to relax. Listen to good music. Try not to smoke. Because if you don’t watch out, the results would be hypertension…depression… and a plethora of other ailments that can sidetrack your career and home life. It’s time to regain a sense of balance if you want to stay alive for a long, long, long time.

ByAnxious Minds

Dying to Be Thin

Bulimia, also called bulimia nervosa, is a psychological eating disorder which mainly hits girls between the ages of 15 to 25. Studies indicate that by their first year of college, 4.5 to 18 percent of women and 0.4 percent of men have a history of bulimia. Bulimia is characterised by episodes of binge eating followed by purging. The desire for food and candy is very strong and at the same time the person try to reduce weight. This causes a strong conflict between the desire to eat and the desire to reduce weight.

To cope with the conflict they use inappropriate methods of weight control including vomiting, fasting, enemas, excessive use of laxatives and diuretics, or compulsive exercising. A period of binge eating produces strong feelings of guilt. For a person with bulimia, self-confidence is strongly dependent on the shape and weight of the body. There are similarities between anorexia and bulimia regarding the fear of becoming fat and the desire to reduce weight. It’s not unusual that anorexia often turns into bulimia. Just about half of those with anorexia will have bulimia nervosa. The conditions overlap.

Studies have shown that disorders in family relations can be one of the factors that contributes to bulimia. Difficult periods of time or changes like puberty, death in the family or other family crisis can cause bulimia nervosa. The teenager feels she can’t control her world, but can control her weight. Considering many of those with bulimia are perfectionists, they carry the weight control to the extreme. Bulimia nervosa can cause severe medical complications. There is a risk for damages that will become permanent. These can include damages to the heart, lungs and other major organs. It is yet unknown if bulimia can damage the brain in any way. If untreated, bulimia can lead to death.

ByAnxious Minds

Stress in the Workplace

Learn How To Deal With Stress In The Workplace

Stress is perfectly natural, and even healthy in moderate doses. Being subjected to a degree of stress also means that our body builds up a resistance to it, in the same way that the body can build up resistance to certain illnesses.

A small amount of stress is similar to a vaccine that is designed to protect against it. However, high levels of stress can lead to a host of problems. It can adversely affect a person’s concentration, mess with sleep patterns, and it can lead to performance and productivity issues in the workplace.

Stress At Work

Stress is the leading cause of long-term absenteeism in employees, and one of the leading causes of accident and illness in the workplace, so it pays for modern businesses to help better manage their employee’s stress levels. For all the support that an employer offers, though, it is down to the individual to take advantage of these benefits and to begin the fight against stress.

Investigation has determined that UK businesses alone could save as much as £8bn a year through more effective stress management policies and procedures. The first step to getting help with stress levels is to speak to your line manager or representative. A lot of businesses have introduced policies to help manage stress for their employees. It may be possible to move to more flexible working, alter certain aspects of your role, or get help with tasks that are overwhelming in their complexity or the time it takes to complete them.

Leave It At Work

Try to leave your work at work. It has become commonplace for people to work from home and check emails in the evening, thanks to the proliferation of smartphones, tablets, and other devices. This prevents you from being able to switch off after work.

A lot of people work extra hours at home to reduce the level of work, and stress, that they have to endure while they are at work. However, you need to have downtime, and by working from home, you make it very difficult for your brain to separate your work from your home life. Some companies have introduced policies preventing their employees from working at home at night, or even from answering emails during their lunch hour. If these policies are in place, take advantage of them.

Take Downtime

Weekends, bank holidays, and holiday entitlement days should be used to give you much-needed downtime. This can enable you to forget about work, at least for a time, and you could head back to work after the break feeling energised and refreshed.

Avoid Bad Coping Methods

Look at the ways you use to deal with stress when it does surface. Avoid unhealthy habits like smoking, going to the pub for a drink at lunchtime, or heading to the confectionery or snack machine, when stressed. Adopt healthy coping mechanisms. Exercise has proven to help reduce stress levels, so take a walk away from your desk, head outside for a breath of fresh air.

Adopt Healthy Habits

Consider taking up stress-relieving activities. Exercise is a good way to burn off stress and tension, and some companies have their own gym or offer gym membership as a perk of the job. Alternatively, consider activities like yoga or meditation. Techniques like controlled breathing can also help you to combat anxiety attacks and general stress.

Ask For Help

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you’re overloaded with work, speak to your line manager. If you’re struggling with stress, speak to your manager and consider visiting a doctor or healthcare professional. Speak to family and friends, too. Even talking about the problems that are causing stress can help to alleviate the problem.

Stress is a problem for the employee, but also for the employer. It is the leading cause of long-term absence, so taking steps to prevent and help combat it should be considered important to any business.

While businesses are improving their awareness of mental health problems, and the mechanisms and procedures that can be put in place to help combat it, there is still a long way to go. However, no matter how many policies a company has in place, and no matter how much training line managers have been given, they can’t help if you don’t tell somebody you’re suffering.

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ByAnxious Minds

Do I need Mental Health Help?

With extreme emotional issues, we often have no problem deciding whether we need to see a counsellor or not; however, with a slight discomfort, a few bad days, we can’t always make that decision.  Ask yourself the following questions and truthfully answer yes or no.

*Do you get honest satisfaction from simple pleasures?

*Do you have respect for yourself?

*Can you laugh at your own errors?

*Do you feel capable of dealing with situations as they come your way?

* Can you accept displays of your own emotions – fear, anger, jealousy, guilt, worry?

* Do you have personal relationships that are satisfying and lasting?

* Do you trust others and assume that others will trust you?

* Do you respect people who differ from you?

* Do you refuse to be pushed around and refuse satisfaction from it?

* Can you feel you are a part of a group?

* Are you able to love somebody?

* Do you accept as much responsibility as comes your way?

* Do you make your own decisions?

* Do you deal with your problems as they arise?

* Do you shape your environment whenever possible and adjust to it whenever necessary?

Count up the number of no answers.  If you don’t have any, you are exceptional.  A couple of no answers is normal and is absolutely nothing to be concerned about.  If, however, you answered no to more than five questions, there is a good chance you could benefit from some type of counselling to help get you back on track.

The fact you are able to take this test is a good indicator that, with the proper counselling, you will be fine.  Just don’t let it go until more answers turn to no. You deserve enjoying the best mental health possible.  Don’t neglect it.

ByAnxious Minds

Choosing a Therapist Step-by-Step

Therapy is a collaborative process, so finding the right match is critical. After you find someone, keep in mind that therapy is work and sometimes can be painful. However, it also can be rewarding and life changing.

What are the steps for choosing a therapist?

  1. See your primary care physician to rule out a medical cause of your problems. Many physical disorders can mimic psychological ones.
  2. After you know your problems are not caused by a medical condition, find out what the mental health coverage is under your insurance policy or through Medicaid/Medicare.
  3. Get two or three referrals before making an appointment. Specify age, sex, race, or religious background if those characteristics are important to you.
  4. Call to find out about appointment availability, location, and fees. Find out if they take your insurance or if they charge by income.
  5. Make sure the therapist has experience helping people whose problems are similar to yours. Don’t be afraid to ask about experience.
  6. If you are satisfied with the answers, make an appointment.
  7. During your first visit, describe those feelings and problems that led you to seek help. Find out how the therapist reacts and what options you are given for treatment. Do you feel comfortable with your choices?
  8. Be sure the psychotherapist does not take a “cookie cutter” approach to your treatment – different psychotherapies and medications are tailored to meet specific needs. You are an individual and your therapist must show that perspective.
  9. After your initial visit, take some time to explore how you felt about the therapist. Is there a connection? Do you feel comfortable?
  10. If everything meets your approval, schedule your next appointment. If not, go back to the list you gathered in Step 3 and start over again.