Browsing Posts in Mental health

One in four Americans suffers from some type of mental health issue. It can range from depression to anxiety and anything in between. Whatever kind of mental health issues a person suffers from, it can become debilitating and make it impossible to do day to day activities. The good news is help is available you just have to seek it out.
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Mental health issues can be temporary or permanent. For example, someone going through a particular situation that is really stressing them out may suffer from panic attacks. These panic attacks because they are caused by a specific situation may go away after the situation has resolved itself.

Other people have more long term problems that may be caused by a chemical imbalance or more stressful situations from childhood. Regardless of if your mental health problems are permanent or temporary they most likely cause you difficulties in life and need to be managed.

One of the biggest issues in mental health today is people who suffer from depression. Depression can be totally debilitating. It can make it impossible to get out of bed in the morning and do what you need to do. It can make it hard to keep relationships in tact and to do your work. It begins to creep into every aspect of your life and if left untreated can have terrible consequences such as suicide.

This is why you have to seek out help. You have to get your mind back to a healthy place and that is not always something you can do on your own. Once you deal with the immediate effects of your mental health issues there are many things you can do to keep your mind healthier in general and avoid depression.

A clear mind is more effective at decision making and allows you to be able to cope and get through situations without them turning into a mental health emergency. Most mental health issues start as a result of stress when you have a clear mind and can think things through and make good choices you are less likely to have stress that you are unable to manage.

If you are currently having issues managing your stress you should talk to a professional. There are also other things you can do to help you think more clearly. Brain games or brain training activities can go a long way in giving you a healthy mind. A healthy mind is far better equipped to manage stress and make good decisions.

Bipolar is an illness that affects the brain. Another name for bipolar is manic-depressive. A child who has bipolar disorder will demonstrate severe and unusual mood changes that seem almost uncontrollable. A child may feel very happy one moment and completely down the next. This is a form of depression and exists because a child cannot find balance and maintain a level of everyday happiness.

Bipolar should not be confused with other depression symptoms and disorders. Bipolar symptoms in children are more excessive and powerful. A child may find it too difficult to do their best in school, get along with friends, and get along with family members as well. Bipolar symptoms in children can become very dangerous because a child can actually do bodily harm to themselves including attempted suicide.

Bipolar symptoms in children can be mild until they are older and then become a problem when a child reaches teen years. When a child develops bipolar disorder symptoms this is referred to as early-onset bipolar disorder. This is usually a more severe case of bipolar disorder than what is seen in older teens and adults.

There are many reasons why a child develops bipolar disorders; it is hereditary, a child suffers from an abnormal brain structure and function, or the child suffers from anxiety disorders. It’s not really clear why a child suffers from any of these conditions but research continues.

Some symptoms that are noticeable by children who suffer from bipolar disorder include having a short temper, unusual behavior of acting silly and extremely happy, talks fast and changes the subject often, doesn’t feel tired and cannot go to sleep and stay asleep, cannot stay focused, does things that are risky, may feel very sad, complains of headaches or stomachaches, shows signs of depression, feels overwhelmed, guilty, worthless, either eats too little or eats too much, loss of energy, no interest in any activities that are fun, may think about suicide or even death.

Bipolar symptoms in children are also co-existent with other health or behavioral problems such as ADD, ADHD, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, or mental illnesses such as depression. Although one of the myths associated with bipolar disorder is that it only happens with adults. But children are prone to it.

Bipolar in children can be determined by a routine doctor visit where he or she will do further testing to rule out other possible conditions such as alcoholism or depression. Once bipolar in children are diagnosed the doctor will usually recommend a combination of medication as well as therapy.

When bipolar symptoms in children show up it’s important that you be patient and encouraging. When your child wants to have fun, you have fun with him or her. Listen to them and create new ways that you as a family can deal with bipolar disorder. It’s important that everyone help a child who suffers from bipolar disorder to be able to handle the disorder and help everyone around them respond in a positive way.

Most of us walk around completely secure in that the world around us is directly connected to our perceptions. When we hear someone call our name, we turn around with confidence looking for the person who called us, and when we see a chair we know exactly what it is and how to use it accordingly. Have you ever imagined what it would be like to second guess everything you hear? Have you ever thought that someone is monitoring your every move, that your ideas are all over the news because apparently someone read your mind? When a person is unable to tell the difference between what is real and what is not, their suffering from psychosis. One of the most common psychotic disorders is schizophrenia. It is a puzzling disorder because it is not represented by one single form.It is unfortunate that so many people are afflicted from birth by this curse of this dual reality; the one we all live in, and the one they create in their mind. Two mutually exclusive realities, paradoxically existing simultaneously.The onset for schizophrenia occurs between the ages of 15 to 25 years.The symptoms of schizophrenia usually develop over a period of years, but in some instances the disorder can hit within months of onset.Some people have lots of symptoms and others just a few.

Some of those symptoms are:

*Hallucinations – There are two categories of hallucinations
*Auditory – Hearing things
*Visual – Seeing things that are not there
*Delusions – Beliefs that are not based on the reality.
*Social Isolation -Not interested in social interactions.
*Bizarre behavior – Acting oddly

One thing many people don’t know is that there are a couple of types of Schizophrenia.Paranoid Schizophrenia: This category includes hallucinations, delusions, anxiety, anger, emotional distance and suicidal thoughts. You are probably thinking, “wait, aren’t those the symptoms of schizophrenia? What makes this different?” Well, for someone who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia they are less likely to be affected by mood or thinking problems and have difficulty in concentrating and paying attention.

Disorganized Schizophrenia: Well we all know what disorganized means, so guess what this category of schizophrenia is all about! That’s right, disorganization! Those who suffer from D.S. have a reality distortion which consists of hallucinations and delusions, difficulty of expressing emotion and Alogia (speech poverty)

Catatonic Schizophrenia: What is catatonic schizophrenia? Catatonic schizophrenia is a state of pure immobility. No movements, emotion, and speech. Catatonic patients can hold a certain pose for hours and will ignore anything that happens around them. If someone places them in a certain position, they will keep that position for hours and will only speak the same thing someone else said.

What is the treatment for schizophrenia?

The best treatment of schizophrenia is the anti psychotic medications. Although those help a patient to function better most of them have side effects such dizziness, weight gain, slowed movements, sleepiness. Those side effects shouldn’t stop someone from getting treatment though. Living this schizophrenia is both difficult and dangerous. Since one is not in touch with the actual reality can fall a victim of the reality that’s going on in their head which can end up in them being injured, lost somewhere, and they can also be a danger to others.

Have you ever had an annoying song stuck in your head? You don’t even like the song and yet you can’t stop hearing it play in your head. It’s one of those where you “thanked” your friend for singing it. That’s the good side of obsessive compulsive thoughts. Yes the thoughts are annoying and you can’t seem to shake it but it’s not really a thought that does harm to you.

The other side of obsessive compulsive thoughts are those that do you harm. They cause stress, fear, anxiety and even panic attacks. While these thoughts may not even have the slightest chance of coming true they are true in your mind because you are living the experience. You may be feeling the feelings of something you fear coming true and you can’t shake it. You try and try but they just don’t seem to go away.

So what can you do to stop these terrible thoughts?

First let’s look at why they are so problematic. In your mind you are linking up emotions with the pictures or sounds in your mind. When you link strong emotions with these thoughts they become more real and they create a stronger bond. A negative thought will become stronger and the more you fear it the more you think about it. The more you think about it the more you fear it. As this cycle continues you are creating more stress and anxiety. This can create poor health, depression, lack of energy and put undue stress on your relationships.

When you have these obsessive compulsive thoughts you need to stop trying to get rid of them. By trying not to think about them you are causing your self to think about them more.

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This is no different than someone telling you not to think of a blue car. See, your mind can’t picture the word “not” so it only sees a blue car. This example works for anything that you can picture in your mind. If the thought you fear is a violent act then picture something else. Don’t try to not think of the violent act.

Take a deep breath and relax. Don’t try to force the thought out. Think of something else and if the thought returns, just notice it and let it go but do not try to force it out. Being in a relaxed state you are better able to control your thoughts instead of them controlling you.

Always feeling tired, agitated, having low confidence and pessimistic outlook are only few plagues of depression which have to be faced by our diagnosed citizens. Recognizing depression is sometimes difficult, because when you live in such a state since your childhood you accept it as the default normal perception leaving no room to anything else.

Additionally, aches and migraines often arise from depression although the sufferer may seek the sources elsewhere leading to the consumption of unnecessary and inefficient medication. Once you realize that the negative states of consciousness including depression are alien and interchangeable, you will be able to radically eliminate some, many or even all of the symptoms. Combating any mental disorder is difficult and requires a lot of patience and effort, but time well spent will reward you accordingly. In order to feel change a change in lifestyle needs to be induced. Among some of these reforms we find:

1. Exercise Have not tried the almighty strenuous physical activities yet? It sure is worth the try considering all the advantages as little as 20 minutes a day of aerobic exercise can bring you.

  • Firstly your fatigue, both physical and mental, will be alleviated as you are strengthening your cardiac muscle and improving ventilation rate, allowing you to breathe more freely and supply the body with all the oxygen it needs.
  • Secondly, exercise is a great mood enhancer due to the secretion of neurochemicals such as dopamine and serotonin, both of which play a major role in learning, happiness and many more.
  • Last, but not least you will be able to shift your focus from the unwanted negative thoughts to the carried out exercise.

2. Supplements Amino acids, vitamins and minerals are essential substances for all bodily processes such as cell formation, acting as antioxidants and coenzymes partaking in important cycles. Depression is not always a result of a broken childhood or family issues, but can arise from and often leads to a chemical imbalances in the brain or perhaps from overactive brain regions (overstimulated amygdala). Be it one or the other, supplements such as L-tryptophan, Rhodiola Rosea, Tyrosine etc. are involved in building/releasing of the previously mentioned neurochemicals serotnin, dopamine or norepinephrine ergo they might be something to consider to include in the diet.

3. Learning about depression Knowing your enemy better allows you to fight more efficiently, in other words knowing what the sources of your depression are and being aware of what intensifies/alleviates it can bring you the most benefit from all methods there are. If you think twice about your low mood you will probably be able to logically deduce that the reasons behind you being depressed are often not rational/irrelevant and that it is only your disorder playing tricks on you. The more you learn about your depression the more relief can be expected as you refuse to obey those feelings of destruction. So go ahead and read some books or articles revolving around depression as every piece of information counts!

Please be patient as visible results can be achieved only with time and effort, you will not probably experience an instant relief after an afternoon of exercise, however if you continue on a regular basis then within a time of few weeks you will gradually be freed of your depressive symptoms. Research and experiment with various methods to find your best fit, what may not work for me may work for you and vice versa.

Have you ever experienced social stress in your life? If so, you know how difficult it can be. Depending upon the level of social stress that you are experiencing, you may not want to socialize with anyone, not even on the phone. If you want to get rid of your social stress dilemma, keep reading this article to find out how.

Diet And Food

Your diet might have a huge role in the amount of stress that you have. Although changing the way that you eat might not completely get rid of your stress, it might do something to help. If your diet has plenty of stimulants such as sugar or caffeine, this will cause you to be anxious. Attempt to decrease these things as much as you can.

Also make sure you’re getting a good balance of foods and nutrients, including vegetables, proteins and carbohydrates. If you mostly eat foods that have starch, this is the type of improper diet that can impact your metabolism and bring about symptoms of stress. When you take supplements or B vitamins, this can have a positive effect on your nervous system and help you in the end. You should consider looking into hypnotherapy for curing your social anxiety.

Hypnosis

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Although many think that this method is controversial, hypnosis has been known to effectively treat psychological ailments. When dealing with hypnosis, you have a chance to change some of the thinking that makes your social anxiety flare up.

A quality hypnotherapist understand that you can change the way that you react in various environments. This whole process moves along very fast in comparison to psychotherapy. Hypnosis is something that is worth the effort if you are up to it. So might want to research the hypnotherapists in your area.

Self Medication

There are some people who have learned how to self medicate themselves by drinking alcohol and taking drugs. You should be very apprehensive about this because it can become quite addicting. If you have a few drinks to help you loosen up, you might start to make this a habit.

If you think that you should be medicated for your stress, then seek the help of a physician. Talk about taking something under controlled conditions. But, you have to be careful when it comes to using alcohol or drugs to loosen things up. This is because this can get out of control if you’re not careful. Even though a lot of people loosen up when they drink, you should not depend on this to alleviate your stress.

To Conclude

After you have finished reading this article, you should implement some of the techniques, especially if you feel anxiety in a crowd. Remember that every technique and strategy can be used in a slightly different way and modified for each person. Taking care of social stress by using the techniques in this article can help improve your life in ways that only you will be able to describe.

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder mostly connected with the thought process and emotional responsiveness. The medical condition is characterized by impaired thinking, behaviors, and emotions. Usually, the disintegration of thought process and emotional responsiveness manifests in the form of paranoia, strange delusions, auditory hallucinations, and disorganized speech and thinking. These symptoms are often followed by noticeable dysfunctions in social and occupational aspects. Although children ages 14 or under can be affected by this mental disorder, schizophrenia typically begins between the ages of 15 and 25. The early signs can be categorized into several groups, namely physical symptoms, behavior, feeling and mood, cognitive problems, as well as delusions and hallucinations.

Physical Symptoms

Early physical symptoms include unusual postures or gestures, awkward gait, clumsiness, sleeping disorder (either insomnia or too much sleep), sped up movements, slowed up movements, overly sensitive senses (especially to bright lights or loud noises), involuntary movements of tongue and mouth, Parkinsonian symptoms (e.g. jerking arm movements, rigidity). Other physical symptoms include blank facial expression, inability to express emotion through the face, and tendency to stare with infrequent blinking while engaged in deep thinking.

Behavior

People with schizophrenia tend to restrain themselves from social activities and have difficulty in building or maintaining relationships, neglect their self-care (e.g. clothing, hygiene, appearance), have excessive preoccupation with spiritual or religious activities, misuse drugs and alcohol, replay or rehearse conversations in loud voice (i.e. talking to themselves), and smoke (although many non-schizophrenic people also smoke). They also find it hard to cope with minor problems or difficult situations and are unable to engage in purposeful activities.

Feeling and Mood

Schizophrenia also affects feelings and moods. Early signs include inability to feel enjoyment from doing activities, feeling indifference to important matters, hypersensitivity to insults or criticism, sudden anger, little enthusiasm, depression, severe anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and frequent mood changing.

Cognitive Problems

Early signs of schizophrenia also include cognitive problems such as ruminating thoughts (thoughts that go round and round the head), poverty of speech (speaking very little), thought blocking, lack of insight, strange use of language structure, difficulty in expressing thoughts verbally, nonsensical logic, or disintegrated thought, action, and behavior.

Delusions and Hallucinations

Delusions are most frequently connected with paranoia and can manifest in many forms. People suffering from schizophrenia might think that their food might be poisoned or that the people around them are conspiring to harass them. A religious person may have the delusion that she/he is a god or a prophet. Meanwhile, hallucinations include visual and auditory hallucinations.

Imagine the usual environment and stresses of a standard city with say 2-3 million people in – very sizeable by any stretch of the imagination! Now picture the same environment and stresses in a city of 12-13 million people and this is very large. Actually, for many of us who don’t live in these colossal giants, quite impossible to imagine.

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Any city that has over 10 million people living within its metropolitan area is said to be a ‘megacity’. These include Shanghai (China), Mexico City (Mexico), Johannesburg-Pretoria (South Africa), Dhaka (Bangladesh), New York (USA) and London (UK). While these megacities have had much attention focused upon them by people and publications interested in cities, a recent television programme by broadcaster Andrew Marr titled ‘Megacities’ has covered these and bought them to a prime-time audience.

While all megacities, all five featured in the programme -London, Shanghai, Dhaka, Mexico City and Tokyo- all had different characteristics, benefits and drawbacks. However, for me, the most interesting comparison was between Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, and Tokyo, capital of Japan. Both cities are megacities and suffer from overcrowding and other pressures. Dhaka is a very fast growing city -with an extra 500,000 people moving into the city from the surrounding countryside every year, being a city with economically poor people in a poor country that is also at risk of flooding. Tokyo, on the other hand tends to have by-and-large a far more affluent population which until recently lay within the world’s second richest economy behind the USA – though Japan has now been relegated to third place behind both the USA and China.

  • Before too much thought, and certainly my personal thought, was that the city with the most stressed inhabitants would surely be Dhaka, due to the risk of flooding, trying to scrape enough money to live and indeed, living in self built house closely compact and nearly on-top of ones neighbours – even quite literally the case.
  • On the other hand Tokyo would be stressful, of course as it is a megacity, but not to the same degree as Dhaka and that people would have more opportunities to relax due to greater personal wealth and facilities on offer. It seemed however that actually the opposite is true.

While under no circumstances do I want to suggest a romantic view of being economically poor -because in the 21st century there should be no such thing as poverty- I actually got the impression that the poorer people with the slum in Dhaka were actually happier than the richer people in Tokyo. The reasons for this are as follows.

  1. The people of Dhaka had a very strong sense of community. People live with immediate and extended family in very small and confided spaces, in close proximity to neighbours and relatives. People seemed to talk and help each other out where possible.
  2. In Dhaka, while people seemed to work very hand – and indeed many do work exceptionally hard to simply keep a roof over their heads and put food on the table; much of the work seemed to be of the hard physical labour variety that while very hard on the body, does not place mental stress on the mind that lead to psychological burnout.

People in Tokyo on the other hand, while more affluent, actually seemed far more stressed. While people live in very close proximity to one-another as in Dhaka -with people crammed into small apartment placed high above each other into the sky; unlike Dhaka, there did not seem to be the same neighbourliness and personal interaction between people – especially between neighbours and strangers. People were living very mono-centric lives, living close to one-another but having little interaction.

With the nature of much employment in Tokyo – finance and other office work – stress tends to be psychological rather than physical stress on the body as with Dhaka. Alongside this, and something that was pointed out to Andrew Marr, was the impersonal nature of the city, an almost clinicalness – something that appeared to annoy Marr after only two days in Tokyo. Very small clinical apartments are one thing, but the ‘rent a friend’ scheme for people who have no friends just shows the loneliness that can exist in such a big city. It is ironic that a city of over 12 million inhabitants can have people who are so lonely!

Finally the most striking thing about Tokyo is its clockwork organisation. On the surface this would surely lead to less stress – with very rarely a late train and infrequent technological failures. We humans though, as a species crave different environments and experiences that change from day-to-day. And while delays and route-changes making us late every day would be unwelcome, slight daily change and the unexpected are essential for us. This is why I feel that despite all the cultural advances, Andrew Marr found Dhaka -along with Mexico City which was also focused upon in the programme- to be strangely less stressful. As I have already touched upon, Marr admitted himself that two days spent in Tokyo was enough and that he actually felt unnerved by the city impersonal nature of the city.

To conclude then, with anything in life including stress, the unexpected can actually happen. At first thought, I would have said that Tokyo would have been the least stressful city, with its clockwork transport system and modern hi-tech gadgets to help us in life. But actually, surprisingly, Dhaka seemed to be the less stressful of the two for Andrew Marr, largely as a result of the social interaction and close bonds that existed in the city, more-so than in Tokyo – though it has to be said that life on the breadline in Dhaka is only slightly less stressful!

Both cities then are extremely stressful places to live and work by no-means should we romanticise poverty and deprivation. But it does go to show that sometimes we can have these hi-tech innovations designed to free us that actually cause us less free time and greater stress. This stress is of course multiplied in a megacity: mega-cities mega-stress!

Everyone experiences stress in their lives. However for some, stress levels can become damaging when left for prolonged periods of time and not addressed. In order to regain some balance to your busy life, there are some exercises which can be used to help you restore a healthy equilibrium. A four step system moving through progressive muscle relaxation, slow breathing, calming meditation and finally relaxing imagery can be helpful to reduce stress levels and begin feeling more centred again. The following techniques can also be performed individually to help you find some inner balance.

1. Muscle Relaxation

When starting any relaxation process you should try and relax your muscles a little as they can generally hold on to tension.

  • Lie down or sit in a comfortable position where you feel warm and it is quiet.
  • By tensing the muscles in your hands make a fist and hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Be aware of the tension building and then release the stress from your hands. Notice your hands feeling more relaxed.
  • Now do the same your forearms followed by your upper arms and shoulders.
  • Continue the process moving onto your head, firstly with your forehead then eyes, followed with your nose, cheeks and jaw.
  • Carry on with the rest of your body starting with the neck, moving through the chest, abdomen, pelvis, thighs, calves, and feet. Now move down to the neck and carefully tighten so that you feel tension, now release.

Your body should now be feeling relaxed.

2. Slow Breathing

Now that your muscles are feeling more relaxed its time to focus on your breathing for a few minutes.

  • Try to slow the rhythm of your breathing.
  • With your eyes closed, take a comfortable and deep breath through your nose.
  • Hold your breath for only a moment and breathe out very slowly through your mouth.
  • Continue this exercise for 3 to 5 minutes or until you feel settled and calm.

3. Meditation

At this point you should be feeling much more relaxed. Now we can begin the practice of meditation.

  • Again you should be sitting or lying in a comfortable position. Make sure that there are no distractions or noises near you.
  • Begin to watch your breath as you resume the slow breathing exercise.
  • Focus on observing your breath.
  • If your mind starts wonder gently bring your attention back to the breath without judgement. Continue repeating this process.

Meditation is the practice of focusing the mind with awareness. It is a practice not a destination and therefore requires a little patience. Begin with practicing meditation for 5 minutes at a time; slowly increase until practicing 30 minutes per day.

4. Imagery

The final phase of relaxation is imagery. Imagery is used to create a peaceful environment where you feel total relaxed both mentally and physically.

  • Close your eyes while taking 3 slow and deep breaths.
  • Now imagine yourself sitting in completely serene place, it could be a beach, a temple, a park or even a rain forest. It is your place of peace.
  • Wander around slowly noticing everything you can see, smell, taste, touch and hear. The more detail and vivid, the better.
  • Smell your environment; do you smell salt or fresh grass? Do you hear birds or waves?
  • Stay in your place and enjoy the stillness, it is whatever you make it… a place of escape.

These stress management and relaxation strategies are offered by Canberra based Clinical Psychologist Nesh Nikolic as a guide. If you are still feeling stressed after following these exercises, please contact your GP to discuss alternate stress management strategies.

The secret to happiness lies beneath the foundations of our mind…
Creep down that winding stair of your mind and you will find what is nudging you forward.
Through the mist you’ll be find happiness.

It might be a dusty tennis racket, and old car part, a torn piece of a manuscript that once gave you inspiration.

What you bring up that winding stairway from your mind will excite you.
This moment that you give time to yourself is timeless and trickles your dreams to come.
You are begging yourself in finding your happiness, but it is with this happiness that you find love…

Those old running shoes, the broken piano, the half built project.
Bring them back to NOW and feel like you felt when you did activities with them.

Don’t let life’s distraction suck you away from you life dreams…
Play a little and let your life grow on a path with rhythm and soul.

When it feels like there is screaming and it’s tough to concentrate, don’t let the screaming in your mind distract or it will suck you away from what you love.

Let it be and move over toward the quietness of your mind and growing your life dreams.

Grow and live and life’s heavy burdens will wisp silently away while you are enjoying your dreams.

Your life…

Going in the right direction and being aware of the signs that you are going in the right direction is what I’m going to show you how to do!

How we live life…Missing the right train or the right path to where we want to go towards happiness… Some people call it our life’s purpose.

You don’t want to waste anymore time, because it is about time you got back on the right track and got out of the haze and blur of life.

I really hope you did your homework, because it is really worth it! I know it takes discipline; I know it takes patience! There is a part inside everyone that just doesn’t want to take the time to going through the steps towards happiness. The part inside everyone has very little belief that life can get better, that part thinks we are suppose to go through unhappiness!
Ask yourself this, “Is that part of me that lives the unconscious life any fun?” You live life struggling trying to figure out why? You live your angers, your sadness, your depressions, nothing seems to be working out for you. Although you may have a great job, a wonderful family, a super spouse that does everything that you ever wanted.