Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Spiritual Meaning of Depression

Depression is a sensitive topic. My personal and professional experience has afforded me first-hand knowledge in navigating the emotions associated with depression. My work with a sports psychologist in a mentoring program provided an insightful understanding into the inner mind and human behaviour.

It is interesting to note that amongst the general population, 1 in 3 people will experience some form of depression at some stage of their life. Depression may range from a mild to chronic state. Among the two, mild depression is most common in people. It is worth noting that at some stage in one's life, you may have experienced a 'depressive mood.' It may be triggered by a host of causes, mainly due to external situations which were beyond your control.

I recall one summer I experienced a depressive mood that lasted some weeks. I didn't want to exercise; I sat on the couch, found it a challenge to socialise, had very little appetite and slept in on most days, fearing getting out of bed. It was a passing stage, which I neither fought with nor resisted. The most important thing was I never identified with it by holding the thought in my mind that 'I was depressed.' In my case, it was a period of time fraught with stress and anxiety, which I refused to deal with.

Exercise is usually a good activity to involve oneself during these periods, since it facilitates the connection of mind and body. Caution needs to be taken that you don't overtrain or over-exercise, since that may trigger additional symptoms. It is still largely unknown how much exercise is good for the depressed person. Research has shown that individuals benefit from as little as 15 minutes of exercise three times a week ranging up to 30 minutes of exercise everyday.

According to research studies when the deep limbic system is overactive, negativity and pessimism is usually evident in the depressed person. This overactivity is closely linked with depression. The hippocampus within the brain is responsible for memory and assists the brain learn and retain new information, while the amygdala controls fear and anxiety. There is evidence to suggest that a hormonal link between the hypothalamus and the brain could be linked to depression. The message to note is that depression may be triggered during periods of intense stress in one's life.

Depression reveals spiritual transformation

Depression may be referred to as the dark night of the soul which was a term coined by a mystic priest St John of the Cross. The inference is depression is a passage from darkness to light. It is the releasing of the ego's grasp on the soul. The spiritual definition behind depression should not be viewed as negative, rather as a test of faith - a move toward transformation. It is wise to seek those people whom you trust if you believe you are experiencing depression. They may include: counsellors, therapists, psychologists, family, friends and loved ones. Many people develop a strong sense of self and meaning after they've recovered from depression.

There is a spiritual transformation which occurs deep within their soul - as they discover their true nature. They discover a silent voice within - a deep, impenetrable love that will not die. There is a realisation that we are greater than the story we tell ourselves. Hope emerges out of darkness and suddenly the soul reconnects to the higher self which was always there beneath the veil of misery. We discover a deeper compassion for oneself and others.

My own period of experiencing low levels of depression taught me faith, courage and hope in the universal energy of life. I trusted I was deeply loved and cared for. How can a universe which created me and others not want to serve my growth? What creator or intelligence would be so cruel as to abandon me during my time of need? Know and trust that any experience unfolding in your life is drawing you closer to the light. Darkness serves to show you there is light at the end of the tunnel. That the transformation you undergo will serve your greatest potential as someone worthy of love.

Manic Depression Symptoms

In most of the cases of Bipolar Depression, sometimes called Manic Depression, the symptoms are akin to other mental illnesses, therefore, making it difficult to get diagnosed properly. Normally, this manic depression is initially wrongly diagnosed as major depression.

Due to severe mood swings, manic depression is associated to other mood disorders which also confuses the patient. Its not necessary that the patient will describe each and every symptom in full minute details to his/her doctor. And this lack of proper description leads to wrong diagnosis. This is the reason for considering manic depression as incurable or life-threatening in some cases.

So, here I am going to enlist the appropriate manic depression symptoms to prevent you from getting the treatment that is not right for you. But keep one thing in your mind for certain that manic depression symptoms vary from person to person. You will have to see what is there in you.

So, go through the MAJOR depression symptoms first which always makes one confused:

1. Feeling sad like hell or in the blues

2. Losing interest completely in things the person used to enjoy, including sex

3. Feeling of being worthless, hopeless, or guilty for nothing (as a burden on others and on this earth).

4. Lack of sleep or sometimes no sleep at all

5. Drastic weight loss or losing appetite

6. Loss of energy or feeling tired

7. Restlessness

8. Loss of concentration or losing the power to make decisions

9. Suicidal thoughts

Now come the MANIC depression symptoms which you want to know:

1. Energy level highly raised, more than normal

2. Not feeling the need to sleep because of high energy level

3. A wavering mind due to too many racing thoughts in mind and mood swings at peak

4. Easily distracted mind or loss of concentration

5. Getting more talkative than usual or feeling pressurized to talk more and more from within

6. Self-confidence touching great heights than usual

7. Risk-taking factor gets increased rapidly or loss of fear in mind

8. Loss of the determination to complete the tasks in hand

9. Confused mind

These mood swings are very common but if you are a bipolar depression sufferer, then you may have times of mania and depression along with these mood swings. This can really make your life unbearable for yourself or your loved ones. But with a suitable treatment, you can get rid of bipolar depression and you can live a normal life.

An important way for you to manage your bipolar depression on your own is to keep a record of all the symptoms you observe in you. Keep a record of what you feel and at what time. Tracking your symptoms is a great help to your doctor and for a much appropriate treatment for you.

Bananas a Cure For Depression?

Bananas are an amazing fruit packed with vitamins and minerals. Surprisingly, the minerals and vitamins in bananas can help alleviate the symptoms of depression, everyday stress, anxiety and the winter blues.

Bananas alleviate the symptoms of depression partially because of the protein tryptophan. Tryptophan is converted by the body into serotonin. Serotonin is a protein Serotonin regulates metabolism and brain activity, and produces a relaxed state. Serotonin helps to promote stabilized moods, and is key to the bodies' ability to regulate sleep. Adequate sleep is directly linked to better moods and lower levels of stress.

Bananas help to alleviate stress because they are high in B vitamins. B vitamins calm your nerves,. For instance, a depletion of vitamin B6 can trigger depression in individual not previously showing symptoms of depression. Therefore, a diet rich in B6 can assist in alleviating the symptoms of depression and possibly prevent the onset.

Bananas in alleviating stress because a stressed body depletes its reserve of potassium rapidly, which in turn causes an increase in your body's metabolic rate which depletes your bodies potassium much more rapidly than normal. The potassium rich bananas replenish the bodies' potassium supply, which in turn normalizes the bodies' metabolic-rate.

Ways bananas can help alleviate stress. If you are experiencing high stress levels try eating a banana in the morning. Chop it up. Mix it with some juice or pour some honey on it. Make this a peaceful time. Relax. Sit and meditate. Think happy and positive thoughts and establish a routine. The natural calming vitamins in bananas will help you through the day and bring your stress levels to normal.

Take bananas with you to work. Keep them around the house. When you feel depressed, eat one or even a small piece.

Take them for a month. Keep a logbook or a journal; track your thoughts, feelings and emotions. Record the progress of the aches and pains after the month reassess your condition. Are the aches and pains associated with depression or stress gone? Do you feel less anxious? Do you have more energy? Are you feeling better: Emotionally, physically and mentally?

Elderly Depression - How to Deal With Depression in Older People

Many elders think that feeling depressed is a natural part of the aging process. This is not true. While many elders suffer from depression, they don't necessarily have to feel that way.

Recognizing the signs of depression is the first step in handling it. Has your elder stopped doing the things he or she once enjoyed? Has personal care declined? Is your elder unnaturally quiet or lash out in anger? These are signs of depression.

It is important to bring up these symptoms with your elder's doctor as soon as you see them. While it can be treated, chances are good that treatment will not be the same as it would be for someone younger.

A younger person might be prescribed antidepressants. An older person is probably taking medications for other conditions and may be unable to take an antidepressant. There is also some evidence that certain types of this medication aren't as effective for seniors.

Instead, counseling or group therapy may be suggested. Increasing social interaction can be a good means of countering the isolation some elders feel.

Exercise is another area that could help ease depression. As an added benefit, exercise can also be beneficial for cognitive function. Elders dealing with cognitive decline are likely to feel depression.

While supplements may not be a good idea for an elder, due to drug/herb interactions, aromatherapy could be useful. The essential oils of chamomile and lavender are considered particularly useful. If the elder needs mental stimulation, oil of peppermint is another good product. On the oil of peppermint, be sure to keep children under the age of two away from this oil. Just the scent can cause serious breathing problems.

Depression can be beaten, but only if it's recognized. Look for symptoms and start treatment as soon as possible for the best results.

Marriage Problems Due to Depression? Discover the First Step to Improve Them

If you are having marriage problems and you have observed some of the symptoms of depression in your spouse for the past few weeks then YOU should be prepared to take the initiative to get her to get help to help her and to save your marriage. Your depressed spouse most probably is not capable to help himself. You have to understand, though, that this is not an easy task. You will very likely meet up with lots of resistance from them.

Dr. J. Prochaska and colleagues identified 6 different stages that a person goes through when they change. Identifying the stage that your loved one is in cab be tremendously beneficial. Matching what you say to each stage will enable you to prod him along to get the help he so desperately needs in a very not pushy way.

In this article I will explain the first stage of change, pre-contemplation, its signs, and the proper way to deal with it so will be able to change your bad marriage into a happy one.

The pre-contemplation stage is, as the word suggests, the stage that the sufferer doesn't admit (both to himself and to you) that there is a problem.

This might be very hard for you to grasp. How can it be that he doesn't see how sad he is and how he has changed in the past few months? Is he blind? The answer is that to avoid pain the past, the present, and the pain of having to change our mind plays "tricks" on us and blinds us to what is actually happening and blinds to things that are obvious to every objective observer.

Here is a short list of the common mechanisms people use to avoid "looking at the problem in the eyes":

Denial- This means that a person doesn't see that he has a problem. He really thinks that he is happy, energetic, and upbeat like he always was.

Projection and Blame. This mean that when you approach her and tell her that your once good marriage is now a bad marriage and that she caused it to happen because she is so depressed they respond, "I'm depressed? Go look in the mirror and then tell me that I'm down and you're not!" They project (like a film projector) their state on to someone else.

Justification. This defense system is that they agree with the fact that they are unhappy, morose, and sad, but they give a reason for it other than the fact that they are suffering from some tort of a medical depression.

Minimizing. This means that the one who is suffering from a depressive disorder admits that he is depressed but only "a little". A typical example of this is, "I wouldn't say that I'm depressed. Just a little down lately.

If you notices the symptoms of depression in your spouse, you mentioned to him what you feel, and he reacts with one of the above statements, then you know that he is the first stage of depression. As long as he denies that he has no problem THERE IS NO USE to try to convince him to get help. I repeat, "THERE IS NO USE to try to convince him to get help." He doesn't see the problem, so your mentioning the problem will either just annoy him or you will get into a fight with him.

What should you do, though?

1. Validate their unwillingness to go for help. Tell them, "I understand that you feel I'm exaggerating. I'm just worried." They need all the support that they can get in order to build up the strength to change.

2. Encourage self-exploration NOT action. This is the most important thing to remember. The stage after pre-contemplation is contemplation not action. Don't skip any stages of change. Right now, they are not able to even hear that they have to change doing something. Push him ONLY to into the subject but reassure him that you won't push him to change unless he wants to.

If you are having marriage problems and you (and other people around you) are convinced that your spouse is experiencing a depressive disorder don't presume or even hope that he will immediately agree to go for help. Just be supportive of him and encourage him to realize that there is a problem. This is the first step to fix your marriage problems.

Why Income Insurance Is Something You Need

When you are buying something you will most probably be thinking about what exact benefits it will offer you. Income insurance is something that may not strike to you as very important when you first encounter it, but we are sure that as you learn of the benefits it offers, you will be a convert. The benefits of buying income insurance are many. Income protection is something worthwhile in today's economic times. This article discusses the benefits it provides you.

1. Financial protection: This is the most important benefit of income insurance that you get. In the economic instability that the world is facing today it is imperative that you have financial protection. This kind of insurance cover provides you with protection against any inability to work due to injury, illnesses or accidents. This kind of plan may not pay you 100% of your income, but it is going to pay you up to 75% of it. We think such an income protection is really great as a sort of cover for yourself during times you may not be able to work.

2. Not an encouragement not to work: Income insurance is not to be considered as an encouragement not to work. Instead it makes sure that you are protected in times when you may be unable to work for some reason. It provides you with a guarantee of paying you a considerable part of your income so that you don't have to worry about money when times are bad.

3. Disability to work: The thing about the future is that no one can predict it. Who knows what is going to happen in the future? Who can say for sure that you will not face an accident that will make you a disabled person unable to work for a living? If that happens, what is going to happen to you and your family? Bad times are something income insurance prepares you for and protects you against. In case you do face a financial crisis because of your inability to work, you don't have to worry as your insurance cover is going to make monthly payments to you to get on in life. So you can keep away stress and depression in case you do face a crisis in life.

4. Save tax: Not only will you get paid 75% of your income from the insurance provider, you will also be able to avail of this amount of money tax- free! This is a great thing as it lets you not only get financial protection but also enjoy it without paying any taxes. Income insurance can be availed of either long term or short term. Depending on which insurance provider or company you choose, you will be able to avail of permanent compensation till the year of your retirement.

Having an income insurance cover makes good sense in these times of economic instability. It is a good idea to choose an insurance provider after you shop around. Making a good choice will help you be protected a lot more.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Is There a Link Between Acid Reflux and Depression?

I've been fortunate to hear from some of you first hand to tell me of your experience with acid reflux.

With any chronic condition such as heartburn can be, one tends to notice themes when reading through client correspondence. One in particular is the accompanying depression symptoms that accompany chronic acid reflux.

In this the liquid or food omes up from the stomach and enters into esophagus and this creates pain and heartburn.Reflux is also known as Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

The lower esophageal sphincter (LED) muscles are responsible for closing and opening the esophagus. These muscles act as a valve and when working properly, prevent food and liquids from the stomach from coming back up into the esophagus.

Some sufferers experience chronic reflux disease but do not suffer from heartburn. They report pain in the chest, hoarse throat, dry cough, bad breath and difficulty swallowing.

It does not only bring pain, in long term it can lead to erosion of tooth enamel, cancer, throat damage and respiratory damage. People who suffer at least two per week are considered that they suffer from chronic acid reflux.

Comparing to other chronic problems of reflux, people with chronic GERD have thirty percent extra chance of developing depression when only ten percentage of people suffering otherwise.

It seems that each condition feeds the other. Because of fear of symptoms of acid reflux, people tend not to go out to eat, or socialize as much with friends which can lead to a "shut in" feeling.

Additionally, people often put off doing things they really enjoy because they are spending all their time trying to think up ways to manage their conditions.

As ironic as it seems, some people's unhealthy lifestyles can lead to depression on their own or be exacerbated by GERD. Take alcohol consumption for example. This is a depressive drug to begin with and can trigger acid reflux.

Even if you do not experience depression from your acid reflux condition I would recommend you to try the natural reflux programs. They come with proven results and with no side effects.


How to Cheer Someone Up

You may have heard of the saying 'life is not a bed of roses'. Certainly, it is not. Getting sad at one point or the other is a common thing for people but there are ways to solve this by cheering them up. After all, there is no better remedy than a smile or a laugh.

Things to say when cheering someone up:

The first thing you would want to do is take out some time in listening to them first. Find out the reason behind their depression and think about it. Note that you should not interrupt them while they confide in you. Afterwards, comfort them and give them an honest piece of advice. A typical example is 'everybody fails in one subject or the other. Nobody is perfect. Think of it this way. You have the opportunity to do better by retaking the course in the summer vacations. There is always room for improvement but you will need to work with all your heart this time'. This is a good way of conveying your message as you are adding a positive tone to it while implying a small warning at the same time. It is better than saying 'repeating a course is one of the biggest drags ever. You should have paid more attention to studies rather than messing around. It is too bad. You have wasted your time'. This response will make the already depressed person feel more shattered.

People who are down in the dumps would like to hear a good word or two especially from a friend. Remember, there are some sentences which you should always use, preferably near the end of the conversation, like 'everything will be alright'. The key is to imagine yourself in their situation before answering them.

More responses include 'there is no reason to worry about anything', 'whatever happened is for your betterment so just leave the past behind because the future looks promising'.

Relate to some good quotes. For example, 'life is far too important to be taken seriously'. In this way, you are telling them that a person becomes unhappy when things are taken too seriously. So the goal is to divert our attention away from the seriousness and take things more lightly. When assuring a friend that you are always there for them, say 'the road to a friend's house is never long'. To brighten up their mood, include 'one day, we are going to look back at this and laugh'. The purpose of this is to soften up the situation even if things do seem critical.

Tell them that they look beautiful when smiling. Tell them that it may be cloudy now but it cannot rain forever. Assure them that their depression is temporary and there is always a silver lining behind every cloud. Depression is a normal but undesirable feeling in life. We should be here to reduce the suffering of others by cheering them up and these simple words can really make a difference when conveyed properly.

How to Stop Their Child From Crying in 30 Seconds Or Less

Have you ever been at a restaurant, and your child wanted what your other child got? Your other child would not share, and all of a sudden your 2 year old started screaming? No matter what you tried he or she would not calm down. How about you were working on something important, and all of sudden your child began screaming? The kids fought over a toy, and one of them was screaming their head off. If you have ever felt this way, I am here to tell you that I have found the solution to your problem.

Being a mother of 3 children, I have felt this way many times, and always wished I could have a solution to make the child quiet in 30 seconds or less. That way everyone can move on, and I don't need to get stressed, nor do they need to be stressed, or crying.

My first question to all parents is why do children cry? There are many reasons a child cries. I will list briefly what some of those reasons are: hunger, fear, someone hurt them, they want something, or just trying to get attention. Have you ever been in a situation where you have a 2-7 year old and something happens, and they begin crying so loud? Crying uncontrollably? It's as if someone was trying to kidnap them, yet nothing has happened to them. To the child it feels as if their world is falling apart. Yet most parents feels that ignoring the problem is the solution, but it's not. I have stated what some doctor's have to say about that, after extensive research being done on children crying."

"One study showed infants who experienced persistent crying episodes were 10 times more likely to have ADHD as a child, along with poor school performance and antisocial behavior. The researchers concluded these findings may be due to the lack of responsive attitude of the parents toward their babies." (Wolke, D, et al, Persistent Infant Crying and Hyperactivity Problems in Middle Childhood, Pediatrics, 2002; 109:1054-1060.)

"Dr. Brazy at Duke University and Ludington-Hoe and colleagues at Case Western University showed in 2 separate studies how prolonged crying in infants causes increased blood pressure in the brain, elevates stress hormones, obstructs blood from draining out of the brain, and decreases oxygenation to the brain. They concluded that caregivers should answer cries swiftly, consistently, and comprehensively." (J pediatrics 1988 Brazy, J E. Mar 112 (3): 457-61. Duke University. Ludington-Hoe SM, Case Western U, Neonatal Network 2002 Mar; 21(2): 29-36)

Due to all of these factors and many more, I decided to find a solution to the problem that many parents face.

What is the new technique? Well, reading many books in this field, studying child psychology, and going to many seminars still sometimes doesn't equip you for what real life throws at you. At amazement one day, I told myself I had to figure out how to quiet these kids quickly, and effectively. For I am a stay at home who home schools, and works from home. I couldn't have them crying all day, if I was teaching the other ones, or if I started cleaning. Yet, I don't have the time to sit with each one for 10-15 minutes at a time. That alone took most of my time. That's when I tested and tried my new strategy. I thought if it worked for me, than it could work on anyone. Are you ready?

Basically, anytime a child begins to cry for whatever reason it is:

1. You take a deep breath and then bring them close to you, and then go through these exercises with them.
2. You show them how to take a deep breath. As they take one, take another one, and then another one. I usually take 4-5 deep breaths with them, and then I say ok, now we will do it this way.
3. I start to blow out faster and faster and laugh while I am doing it. They love this part the most. They blow out and smile and laugh with me. It changes their whole mood, and they no longer are crying.
4. Once they have calmed down, then I sit them on my lap and ask them what happened. By this time, their smiling and they have to use a normal tone, not a whining tone to tell me what happened.
5. After they tell me, then I help them figure out what went wrong, and what not to do again, to get that type of reaction. They agree, and it's finally over. I break the pattern they are in, with a whole new pattern, which helps them calm themselves down.

I have used this technique not only on my children, but also my neighbor's children, nieces and nephews. Their ages ranged from 2-7 years old. It has worked every time for me. It just takes some patience, time and practice. You will see eventually the kids will be doing these techniques to other kids they see behaving the way they did. My son and daughter sometimes teach me these techniques if I am sad and crying. It really works for adults as well as children. You just need 30 seconds to implement it, and then they're on their way.

Once you can get your child to learn these new habits, you then teach them that crying and whining doesn't really help them get what they want. If they want something, they need to ask for it kindly, and if it is something the parent thinks the child needs they will get it, if it is not, then they need to understand the parent knows best. The more the parent is able to explain to the child, the better the child understands. Sometimes it takes 10 - 20 times of repetition, but eventually it does soak in. It is also at this time, that I speak to the other child about how they treated this one. If there is two or three of them, then once this child is relaxed, I go over and tell the other ones, what they did was wrong, and that' not how we should treat this situation. I then give them an example of how I would treat this situation. That way they are aware that there is many ways to deal with a situation. I want the kids to put that in their memory banks of their brains, and use it when this situation or another similar one arises.

A few more quotes on why crying is not the right thing for a child to carry on

• "Leaving a baby to cry evokes physiological responses that increase stress hormones. Crying infants experience an increase in heart rate, body temperature and blood pressure. These reactions are likely to result in overheating and, along with vomiting due to extreme distress, could pose a potential risk of SIDS in vulnerable infants. There may also be longer-term emotional effects. There is compelling evidence that increased levels of stress hormones may cause permanent changes in the stress responses of the infant's developing brain. These changes then affect memory, attention, and emotion, and can trigger an elevated response to stress throughout life, including a predisposition to later anxiety and depressive disorders." Pinky McKay

Pinky McKay is the mother of five, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and a Certified Infant Massage Instructor.

• English psychotherapist, Sue Gerhardt, author of Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby's Brain, " explains that when a baby is upset, the hypothalamus produces cortisol. In normal amounts cortisol is fine, but if a baby is exposed for too long or too often to stressful situations (such as being left to cry) its brain becomes flooded with cortisol and it will then either over- or under-produce cortisol whenever the child is exposed to stress. Too much cortisol is linked to depression and fearfulness; too little to emotional detachment and aggression."

At this time I would like to go into a summary of how all of this works:

• First, take a deep breath your self.
• Next, bring the crying child over and teach them how to take deep breaths, tell them to follow you. Take about 4-5 Deep Breaths.
• Third, have them blow out back to back for another 10 seconds. By this time, the kid should be laughing out loud with you.
• Fourth, now you have broken their pattern of crying into being happy.
• Ask what happened, and help them understand.

This is vital to break the pattern. Once the pattern is broken with something better taking its place then it won't be long when, you'll notice they cry less and less. As they age they will realize that crying should be left for something really painful and not every two minutes. As parents and educators we need to teach them to learn there are different styles and ways to do things. We need them to be able to help them calm themselves down, and them to formulate that habit as they grow up. To be confident, and handle any situation that comes at them with a different approach. This approach will lower their stress and build their confidence. The less they cry, and the more they are loved, the more stability these kids will have with their own emotions.

Cause of Bruxism - What Causes Bruxism?

There is no clear explanation on why bruxism occurs. Some specialists say that some psychological factors like anxiety and stress may be primary causes of bruxism.

Bruxism / teeth grinding is known to occur along with other symptoms and disorders. People with sleeping disorders such as snoring, OSA or obstructive sleep apnea, sleep talking, hypnagogic hallucinations, injurious behaviors during sleep are found to have symptoms of teeth grinding. Out of all these sleeping disorders, those who exhibit more symptoms of teeth grinding are those who have obstructive sleep apnea, which is accounted for the excessive awakening response during sleep. Studies have indicated that sleep apnea termination often comes with gasps, snoring, teeth grinding, and mumbling.

Lifestyle is also considered a cause. Young individuals with higher educational status often show symptoms. Caffeine and alcohol intake, smoking, and medications for depression, anxiety, and insomnia are factors. The said factors affect the person's ability to fall and stay asleep causing sleeping disorders like insomnia, snoring, and OSA. Individuals who use the following psychoactive substances are more prone to teeth grinding.

The use of a psychoactive substance results in stress, anxiety, mental disorders, and teeth grinding. Almost 70% of people who show signs of depression, stress, and anxiety also exhibit signs of clenching of teeth. Work-related insomnia, stress, and depression can also be a cause since it can cause daytime sleepiness and other sleeping disorders. One study shows that individuals who work for call centers and other jobs which require shifting schedules suffer from stress, anxiety, and depression and are also more prone to this problem. It must be noted that during the aforementioned study, men exhibited job and depression-related bruxism while women show no significant related teeth clenching. The higher rate of male experiencing job-related stress and bruxism is accounted for the low social interaction and support from co-workers and superiors.

Physical diseases or conditions affecting a person's psychological health can lead to slower rate of recovery and vulnerability to certain diseases. If the person is constantly exposed to a stressful environment, it can influence the person's performance and mental health. However, there are people who are predisposed to depression, anxiety, and stress and are more able to adapt to his or her environment. Certain studies indicate the link between the workplace and bruxism and the person's susceptibility or resistance to stress-related problem. There are, however, some people who are exposed to less stressful jobs and are still affected by this condition. With these, experts suggest that lifestyle is the possible cause.

Acknowledge Your Depression

Acknowledging depression is a great start to combating the symptoms. Once a person is are aware that they have some symptoms, then they can actually do something about it and there is no reason to be ashamed.

Sometimes people delay seeking help because they think that depression is embarrassing. In the past there has been a stigma attached to having depression but that is an old fashioned belief that is no longer relevant in today's society.

It is far more important to acknowledge depression so that it is possible to begin to move forward. There may still be feelings like there is something wrong, because nothing has changed and symptoms persist, and this way of thinking is quite correct. However first class treatment is available for sufferers of depression, as much as it is for other people needing treatment for various other complaints.

A simplified description of some of the feelings associated with the symptoms of depression is:
• Feeling in a low mood
• Feeling weighted down by your circumstances
• Unwilling to try to join in with friends or family activities
• Prolonged periods of doom and gloom
• Feeling anxious or angry
• Suffering from insomnia or over sleeping

Depression symptoms generally can be described as sadness that lasts for too long. Of course it is true that most everyone gets sad at some point in their life, but depression is much more than that. It is more of a feeling that you are weighed down with a heavy load, and cannot drag yourself up from the depths of despair.

People suffering from the symptoms of depression might notice that others start to avoid them after awhile in an attempt to move away from the doom and gloom or dark mood. This can make the sufferer feel even more isolated, but it is imperative that help is gained from a medical professional so that the symptoms do not worsen over time. There may even be an underlying physical cause for the symptoms of depression, so the sooner a person acknowledges depression and seeks help, the better.

If a doctor is not able to help, they may refer that person to a specialist or for counselling. This approach does not suit everyone but it is important to keep an open mind, because results can be unexpected and exceptional with this type of treatment.

In some cases it is possible that acknowledging depression may be difficult because a person may have lived with it for an extended period of time and therefore does not know whether it is depression or not.
Once a person has acknowledged the possibility and symptoms of depression they should remember that they do not have to feel this way for the rest of their life. It is extremely important to seek and accept help from other trustworthy people who can be of assistance in providing guidance to a much happier and fulfilling way of life.

What Are Common Symptoms of Adult ADHD

What are common symptoms of adult ADHD, and how do these differ from symptoms in kids? ADHD is a disorder more commonly discovered in childhood. To meet diagnostic criteria, according to the DSM- IV- TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual version IV- Text Revision), symptoms of the disorder must be present by age 7. Even though symptoms or even a mild form of the disorder may be present in childhood, it is not uncommon for it to be discovered or seek treatment for it only in adulthood. Presently, there is not a separate symptom criteria for the diagnosis of ADHD in adults. Criteria for ADHD in childhood is often used and adapted to better account for the difference in life and developmental stages of adults. Symptoms in both children and adults largely stem from the hypo-functioning of certain areas of the brain that control executive functioning. The presentation of these symptoms in adulthood is often seen in the workplace and in the family and social arena. The main symptom clusters for both children and adults are in attention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. However, the disorder can look very different from child to adult and even person to person. Symptom Criteria from the DSM-IV-TR:

a) Symptoms of inattention:

1) Fails to pay close attention to details- tends to rush and often makes careless mistakes

2) Difficulty sustaining attention-tends to have poor concentration, difficulty initiating and completing tasks, tendency to get off task easily

3) Does not appear to listen- can "zone out" during conversations with others and may not realize it, thus losing important bits of information

4) Struggles to follow through on instructions- poor listening skills and memory contribute to difficulty following directions

5) Difficulty with organization- often has poor time management and is often late, often has a messy, disorganized or cluttered area in home/work place/car.

6) Avoids or dislikes tasks that require mental effort- tends to procrastinate

7) Easily distracted

8) Forgetful in daily activities- often misses deadlines, commitments and other important events or dates. Often losing or misplacing things such as keys, phones, bills, work

b) Symptoms of Hyperactivity/ Impulsivity:

1) Fidgets with hands, feet/legs, objects- may appear to have nervous energy, restless or anxious

2) Difficulty remaining seated- tends to get bored easily

3) Runs/climbs excessively- The highly energetic, "climbing-up-the-walls" energy commonly seen in childhood settles down by the mid teenage years. In late teens and adults 'hyperactivity' is more subtle

4) Difficulty in engaging in activities quietly- tends to crave excitement

5) Acts as if driven by a motor- tends to have more risk-taking behavior, acts reckless

6) Talks excessively- tends to have racing thoughts, states mind doesn't shut off, hyperactivity of the mind

7) Blurts out answers before questions have been completed-difficulty inhibiting ones actions

8) Has difficulty waiting or taking turns- poor patience

9) Interrupts or intrudes upon others- poor self-control, makes inappropriate comments

A certain number of symptoms need to be present in 2 or more settings- work, home, school, etc. The symptoms must also cause a functional impairment in those setting.

Is adult ADHD on the rise, and if so, why?

Adult ADHD is becoming more widely recognized and more people are been diagnosed than before, however, this is likely a function of more acceptance and consensus that the disorder can occur in adulthood. As well as better screening techniques with improved detection and treatment options. Adult ADHD is still largely under-reported and under-diagnosed.

If an adult thinks he might have ADHD, who should he see for a diagnosis/treatment?

Where a child can see a pediatrician or a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist for diagnosis and treatment, an adult should see a mental health professional / Psychiatrist. Psychiatrist are specially trained and likely have more experience in recognizing symptoms of ADHD, diagnosing ADHD, and are more familiar with available treatments for Adult ADHD. Additionally, an adult who suspects ADHD, may want to find a Psychiatrist who has training or experience in working with children and adolescents- as these subspecialist have the most training and experience with the disorder. Once diagnosed, the treatment is multifactorial and best conducted through a team approach with professionals such as Psychiatrists to prescribe medications and Psychologists or other trained counselors/therapists to provide cognitive-behavioral therapy and skills training to learn practical solutions to everyday problems.

What are the treatment options for adult ADHD? Do all adults diagnosed with ADHD need medication? Will they need to take medication for life?

Treatment options are often the same for adults as in children, and typically consist of a combination of therapy, lifestyle adjustments, and medications. Therapies include behavioral modifications and skills training to manage the core deficiencies of ADHD including- organization, planning, time management, memory and impulsivity. Important lifestyle issues that need to be addressed and modified are adequate sleep, healthy diet, and regular physical activity. Medications target these symptoms chemically and can be very effective. According to the DSM-IV, to meet the diagnostic criteria for ADHD, symptoms should cause "social, occupational or functional impairment", therefore medications may be indicated especially if the therapy and lifestyle changes don't effect much improvement. Adults on medications may be able to be more successful at work and with their family/social life, and be better able to use their ADHD management skills to create a better routine and structure for their life. Depending on the severity of symptoms and the success of incorporating the skills training into ones daily life, it is possible to come off medications. Medications are just one piece of the treatment puzzle. Since there is no "cure" for ADHD, some form of treatment will always be needed, however, it may be as simple as keeping organized and getting enough sleep.

Some adults might say that they've made it this far w/o needing treatment. Why start now? How might untreated ADHD affect a person's life?

It is possible not to need "treatment" consisting of medications; however, it is unlikely that no component of treatment will be needed. Some adults with ADHD may be managing their symptoms and not really know it. How many times have we heard, "if I don't get enough sleep, I can't think straight", or "if it doesn't go in my planner, it doesn't exist", or "I need my double shot espresso in the morning to get me focused" (caffeine is a weak stimulant)- not saying that everyone who says and does these things has ADHD, but some who are aware of their issues maybe managing symptoms in various fashions. Also certain environments may be more conducive to managing the disorder than others. I have encountered many young adult patients who were valedictorians of their small highly structured high school class, however, upon entering a big university with less structure and guidance, they start having more problems with organization, meeting deadlines and academic performance. It is not that they suddenly "caught" ADHD; the disorder was likely present to some degree since childhood, however a change in the environment caused symptoms to be problematic enough to cause functional impairment. I've heard similar situations occur in work settings as well. If functional impairment exists, it is best to discuss treatment options with mental health professionals and your physician. Studies have shown that people with untreated ADHD are more likely to experiment/ "self-medicate" with substances, more likely to be unemployed, more likely to divorce and have relational issues and more likely to be involved in motor vehicle accidents.

I've read that people with ADHD often have other mental health problems like depression or anxiety. Please tell me more about the connection.

People diagnosed with ADHD are more likely to have other mental health diagnosis as well, in some reports 6x as likely. Reasons for this are multi-factorial. They can be due to chemical pathways and "wiring" in the brain- ADHD often seen with learning disabilities in children, esp. for reading. Other disorders can occur because the untreated ADHD symptoms put them at risk for other disorders- i.e. a child with ADHD who is extremely hyperactive, may be more likely to be abused and subsequently develop anxiety from the trauma.

I often see problems like depression and anxiety to be the primary reason one may seek treatment- esp. in adults and older teens. It is the untreated ADHD symptoms that can lead to repeated failures, poor performance (at home, school, work), and strained relationships which, depending on how longstanding, can lead to frustration, irritability and a low self-worth. Over time this stress and thought patterns can lead to serious depression.

At times, it appears that untreated ADHD can mimic symptoms of depression and by treating the ADHD, one starts to do better, accomplish more, get praise and improve self-esteem the depression is also treated. If depressive symptoms or disorder is co-occurring, it may be necessary to treat both issues.

Is there a genetic link to ADHD? If your child has it, does that mean you might have it and not recognize it?

There is a strong genetic link to ADHD as well as other mental health disorders. Accd. to Dr. Biederman and research from Massachusetts General Hospital, if a child has ADHD there is a five-fold increase in the risk to other family members (1). Genetic links are also discovered by doing twin (identical vsfraternal) studies. Identical twins have the same DNA, fraternal twins have DNA like any other sibling would share. In one such study, Dr. Florence Levy and her colleagues studied 1,938 families with twins and siblings in Australia. They found that ADHD has an exceptionally high heritability as compared to other behavioral disorders. They reported an 82 percent concordance rate for ADHD in identical twins as compared to a 38 percent concordance rate for ADHD in non-identical twins. (2)

If you or no one around you is recognizing it as a problem causing functional impairment, then the disorder may not be present or meet sufficient criteria for ADHD.

(1) Biederman, J., Faraone, S. V., Keenan, K., Knee, E., et al. (1990). Family-genetic and psychosocial risk factors in DSM-III attention deficit disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 29, 526-533.

(2) Levy, F., Hay, D.A., McStephen, M., Wood, C., & Waldman, I. (1997). Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: a category or a continuum? Genetic analysis of a large-scale twin study. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 36, 737-744.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Tips For Managing Situational Depression in the Second Half of Life

Recently I read a statistic about depression that surprised me. I had not been aware that 17% of people in the US are on anti-depressant medication. That means approximately one in 7 adults is relying on some help from medication to get through the day. I have no idea how many of these people are in their second half of life. It does indicate that a good number of people are turning to their doctors for help with symptoms of overwhelm and sadness for which anti-depressants provide relief.

Anti-depressant medications have made a big difference for people who struggle with biological depression. It has given many people the opportunity to function successfully in their lives. My focus in this article is on the people who are depressed because of the life situation they find themselves in. These are the people for whom anti-depressants indeed provide help but unless they take care of the underlying concerns their life situation will not improve.

For instance, anyone who is living in a home where there is addiction present - alcohol, drug, prescription drug- will feel oppressed by its presence. The longer the addiction continues the greater the effect will be on everyone. The addicted person will also suffer with depression because that is the effect of the substance. In both cases if the underlying problem of addiction is s not addressed the symptom of depression will manifest itself .

Relationships organize people. Anyone who has ever been in a job situation that is negative will feel helpless. Likewise couple relationships where one cannot freely be oneself can become stifling and lead to depression. Again, in both of these examples anti-depressions will give relief but they will not take care of the underlying problems. In order to address them there has to be a willingness to start grappling with how to change the situation that is upsetting.

I have found, in addition, to the two examples just mentioned, that in the second half of life people may become depressed because some medications for physical problems have depression as a side effect. There is one other area that I see frequently. When lives have become routine and there is no newness people feel bored and become lethargic. The answer to this state of depression is to start doing new things. Take a course, move to a new area, read to kids,open a business, walk regularly, meditate - anything that will interrupt the monotonous and introduce vitality and excitement. I have found that the people who introduce newness into their lives have, after a while, been able to go off anti-depressants because their new zest in life has naturally lifted their spirits.

Failure by Design: How the PE Teacher Can Foil the Plans of Big Business and Government!

As a Physical Educator, are you essentially a spectator to your school's annual standardized testing process? Do you take the view that, as a dedicated professional who only works in the gym, there is very little impact you can have on this process? During test week, are you handing out #2 pencils and serving as a hall monitor because your principal can't think of what else to do with you? Have you ever wondered what the real agenda of these tests is? The purpose of this article is twofold: 1) To provide a small peak at the real, but unspoken, reason for all of this testing, and 2) To assert enthusiastically, and with documented scientific support, that physical educators can make a significant difference in their school's test results. In fact, what you can bring to the table in this matter can be your school's secret weapon in the "testing wars".

First, a little bit of testing's unspoken agenda... It relates historically to what Lincoln referred to as the "Mudsill Theory." (Sen. James Henry Hammond, South Carolina, speech to the United States Senate, March 4, 1858) You can look it up on the internet. It's not a conspiracy, so all of you reverse- alarmists who want to label the few remaining divergent thoughts left in the current zeitgeist as the work of Conspiracy Theorists, take a deep breath. Basically, the theory, first named by Lincoln who rightly opposed it, asserts that Society cannot move forward unless it can rest on a foundation or "footer" (known as a "mudsill" in early times) made up of a happy, uncreative, unquestioning, and dumbed-down work force willing to do the menial tasks like clean the bathroom of your luxury hotel, wash your car, or cut your grass. Slavery in the South and Immigrants in the Northeast solved that problem in the 1850's with the northern form of "slavery" later being company towns. Chinese immigrants later took care of building the railroads in the West. Children worked in coal mines in the Pennsylvania Hills along with fathers for 65-70 hours per week for a few cents per hour- usually the money was company script so a family could not save it to use it in a better place-none of these people cost a lot for the big business. Benefits were non-existent, and they appear headed in that direction again. Today, the big guys are worried about an unskilled worker shortage. They reason that either the schools or immigration (legal or otherwise) must provide the human capital. Human Capital- That's how the Business Roundtable refers to your children.

The thinking of the powers-that-be goes something like this: Without this sufficiently dumbed-down workforce, everything grinds to a halt. Gridlock. We're cooked- so their thinking goes. What must be done then, they reason, is to insure that there will always be this happy, sufficiently dumbed-down, work force. John Taylor Gatto, hero of the Home-School movement and author of the amazing book The Underground History of American Education (The Oxford Village Press, NY) speaks in detail about the theory. There are two choices in achieving the goal: 1) Increase the amount of illegal and undocumented workers and pretend to whine about it as we build 650 mile long fences- never on our Northern border, of course, or create our own, homegrown, sufficiently dumbed-down masses. Recently, you have all seen the effects of unchecked illegal immigration and the gnashing of teeth and make-believe moral indignation that spring from it. What you may not have realized is that the other, more effective, homegrown approach has been yielding impressive results. How does it work? It begins with an admission of the dirty little secret that public education has fouled up the works by doing too good of a job collectively raising the aspirations of young people across the broad spectrum of ethnicity and diversity that has made this country great. Every parent wants their kid to go to college, and, the business elite presume, "too damn many kids think they can get there". Ask yourself, has there been any effort by government that you can recall in recent years to make college more affordable and accessible to young people? If anything, their efforts have been to make college less accessible and affordable. Read how the business elite tried to subvert the impressive (91%) High School graduation rate in Minnesota in the late 80's by creating a process whereby all students would attend school K-10. Only about 20% of the students would be allowed to move on through 12th grade and go on to college. Those leaving at the end of 10th grade with a certificate could be guaranteed a job at places like 3-M and Con Agra, for example. These companies would then be virtually guaranteed a not-too-well educated workforce, happy to have a job at the plant. We don't make this stuff up- facts are pesky things, and just because Wolf Blitzer does not talk about it at night, does not mean that the plan is not in operation to increase the menial- task workforce.

So, the politicians and big business, using the new codeword- COMPETITIVE- need to create this workforce that is happy to do the low-paying jobs- happy like your grandfather was to have a job during the depression. How? By testing the daylights out of the kids from the time they are in kindergarten with tests longer than the bar exam, and in the time remaining, spend it preparing for the tests which have as their best predictor, one's zip code. If the program works as planned, there will be a record number of dropouts by the time kids reach about ninth and tenth grade. Students will have lowered their aspirations without being told to do so. Kids will have intuitively arrived at the conclusion that, "I wasn't that smart anyway because I can't do well on those tests" - the ones that made Mayor Bloomberg a hero for making 15,000+ kids have to repeat 3rd grade- "and besides, we don't even have Phys. Ed. (Remember the childhood obesity concerns?), Music, or Art anymore because all we do is prepare for the test... I quit, goodbye." Watch media talking heads complain about government's lack of concern about illegal immigration, and watch the talking head du jour on CNN or MSNBC cry big wet crocodile tears about the highest dropout rate- ever- every night. Here's the real truth, and it's not a conspiracy...when you hear that the dropout rate has never been higher, know the goal of creating our own happy, contented, and uncreative workforce is succeeding. The tests are merely tools to sort and classify your kids. Get them to a private school or home school them while you have the chance- they don't have to take the standardized tests in those settings. You don't really think that the Business Roundtable Gurus would bring all the 50 cents an hour jobs back from the Far East and Latin America if kids suddenly started doing well in the tests, do you? Remember that the corporations know no national boundaries. So when you hear the word "Competitive", you must ask "With whom?", and "About what?" Is GM USA going to be competing with GM Europe and GM Far East? It is certainly not a contest between countries like the Olympics.

Of course, maybe you are like us- those who dare in these perilous times in dark places where no one is watching- like Nicodemus coming to Jesus- to actually have a divergent thought or two. Here's a novel thought...Let's try to raise those test scores a bit without spending all of our school time preparing for the tests. It has been proven scientifically that the Physical Education activity that your superintendents and principals have been deleting in order to prepare for the tests with expensive test prep materials is just what kids need for a variety of reasons- not the least of which is the improvement in cognition- a fancy word us educators use to impress people. It really means improving a child's ability to think and concentrate better through regular physical activity as opposed to spending more seat time practicing for "Who Wants to be a Millionaire"- type multiple choice tests. There is much scientific support to show that a regular program of vigorous physical activity enhances overall skill performance in arithmetic, reading, memorization, and categorization. It has had brilliant results with senior citizens and children. A recent study from Canada created two groups of elementary students. One group spent an hour per day with moderate physical activity while the other group did test preparation activities during that time. At the end of the year, the group with the extra physical activity outperformed the other group in all academic measures. Additionally, Fishburne and Boras, assert that along with improvements in discipline and self concept, academic performance is enhanced by regular physical activity. Brain expert Simon Evans adds that physical activity actually turns on hormonal support systems in your brain. The activation of these systems strengthens brain circuits that you already have and helps you develop new ones. Further, continues Evans, exercise increases the blood supply in the brain. In laboratory studies, exercise increased the number of blood vessels that supply several brain regions. The effect of exercise then, improves nutrient delivery and waste removal from critical regions that affect mental function. Making a more technical point, Evans adds that an important brain area producing new neurons is the hippocampus- no, its not something you once saw at the zoo. The hippocampus plays a critical role in learning, memory, and attention- one reason why more parents are choosing exercise for their ADHD burdened child over Ritalin. Exercise, then, induces new neuron growth in the hippocampus and improves performance on several types of cognitive tasks. Besides, physical activity is a lot more fun for kids than keeping their ever-growing posteriors in the seat doing more practice testing. Download Dr. Mahar's "ENERGIZERS" from the web or send for your attractive, yet inexpensive, laminated classroom copy. These involve a variety of organized activities which the children do twice a day for a short period of time, mostly physical in nature the activities combine a mental component and are done completely in the classroom led by the classroom teacher. There has been much research done to show that people concentrate better following a break- thus if there are more breaks, there are more periods where one's concentration is at its highest. Combining the positive effects of physical activity into the preparation for testing will improve student performance in the testing to a greater degree than the endless "drill and kill" seatwork kids are required to do. Hillman's work on the positive effects of physical activity on cognition in young people- and not just Alzheimer's patients at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign can also add further support to your argument that physical activity improves standardized test scores. Talk to your school principals and superintendents. Most of these unhappy individuals whose job evaluations sometimes unfairly hang in the balance based on these test scores only can think of more "drill and kill", more rubrics, more softwear, more charts, graphs and item analyses, more "Death by PowerPoint", and more consultants all with the goal to keep kids in their seats beating the information into their heads. Of course, that means we have no time for "unimportant" things like Physical Education, Music, and Art- all of which have been shown to augment cognition in their own particular way. Although these tests are really just a means of sorting your kids, unhappily, we are stuck with them. The test Nazis have taken over- they even stole recess when we weren't paying attention. Let's help our kids stay fit at least- physically and mentally. Let's fight to lower the incidence of school phobia, and we can even ultimately impact the high dropout rate. Mc Mahon demonstrated that aerobic exercise reduced anxiety, tension, and depression in adolescents. In addition, we can attack the problem of childhood obesity while improving those test scores. The powers-that-be won't necessarily be happy about those higher scores though! They've already sent the good jobs to the Far East. The first rule of Marketing, friends, is to Create Consumer Awareness- so get out of your gym, tell all of the faculty, show them the research, get to the school board meetings, call the newspaper- stir the pot! Archimedes once said, "Give me a place to stand, and I will move the world!" A few patriots moved the world once and created the United States. Be a revolutionary and don't be afraid to irk a few people in the process. Read Ibsen's An Enemy of the People about someone who said what people knew but did not want to hear about diseases in the community or better yet, get out your Aesop's Fables and read The Emperor's New Clothes- then be like the little kid from the story who says what is really going on-It's our kids who will benefit. Don't expect to be loved though!

Life Is Full Of Emotional Ups And Downs

But when the "down" times are long lasting or interfere with your ability to function, you may be suffering from a common, serious illness--depression. Clinical depression affects mood, mind, body, and behavior. Research has shown that in the United States about 19 million people--one in ten adults--experience depression each year, and nearly two-thirds do not get the help they need.2 Treatment can alleviate the symptoms in over 80 percent of the cases. Yet, because it often goes unrecognized, depression continues to cause unnecessary suffering.

Depression is a pervasive and impairing illness that affects both women and men, but women experience depression at roughly twice the rate of men.1 Researchers continue to explore how special issues unique to women--biological, life cycle, and psycho-social-may be associated with women's higher rate of depression.

No two people become depressed in exactly the same way. Many people have only some of the symptoms, varying in severity and duration. For some, symptoms occur in time-limited episodes; for others, symptoms can be present for long periods if no treatment is sought. Having some depressive symptoms does not mean a person is clinically depressed. For example, it is not unusual for those who have lost a loved one to feel sad, helpless, and disinterested in regular activities. Only when these symptoms persist for an unusually long time is there reason to suspect that grief has become depressive illness. Similarly, living with the stress of potential layoffs, heavy workloads, or financial or family problems may cause irritability and "the blues." Up to a point, such feelings are simply a part of human experience. But when these feelings increase in duration and intensity and an individual is unable to function as usual, what seemed a temporary mood may have become a clinical illness.


1. In major depression, sometimes referred to as unipolar or clinical depression, people have some or all of the symptoms listed below for at least 2 weeks but frequently for several months or longer. Episodes of the illness can occur once, twice, or several times in a lifetime.

2. In dysthymia, the same symptoms are present though milder and last at least 2 years. People with dysthymia are frequently lacking in zest and enthusiasm for life, living a joyless and fatigued existence that seems almost a natural outgrowth of their personalities. They also can experience major depressive episodes.

3. Bipolar disorder, or manic-depression , is not nearly as common as other forms of depressive illness and involves disruptive cycles of depressive symptoms that alternate with mania. During manic episodes, people may become overly active, talkative, euphoric, irritable, spend money irresponsibly, and get involved in sexual misadventures. In some people, a milder form of mania, called hypomania, alternates with depressive episodes. Unlike other mood disorders, women and men are equally vulnerable to bipolar disorder; however, women with bipolar disorder tend to have more episodes of depression and fewer episodes of mania or hypomania.


A thorough diagnostic evaluation is needed if three to five or more of the following symptoms persist for more than 2 weeks (1 week in the case of mania), or if they interfere with work or family life. An evaluation involves a complete physical checkup and information gathering on family health history. Not everyone with depression experiences each of these symptoms. The severity of the symptoms also varies from person to person.


o Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood

o Loss of interest or pleasure in activities, including sex

o Restlessness, irritability, or excessive crying

o Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness, hopelessness, pessimism

o Sleeping too much or too little, early-morning awakening

o Appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight gain

o Decreased energy, fatigue, feeling "slowed down"

o Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts

o Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions

o Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain


o Abnormally elevated mood

o Irritability

o Decreased need for sleep

o Grandiose notions

o Increased talking

o Racing thoughts

o Increased activity, including sexual activity

o Markedly increased energy

o Poor judgment that leads to risk-taking behavior

o Inappropriate social behavior


Genetic Factors

There is a risk for developing depression when there is a family history of the illness, indicating that a biological vulnerability may be inherited. The risk is somewhat higher for those with bipolar disorder. However, not everybody with a family history develops the illness. In addition, major depression can occur in people who have had no family members with the illness. This suggests that additional factors, possibly biochemistry, environmental stressors, and other psychosocial factors, are involved in the onset of depression.

Biochemical Factors

Evidence indicates that brain biochemistry is a significant factor in depressive disorders. It is known, for example, that individuals with major depressive illness typically have dysregulation of certain brain chemicals, called neurotransmitters. Additionally, sleep patterns, which are biochemically influenced, are typically different in people with depressive disorders. Depression can be induced or alleviated with certain medications, and some hormones have mood-altering properties. What is not yet known is whether the "biochemical disturbances" of depression are of genetic origin, or are secondary to stress, trauma, physical illness, or some other environmental condition.

Environmental and Other Stressors

Significant loss, a difficult relationship, financial problems, or a major change in life pattern have all been cited as contributors to depressive illness. Sometimes the onset of depression is associated with acute or chronic physical illness. In addition, some form of substance abuse disorder occurs in about one-third of people with any type of depressive disorder.

Other Psychological and Social Factors

Persons with certain characteristics--pessimistic thinking, low self-esteem, a sense of having little control over life events, and a tendency to worry excessively--are more likely to develop depression. These attributes may heighten the effect of stressful events or interfere with taking action to cope with them or with getting well. Upbringing or sex role expectations may contribute to the development of these traits. It appears that negative thinking patterns typically develop in childhood or adolescence. Some experts have suggested that the traditional upbringing of girls might foster these traits and may be a factor in women's higher rate of depression.


Major depression and dysthymia affect twice as many women as men. This two-to-one ratio exists regardless of racial and ethnic background or economic status. The same ratio has been reported in ten other countries all over the world.5 Men and women have about the same rate of bipolar disorder (manic-depression), though its course in women typically has more depressive and fewer manic episodes. Also, a greater number of women have the rapid cycling form of bipolar disorder, which may be more resistant to standard treatments.

A variety of factors unique to women's lives are suspected to play a role in developing depression. Research is focused on understanding these, including: reproductive, hormonal, genetic or other biological factors; abuse and oppression; interpersonal factors; and certain psychological and personality characteristics. And yet, the specific causes of depression in women remain unclear; many women exposed to these factors do not develop depression. What is clear is that regardless of the contributing factors, depression is a highly treatable illness.


Investigators are focusing on the following areas in their study of depression in women:

The Issues of Adolescence

Before adolescence, there is little difference in the rate of depression in boys and girls. But between the ages of 11 and 13 there is a precipitous rise in depression rates for girls. By the age of 15, females are twice as likely to have experienced a major depressive episode as males.6 This comes at a time in adolescence when roles and expectations change dramatically. The stresses of adolescence include forming an identity, emerging sexuality, separating from parents, and making decisions for the first time, along with other physical, intellectual, and hormonal changes. These stresses are generally different for boys and girls, and may be associated more often with depression in females. Studies show that female high school students have significantly higher rates of depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, and adjustment disorders than male students, who have higher rates of disruptive behavior disorders.

Adulthood: Relationships and Work Roles

Stress in general can contribute to depression in persons biologically vulnerable to the illness. Some have theorized that higher incidence of depression in women is not due to greater vulnerability, but to the particular stresses that many women face. These stresses include major responsibilities at home and work, single parenthood, and caring for children and aging parents. How these factors may uniquely affect women is not yet fully understood.

Tips to Recognize Depression in Children Through Behavioral Patterns

Depression is a killer, in short. An adult in depression experiences several mental, emotional, and cognitive problems in understanding and dealing with depression so one can imagine how much trouble a child may face with depression. Sadly, children are not in a position to realize when they are depressed therefore, the onus lies on their parents or guardians to monitor a child's behavior for any signs of depression.

Here are a few tips that will help you diagnose depression in kids by observing their behaviors:

  • The child will prefer to live in solitude and withdraw in his own world. He will prefer the confines of his own bedroom and always avoid interacting or meeting with people whether family members or outsiders.

  • The child will tend to avoid participating in everyday activities and responsibilities with vigor and enthusiasm. He will always seem lost in his own world.

  • A depressed child will show behavior of insecurity. This means that the child will tend to feel insecure when the person he loves goes out of his sight for even a few minutes. In extreme cases, the insecurities take the shape of suspicion and increase in depression frequency.

  • A depressed child will cling to the person he loves. This is akin to insecurity, but there is a difference - the child will feel lost when left alone and seek attention by clinging to people. This is different from insecurity feelings.

  • The child will have outbursts - it can be anger, sadness or excessive happiness without any reason. Yes, we all have outbursts at some points in our life to give vent to frustrations, but that do not make us depressed. The thing to note here is that a depressed child will have outbursts without any apparent reason like shouting to a parent just because he did not get the book he wanted.

  • When the depression increases, a child may inflict self-harm to get attention or try to end his life because he finds it worthless. Self harm is dangerous.

A kid displaying any of the above signs should be given immediate medical attention to diagnose depression and start its treatment. Lack of awareness will only create problems for the child when he grows up and for those people who will be associated with him later in life.

An Insight Into Depression

Either directly or indirectly, depression affects almost everyone on the surface of the planet today. Popularly referred to as the common cold of the brain, there has been confusions concerning what depression actually is and what it is not. Many can still not distinguish between depression and when an individual is just feeling down. Also, the different types of depression have raised a number of confusion for those trying to describe what they, or the persons around them, are feeling. Right now, we just have to set the record straight by enlightening everyone about this mental condition.

Symptoms of Depression

Highlighted below are the common depression symptoms experienced by its patients:

  • An obstinate anxious, sad, or 'empty' mood

  • Hopeless and pessimistic feelings

  • Feelings of worthlessness

  • Feelings of guilt

  • Feeling helpless

  • Lack of interest or pleasure in the hobbies and activities they once love to engage in.

  • Waking-up very early in the morning

  • Insomnia

  • Oversleeping

  • Inability to concentrate, remember and make decisions

  • Restlessness

Apart from the ones listed above, some other depression symptoms may include loss of appetite with or without loss of weight. On the other hand, some depressed individuals notable experience overeating causing a drastic weight gain. Meanwhile, others experience fatigue, lack of energy and a feeling of incompetency and sluggishness. As for people with severe depression, they can also have the thought of suicide or death in their mind at times. Apart from these, there are some stubborn physical symptoms that normally fail to respond to anxiety treatment. These include digestive disorders, headaches, and chronic pain.

Am I just feeling down or has depression sets in?

In the present fast-paced society we live in, a lot of people engage in strenuous activities more than before with less pay. Therefore, it is absolutely normal for an individual not to be in his full state of mind at times.

The major things that differentiate occasional feeling down from depression are:

(i) How severe is the individual experiencing any of the symptoms above, and
(ii) For how long have you been experiencing the symptoms?

Normally, in order to establish a depression attack in an individual, the person must have been facing some of the symptoms listed above for a period not less than two weeks. Also, such symptoms must have been causing a reasonable amount of distress in the sufferer's life, and must have been interfering with the person's ability to go about their normal daily routine.

Depression could be very creepy and could go undetected in people's lives for a long period of time. It is a severe disorder that may not strike fully at once. It could cause a slowly and unnoticeable pull out from your active and enjoyable lifestyle.

Although there are different depression types being experienced by different people. Apart from the slow-onset depressions described above, most of these disorders are triggered by clear events such as a divorce, relationship breakup, family issues, and so on. Meanwhile, as important as it is to know the cause of this problem, it is more important to undergo a depression test to estimate your level of your depression, and also to find an appropriate and operative treatment for it.

Nevertheless, individuals grieving the loss of their loved ones are regarded to be undergoing a normal state and are not considered to be among the sufferers of depression. Also, clinical depression is not associated with teenagers that are undergoing the normal mood swings associated to their age. Following its normal cause, the disorder basically attacks adults. However, depression is more common in women than men.

Common Types of Depression in Women

Depression in women is unquestionable, probably because women, in general, are emotional than their men counterpart. What's sad about it is that women find it hard to overcome this condition. There are actually a lot of most common types of depression in women, which experts classified. However, the following are just some of them that mostly women can easily relate to.

Post-natal depression

This type of depression in women occurs several months after giving birth. This condition is due to drastic changes in lifestyle, constant dependence on other people, and sense of increase responsibility. What happens is that first-time and young mothers find it difficult to do certain things that motherhood brings the right way and more quickly, such as new responsibility of nursing their child.

To overcome this condition, forcing to play the role of a loving mother will do no good, especially if you don't recognize any feelings towards your child at first, which is rather normal. Take things slowly at your own pace, but make sure not to prolong your adjustment period. Remember that it is your duty to look after your baby. And once you get acquainted and starting to get used of your role as a mother, you'll do better than you thought. Additionally, if your relatives or friends offer help, accept it because you will need time to get back to normal senses again after returning from hospital.

Age-dependent depression

Depression in women may be associated with age. Those women in climacteric age can suffer from depression. Women's hormonal background of organism changes during this time and most often depressive condition is observed. The coming of menopause also results to psychological pressure that may disturb women.

To conquer this condition, you should try not to change your day-to-day routine. Keep in mind that climacteric does not mean the end of the world. Only you know the changes that happen to you, unless of course you spread the words. Menopausal is a natural phase in life that all, which means without exception, women have to go through. Therefore, don't make a tragedy out of it. You may want to consult your doctor if hormonal therapy can do you any good.

Monthly depression

Monthly depression in women refers to premenstrual. This condition can be detected few days before menstruation period, during or right after it, or depending on a certain women's distinction.

Since you don't have any ways to hide this condition, you may want to consider some ways to cope with it such as staying at home or making no important plans. Most likely, you may have already noticed the period of your cycle that you can't control this condition. Therefore, it's easier for you to plan your activities ahead and "spare" those days that you can't be active.

Depression in women associated to exhaustion

This condition is also called chronic tiredness. This usually occurs if you overestimate your strengths and if you have increased responsibilities for the duties you assume. This is why is it important that you alternate work with rest, otherwise time will come that you will no longer be able to do previous work and suffer because of this condition. To prevent exhaustion depression in women, make it a point to have a full day rest on your day off. Physical and mental rest is essential to keep you productive in your work.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Symptoms of Depression - Anxiety 101

Although anxiety and depression are related to each other and quite often need the same kind of treatment, they are not one and the same thing.

Anxiety occurs in situations where a person does not necessarily have a reason to be anxious and there are not usually any warning signs. Depression on the other hand can happen due to anxiety and is likely to leave the individual feeling sad or down.

A feeling of hopelessness and total despair is a symptom of depression anxiety and as one illness can lead on to the other these two conditions are usually treated together. Depression is more likely to occur when treatment is not initially sought for anxiety and the person is unaware of how to deal with the ensuing symptoms.

When someone is suffering with depression anxiety, all their energy is zapped and they feel tired most of the time. They begin to feel like they are on deaths door and they decide that if they can sleep all of the time, they don't have to face what is really going on and the reason they are feeling anxious in the first place.

When the symptoms of depression anxiety are caused by anxiety, there are treatment techniques such as exercise and relaxation which can be of great benefit. By relaxing the muscles you will feel less tense and by partaking in exercise the chemicals released to the brain will make you feel happy as well as affording you the luxury of releasing pent up anger and aggression in a positive manner.

When you feel healthy due to regular exercise, self esteem is enhanced and this is a key to preventing depression. Another beneficial way of treating depression anxiety symptoms without the use of medication is cognitive behavioral therapy.

This helps the person to identify why they are feeling anxious and depressed and provides them with the necessary techniques to deal with the situation. The therapy itself is concerned with reducing the attitude that bad things are about to happen as negative self talk plays a huge part of anxiety and depression.

Things can be further enhanced when you boost your energy levels by eating healthily. For example, by lowering your sugar and caffeine intake and supplementing your diet with herbal vitamins you are sure to see a naturally significant improvement in the state of your over all health.

By learning to think of yourself in a positive way you can help your anxiety depression symptoms to be reduced.

Overmedication of Depressed Individuals

It is a common method of treating symptoms in the 21st century: you walk into the doctor's office, you describe your symptoms to the nurse, the doctor comes in and reads a sheet of paper then asks you a couple of cursory questions before writing a prescription and telling you to "have a nice day". Most individuals spend more time in the waiting room than they actually spend with their physician. The trend in the United States and in the United Kingdom seems to be to simply medicate patients without fully diagnosing their sumptoms, much less finding the root cause..

Combating Depression

Depression is one of those dysfunctions which can present with a wide variety of symptoms that may or may not be related. These can range from feelings of sadness, changes in sleep patterns, weight changes, lack of energy, cognitive function impairment, to a wide variety of other issues. According to Dr. Jennifer Wild, a senior instructor at the Institute of Psychiatry, despite a large increase in cognitive behavior therapy - otherwise known as CBT - doctors are still advocating the use drugs on their patients. Wild argues that doctors need to have a better understanding of the psychological therapies available and should be offering such therapies to individuals in lieu of medications which simply mask the dysfunctions. Her findings were posted on the BBC's website.

Using Therapy, not Drugs

According to Dr. Wild, "People with depression often get better when they change the way they think. Since with therapy it is more likely to achieve this with longer lasting results than drugs, doctors need to stop pushing pills and start pushing treatments that work."

The problem with many clinicians is that they have been taught over the years to simply provide medication to aiding masking or alleviating the symptoms and that is exactly what antidepressants do: make a person feel better. They do not solve the underlying symptoms, nor do they treat the problem that is causing the depression in the first place. When doctors simply prescribe a pill, they are only enabling a temporary solution.

Professor Robert DeRubeis at the University of Pennsylvania took a team of researchers and looked at CBT as a way of treating depression. They found that individuals who received such treatment as compared with medications showed significant long-term recovery through retraining the patient's thought patterns.

In 2008, the UK Government introduced an initiative called Improving Access to Psychological Therapies, or IAPT, which is effectively halting the automatic prescription of pills and expanding the availability of psychological treatments that are effective in treating the symptoms. Prior to the initiative, most doctors in the UK offered 80 percent of patients' drugs and only 20 percent were offered therapy. Now, 115 out of 154 of England's primary care trusts now offer IAPT service.

If one suffers from a disease or dysfunction, a doctor should first and foremost focus upon finding an answer that addresses all the symptoms, as opposed to masking the symptoms through pills. There is simply no substitute for a carefully considered diagnosis..

Some Very Shocking Statistics on Depression

The effects of depression on a person or a family are enormous. Depression not only affects a specific individual, it can have a long-lasting impact that can cause emotional scars to loved ones, and even to society. The problem of depression is indeed compelling. Here are some statistics to support this fact.

Every year, around 19 million people in America the mental condition that can be subsumed under the general category of 'depressive disorders.' Some of these conditions are dysthymia, bipolar disorder, and major depression. In societies that have experienced the effect of industrialization, experts estimate that around 10 to 15 percent of their adult population can be diagnosed as depressed. Among American people who are 15 to 44 years of age, depression is one of the leading causes of disability. All over the world, it is one of the leading causes of disability for people who are aged 5 and above.

The symptoms of a major depressive disorder can appear at any age, but the median age when these symptoms occur is 32. More recent studies have found that as much as 4 percent of children who are in pre-school age already have clinical depression. Another study showed more alarming results: every year, the number of children who have depression symptoms increase by 23 percent. This may be due to the fact that the usual antidepressants prescribed to adults have little or no effect on individuals under the age of 18.

The rate of women who have been diagnosed with clinical depression is about twice that of men. This information may be misleading, though; because men are not as willing as women to seek treatment for their condition, the recorded cases are lower. In general, experts believe that as much as 80% of individuals who are suffering from clinical depression are not diagnosed and treated. Depression is an illness that may come back at intermittent periods during one's lifetime - if you suffered from depression in the past, there is a higher risk of recurrence later on.

The economy suffers as a result of depression as well. Depression can cause absenteeism at work, thus dealing a major blow to the business of the company. Studies estimate that more than $51 billion annually are lost due to low productivity and absenteeism caused by depression. This amount does not include yet the costs for medication and treatment.

In spite of all these compelling statistics, there is still an existing stigma that is attached to patients who have clinical depression. In a study, more than half of the respondents say that they view depression as a personal weakness. The results of another study showed that 41% of women said that they were too ashamed to seek professional help to combat their condition.

Fibromyalgia and MS - Understanding the Difference

Both autoimmune diseases, Fibromyalgia and MS are consistently crossing paths with each other. Autoimmune diseases often come in twos and threes so those that are diagnosed with one will often have another. Many times these two diseases are confused with each other, or sometimes fibromyalgia will precede a multiple sclerosis diagnosis by a few years. They share many similar symptoms however there are clear difference between these two diseases.

Fibromyalgia and MS share much of the same symptoms such as pain, numbness, tingling, muscle stiffness, and loss of muscle function. Both conditions can be debilitating in their own way, and both share the tendency for sleep difficulties and fatigue. This can make it difficult sometimes to make a diagnosis, and for doctors that do not always do their homework often a misdiagnosis can occur for either one.

 Diagnosis of Fibromyalgia to date does not include any visual tests such as MRIs or blood tests, but is based on patient history, symptoms and the tender points test. This test identifies 18 tender points that are highly sensitive and painful when pressure is applied.

This is one of the places where fibromyalgia and MS differ; MS is a degenerative disease that is usually visibly detectable in MRIs and other tests. Multiple sclerosis causes damage to the myelin sheath around the spinal cord and this eventually causes nerve damage. This disease is usually progressive leaving some people unable to walk and the damage is permanent.

For those with fibromyalgia there is no collateral damage of this type, and while the symptoms are very real and painful, it is not degenerative in anyway. The real damage of fibromyalgia comes from the debilitating pain that can lead to a lack of activity, which along with depression can often lead to a slow progression of other disease processes that have recently been linked to fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia and MS often run in the same families, which is another reason they can be misdiagnosed. If you think you may have one disease or another be sure to see your doctor and work with him to get an accurate diagnosis, since the medical treatments for each disease are different it is important you get an accurate diagnosis. Thankfully both diseases respond well to treatment and changes in diet and exercise.

Both autoimmune diseases, Fibromyalgia and MS are consistently crossing paths with each other. Autoimmune diseases often come in twos and threes so those that are diagnosed with one will often have another. Many times these two diseases are confused with each other, or sometimes fibromyalgia will precede a multiple sclerosis diagnosis by a few years. They share many similar symptoms however there are clear difference between these two diseases.

Fibromyalgia and MS share much of the same symptoms such as pain, numbness, tingling, muscle stiffness, and loss of muscle function. Both conditions can be debilitating in their own way, and both share the tendency for sleep difficulties and fatigue. This can make it difficult sometimes to make a diagnosis, and for doctors that do not always do their homework often a misdiagnosis can occur for either one.

 Diagnosis of Fibromyalgia to date does not include any visual tests such as MRIs or blood tests, but is based on patient history, symptoms and the tender points test. This test identifies 18 tender points that are highly sensitive and painful when pressure is applied.

This is one of the places where fibromyalgia and MS differ; MS is a degenerative disease that is usually visibly detectable in MRIs and other tests. Multiple sclerosis causes damage to the myelin sheath around the spinal cord and this eventually causes nerve damage. This disease is usually progressive leaving some people unable to walk and the damage is permanent.

For those with fibromyalgia there is no collateral damage of this type, and while the symptoms are very real and painful, it is not degenerative in anyway. The real damage of fibromyalgia comes from the debilitating pain that can lead to a lack of activity, which along with depression can often lead to a slow progression of other disease processes that have recently been linked to fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia and MS often run in the same families, which is another reason they can be misdiagnosed. If you think you may have one disease or another be sure to see your doctor and work with him to get an accurate diagnosis, since the medical treatments for each disease are different it is important you get an accurate diagnosis. Thankfully both diseases respond well to treatment and changes in diet and exercise.

Understanding and Comparing Life Insurance Quotes

For many people they have some difficulty in choosing what type of life insurance. they are going to purchase. Part of the reason is they do not know how much does life insurance cost . Getting insured can be a daunting undertaking if you do not know how to start. Starting with life insurance quotes would be a good start. This way you can understand and compare life insurance quotes you have gathered. What most people do is to learn or know what is the average cost or price and then get some quotes. These quotations that you may gather from amongst the many life insurance companies will be very useful.

Once you have already gathered the quotations from a multitude or numbers of insurers, you can easily compare their quotes. Every insurer has their own set of policies and guidelines in underwriting life insurance. Most of these life insurance quotes can be obtain from amongst the many insurers on the internet. These companies have their online sites where you can simply search for their sites and use these tools and resources for free.

Sometimes it's as easy as entering your zip code and you get started. Most of these big insurer sites have these tools and resources which are very helpful and can provide you many scenarios. You can make hypothetical situations to get different quotes to compare and make the best decision possible. What you need here some personal information to keyed into the system and it will calculate for you how much the average price or cost to you is.

First thing you need to do after you enter the zip code is to know the coverage amount you like to purchase. Whether it would 250,000, 500,000 one million or more dollars, you need to enter the amount in the box provided. Choosing the right amount to be insured should be thought of properly and think what is enough for your family and business should you unexpected die. The rule of thumb is you need and amount that is equivalent to seven to 10 times of your annual gross income. The idea here is make sure that when you are no longer there to provide form them they can at least maintain their financial lifestyle.

The next thing you need to provide is some personal information to be able to calculate what your projected monthly premiums will be. Here you need to enter your date of birth or age, gender, height and weight ratio, your first and last name, and address. You may also need to enter your telephone number and cell phones and your email address too. Some of these brokers and insurers also need to know if you want to receive some newsletters. Sometimes these are valuable as it gives you more information and tips on how you go about your life insurance quotes online.
Another factor that they always would like to know is if you are a smoker for the twelve months or have ever smoked. They will also ask information about your health. Health information like if you have or have suffered from diabetes, cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure (hypertension), anxiety and depression, asthma, alcohol and or drug abuse, or any similar diseases should be provided. Some life insurance companies would also ask if you have any convictions for driving under the influence (DUI) or similar convictions.

But you have to be cautious when giving all these information as some bad apples in the industry are just interest in your email address and some personal information. So always remember to get these life insurance quotes from a reputable and highly rank life insurance companies or insurers. The life insurance quotes that you received from these inquiries will be very helpful in comparing them and choosing the type of life insurance policy coverage that suits your needs.