Saturday, December 14, 2013

Signs of Depression in Women and Men

There are actually more signs of depression than people realize and it affects men and woman differently in most cases.

Most people think that to be depressed a person is despondent, or has feelings of gloom and perhaps has suicidal feelings. But, depression signs can range from just being tired with no energy or feeling down or sad. If you have another illness it can sometimes compound the problem. If you don't feel well to begin with depressive symptoms can be much worse. Not sleeping well creates an irritable mood making the depression worse which can then lead to insomnia or excessive sleeping. It is a vicious cycle leading to other or more intense symptoms like alcohol abuse, eating disorders, headaches or just unexplainable aches and pains that don't go away.

The biological differences of men and woman can cause certain symptoms unique to woman even though the signs are the same. Seasonal affective disorder caused by low levels of sunlight in the winter can affect more woman than men, and women seem to experience more depression in general. Causes could be hormonal fluctuations, pregnancy, infertility, postpartum depression and even thyroid problems can cause depression.

Depression signs for men can include feeling sad, anxiety, weight loss, and loss of sex drive, no interest in hobbies or friends. Men typical will try to feel better with alcohol and drugs which only deepens the depression. Men will also in general sleep less, experience weight loss while women tend to sleep more and eat more during a depression.

There are many signs of depression and also many ways to treat this illness. If you have a mild or moderate form of depression there are some excellent natural remedies on the market including St. Johns Wort, supplements such as Omega 3's and natural homeopathic remedies that just might give you that jump start to feeling better.

Why Am I Always Depressed? The Reason Why You're Always Depressed

Ever sit back and wonder to yourself; why am I always depressed? If you are like many of the other people who suffer from unexplainable depression, then the information contained in this article could be the reason why you're always depressed.

While most medical professionals will try to tell you that depression is just one's mindset, or that it is caused due to some traumatic event, or the loss of a job, home, or loved one; the truth of the matter is, that there is so much more to what causes depression. This article will deal with three alternative health causes of depression in people. So if you have had many different treatments for depression, trying to control it and finding that nothing works, you might very well have one of these three causes.

  1. A parasitic infection or infestation can cause a person to feel less then up to par in their daily lives. Parasites have a bad habit of attacking the body in vulnerable spots such as the immune system, and neurological system. When these areas of the body are being overworked due to an increase in parasites in the body, then the host grows weary and tires easily. This fatigue and this suffering from these microorganisms can cause the chemicals in the body and the brain to change, creating a depression within the person suffering.

  2. An imbalance in the hormone levels in the body can cause a person to feel sluggish and depressed. There are certain hormones that out body needs, which are produced by the adrenal glands such as adrenaline, cortisol, DEHA, and many others, that help keep our system balanced. When one or more of these hormones experience a spike or a drop in their levels the body has an adverse reaction, while trying to combat what ever caused the rise or the fall of these hormones.

  3. A deficit in the nutrients the body needs to survive can cause a person to feel tired and sad, as nutrients are very important to keep all parts of the body functioning well together. When the body is not getting the right amount of nutrients or the right kind of good nutrients the immune system suffers, lowering its defences allowing other illnesses to sneak in such as depression and anxiety.

In the end, if you are still suffering from symptoms that just won't go away even with modern medicines, then you can be assured that you have one of these three issued going on inside your body. While there is no real quick fix, changing your diet and daily lives to one that is healthier and more active is a good start for feeling better. There are also cleanses such as a parasite cleanse to flush out your system, and with more fruits and vegetables in your diet you should be able to replenish the missing nutrients which ultimately could help balance out your hormones once more, eliminating depression from your life.

What Is CBT?

What is CBT?
CBT, or cognitive behavioural therapy is a psychotherapeutic e.g. (treatment) approach to helping people fix emotional, cognitive and behavioural dysfunctions. A trained medical professional helps a patient to restore their quality of life using CBT, to change a patients thought processes, coping responses and behaviours.

How does CBT work?
CBT works by replacing undesirable thinking patterns with patterns of thinking that help the individual to cope with their problems. Thinking patterns such as over generalisation, magnifying negative thinking, and minimising positives are all examples of destructive thought patterns.

What techniques does CBT use:
CBT practitioners use a number of techniques:
Exposure and response reduction therapy - exposure to a stressor such as dirt in an individual that fears dirt, and then helping them to manage that stress response. This is relevant to people with obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Stress inoculation (meaning that the individual is more resilient to stress)
Cognitive therapy (therapy aimed at memory, thinking skills, problem solving and decision making)
Acceptance and commitment therapy

The process of undertaking CBT:
1. Assessment - A qualified medical professional prescribes an examination to determine the best treatment plan.
2. Conceptualisation - re-framing the problem issues in a different way.
3. Learning new skills such as self-talk, exposure response, relaxation techniques and minimising negative thinking.
4. Skills consolidation and application training - Learning to apply the skills in practise and then using them in the real world. E.g.: talking to a stranger or attending a social event.
5. Generalisation and maintenance
6. Post-treatment assessment follow-up

What disorders does CBT treat?
Depression, anxiety, body issues, mood, personality and psychotic disorders, eating disorders, personality disorders, psychosis, substance abuse, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post traumatic stress disorder.

Who would benefit from CBT?
All people of different races, genders and ages can benefit from CBT.

How does CBT relate to depression
CBT is one of a number of effective treatments for clinical depression. It is used to change the negative views that depressed individuals have created for themselves during childhood as a response to stressful life events. These individuals benefit greatly from CBT, because it addresses these negative mechanisms and helps to adjust the thinking so that patient can return to healthy, positive and adaptive thinking.

CBT and anxiety disorders
CBT has been widely documented to help all anxiety disorders.

What happens during CBT?
CBT is undertaken with the help of a qualified medical professional such as a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist.

Why should you use CBT?
CBT is an approach to restoring people to positive psychological states of well-being. The obvious benefit of doing this is the restored quality of life that will be enjoyed by the individual seeking treatment. Quality of life will be reflected in improved self-esteem, less stress, better coping mechanisms, improved social skills and better work performance.

When is the best time to use CBT?
CBT can be used at any time that symptoms of mood disorders, personality disorders, mental illness, substance abuse or generally unwanted psychological states of distress are noticed.

CBT is a non-invasive, non-medication form of therapy that aims to help an individual change negative belief systems, problem behaviours and destructive ways of dealing with mental issues. With the help of a trained medical professional, CBT can be used to help with any number of mental illnesses and help restore an individuals quality of life.

Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids Found in Chia Seeds

Omega-3 or fish oil is one of the most promising nutrients studied right now. There is strong evidence to suggest that it can aid in fighting inflammation, depression, and may have strong benefits in maintaining a healthy body fat percentage. The chia seed is one of the most effective bioavailable dense source omega-3 fatty acids. Most people talk of using fish or expensive supplements to receive enough omega-3, which may not be the most cost effective source of the essential fatty acid. Salmon provides a half gram of omega-3 per ounce while chia seed provides almost 5 grams per ounce. In fact, the USDA recommends that most adults have at least 8 ounces of fish a week to get sufficient omega-3. The chia seed has more omega-3 in one ounce than 8 ounces of salmon.


Omega-3 acids make eicosanoids which are vital hormone components in fighting inflammation in the body and maintaining the immunity system. A body deficient in Omega-3 might experience a higher incidence of colds, joint stiffness, and other unexplained pains because the body lacks what is necessary to fight inflamed tissue. Elevated inflammation is linked too rheumatoid arthritis, and allergies. Studies have shown that omega-3 is effective in treating the symptoms of inflammation, as well as helping the body prevent inflammation. Some suggest a majority of health problems come from inflammation, which leads to other more serious health problems.


Omega-3 supplements relieve symptoms associated with depression, in fact, some studies have determined that lower levels of omega-3 can be an effective in diagnosing depression. While a deficiency in omega-3 does not automatically mean depression, clinical studies where omega-3 supplements combined with anti-depressant medications show promise in treating depression symptoms.

Body fat

When the body is deficient in necessary nutrients fat accumulates. Some studies have linked the body fat with the presence of inflammation in the body. By effectively treating inflammation, the body is better able to utilize stored body fat. By giving the body the ability to deal with inflammation, it does not need to store fat. The key to fat loss is using stored body fat, which inflammation inhibits.

When looking at all the benefits omega-3 provides it becomes obvious the body needs a dependable source of omega-3. While omega-3 is abundant in nature, not all food has the density in a cheap bioavailable form. Simply adding an ounce of chia seed to the diet will give the body what it needs of this valuable nutrient. A good affordable source of omega-3 is the chia seed.

Bipolar Disorder - When Moody Is Actually Manic

Human beings are variable by nature. Life is inconsistent and we respond accordingly. Highs and lows are par for the course. However, we are all different, in our genetics, in our experiences, in our brain chemistry, so too are we different in the way we react to life's changing rhythms.

You can probably identify someone in your life who is unfailingly even-keel. This person seems to remain eternally steady in every circumstance, if mood is on a scale from 1-10, they are pretty much always hovering around a 5. This person might be described as having a "flat" affect, they are by no means the life of the party. By contrast, you can most likely also identify someone in your life who is constantly at the mercy of their every mood. This person spends a great deal of time ping-ponging between 1 and 10, with very little time spent mid-scale. This person might be described as a drama king/queen, they are intense and most likely draining to be around. If we look at these two people as the opposing ends of a spectrum, we can begin to see how the many variations of mood can manifest.

Most people find themselves somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. Their mood would look like a series of hills and valleys if plotted as a line graph, perhaps with a few mountains and the occasional canyon. When canyons and mountains or a perpetual plateau becomes the norm, it is time to evaluate whether there might be a mood disorder at play. In this article, we will be specifically exploring the mountain and canyon phenomenon better known as Bipolar Disorder.

The defining feature of Bipolar I Disorder is the Manic Episode. The occurrence of one or more Manic or Mixed Episodes distinguishes bipolarity from depressive and other disorders. These episodes are defined as follows by the DSM-IV-TR, the standard diagnostic manual for mental health professionals.

Manic Episode:

A period of one week (or less if hospitalization is required or psychotic features are included) or longer in which the prevailing mood is abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable and during which at least three characteristic symptoms are present and cause marked impairment in functioning, require hospitalization to prevent harm to self or others, or include psychotic features. Characteristic symptoms are inflated self-esteem or grandiosity, decreased need for sleep, increased talkativeness, flight of ideas, distractibility, increase in goal-directed activity or psychomotor agitation, excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high risk for undesirable consequences.

Mixed Episode:

A Mixed Episode lasts for at least one week and involves symptoms that meet the criteria for both Manic and Major Depressive Episodes. The disturbance is sufficiently severe to cause marked impairment in functioning, require hospitalization to prevent harm to self or others, or includes psychotic symptoms.

Manic Episodes are serious business. They dramatically disrupt a person's life and the lives of those around them. The key here is defining "marked impairment in functioning". When an episode leads to hospitalization, an arrest, a suicide/homicide attempt, it is fairly obvious to conclude that functioning has been markedly impaired. However, the consequences of mania can be more subtle and difficult to distinguish. Many times, mania is experienced as a pleasurable state (irritability is also possible and is often the result of the person's wishes being denied). The elevated mood can feel like a state of euphoria, causing the person to think they are doing great, better than great. This makes Manic Episodes particularly dangerous, as they often include unsafe behavior yet rarely cause the sufferer to seek treatment since they experience this state as pleasurable. Less overt indications of the occurrence of a Manic Episode include:

  • Increased substance use

  • Increased sexual behavior

  • Unrestrained spending, making large, impractical purchases or engaging in foolish business investments

  • Indiscriminate enthusiasm

  • Increased energy despite a decrease in actual sleep

  • Embarking on unusual projects, i.e. building a house with no knowledge of construction

  • Excessive talking without regard for others, often accompanied by a theatrical presentation and abrupt changes in topic

  • Distractibility, an inability to differentiate between relevant and irrelevant stimuli

  • Increased sociability, to the point of being intrusive or domineering

  • Excessive planning and participation in multiple activities

  • Physical agitation or restlessness

  • Reckless driving

  • Impulsive travel

  • Change in personal appearance, usually toward a more flamboyant or seductive appearance

  • Lack of regard for ethical concerns

  • Gambling

  • Antisocial behaviors such as assault, physical threat, or hostility towards others

  • Sharpened sense of smell, sight, or hearing

A person experiencing a Manic Episode most likely does not have awareness of the change in their behavior and affect. What difference they do discern they may regard as a positive change. Any negative consequences resulting from their behavior are likely perceived as happening to them, rather than being created by them. In other words, the loss of a job is seen as "my boss is just a jerk", the loss of a relationship is about "he didn't understand me", an arrest for shoplifting is explained as "they were out to get me", etc. A life that looks like a series of unending tragedies and victimizations, may actually be the catastrophic results of poor judgment exercised during intermittent Manic Episodes.

Mania can also manifest as a Mixed Episode. This means that manic symptoms and depressive symptoms are commingled with one another during the episode, causing the person to vacillate between extreme euphoria and hopeless dejection.

A third category worth mentioning is the Hypomanic Episode. This type of an episode differs from a Manic Episode in that it need only last 4 days, as opposed to one week, it cannot include delusions or hallucinations, and it is not severe enough to cause marked impairment in social or occupational functioning or to result in hospitalization. A Hypomanic Episode is basically a milder version of a Manic Episode. This is the defining feature of Bipolar II Disorder. In order to qualify for a Bipolar II diagnosis, a person must also have experienced one or more Major Depressive Episodes. As defined by the DSM-IV-TR, a Major Depressive Episode is as follows.

Major Depressive Episode

A period of at least two weeks during which there is either depressed mood or the loss of interest or pleasure in nearly all activities. This must include at least four of the following: changes in appetite or weight, sleep, and psychomotor activity, decreased energy, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions, or recurrent thoughts of death or suicidal ideation, plans, or attempts. These symptoms must cause a clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, "The only constant is change". Change is indeed the hallmark of our human existence. No one is constant in mood or in temperament, but when existence consists primarily of a violent vacillation between polar extremes, it may be an illness and not the fickle nature of life which is to blame. If you have a friend or loved one who fits this description or you are experiencing a number of these symptoms yourself, it is important to speak with a qualified professional. Assessment and diagnosis for Bipolar Disorder can be performed by a Marriage and Family Therapist, a Psychologist, or a Psychiatrist. There are a variety of highly effective treatments for Bipolar I and II Disorders. If you or someone you love is caught in a life of mountains and canyons, seek treatment and support. There is a more peaceful path awaiting you.

Is Bipolar Disorder a New Illness?

Far from it! The disorder is probably one of the oldest known mental disorders ever recorded, going back as far as the second century A.D.

Back then, a man named Aretaeus first recognized manic and depressive symptoms and believed they were linked. People largely ignored his findings, however. Then in 1650, Richard Burton (a scientist) wrote a book called The Anatomy of Melancholia, focusing on depression. He was credited as the one who recognized depression as a mental illness, and his findings are still being used by many people in mental health today.

In 1854, a man named Jules Falret coined the term folie circulaire (meaning "circular insanity"), which established a link between moments of "heightened moods" and moments of depression. He recognized this to be different from the simple depression that Burton had written about.

Francois Baillarger, characterized the depressive phase of the illness. This allowed the illness to receive its own classification from all the other mental disorders of that time.

Emil Kraepelin established the term "manic-depressive" in 1913, doing a study about the effects of depression, with a small portion of his research devoted to the manic state of the illness.

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disorders published an article in 1952 where the genetics behind what was then still known as "manic depression" were analyzed, revealing the likelihood of manic depression running in families who already had the disorder.

Many people with the disorder were institutionalized and given little financial help during much of the 1960s, because Congress refused to recognize manic depression as a real illness.

It took all the way until the early 1970s for standards to be established and laws to be enacted to help people who had this disorder.

In 1979, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) was founded, which continues to this day to provide resources and help to individuals suffering from mental illnesses.

The term "manic depressive disorder" was replaced by "bipolar disorder" as a diagnostic term (found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual on Mental Disorders - the DSM-III at that time) in 1980.

Shortly after that, due to research, doctors were allowed to distinguish the difference between adult bipolar disorder and childhood bipolar disorder (also called pediatric bipolar disorder or early-onset bipolar disorder).

Friday, December 13, 2013

Depression Among the Youth

Teenagers who are experiencing depression are increasing in number than the previous years. This condition does not choose as to a person is rich, good looking, black, white, history and many others but it can be experience by all types f teenagers across the globe. Depression may be felt by anyone without any exemptions. Teenage depression may be more common to girls than to boys of their age. Teenage girls are said to be more prone of acquiring this condition than their male counterparts.

However, depression among teenagers is hard to recognize for teens may most of the time focus on dealing with their personal lives other than sharing this negative feeling among their family members. Since it is hard to detect among teens, it is very important for parents to notice changes in the behavior of their children. At times, depressed teenagers often exhibit signs that they have it like they are now staying away from their social circle and choose to go around alone. Sometimes, it is perceived that depression among teenagers is a sign of puberty age. This condition may get worse if left untreated so it's vital that parents know their children well do they must talk to their kids as to they have a problem that has been bothering them in school or at home. In this way an open communication is needed for sometimes teenagers just lack attention from their busy parents. There are several treatments being done to get rid of depression among teenagers wherein the first step should be done by the parents through counseling their kids.

There are several methods available to cure this condition. It may be through natural means or through medications. However, the latter may have harmful effects on the individual for it may be addictive in the future. Parents must watch out on different signs that their children are exhibiting. They can sometimes feel unreasonably ill like they have poor appetite, good grooming and lack of social skills. They may also feel that they are not worthy individuals. They may also show lack of interest in the activities that they are usually enjoying before like playing soccer and other sports. In this case, they may not want to mingle with their friends and often choose to be alone.

Having thoughts about meditation? Check this link for helpful tips:

Sobering Advice for You When Your Bipolar Spouse Resists Getting Help

It's frustrating and at at times frightening, but nonetheless it's true that many people diagnosed with bipolar disorder resist seeking help. When they're depressed, they don't believe help is possible. And when they're manic, they'll often be irritated or offended when someone suggests that they need help. (If the mania manifests itself as euphoria, then they really don't want help. Everything feels too good, though it can be hell to live through for family and friends).

Some with bipolar disorder refuse treatment their entire lives. Others resist at first, but ultimately acknowledge that they cannot control this illness by themselves. The reasons most often cited are fear, mistrust and denial. But if you're the caring spouse, it boils down to this:

If your spouse doesn't want treatment, there are only a few circumstances in which help can be forced upon him. In the US, unless your bipolar husband or wife presents an imminent health and safety danger to himself or others, he or she cannot be forced into treatment or "committed" to mental hospital.

This is the bitter medicine you, as a wife or husband, must take when you watch someone you love self-destruct. The hard truth is, you can't override your bipolar spouse's decisions for themselves--as much as you might want to. And your spouse doesn't have to listen to you, as much as you may think that what you're doing is for his own good.

Those diagnosed with bipolar disorder or manic depression, who pursue conventional psychotherapy, have better quality of life outcomes than if the illness is left untreated. Often your bipolar husband may decide to pursue alternative therapies and treatments--either after traditional medical treatment fails or because he distrusts doctors and drugs. These therapies may range from quackery to "interesting and promising". Outcomes in these cases vary widely, but, often, if you *believe* that something will help you, it does: it's the power of positive thinking, (no different than those in the general population who believe "The Secret" and "The Law of Attraction.")

Sometimes those with bipolar disorder put their faith in spirituality to "heal" them or help them as a coping regiment. As misguided as some treatments may sound to you, you cannot live your sick husband's life for him. Instead, turn it around and be glad that your bipolar spouse or bipolar partner is taking responsibility for his own care.

When you're in a bipolar relationship or you care very much for a person with bipolar disorder, remember to look out for yourself. As much as you want to help and protect this person, you can't let yourself become a financial or emotional victim. Join a family support group and take advantage of other resources available to you. You are not alone in dealing with this terrible illness.

Say Good-Bye to the Symptoms of Depression - Why a Natural Treatment is Right for You!

You have been sad for the past weeks, months, and possibly years. You don't know if what you are suffering is simply a bout of the blues or depression? Thousands of questions grip your mind and you feel like you have no place to turn (You Do!) Unfortunately, if you are suffering from depression, almost 10% of the population (18+ and older) is also dealing with the same disease. You are not alone and millions have cured the 'invisible disease' that haunts almost every aspect of one's life.

The first step is discovering if you suffer from depression? Take a look at the following depression test and keep track of how many symptoms or signs you relate with.

Symptoms of Depression:

Prolonged Sadness;

Feeling hopeless or worthless;

Difficulty in making decisions;

Concentration difficulties;

Loss of enjoyment from things that were once pleasurable;

Excessive sleep or insomnia;

Aches and pains;

Stomach or digestive problems;

Change in appetite (weight gain or loss);

Sexual dysfunctions; or

Suicidal thoughts (thoughts of death)

Typically, the two main trademarks of depression are: 1. Loss of enjoyment from things that were once pleasurable and 2. Prolonged Sadness (Depressed mood) that makes you feel sad, helpless or hopeless, and you may have crying spells. In addition, for a professional to diagnose depression, most of the listed symptoms must also be present for at least two weeks.

Why a Natural Treatment Might be Right for You!

At Barton Publishing Inc., we are serious about common illnesses and natural, holistic (whole body) ways of curing them. In fact, our team of researchers has been busy for literally months reading, documenting, interviewing and researching everything under the sun about depression! We have discovered why prescription depression medications will only hide the symptoms and NOT cure them (as well as have harsh side-effects). We have discovered a simple four-part natural cure called The Joy Equation, we are confident will treat any type of depression. In fact, I am so confident; I put our 100% no-risk, money-back guarantee on our Joy Equation Report which explains how to naturally cure depression. And finally, we are confident our natural cure WILL treat your depression symptoms for good! So let me ask you,

Are You Ready For A Serious, Legitimate, Natural And Affordable Depression Cure That Really Works And That's Based On Sound Research And Real World Experience?

Just imagine yourself bounding out of bed in the morning ready and even eager to face the day and whatever challenges it might bring.

Just imagine being filled with passion and love and truly, once again being able to enjoy the company of your friends, your family and your spouse or partner.

Just imagine saying goodbye to the stress and the expense of those side-effect laden depression pills... and regaining your true personality and your true self.

Just imagine finally being happy... and having the tools and the knowledge you need to stay happy even in the face of the toughest challenges.

Just imagine finally finding joy. Take a minute and check out our Joy Equation Website because life is too short to be depressed! I guarantee you won't be disappointed!

The Joy Equation Website

Genetic DNA Testing During the Adoption Process

Obtaining genetic DNA tests for your adopted child can be an important and useful way to get insights into potential diseases and challenges your adopted child will face before they occur. Genetic screening tests are also a great way to find out more about a child's genealogy beyond what you will receive in their medical records.

What You'll Find Out through a Home Genetic Test of Your Adopted Child

Hidden in every human's DNA are secrets about history and future health. When you bring a genetic test home and submit your cheek swabs for analysis, you're embarking on a trip through both the past and the future as you discover things like inherited characteristics, ancestry, and potential future health concerns.

As an adoptive parent, you are responsible for preparing for your adopted child's future, including their mental and physical wellbeing. However, depending on the type of adoption process you went through when preparing to bring your adopted child home, you may have been provided very little information about the health and wellbeing of both of their birth parents. In some cases, birth parents are reluctant to answer health questions honestly out of concern that by doing so their child will be less likely to be adopted.

A genetic screening test is a reliable way to obtain a much more comprehensive medical history for your child. There are many genetic diseases you can identify with DNA testing so that you can adequately prepare for any future challenges you may face as adoptive parents. Consider, for instance, what you would do if your adopted child suddenly developed leukemia and needed a bone marrow transplant. Or what if they became very ill because of kidney failure? In either case, registering your child's DNA history with a genetic information bank today may prove to be important for saving your child's life in the future. Other family members and potential genetic matches may be found long before you ever require the life-saving donation of marrow or a kidney.

The types of diseases you can identify with a genetic screening tests include things such as:

  • Cancer

  • Diabetes

  • Mental illness including depression

Yet beyond life-threatening diseases, genetic DNA testing can help you create a healthy lifestyle tailored to your child's unique health requirements. For instance, if diabetes is a higher risk for your adopted child, you can help prevent development of the disease by ensuring your child eats a healthy, low glycemic index diet, gets regular exercise, and receives medical check-ups that include glucose monitoring and other diagnostic tests for early detection of the onset of diabetes. Knowing this information will also aid the child in making responsible choices in lifestyle and diet as an adult, which can help to prevent diabetes from occurring in the first place.

The important thing to remember is not to allow any results received from a home genetic test to define the identity of your adopted child. In other words, don't allow anxiety about potential health concerns to rule the life of your adopted child. Ensure that you use the information responsibly without creating undue stress and creating unnecessary restrictions for your child.

Home Genetic Test Results for Reuniting Family Members with Your Adopted Child in the Future

Completing a DNA ancestry test with your adopted child may be a way to increase your bond with him or her if you complete the test together. Consider this: all humans originate from the same two human parents going back millions of generations. It may be a fun and interesting experiment for you and your adopted child to both obtain DNA ancestry testing to find out if perhaps you have similar ancestral roots. You never know - you may discover that your ancestors all originated from Asia or Australia. This may be a great way to improve your connectedness to your adopted child.

Completing a genetic DNA test for your adopted child can also be a great way for you to preserve information about their biological parents, grandparents, and other relatives. More and more, adoption agencies and DNA testing facilities are working together to help adopted children locate and reunite with their biological family members. Completing a home genetic test when your child is small is a great way to collect and store the information about their family so that when the inevitable questions about family history arise, you can provide them with the information they seek.

So as you go down the road in your journey with your adopted child, consider how genetic DNA testing may enhance your lives both today and in the future. It's an informative and practical expedition into the world of human health and history you won't want to miss!

Teenage Depression - Symptoms and Control

Teenage is a tough time. Many teenagers are prone to depression during this phase of life. Teenage depression can very easily be confused with mood swings and melancholic nature. This not just makes it almost impossible to diagnose and treat it. But, also raises the possibility of it creating serious problems in later life. Teenage depression is far more prevalent than it is thought to be.

There are several symptoms by which depression in teenagers can be diagnosed -

• Prolonged feelings of hopelessness, sadness, tearfulness, guilt, worthlessness, thoughts of death and suicide.
• Loss of interest in any activity especially the ones in which they were interested as a child.
• Difficulty in focussing on anything.
• Significant changes in dietary and sleep patterns.
• Impatience, moodiness, agitation and undue anger.
• Lack of motivation.
• High sensitivity to criticism.
• Unexplained bodily dysfunctions like digestive ailments, nausea and aches and pains.

However, there are several steps that can be taken to control teenage depression.

• Develop understanding for teenage depression. It is the first and foremost step in controlling it. Depression is a serious ailment and should not be confused with just bouts of bad moods. So, educate yourself if you have a depressed teenager on your hands.
• Develop good communication channels with your teenager. It is imperative to be gentle, supportive, and accepting in your attitude. Encouraging them to talk. It helps them form a trustworthy bond with you.
• Teenage depression needs treatment just like any other ailment. So consult a good doctor who can inculcate trust in your adolescent. You doctor can advise suitably if your adolescent needs psychological or psychiatric care and can also recommend someone qualified for the job.
• Explore the treatment possibilities with your doctor. It is also necessary to take depressed teenagers into confidence. This is a tricky thing to do. If your adolescents trust that whatever you are doing is for their benefit, chances are that they shall go ahead with your advice.
• Sometimes there is some traumatic experience that causes depression in youngsters. It could be a sexual incident. It is necessary for the parents to brace themselves for the knowledge of the worst and still remain tolerant in attitude. Feeling sorry for your adolescent is also not helpful. So, just remain calm and supportive.

Coping with adolescent depression is easier said than done. It is equally traumatic for the parents. However, they need to do it. So remain strong in the knowledge that if all the right things are done depression in youngsters is completely curable.

Mindfulness Meditation in Western Society

Meditation has become extremely popular in western society in the recent years however; it has existed for thousands of years and has obviously passed the test of time in various other cultures. Meditation has in fact survived 4500 years of political upheaval and socioeconomic transition (Andreson, 2000). If meditation was not beneficial would it still be around and being practiced thousands of years later? Probably not.

The word meditation tends to cause confusion in many people due to it being unknown or regarded as somewhat metaphysical, new age, or associated with a special dogma or religion. Well as just discussed there is nothing new about meditation and I believe that the foundation for meditation in its purity is not confusing or complex. The very essence of meditation is simplicity, but as Ayaja states in his psychotherapy text, "simplicity is often the most complicated thing" (Ajaya, 1983, 126). I genuinely believe this statement to be accurate in especially western society's way of life.

Life consists of simple principles, however human beings tend to complicate them within their minds rather than living and being from the soul. I know for my life, I choose to keep meditation and living as simple as possible. I think Stephen Levine says it best when he discussed meditation in his book, A Gradual Awakening, "meditation is for many a foreign concept, somehow distant and foreboding, seemingly impossible to participate in. But another word for meditation is simply awareness. Meditation is awareness" (Levine, 1989, 1). Now, this explanation is indeed workable and practical to an individual wanting to become involved in meditation.

Within this paper, I will offer a simple explanation of the process of meditation, its psychological, physiological, and spiritual benefits as well as a brief description of my personal experience.

There are several types of meditation, however Levine states that "differences in these techniques are basically due to the primary object which is concentrated on through the process" (Levine, 1989, 8). Thus, I will base this paper on mindfulness meditation (Vipassanna) which involves directly participating in each moment as it occurs with as much awareness and understanding as possible. In my opinion this is the simplest and most effective form of meditation and actually a very enlightened way to live your daily life. We live "now" right in this moment and that is what this type of meditation proposes. After all, as Goleman (1972a) states, "the goal of all meditation systems, whatever the ideological orientation or to transform the waking state through the fruits of practice - to die to the life of the ego and be reborn to a new level of experience" (155).

As previously discussed, the focus of this paper will be mindfulness meditation rather than concentration meditation which is what usually comes to mind when the word meditation is mentioned. While concentration meditation focuses on the attention of a single object, mantra, or deity, mindfulness meditation includes a more dynamic inclusive field of observation. It is inclusive of the depth that surrounds us rather than shutting the world out, which is more practical for the average participant in western society (Tacon, 2003 ). It was also suggested by Kabat-Zinn (1994) that mindfulness may be beneficial to many people in western society who might be unwilling to adopt Buddhist traditions or vocabulary. Thus, mindfulness meditation is considerably more appropriate for our society than discussing the full range of meditation techniques from eastern traditions, due to its simplicity, practicality and perceived detachment from eastern philosophies and religions.

Rather than try to choose one definition to describe what mindfulness meditation is, I will present a variety of views from those familiar with this specific practice in order to get the point across more succinctly. First of all, mindfulness meditation is more specifically called "insight meditation" in Buddhist traditions, or vipassanna which is sanskrit and means "to see clearly." Mindfulness meditation is a large part of Buddhism as well as Zen practice; however it can be successfully practiced detached from these traditions. As previously mentioned it is not necessary to be a practicing Buddhist to enjoy the fruits of mindfulness meditation (Levey & Levey, 1999). At this time I will present varied definitions or descriptions of what mindfulness meditation actually is.

Tacon (2003) describes mindfulness meditation as a "form of meditation that involves stimuli from the field of consciousness rather than the exclusion of stimuli, as in concentration meditation" (67).

Kabat-Zinn (1994) states that mindfulness meditation is "paying attention in a particular way; on purpose in the present moment and non-judgmentally." (108).

Levey and Levey (1999) describe mindfulness meditation in the following way: "mindfulness liberates us from memories of past and fantasies of future by bringing reality of the present moment clearly into focus" (89). They also state that "mindfulness makes us more aware of life's everyday miracles" (89).

Dunn, Hartigan, and Mikulas (1999) state that "mindfulness practice involves open receptivity and awareness to all stimuli, while evaluation, analysis or classification of those stimuli is suppressed" (p.148).

Ruth Baer states "mindfulness is the nonjudgmental observation of the ongoing streams of internal and external stimuli as they arise" (2003, p. 125).

Although each of these passages utilize different terminology to articulate what mindfulness meditation is; the overall consensus comes down to "being present in life." In my personal opinion, this may well be the secret that all human beings have been searching for outside of themselves. Being present in the moment is very simple, yet profound. Most people will likely say, "There has got to be more to living than this." Is there?
Mindfulness meditation focuses on all areas of our being. Levey and Levey (1999) present a variety of these areas in their book, Simple Meditation and Relaxation. These elements of the human being include being mindful or aware of your sense without judgement, being aware of your emotions with acceptance, maintaining awareness of your thinking and allowing thoughts to flow by, just noticing. Another two vital areas include being aware of your breathing as well as what is going on with your body (pp. 95-97). What it comes down to is being aware of what is going on for you in each moment. To further articulate this I will provide various excerpts from a mindfulness meditation by Stephen Levine (1989).

o "Find a comfortable place to sit, with back straight but not rigid..."

o "Keep your attention at one precise point and note the sensation that accompanies each breath..."

o "Sounds arise. Thought arise. Other sensations arise. All background, arising and passing away..."

o "Sensations arise in the body, Thoughts arise in the mind. They come and go like bubbles..."

o "Don't get lost. If the mind pulls away, gently, with a soft non-judging, non-clinging awareness, return to the breath..."

o "Moment to moment awareness of whatever arises, whatever exists" (pp. 32-36).

My hope is that these excerpts further clarify mindfulness meditation to the reader. Levine is a master when it comes to simplicity in one's life as well as having the capacity to make meditation practical and efficient. Next, I would like to discuss a variety of interventions using mindfulness followed by research demonstrating the psychological, physiological, and spiritual benefits. Mindfulness meditation is truly a holistic application and this will be shown through the research findings discussed in this article.


As previously discussed meditation has been around for thousands of years, however has only recently been integrated into psychotherapy in western society. The American Psychological Association, around 1977, suggested that "meditation could facilitate the therapeutic process" (Taskforce on Meditation, 1977, p. 3). Unfortunately, about 20 years later it still hasn't actually become mainstream. However, we must be fortunate that some progress is being made. At this time, I would like to discuss four current interventions that are using mindfulness meditation as part of the therapeutic process.

The first intervention is the integration of mindfulness meditation in the general psychotherapy process. La Torre (2001) discussed it as an effective component of psychotherapy and stated that as meditation brings awareness to feelings and discomforts in the therapeutic process, psychotherapy can provide discussion and exploration of these insights. She also expresses that the ability to practice meditation in and out of the therapeutic session fosters independence and self mastery on the client's part. La Torre (2001) concludes by stating, "That in most cases the incorporation of meditation into the therapeutic process has enriched therapy and given clients a greater sense of control and awareness" (p. 104).

In a separate case study by Boorstein (1983), he describes his integration of mindfulness meditation and bibliotherapy and its effectiveness with a depressed, agitated, and paranoid client. Boorstein integrated various readings with a transpersonal theme as well as mindfulness meditation in and out of session. Boorstein claims that the outcome was significant and included increased self-esteem, psychological and spiritual growth and relief of presenting symptoms. Boorstein conducted follow ups and stated that the positive outcomes were maintained and the client continued to focus on personal and spiritual growth in his life.

A second popular intervention and the most frequently cited method of mindfulness meditation intervention is the program developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). This program was developed specifically for chronic pain and stress related disorders. It is an 8-10 week course for groups which utilizes a unique combination of discussions related to stress, coping, as well as homework assignments and an intense instruction and practice of mindfulness meditation. The ability for clients to practice inside and outside of session in real life situations is again a benefit of this modality (Baer, 2003).
Another intervention which is strongly associated with MBSR is Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). This intervention incorporates aspects of cognitive therapy that facilitate a detached or decentered view of ones thoughts including statements such as "Thoughts are not facts" and "I am not my thoughts" (Baer, 2003, p. 127). MBCT is designed to teach skills for previously depressed individuals to observe their thoughts and feelings non-judgmentally and to see them as simply mental events that come and go rather than as reality or aspects of themselves (Baer, 2003).
The final intervention that I will discuss that incorporates mindfulness meditation is a therapy termed Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). This specific therapy was designed to treat borderline personality disorder however it is currently being applied to a variety of different populations. DBT integrates mindfulness meditation training with cognitive behavioral skills in order to facilitate acceptance and change at the same time. Specific aspects of this intervention include emotional regulation, interpersonal skills, and distress tolerance skills (Baer, 2003). In my personal career I have had direct experience with this an addiction facility and found it to be quite effective. Residential clients embraced the mindfulness components in all aspects of their lives and appeared to truly benefit from practicing acceptance and non-judgment as part of their recovery. I genuinely hope that more interventions will become available and mindfulness meditation will eventually get the respect it deserves in the field of psychotherapy and life in general.
Mindfulness meditation is a holistic tool for growth and self awareness. It benefits the mind, body, and soul as a whole, however for this papers purpose I will separate the components into the benefits related to psychological, philosophical, and spiritual elements of the human being. These will be based on the literature pertaining to mindfulness meditation specifically and what has been discussed in a variety of research studies.

Physiological Benefits

The literature discusses an immense amount of physiological benefits derived from mindfulness meditation. To list and discuss all of them is beyond the scope of this paper; however I will discuss some of the main physical benefits shown throughout the empirical literature. First, the physiological changes that have been noticed when practicing meditation such as decreased heart rate, breathing and the lowering of blood pressure has been termed the "relaxation response" by Benson (1975). These changes can of course be extremely beneficial to those individuals needing to escape the daily stress and chaos of society. However, the physiological benefits of mindfulness meditation transcend the momentary changes during the act of meditation. In Perez-De-Albeniz's (2000) 75 study Meta analysis he discussed a vast array of benefits that were found in his perusal of the available research. These included increase cardiac output, muscle relaxation, increased serotonin and melatonin levels, and significant improvement in chronic pain. In addition mindfulness meditation was found to be beneficial for psoriases, epilepsy, fibromyalgia, and hypertension. This brief summary obviously demonstrates that mindfulness meditation can be effective for the body component of a human being. Lets explore the other two elements that make up human beings.


Numerous psychological benefits of mindfulness meditation are mentioned throughout the empirical literature. Again, this is not an exhaustive review of the literature, but a brief articulation of outcomes reported regarding the practice of mindfulness meditation. La Toree (2003) explains the benefits of mindfulness meditation in terms of its emotional benefits concerning self growth. In her article she explains that overwhelming feelings are better able to be accepted as an individual is able to own these feelings and experience them with a greater sense of safety.

In Perez de Albeniz's Meta Analysis of the literature the following were demonstrated throughout the empirical studies that were reviewed:

o Increased happiness

o Increased joy

o Increased positive thoughts

o Increase problem solving skills

o Enhanced acceptance

o Enhanced compassion

o Enhanced tolerance

o Increased relaxation

o Increased resilience

o Better control of feelings and personal responsibility

o Improvement in psychological well being

o Decreased anxiety

o Decreased substance abuse

Perez de Albeniz also discussed mindfulness meditation's ability to help patients understand that there are no quick solutions in life which leads to development of patience in their personal growth journey. In addition, the promotion of a non-judgmental attitude as well as the ability to come to terms with what is rather than what could have been.

Finally I think it is important to mention a study by Shapiro, Schwartz, and Bonner (1998) in which MBSR was offered to medical and pre medical students. The application involved a 7-week intervention with a wait list control. The outcome of this study included reduced self-reports of overall psychological distress, including depression, reduced self-reports of state and trait anxiety and increased scores of empathy levels. Again, in the psychological domain it is obvious that mindfulness meditation has enormous benefits.


Spiritual benefits are also demonstrated in the practice and application of mindfulness meditation. In the Shapiro et al study (1998) it was also found that there were increased scores on the measures of spiritual experiences, which basically meant that following the mindfulness introduction, participants had a greater conviction of the existence of a higher power as well as an increase in the internalization of a personal intimate relationship to a higher power. In Perez de Albeniz (2000) it was noted that mindfulness meditation helps a patient or person to trust their inner nature and wisdom. Finally, Walsh (1983) expresses in his article that meditation is "available as a tool for those who wish to plumb the depths of their own being and explore the nature of mind, identity, and consciousness. It's a tool that can be used from the beginning to the end of the spiritual quest" (45). Obviously, there are many other spiritual benefits of meditation, including the obvious, Nirvana; however I merely supplied the reader with a summary. Perhaps, it may motivate some to enter this journey of awareness and explore the many additional gems along the path.

Personal Experience

Henry Miller said "the aim of life is to live, and to live means to be awake, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware." This is what mindfulness meditation has brought to my life. By all means, do not think that I sit in meditation continuously and detach from the world. Mindfulness allows me to feel every moment of life within my entire being. It allows me to live life rather than just existing and the application of this practice throughout the past five years of my life has transformed who I am. I have tapped into my genuine being and united with the energy of the universe. Simply by cultivating awareness of the moment through mindfulness I have been able to transcend my ego and travel each day on the path of self-actualization. I have experienced the pure essence of mindfulness meditation. Each moment of my life allows continuous practice and application of this essential skill that genuinely gives life. Each human being on this earth has the innate ability to tap into the perfection and precision of mindfulness meditation. Go and experience the bliss that it offers.

Finally, throughout this paper I have discussed what mindfulness meditation is, provided a variety of description by the experts in this practice, and given the reader examples of the process of mindfulness meditation based on writings by Stephen Levine. It was concluded, that simply mindfulness meditation is being aware of life, which obviously can be practiced in any setting. Mindfulness mediation is extremely practical in the west and has been utilized in a variety of therapeutic interventions with much success. Additionally, it has been shown to have physiological, psychological, and spiritual benefits by the research thus far. In short, mindfulness mediation is a great tool for the whole person to utilize toward personal and spiritual growth. Mindfulness is genuinely living life in this very moment. Go truly live in the now and experience the true essence of life without the deluded impediments caused the thinking mind.


Ajaya, S. (1983). Psychotherapy East and West, Honesdale, Pa:The Himalayan International Institute.

Andreson, J. (2000). Meditation meets behavioral medicine. Journal of Conciousness Studies, 7(11-12), 17-73.

Baer, R. (2003). Mindfulness training as a clinical intervention: a conceptual and empirical review. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 10(2), 125-143.

Benson, R. (2003). The Relaxation Response, New York, NY: Morrow.

Dunn, B. R., Hartigan, J. A., & Mikulas, W. L.. (1999). Concentration and Mindfulness Meditations: Unique form of consciousness?. Applied psychophysiology and BioFeedback, 24(3), 147-165.

Goleman, D. (1972a). The Buddha on meditation and states of consciousness, Part I: A typology of meditation techniques. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 4(1), 1-44.

Kabat-Zinn, K. (1994).Wherever you go there you are: Mindfulness meditation in everyday life. New York: Hyperion

La Torre, M. A (2000). A holistic view of psychotherapy: Connecting mind, body, and spirit.. Perspectives in Psychiatric Care, 36(2), 67-68.
Levey, J & Levey, M. (1999). Simple meditation and Releaxation . Berkeley, CA: Conari Press.

Levine, S. (1989). A Gradual Awakening. New York, NY: Anchor Books.

Perez-De-Albeniz, A. (2000). Meditation, concepts, effects and uses in therapy. International Journal of Psychotherapy, 5(1), 49-58.

Tacon, T. M. (2003). Meditation as a complementary therapy in cancer. Family and Community Health, 26(1), 64-73.

Taskforce on Meditation. (1977). Position statement on meditation. American Journal of Psychiatry, 134, 720.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Recognizing the Signs of Depression - Know When Help is Needed

It is important that each individual knows the signs of depression. A loved-one may be suffering from this condition and might need your help badly. How are you going to find out if somebody close to you is having depression? Recognize the signs and symptoms.

Depression is manifested by individuals in a different manner which means that one person's behaviour may differ from another one who has this same disorder. In most cases, depression is episodic and each time a person comes into this episode, the experience is almost always the same. The following are manifestations of depression:

  • When a person loses interest in his/her usual activities

  • Loneliness

  • Mood swings

In other cases, depression may be multi-symptomatic and will present itself with the following symptoms:

  1. In despair and doubtful

  2. Lack of importance

  3. Feeling associated with guilt

  4. Lack of patience and becoming more unpredictable

  5. Eating disorders which could either result to drop in weight or sudden increase in weight

  6. Suicidal tendencies

  7. Sleeping disorders, restlessness, irregularities in sleeping patterns

  8. Lack of energy and will

  9. Difficulty in concentrating, lack of focus and inability to make decisions

The following are the signs that indicate that a person suffering from depression needs to seek help from a professional.

  • Suicidal attempts or tendencies

  • Mood swings are becoming more severe

  • Depression is secondary to certain problems or is linked to other conditions

  • Lack of control in life

  • Easily becomes overwhelmed; troublesome feelings, anxiousness, dejectedness and lack of control

  • Behaves in a harmful manner and shows signs of addiction

  • Chest pain

When dealing with a depressed individual, it is important to use a kind approach. Give enough consideration to the person. This can be done in two ways.

1. Provide support by helping the person find the most appropriate treatment. Encourage the person to complete the treatment and comply with it until improvement becomes apparent. If no improvement is being noted, seek other treatment options.

2. Provide emotional support which involves being patient with the person. Give enough consideration and approach the person calmly and lovingly. Do not ignore signs that indicate suicidal attempts. You may choose to speak with the medical practitioner yourself about the person's condition or if you notice strange behaviour. Gentle persistence is required if no steps are done. Encourage the person to join various fun activities that can make him/her happy.

Do not think that the person is just being lazy or trying to fake his/her illness. Avoid having an impression that the person will come out of the habit soon. Without adequate and proper management, a depressed person's condition can get worse and he/she may have difficulty bouncing back to normal life. Take the time to comfort the person and assure him/her that proper treatment can make things better gain.

Where can you get help?

You can extend help to a friend or loved-one who is suffering from depression by initiating the idea of proper treatment. There are a lot of people who suffer from depression and anybody's case cannot be considered isolated. Depression could happen to anyone. Encourage a depressed person to become vocal about what he/she is going through.

In any case that you feel insufficient to provide help, consulting a doctor or health practitioner is the best thing to do. Visiting a mental health institution or a therapist that deals with depression can be beneficial. If possible, you have the option to assist in taking the person for treatment. It may seem that the person has no problem at all and there is no need to seek for medical help.

Spiritual Transformation Through Chronic Illness - By Kathleen Gardiser - Book Review

I believe we all desire to live in spiritual harmony. Fundamentally we yearn for equanimity within our souls. "Spiritual Transformation: Through Chronic Illness," by Kathleen Gardiser is written in a "Been there, done that" tone. Gardiser writes about her struggles with her own health; physically, emotionally and mentally. She describes how her chronic illness fibromyalgia, has affected her life to the point of writing a book not only to help Gardiser get through her own illness, but to help others who are suffering and need assistance.

The first lesson you will learn when reading this book is to change your consciousness level. This is done by emphasizing the five core spiritual qualities: Love, joy, peace, self-empowerment, and wisdom. If you just simply follow this philosophy of life the reader will gain much spiritual fulfillment. She quotes Paramhansa Yogananda, "We must love others not for their human personalities, but because they are manifestations of God, who dwells equally in all."

Many topics are covered by the author such as mediation, yoga exercises, chakras, rebuilding self-esteem -- and one lesson that really stood out for me was lesson IV, How to Know and Trust your Intuition. After reading this chapter, I can see clearly that coincidences no longer appear to be simply random events. Instead they feel like winks, smiles, and hints from a benevolent intelligence. Gardiser uses some beautiful examples of divine synchronicity, such as an adoption story from "It's A Miracle," which really warmed my heart and opened my mind to make room for the possibility magic exists. She identifies plenty of practical wisdom with her engaging stories of her own personal battles within the pages of this book and how she overcame them with confidence. You will find her own beliefs and ideas on how we create unhealthy patterns in our lives as well as exercises that I found helpful in releasing and replacing those patterns with new and healthy ones.

"Spiritual Transformation: Through Chronic Illness" is easy to read and feels like a friend is giving you guidance. Wisdom is added to the friendly, no-nonsense feel. Efforts to bring home the message are made with "various exercises," and a list of questions at the end of each lesson, where the author goes over the key points in the chapter and gives readers a particular assignment to complete and makes the idea a reality for that particular chapter. You will also find at the end of the book appendix I and II which I found to be very beneficial and an added bonus.

This book is a soulfully interwoven journey that dives deeply into the adventure of self-exploration. It reflects all of life's internal issues on multiple levels and is jam packed with plenty of real substance. "Spiritual Transformation: Through Chronic Illness" will be especially helpful for people at a crossroads in life, career or at important life stages and of course anyone suffering a chronic illness.

What Are The Signs and Symptoms of Depression and How Can I Get Help for Depression?

Research has shown that 20 million Americans receive treatment for depression each year. The signs and symptoms of depression can be identified by a long list of characterizations. There are many different types and stages of depression, however being able to identify the beginning signs will be key to getting the help you need for depression.

The signs and symptoms of depression include but are not limited to insomnia, frustration, mood swings, and a loss of appetite. Being able to recognize the symptoms in the early stages of depression will be a benefit to you and your treatment process. There is no one cause for depression this illness can be caused or provoked by other medical conditions as well.

More serious symptoms of depression are irritability in combination with mood swings and frustration. Hopelessness and a pessimistic outlook on life can also be contributed to signs and symptoms of depression. A loss of energy, intense fatigue, tiredness, loss of interest on hobbies and physical appearance are also symptoms of depression. Losing contact with loved ones and associates, basically cutting yourself off from the rest of the world.

Feelings of helplessness and losing your self worth, in some extreme cases even thoughts of suicide can arise. Insomnia is a common symptom, however some individuals may experience the opposite which is excessive sleep. Unexplained weight loss or weigh gain, eating disorders can also develop during this time. These are all the common signs and symptoms of depression listed above, but the list doesn't end here.

When the signs and symptoms of depression are first recognized the most important thing for an individual experiencing these symptoms to do is look within themselves. Although the answers may not be clear you have to try to identify why you are experiencing these feelings, self awareness is key to beating depression. People can do both great things or very horrible things using the power of their minds, it is very important to understand how the mind affects how we live our lives.

Everyone is different and may require different forms of treatment, however one thing is certain depression can not be cured with medication alone. A patient has to make a conscious decision to do what it takes to get better, and changing the way you think is a big part of that. I am not only a scholar of psychology, I am a survivor of this illness and I know what it's like to face this illness head on.

Understanding Depression And Its Treatment

Depression is a disease, a mental affliction. Getting the right depression treatment at the right time is vitally important. To someone suffering from depression, it is not only extremely stressful for the patient themselves but also people who are concern about them, especially their good friends and relatives. People who have a medical condition from severe anxiety and depression symptoms often cannot hold a job for very long and often do not feel like leaving the house.

Some symptoms of depression include mood swings, feelings of hopelessness, insomnia, suicidal thoughts, suicidal attempts, the frustration and helpless of not being able to snap out of it. Some other signs of depression include feeling of worthlessness, incapability to work (threatening to leave), inability to concentrate, inability to remember things, total detachment from favorite things, constant talk about afterlife, death, God, and so on. Basically, the earlier you notice the signs of depression, the easier it is to treat the depression.

Fortunately, doctors nowadays are well trained in depression related issues. They are well trained in giving enough information to the people out there about what is depression, its symptoms, how to avoid it and how it can be treated. In the old days, depression was associated with madness and mental instability. Such misunderstandings are minimized today. Today, people suffering from depression receive a more sympathetic viewpoint from other people and they are treated with dignity and care. You can get the correct depression treatment at any medical facility. The sufferer should only be able to recognize that he/she is not really feeling in control anymore and that aid is needed.

The best depression treatment is to identify the signs of depression as early as possible and find out the core reason that is causing the depression. If you know the reason for your anxiety and depression symptoms, such as a breakup or a death in the family, and you know that it will pass with the situation, just try to have faith when you feel down and the feelings will soon pass. The longer you wait, the worst the depression would get, and the longer it would take for the depression treatment to recover the condition. At early stage, depression treatment can be very effective. It also has a very fast recovery rate. Therefore, it does not seem smart to suffer and wait to snap out of your blues forever.

Depression is treated with sympathy and care. Besides medication, meditation, yoga and positive thinking are other factors that help battle and treat depression time and again. Quality off-time and therapy sessions and anti-depressants also can bring you back from your blues; however, the best way to wrestle depression is regular relaxation of both mind and body.

Hammock Therapy For The Winter Blues

Do the shortened hours of daylight and the colder days of winter cause you to feel the "winter blues"? If you notice that you feel a bit gloomy some days, there are some fairly simple things that you can do to brighten up your day and your mood! This is not to be confused with a true, clinical depression, that may require medication, although, even if you do require medication for a depression condition, they may still help you. Swaying in a hammock or a hammock chair, is a relaxing, yet uplifting, activity. There is no other feeling quite like it! Choosing one will depend on the space allowed in your home, and a bit of creative thinking. A hammock chair can be hung from the ceiling in a corner of your room, or a hammock chair stand can be used. If the space in your home allows, a hammock, hung from the wall, ceiling, or in a stand, in a large room, is equally beneficial. You can spread out and lay down in a hammock, yet, some hammock chairs allow you to completely stretch your feet out, also, so choose wisely. Find a color or print that makes you feel good, and will look nice in your room. It doesn't have to be the same color, just look appealing as an accent piece. Spend some time here reading an uplifting book or listening to music that you enjoy. Be sure to choose music that lifts your spirits, not lonesome or sad music, that makes you want to cry. If you can place it near a fireplace or a sunny window, then all the better. Make it a priority to spend some time in your special spot every day, even if only a short time is available. It will become your haven, and when you sit or lay down there, you will start to feel better.

Some other actions you can take, that are great for lifting spirits, are adding some bright colors, scattered here and there, throughout your home. A bright, pretty vase on your kitchen or dining room table, with a fresh flower bouquet, will make you smile every time you look at it! Just add that to your grocery list each week! The grocery store flowers are just fine, and you will never miss the money. In fact, they will bring you so much more in enjoyment. Aroma therapy is a wonderful way to lift spirits, by way of candles or essential oils, in a diffuser. There is much study on this, so one of your books to read, in your special spot, could include this.

So, picture this: it is a gloomy, winter's day, and you are feeling down. You recognize this, so you grab your book, put on some uplifting music, light a candle, and head for your haven, your beautiful new hammock chair, in your favorite color! You stretch your feet out, take a few deep breaths, open your book, and realize, you are already feeling brighter!

Bipolar Disorder and Its Unfortunate Link To Suicide

Bipolar disorder leads to more suicides and attempted suicides than any other mental disorder. This fact has been confirmed by many research studies over many years. These studies indicate that up to 20% to 50% of those diagnosed with bipolar disorder will attempt suicide at some time during their life. Up to 15% to 20% of all those diagnosed with will die as the result of suicide. These results have been consistent amongst many studies throughout the world. There is always the risk of suicidal thoughts if one is afflicted with bipolar disorder.

These statistics for suicide and suicide attempts are up to four times higher than the average for overall suicides and suicide attempts. They are also higher than for any other form of mental disorder. The statistics clearly indicate that someone afflicted with bipolar disorder needs careful attention. Amongst other reasons this is to ensure they are not entertaining suicidal thoughts. Who is best placed to do the watching? Most often this is their friends and loved ones. This is yet another reason that such people can be so much more valuable to the afflicted person if they understand bipolar disorder.

Recently, I searched an exact sentence on Google. That was "when pain exceeds pain-coping resources, suicidal feelings are the result". There were "about 10,200 results." Given this result it would not be unrealistic to define "suicidal feelings" as being "when pain exceeds pain-coping resources." Accepting the definition stated for suicidal feelings immediately suggests two ways of easing suicidal feelings. These are:

1. to reduce the pain and/or

2. to increase pain-coping resources.

Remembering these two simple steps to reducing suicidal feelings could be very useful. If remembered they could be of great assistance. If you do find yourself in contact with someone who is clearly experiencing suicidal thoughts remember the steps. They could go so far as to save a life. Just knowing that someone is listening to them can go a long way to reducing the pain. Knowing that someone is with them, and willing to help, will increase pain-coping resources for them. This paragraph could be called first-aid for dealing with a suicidal person. For that reason alone it could be well worth remembering the lessons it contains.

I would suggest that even more is needed if you have a friend or relative who is has bipolar disorder. The risks of suicidal thoughts are so much higher than are usually the case. It therefore pays to be even more prepared than usual. When confronted with a life threatening situation anyone can panic. By having a well thought out plan in advance the room for panic is greatly reduced.

The best time to prepare an anti-suicide plan is when then the person inflicted with bipolar disorder is neither high nor low. It is important to involve them in the planning. This shows to them that you really do care. Also, by involving them in the planning, they could react more quickly, and more favorably, if there is ever a need to put it into practice. This is because they could remember the planning and recognize what you are doing on their behalf.

There is one important piece of information to have available at all times. This is the phone number for a respected suicide hotline. In the United States of America the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Most countries outside of the United States of America have a similar hotline available. If your friend or loved one has bipolar disorder make a point of finding out what it is. Once you have done so keep it with you at all times.

What are the key factors in any suicide prevention plan? In fact there are a number of aspects to take into account. However, from my personal experience I once attempted suicide three times within five hours because I was left alone. The key point to learn here is that if you believe someone is suicidal do not leave them alone. Remember, even remaining with them could reduce their pain or increase their pain-coping resources.

There are many resources available to assist with preparing a suicide prevention plan. Many of these are available free online by doing a simple online search. It is well worth while taking the time to prepare a plan together with the person with bipolar disorder. You never know when suicidal thoughts might occur. Having a plan ready could prevent panic. Avoiding panic could save the life of your friend or loved one.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Sluggish Cognitive Tempo (SCT), Is It Depression, Anxiety, Immaturity or None of the Above?

The symptoms of Sluggish Cognitive Tempo, under arousal, mental fogginess, under activity, and inattention are seen in about 30% to 50% of people with the Inattentive subtype of ADHD. It appears that SCT will earn a place in the soon to be published psychiatric diagnostic manual, the DSM-V. The appearance of SCT in the DSM-V will enable researchers to study people with these types of symptoms more carefully. This is important as very little is known about SCT.

While it is clear that not everybody with the Inattentive subtype of ADHD (ADHD-PI) has SCT, it is unclear if Inattentive ADHD will be separated from the combined type of ADHD (ADHD-C) and Hyperactive/Impulsive type of ADHD (ADHD-HI) in the DSM-V.

Some researchers have speculated that the diagnosis of Sluggish Cognitive Tempo (SCT) is simply the presentation of Inattentive ADHD in a person who is also depressed. Other researchers have proposed that anxiety can present as under arousal and can look like the symptoms of SCT.

A study performed at the University of Alabama at Birmingham by researchers Annie Garner MA, Sylvie Mrug, and Bart Hodgens Ph.D. set out to answer the question of the relationship between SCT and depression and anxiety. The researchers looked at seventy-three children with SCT and administered questionnaires to both the children and their parents inquiring about symptoms of depression and anxiety.

What the researcher found was interesting. They found that there was not relationship between reported anxiety and SCT and no relationship between reported depression and SCT in kids diagnosed with Sluggish Cognitive Tempo. The researchers did find that parents of kids diagnosed with SCT were more likely to report that their children were depressed but not that they were anxious. The researchers were unsure if this was because kids with SCT tend to 'look' depressed or if this was because parents were more aware and knowledgeable of the symptoms of depression.

I have heard of SCT referred to as a disorder that children 'outgrow'. In this context it is a developmental disorder tied to an immaturity of the part of the brain that manages motor and mental arousal levels. Using this model, the Hyperactive/Impulsive ADHD child would be at one end of the spectrum and the Sluggish Cognitive Tempo person would be at the other end of the spectrum.

SCT have been referred to as a mood disorder tied to the internalizing behaviors of anxiety and depression often seen in people with Inattentive ADHD. We have discussed this model above. Using this model, the symptoms of "sluggishness" would improve in people diagnosed with SCT if their anxiety and depression was treated.

The third model of SCT is a model that involves a problem with the part of the part of the brain that manages stores, organizes and retrieves information. These activities are called the executive functions of the brain. In general, the executive functions orchestrate numerous aspects of thought, memory, learning, emotion, arousal and action. When SCT is thought of as a problem of executive brain function it fits much more concretely in the ADHD camp.

It is important to determine whether the symptoms of Sluggish Cognitive Tempo are the result of an Executive Function problem as opposed to a problem with immaturity or a problem with a mood disorder as properly treating these symptoms depend on these determinations.

Natural Way of Treating Depression and Anxiety

Suffering from depression? Some doctors prescribed Anti-Depressants, Tranquillizers and Sleeping Tablets in order to treat postnatal depression.

There are caring doctors out there but there are some who over prescribe medications.

These medications that was mentioned earlier are only be used as a last resort in order to treat depression, anxiety, or insomnia, which is already severe like for instance if a person's daily routine are being affected and when his or her problem is no longer responsive with any medication or treatment. But most of the time, people who are suffering with depression or anxiety are being prescribed with such medications which in due time becomes a problem with the patient's health. It can even lead to other complications or problems.

If you are being prescribed with strong medication, after a while since your body get used of strong medication, soon need more and stronger medication. But this could now happen if only health practitioner will spend some of time to listen to the patient's problem and try his or her best to help the patient overcome it problem but that doesn't happen, they rather prescribed drugs for patient's problem.

But the good news is that there are a lot of healthier alternatives that can work well with your depression and anxiety. This article will mention few of these alternatives, so read on.

- Exercise. A lot of people find it hard for them to do this, but you have to bear in mind that this can be helpful to you. Doing regular exercising can make you healthier, it will even increase the good feeling in your body and will boosts your self-esteem, so it will lessen the symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress. But take this note, it should be done regularly. You can give about half an hour of your day by doing walking, jogging, swimming, dancing, aerobics and so on, as long as it makes you sweat and will increase your heart beat. Actually, if you only carry on, you will find yourself enjoying it already.

- Social Support. When you are depressed, you usually just want to stay at your room and be alone. But you have to bear in mind that loneliness is one of the causes of depression, so better to go out and join groups. You may not want it, but do it anyway; this can be helpful to you. If ever you do not have any group yet, start joining a social circle, you can do it by volunteering on church, sport clubs and so on. You can try out different alternatives, besides there are plenty of social groups that you can join in.

- Talk thing out. Talking about it is one of the most effective ways to relieve your depression and anxiety. You can share your problems than just keeping it all up by yourself. Soon you will find how good it is to b relieved with the problem you have. You can share your problems with family, friends and even with counselor.

- Herbal remedies. There are a lot of herbal remedies out there that you can use to relieve and also prevent your depression, anxiety and stress. The use of herbal remedies can help you with your depression and anxiety naturally, safely and effectively. One of these herbal remedies for depression is relagen. Relagen is a 100% all natural product that efficiently addresses the different and devastating symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress.

Suboptimal Thyroid Can Cause Weight Gain and Depression

One of Oprah's viewers diagnosed her as having a problem with her thyroid. That was one factor in her constant struggle with weight. Your thyroid is the main hormone of metabolism and it affects your energy, weight, mood, temperature, fertility, menstrual cycles, hair growth, bowel movements, sleep and more. It's a hormone that is sometimes misunderstood and it is suggested that the range of normal be changed. I will shed some light on the symptoms and tests. These are the most common symptoms and is not a complete list:

Symptoms of Overactive Thyroid- Hyperthyroidism

  • Rapid heart beat

  • Chest pain

  • Diarrhea

  • Insomnia

  • Weight loss

  • Irregular menses

  • Anxiety

  • Feel hot & sweaty

Symptom of Underactive Thyroid - Hypothyroidism

  • Weight gain

  • Fatigue

  • Constipation

  • Excess sleep

  • Depression

  • Dry coarse hair & skin

  • Poor memory

  • Hair loss

  • Muscle pain and weakness

  • Feeling cold

These symptoms can overlap with other conditions. You may have one or more of these and should report these to your doctor, have a check up and get laboratory studies to determine if an overactive or underactive thyroid is causing the symptoms. You may find a difference in opinion when it comes to measuring and interpreting thyroid levels. Here are some tests you should be aware of:

Thyroid Tests

  • TSH - this is a common screening test and most doctors order this. It is the signal from the pituitary gland in your brain that tells your thyroid to make more hormones. If it is high, it means it is shouting at your thyroid gland to make more hormones because your levels are too low. The common misinterpretation is that high means high thyroid levels and it is actually the opposite.

  • New range of normal - The current range of normal for TSH is quite wide 0.5-5. Normal and optimal are not the same. People with symptoms who are on either end of the range, may be considered normal and won't be treated. The American Association of Clinical endocrinology and the National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry have recommended changing the range since people who don't have severe symptoms may be suffering and can benefit from treatment. They recommend a range of 0.3-2.5.

  • Free versus bound - most hormones are carried through the blood stream by protein carriers. If they are bound to protein, they are inactive. When it comes to thyroid, the free hormone is what counts.

  • Free T4 - has 4 iodine molecules, it is a reserve or storage hormone that becomes active when it is converted to the active hormone free T3 by removing one iodine molecule.

  • Free T3 - is the active hormone. This conversion can be halted by aging, stress, nutritional deficiencies, trauma, infection, surgery, medications, hormone imbalance and diet. The hormone's actions can also be blocked by thyroid antibodies (Antithyroglobulin or Anti Thyroid Peroxidase (TPO) Antibodies) and/or Reverse T3. The standard of care is to measure TSH and free T4 or to calculate free T4, however you can see that there is more to it than that. There also seems to be a subset of people with depression that respond better when a combination of T3 and T4 is given. The most commonly used thyroid replacement medication, synthroid, only has T4 and if you have a problem converting to the active form, it may not feel as effective.

  • Reverse T3 - binds to the same receptor as T3 and blocks its actions. If it is too high, even though all of the other lab tests are "normal" you may have symptoms of low thyroid function. The most common causes are stress and hormone imbalance. Anything that interferes with the conversion of free T4 to free T3 can also cause an elevation of reverse T3. The ratio of free T3 to reverse T3 is important. Just think of one as the gas (free T3) and the other the brake (reverse T3). If you are below the midpoint of the range of free T3 you have less gas, and if you are above the midpoint of the range of reverse T3 you have too much braking action.

Hormone balance is complex. It requires a nutritionally balanced diet, hormone balance, stress management and other factors. There may be restrictions on your doctor to do the full battery of thyroid tests. If that is the case, consult an anti aging, metabolic or functional medicine physician to help you get to the root cause of your issues and find a natural approach.

Signs and Symptoms of Depression in Children and Adolescents

Depression is an illness that can affect children and adolescents as well as adults. Although for many years it was never thought that children could become depressed clinicians now realise that even young children, below the age of 5, can suffer from depression. The good news is that depression in children and adolescents is quite treatable, but not if it goes unrecognised by the adults in their lives. In this article I will discuss the common symptoms of depression in children and in adolescents. I will conclude by giving some advice about what to do if you think your child may be depressed.

Depression in Children

It is important for parents, carers and teachers to remember that it is through their behaviour that children communicate with us. Rarely do they come out and say things directly about their emotions or moods. We see them looking sad or angry; we observe them withdrawing from their circle of friends or favourite activities. These little signs are often the first hints we may get that something is wrong with the inner life of the child.

Children who are depressed will sometimes display some of the following symptoms:

- Crying, feeling sad, helpless or hopeless
- Feeling discouraged or worthless
- Loss of interest or pleasure in others or most activities
- Fatigue and loss of energy nearly every day
- Bad temper, irritable, easily annoyed
- Fearful, tense, anxious
- Repeated rejection by other children
- Drop in school performance
- Inability to sit still, fidgeting or pacing
- Repeated emotional outbursts, shouting or complaining
- Doesn't talk to other children
- Repeated physical complaints without medical cause (headaches, stomach aches, aching arm or legs)
- Significant increase or decrease in appetite (not due to appropriate dieting)
- Change in sleep habits
Signs that must be taken extremely seriously include:

- Suicidal thoughts, feelings or self-harming behaviour
- Abuse or prolonged use of alcohol or other drugs
- Symptoms of depression combined with strange or unusual behaviour
Depression in Adolescents

Adolescence is a time of turmoil under the best of conditions. The many changes in the body and mind, the challenges of school and family and peers, can all add up to an overwhelming pressure on a teenager. When teens get depressed they are, like younger children, more likely to show us than tell us. Interestingly, one of the first sings of simmering depression in teens is when they complain of being "bored" with activities, school and friends that used to give them pleasure.

Adolescents who are depressed will sometimes exhibit some of the following symptoms,

o Sadness or hopelessness
o Irritability, anger, or hostility
o Tearfulness or frequent crying
o Withdrawal from friends and family
o Loss of interest in activities
o Changes in eating and sleeping habits
o Restlessness and agitation
o Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
o Lack of enthusiasm and motivation
o Fatigue or lack of energy
o Difficulty concentrating
o Thoughts of death or suicide

When depression becomes more severe teenagers will sometimes give away their favourite CD's, video games, or any things they have that are special to them. They will often explain they just don't need them anymore.

When Suicide is becoming a Possibility

Children will often act recklessly, taking risks on the playgroup or the road which are unusual for them. Teenager will often write stories or songs expression unusual interest in the afterlife or death. There signs must be taken seriously.
What to Do?

If you have any reason to think your child or teenager is depressed don't hesitate to contact your GP immediately. Help is only a phone call away. Depression responds well to psychological interventions. My next article will outline some of the more common treatments for depression in children and teens.

4 Easy Steps to Overcoming Depression and Kicking the Winter Blues

Mild depression can be expected during the long, dark winter months, and these 4 easy steps might just be what you need to shake the off the winter blues and lift your spirit. It's normal to have highs and lows; because we are human, everybody gets them. Nobody is immune, even rich people get the blues sometimes. The good news is that it can be beaten. Try applying a few of these easy steps to help eliminate the symptoms of your depression before it gets worse and you need outside help. Not acknowledging the early signs of depression will take its toll on you, your family and your life in general.

Just Go With The Flow And Enjoy The Ride:

  • Step 1. Although at the time things might seem bleak and never-ending, try sitting back and enjoying the ride, accept that it won't last forever. This doesn't mean that being depressed is a good thing or that it should be something to enjoy, but accepting that it is just a natural part of life. Life is full of "ups" and "downs" and at times will feel like a roller coaster ride. Every once in a while you will have a dip, but it won't be too long before you are on the up again. Take it for what it is, just a little bump in the road, a low spot, but most importantly don't exaggerate it and make it bigger than it really is.

Get Active And Start Moving:

Sometimes what can make a depressed situation seem worse is sitting around and dwelling on it. The more focus you put on it, the worse the situation becomes. It's as if it grows, getting bigger and bigger until it's too heavy to carry, that's when depression starts to creep in. A great way to stop the depressive cycle is to shift your focus and energy, do something active that will preoccupy you. Try doing something that takes you out of your current environment and away from your situation.

  • Step 2. Get back to nature and go for a run or simply a leisurely walk, maybe take your camera and absorb yourself in the beauty that surrounds you. Exercise is a great way to shift your focus and at the same time can eliminate stress; anxiety and depression. So why not join your local gym or participate in a team sport. Not only will you start to feel better as your body starts to produce "happy" chemicals, you will also start to develop new relationships and perspectives. Go see a friend, have lunch or arrange a trip to the cinema. If you fancy some quiet time how about going to the library and finding a book, choose something that has nothing whatsoever to do with what is going on in your life right now. Try leaving your troubles behind, even if it is only for a few hours.

Let It All Out, It's OK To Cry!

  • Step 3. The great thing about crying is it can be done anytime, anyplace and anywhere, you don't even need permission to do it! Do what you have to do to let go of all that negative emotion, it can be very therapeutic and cleansing. Once you have released all that frustration and anger you will be able to see things with from a different point of view, it will allow you to come to grips with whatever it was that depressed you in the first place. It doesn't matter how old or tough you are, crying should NEVER be seen as a weakness, but a strength.

Fix Your Attention Onto Something Else:

  • Step 4. This is another great way to distract you and can be done with very little effort on your part. Pick something in your surroundings and describe it in detail, maybe it's the pattern in the carpet, a picture on the wall, or even a view from the window. Then shift your focus onto another object or area and describe that. Find at least 3 things that you never noticed about the carpet, the picture or the view. How many tiles are there on the wall, follow the grain in the wooden flooring and look for patterns. Get creative with crayons, colouring pencils or paints and create your own patterns. This will help to calm your mind and relax body.

These methods are simple and can easily be applied, try them when you first start feeling low or a bit depressed. If these feelings persist for more than two weeks, then you may need to seek professional help. Before it gets to that point, though, try these 4 easy steps and kick those winter blues right out of the door!

Treatments for Major Depressive Disorder - 3 Powerful Treatments for Major Depressive Disorder

When it comes to mental illness, there's little more devastating to your life than major depressive disorder. 1 in 5 Americans have suffered depression at some point in their life, but they've found ways to cure it. Here are some very powerful treatments for major depressive disorder:


This involves meeting with a licensed medical expert to find out the underlying reason for your depression whether it's caused by surrounding influences, heredity or a chemical imbalance. With a doctor's help you may be able to help identify ideas and situations which help contribute to feelings of depression.


Drugs such as popular brand names like Zoloft and Prozac. These drugs attempt to help depression sufferers by trying to normalize chemical imbalances in individuals. Antidepressants are fairly efficient at helping to alleviate mood disorders, however most users report dependence and eventual addiction to the powerful stimulants.

Electroconvulsive therapy

Also known as "electroshock therapy" in the 60's, this form of therapy involves being put under heavy anesthetics while an electrical current is sent through a patient's brain, using several electrodes connected through the temple. This electrical current causes a seizure in patients, which generally lasts from anywhere between 30 seconds to one minute.

The result is a number of changes in brain waves, and possibly alleviation of depression. As the patient awakens, short term side effects are: temporary confusion, nausea, headaches and muscle stiffness.

This type of therapy is still under scrutiny as the long-term side effects on the brain are still unclear but it is said to induce memory loss in certain patients.