Saturday, March 1, 2014

Psuedocyesis - False Pregnancy

Pseudocyesis is a condition in which an individual believes herself or himself to be pregnant and develops objective pregnancy signs in the absence of an actual pregnancy. Although pseudocyesis usually occurs in women, there have been a few cases reported in men.

Several theories address the cause of pseudocyesis, and the following three theories are the most accepted. The first theory is the conflict theory, which states that a desire for a fear of pregnancy creates an internal conflict and causes endocrine changes. The endocrine changes are believed to cause the signs, symptoms, and laboratory findings that occur in patients with pseudocyesis. The second theory is the wish-fulfillment theory, which states that minor body changes initiate the false belief in pregnancy in susceptible individuals. The last theory is the depression theory. The depression theory states that pseudocyesis may be initiated by the neuroendocrine changes associated with a major depressive disorder (see Depression).

Evidence exists to support all of these theories. One or more of these theories may be simultaneously appropriate for some patients. Pseudocyesis is considered a heterogeneous disorder without a unifying cause.

Pseudocyesis occurs at a frequency of 1 to 6 cases per 22,000 births. However, many cases of pseudocyesis seem not to be reported. Between 1890 and 1910, 156 cases were reported in the English literature. Only 42 cases were reported between 1959 and 1979. Pseudocyesis has become uncommon in industrial societies, with the exception of a large number of cases reported in West and South Africa.

The age range of patients with pseudocyesis is 6 to 79 years of age (with the average age being 33 years). Eighty percent of individuals with pseudocyesis were married, 14.6% were unmarried, and 2.3% were widows. Pseudocyesis is more common in individuals who are in their second marriage. Symptoms usually last about nine months but can last for a few months up to several years.

Almost every symptom and sign of pregnancy (except for true fetal heart tones, fetal parts seen by imaging techniques, and delivery of the fetus) have been documented in patients with pseudocyesis. Abdominal distension is the most common sign of pseudocyesis. It is thought to be due to excess fat, gaseous distension, and fecal and urinary retention. The abdominal distension often resolves under general anesthesia.

Pseudocyesis has been considered a conversion symptom that is exclusive of pseudopregnancy (a medical condition), simulated pregnancy (malingering), or hallucinatory pregnancy (psychosis). Pseudocyesis, therefore, is considered a paradigm of psychosomatic disorders.

Findings in patients with pseudocyesis show variable results. Estrogen and progesterone values can be high, low, or normal. Prolactin tends to be elevated. Follicle stimulating hormones (FSH) tend to be low. Positive pregnancy tests have been documented in patients with pseudocyesis. Elevated prolactin levels have been implicated as the cause for many of the signs of pseudocyesis. An abdominal ultrasound can confirm and document the absence of a fetus and placenta.

Pseudocyesis is a heterogeneous condition with no one unifying cause and no one universally accepted therapy. There is no clear demographic or sociocultural indicators for a population at risk. The most successful and least invasive form of therapy currently used seems to be revealing to the patient that he or she is not pregnant by using an abdominal imaging technique, counseling and educating the patient, and treating any underlying depression that may exist. Successful treatment has been defined as a six-month symptom-free period.

Good Ways to Fight Depression Without Drugs

Depression is one of the most disturbing and common diseases occur in people. It occurs to all age groups no matter you are a child, old age, middle aged or adolescent. The ratio of occurrence is 1 out of 5 people. Women are more susceptible to depression than men and there is no specific reason for the occurrence of it. However, it is believed that it has something to do with chemical imbalances in the brain. The most common symptoms are, Sadness, worthlessness, hopelessness, helplessness, feelings of guilt, fatigue, sleeping problems, irritation and Negative thoughts that might prompt sufferer to attempt suicide. It is a treatable disease and you can fight it away rather easily. More than 80 percent people get recovered. If you want to fight it then you need to follow the proper treatment methods with the help of specialists.

Usually people rely on medication method to fight depression, medicines and drugs are used as antidepressants. These antidepressant medicines involve side effects therefore people still looking for those treatment methods that do not involve side effects. Here are some of the best methods that do not require drugs:

1. Psychotherapy is the best and the most effective ways. Therapies like, cognitive behavior therapy, group therapy or family therapy are the best therapy methods to identify the symptoms of depression that affect sufferer. After accessing the symptoms in sufferer a proper support is provided that a sufferer some what lacks. Another type of psychotherapy called talk therapy is useful in teaching methods to fight depression after identifying the root cause in sufferer. Depressed person finds himself relaxed and more learnt about his life. People still do not consider going to therapist, they feel ashamed or embarrassed, but they need to realize that this is the best way to overcome this obstacle.

2. Daily exercise in the gym or at home will help you in out in bursting all the negative energy in the form of sweatiness. You will find yourself relaxed and refreshed.

3. Meditation. You get positive energy and fresh air with meditation.

4. Go for a movie every weekend to entertain yourself.

5. Become socially active, take part in social activities, try to become volunteer in some of the social activities, doing so will engage you in social activities and there will be no room for depression.

6. Find someone to talk to so that you can share your feelings, by sharing your feelings you will find yourself relaxed and easy.

7. Good sleep also has something to do with it, make sure you get proper sleep.

8. Balanced diet also plays a big role in fighting depression. Make sure you have balanced diet. Do not take excessive amount of alcohol as it contains depressants. Alcohol also causes depression to turn severe.

Who's Driving the Bus - Neuroscience and Teaching

Neuroscientists have now discovered that between 95-99% of what we think is unconscious.

When we understand how our brains work we know that with every thought there is a corresponding behaviour or reaction. So what are the implications if the majority of our thinking is out of our awareness?

Maybe like me you are thinking this means that the majority of our behaviours and reactions are not only automatic but are preprogramed by pour brains. Added to this we have no idea of why we sometimes behave the way we do. Well the good news is now you know why you sometimes behave in ways that are unproductive to yourself and others. At the base of all your behaviours are a bunch of thoughts. Now before we move onto what we can do about this let's take a moment to look at the implications to teaching and education that this can have.

If the majority of your behaviours are unconscious and consist of a lifetime of thinking both good and bad how might this affect your teaching and interaction with your students. Before continuing let me share an interesting study they did in USA some years ago. Researchers in the study followed around for an entire day 100 school children and monitored the number of positive and negative comments they received. The results where 694 negative comments to 72 positive comments. What this shows us is that we are conditioned from an early age to think more in negative terms than positive ones. To test this theory think about what happens when you get out of bed of a morning do you say to yourself wow this is going to be fantastic day and I know everything is going to be just perfect. Or do you think I better hurry up or I will be late for work or I wonder if I am going to get stuck in traffic again or I just bet X is going to give me a hard time today or Oh no I have to attend that meeting don't really have the time and I am not prepared. I could go on but I will spare you the drama. If we are truly honest with ourselves most of what we think is more in terms of negative outcomes rather than positive ones.

So the real question is what are you bringing into your educational environment each day and how is this impacting on students and work colleagues? If again we are truly honest with ourselves then we will start to realise and understand that the majority of our interactions are not based in the present moment but in the past and that past is shaped by negative influences. Now if we take this down a notch even further and start to reflect on our problematic students and work colleagues we would see that sitting behind those interactions are thoughts and beliefs that have negative based thinking. To test this out now compare the thoughts about students and work colleagues that you don't have issues with and ask yourself are the thoughts and beliefs positive. Why is it that we have positive thoughts towards some people and negative thoughts towards others? Yep you guessed correctly it is all part of that 95-99% of thinking that is unconscious to us and to add insult to injury it is a by product of our past experiences.

So getting back to our students how many are being adversely affected by the fact that we are unaware of the majority of our thoughts and beliefs? More importantly are you prepared to do something about it? You need to realise that this isn't personal we are not bad people because our brains have been conditioned to behave and react in less than perfect terms. In fact it is quite liberating to know that it is just a fact of life and the way our brains are built that we behave in less than productive ways. It has nothing to do with you as a person but the way that you brain works and the less than perfect environment we live in.

What is a measure of your character is whether you are prepared to do something about it. Do you want to take back control of driving the bus or will you continue to let your programmed brain run rampant?

Here are a list of suggestions for taking back control.

1. Start to become aware of your thoughts especially when things are not going the way you want them to.

2. When you realise that your thoughts are giving way to unproductive behaviours stop and ask yourself if I had to see this situation in positive terms what would that look like. Once you have a vision continue to hold this until the situation changes.

3. Surround yourself with positive minded people. Don't get into the habit of speaking negatively about other and situations. This will only reinforce the neurological connections that are causing you to be behave in unproductive ways. If you don't have a group which is solution orientated rather than problem centred create one.

4. Read and listen to inspirational quotes, stories and visualisations.

5. Get tough with yourself and decide if you are happy with your thinking and make a commitment to change it. Use the power of emotion and passion to change your thinking to envision outcomes that create extraordinary performance in yourself and your students. Your brain is very powerful and when used correctly all things are possible.

Depression Statistics - Just The Facts

Depression is quickly becoming one of the biggest medical disorders, and, unfortunately, killers, of all time. It affects people all over the world with no regard to age, sex, race, or financial background. Everyone feels blue during their lives, but some people are faced with factors that take their blueness to an entirely new level. Through medical treatment, psychotherapy, and mediation, people can recover from depression.

Sobering numbers on depression

Researching the statistics on depression has revealed just how widespread this problem has become. Nine and half percent of Americans over the age of eighteen suffer from some depressive order, including major depression, dysthymic disorder, and bipolar disorder. Everyone in the world will be affected by depression in their lifetimes and the depression may not necessarily be their own. Already children as young as pre-schoolers are suffering clinical depression, and the rate of depression among kindergarteners is rising.

The numbers keep getting more sobering. Depression affects fifteen percent of the population of developed countries, thirty percent of those affected being the female. Eighty percent of the people suffering from depression are not being treated for it, and forty-one percent of them are too embarrassed to get help. Depression in students of all ages is the biggest reason behind absenteeism, and by the year 2020, it will be the second largest killer in the world.

And the most sobering statistic about depression is fifteen percent of the patients suffering from it will commit suicide. Fifteen percent too many.

How well does standard treatment work?

Depending on the research you read, antidepressants work for somewhere between thirty to forty-five percent of patients. That is less than half. Patients have to weigh the risks of taking medication such as Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft as they have been linked to violence, abnormal bleeding, brain tumours, and suicide. The FDA has banned the use of antidepressants for children with the exception of Prozac. And in some clinical studies, antidepressants worked as well as or less than placebos.

And therapy? It has been found that eighty percent of patients who have engaged in cognitive and behavioural therapies fell back into depression after a length of time.

What options are available?

Patients suffering from depression and really working to bring themselves out of it can succeed, but it takes patience, dedication, and a lot of hard work. It also takes a lot of trust between the patient and the doctor, and a lot of open communication.

Depression statistics are constantly changing as new research and discoveries are being made, but until scientists can pinpoint exactly what causes depression with certainty, steps are always being made to improve and find treatments that will work on a long-term basis. Depression has also been linked to illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, eye problems and some types of cancer, making it more difficult to find the true cause of the disorder. At this point of time, all doctors can do is work with their patients to help alleviate their depressive symptoms and allow them to live a productive life.

Don't Let Stress Cause Depression

Traumatic events that make our lives stressful such as the death of a loved one, a failed relationship or maybe the loss of a job can lead to depression. In rare cases, even positive stress can lead to the development of clinical depression such as a move, getting married or even a new job.

There are times when we all must struggle with very painful situations in our lives. The level of stress that might cause depression really does vary for each individual. Some people can handle an enormous amount of stress and there are others that sink into depression at the first sign of trouble.

The best way to prevent stress from developing into depression is to take care of it before it gets out of control. Stress is everywhere and it is probably not practical to actually reduce the stressful situations that are causing the problem, But it is possible to control how you deal with the stressful situations.

A relaxation regimen is an excellent way to improve your reaction to tough situations. Spending just a little time every day engaging in deep relaxation, or even a few times a week is all you need. You might try Meditation, Yoga or breathing exercises. Walking is an excellent way to relieve tension. Any physical activity will help you relax including sex.
Herbal supplements can also help you to relax and calm your spirit. Native Remedies has several products formulated just for the stress of daily living that are safe and work wonderfully.

Make time for yourself. In the long run you will actually be saving time because you are more productive when you feel better. We all know how it feels to be overloaded, your productivity levels drop and you can't think straight. So find the time to relax when you can, you will have more patience to deal with the ups and downs of life.

Friday, February 28, 2014

How Brain Injuries Can Affect You Years Later

Brain injuries can be among the most traumatic and consequential of all injuries, and unfortunately, not all of the symptoms of a brain injury show up immediately. In some cases, it may be years before the full ramifications of a blow to the head become apparent.

Many times, traumatic brain injuries can lead to problems with movement, including tremors, ataxia (an inability to coordinate movements properly), and a lack of movement control or a limited range of movement. With a more traumatic injury, there is a risk of developing seizures years after. If the basal ganglia, a group of nuclei in the forebrain involved in movement impulses, has been damaged, Parkinson's disease has a risk of developing long after the initial injury. These symptoms appear as a group, and can include tremors, muscle rigidity or stiffness, slowed movements, an inability to move altogether, a stooped or hunched posture, and a shuffling walk. This disease has no cure as of yet, and becomes progressively worse over time, unlike some other long-term symptoms. Additionally, some people may experience a loss of, or changes to, their senses of vision, smell, or hearing.

In about 10 to 15 percent of people with a brain injury, the trauma can damage the pituitary gland, leading to a case of hypopituitarism. This in turn leads to disturbances stemming from a lack of hormone production, leading to symptoms as varied as diabetes, vision loss, enlargement of the hands or feet, anemia, a loss of sexual interest and function, weight loss, and hair loss.

There are many cognitive deficits that can occur for periods spanning years after an injury, including changes in personality, lack of proper judgment, and problems with planning or problem-solving, among other problems with abstract reasoning and thought. These often occur with other sets of symptoms that include depression, difficulty concentrating, dizziness, and headaches. Years after multiple brain concussions can lead to the development of dementia years later, as well as memory difficulties and Parkinsonian tremors.

Because of the emotional problems that can follow a brain injury, such as depression, mania, anger, and apathy, many psychiatric disorders can develop years after the initial injury has occurred. This variety of disorders includes schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, alcohol and substance abuse disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, dysthymia, panic attacks, and phobias. Even without a clinical disorder, a person may still develop a lack of control over anger, impulsive behavior, a lack of initiative, and even an inability to control sexual urges. Sometimes, the consequences of these behavioral and emotional changes can be so severe as to create a risk of suicide; there is a two to three times' increase in the suicide rate.

A brain injury can often lead to post-concussive syndrome up to years after the event. Post-concussive syndrome is a medical condition that is characterized by headaches, dizziness, a sensitivity to bright lights and loud noises, blurred or double vision, and ringing in the ears, also known as tinnitus. Anxiety, irritability, depression, and other emotional symptoms may occur, including a total lack of emotion. People often have problems with memory and attention with this disorder, and these are among the longest-lasting and most persistent symptoms. There may be other cognitive difficulties as well, including a slowed reaction to external stimuli, problems with abstract thinking, and an inability to engage in problem-solving activities. Fatigue or difficulty sleeping may also result.

While many symptoms arise immediately after a brain injury, it is important to remember that some effects do not manifest until years after the injury has happened. If a person with a history begins to manifest groups of symptoms years later, a previous injury must not be ruled out as the cause.

Postpartum Complications - They Aren't All About Depression

As a first time mom-to-be, the biggest question in your head is which crib will look prettier in the nursery? The wooden one or the white one? I'm sure you're also having trouble picking out only seven of the ten baby outfits to buy!

But, if you're a single mom, your situation probably goes a little more like this: "Will I have the money to buy a stroller and car seat before the baby is born?"

All the information online for pregnant women seems to be about taking care of yourself during pregnancy. Eating healthy, exercising, writing a birth plan, hiring a doula; but does anyone ever prepare you for the physical complications you may face after? A good gynecologist may do this, but don't even depend on that. Family members and friends are so proud of you because you made it through the delivery; they leave you on your own and say everything is back to normal now. But, pay special attention to the small signs telling you it isn't.

If you are a single mom, the best thing you can do for you and your baby is set up a support team before the baby arrives. Not every woman's body naturally falls back into its pre-pregnancy state. Postpartum thyroid problems and hormone imbalances are way too common. Unfortunately, your gynecologist may never make you aware of these possibilities. If you develop one of these postpartum complications, you may not even recognize it; a strong support person will notice the things you miss.

Postpartum complications aren't all about depression; but sleep deprivation, a hormone imbalance, or thyroid problem can actually cause it! All of those physical complications can cause a brain fog; add the challenge of being a first time mother to the list and your thinking is going to get as foggy as an early morning drive on the highway! This is why it is extremely important to have a supportive person who you regularly communicate with; be open with them about anything happening physically or emotional difficulties you are experiencing. Once you experience sleep deprivation, it quickly hinders your ability to make decisions and think clearly; your support person will need to be knowledgeable.

Choosing a support person is like a game of "Red Rover": deciding who you want on your team. The person you pick will ultimately make you stronger or weaker. The only difference is your choice in "Red Rover" results in merely a win or loss; your choice in a support person effects much more.

For instance, it may not be wise to choose the person who sits through an entire television show and the next day cannot remember anything they watched! You may also want to pass on the arrogant family member who suggested the possibility of a miscarriage after learning of your pregnancy. Also, someone who is hardheaded and makes quick assumptions based on their own knowledge or lack thereof (ignorance) will only want to fight during a crisis. Please do not choose a support person who does not take what you say seriously.

Characteristics of a strong support person are someone who is smart, insightful, researches things, assertive, wants you to succeed, listens, encourages you to face your fears, and takes charge. A strong support person also seeks to understand and will hear what you are saying without making their own assumptions. A great support person would be someone who thinks for them self and tends to question those in authority rather than blindly accepting something at face value.

You have wanted to be a mother all your life; you had that beautiful baby for a reason. So you could raise her, of course! I want to insure you can do just that! Here are some of the symptoms both you and your support person should watch for which may indicate a postpartum hormone imbalance or thyroid problem:

o INSOMNIA (Waking up many times during the night for no reason, trouble falling asleep initially, trouble getting back to sleep, or waking early, suddenly inability to sleep during the day anymore. Before you were pregnant, it was normal to sleep the whole night through without waking. As long as your baby is sleeping through the night, that is still considered normal! Something else besides your baby is causing you to wake up- and that means something isn't right.)

o Frequent urination (don't write this off thinking it is a bladder infection)

o Night sweating (Waking up drenched in sweat)

o Inability to tolerate the cold (Inability to get warm with many blankets, need more winter jackets than those around you in cold weather and still cold, freezing feet at night, always seem to be colder than those around you. Pay extra attention to this if it used to be normal for you to go without a jacket in 50 degree weather)

o Allergies (morning sneezing, runny nose, etc.)

o Pressure in neck (may feel like swollen glands)

o Neck is tender when someone touches it

o Lose postpartum weight extremely fast or just rapid weight loss without dieting

o Extremely dry hair (you wonder if you need a new Chi since it isn't making your hair smooth anymore. Here is a clue: It might not be the Chi!)

o Skin suddenly becomes very dry and starts peeling

o Hair loss (Women generally lose hair postpartum. If you are aware of that fact and have a gut feeling you are losing way too much, don't ignore it.) Especially if you are losing so much you're getting bald spots!

o Diarrhea


o Bruises

o Memory loss and word finding difficulty (Continually talking about your baby while calling her another family member's name throughout the course of a day could be a clue! This is a sign of low estrogen or a thyroid problem.)

o Frequent sore throats

o Anxiety

o Depression

o Unusually long or short menstrual cycles

o Pain behind the eyes

o Swollen cheeks/face

o Gaining weight while exercising and eating healthy

o Trouble swallowing

o Brain fog

o Trouble making decisions

o Hoarse voice

If you are experiencing any of those symptoms and have a gut feeling something isn't quite right what do you do? Make an immediate appointment with a gynecologist you trust. Also ask each of your family members if they ever had any difficulties with their thyroid. If so, this is important information to give your doctor. What else should you do during your visit? Ask if they are skilled in treating thyroid disorders; even slight ones. Insist on full thyroid blood tests and hormone testing.

What is the next step? If your gynecologist tells you everything is normal, ask for a referral to an endocrinologist or find a natural doctor. Your blood tests can show your thyroid is within normal levels but the standard levels may not be your norm. A good doctor who understands the thyroid will acknowledge your symptoms along with your test results.

Don't listen to anyone who tells you just wait to see a doctor until you have insurance coverage; would you wait to take your baby to the doctor if she was sick? Postpartum hormone imbalances and thyroid problems are not to be taken lightly; the symptoms they cause are many and can quickly escalate. Get together with your support person and find a way for you to see the doctor now; the more sleep deprived you become, the less clearer your thinking will be.

Sleep loss should not be brushed off; sometimes the remedy isn't as easy as counting sheep! A postpartum hormone imbalance or thyroid problem can make it impossible for you to sleep nights at a time; leave the support people behind who don't believe something is possible just because they have never heard of it happening before. Especially if they don't take the time or make the effort to do the research to find out if it is possible! Ignorance and narcissism is egotistical and can easily hinder your health and future.

Coping With Depression: Three Ways to Get Up When Feeling Down

Although most therapists (me included) tend to diagnose depression when someone complains of loss of energy, low motivation, sadness, feelings of worthlessness, or even worse, hopelessness, the truth is that all of us can relate to these feelings to some degree. Depression seems to be a common human condition. Sometimes it arises in response to a specific life event, such as a job loss or the end of a relationship, while at other times no specific trigger can be identified. Not everyone experiences depression to the same degree or in an extreme way, but at some point in your life you will know what it's like to feel down.

When this feeling of being down is severe, it truly can be deadly. Suicide and depression go hand in hand, making it paramount that we get the right help when needed. In less severe cases where you are not feeling hopeless to this degree, there are many self-help techniques that can be rather powerful and effective. There is no shame in getting support through professional counseling or turning to friends and family to help you get back on track, but you may also want to give the following suggestions a try and see what comes of it.

Pleasurable Events
One of the first things we do when we are feeling down is to give up the things that we used to enjoy doing. I understand that when you are depressed you don't feel like doing these things anymore, but that is exactly why you need to force yourself to do them. Although it sounds too simple to work, there is research that shows the effectiveness of doing just this: requiring yourself to do pleasurable activities every day to improve your mood. Peter M. Lewinsohn, Ph.D., highlighted this idea in his popular book Control Your Depression. I still remember one of my cherished mentors touting the jingle "Four or more pleasurable events a day keeps the blues away." I have witnessed the power of this technique hundreds of times with my own clients, and it's still one of my favorites.

Physical Exercise
When you're depressed, exercise is probably the last thing that you will feel like doing, but this is another powerful method that can be done on a self-help basis. Besides its ability to help bring you out of the blues, physical exercise is known to have many other wonderful effects. In my opinion, exercise is the greatest stress-management tool known to mankind! If you're anything like me, you'll love that exercise is like killing three birds with one stone: you get a boost from depression, feel relief from stress, and improve overall weight and health management. I won't try to tell you that it's easy to exercise when you are feeling so crummy, but it is a method for relief worth trying.

Social Activities
One of the major themes of treating depression is increasing your daily activities. As we get more and more depressed, we often close off to the outside world, including our friends and family. I realize that not all of us are social butterflies, but often the most uplifting moments are the ones we spend with others. To help lift yourself up, it's important to seek out social activities and spend time with people you used to enjoy. You can also experiment by engaging in various social events and recording your enjoyment afterward on a scale of 1 to 10 to see which activities give you the greatest boost. For me it may be spending time playing with my nieces and nephews; for you it may be having coffee with one close friend. Test and find out.

Battling depression is difficult. Not only do you already feel down and completely wiped out both physically and emotionally, but the treatment often requires you to act in direct opposition to your feelings. The good news is that we know what works and there is support for those that choose to get help. Though you may not feel like doing things you once enjoyed, exercising, or spending time with friends or family, these simple activities are all proven in their ability to lift your mood. Give these self-help methods a try or reach out to a therapist for a more complete treatment approach and get the enjoyment back in your life.

Buying Individual Health Insurance at a Great Price

The age old maxim of an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure is particularly true when one is considering buying individual health insurance.

There are many self-employed people who are experiencing difficulty with purchasing insurance. With the recent global depression, which has left millions of people jobless, budgets have been stretched and people have had to tighten their belts. This has made a lot of individuals hesitant about purchasing health insurance.

Buying individual health insurance has its own pros and cons and you need to look at your own personal circumstances when arranging cover. If you are gainfully employed then your employer may well provide you with a policy under a group scheme. In this case your employer will either pay your premium in full or offer to pay a significant proportion of your insurance premium. However, if you are self-employed or unemployed then adding the full cost of an insurance premium for individual health insurance to an already tight budget may need some thought.

If you are faced with buying your own individual health insurance plan then you will find that there are insurance plans that have high out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles, coinsurance, and co-payments but which generally have relatively low premiums. You will also find that there are plans with low out-of-pocket costs which tend to have higher premiums. Also, health plans, such as HMO managed care plans, which require you to use a network of doctors and hospitals normally cost less than traditional policies. Depending on the insurance company chosen, there may also be an option to add ones children as dependents and have them fully covered as well, sometimes at no additional cost.

The costs of buying individual insurance for yourself and your family will be determined by a couple of factors:

First, you must take into account your family medical history and you might find it helpful to consult your personal physician before considering buying individual health insurance.

Second, in these difficult economic times, you will need to find a type of insurance plan that meets both your personal needs and those of your pocketbook and this can be a very challenging task. However, as long as you research the companies and schemes available in your area and speak to representatives from these organizations will find several options open to you.

Once you have found several plans which meet your needs do not be afraid to ask for free quotations and to compare these closely until you find a plan which you feel comfortable with. It is worth the time and effort if you consider that you will probably be on the plan or scheme for some time and during this period you will want to know that your medical needs are fully covered and that you will still be able to keep within you budget at the end of the month.

How Does It Feel to Be Depressed?

Depression can be identified through its symptoms and signs. They may vary from person to person and sometimes they may not even be signs of depression at all but only normal low moments. If you are unsure of those overwhelming and disabling feelings, check if you have following: unexplained aches and pains, concentration problems, loss of interest and energy, self-loathing, appetite or weight changes, irritability and restlessness, and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. These are symptoms and signs of depression. Depression just feels horrible! So, how does it really feel to be depressed?

First, it feels like being in a dark and sorrowful abyss. Suddenly, you feel that life is not worth living anymore. Ironically, what used to be worthless and useless now gain importance. You are continually restless even when asleep. Some who are in state of depression may even wish death upon themselves due to unbearable feeling of pain and senselessness. You lose interest in the things you like and you lose the sense of purpose on life. You do not find meaning in what you are doing in the present and you resist the things you love doing. Since the present is painfully undesirable, the future automatically seems bleak and threatening.

Disgust for the present and repugnance for the future area accompanied by low level stamina and energy. You just do not feel like doing anything. Everything you do is forced. Within you, there is an endless emotional battle and you just feel so divided and vulnerable. Giving up everything and giving in to anything are just like to sides of the same distorted coin. You lose your capacity to filter information mentally or analyze objectively. The tendency to believe and accept anything negative is high. You just seem incapable of reasoning out. Worse, you suddenly become overly sensitive and sentimental. You can even cry anytime for banal reasons or for no reasons at all.

These painful sensations simply make you feel like being in a deep and dark hole, there at the rock bottom or the bottomless abyss. You wonder when you will come out of it or whether or not coming out is worthwhile. But dear, try climbing even if doing so may mean nothing at the moment and even if you run out of force to do so. When you are in a state of depression, it is often helpful to contradict yourself. When you are depressed, it can be healthy not to believe in you because you are not being you at that moment. Seek help outside you. Acknowledge your need to be helped even if doing so means nothing at all.

Second, when depressed you feel worthless and even useless. Your self-worth is affected as you feel diminished, broken, pained and afflicted. Your poignant sense of worthlessness is often accompanied by a sense of utter irrelevance. Suddenly, your established self-image disappears and there is a gnawing feeling of unexplained aches and pains in relation to who you think you are. These are repressed voices that reverberate from a frightened self that is needy of support and reference points, be they emotional, moral or spiritual. They become stronger as you feel you are standing on shaking and sinking ground.

You feel you are no longer the same person and resent to the fact that you are not you anymore. Loss of self-worth gives way to self-loathing. You hate yourself for having done or not done things within your range of appreciated behaviors. It is worse if you have learned to put blame on yourself and hammer your conscience with judgmental ethical criteria. They may lead to unhealthy guilt-feeling and self-condemnation. Since the state of depression is subject to exaggerated reactions, it is not uncommon for a depressed person to hate oneself. Needless to say, depression is a major risk factor for suicide. The deep despair and hopelessness are a cry for help.

If not heeded, it can make self-annihilation the only way to escape the pain. So again, if you are depressed, you need help. You just have to recognize that you are not fully equipped to free yourself from this trap, at least at this moment of in your life. It is not easy to be and appear vulnerable especially if you are used to seeing yourself as someone strong, independent and self-sufficient. What you need is learn how to face depression in a healthy manner and you will come out of it better and stronger than before. But first, accept help.

That's it. Feelings of depression are among the worst blows life can give you. But facing depression and putting it behind you is among the best gifts you can give to life. There is hope in the midst of depression.

Glossery of Syptoms and Mental Illness Affecting Teenagers

Being a teenager is not easy. Adolescents feel all kinds of pressures -- to do well in school, to be popular with peers, to gain the approval of parents, to make the team, to be cool. In addition, many teenagers have other special problems. For example, they may worry about a parent being out of work or the family's financial problems.

Adolescents may be hurt or confused by their parents' divorce, or they may have to learn how to live with a parent's alcoholism or mental illness. Despite these pressures, it is important to remember that most teenagers develop into healthy adults.

Unfortunately, some teenagers develop serious emotional problems requiring professional help. This glossary of brief definitions was developed to help teenagers, parents, teachers, and others learn more about the major mental illnesses, symptoms, and mental health issues which affect teenagers.
Please remember: All the problems described in the glossary are treatable and some can be prevented. In every case, the sooner a teenager gets help, the better.


Use and abuse of drugs and alcohol by teens is very common and can have serious consequences. In the 15-24 year age range, 50% of deaths (from accidents, homicides, suicides) involve alcohol or drug abuse. Drugs and alcohol also contribute to physical and sexual aggression such as assault or rape. Possible stages of teenage experience with alcohol and drugs include abstinence (non-use), experimentation, regular use (both recreational and compensatory for other problems), abuse, and dependency.

Repeated and regular recreational use can lead to other problems like anxiety and depression. Some teenagers regularly use drugs or alcohol to compensate for anxiety, depression, or a lack of positive social skills. Teen use of tobacco and alcohol should not be minimized because they can be "gateway drugs" for other drugs (marijuana, cocaine, hallucinogens, inhalants, and heroin). The combination of teenagers' curiosity, risk taking behavior, and social pressure make it very difficult to say no. This leads most teenagers to the questions: "Will it hurt to try one?"

A teenager with a family history of alcohol or drug abuse and a lack of pro-social skills can move rapidly from experimentation to patterns of serious abuse or dependency. Some other teenagers with no family history of abuse who experiment may also progress to abuse or dependency. Therefore, there is a good chance that "one" will hurt you. Teenagers with a family history of alcohol or drug abuse are particularly advised to abstain and not experiment. No one can predict for sure who will abuse or become dependent on drugs except to say the non-user never will.

Warning signs of teenage drug or alcohol abuse may include:

a drop in school performance,

a change in groups of friends,

delinquent behavior, and

deterioration in family relationships.

There may also be physical signs such as red eyes, a persistent cough, and change in eating and sleeping habits. Alcohol or drug dependency may include blackouts, withdrawal symptoms, and further problems in functioning at home, school, or work.


Anorexia Nervosa occurs when an adolescent refuses to maintain body weight at or above a minimal normal weight for age and height. The weight loss is usually self-imposed and is usually less than 85% of expected weight. The condition occurs most frequently in females, however, it can occur in males.

Generally, the teenager has an intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat even though underweight. Self evaluation of body weight and shape may be distorted and there may be denial of the potential health hazards caused by the low body weight.

Physical symptoms can include:

absence of regular menstrual cycles

dry skin

low pulse rate, and

low blood pressure

Behavioral changes commonly occur such as:

social withdrawal


moodiness, and


Without treatment, this disorder can become chronic and with severe starvation, some teenagers may die.


Anxiety is the fearful anticipation of further danger or problems accompanied by an intense unpleasant feeling (dysphoria) or physical symptoms. Anxiety is not uncommon in children and adolescents. Anxiety in children may present as:

Separation Anxiety Disorder: Excessive anxiety concerning separation from home or from those to whom the child is attached. The youngster may develop excessive worrying to the point of being reluctant or refusing to go to school, being alone, or sleeping alone. Repeated nightmares and complaints of physical symptoms (such as headaches, stomach aches, nausea, or vomiting) may occur.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Excessive anxiety and worry about events or activities such as school. The child or adolescent has difficulty controlling worries. There may also be restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension, and sleep difficulties.
Panic Disorder: The presence of recurrent, unexpected panic attacks and persistent worries about having attacks. Panic Attack refers to the sudden onset of intense apprehension, fearfulness, or terror, often associated with feelings of impending doom.

There may also be shortness of breath, palpitations, chest pain or discomfort, choking or smothering sensations, and fear of "going crazy" or losing control.
Phobias: Persistent, irrational fears of a specific object, activity, or situation (such as flying, heights, animals, receiving an injection, seeing blood). These intense fears cause the child or adolescent to avoid the object, activity, or situation.


ADHD is usually first diagnosed during the elementary school years. In some cases, symptoms continue into adolescence. A teenager with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder has problems with paying attention and concentration and/or with hyperactive and impulsive behavior. Despite good intentions, a teenager may be unable to listen well, organize work, and follow directions. Cooperating in sports and games may be difficult. Acting before thinking can cause problems with parents, teachers, and friends. These teens may be restless, fidgety, and unable to sit still.

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder occurs more commonly in boys and symptoms are always present before the age of seven. Problems related to ADHD appear in multiple areas of a youngster's life and can be very upsetting to the teen, his/her family, and people at school. Symptoms of ADHD frequently become less severe during the late teen years and in young adulthood.


Bipolar Disorder is a type of mood disorder with marked changes in mood between extreme elation or happiness and severe depression. The periods of elation are termed mania. During this phase, the teenager has an expansive or irritable mood, can become hyperactive and agitated, can get by with very little or no sleep, becomes excessively involved in multiple projects and activities, and has impaired judgment.

A teenager may indulge in risk taking behaviors, such as sexual promiscuity and anti-social behaviors. Some teenagers in a manic phase may develop psychotic symptoms (grandiose delusions and hallucinations). For a description of the depressive phase see depression. Bipolar disorder generally occurs before the age of 30 years and may first develop during adolescence.


Bulimia Nervosa occurs when an adolescent has repeated episodes of binge eating and purging. Binges are characterized by eating large quantities of food in a discrete period of time. The teen also has feelings of being unable to stop eating and loss of control over the amount of food being eaten. Usually, after binge eating, they attempt to prevent weight gain by self-induced vomiting, laxative use, diuretics, enemas, medications, fasting, or excessive exercise. These teen's self-esteem is strongly affected by weight and body shape.

Serious medical problems can occur with Bulimia Nervosa (e.g. esophageal or gastric rupture, cardiac arrhythmias, kidney failure, and seizures). Other psychological problems such as depression, intense moods, and low self-esteem are common. Early diagnosis and treatment can improve outcome and decrease the risk of worsening depression, shame, and harmful weight fluctuations.


Teenager's with conduct disorder have a repetitive and persistent pattern of behavior in which they violate the rights of others, or violate norms or rules that are appropriate to their age. Their conduct is more serious than the ordinary mischief and pranks of children and adolescents.

Severe difficulties at home, in school, and in the community are common, and frequently there is very early sexual activity. Self-esteem is usually low, although the adolescent may project an image of "toughness." Teenagers with this disorder have also been described as "delinquent" or "anti-social." Some teenagers with conduct disorder may also have symptoms of other psychiatric disorders (see ADHD, depression, alcohol and drug abuse).


Though the term "depression" can describe a normal human emotion, it also can refer to a psychiatric disorder. Depressive illness in children and adolescents includes a cluster of symptoms which have been present for at least two weeks.

In addition to feelings of sadness and/or irritability, a depressive illness includes several of the following:

Change of appetite with either significant weight loss (when not dieting) or weight gain

Change in sleeping patterns (such as trouble falling asleep, waking up in the middle of the night, early morning awakening, or sleeping too much)

Loss of interest in activities formerly enjoyed

Loss of energy, fatigue, feeling slowed down for no

reason, "burned out" Feelings of guilt and self blame for things that are not one's fault

Inability to concentrate and indecisiveness

Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness

Recurring thought of death and suicide, wishing to die, or attempting suicide Children and adolescents with depression may also have symptoms of irritability, grumpiness, and boredom. They may have vague, non-specific physical complaints (stomachaches, headaches, etc.). There is an increased incidence of depressive illness in the children of parents with significant depression.


Learning Disorders occur when the child or adolescent's reading, math, or writing skills are substantially below that expected for age, schooling, and level of intelligence. Approximately 5% of students in public schools in the United States are identified as having a learning disorder.

Students with learning disorders may become so frustrated with their performance in school that by adolescence they may feel like failures and want to drop out of school or may develop behavioral problems. Special testing is always required to make the diagnosis of a learning disorder and to develop appropriate remedial interventions. Learning disorders should be identified as early as possible during school years.


Teenagers with OCD have obsessions and/or compulsions. An obsession refers to recurrent and persistent thoughts, impulses, or images that are intrusive and cause severe anxiety or distress. Compulsions refer to repetitive behaviors and rituals (like hand washing, hoarding, ordering, checking) or mental acts (like counting, repeating words silently, avoiding). The obsessions and compulsions also significantly interfere with the teen's normal routine, academic functioning, usual social activities, or relationships.


Physical abuse occurs when a person responsible for a child or adolescent's welfare causes physical injury or harm to the child. Examples of abusive treatment of children include: hitting with an object, kicking, burning, scalding, punching, and threatening or attacking with weapons. Children and adolescents who have been abused may suffer from depression, anxiety, low selfesteem, inability to build trusting relationships, alcohol and drug abuse, learning impairments, and conduct disorder.


PTSD can occur when a teenager experiences a shocking, unexpected event that is outside the range of usual human experience. The trauma is usually so extreme that it can overwhelm their coping mechanisms and create intense feelings of fear and helplessness.

The traumatic event may be experienced by the individual directly (e.g. physical or sexual abuse, assault, rape, kidnaping, threatened death), by observation (witness of trauma to another person), or by learning about a trauma affecting a close relative or friend. Whether teens develop PTSD depends on a combination of their previous history, the severity of the traumatic event, and the amount of exposure.

Symptoms include:

Recurrent, intrusive, and distressing memories of the event
Recurrent, distressing dreams of the event.

Acting or feeling as if the traumatic event were recurring
Intense psychological distress when exposed to reminders of the traumatic event and consequent avoidance of those stimuli.

Numbing of general responsiveness (detachment, estrangement from others, decreased interest in significant activities)
Persistent symptoms of increased arousal (irritability, sleep disturbances, poor concentration, hyper-vigilance, anxiety).


Psychotic disorders include severe mental disorders which are characterized by extreme impairment of a person's ability to think clearly, respond emotionally, communicate effectively, understand reality, and behave appropriately. Psychotic symptoms can be seen in teenagers with a number of serious mental illnesses, such as depression, bi-polar disorder (manic-depression), schizophrenia, and with some forms of drug and alcohol abuse. Psychotic symptoms interfere with a person's daily functioning and can be quite debilitating. Psychotic symptoms include delusions and hallucinations.

Delusion: A false, fixed, odd, or unusual belief firmly held by the patient. The belief is not ordinarily accepted by other members of the person's culture or subculture. There are delusions of paranoia (others are plotting against them), grandiose delusions (exaggerated ideas of one's importance or identity), and somatic delusions (a healthy person believing that he/she has a terminal illness).

Hallucination: A sensory perception (seeing, hearing, feeling, and smelling) in the absence of an outside stimulus. For example, with auditory hallucinations, the person hears voices when there is no one talking.


A psychotic disorder characterized by severe problems with a person's thoughts, feelings, behavior, and use of words and language. Psychotic symptoms often include delusions and/or hallucinations. These delusions in schizophrenia are often paranoid and persecutory in nature.

Hallucinations are usually auditory and may include hearing voices speaking in the third person, as well as to each other, commenting on the patient's deeds and actions. Schizophrenia does not mean "split personality." Most people develop schizophrenia before 30 years of age with some having their first episode in the teenage years.


Teenage sexual abuse occurs when an adolescent is used for gratification of an adult's sexual needs or desires. Severity of sexual abuse can range from fondling to forcible rape. The most common forms of sexual abuse encountered by girls include: exhibitionism, fondling, genital contact, masturbation, and vaginal, oral, or anal intercourse.

Boys may be sexually abused through fondling, mutual masturbation, fellatio, and anal intercourse. Adolescents who have been sexually abused may also suffer from depression, anxiety, PTSD, feelings of worthlessness and helplessness, learning impairments, and destructive behaviors.


Suicide is the third leading cause of death (behind accidents and homicides) for teenagers. Each year more than 5,000 U.S. teenagers commit suicide. The warning signs and risk factors associated with teen suicide include: depression, previous suicide attempts, recent losses, frequent thought about death, and the use of drugs or alcohol.

A teenager planning to commit suicide may also give verbal hints such as "nothing matters," or "I won't be a problem for you anymore." They may also give away favorite possessions or become suddenly cheerful after a long period of sadness.


Tourette's Syndrome is characterized by multiple motor tics and at least one vocal tic. A tic is a sudden, rapid movement of some of the muscles in the body that occurs over and over and doesn't serve any purpose. The location, frequency, and complexity of tics changes over time. Motor tics frequently involve the head, central body, legs, and arms.

They may result in simple movements such as eye blinking, or more complex movements such as touching and squatting. Vocal tics can include sounds such as grunts, barks, sniffs, snorts, coughs, and obscenities. Tourette's Syndrome is always diagnosed before the age of eighteen - most commonly appearing around seven years of age.

It occurs more often in males than females and symptoms are usually present for life. The severity of Tourette's varies a great deal over time, but improvement can occur during late adolescence and in adulthood. Teens with Tourette's Syndrome often have additional problems with obsessions, compulsions, hyperactivity, distractibility, and impulsiveness.

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Did You Go Through a Breakup & Are Feeling Depressed? Here is How to Deal With it & Clear Your Mind

A break up is very had to come to terms with. It doesn't matter who initiated the break up, the loss of a relationship is always hard to take. If you are in a place where you have been in a break up but don't know what to do read on to get some perspective.

Allow yourself to grieve
If you feel that you can pick up the pieces of your life right after you have broken up then you need to get a reality check. You need to give yourself some time to grieve and mourn the loss of your relationship. It's only then that you will be able to move on. So cry your heart out but don't become a manic depressive.

Don't think that its permanent
Don't think of the break up as a final full stop. People break up and make up all the time. Sometimes people break up only to realize that they need some space in the relationship to sort out some issues. So be open minded enough to accept the chance of reconciliation.

Find things that can make you feel better
Meanwhile, you should look out for things that make you feel better. You cannot allow yourself to mope on forever. So if you have certain hobbies, interests or passions that you have put on the back burner for long, now would be the time to delve into them. The busier you stay the easier it becomes to deal with the break up.

Don't be a recluse
Don't shy away from company. You have to start meeting people soon enough. The sooner you start getting back into the social circuit the better you will feel. It might take a lot of motivation to get out but you will begin to enjoy your new found freedom soon.

Get rid of the guilt
Every person makes some mistake or the other in a relationship and so did you. But don't let the guilt take over your life. You made a mistake pay the price for it and move on.

Think about a reconciliation
If you feel that you probably made a mistake by ending the relationship there is no harm in thinking of reconciliation. In fact even if you were the one who was dumped you can work on resolving your relationship issues and get back together with your ex.

Reconnect with your ex
Let some time go by and when all the hard bitter feelings are gone it's time to reconnect with your ex. Never burn any bridges. Talk to your ex, be friends and who knows? Maybe you'll find the lost love!

Depressed? How You Can Use Choline and Inositol to Help Ease Depression Symptoms

Choline and inositol are members of the B-complex family valued for their ability to break down fat and improve memory and brain function. Inositol is not a true vitamin because our bodies can make small amounts of it, but it is normally found in B-complex supplements because it works with choline.

Both vitamin helps to form lecithin, which helps to break fats into smaller particles that can be used in your body and controls cholesterol build-up. They also help to maintain cell membranes and are important in nourishing brain cells.

Choline is used in the production of accetylCholine, a chemical that transmits messages between the nerves and muscles, and is thought to improve memory, mood and athletic performance.

It also helps to cleanse your system by enabling the liver to eliminate toxins more effectively.

Both help keep your body and mind in good shape by breaking down fat and boosting brain power.

Deficiency Symptoms

* Eczema

* Memory problems

* Nervousness

* High blood pressure

* Frequent coughs and colds

Beneficial Effects

Weight control - By breaking down fat and preventing it from forming deposits, both vitamin are considered valuable slimming aids.

Stress - Because of their positive effect on the nervous system, they can reduce stress levels make you feel calmer.

How to take the supplement

Although there is no RDA, most B-complex supplements contain 100mg each vitamin. Nutritionist considers a daily intake of between and 1000mg to be beneficial. Heavy drinkers and women taking the contraceptive pill may need higher amounts of both of them; coffee drinkers need extra inositol.


These two vitamins are considered safe supplements, but high doses have thought to worsen depression.

Symptoms Of Depression - Six Steps That You Can Take To Stop Your Depression

Many people go through depression at some point in their lifetime. For some people it's a fleeting thing that comes and goes, but for others it can be crippling. However, there are some things that you can do to help you ward off the depression "bug" and I'd like to share them with you.

Here are Six things that will help you to stop depression in its tracks and help you to keep yourself together.

#1. Acceptance - Don't start beating up on yourself because you're feeling down. I've battled this for years and it's really pretty silly. The pity thoughts of "oh why do I have to feel like this? why can't I just be like everybody else", will only bring you down further. You must accept that you're a human being and human beings are NOT perfect. Depression is something that you must deal with in your life. Is it a bummer sometimes? Absolutely, but it does NOT make you a bad person just because you happen to have a problem with depression. Don't ever, ever start persecuting yourself. Got it?

#2. Stop what you're doing and visit your "Happy Place"- Have you ever seen the movie "Happy Gilmore?" If so, then you'll immediately know what I mean, if not, let me explain. Everyone has a place or a dream of exactly where they'd most like to be. For some people this could be an island in the south pacific, for others the mountains or on a bike trail in the desert. Wherever that may be that makes you most happy and gives you peace, is your happy place. When you feel the depressed feelings coming on, stop what you're doing right away and pay a visit there. It helps.

#3. Write it down - Sometimes I feel so full of emotional garbage that I'm certain I'll just burst open and then confetti would be everywhere (That was a joke). I've found relief by writing things down though. You can do this with a pen and paper, you can post to a mental health forum, you can start a blog and post there, or whatever it takes. Sometimes it helps to post to a forum if you have a problem that you really need feedback on, but it might be too sensitive to share with family or friends. Another method is to write all of that garbage that's bugging you down on paper and then get rid of it. Trash it, burn it, flush it or tear it into a million pieces. It feels really good.

#4. Call a friend - I should put an asterisk next to this one. You only want to call a trustworthy friend that you know you can confide in, that perhaps has confided in you before or has the same or similar problems as you. Don't just grab a co-worker and say "I've gotta get this off my chest!" Situations like this tend to backfire and I highly recommend that you don't do it. Stick with those close to you that are trustworthy.

#5. Call a family member - Some types of depression are hereditary and someone else in your family may go through the same thing as you, with similar feelings. Don't be afraid to pick up the phone and say "hey bro or hey sis, do you have a minute?" People that love you are suppose to be supportive. There are some things that you may be more comfortable talking to a family member about than a close friend and vice versa.

#6. Exercise - I can't recommend it enough. Exercising will help you to burn off stress and get those happy endorphins firing upstairs in your brain. The more that you do, the better that you'll feel. Make certain to stretch very well before and after exercising in order to avoid injury and reduce soreness. This is a great help because you can get outside and really work up a good sweat. You can even get rid of some unwanted pounds while you're at it, which will be great for your self esteem. Get off of your rear and get with the program! It helps.

I hope that these tips help you to get through the "rough" times. Just remember to keep your chin up and don't be afraid to share those feelings and get rid of them. Feel free to print this out and put it on your wall. I hope it helps you.

Depression Treatment Method

Depression is an ailment that doesn't easily disappear as various individuals see. It's not merely concerning emotions or feeling down for a several time period; in fact, it could even be an underlying sign of a disorder which needs to be brought to the attention of a physician. Numerous individuals are affected by depression on a yearly basis which results to useless performance in the workplace. Apart from lost working hours because of depression, personal relationships can also be affected as the individual becomes withdrawn as well as reclusive.

A sudden drop in interest over a hobby, disconnecting from other individuals or change in sleeping habits should be given attention for these can reveal depression. Fortunately, there are many available depression treatments nowadays brought about by improvements in scientific research. Typically, the first line of treatment is consulting with a mental health professional such as a psychiatrist so an appropriate assessment of the extent of the depression can be made. Besides, there are also many kinds of depression that can affect someone that a psychiatrist can precisely determine. Various kinds of depression are post-partum, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), bipolar disorder, substance induced and so forth. There are numerous types of treatment or depression however the most regular solution are antidepressants which are prescribed by physicians. Taking antidepressants does not bring immediate benefits until a couple weeks; therefore, it's necessary to regularly take the medicine.

These antidepressants behave by correcting the chemical discrepancy within the brain which affects mood as well as eating and sleeping routines.

Depression treatment has several alternatives as there are a lot of forms of antidepressants available on the market. Intake of the appropriate kind of medication can relieve symptoms of depression and lead the way to recovery. Among the frequent forms of antidepressant is regarded as Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). This medication regulates the serotonin in the brain which can result in improved mood. Another new-type of drug is Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI) that is just like SSRIs however this one also increases norepinephrine as well.

A least favored are Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) since they have side effects which patients have a hard time tolerating. More severe forms of depression should be suggested with Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) which are regarded to be strong even for other mental illness. Nevertheless, there must be extreme care in using this drug since it does has contra-indications against various foods just like alcohol, wine, as well as milk products.

Things That Cause Depression and How to Overcome It

While most people deal with periods in life where they feel sad, this is very different from actual depression. Depression is a problem that occurs when you have intense sadness that ends up lasting for weeks, and this keeps you from normal function in your life. There are a variety of symptoms of depression out there, including insomnia, feeling guilty or worthless, fatigue, problems concentrating, thoughts of suicide, problems staying calm, sleeping too much, weight loss or gain, and other symptoms. What you may wondering is what things cause depression to occur. Here is a look at some of the things experts thing cause this to occur and how you can overcome depression in your life.

Stress and Traumatic Situations
Going through a trauma in your life or dealing with a lot of stress in life can end up being something that can cause depression to occur in your life. Some of the situations that can cause these this to occur include pain, illness, losing someone you love, abuse, or other traumatic events. This can lead to imbalances in the chemicals in the brain, which can cause depression to occur.

Another thing that can cause depression to happen is genetics. There are studies that show that depression can be caused by heredity, at least to some extent. While not every single person that has depression has a family history of it, those who have it in their family history are more likely to end up dealing with mental illnesses, such as depression.

Drugs and Alcohol
Drugs and alcohol can cause depression as well. Not only can recreational drug abuse cause the problem, but there are some prescription drugs that can cause depression in some people as a side effect as well. Even nicotine can lead to depression in some people.

Nutritional Problems
There have been some cases where nutritional problems have been known to cause depression. There are special nutrients that are needed by the body, and when the body doesn't get them, there can be imbalances in the body that cause depression to occur. Some of the nutrition deficiencies that can cause this problem include deficiencies in zinc, magnesium, and various B vitamins as well.

Overcome Depression with Natural Treatment
There are a variety of different things that can cause depression, but what you really need to know is how you can overcome depression. The great news is that there are natural treatment options. While it used to be that many doctors turned to drugs, today you can forget side effect causing drugs and go with natural treatments that work for good.

Truly Inspirational Leaders Are Selfless

They Take On The Burden And Share The Credit

I wandered into the Reagan Ranch Center in Santa Barbara the other day, and decided to treat myself to a full tour. If you're ever in the area, and you are a fan of President Reagan (or of conservative American principles), I highly recommend a visit to the center. It's a glimpse into the kind of man Ronald Reagan was. Some of the exhibits feature Reagan in his own words - interviews he granted, addresses he gave. Others share the perspectives of people who knew the president personally, such as Secret Service agents and others who worked at the Ranch, and people who were Reagan's friends. What surprises you is how little ego Reagan had, especially considering he was a broadcaster, movie star, governor, and president.

A typical quote from a Reagan staffer was along these lines: "When things went wrong, the president would call us together and apologize, saying 'that was all my fault.' But when things went well, he always found someone else to give credit to. He had no ego." And you can see this in some of Reagan's self-deprecating humor. He once quipped that Thomas Jefferson said a president is not judged by his age, but by his deeds... "And ever since he told me that, I've stopped worrying about it." A typical quote from the president himself ran something like this: "Government does not create wealth. It only consumes wealth." He had a way of boiling things down to simple truths that people could understand.

When asked on "60 Minutes" in 1975 why he would consider running for president (and challenging a sitting president in his own party, Gerald Ford), Reagan said he just wanted to be of service. Sure, any politician would say that. But what strikes you is that he really seems to have meant it. The interviewer went on to challenge him, asking what great things the elderly Reagan could still accomplish. "The great leader is not the leader who does great things, but the leader who can get the people to do great things," he responded.

Reagan narrowly lost the Republican nomination to President Ford the next year, but five years later, as the 40th president, Reagan pushed through the greatest tax cut in U.S. history, and as the 1980s unfolded, America started to believe in itself again. People got away from buzz words that had dominated the short-lived Carter administration, such as "malaise," "stagflation," "misery index," and "energy crisis"... terms my kids probably never heard of (thanks to Reagan) but terms with which my generation was intimately familiar. Rather than sit around wondering where we stood on the "misery index," Americans decided they could start a business, get an education, stand up to evils like communism... do great things.

Someday (hopefully in the not-too-distant future) there will be a museum, or presidential library, or some place far-left zealots can go to remember the legacy of Barack Obama's presidency. Obama, who has had the audacity to liken himself to Ronald Reagan (though not lately), has governed in exactly the opposite way from the way Ronald Reagan ran the administration. When things go wrong, it's always someone else's fault - we all know that either the GOP minority in Congress, or his long-gone predecessor George W. Bush, are his favorite scapegoats. Obama wants big taxes and big government spending, claiming that this will somehow create jobs and make us all more prosperous - we all know he's undertaking the opposite of Reagan's actions, which actually did create jobs and prosperity (and Reagan inherited a much worse economy than did Obama).

And though the country doesn't want them, Obama and his Democrat friends in Congress have rammed through stimulus spending bills, bail-outs, government health care, financial over-regulation, government takeovers of industry, and all sorts of controls on daily American life. He governs as though he does not fundamentally believe Americans can do great things, and it is up to him to do them (even when most of us agree the things he's doing are not all that great).

Jimmy Carter governed from the left, and the country suffered enough to finally wake up and find the Reagan in its midst. Barack Obama makes Carter look like a right-winger... so maybe we can take hope in knowing that, somewhere out there, there's a truly great leader who can fix this mess by freeing us up to do great things again. I'll close with an update of one of my favorite Reagan quips, with apologies to the late Gipper: A Recession is when your neighbor loses his job... a Depression is when you lose yours... and a Recovery is when Barack Obama loses his.

Signs of Teenage Depression

Teenagers are known for their moodiness. It is a time in one's life when chores are more than just a burden, schoolwork is drudgery and the wrong word from a friend can seem like the end of the world. It's no wonder then that for parents, teachers and friends, signs of depression in teenagers can often be difficult to see. In fact, it is estimated that only 20 percent of teenagers suffering from depression ever get the help they need. However, clinical depression should never be confused with moodiness. Depression is a debilitating condition that can lead towards alcohol and drug abuse, violence and suicide.

These are the warning signs of clinical depression. The more of these signs that describe someone you know, (teenager or adult), the more important it is that they talk to their doctor about depression.

  • sadness or hopelessness

  • irritability, or outbursts of anger

  • frequent crying

  • lack of motivation

  • withdrawal from friends or family

  • change in eating habits, loss of appetite

  • change in sleeping habits, sleeplessness or oversleeping

  • loss of interest in once-favorite activities

  • feelings of guilt

  • feelings of worthlessness

  • fatigue, or lack of energy

  • difficulties in concentration

  • preoccupied with thoughts of death

  • suicidal thoughts
Above all, please understand that talk of suicide, or suicidal thoughts should never be dismissed without talking to your doctor.

If you suspect a teen you know is suffering from depression, talk to them about it, or have them talk to an adult they can trust, preferably their family doctor. There are a wide variety of treatment options available for depression today, and there is no reason for anyone to suffer with depression alone.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

How to Get Over Breakup Depression

The individuals might generally feel rotten after a break up. It is tough to get over a break up depression initially. However, one must understand that life has to go on no matter what might happen. Understanding this truth and practicality in life will help the individual to overcome the problems of a breakup easily. If you do not wish to work completely and wish to be alone, it might be a symptom that you can suffer from clinical depression. It is recommended to consult a psychologist or a family therapist who can help in bringing back the lost confidence in you.

  • Talking to the persons you like and meeting new persons will help the healing process to go on in a better rate. Group therapy is the best medicine which can help you to overcome the depression.

  • It is important to watch your diet to stay healthy. A healthy mind will be in a state to accept the new changes. If you find that you unusually eat less or more, it is recommended to stick to a healthy diet.

  • You can try out things different to experiment the results. The thrill involved in new activities will help you to recover soon by making you forget the old incidents. It gives a better deviation from the usual walks of life.

  • Exercise well and go for a jog daily. This will help you to breath fresh air that will pump in new lease of energy.

  • Do not underestimate yourself. Do not let yourself to sink in the state of apathy. Work out a schedule with which you can keep yourself busy.

  • Develop the sense of creativity and see that you are engaged in doing innovative things. This will develop huge amount of confidence in you. If you can follow the above said tips, it is not that difficult to get over a breakup depression.

17 Popular Quotes about Chocolate

1. "Chocolate causes certain endocrine glands to secrete hormones that affect your feelings and behavior by making you happy. Therefore, it counteracts depression, in turn reducing the stress of depression. Your stress-free life helps you maintain a youthful disposition, both physically and mentally. So, eat lots of chocolate!" - Elaine Sherman, Book of Divine Indulgences

2. "Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar in four pieces with your bare hands--and then just eating one piece" - Judith Viorst

3. "Self-discipline implies some unpleasant things to me, including staying away from chocolate and keeping my hands out of women's pants." - Oleg Kiselev

4. "It's not that chocolates are a substitute for love. Love is a substitute for chocolate. Chocolate is, let's face it, far more reliable than a man." - Miranda Ingram

5. "Life is like a box of chocolates...You never know what you're gonna get." - Forrest Gump in Forrest Gump

6. "The superiority of chocolate, both for health and nourishment, will soon give it the same preference over tea and coffee in America which it has in Spain." - Thomas Jefferson

7. "Research tells us fourteen out of any ten individuals likes chocolate." - Sandra Boynton

8. "If one swallows a cup of chocolate only three hours after a copious lunch, everything will be perfectly digested and there will still be room for dinner." - Brillat-Savarin

9. "It has been shown as proof positive that carefully prepared chocolate is as healthful a food as it is pleasant; that it is nourishing and easily digested... that it is above all helpful to people who must do a great deal of mental work." - Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

10. "If you are not feeling well, if you have not slept, chocolate will revive you. But you have no chocolate! I think of that again and again! My dear, how will you ever manage?" - Marquise de Sévigné

11. "Chocolate is a perfect food, as wholesome as it is delicious, a beneficent restorer of exhausted power. It is the best friend of those engaged in literary pursuits." - Baron Justus von Liebig

12. "Nine out of ten people like chocolate. The tenth person always lies." - John Q. Tullius

13. "There are two kinds of people in the world: those who love chocolate, and communists." - Leslie Moak Murray

14. "Forget love... I'd rather fall in chocolate!" - Author Unknown

15. "There are four basic food groups: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate and chocolate truffles." - Author Unknown

16. "My favorite thing in the world is a box of fine European chocolates which is, for sure, better than sex." - Alicia Silverstone

17. "After about 20 years of marriage, I'm finally starting to scratch the surface of that one. And I think the answer lies somewhere between conversation and chocolate." - Mel Gibson in What Women Want.

Postpartum Depression/Postnatal Depression - The Cause and Natural Treatment for Recovery

In society and in the media you are going to find many answers to why somebody sufferers from postpartum depression. There will be answers such as lack of money, a traumatic birth, lack of sleep, not being able to breastfeed, a relationship break up. There are millions of so called 'reasons' why somebody suffers from postpartum depression.

But here's an interesting thought. Why is it that not everyone who goes through these challenges suffers from postpartum depression? Why is it that some people can handle these events with minimal fuss, but others get depressed? Is it really about the event, or is it something else?

Consider for a moment what your reaction would be if a spider was to crawl down the wall beside where you were sitting. Would you simply get up, grab a glass jar and take it outside, or would you freak out and run a mile because you are terrified of spiders?

If it were the latter and you feel an enormous amount of fear, you would also be feeling the chemical of adrenaline rushing through your body. But this doesn't happen to everyone who encounters spiders does it? It only happens to those that are scared of spiders. What makes you scared of spiders? Is it the spider, or is it what you believe about spiders?

Not everyone holds the same beliefs about spiders, so their reactions to a spider crawling down the wall beside them are different too. Similarly not everyone experiences the chemical of adrenaline when it comes to spiders either, because their beliefs are not creating that fear and hence the chemical response to occur.

Now let's apply this same analogy to your postpartum depression. What if the cause of your depression is not all of these troublesome events in your life? What if it's your beliefs that are causing your depression too, just like it causes you to freak out over a spider? Sure there is the chemical imbalance in the brain that is present with depression that we need to consider, but what if it is your beliefs about life that are triggering that chemical reaction to occur, just like with the spider?

This would definitely explain why one person becomes depressed about certain life events where another does not. They each perceive that situation differently.

The truth is that any type of stress never occurs because of an event. It is because of how we perceive that event and what we perceive that event to mean about ourselves. There is always a self-worth component to all stress related disorders.

As we have been raised, we have been taught to view the world in certain ways and we hold beliefs and expectations about how life is 'supposed to go'. We learn this predominantly from our parents or primary care givers, but also from other family, culture, religion, media, education, peers and other major influences in our lives. In this 'get your life right' world, we are also taught that our self-worth is dependent on what we do, are and have, so if we are not living up to these expectations then we are taught that we are not as worthy as we could be. We learnt to rate our self-worth as being more or less and we attach it to what we believe is the 'right path for our lives.

Somebody with postpartum depression believes that their worth has diminished to the point of being a complete failure and they feel like they just could not be bothered trying anymore. This is because they have perceived the events in their life to be reflective of their self-worth. They have attached their self-worth to how their life unfolds.

The answers to stopping postpartum depression, or any stress related disorder, is to change the way you view your life and to learn an accurate view of your self-worth. Understanding why you are worthy just the way you are is learning how to stop attaching your worth to getting life to go 'right', will result in the demise of your depression.

All stress is a conflict between belief (what you are thinking) and reality (what is actually happening and the correct perception of the situation). We hold onto the beliefs that are ingrained to us from childhood and when they do not match what we are experiencing, we find that we are stressed, depressed or anxious.

There is a distinct mind-body connection between what we think and how we feel, so it makes complete sense that the way to stop postpartum depression is to change the way you are viewing the challenges that arise as a mom. Why do you think therapists can be very useful in postpartum depression treatment. They aren't treating the chemical imbalance, they are treating the beliefs behind the chemical imbalance.

The reality is that there are going to be loads of ups and downs that occur in motherhood, just like there is in other aspects of our life. It won't be any of those down times that cause you to feel depressed, it will be your perception of these events and if you don't correct your mindset that is responsible for this perception, then you are likely to do depression over and over and over again, every time life doesn't go to plan.

So how do you change? The same way you learnt to hold this unproductive mindset to begin with. It was through continual exposure to your environment that taught and reinforced the very beliefs that are causing your depression right now, so it will be through this same repetition that you will be able to change the way you view life now.

Your thoughts are the answers to your postpartum depression recovery and when you get that and start actively and consciously changing your current thinking to be in alignment with reality (of life and self-worth), then you will overcome your postpartum depression and become the Happy Mum you want to be.

Change your mind and you change everything.

4 Ways a Depressed Spouse Can Indirectly Harm Your Children

Depressed people might feel alone but they are most definitely not alone. The mood of a depressed spouse not only affects themselves but everyone around them; their friends, their spouses, and, sadly, also their children.

It is important for a depressed person to realize this because after they realize how THEY are harming the children they used to love this might motivate them to get help. Depression is a horrible sickness but it IS controllable and also curable.

Read this article to learn 4 ways that children might be indirectly harmed by your depressed spouse so you will be able to protect them and give them what they need.

1. Behavioral problems. It might be hard for you to believe but children crave structure and don't like to be only leaders. It is too much of a stress for them. Therefore when their parents are depressed and not fully functional they will act up as if to tell their parents, "Get out of bed, do your job, and give me structure". A child needs to have a chance to be young and innocent, to learn the lessons and experiences that will shape their own lives. If they are subjected to too much of something they do not understand or can't handle, behavioral problems will result. This could lead to something more serious down the road.

2. Teaches them to be depressed. Children imitate their parents behaviors. When they see their parents out going, helping others, and being generally proactive they will naturally follow suit. On the other hand if they see their parents doing nothing, they will also learn to be like that. Isn't it worth it to get help for your child's sake?

3. Medical neglect. When it comes to children's sicknesses the saying, "A stitch in time saves nine" is very true. A lot of children's sicknesses wouldn't be so bad if you would "catch it in the bud". A person who is depressed is so removed from the world that they might miss some small symptoms and it could turn into something big.

4. Success in school. The way the schools are run today, outside help from the parents is very important, in order to help them succeed. Not only emotional support but also to help them to understand the material that they are learning. It is SO hard for a depressed person to give them the help they need.

A depressed spouse affects ALL family members especially the younger children. If your spouse knows that he/she suffers from depression but lacks the motivation to do anything about it, subtly point out to them how their children are being effected to give them the push that they need (and want) to get the help that they need.

Preventing The Ultimate Mistake - Suicide, Teenagers & Bad Skin

For the overwhelming majority of teenagers out there, bad skin ranks anywhere from a minor inconvenience to a social disaster. The stereotypical scene where a teenager prepares for that first big date or first major school dance only to wake up the morning of with a giant pimple that deserves its own zip code right in the middle of the forehead has become a staple of coming-of-age tales.

But for a growing number of teenagers, severe acne can be an emotionally, psychologically and physically debilitating condition that can push an already fragile psyche right over the edge into severe depression or even suicide. Teenagers already are the most likely group to suffer from serious, life-threatening depression, but when you add in the complete social exiling that severe acne can cause, the natural leap to suicide can be inevitable.

A recent study conducted in New Zealand bears out this hypothesis. The study showed that those teenagers that suffer from acne, even those with relatively mild cases, at least think about suicide far more frequently than anyone ever thought. The true impact of bad skin on teen social interaction is far greater than even the most critical of analysis suspected. As it turns out, the old saying, "Kids can be so cruel" is far truer than anyone ever wanted to admit.

So, if you are a parent of a teen that is beginning to show the signs of severe acne or if you have had a child previously who suffered from severe acne, what can you do to help protect them? Short of pulling them out of school and teaching them at home, the best thing to do is to take them to a doctor and see what prescription acne medication is available to them, and as a parent, it is your job to watch for signs of depression or isolation every day.

Signs of depression in teenagers includes a persistent or constant sad, angry or empty mood that endures for weeks on end. Every teenager gets depressed after a particularly bad day at school or after a poor performance on a test or after a tough breakup with a girlfriend or boyfriend, but a persistent state of sadness is not normal for anyone of any age. Try talking to your teen. If communication is not your specialty, try to see if you can get your teen to a mental health professional for guidance.

Other key signs that your teenager might be depressed are a constant state of pessimism or always taking a negative view point on everything. Again, being pessimistic is normal once in a while, but it should not be a constant state of looking at the world.

If your teenager has a particular hobby or interest that has endured through childhood but suddenly disappears from their lives, this can be a sure sign that something serious is wrong. Of course, children out grow playthings and toys and even favourite movies and television shows, but things like drawing, painting and music tend to stay with them throughout their lives. If you see a sudden complete loss of interest in these types of things, in conjunction with these other signs, intervention might be a good idea.

Acupuncture for Treating Depression

Of all the illnesses and debilitating conditions acupuncture can help treat, depression is one of the most interesting. Part of the reason for this is that modern Western medicine classifies depression as a mood disorder manifested by both physical and psychological symptoms. In contrast, acupuncture, a practice within Traditional Chinese Medicine, does not view depression as an illness but rather an imbalance within the person's system that can be treated with acupuncture therapy, herbal medicines and problem-specific massage. Though there is no one answer for treating a case of depression it is wise for someone to consider all their options including psychotherapy, anti-depressant medication and holistic acupuncture therapies before deciding on a treatment program.

Depression is a very unique study area that can involve many factors including genetics, behavior, environment, individual circumstances and chemical imbalances in the brain. Though Western medicine has found success with both psychotherapy talk treatments and anti-depressant medication, there is no one single cure for depression mostly because each individual experiences different symptoms. Some may be riddled with anxiety, suffer from insomnia and experience stomach pains while others may sleep way too much, show little or no interest in just about anything and may deal with feelings of hopelessness and in extreme cases suicidal behavior. Because of the variations in the symptoms of depression it isn't always easy to diagnose a patient and prescribe a treatment program.

If you have tried medication and psychotherapy and have had little or no success it may be time to give acupuncture a try. As with other acupuncture treatments, the goal is to identify strategic points on the body that may be disrupting the vital flow of a person's 'qi' or life force energy. Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that conditions such as depression are linked to imbalance of energy flowing through a person's body and that with the gentle insertion of fine needles along these meridians the flow of energy can be returned to its normal state thereby alleviating the symptoms associated with depression.

Unlike broken bones or torn ligaments, the treatments for depression can vary widely. Some people react well to medications while others prefer talk therapy as a way to relieve their anxiety and stress. And still others have found success through the holistic approach of acupuncture therapy and a continued treatment of Chinese herbs and problem-specific massage. Some choose acupuncture for the simple reason that is all natural and won't involve a patient becoming dependent on a particular medication. Many people have also found that a combination of psychotherapy and acupuncture have had great results in alleviating major symptoms of depression. If you or someone you know is dealing with depression, ask him or her if they have considered acupuncture treatment. Quick, painless and affordable, acupuncture may be the remedy you've been looking for.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Depression, Stress, Anger & Heart Disease

According to recent surveys, about 75 percent of Americans are worried, depressed or angry about the economy. All of us, it seems, know someone who has lost their job recently, and many of us worry that we might be next. Sleep is hard to come by for many of us during these turbulent and uncertain times, and as I have discussed in recent articles on this website, chronic sleep deprivation, itself, has previously been linked to higher mortality rates in some clinical studies.

A number of illnesses have previously been linked to periods of prolonged stress, and particularly those situations that leave people feeling "helpless and hopeless" with respect to the events that are causing them to feel stressed. Prolonged periods of severe stress tend to disrupt the normal function of critical systems in our bodies, including the brain, the GI tract, the immune system, the reproductive system, and the cardiovascular system. Two important and timely news studies, just published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, further add to our understanding of the potentially adverse impact of chronic stress on our health.

In the first study, from Harvard University, more than 63,000 women participating in the enormous prospective Nurses' Health Study were evaluated. All of these women underwent extensive psychological and physical evaluations in 1992, 1996, and again in 2000. None of these women had any clinical history of coronary artery disease or stroke at the time that they underwent their initial evaluation in 1992. The incidence of sudden cardiac death, heart attack, or death due to heart attack was then assessed in this huge cohort of adult women during the 8-year monitoring period. Additionally, the incidence of clinical depression (as measured by standardized mental health questionnaires and the use of antidepressant medications) was evaluated and analyzed in these patient volunteers.

The presence of clinical depression was found to significantly correlate with the risk of cardiac events in this study, even after controlling for other preexisting coronary artery disease risk factors in these 63,469 women. The presence of clinical depression was associated with a 49 percent increase in the risk of fatal heart attack (myocardial infarction) due to coronary artery disease. Sudden cardiac death was also much more common among the depressed women in this gigantic clinical study, and especially among the women who were taking antidepressant medications. In fact, the women who were taking antidepressant medications experienced more than twice the risk of sudden cardiac death (2.33-fold increased risk) when compared to the women without any history of depression or antidepressant use!

Therefore, clinical indicators of depression, including depression confirmed by standardized mental health screening questionnaires or the use of antidepressant medications, were associated with a strikingly increased risk of coronary artery disease, heart attack, fatal heart attack, and sudden cardiac death. If you believe that you are depressed (or if family or friends believe that you may be depressed), please see your physician or a mental health expert, as chronic depression can, indeed, be a matter of life or death.

The second, and related, research study that I would like to discuss today focuses more on the role of anger and hostility in coronary artery disease risk. In the 1970s and 1980s, a great deal of "pop psychology" was given over to classifying personalities into various general types. Highly driven people, who tend to be impatient, easily-angered, and prone to hostile responses, were categorized as having "Type A" personalities, while their calmer and less driven counterparts were considered to have "Type B" personalities. Type A people, it was said, are more likely to engage in risky behaviors that increased the likelihood of premature death due to accidents and cardiovascular disease. Some older research has even suggested that having a Type A personality might be directly associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease as a result of chronic anger and hostility, rather than indirectly from engaging in lifestyle behaviors known to increase the risk of heart disease.

In this second clinical study, researchers in London comprehensively reviewed 25 previously published clinical studies of coronary artery disease risk in healthy populations, as well as another 19 studies of patient volunteers with existing coronary artery disease. All of these studies included assessments of personality profiles among the patient volunteers who participated in these clinical research trials.

Among the studies of previously healthy volunteers, those patients who scored highly on psychological assessment tools in terms of anger and hostility were nearly 20 percent more likely to develop evidence of new coronary artery disease (including heart attack) when compared to the patients who had very low hostility and anger scores. Among the patients who were known to already have coronary artery disease at the time that they enrolled in these studies, there was a 24 percent greater likelihood of serious complications associated with coronary artery disease among the angry and hostile patients, including death due to heart attack, than was observed among the heart disease patients who were not predisposed to anger and hostility. Interestingly, as has been observed in previous research studies, the incidence of coronary artery disease events, including heart attack and death due to heart attack, appeared to be significantly higher among angry and hostile men than was observed among angry and hostile women, particularly among the study volunteers who had no prior history of coronary artery disease at the time that they enrolled in these studies.

In summary, this comprehensive review of previously published data appears to confirm the findings of earlier studies that chronic anger and hostility appear to be associated with an increased risk of coronary artery disease and heart attacks, even when other preexisting coronary artery disease risk factors are controlled for. Furthermore, this analysis suggests that having an angry and hostile predisposition is probably more dangerous for men than for women, although both genders probably experience an increased risk of heart disease if they are chronically angry or hostile. Finally, angry and hostile people who develop coronary heart disease appear to have a worse prognosis when compared with mellower folks who also have the equivalent extent of heart disease.

As with the link between chronic depression and heart disease, chronic feelings of anger and hostility appear to increase one's risk of developing heart disease too. If you believe that you are susceptible to depression, or to regular or frequent feelings of anger and hostility towards others (or towards yourself, for that matter), then you owe it to yourself, and to those who care about you, to seek help. These mental health and personality difficulties are often extremely difficult to resolve by yourself, no matter how much insight and motivation you might already have. If you struggle with any of these issues, or if other people who know you and care about you have suggested that you have problems in these areas, then please seek help now.


Disclaimer: As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity

Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, a professor of surgery, a widely published author, and a Surgical Oncologist at the Kaiser Permanente healthcare system in Orange County, California