Saturday, January 11, 2014

Adrenal Fatigue Tests - Three Self Tests

Dark circles under your eyes, morning fatigue, chronic tiredness, the inability to handle stress, cravings for sweet or salty foods, increased allergy symptoms, mild depression ...

Do any of these symptoms sound familiar to you? If so then you may be suffering from adrenal fatigue, which doctors estimate affects 80% of the U.S. population. I hadn't a clue about adrenal exhaustion or fatigue until I realized that I suffered from many of these symptoms, including dark circles under my eyes that would not go away, regardless of how much sleep I got. That's when I got interested in adrenal fatigue tests and further educating myself about this condition.

What is Adrenal Fatigue?

Adrenal fatigue is a strangely paradoxical health problem. The adrenal glands, which are tiny pea-sized glands that rest atop the kidneys, do a mighty job in the body. They control and regulate more than 50 hormones in the body, and are primarily responsible for our "stress response." When we are under stress, the adrenal glands release hormones like cortisol to help us deal with the stress. As you may know, cortisol controls the strength of the immune system, normalizes blood sugar, and regulates blood pressure, among other things. Too much cortisol can trigger autoimmune responses in the body, as well as cause weight gain. Cortisol is also related to our body's primitive "fight or flight" response.

So we rely on our adrenal glands to help us deal with and handle stress, which is a good thing. The bad news is that when we are subject to prolonged stress, the adrenal glands are the first to fail. The adrenal glands can function at high capacity for only so long before they break down. In fact, what most people call a "nervous breakdown" is really adrenal fatigue.

Since about 80% of the current population has adrenal exhaustion or fatigue, it's clear that most of us are subject to prolonged stress. These stressors come from too little sleep, too much caffeine, multi-tasking, poor nutrition, and too much work. Sound familiar?

Adrenal Fatigue Tests - Three Self Tests

So how do you know if you are among the 80% who have adrenal fatigue? Well, examining your lifestyle is one easy way to tell. Plus, if you seem to be unable to catch up on your sleep or are chronically tired and grumpy, you're likely to have this problem. But there are three adrenal fatigue tests you can administer to see if your adrenal glands are screaming for help.

1. Ragland's Test

You'll need a home blood pressure machine for this test (you can buy one for around $10 at any drug store). First, take your blood pressure while sitting down. Then, stand up and take your blood pressure again, right away. Your systolic number (the first or top number) should have increased by 8 or 10 points. If the number dropped, then you probably have adrenal fatigue. 

2. Pupil Dilation

For this test you need a flashlight and a mirror. Look into the mirror and shine the flashlight into the pupil of one eye. Your pupil should contract pretty quickly. If your pupil does not contract after 30 seconds, or even dilates, then your adrenals need some help.

3. Pain and Sensitivity

Your adrenal glands sit right on top of your kidneys. If you palpate that area and feel pain, then your adrenal glands are fatigued. You can also try pressing on the reflexology point for the adrenal glands, which is located at the top inside edge of your foot arch. If that area is sensitive, then so are your adrenal glands. 

Adrenal Fatigue Treatment

My physician recommended several approaches to dealing with this situation, and I've found three of them help me the most: 

1. Herbal Support

I'm taking an herbal formula called X51 (or Eleviv) from XanGo that works well. It contains four main ingredients that offer adrenal support: citrus sinensis, eurycoma longifolia suntheanine, and camellia sinensis. Other people use straight herbal tinctures.

2. Order My Life

By focusing on a routine and sticking to it, I reduce the level of over stimulation in my life. I try to check email and voice mail less often, and have more "quiet time" to myself.

3. Rest at 10, 2 and 4

Apparently the adrenal glands tend to become most fatigued at these times, so I stop for short 15-minute power naps at these times. Lying down is recommended, if at all possible, so I do for my power naps.

It can take time to help your adrenals recover -- anywhere from 6 to 24 months, depending on how stressed they are. The good news is that recovery can be taken in baby steps, not radical changes. I like that, don't you?

Anxiety Disorder Causes - The Four Major Contributors Explained

The study of anxiety disorders began around the turn of the 20th century. Since that time, studies have compiled four major contributors for anxiety disorder causes. There is conjecture on other possible causes, but these remain the basis for most prognoses.

* Brain chemistry - Both clinical and animal studies highly indicate a relationship between difficulty in maintaining balance and anxiety disorders. The belief is that a malfunction causes signals to be confused within the medial temporal lobes of the brain. The exact area is in the amygdalae, which deal with memory of emotional reactions. Simply put, the person cannot balance a reaction to match a cause, resulting in fear of events that may not be fearful at all.

* Life experiences - Chronic physical illness or worries associated with finances, relationships, or work situations can lead to anxiety disorders. Between 4% and 10% of older adults are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. This doesn't take into consideration the many who do not seek help because they don't want anyone to know.

* Heredity - Everyone receives genes from their parents and grandparents. Almost everyone who has an anxiety disorder has a parent, grandparent, or other relative with anxiety syndromes of some type. In cases where the child becomes separated from the parent at an early age, certain characteristics will surface that are like those of the parent. This indicates that the disorders are not solely based on life experiences as some have though. Clinical studies substantiate the pass-down-system of anxiety.

* Personality - People who have low self esteem and the inability to cope with life situations are more prone to become depressed and then develop anxiety disorders. The relationships between emotions in these cases are difficult to understand because the person with low self-esteem may be that way because of an anxiety at an earlier age. The origin of the anxiety is not always clearly understood.

Another contributor to depression and anxiety is alcohol abuse. Moderate and sustained alcohol use may increase the levels of depression and anxiety in some people. The good news is that the majority of these anxiety cases can be reversed with prolonged abstinence. Dependency on alcohol or benzodiazepine can lead to panic disorder or social phobias.

Most sufferers of anxiety disorders have combinations of these causes. The ability to treat a syndrome of anxiety is only possible by removing as many of these causes as possible and then focusing on treating what is left. Unfortunately, the human is a complex and diverse being with no set standard to allow a structured common treatment. It is the task of the professional to probe and assess each person individually. In this way, he/she can devise a plan of attack that works.

Anxiety disorder causes are much easier to identify than they are to rectify. Few suffers are able to help themselves, and must be cajoled to seek medical attention.

An Overview Of Major Depressive Disorder With Psychotic Features

Basically, psychosis is a loss of contact with reality. It may take many different forms, or a number of these forms coming together. A patient may see something taking place, but instead of recognizing it for what it is, they see it as something quite different.

For instance, they may see a man walking across the grass in front of their window. Everyone else sees this, but they see the person with wings, flying across a meadow.

I knew of one man who had this fixation on snakes. He was extremely gentle, but every morning he used to go out on his snake hunt. Then he'd come running in to me, (why me, I don't know!), and 'show' me his snake. He'd point out the markings in great detail and then rush off to put it back in its hole in the ground.

The symptoms of the condition are as follows:

* Abnormal displays of emotion.

* Confusion.

* Depressive and suicidal thoughts.

* Disorganized thoughts and speech.

* Mania, (extreme excitement).

* False beliefs, (delusions).

* Loss of touch with reality.

* Mistaken perceptions.

* Seeing, hearing feeling or perceiving things that aren't there, (hallucinations).

* Unfounded fear and/or suspicion.

Now, on top of all this, some poor people have major depressive disorder with psychotic features thrown at them. This, together with psychosis, is a singularly nasty condition in which not only do they have reduced contact with reality, they also have to suffer major, or clinical, depression. Things may run riot in such a state, because they can suffer all forms of false beliefs, (delusions), or seeing and hearing things that aren't really there, (hallucinations).

What may often happen is that they start to hear voices that criticize them, telling them that they aren't good enough, that they really ought to kill themselves. A quick look at the possible causes of psychosis are;

* Alcohol and certain drugs.

* Brain tumors.

* Dementia.

* Epilepsy.

* Bipolar disorder.

* Psychotic depression.

* Schizophrenia.

* Stroke.

Interestingly enough, though, there are people who don't fit the clinical definition of psychosis, but who seem to experience different realities. People in the general population have had religious experiences and of course we've all heard about the ones who insist they've been taken up to a space ship and either had experiments carried out on them, or have been impregnated by aliens and given birth to alien babies.

Because of all these experiences, it's been posited that psychosis is simply an extreme state of consciousness that falls outside what most of us would understand as normal

Safe and Natural Ways to Treat Depression During Pregnancy

We live in a stressful environment, we don't eat as healthy a diet as we should, and even though we are always rushing to and fro, we get very little beneficial exercise. No wonder so many people are on anti-depressants these days. While anti-depressants often alleviate symptoms, there are many people who can't take them. Is there another option other than taking prescription drugs for treating depression? I recommend holistic therapies combined with fish oil supplements rich in omega-3 fatty acids to alleviate depression.

A mother of two was pregnant and feeling very down. Her physician recommended anti-depressants but this mother had a sensitivity to many medications and the side-effects often made her condition worse. She also feared what the consequences might be to her fetus if she took an anti-depressant medication while pregnant. Yet, her emotions and feelings were taking a toll on her, her husband, and her children. She was caught in a terrible bind. A friend recommended this expectant mom to me for holistic care.

She had heard that fish oil supplements rich in omega-3 fatty acids may alleviate depression. Scientists now believe that these healthy fats are beneficial to the brain development of a healthy baby while in the womb. But, there was one problem. This mom had an allergy to fish! She believed that by eliminating the allergy and supplementing with the vitamin fish oil, she could have her sense of well being back again.

I have holistically treated patients with depression many times, and have seen their serotonin levels improve while their symptoms diminished or were totally alleviated. Approximately 70 percent of the body's serotonin comes from the gut or small intestines. If the brain isn't getting its fair share of serotonin, people will feel depressed. By reprogramming the message in the brain regarding serotonin, we can re-establish normal serotonin levels naturally and regain a sense of wellness. However, caring for this particular patient was my first experience treating the blues without attempting to balance serotonin levels.

It took a few sessions to naturally eliminate the fish allergy. There were no shots or medication involved. The patient's body was " reset " to not react - to fish. And it took the patient ten weeks of supplementing 1000 mg. of fish oil daily to disperse the overwhelming feelings of despondency.

Now the mom comes to our facility with her new baby as happy as can be. No postpartum depression or anxiety. And, she can eat grilled fish without any symptom.

Yes, there is a way to treat depression without drugs. Seeing a holistic practitioner may help you overcome underlying emotional connections, re-establish hormonal balance, and eliminate any nutritional allergy.
It is interesting that in the February 8th issue of Newsweek, it was reported that antidepressants are no more effective than placebos. That after 10 years of scientific research, it has been concluded that; taking a sugar pill or tic tac works as well as antidepressants.

Natural Instant Relief From Anxiety, Depression and Negative States of Mind for Your ASD Child

If you are a parent or carer of an ASD child, then you know all too well that Aspergers / Autism Spectrum people may have severe episodes of anxiety, anger, despair, depression or similar, negative states of mind. This is compounded by the fact that, frequently (though not always), the mental state is an emotional reaction to feedback from the outside world. There is a tool that will help you empower your child and give him or her instant relief from the grips of these emotional states. It's called EFT.

Like most parents, you probably want to assist your ASD child in learning to be independent. You want your child to go on to lead a fulfilling life. In this case, you must teach your child coping strategies that s/he can take with him or her into adulthood to deal with negative states of mind (and the situations that cause them) as they arise.

These extreme, dark mental states are destructive! If they are repeated frequently, they reinforce themselves with each episode and will eventually become a negative, limiting belief which will erode your child's self-esteem. The limiting belief will anchor itself to your child and accompany him or her throughout life.

Furthermore, if perpetuated over a significant period of time, these states of mind can actually change the chemistry in the brain, which can lead to clinical depression and other chemically-based mental health issues.

Good news: there is an extremely simple tool you can begin to use immediately to give your child instantaneous relief from the anguish caused by these difficult states of mind. Better news: there is absolutely no cost to you for learning it. It's called EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique).

About EFT:

  • EFT works on the same pressure points discovered millennia ago in the ancient east and widely used today in therapies such as acupuncture.

  • EFT involves gently tapping on these pressure points with the tips of the fingers. It couldn't be easier, safer, more accessible or more risk free than this.

  • EFT is based on the premise that emotional trauma happens in our bodies, not just our minds. This is certainly true given the fact that all emotions are chemical reactions governed by the brain. These chemicals (peptides) are secreted into the body and they dock onto our cells and may stay there if the emotion is not processed properly. In other words, your body "remembers" the trauma and holds onto it on a physiological, biochemical level. EFT helps your body to release the "memory".

  • Gary Craig, the founder of EFT, is a Stanford graduate. EFT may sound "woo-woo", but its creation is based on scientific thought.

  • Gary Craig has always offered the basic knowledge and teachings of EFT free of charge. His intention is to help humanity. This is not a gimmick or a get rich quick scheme.

Why Try EFT With Your Child:

  • Because it works! I taught this technique to my (now 20 year old) Aspie in his late teens and he still uses it today. EFT has helped my children (and me) with everything from deep sadness and depression to hiccups.

  • Because it will make your child laugh with you and distract him or her from the trauma. Even if you don't believe EFT really works scientifically, try it for the fun of it! It tickles a little and feels silly.

  • Because it is a technique your child can learn and take into adulthood. This is a gem of a technique that deserves a central place in the repertoire of coping skills your child will need to blossom fully into his or her potential.

  • Because it will empower your child to know that s/he can gain some control over a thought process that feels as though it is hijacking his or her emotions.

  • Because it can help you too! Let's face it, it's devastating for us too when we see our children suffer. Do EFT together with your child. Make a game of it

  • Because there is even an "emergency" version of EFT for difficult behavior and meltdowns.

Learn this wonderful and easy technique for free or simply read more about EFT by visiting the website Click on the link and then choose "About EFT" or "Learn EFT" in the menu on the left of the website homepage.

For the record, I don't use EFT to try to "cure" my children of their Aspergers / Autism Spectrum Disorders. I don't want to "cure" them - I believe autism should be celebrated, not cured. However, I am all for "treating" the difficult aspects of autism to make life easier for the ASD person and his or her loved ones.

Dementia In A Nutshell

Dementia is a deterioration of mental condition. Dementia usually occurs in later life, though rarer cases of presenile dementia are diagnosed. Terms that are used synonymously with dementia are chronic brain syndrome, organic mental syndrome, and senile confusional state.

The incidence of dementia is less than 10% of persons over age 65 but perhaps a quarter of those over age 80 and half of all nursing home patients. Dementia is not the most common mental disorder in later life (that is depression), nor should it be considered an inevitable concomitant of aging. Many individuals are able to preserve cognitive functioning into their ninth decade.

The onset of most cases of dementia tends to be gradual. The first mental changes may be heightened rigidity, suspiciousness, crankiness, or depression. As the disorder progresses, deficits in short-term memory become pronounced. Patients may be able to recall in great detail what happened years ago but be unable to remember the answers to a question given five minutes ago. One woman in a nursing home could remember how to play a song she had learned in a Prohibition-era honky tonk, but when the other residents applauded and asked for another song, she played it again. The ability to follow instructions also decreases, leading to the consternation of the patient's caregivers. Disorientation in time develops: the patient does not know which day of the week it is. Then comes disorientation in place: the patient may get lost, even in familiar territory. The patient may develop aphasias, apraxias, perseveration, and/or social withdrawal. In later stages the recognition of significant others may be lost, along with bowel and bladder functions. Death usually occurs when the patient loses the ability to swallow.

Dementia is different in kind rather than degree from the forgetfulness of which most elders complain. Benign senescent forgetfulness is an age-associated memory impairment that does not have a serious prognostic implication. Neither is dementia analogous to a second childhood. Childish playfulness stems from a lack of knowledge about proper adult roles, whereas demented elders may manifest such behavior because of impaired memory, confusion, or sensory/motor limitations. Some nursing home patients may act more like children if the staff rewards such behavior with attention, especially affection.

More than 50 different diseases can bring about dementia. Huntington's chorea is due entirely to the presence of a single dominant gene. Creutzfeld-Jakob disease is caused by viral infection, perhaps due to the consumption of insufficiently cooked bovine brain. Kuru, a viral infection in Melanesia, may be spread by ritual cannibalism. Hydrocephalus is excessive pressure of cerebrospinal fluid in the ventricles, impairing the functioning of the cortex. Chronic alcohol abuse, tertiary syphilis (general paresis), AIDS, encephalitis, subdural hemotoma, Parkinson's Disease, intracranial neoplasm, head trauma, and meningitis are other possible causes.

The majority of the demented geriatric patients suffer from Alzheimer's Disease (also known as senile dementia of the Alzheimer type), which results in specific degenerative diseases in the brain's tissues. A similar though rarer disorder is Pick's disease, which usually affects people in their fifties and is located primarily in the frontal and temporal lobes. These changes can be observed postmortem or via computerized tomography.

Before 1980 it was assumed that the principal cause of dementia is cerebral arteriosclerosis, a hardening of the brain's arteries that results in less oxygen being supplied to the brain's tissues. The current consensus is that diminished blood flow is a significant causal factor in only a minority of dementia cases of later life. Reduced oxygen may be more a symptom of reduced cortical functioning rather than its cause. A greater cause of dementia posed by the vascular system may be multi-infarct dementia-many tiny strokes that have the combined impact of diminishing cognitive ability without bringing on the paralysis characteristic of the larger strokes.

The diagnosis of dementia cannot be based solely upon the patient's complaints of a failing memory. There is no correlation between the self-reported memory capacity and memory capacity as indicated by objective tests. Many of the elders who complain the most about diminishing memory are well within the normal range but suffer from depression. Some thoroughly demented patients perceive no difficulty with their memories.

The first step should be brief psychological screening tests. Use of the Bender-Gestalt, Intelligence Quotient test scales, or other tests devised for other purposes or other age groups should be avoided. Questions that test the capacity for orientation in space and time are useful. The ability to draw a clock face with its hands and dial is useful. Focusing the examination on short-term memory tends to neutralize some of the confounding variables and give a truer indication of dementia. Many of these tests (e.g., the Mental Status Questionnaire or the Folstein Mini Mental Status Exam) have a greater sensitivity than specificity: it is more likely that some normal elders will be misdiagnosed as having dementia than that seniles will score in the normal range. Whenever these screening tests suggest the presence of dementia, a comprehensive neurological examination is appropriate.

One diagnostic difficulty is to distinguish organically based dementia from a pseudodementia due to depression. Dementia is usually characterized by a gradual onset, while depression may have a rapid progression of symptoms in the wake of environmental stress or loss. Depressed patients are more likely to complain of memory loss and give "don't know" answers. Purely demented patients are more likely to attempt to conceal cognitive deficits or to give ludicrous answers rather than admit that they do not know the answer. One complication for the differential diagnosis of depression is that self-rating scales (e.g., the Geriatric Depression Scale) may lose their validity as senile confusion increases: the patient may be unable to understand the questions. Another problem with differential diagnosis is that the two disorders are not mutually exclusive. Awareness of cognitive decline can produce a depressive reaction, and a sizable minority of early-stage dementia patients develop a clinically significant depression.

Another possibility is that the cognitive impairments are the result of a delirium or an amnestic disorder rather than dementia. This may be the case with many confused elders admitted to general hospitals. What is needed is a knowledge of the details about the onset, course, and laboratory testing. The complicating factors are that delirious patients cannot take memory tests and these disorders are not mutually exclusive.

Even with computerized tomography and spinal taps, the diagnosis of dementia is far from exact. Some patients are falsely labeled as demented, while other cases might go unnoticed until autopsy.

Treatment for dementia can be both medical and psychosocial. About a fifth of dementia patients have a treatable organic cause (e.g., hydrocephalus, which is treatable by surgery). The use of medications has been much debated. While some patients report some benefit from tacrine or Hydergine, some report side effects from the former and most report little benefit from the latter. Another controversial issue is the use of psychiatric medications (e.g., antidepressants, antipsychotics) with dementia patients. In many nursing homes the antidepressants are probably underutilized while the antipsychotics are often given to diminish behaviors that the staff may find objectionable or inconvenient.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Dangers of Teenage Depression and Common Causes

Depression affects us all and that can be quite a scary fact because some of us have no idea that we are affected by depression in the first place. The thing is, it is much more common within adolescence and teenagers because they are at the stage when the body goes through a whole host of changes emotionally and physically, and they are not mentally developed nor grounded to fully understand the changes within them. But since change is normal, depression is then normal for most teenagers but there is some cases where the changes is so extreme; that they are unable to cope with these drastic changes and thus become depressed.

When this happens, you as a parent or you as a teenager would need to be aware of the causes of these teenager depression. They will usually be centred around the traumatic events like deaths, or movements from home towns or even abuse. Because each teenager is different, they will have different ways of coping with these problems and some of these teenagers will not be able to handle these explosive events. Because of the amount of emotions that they will be experiencing, they will be floundering in these deep waters and ultimately drown in their own depression. In recent studies, one of the most common problems that cause teenage depression is the fact that parents get divorced around the age when teenagers reach puberty. There also has been studies to the fact that some teenagers are much more prone to being depressed.

So, when you have a small suggestion that your child is having adolescent despair, see to it that he is not absent single-handedly for too extensive a time. The cause for this is that they have a high jeopardy of executing suicide-in anticipation of aid. Suicide is a widespread ideation in all psychologically miserable persons. It is consequently significant that parents be acquainted with and appreciate the dissimilar grounds of adolescent depression. The reasons of adolescent depression are so diverse that it can discriminate against anybody at anytime. Not only death, there are many other problems that can develop with acute depression and this can be acute anger, acting out, malnutrition - which would lead them to lash out and find ways to dull the pain of depression, which could be drugs and alcoholism. So you need to be careful and tread carefully when you do know that your child is suffering from depression.

Make an appointment with a doctor and he or she will prescribe some sort of anti depressants and drugs that will help. If the depression is very acute and has reached the levels of clinical depression, then therapy with a psychologists would then be important to turn things around and give them back the happiness that all teenagers should have. Always act early and watch the behaviour of your teenager or adolescent kid. This way, you can protect them from the dangers of teenage depression.

Natural Alternative To Balancing Your Brain Chemistry To Treat Depression, Anxiety And ADD

What are Neurotransmitters?

Neurotransmitters are naturally occurring chemicals within the brain that relay signals between the nerve cells and are required for proper brain and body function.

A proper balance of neurotransmitter levels helps achieve optimal health.

Neurotransmitter imbalances have been linked to:

  • Attention issues (lack of focus and motivation, poor concentration, and ADD)

  • Learning difficulties and development delays (young children)

  • Hyperactivity and ADHD for both children and adults

  • Sleeping problems (fatigue, problems falling asleep, tossing and turning, etc.)

  • Menopause related issues (hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats)

  • PMS and birth control related issues (mood swings, aggressiveness, irritability, sadness, lack of libido)

  • Weight issues and appetite control (cravings, overwhelming hunger, etc.)

  • Depression (sadness, lack of motivation, mood swings, etc.)

  • Migraine Headaches

  • Anxiety (irritability, nervousness, obsessive-compulsive, insecurity, racing thoughts, restlessness)

  • Libido (lack of sex drive for women and men, orgasm issues, erectile dysfunction, etc.)

The approach is based on a baseline measurement of your neurotransmitter and/or hormone levels. The initial testing of your levels from a urine or saliva sample constitutes your baseline.

We can test the greatest number of neurotransmitters and hormones for the most complete assessment of your health. We can measure 13 different neurotransmitters and 11 different hormones. The baseline sample will help us determine if your condition is neurotransmitter related and what the optimal treatment is for addressing your condition(s).

Targeted Amino Acid Therapy (TAAT)

The process of balancing neurotransmitters is called Targeted Amino Acid Therapy (TAAT). The program follows the principle that optimizing neurotransmitters requires that not only must appropriate levels be attained, but neurotransmitters must be addressed in the proper order.

Address Multiple Neurotransmitters

Through laboratory testing, it has been found that very few patients have a neurotransmitter imbalance that is limited to a single neurotransmitter. The vast majority of patients have imbalances involving multiple neurotransmitters and, therefore, require therapies that address multiple neurotransmitters. For this reason, therapies that address serotonin and the catecholamines as well as other neurotransmitters must be used to achieve a balance.

Neurotransmitter Interaction

Some antidepressant drugs, like Lexapro, only prevent the reuptake of serotonin, while others, like Wellbutrin, only prevent the reuptake of norepinephrine. It is common for a patient to require more than one of these medications to achieve symptom relief due to the balanced serotonin and norepinephrine effect a combination of therapies provides. The need for this combination is well understood and other reuptake inhibitors, like Effexor, affect both serotonin and norepinephrine. There is a complex interaction between all the neurotransmitters and we can help you understands how to address this interaction with TAAT.

Proper Ratios of Amino Acids

The ratios of inhibitory neurotransmitter precursors, excitatory neurotransmitter precursors, and the amount of GABA support in the specific formulas are based on this principle. NeuroScience formulas are more effective than general amino acid supplements because general amino acid supplements do not contain the proper ratios of amino acids or address multiple neurotransmitters. Additionally, the modulatory nature and GABA potentiating actions of serotonin dictates that it must be addressed prior to increasing catecholamine levels. While this is a simplified explanation, it covers the basic theory behind the amino acid therapies used.

Puzzle with many Pieces

Many other neurotransmitters are involved in the regulation of neurotransmission. Some, like PEA, can be tested and are known to cause a predictable change in the clinical presentation and, along with the catecholamines, affect excitatory activity. Others, like histamine, glutamine, and glutamate, have roles that are clearly defined but were not measured until recently. Others still wait to be discovered.

Teen Depression Symptoms

Suicide is the third leading cause of death for teenagers after accidents and homicide. Why do so many teenagers take their own lives? Major factors in many suicides are bullying, feeling a failure or failing an important exam, a relationship break-up or family problems. These are all major stresses but a lot of teenagers manage to get through them relatively unscathed. The difference between those who can cope and those who turn to suicide as a solution to these problems is that the majority of the latter already have a mental or substance-related disorder and they can't deal with the stress.

Substances include alcohol and drugs and the mental problems include depression and anxiety disorders. Teenagers suffering from depression and anxiety do not have the strength and self esteem necessary to realize that problems can be overcome and life does turn around and get better. They are unable to rationalize that suicide is a permanent solution to temporary problems. They see it as the only way out.

The difficulty is in separating what is 'normal' adolescent angst and what is a problematic serious emotional state. Only about one fifth of teenagers suffering from depression get help despite the fact that the condition responds very well to treatment. While some depressed kids may be sad and withdrawn, others become irritable, aggressive or very angry.

Symptoms usually include two or three of the following and the amount of time they have been present needs to be taken into account:

- Loss of interest in hobbies and everyday activities
- Withdrawal and spending long periods alone
- Changes in eating and sleeping habits
- Hostility, anger and irritability
- Feelings of hopelessness and despair
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Tearfulness and crying
- Restlessness and agitation
- Lack of motivation and difficulty in concentrating
- Lack of energy
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Substance abuse
- Aches and pains that have no physical cause

Because of the physical changes and rampant hormonal swings that accompany adolescence, teenagers are very susceptible to depression. While some may open up and try to express what they are going through, the vast majority is too embarrassed or shy to talk to anyone. They are not aware that they have depression or an anxiety disorder and simply feel that they are to blame for the hopelessness and despair they feel. Parents and teachers need to be made aware of these conditions and realize that the badly behaved, extreme or unsociable, withdrawn teenager in their house or class may be in desperate need of professional informed help.

Depression Treatment - Going Natural

When diagnosed with clinical depression, some people choose not to take medication. Some are worried that they will feel sedated and walk through the rest of their lives in a zombie like state; others fear the possibility of addiction. Some just simply don't want to give up their nightly glass of wine and fear that mixing it with medication could bring on problems, which it could. Whatever the reasons, they do have the choice of alternative treatment, though in many cases it might take longer to see results. Some people would like to get to the bottom of their feelings and decide to see a therapist. No matter if they are taking medication or going with alternative treatment forms, results are always better when the patient simultaneously gets therapy.

Though natural remedies such as herbs and plant extracts have been tested on subjects with depression and proved to have positive results, they are not FDA approved. The patient should investigate each product before taking it and make sure of the side effects. These are very rare and usually tolerable, but could cause serious problems if the patient has other physical conditions.

- St. Johns Wort is the most used natural treatment of depression. Upon testing on subjects with depression, positive results were noted as early as 2 weeks after starting. In fact, it was shown to be just as effective as the leading prescription drug for depression. It had best results on mild to moderate depression, but was shown not to have any effect on severe cases of depression. St. John's Wort can be harmful if it is taken in combination with other medication, so the patient should make sure he informs himself well and tells his physician about any other physical ailments that he has. Though side effects are rare, some patients report dizziness, dry mouth, fatigue, nausea, diahrrea and sensitivity to light.

- Valerian Root is most commonly used to treat sleeping disorders that depressive people can experience. It has been proven that it reduces anxiety and stress and improves the quality of sleep. Some people experience digestive problems if they use it for a long period of time and some build up a resistance to its sedative quality and get the opposite result. Instead of feeling sedated, they feel stimulated.

- Kava Kava is another plant that makes a person feel relaxed and content. It causes mental alertness that wears off in a few hours and gives way to drowsiness, so it best be taken a few hours before going to bed. It should not be taken by people with liver problems or a steady drinking habit, nor by people taking other medication. Excessive use can cause dizziness and liver problems.

- 5-HTP is a natural supplement that converts into serotonin once taken. Serotonin is a brain chemical that influences sleep, mood appetite and behaviour. Before starting to take this supplement, the patient should be tested for his level of serotonin, since the cause of depression could lie elsewhere than in a lack of this chemical. Though no serious negative results of taking 5-HTP have ever been reported, it should not be taken over a longer period. Some side effects may occur, such as nausea, diahrrea, constipation and headaches.

- A lack of essential minerals and vitamins can also be behind a depression. Minerals such as zinc, magnesium and potassium ant the B-complex of vitamins can all have a mayor influence on the mood and general well-being. The patient should have a simple blood test first though to see if he is lacking any of these.

The Power of Prayer and Fasting in Overcoming Mental Illness

There is a doctor who has been curing people from mental and emotional illnesses through the power of prayer and fasting. His name is Jesus Christ and He's been doing it for 2,000 years.

I know this firsthand because after graduating from college from Ohio State University with a
degree in broadcast journalism and working for a few years as a news reporter, I succumbed to manic depression, schizophrenia, alcoholism and drug addiction. I spent 12 years in and out of mental hospitals and more in and out of rehabs before I realized that mental illness affects the person on all levels. Mental, Physical,Emotional and Spiritual. This I learned from reading the Bible and health books.

Then I learned the prescription for freedom: Salvation through Jesus Christ and prayer and fasting for deliverance. Deliverance is needed because those who are mentally ill are more than
likely infested with demons who take up residence in the mind, body and soul. Angels and demons have existed in the spiritual realm since the beginning of time. Demoniacs of old who were undoubtedly mentally ill had their demons "cast out" through Jesus Christ. An ancient notion but a power that is available to the mentally ill today.

Though I once was on Halydol, Mellaril, Thorazine, Lithium and Elavil, after two years of carefully weaning myself from those psychotropic drugs I am now medication free. I have had to take no medication for the last ten years.

My restoration is a stunning miracle that should be more common. I believe it can be through the power of prayer and fasting unto God through Christ Jesus.

Men Suffer From Depression Too

Most research shows that women are much more likely than men to suffer from depression, but that doesn't mean that men never have the problem. Depression in men is often overlooked due to the fact that men are very reluctant to let their true emotions show, they think it will make seem like a wimp, rather than the tough guy they think they should be. For the same reason, fewer men suffering from depression will seek treatment. If all of the men who suffer from depression were to step forward, chances are there wouldn't be a lot of difference in the statistics when compared with the number of women who also have depression.

It can be extremely difficult to get most men to talk about their lives and their feelings, and most physicians are aware of that fact, and shy away from any touchy subjects as much as possible. Men often think they should tough their problems out on their own, rather than seek professional treatment. They hold their emotions and feelings inside until they can no longer cope with them, causing even more and more problems for themselves.

Oftentimes, the symptoms of depression that men experience are quite different than those reported by most women sufferers. Depression symptoms experienced by men may seem like any other health complaint, including general muscle and joint pain, extreme fatigue and less energy, insomnia, and appetite changes. Men will often express their feeling through violent emotions, such as anger and physical outbursts. They will often begin to drown their sorrows and problems with alcohol or drugs, rather than admit they have a problem and seek treatment. Due to the symptoms they usually suffer from, men often don't even think about the fact that they may be depressed. They know there is a problem, but they can't say just what it is. If they do talk to a physician, who treats them for depression, they are often shocked to find out that all of their symptoms disappear.

In some scientific research, the link between depression and the hormone testosterone has been questioned. We do know that as men get older, they have less and less testosterone in their system, a common finding in men who are older than fifty years of age. It also seems that the problem may be worsened with excessive alcohol consumption, extreme stress, and being moderately overweight, or obese.

Many doctors who have a male patient that comes in with symptoms which may indicate depression will immediately order a test to determine the level of testosterone in his body. The doctor may also test other hormone levels in the body, and if they come back irregular, he may first try treating the problem with some hormone supplements. If the patient seems to be suffering from deep depression, chances are the problem is not related to hormonal changes, and the physician will probably go ahead and prescribe an antidepressant medication, along with a referral to a mental health professional for therapy.

Treating men with testosterone supplements sounds like an easy fix for depression sufferers around the world, but unfortunately, the supplements can only be taken safely for a short period of time. Testosterone supplements taken on a regular basis have been known to cause prostate problems, including cancer, cardiac disease, liver malfunction, hair loss, or severe headaches. Supplements may also decrease the body's ability to create testosterone on its own, leading to even more problems once the supplement has to be discontinued.
Before taking testosterone supplements, you should be thoroughly evaluated by your physician, and do some research to make sure that you feel the benefits outweigh the risks. Talk to your doctor, and together you can come to the best decision for you.

For men, depression is usually triggered by problems or demotions on the job, loss of physical ability due to health issues, etc. When seeking treatment for depression, men should remember that they are showing incredible strength just by coming forward and admitting that they need help. Men are much more likely to commit suicide if they ignore their depression and fail to seek treatment. So, take steps now to get the help you need, before you make a mistake with your life that cannot be changed.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Research Findings Linking Vitamin D Deficiency With Depression and Other Cognitive Disorders

Vitamin D is popularly known to help us strengthen our bones with its ability to assist our body in absorbing calcium; and the lack thereof increases our chances in experiencing osteoporosis, osteopenia, and risk of fractures. Additionally, several studies have pointed out Vitamin D deficiency as contributing factor for other chronic diseases such as multiple sclerosis, breast cancer, colon and prostate cancers, and type 1 Diabetes. And in recent years, the link between Vitamin D deficiency and depression has been highly debated by various health experts, giving life to further studies that would determine the validity of such claims.


According to Michael S. Ritsner's Brain Protection in Schizophrenia, Mood and Cognitive Disorder, the most convincing evidence of a role for Vitamin D in depression comes from studies of patients with seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD patients are thought to be exposed to less sunlight, thus, formation of Vitamin D3 might be abnormally low in these patients in winter. Furthermore, the book cited that Vitamin D deficiency or low serum levels of the precursor 25(OH)D3 is associated with low mood and depression in humans.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a mood disorder in which people experience depressive symptoms during specific times of the year, usually in winter where people don't get enough exposure of sunlight. In Sabina Dosani's Defeat Depression: 52 Brilliant Ideas For Healing A Troubled Mind 2nd Edition, a related findings that tackles the role of vitamin D to SAD is shown with study done by the Stockholm psychiatrists to a collected group of depressed patients that had been split into two. One group composed of patients who were depressed in winter and the other group composed of patients whose depression didn't change with the season. Patients whose depression has a seasonal pattern got a lot better with light box treatment, whereas, the second group who felt low whatever the weather didn't improve much with the light box treatment.


In a study conducted by the researchers from the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore and published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, it was found that insufficient levels of vitamin D have been linked to a higher risk of depression in adults over the age of 65. Additionally, researchers are saying that vitamin D deficiency in the elderly may become in the future a strategy to prevent the development of depressive mood in the elderly and avoid its deleterious consequences on health.

Meanwhile, in the 2005 Health Survey for England, clinical vitamin D deficiency- defined as a serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) level less than 10 ng/mL- was significantly associated with depressive symptoms among adults, 65 years and older. As part of the survey, information on health and health behaviors and socio-demographic data were collected, 25(OH)D levels were measured, and depressive symptoms scored using the Geriatric Depression Scale.

On a different note, despite the series of papers describing the relation of vitamin D deficiency to depression, some experts believe that more studies still need to be conducted to further strengthen explanation on the cause and effect theory.

While it is too early to tell that Vitamin D may help major depression, it is not too early to heed the advice that if you suffer from depression, get your 25(OH)D level checked and visit your health care professional for advice. In fact even if you do know show any sign or symptoms of depression, still get your Vitamin D levels in your body checked.

How to Break the Depression Cycle

Depression affects millions of people every year. I suffered from depression for many years, trying to feel "normal" again was a daunting task. I spent thousands on doctors, therapy, hospitalization and medications, which helped but it just wasn't enough. I never really felt happy, like I had at a younger age, until I incorporated simple day-to-day changes in my routine that I was able to break the cycle of depression.

Changes you can make in your life to help break the cycle of depression:

  1. Avoid triggers that cause negative thoughts and emotions - Sounds simple, but it takes hard work. First, start a journal. Write down all the negative thoughts and feelings you had during the day, try to remember what triggered them. Ask yourself who you were with? Where were you? Look for patterns, common denominators. When you find these triggers to negative thoughts try to avoid them, or work to come up with new ways to think about them.

  2. Change - Find new hobbies, ones that make you feel good and help to take your mind off the negative thoughts associated with depression. Set new rules for yourself to stay away from bad habits that keep you stuck in the cycle of depression. Find these habits by journaling. If you're stuck in a cycle of depression, change your environment. Try to paint your rooms with brighter colors, take a different route to work, try a different restaurant, or find new hobbies. Change can help shake off the old stale ways of doing things that keep you in a pattern of negativity.

  3. Schedule your activities around bad and stressful experiences - Don't let life's difficulties derail your achievements. When life throws you a monkey wrench, such as a death of a friend or family member, financial loss, or divorce; Schedule positive and relaxing activities around the event. Don't let yourself slip.

  4. Laugh - Find something that makes you smile, or laugh everyday. Make it a routine to do this and stick with it. You'll find that not only will you feel better, but also the people you interact with will react more positively to you.

  5. Exercise and diet - Develop a daily exercise plan and stick to it. The chemicals released when you exercise help to promote positive thought and feelings. Positive thinking is one of the best ways to break the cycle of depression. Make sure that you eat right, drink lots of water, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and complex carbohydrates and proteins.

  6. Don't isolate - Stay connected with friends and relatives. But be wary of whom you associate, stay away from negative thinkers and anyone that reinforces the negative thinking patterns that you're trying to break. If you are like me and have associated yourself with negative friends, try taking a class, or volunteering, talk to a therapist, but get positive feedback and stay away from negativity.

It took years of trial and error for me to break the cycle of depression. If I had known how effective these simple changes would have been to my overall well-being, perhaps I would have recovered and stayed happy sooner. It took many years of failures, trial and error before I finally achieved the happiness I feel today. The important thing is to keep trying, making changes in your daily routine and staying positive and healthy.

What Are Your Bipolar Prodromes?

What the heck are prodromes? "Prodromes" is a medical term for an early symptom indicating the onset of an illness or attack. In relation to bipolar disorder, prodromes are the early warning signs - the red flags - that alert us that an episode of mania or depression may be on the way. Usually mood swings or episodes develop in 4 stages:

1. Our normal temperament and personality. Think of it as the baseline. Everyone has a unique personality. When we are at our baseline we are our regular selves. We can identify our unique "normal" by identifying our enduring patterns of behavior, mood, attitudes, and habits.

2. Early warning signs. Again, these are unique to each individual. These early signals that an episode is developing are usually quite subtle. These are the faint and delicate mild symptoms that show up BEFORE the OBVIOUS signs of a mood swing into mania or depression. Examples may be irritability or a general feeling that it is getting a little harder to get through the day or accomplish small goals or tasks, or stick to your regular routine.

3. Warning signs or "prodromes". These are obvious symptoms. They are more noticeable and observable than the early warning signs, and they indicate the beginning of an episode of mania or depression. These warning signs may still differ from person to person, but generally they are the classic bipolar disorder signs of being manic or depressed. However, they are not as profound or numerous as a full blown episode. This is the point where it is clear an episode is developing and it is urgent to intervene. Prodromes require immediate action - do not wait for a full blown episode to develop.

4. Episode. By episode we mean a full blown episode of mania or depression - a number of bipolar symptoms for a period of time of sufficient severity to have a significant impact on your day-to-day life.

The actions you take to manage risks when you are at stage 2 or stage 3 need to be planned in advance. Taking action is much easier when you have the support of your medical team and loved ones. Share your mood charting with them, and get them involved in drawing up your wellness plan. Learn how to identify your personal prodromes and head any potential episode off at the pass.

Treating Depression Naturally - The Best Way to Fight It

Therapy and prescription medication are crucial tools in helping individuals cope with clinical depression, and both have a proven track record of success over a considerable number of years. Recently, however, it has been found that there are natural ways to augment these traditional treatments. "Lifestyle changes are a very important part of treatment," says Ian A. Cook, MD, director of UCLA's Depression Research Program.

Routine is the First Step
Focusing upon a regular routine is very beneficial for depression sufferers. Depression can destroy the basic structure of daily life, causing one day to blend indistinguishably into the next. This absence of structure can also worsen symptoms of depression. Creating a carefully planned routine can help combat many aspects of debilitating depression safely and naturally.

The best ways to develop a sensible routine are to concentrate on lifestyle changes that can improve one's overall health, not just ease or address the depression. These include eating a balanced diet, setting a pattern for sleeping and waking times, establishing simple, attainable goals each day, finding some type of responsibility, whether it means returning to work part-time or volunteering, and making time to relax at some point each day.

Exercise has Amazing Benefits
Numerous studies have confirmed that regular physical activity can improve mood. Even just 20 minutes of moderate exercise each day is sufficient to have a significant impact upon attitude. The type of exercise does not seem to matter. Walking, jogging, swimming, or riding a bicycle are equally effective options, and which is chosen is purely a matter of personal preference. The reasons for the connection between physical exertion and mood are not clear, but there are several theories based upon recent research which have been presented. These include:

* Exercise releases endorphins, the chemicals in the brain that improve mood, which can alleviate depression symptoms.
* Physical activity reduces the impact of certain chemicals in the immune system that have been known to exacerbate depression.
* Working out raises body temperature, which can create a feeling of calm and peacefulness.

While there have been a large number of studies on the physical benefits of regular exercises, the psychological benefits of regular exercise are well documented as well. Some of these benefits include:

* Setting and meeting exercise goals helps improve confidence and self-esteem. The physical results of regular exercise - weight loss, better muscle tone, and improved appearance - can also help engender self-confidence and an increased feeling of self worth.
* Exercise is a distraction that can provide an escape from the damaging cycle of negativity associated with depression and anxiety disorders. Regular exercise allows an individual to remove their focus from their problems, and concentrate instead on accomplishing the task presented by the exercise routine.
* Many individuals who engage in regular exercise do so in a public place like a health club or a public park. This makes it easier to socialize and meet new people. Even smiling or waving at a neighbor as they pass on the sidewalk can help boost one's mood.
* Taking positive steps to manage depression is an effective coping mechanism. Many individuals who suffer with depression self-medicate with alcohol, illicit drugs, prescription medication, or other harmful substances and behaviors. Exercising is a way to replace those dangerous practices with something much more uplifting and much more effective.

Other Ways to Fight Depression Naturally
Exercise is not the only way to ward off depression and anxiety naturally. Part of the work also involves changing thought patterns. "When you're depressed, you become trained to see the world and yourself in a negative way," says Dean MacKinnon, MD, associate professor of psychiatry at Baltimore's Johns Hopkins University Hospital. These negative thoughts can last for months or even years after the physical symptoms of depression have passed.

Automatic thoughts are linked to the subconscious and can be hard to control. The secret is finding ways to manage and change them without allowing oneself to be pulled under the misery once again. Some of the best ways to do this include:

* Reflect on when and where negative feelings most often creep up. It can be difficult to catch the self indulging in automatic thought patterns. Reconstructing the past can help, as can analyzing potential triggers. Eventually, these thoughts can be stopped before they have a chance to impact one's state of mind.
* Clear thoughts of negativity when automatic thinking is suspected. Practice breathing exercises or take a short walk. This mental break can be crucial.
* Be logical and try to gain some perspective on the situation. Do not exaggerate negative circumstances; simply try to apply reason and inject a bit of reality.
* Reach out to others for support. Friends, family, support groups, or a licensed therapist can all help share the burden of depression or can simply provide a safe outlet for any other issue that warrants discussion.
* Many natural extracts and nutritional supplements have been promised to reduce depression symptoms, but these supplements can interact negatively with prescription medications. Always check with a physician or treating therapist before beginning a supplement therapy.
* Shake up the routine once in a while by striking out to try something new. Take a class, visit the library, go to a museum, volunteer, or just get out of the house for a few hours and do something out of the ordinary. This creates a sense of excitement that can combat depression symptoms.
* Make time for things that are enjoyable. Depression does not mean one must stop laughing, having fun, or embracing humor. Allow laughter to slowly return and welcome happiness when it comes along. Even when having a good time feels like a chore, it is important to persevere.

The Bottom Line
Depression can only be cured by a combination of treatments, but a more natural approach can lessen dependence on prescription medications and therapy, thereby speeding healing. Using these natural methods to augment traditional treatments is a wonderful way to take an active part in recovery.

How to Spot Manic Depression (Bipolar)


We all have our ups and downs, but if you're suffering from manic depression, or bipolar disorder, these mood swings are more severe. The extreme highs and lows of bipolar disorder can disrupt daily activities and damage relationships. And although it's treatable, many people don't recognize the warning signs and fail to get the help they need. Since bipolar disorder tends to worsen without treatment, it's important to learn how to spot manic depression. Recognizing the problem is the first step to getting it under control.


There are several symptoms that are quite specific to manic depression, and recognizing them is how to spot manic depression.

There are four types of mood episodes that can occur in bipolar disorder, each with a unique pattern of symptoms:

  • Mania

  • Hypomania

  • Depression

  • Mixed Episode

We can now look at the symptoms of each of these episodes in turn. In this way, I hope to help you know how to spot the symptoms of manic depression and to help either yourself or someone close to you get the help that they need.

MANIA: Do you know someone who, for certain brief periods of between a couple of weeks and a couple of months, can seem so full of energy that they can walk a mile a minute or seems to need no sleep at all? Then read on! The mania episode of the cycle is typically that. Whilst this episode may seem fine at first, and to onlookers can even seem funny, it can spiral out of control.

Other common signs include:

  • Feeling unusually optimistic, high or irritable

  • Unnatural perceptions of ones own ability and mortality - the person can literally feel like "Superman"

  • Feeling really energetic although they have had little sleep

  • Talking so rapidly that no one else can keep up

  • Racing thoughts and jumping from one subject to the next

  • Unable to concentrate

  • Lack of judgment or increased impulsiveness

  • Delusions and hallucinations in severe cases

HYPOMANIA: This is a milder form of mania. The person will feel overly optimistic and euphoric and enthusiastic but will definitely not include delusions and hallucinations.Most of us may feel that the person is just in a good mood. The thing is, how realistically can one person stay in such a good mood? This is a dangerous time in the manic depressive cycle as, if you don't recognize how to spot manic depression, it can spiral into full blown mania.

DEPRESSION: Unlike normal depression, when it is part of this cycle, the person tends to speak very slowly and seem un naturally tired. The opposite, in fact of Mania. There are also the usual symptoms of depression that the person may exhibit, and these are as follows;

  • Feeling hopeless, sad, or empty.

  • Loss of interest in things you used to enjoy

  • Fatigue or loss of energy

  • Physical and mental sluggishness

  • Appetite or weight changes

  • Sleeping too much or too little

  • Concentration and memory problems

  • Feelings of self-loathing, shame, or guilt

  • Thoughts of death or suicide

MIXED EPISODE: A mixed episode of manic depression has symptoms of both mania and depression. Common signs of this stage include agitation, irritability, insomnia, appetite changes, loss of contact with reality and suicidal thoughts. This is a risky combination and makes it a particularly high risk of suicide.

I know that this is a worrying illness and that you will be feeling very anxious, but there is help and hope, and I wish you luck in your journey.

Canine Depression - 10 Common Signs and 10 Simple Suggestions to Help Your Dog

Yes! Absolutely! Dogs can get depressed. There are a number of sources that can ebb the life out of your canine buddy.

1. may be too busy, or they may have lost a dear human or animal friend.
2. Sudden changes in routines and schedules.
3. More than usual tension in the home. Your dog may be sensing YOUR mood changes.
4. Illness, yours or theirs.
5. Ageing. They can no longer physically do, what they were once capable of doing.
6. Dietary problems (wrong food).

10 Common Signs of Canine Depression

1. Weight loss/Lack of thirst
2. Regression in house training...soiling inside
3. Lack of sociability
4. Lack of enthusiasm and motivation
5. Anxious
6. Impulsive aggression
7. Phobic
8. Nervous
9. Grief
10. Chemical imbalance

10 Simple Suggestions to Pump That Zest for Life, Back Into Your Dog

1. Have your veterinarian determine if there is a physical or chemical problem causing your dog's mood change.

2. Talk to your veterinarian about your dog's diet. A simple change of diet may help.

3. Talk to your dog! Don't worry, no one is looking. Many owners rarely talk to their dogs...other than to scold them. Your dog loves the sound of your up beat. Praise them as many times a day as possible. They can never hear it enough.

4. As much as possible, stay on a scheduled routine. It offers your dog a sense of security.

5. If your dog has lost a human or animal friend, socialize them. Take them where they can interact with other dogs, preferably daily. Dogs need dogs.

6. Enroll in a positive reinforcement, punishment-free obedience dog training class. You will benefit by toning up your leadership skills, and your dog will benefit from the socialization with new people and dogs, not to mention the added bonus of spending quality time with his or her best friend, YOU! Make the commitment, you will both enjoy it...and it works!

7. Have an adventure with your something fun, and different. Challenge up their self-esteem. Keep it short and keep it fun. Keep them interested, so they will be open for new challenges.

8. Walk him or her in a different neighborhood. Vary the pace of your walk. Make it interesting. The change may spark focus back into your friend.

9. Take your dog with you when possible. Include him or her in your activities outside the home. Take them to work with you if possible. Take them with you when you visit friends or run errands. Make it fun!

10. If the time is right for you, consider getting him or her a canine companion. Let your dog pick out their new friend! If you are not ready to assume the responsibilities of another dog...don't do it!

The most important thing you can do to help your dog over this bump in the road...let them know how much you love them. They need to see it in your eyes, hear it in your voice, and feel it through your actions. Their lives are too short. Being a dog should be fun. It doesn't take much to make them happy!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Winter Blues or Clinical Depression?

As colorful lights come down and fun-filled festivities end, the remainder of winter stares us in the face. It's a time when many people feel low or down.

Normally, people experience a wide range of moods. However, we generally feel in control of them. Understanding that such feelings are temporary, most people are not distressed by them. Blue periods are natural.

In fact, the "winter blues" may be more prevalent, regardless of age or gender, than previously thought according to a recent study. Participants reported more depression, anxiety, hostility, anger and irritability in winter than any other season. Even those not clinically depressed or suffering Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can experience seasonal depression and other negative feelings. Transitory low periods are not serious; prolonged periods of feeling distressed are.

So what is the difference between "the blues" and a more serious case of depression?

Various disappointments and a calendar bereft of things to look forward to, compounded by bleak weather, can precipitate the blues. Certain life events like serious illness, job loss, death of a loved one, divorce, major financial reversal and the like negatively impact our lives. It's natural to grieve when such incidents occur. Normally, the associated feelings of sadness and loss decrease over time. Most of us move through these periods and on to better feelings. When feelings of sadness and loss don't go away, it's possible depression has set in.

Depression manifests itself in many ways. Sometimes the ways are outwardly obvious, sometimes not. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates 17 million American adults (some 10% of us) suffer from depression in any given year.

Many possible triggers can precipitate depression: relationship difficulties, memories of happier times, unfulfilled (sometimes unrealistic or lofty) expectations, loss of a loving relationship (may be the first holidays without them), anniversary of a happy or sad event, medical problems (one's own or another's), even weight gain.

Depression occurs when a person's feelings of despair, hopelessness and sadness extend for two weeks or more. When such feelings begin to impact work, sleeping, eating, socializing or physical well-being, it's time to get professional help. Unfortunately, those with depression tend to isolate themselves from the outside world and do exactly the opposite of what would be best for them. That's when family and friends can step in to assist the depressed person.

Depression falls into the broad class of mental health difficulties called mood disorders. They include Major Depressive Disorder, Dysthymic Disorder [Dysthymia can be defined as despondency in mood], Bipolar Disorder [Bipolar Disorder was formerly called Manic-Depressive Disorder], Cyclothymic Disorder [Cyclothymia is a tendency toward alternating periods of elation and depression] and Substance-Induced Mood Disorder. A mood disorder can also be the result of certain medications or a general medical condition, although sometimes depression can mask another serious illness such as thyroid disease.

Since depression impairs interpersonal, social and occupational functioning, it can be particularly hard on relationships. People with mood disorders, such as depression, have a very high rate of divorce. Because patients with depressed mood have a loss of energy and interest, feelings of guilt, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite and thoughts of suicide or death, being with them can be difficult. That's why the relationships a depressed person has are so important. People who truly care about the depressed will help them find relief.

What's a person to do?

To find help for yourself or someone else, it's important to know the signs of depression. They often include: feelings of "emptiness" or hopelessness, undue feelings of guilt or helplessness, trouble sleeping (early morning waking or oversleeping) and significant weight loss or gain. Additionally, the depressed may have decreased energy and fatigue, thoughts of death or suicide, loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed, difficulty concentrating and persistent medical problems or pain that does not go away.

If you or a person you care about has several of the above symptoms, it's best to talk with someone who can professionally evaluate what's going on. Depression is not due to personal weakness nor a condition that will correct itself. Without treatment, it could last for weeks, months or years.

In the meantime, it can be beneficial to take scenic walks, look up into the sunlight, appreciate nature, volunteer to help others. Also try to exercise, eat properly, and minimize caffeine and other foods that interfere with restful sleep. Avoid alcohol (a depressant) and non-prescribed drugs. They may provide a temporary "high," but actually exacerbate depression.

While a combination of medication and psychotherapy can work well (particularly in the elderly), a recent study found cognitive-behavioral therapy as effective as antidepressants in treating the severely depressed. An estimated 4 out of 5 people with depression improve with the appropriate form of treatment.

The winter can be happy time if we remain aware of our needs and seek appropriate assistance when it's warranted. Sometimes a family member or friend can accompany the person to see they get properly evaluated for the difficulties they're experiencing. After all, it's that caring that makes good relationships great.

Binge Drinking Causes Anxiety and Depression

If you are a binge drinker, you may not drink alcohol that often, but when you drink you likely drink to the point of passing out or close to it. Binge drinking causes anxiety and depression the same way these symptoms are prevalent in those suffering with alcoholism. The difference is with binge drinking, the after effects won't last as long as the effects of drinking daily or almost daily.

Binge Drinking and Anxiety

When you drink to excess, it has a significant effect on your physical body, including your nervous system.

Excessive alcohol intake causes dehydration, even short-term. The symptoms of dehydration are shaking, dizziness, extreme nervousness and will also impair your mental abilities for a day or two - you will know you are not functioning the way you normally would. Alcohol also wipes out the nutrients in your body and contrary to conventional "wisdom" in many cases will not only not help you sleep, but interrupt your sleep pattern to the point where this compounds the other symptoms, anxiety being one of them, which anyone who has ever suffered from anxiety knows it's a feeling that ranges from panic to genuine fear.

Binge Drinking and Depression

Alcohol actually is a depressant.

Binge drinking will cause depression because the alcohol all but wipes out the serotonin and other "feel good" chemicals in your brain and the lack of these chemicals can bring on the depression you experience after drinking.

Alcohol will also disable the stress hormones in your body temporarily. Combine all of these effects of drinking in quantity, and since alcohol depresses your nervous system and your brain, you can suffer from anxiety and depression.

It should be mentioned that many alcoholics start out with binge drinking. And if the this drinking in large quantities goes on long enough, it can be considered a form of alcoholism.

Ways to Fight Clinical Depression Naturally

Natural methods to tackle health problems boast minimal or no side effects in most instances. In a world where anti-depressants and other new-age remedies have taken centre stage, it is vital to consider the good old natural methods that still work.

Experts in this field who recognize the goodness of rich natural remedies will recommend natural methods of fighting clinical depression. Some of the proven methods that can be employed are highlighted below;

• Natural supplements; these supplements have been found to have the same effect as anti-depressants only that they have no side effects. There is a range of them as follows;

a) ST John's Wort - This natural cure for depression is highly effective in improving moods and ridding anxiety. It is made of natural herbal extracts that cause the effect. It can be taken in tablet form one each day (as recommended by a health care provider). This natural supplement will definitely go a long way in improving life and quality thereof.

b) SAM-e - The herbal supplement is recommended for those suffering serious or severe depression. It will not come cheap but promises to do its job in relieving symptoms and fighting depression.

c) Siberian Gingseng- This herbal supplement has been known for its action in balancing brain chemicals to improve mood and tackle depression and anxiety. It will be found in capsule form for those who wish to get it.

d) 5-HTP- This is another natural way to fight clinical depression. It is not just known to boost serotonin levels but will help those seeking to loose weight as well.

e) Ginko Biloba- This is another rich blend of natural supplement that is known to reduce the frequency of depression. It has been seen to work well even for those in advance age. It will have no side effects and will improve memory, help people sleep better and improve health overall.

• Diet can go a long way to determine how well people cope with depression. There are foods that will promote health and keep away depression while others will promote depression. Alcohol and caffeine are not popular in fighting depression. Fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamins of all kind will aid better health in regard to depression.

• Support groups- Meeting regularly with other people will allow sufferers who are depressed to connect and share experiences with others. This will help them cope and provide needed support for them to bounce back.

• Getting busy- Employ physical exercises often to fight depression. This will improve blood circulation and ensure the body receives the vibrancy and relaxation.

Help For Teen Drug Addicts & Abusers - Importance of Family Health Insurance

Teen drug abusers and addicts face serious health challenges. Parents need to keep a watchful eye on their teens, especially if they show signs of drug abuse or addiction. Also, parents should endeavor to provide the right health coverage for their teens.

Below are some warning signs to note of teens at risk:

Depression and low self esteem: This is a very common sign since most teenage drug addicts and abusers are known to isolate themselves.

There's also the feeling that they do not fit in with other people and that they are not known or popular. This makes them hungry for alternative means of feeling right and excited.

Most times they feel sluggish and battle to sleep. They are aggressive and very rebellious towards people in authority.

There's also the effect of family history. If the family is known to have a history of drug or substance abusers and addicts. Teens from a family like this are at high risk. They need quality counseling on the problems they face and their possible solutions.

Getting the right family health care service is a great way of helping your teenagers to cope with drug and substance abuse problems. The right family health insurance will provide you and your family access to reliable health professionals and medical doctors that will give you and your teenager(s) all the medical help needed.

Proper medical evaluations are very important. Do not over look the gains in working with trusted health insurance professionals. Start by comparing free quotes on family health insurance policies now.

Where To Start?

Depression In Others

Many of us struggle day in and day out. That does not mean that we suffer from depression. But, for others, it does. If you are worried about a friend or family member who you think may be suffering from depression, you can and should help. But, how can you do this? Recognizing depression in others is difficult, unless you pay attention.

There are many signs that someone is suffering from depression. The most common thing to notice is how they have changed. Often times, people who suffer from depression have changed. They no longer do the things that made them happy. They no longer value their friendships. They isolate themselves by avoiding others. Sometimes, the changes are very small, even unnoticeable. While they may put on a fake front, you can tell that something is different or wrong.

Do you feel that someone you care about is suffering from depression? If so, you can try and talk to them. But, do not be aggressive. They will more than likely need to speak to their doctor about being diagnosed. You can not force the issue as it will only make their situation seem more desperate. People who are suffering from depression need help. By encouraging them to seek out professional help, you are telling them that you care.

For more information about doing this or other information about depression visit the internet. One good website to check out is It's not a medical website, but a source for information about this disease.

History of Clinical Depression

There are several things you inherit from your parents the color of your hair and eyes, your skin tone, even your height. You inherit these traits because you have genes and these genes make up your DNA. Unfortunately, you also inherit predisposition to certain diseases and even mental illness. Researches have recently shown that depression could actually be inherited. It simply means that if someone in your family is suffering from clinical depression, then there is a very high probability that you too could become depressed.

Years ago, scientists did not really know where depression came from. The environment was always identified as the primary suspect as the cause of depression in general, but more recent studies show a strong evidence that clinical depression such as depressive disorder, manic depression and dysthymia is actually caused by chemical imbalances, the predisposition to which is inherited.

The results of recent studies show that if you do have a parent, an uncle, a brother or a sister who is suffering or has suffered from clinical depression, you have 1.5 to 3 times more chances of developing the same condition than someone who does not have such a condition within the family.

Recent researches have not really been successful in trying to narrow down the research to specify which gene actually causes clinical depression. Different studies have yielded different results. It was hypothesized that the gene may be different from one family to other, but this has never been proven to date.

So there is no actual conclusion as to which gene is the culprit that causes clinical depression. But there is very little debate about the fact that clinical depression is hereditary. It is nothing to be ashamed of in fact, depression is so common that it affects more than 19 million Americans each year. However, less than half of the people suffering from this mental illness acknowledge it and seek treatment. If you or someone in your family may be experiencing depression, consult a psychiatrist immediately.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Bipolar Disorder - Why Manic Depressives Need Health Insurance

People who are suffering from bipolar disorder are not exempt from the other problems of life. Like everyone else, they are experiencing unemployment, bankruptcy and other factors that determine what type of healthcare a person can receive. However, unlike most others, manic depressives have a disease that requires medical attention. But for those without health insurance, there are two schools of thought. There are those that pay cash for their healthcare, and then there are those that do nothing. Both parties are not making the best decisions for their well-being, whether it's in regard to their mental health or their financial portfolio.

The worst consequences are for those who do not seek any form of medical care. This is particularly the case when a person's bipolar disorder goes through a down phase. When this happens, a person experiences a myriad of mental problems ranging from depression to psychosis. If psychosis happens, a person could end up doing something irrational. Sometimes it might be as minor as going on a spending spree; other times it could involve actually harming someone. Then there are cases where psychosis and depression lead to a person's suicide. With proper medical care, these things are less likely to happen because sufferers are taking psychiatric drugs and/or participating in behavioral therapy.

What about manic depressives who pay cash for their medical care? Well, by doing this they are avoiding some of the more devastating consequences of bipolar disorder. However, at the same time they are losing money. A monthly visit to a psychiatrist can cost over $100. Psychiatric drugs can cost hundreds of dollars for just one bottle. Emergency room visits can run in the thousands. Unless a person is financially well-off, at some point the cost of managing their disease could become more than what they can handle.

For all these reasons, manic depressives need to find health insurance that covers bipolar disorder. If they cannot get what they need through group coverage, their best bet would be to conduct extensive research on every healthcare provider in the U.S. Sites offering health insurance quotes are the best way to do this. No phone calls or paperwork are needed with these networks. Instead, a person fills out their information on an online form and from there the results are returned instantly. If a person does this enough times, eventually they will find a provider that can cover their condition.

If you need assistance in locating particular coverages at a pre-determined price, we can help you find a reduce health insurance premium today.

How To Get Rid Of Depression

In the simplest and most common terms, depression is the state of experiencing extreme melancholy and sadness. Almost everyone finds themselves depressed at least once or twice in their lives. Studies indicate that women are twice as prone to bouts of depression as men. Unlike normal bouts of feeling "down in the dumps" or being "blue," depression can actually be serious and can pose a very real risk to people's health.

There are two general kinds of depression. The kind most people deal with is normal depression, which is just a casual downturn of mood, usually transitory. Depression of this kind is caused by something others might consider petty or trivial, such as feeling unfulfilled over your career or disillusionment over a choice. Other common reasons include breakups of relationships or adjustments to a new environment. Feelings of helplessness and lack of self-worth can also lead to depression. Usually, this kind of depression does not interfere heavily with your way of life and it generally goes away after a few days.

Clinical depression, on the other hand, is a more severe form of depression and is what doctors classify as a major depressive disorder. Usually, this kind of depression lasts more than two weeks. Unlike normal depression, clinical depression should be taken seriously, as it is often disabling and can significantly affect your way of life, habits and social interaction with others. In the most severe cases, clinical depression can even lead to contemplations of and the act of suicide.

In order to get rid of depression, you must know what category of depression you have, as one treatment may not work for the other. Also, it must be stressed that depression is a highly individualized problem; it is based on the person's unique behavioral, environmental and psychological environment. Nevertheless, there are general ways to get rid of depression.

Typical Depression

If you're feeling down because you didn't get that raise, then perhaps talking with the boss about your merits might be in order. If you're sad because you envy a friend who gets all the attention due to their nice build, then working out in a gym or exercising might help you attain what they have and boost your self-esteem in the process. If you're depressed because you and your significant other had a fight, then a heart-to-heart talk might straighten things out. In short, to get rid of depression, you must know the underlying cause of it. Most often, knowing the root cause of the problem is enough to alleviate your feelings of melancholy and you will then be able to get a clearer idea of the ways to fix it.

Trying a new hobby or just engaging in activities will also help you improve your current condition, specifically by diverting your focus. Hanging out with friends or with like-minded individuals will keep you busy, which also applies to work or studying, so you won't have the time to dwell on your issues. Engaging in a new hobby will also help you channel all the excess unused energy you have instead of using it to mope around or feel gloomy. There are activities that you can undertake to keep you busy, which have been proven effective as a means of treatment for depression. Meditation, which is endorsed by the Mayo Clinic, is an excellent example. The research on the effects of meditation has been going on since the late 90s and so far, results have been positive and promising.

Talking with a friend or someone you trust is also a very good way to ease the burden of depression. Often, the person does not even have to be a professional psychologist or psychiatrist, just someone who understands what you're going through. Most people who are depressed just need an avenue to vent their thoughts and frustrations, so even if the other person doesn't give a concrete solution or any advice, the very act of listening is often enough to make the depressed person feel better.

Daily exercises can also help you overcome depression. Exercise causes your body to release endorphins, chemical compounds produced by the body that act as "pain-killers" and gives you a sense of well-being. Endorphins decrease the level of depression in people. Another nice side-effect of daily exercise is that it builds your body and improves your health, generally increasing your sense of well-being and confidence.

Clinical Depression

With clinical depression, a more serious and specific approach is needed. Often, the things you do to get rid of normal depression will not be enough for clinical or major depression. In cases of clinical depression, professional treatment and medication are needed.

Usually, psychotherapy and counseling are recommended for most clinically depressive patients. Professionals will be able to delve deeper into your psyche and help you understand the severity of your depression and the cause of it. Professional counselors also have clinical programs that help you cope with your depression step by step, gradually easing you out of your state.

There are also drugs and medications that can help you get rid of your depression. Antidepressants like Prozac and Celexa are often prescribed to battle severe forms of depression. Since antidepressants can have side effects, it is generally recommended that these drugs only be taken with the prescription of a certified psychologist or doctor. The newer antidepressants claim to have fewer side effects than the older ones, but as always, everything must be done with the consultation of a professional medical practitioner.

In the process of getting rid of depression, lessening or stopping the intake of alcohol is also advisable. Studies have shown that alcohol and depression are related; most specifically, alcohol temporarily blunts the effects of stress hormones and leaves you feeling more down because it depresses the nervous system and the brain.

Whatever type of depression you have, whether it's clinical or typical, there are several things you can do to lessen your state of being down emotionally. Not dwelling too much on things, for example, will give you more room to focus on other positive aspects of your life. While clinical depression will really need professional treatment, it will not help if you are not willing to take the steps to recovery yourself.

Types of Depression - A Must Read

"Mental Depression" has been a scary word for people for a long time. Primarily depression is a change in mood. Generally people identify it with insanity. This is really not true. It's a kind of disease but it doesn't make anyone insane. It doesn't make anyone apart from a general crowd. Depression also demands medical attention like the other diseases. Depression is completely curable, if you go for the right treatment. Spotting the symptoms of mental depression is not an easy task. The symptoms may vary according to the type of depression. A number of terms are used to describe different types of depression.  

  • Bipolar Depression:

This type of depression normally hits in adolescence or early adulthood. It causes mood disorder with manic episodes. It is very serious but can be treated effectively. As the problem develops it results in -  

· Alcohol and drug abuse  
· Thinking and concentration becomes difficult  
· Marital breakups  
· Suicide  

  • Dysthymic Depression:
Dysthymia is a Greek word which means "bad state of mind". It is almost similar to major depression but lasts longer. It is more common in women than in men. It can be identified with the following symptoms -  

· disturbed sleep cycle (increase or decrease in sleeping)  
· Poor concentration  
· fatigue  
· depressed mood  

  • Major Depression:
It is a serious form of depression. It is more persistent and can affect a person's behavior, mood, thoughts and even physical health. It is more common in women than in men because of conditions like menstruation, contraceptives, miscarriage, pregnancy, child-birth and menopause.  

  • Atypical Depression:

This depression is entirely different from others. Its symptoms are opposite to the symptoms of other depressions. Overeating and oversleeping are the very common symptoms of atypical depression. Moods of people with atypical depression change very quickly in reaction to positive or negative events. There is a temporary improvement in mood.  

  • Psychotic Depression:

It is a very serious and rare form of depression. It can be diagnosed only by a psychiatrist. In this depression patient develops some false beliefs about himself and the people or things around him. Major depressive mood along with hallucinations and delusions are its symptoms.  

  • Melancholic Depression:

As the name suggests, patient suffering from it lost interest in all activities. His mood doesn't change even in response to a positive event. It becomes more severe in morning.  

  • Catatonic Depression:
This type of depression is identified by at least two of the following symptoms  

· Odd facial expressions  
· Inability to react  
· Inappropriate postures or movements  
· Unwilling to speak  anything
· Repetition of someone's words or movements.  

  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD):
This type of depression affects patient during a particular season of the year or some specific time. Some patients may feel depressed and lazy during the winter months while some during the summer months.  

  • Masked Depression:
Only depressed mood is not the definition of depression. The depression can be expressed in other forms also, which we can't think about. Sometimes a patient feel depressed because of depression but on the contrary sometimes he doesn't know that he is suffering from depression. The depression can be concealed or masked behind these problems:  

· Headache  
· Stomach ache  
· Gastrological disorders  
· Indigestion  
· Muscle pain  

  • Anxiety Depression:
Anxiety is a very common symptom of depression. In this depression, a patient may also experience panic attacks or disorder and social phobia.  

  • Single Episode Depression:

In this, patient experiences recurring thoughts of only one episode of depression. It can be any stressful event or accident of his life.  

  • Recurrent Episodic Depression:

This patient experiences two or more episodes of depression.  

Right medication and treatment depends on the type of depression, its symptoms and duration. All these types of depression can be treated through medication and other alternative techniques.  

Physical Symptoms of Depression

Depression is often called "mental illness" and most of us know about the emotional symptoms of depression. However, clinical depression frequently causes physical symptoms as well. In fact, a lot of people with depression feel pain or other physical indications, which include:

Headaches. These are somewhat widespread physical symptoms of depression in people. If one already suffers from migraine headaches, these become worse when they are depressed.

Muscle aches and joint pain. This is one of the physical symptoms of depression which is aggravated with depression; chronic pains become worse with depression.

Back pain. People suffering from back pain gets it more often when they are depressed.

Chest pain. Apparently, it is very essential that one experiencing chest pain should be checked by a specialist immediately because it can be a sign of a serious heart problem. However, chest pain is also one of the physical symptoms of depression.

Sleeping problems. Several people suffering from depression can no longer sleep well; they either wake up too early or have trouble sleeping when they go to bed. Others have excessive sleeping.

Digestive problems. One of the common physical symptoms of depression are feeling queasy or nauseous, including having diarrhea or becoming chronically constipated.

Exhaustion and fatigue. The feeling of being tired or worn out no matter how much sleep one does is one of the physical symptoms of depression. Even getting out of bed may seem very difficult if not impossible to do.

Change in appetite or weight. Weight and appetite are also affected with depression. Some people lose appetite and weight, but for some they find cravings for certain foods like chocolates and carbohydrates, therefore they gain more weight.

Dizziness or lightheadedness. Depressed people may experience being lightheaded or dizzy when they wake up in the morning or during the day.

A lot of people who have depression never get help because they are not aware that their physical symptoms may be caused by depression, and a lot of doctors miss the symptoms as well. The physical symptoms of depression are not "all in your head", it can cause real changes in the body that can result to a lot of physical problems.

Some cases of depression require treating it with therapy or medicine or both, which will also resolve the physical symptoms. Just make sure to inform the health care provider about any physical symptoms, and don't assume that it will go away on its own. It may need additional treatment; the doctor may recommend antianxiety medications for insomnia that will help in relaxation and better sleep. Other treatments can also help with the painful physical symptoms of depression such as focused therapy that can teach ways to cope better with the pain.