Tag Archive Mental health

ByAnxious Minds

Overview of Mental Health Counselling

Mental health counselling or clinical counselling is a practice in psychology that helps relieve psychological disorders or distress by promoting personal development. It also practices psychotherapy, consultation, forensic investigation specifically forensic testimony, formulation, implementation and evaluation of plans and programs for the treatment of psychological dysfunction and research. Because of the nature of this field, it is usually monitored as a mental health profession.

Mental health counselling has its roots from the later part of 19th century. And as the field of psychology grew, branches began to develop, among them is counselling psychology and clinical counselling- both are useful in mental health assessment and counselling.

While closely associated with clinical psychology, there are still marked differences between the two practices.

For one, counselling psychology is used by psychotherapist and counsellors to help patients with milder psychopathological concerns. On the other hand, clinical counselling deals with more severe and advanced forms of psychological disorders such as schizophrenia and psychosomatic disorders. Examples of disorders that could be treated by counselling psychology are the stress-related disorders. In essence, these are just minor mental health illness that requires very little (if there is any) medical interventions.

This method tries to address minor psychological concerns and make use of counselling techniques. This is possible since patients subjected under this method are still in control of their mind. For example, people who are distressed due to problematic circumstances could seek the professionals who could render counselling psychology.

Counselling psychology focuses more on the personal problems of the person that hamper his mental health. It helps him resolve problems by using non-directive methods, therefore a counselling psychologist would only open options that will help resolve the problem without being suggestive or authoritative. Also, counselling psychology is more focused on rational thinking instead of unconscious functioning.

The second difference is that counselling psychology adheres to a humanistic or person-centred approach. Third, it has a different view on the developmental problems associated with mental disorders.

On the other hand, clinical psychology deals more on severe psychological disorders such as clinical manic depression like unipolar and bipolar disorders, sexual dysfunctions such as exhibitionism, fetishism and sadism, phobias, traumas and substance-abuse or dependency.

Because of a more comprehensive and intensive nature of this field, clinical counselling makes use of psychological assessment tools that further confirm the symptoms of disorders among people with disrupted mental health. The mental health assessment is a medium for evaluating symptoms that a person presents. This gives insights to mental health professionals that will guide them in the preparation, administration and evaluation of treatment methods that are apt to the mental health needs of a patient. The process of assessment requires the use of interviews, physical examinations and clinical observations. Also, assessment tools such as intelligence, symptoms questionnaires, personality and neuropsychological tests are widely used. All these contribute significantly to the diagnostic impressions that will be formulated after all data are collected and studied.

Despite these differences, counselling psychology and clinical counselling are proven to be very effective as mental health counselling methods. Both advocates the use of talk treatment that could either help resolve the problem for the mental health patient or open up indications that may be pointed out as causes of the development of the disorder. In effect, both types of counselling make mental health therapy and recovery feasible.

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ByAnxious Minds

Exercise and Mental Health: Are There Connections?

We all know that exercise promotes healthier body and better sense of well-being. It boosts confidence for people who need newer self image while it prevents the aggravation of physical illnesses for some. While nearly all of the research on exercise is focused on demonstrating positive effects on the physical body, there is a growing mass of research that seeks to prove that exercise is good for mental health as well.

A study conducted by the researchers from the Duke University along with other similar studies proved that exercise could help treat depression for 60% of all the participants. This result is similar with the total number of participants who are using medications for their treatment from depression.

However, you don’t have to be a sufferer of a mental illness before you benefit from exercise. You can boost your sense of well-being while walking on the treadmill or by combining yoga and meditation. In a way, exercise could be used as a potential medium for preventing the development of psychological and emotional conditions.

There are three dimensions at which we could look at when examining the benefits of exercise in the mental wellness of a person. Among the less well known is the biological aspect.

One theory suggests that physical workout or exercise could stimulate a part of the brain to release endorphins. Activities that are more likely to trigger the release of endorphins are swimming, cross-country skiing, running, bicycling, aerobics and sports like soccer, football and basketball.

Endorphins are comparable to opiates in a way that they resemble morphine. Endorphins could work in two ways- as a pain reliever (which is produced in response to the stresses brought about by physical work or stress) and as an enhancer of well-being. There are, however, no definite data that could support this claim.

On the other hand, exercise is also found to trigger the release of hormones norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin. All these are known to help improve mood and is actually the main effect of Prozac, a known antidepressant.

Increase in these hormones could be best observed in a condition known as “runner’s high”. This feeling during after an acute exercise is directly linked to the increased number of the said hormones. However, there are still no conclusive studies proving that improvements on mood could be facilitated for a longer period of time.

Another is the physiological aspect. Nearly all of the feelings we associate with mental wellness come from our personal evaluation of the way our body feels. Say for instance, if you perceive a stomach pain as a form of stress then you will feel stressed (and sometimes even depression) every time your stomach aches. Likewise, exercise could render feelings such as muscle relaxation and easier breathing which we associate with “feeling better”. While this correlation is yet to have a better scientific grounding, we still could not deny the fact that muscle tension and increased blood flow go together with physical fitness.

No one knows yet how exactly exercise affects mental health. But it is common among patients to view exercise as a good medium to elevate their moods. In fact, according to a survey conducted by the Charity Mind nearly two-thirds of all people who said that they use exercise to relieve symptoms of stress and depression believe that exercise actually works for them. The scientific community is yet to understand how this happens though and for now, it remains a truth that people benefit from exercise for mental health.

www,anxiousminds.co.uk

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

Hobbies for the Elderly to Maintain Mental Health

Elderly people respond to mental health differently than younger people. They are prone to developing more psychological disorders and can cope less effectively with triggering factors of mental impairments.

Let’s first take a look at how an old person lives

Retiring could be one of the most enjoyable but dreaded years in the life of a person. Anybody who no longer has definite roles to take apart from being an older member of the society begins to question their own importance, sometimes even existence. Since a retired person no longer holds a job, he is free to use his time on any activity he chooses. The problem though is that he cannot establish a certain activity that would make a life for him enjoyable for the rest of his life. He also feels that he is no longer important since his children who used to depend on him have already taken up their own lives, sometimes living him without company.

In most cases, people who are old are alone. They sulk into life without purpose, without direction, without the sense of worth. Slowly, they will have experiences that would negatively affect their mental health. They then become depressed, lonely and more prone to developing psychological disorders. Since society gives too little importance to elderly people, it tends to disregard them. Until they become debilitated enough due to sickness, disorders and old age that the society begins to notice them. But then, by that time, it is already too late.

The usual life of the elderly is marked by the lack of support that will introduce them to activities that will revitalize their lives. They can no longer put up with their old activities since their bodies, by nature, are deteriorated enough to hinder them from moving and performing as they did before. However, old age should not always be like this. Old people should try to look for newer activities in their lives that would make the rest of their days enjoyable and worthwhile.

They say “you cannot teach old dog new tricks”. This is a myth. An old person who is willing to learn will learn by all means regardless if his body or his mind limits him. Here are some of the hobbies that an elderly could do to increase his mental health:

Keeping your brain active will make you feel healthy

For some people, the mere fact that they are thinking and can still conceptualize thoughts drive them to be crazy about life. It is never too late to learn to write and for people who used to enjoy writing during their younger years, it is never too late to bring back their attitude towards literature.

Reading could also be a fun activity that would easily let the time pass. Old people who enjoy reading are apparently happier than those who sat idly on their couches throughout the day.

The music of your life

Your fingers may not have the same dexterity they had when you were younger but this doesn’t mean that you can no longer enjoy music. You can learn to play music instruments. The piano, for example, requires too little energy output but the internal satisfaction it provides is high. Also, listening to music could make you think of familiar thoughts that would drive you through the memory lane. This would allow you to meditate on your life. For most people, knowing the fact that they have lived their life will make them satisfied and at peace with themselves. Internal peace is central to achieving the right balance in life.

Pick up your old hobbies

Did you enjoy gardening as a kid or collecting things as a teenager? You can bring back those old hobbies. After all, you already have enough investments in the past that it would no longer be hard for you to start again.

It is often the case of losing the zest for life when one gets old. But through regaining your appetite for life through hobbies for elderly, you might find again that life is worth living for.

ByAnxious Minds

Alzheimers

Alzheimers affects that part of brain that control thought, memory, and language, it is one of the most common form of Dementia (destruction of brain cells to cause decline in mental functions)but later it spreads to all regions of brain rendering it ineffective. The onset of Alzheimer slowly progresses and alters personality and behaviour.

In most cases anxiety, suspiciousness or agitation, as well as delusions or hallucinations are observed to be the few changes that is caused by the disease. Memory and thinking process are marred in the initial stages of Alzheimer. It is one of the rising causes of death in elderlies, as patients diagnosed for this disease barely survive more than six years. But the duration of the disease vary between three to twenty years.

There is no permanent cure for the disease so far but effective care and support can help improve condition in the tenure of diagnosis to death. However, the condition can be avoided if healthy ageing takes place in an individual. It also helps to reduce the risk of Alzheimer. The few best measure to ensure healthy ageing involves constant check on cholesterol, blood pressure, weight, stress reduction, socially active lifestyle and regular exercise for body and mind.

Unfortunately it takes longer to diagnose the disease as the brain damage starts much before the symptoms appear. By the time symptoms are visible nerve cells are already degenerated and extinct. The symptoms of disease vary but the first thing one notices is the loss of memory that starts interfering and affecting the regular life of an individual. Apart from this other noticeable changes are confusion and disassociation with the language and fumbling in familiar surroundings.

The first sign noticed should be communicated to family or physician so that it can be identified early and the treatment is started without any further delay. Though there are no particular medical examination to conclude the disease but various tests (including physical and mental) and reviews from family and friend can benefit in diagnosis of the condition. Depression, hormonal changes such as thyroid and side effect of medication act catalyst for those who suffer from the disease and also makes prone to those who don’t. Excessive drinking, unhealthy lifestyle and improper diet can also propel Dementia.

There are medication available to delay the process of brain cell degeneration but they are not known to curb or stop the process altogether. Thus it just slows down the process rather than eliminating the danger of the disease. However, improving quality of life by subtle understanding, care and altering the surrounding can tremendously help the patients suffering from Alzheimer.

The ongoing research in the field of Alzheimer is concentrated on reversal of nerve and brain cell damage. And also to further stop and reduce the degenerative condition in an individual. They are also working on the strategy to optimise the delay of disease and the role of cardiovascular and other health condition to affect the condition.

Those having a family history are more prone to the disease as the genetic makeup makes them more pronounced to be at the risk. More researches have brought forth the theory of plaques and tangles in brain tissue this considered to be more definitive way to diagnose the disease other than this brain scan is followed by tests of urine, blood and spinal fluid. It has also come to light that non-steroidal drugs can help slow the progression of Alzheimer. Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant and is known to slow the progress. The hormone estrogen is also known to ease the condition.

The Alzheimer’s Association has been formed with the intention to share, educate and strengthen the caregiver and family members of Alzheimer patients.

ByAnxious Minds

Agoraphobia

The fear of traveling is the common definition of agoraphobia. This can be a serious condition in which a person isn’t able to leave the home at all or it can be a mild disorder in which a person can’t travel more than a few hours away from home. When a person attempts to go beyond what is considered their “safe” boundaries then they go into an agoraphobia panic attack.

Starting by taking baby steps is the best way a person can slow their agoraphobia panic attacks. In order to finally master their fears the individual must set specific goals to overcome their panic attacks. Family and friends are the best people to help a person through this process.

To the sufferers themselves an agoraphobia panic attack is very frustrating. This is because an agoraphobic attack is often less rational than the typical panic attacks.
A fear of public places, especially those where there is a large gathering of people such as a grocery store can develop from a social anxiety. An individual who suffers from general panic disorders can become embarrassed of their disorder, which can then cause a fear of traveling and suffering a panic attack in public.

The only way for a person to overcome these attacks is to push their limits, which makes treatment of agoraphobia panic attack difficult. Before getting better many agoraphobics tend to get worse for this reason. Since all an individual has to do is stay within their “safe” zone they tend to ignore their agoraphobic problem. However, while the problem can be easy to ignore it is a stifling symptom that comes from a chronic panic disorder.

Little by little, agoraphobia can be overcome. It takes time and a lot of patience. This is one time the person with this disorder must learn to turn to someone trusted to help them through.