Saturday, May 3, 2014

Three in a Bed by Deborah Jackson - A Review

Co-sleeping or the family bed as it is sometimes known is a maligned and misunderstood practice that is often secretly practiced by many new families desperate for a good night's sleep. A recent survey in the UK found that 90% of new mothers admit to falling asleep with their baby in the least once. Three in a Bed: The Benefits of Sleeping with Your Baby by Deborah Jackson offers a thoughtful and thorough exploration of the facts and myths surrounding this practice that continues to be the norm in much of the world.

In addition to exploring the practice from historical and sociological points of view, she also looks at the most practical of issues, such as how safe is the practice, how to sustain a sex life and when the child is ready to leave your bed. Her chapter, Practically Speaking, offers excellent advice in a question and answer format. She answers basic questions such as how important is a bed-time routine, what you and the baby should wear and how to get out without the baby. She also tackles more difficult issues like what happens when you have a second baby, what about twins and what if your partner does not like the idea.

This book is a comprehensive and evidence based exploration of this touchy subject. Ms. Jackson relies upon, quotes and cites numerous scientific and sociological studies on the subject. She includes a complete appendix of footnotes and a bibliography.

The drawbacks of this book are that it is not an easy read. The few illustrations are black and white basic drawings; while this topic could have well benefited from color illustrations or pictures such as different options for positioning. Although she uses quotes frequently, she does not make effective use of tools such as text boxes to pull out and emphasis points.

As a result of its evidence based approach and lack of readability, this book is not one that I recommend to all my clients. But it is a reference tool that I recommend all birth and baby professionals read as well as parents seeking more than a cursory look at this important issue.

Depression & Andropause - Find Out How to Help Yourself

Andropause correlates directly with depression - a major player in the notorious mid-life crisis period men face in their late 40's to late 50's. There are a wide variety of symptoms and conditions hormone-wrecked men experience during this mid-life transition - everything from the mental (i.e. irritability) to the physical (loss of libido, lack of energy, and weight gain.) Depression, left untreated, can be a disabling condition.

Andropause depression is due to dropping levels of testosterone. Low testosterone levels cause many depressive symptoms - among them, a general indifference to events surrounding you, the inability to concentrate, extreme irritability, and memory loss. We might stress over things that might otherwise be worry-free in a normal situation and brood over certain matters. Our memory might go down the drain and we begin to see our lives in a negative light.

Energy levels plummet and enthusiasm for the activities we used to enjoy become flat-lined. Insomnia and restlessness is also a common symptom. Normal everyday things might become a burden to us, and the simplest shout of a child can make us excessively irritable. Psychologists use a variety of battery tests to figure out whether you suffer from depression. Besides handing you test sheets to work with, they also place you under observation - noticing your behavior, tendencies, and habits while talking to them.

Men tend to be rebellious creatures by nature. We love shrugging off our faults and being poised in the midst of emotional trouble. We take on the role as masculine creatures - lion kings of the jungle that reign over the sprawling landscape we call life. Men can be in full denial when it comes to questions about their sexual ability and prowess. Refusing to understand that we aren't who we once were with our sexual performance as a result of Andropause is in our blood.

Fellas, it is time to become aware and acquainted with the severity of your depression.

Off the bat, there are facts and figures supporting depression as a major problem. For one, 80% of all suicides in the United States are carried out by men. The majority of people with this condition never seek the advice and counsel of therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists. Probably the most shocking fact of all is the male suicide rate is highest during the Andropause years. You read correctly - highest during the years we're specifically talking about.

How do we deal with these devastating changes to our lives? How can we manage stress to reduce the chances of clinical depression? For one, we must follow a daily exercise regimen. That coupled with a caffeine-free diet will boost our immune systems to fight disease. It will also slow down the aging process. Aim to maintain that explosive 30-inch, vertical leap well into your 60s! Another is doing the activities we love. Don't stray from playing your pick-up basketball games with buddies or building those go-carts from scratch as a hobby. Stick to them and enjoy the satisfaction of doing so. Distract yourself from your current condition without ignoring it completely.

Maintain a social network of friends and family that will cheer you up when you need it most. Something as simple as having your young child shove a hand drawing of a red school bus in your face can provide for laughs and smiles. The most important piece of advice is to accept your condition and make the best of it.

For example, low testosterone levels can easily be supplemented with testosterone cream. It's bound to happen to all of us, and you either have the choice of making the best of it or letting it overwhelm you. Awareness is critical, and an optimistic attitude, followed with physical activity and a solid nutritional plan, is the best means of fighting Andropause, anti-aging, and the demon known as depression.

Vintage Dresses Stand the Test of Time

Vintage dresses are enduringly popular for a very good reason. The classic cuts and elegant silhouettes of vintage dresses have stood the test of time, flattering our figures decade after decade. Beyond their figure enhancing effect, vintage dresses are desirable for their unique position in fashion and social history. When considering the history of fashion, vintage dresses have an unparalleled importance; instantly recognisable, they define an era, capture a moment. No other single garment has this power of evoking bygone days as succinctly as vintage dresses. Vintage dresses are the icons of each decade, with one style of dress summing up the fashions of the time.

Technically, a dress over 20 years old is classified as 'vintage;' any older than 100 years and it becomes 'antique.' The 20th century saw an ever-changing succession of fashions, providing us with a plethora of alluring vintage dresses from which to choose. This century of unprecedented sartorial revolution saw the formation of the contemporary fashion industry as it exists today, and changed the way we make, buy and wear clothes forever. Vintage fashions, from the 1920's to the 1990's, reflect overarching social, political and economic factors; each generation reacting against the style that went before it. Vintage dresses are the garments which so readily epitomise each decade of fashion, encompassing a range of distinctive features unique to that particular time's fashions, including: cut; silhouette; colour scheme; fabric; patterns; and embellishment.

1920's - Hemlines rose higher to the knee and waistlines dropped lower. A boyish figure was favoured, removing emphasis from the bust, waist and hips for a blocky shape. Loose fitting, but not voluminous, dresses had typically straight lines and low waists, allowing for energetic dancing. The flapper dress epitomises this time, featuring geometric Art Deco beading and/or frivolous fringing.

1930's - In a complete reversal of tastes, long, flowing feminine dresses with a natural waistline were favoured. As the Depression set in, the sumptuous world of Hollywood movies captured the American imagination, popularising slinky screen-siren gowns which clung to every curve. Madame Vionett perfected the smooth, sensuous silhouette with bias-cut gowns, which were often backless. Fluttery, tiered skirts were also popular on dresses, retaining that flirty, feminine style.

1940's - World War II meant a utilitarian approach to dressing and removed all frivolous wastes of material. Sleek lines remained without wasting material via calf-to-knee length hemlines and slim skirts. Rationed fabrics meant feminine dresses often had to be cut from menswear, lending a militaristic, functional air. Slim, belted waists and narrow hips were further emphasized by exaggerated shoulders.

1950's - The restraint of the war years led to a period of exuberant femininity in the Fifties. Full skirted, knee-length dresses were worn with petticoats for extra oomph. Dior's 'New Look' defined the nipped in waist and long full skirts of the decades dresses. Shirt dresses and halter-neck dresses gained popularity. Hemlines remained at the knee or just below for both day and evening dresses. Brocade and floral patterns were typical on Fifties dresses, as the freedom to experiment with fabric and colour returned.

1960's - The Sixties began with simple, geometric shift dresses, before being revolutionized in 1964 by Mary Quant and the mini skirted dress: Psychedelic patterns and colours engulfed sleeveless shift dresses; flared micro-mini baby-doll dresses took the hemlines even higher in sugary sweet colours and fabrics; and velvet dresses with long, lace trimmed bell-sleeves epitomised the dandified look of the time.

1970s - Whilst the Sixties went mini, the dresses of the seventies went maxi. Long, flowing gypsy style dresses had tiered skirts and nonchalant off the shoulder necklines. Lace, fringing and embroidery details cemented the hippy look, having various ethnic influences. Edwardian style long, lacy and high-necked dresses were made popular by Laura Ashley. The disco dresses of the Seventies were characterized by long hemlines too, fitting close to the body in sinuous, glossy fabrics such as lam矇 and satin.

1980's - 'Power dressing' in the Eighties paved the way for a Forties tinged silhouette, with highly emphasized wide shoulders and nipped in waists, with a typically sleek, short pencil skirt. Flashy gilt and golden finishes upped the glamour stakes, as seen at Versace. The decade's defining dress however was brought to you by Azzedine Ala簿a - the 'King of Cling'- whose body-conscious dresses were scandalously form-fitting.

Now in the 21st century, the demand for vintage fashion, and specifically vintage dresses, is greater than ever. Let's take a trip through the 20th century and look at some features which characterise vintage dresses from each decade.

Signs of Drug Addiction and 6 Proven Recovery Tips

People experiment with drugs for many different reasons. Some do it out of curiosity or to have a good time, stress, anxiety, or depression. Drug abuse and addiction is less about the amount of substance consumed or the frequency, but more about the consequence of drug use. No matter how often or how little you're consuming, if your drug use is causing problems in your personal relationships, at home, work etc, you're likely to have to have a drug abuse or addiction problem.

Common signs and symptoms of drug abuse:

You're neglecting responsibilities at work at home, due to drug consumption.
Your taking high risks or using drugs under dangerous conditions, such as taking drugs whilst driving, or using a dirty needle.
Your drug use is getting you into illegal problems such as arrest for disorderly behaviour or driving under the influence.

Common signs and symptoms of drug addiction:

You need to use more drugs to experience the same affects you used to attain with smaller amounts.
If you go too long without drugs you start to experience symptoms such as nausea, insomnia, depression, sweating, shaking and anxiety.
You use drugs more than planned, even though you told yourself you wouldn't. You may want to stop using but feel powerless.
You continue to use drugs even though you know that it is bad for you.

Recognising that you have a drug problem is the first step on the road to recovery. You need to be willing to seek help and want to recover.

Here are some proven tips on how to recovery from drug addiction:

Firstly you need to be willing to get help for recovery. It must be something that you desire to do.

Educate yourself about the addiction of drugs and what it does to your body. It helps to know about the recovery process as well as the damage it causes to the body.

Cross addiction can take place so be very mindful of taking any other forms of drugs for example drugs to overcome flu, as you can become addicted to them too.

Surround yourself with supportive people who are willing to help you recover. You need all the support you can get during recovery

Formulate a relapse prevention plan. In order to recover more quickly, write down all the triggers that make you relapse during your treatment. By knowing the triggers it can help you avoid them in the future.

Don't beat yourself up about the mistakes you have made. You need a positive overview and atmosphere. So find ways of being optimistic and positive.
There you have some tips that can help you recover from drug abuse and addiction. The first thing must be for you to be willing to make the change yourself; otherwise others helping you won't make a difference as you will not want treatment or their help. Instead you will be isolating yourself into a darker hole

SSRI Treatment of Fibromyalgia, The Pros and Cons!

Depression for a fibromyalgia sufferer produces a negative impact on every aspect of life. When severe enough, people are willing to try almost anything to find relief. There are more than 5 million fibromyalgia sufferers in America today. Although most are women, fibromyalgia is an affliction found in both sexes, all ages (including children), and all socioeconomic groups.

As one of the truly underrated and misunderstood symptoms of fibromyalgia, depression may be misdiagnosed, overlooked, and is sometimes left untreated. But when it's addressed as a "real symptom" of fibromyalgia today, it's commonly treated by a classification of anti-depressant medications called SSRI's.

SSRI's have recently become a very popular "treatment" for those that suffer from fibromyalgia. The initials stand for:

  • Selective

  • Serotonin

  • Re-Uptake

  • Inhibitors

Common SSRI Drugs List - Are You Taking One Of These?

Drug Name - Brand Names:

  • Citalopram- Celexa, Emocal, Cipramil, Sepram, Dalsan, Recital, Seropram

  • Escitalopram- Lexapro,Cipralex, Esertia

  • Fluoxetine- Depress, Fontex, Fluctin, Prozac, Fluox, Seronil, Seromex, Sarefem

  • Fluvoxamine- Luvox, Movox, Favoxil, Dumyrox, Fevarin

  • Paroxetine- Paxil, Aropax, Deroxat, Paroxat, Xetanor, Seroxat, Sereupin, Rexetin

  • Dapoxetine- (Waiting for approval by FDA)

But, is SSRI treatment of fibromyalgia the best choice for treating fibromyalgia- depression?

The Pros...

This classification of medications can have exceptional results in some patients, helping them take control of their depression symptoms and regain function in their daily lives. The dosage of an SSRI treatment of fibromyalgia is usually the same as the dosage used to treat general depression. When used in combination with tricyclic anti-depressants like amitriptyline, SSRI's can be more successful at breaking the cycle of pain and sleep disorder symptoms than SSRI treatment of fibromyalgia alone. However, even when SSRI treatment of fibromyalgia is applied, some fibromyalgia sufferers may find that the side-effects to be unacceptable.

The Cons...

SSRI medications are usually prescribed for the treatment of mood disorders like depression and anxiety. However, they may not be a good choice for some fibromyalgia sufferers because there can be serious side-effects associated with the use of these drugs:

  • For one thing, sleep problems can actually get worse with SSRI's. In studies, 15-20% of patients taking SSRI's suffered insomnia after going on the medication for a time; and most fibromyalgia sufferers have to take an additional sedative to "wind down" and get to sleep. While SSRI treatment of fibromyalgia may help some sufferers with sleep issues, new and unexpected sleep disorders including insomnia may develop with long periods of SSRI use.

  • Anxiety is already an issue for fibromyalgia sufferers, and SSRI treatment of fibromyalgia may trigger flares. Anxiety reactions may become more frequent and severe.

  • Headaches are another symptom which may become more frequent and severe with SSRI treatment of fibromyalgia.

  • Sexual dysfunctions are very common with SSRI use.

  • Gastrointestinal issues also occur with SSRI medications, including nausea, diarrhea and loss of appetite.

  • One of the biggest long-term effects of SSRI treatment of fibromyalgia, is weight gain.

  • Regular use of SSRI's can lead to a very rare and serious condition called serotonin syndrome. Symptoms of this toxic illness include shivering, sweating, dilated pupils, intermittent twitching or tremors, hyperactive bowel sounds, high blood pressure, fever of up to 104F degrees, agitation, seizures, and renal failure. Left untreated, patients with this condition may go into shock or even die. There is presently no lab test for the diagnosis of serotonin syndrome.

  • The FDA has issued an advisory on antidepressant medications and the increased risk of suicide; the FDA does not recommend that patients stop taking antidepressants, but they should be carefully monitored especially when beginning treatment or changing dosages. In medical studies, it has been found that 2-4% of patients being treated with SSRI's will experience an increase in suicidal thoughts.

Natural Options To Consider...

There is a natural alternative to SSRI's with fewer side-effects and complications. It is 5-Hydroxytryptophan, or 5-HTP. For many fibromyalgia sufferers battling depression symptoms, this may be a better, safer option than the standard SSRI treatment of fibromyalgia "drug-list". 5-HTP has been shown to increase the brain's natural serotonin production just like SSRI's, and patients report reduced anxiety, elevated mood and deeper more natural sleep while on this supplement. 5-HTP supplements are typically extracted from the seeds of the West African Griffonia simplicifolia plant, and can be found at herb and vitamin reseller establishments and online.

Another part of the natural treatment for fibromyalgia-depression and other symptoms is through eating an improved diet. Nutritional supplements that build up the general health of the fibromyalgia sufferer can reduce and even eliminate symptoms including the pain, fatigue, brain fog, and sleep problems. By allowing the body to rebuild from the inside out, the need for medication can be greatly reduced. And only few industry insiders even know about the powerful effects of cellular nutrition on disease. For more information on natural treatments of fibromyalgia, contact me now by clicking on one of the links below.

Reactive Depression

Have you been feeling low lately? Always angry and easily get irritated than usual? Or, having trouble sleeping because of the unfortunate event that happens in your life? Well, it could be a sign of a certain type of depression. And as serious as depression issue, an immediate attention and care must be given to you.

Depression can be of many different types and reactive depression is one of them. Reactive depression, which is sometimes called an adjustment disorder with depressed mood, is the most normally encountered type of mood swing and is an extension of the normal upset feeling following a sad event in someone's life. Death of family member, friend or someone very close, or any significant loss such as work can be some of life's event that can stir up overwhelming state of sadness.

Fortunately, this type of depression is not actually severe, due to the fact that depressive person may be relieved when engaged back in particular interests. Besides, any blue moods can always be remedied if you get diversions that are of your interests, right? Once you have gain control of your life again, you are good to go back to your routine again, like work, family obligations, and social life. Reactive depression is only used to categorize mild to moderate depression, following a stressful event.

Most of the times, a depressive person will feel low, frequently angry and irritable, and seem lost in thoughts as the result of an unfortunate episode in life and have difficult sleeping. However, the depressive symptoms relative to reactive depression should be able to be cured and gone within six months following the end of the stress that caused the reaction. There is an exemption to the rule, though. Not all depressive individuals are capable of moving on easily. There are depression suffers whose condition continue over a long period of time, instead of experiencing the condition as a single event.

Reactive depression symptoms are similar to other types of depression; therefore the possible recommended treatment will still be the same as well. Cognitive-behavioral therapy and /or interpersonal therapy are still effective in treating this type of depression. Because of the relationship between the symptoms and a specific stressor, the focus is on resolving the problem that created the stress. For example, if your job is responsible for your depression, then you might consider changing jobs, which could be the most effective solution of your problem.

Contrary to what many may believe, there is, almost always, a solution to any problem. Usually, people suffering from reactive depression as reaction to psychosocial stressors thought that there's no existing solution to their predicament, when, in fact, there is. In the case of depression, finding or developing a logical solution to overcome your illness in an important part of the process of recovery.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Natural Remedies for Neurotransmitter Imbalance - Anxiety, Depression and Insomnia

The human nervous system is the most complex system in the human body and responsible for the normal function of virtually every organ, tissue and cell in our physiology. The brain which is the center of our nervous system contains over 100 billion specialized cells called neurons. The neurons in our brain create and use important chemical messengers called neurotransmitters to tell the heart when to beat, the lungs to breathe, the stomach to digest, the urinary and intestinal tract to eliminate. They also are influential in our thought processes, emotions, energy production, the feelings of love or fear and how well we sleep.

Clearly, the nervous system must function properly for a person to remain healthy. Some of the factors which can disrupt the normal function of our nervous system include.

- Stress
- Toxic chemicals
- Poor diet
- Infections
- Genetics (Our individual Neurobiology)
- Hormone imbalances
- Spinal subluxations (As all Doctors of Chiropractic know)

When neurotransmitters become either too high or too low, it is not uncommon for one to experience:

- Anxiety
- Depression
- Insomnia, and other things including foggy thinking, mood swings, headaches to name just a few.

Focusing on Anxiety, Depression, Insomnia and related conditions, the following neurotransmitters play a role in the etiology:

Epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, is important for motivation, energy and mental focus.

High Levels
- Sleep difficulties
- Anxiousness
- Attention issues

Low Levels
- Fatigue
- Lack of focus
- Difficult weight loss

Norepinephrine, also known as noradrenaline, is important for mental focus and emotional stability.

High Levels
- Anxiousness
- Stress
- Hyperactivity
- High blood pressure

Low Levels
- Lack of energy
- Lack of focus
- Lack of motivation
- Low mood (Depression)

Serotonin, primarily responsible for regulation of moods, sleep, appetite and pain perception.

High Levels
- SSRI medications
- Stress

Low Levels
- Low mood (Depression)
- Sleep difficulties (Insomnia)
- Anxiety disorders
- OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
- Headaches
- Hot Flashes
- Bowel disturbances
- Increased pain sensitivity

GABA (Gamma-Amino Butyric Acid) is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain and is necessary to experience feelings of calmness and relaxation

High Levels
- Hyperactivity
- Anxiousness
- Sleep difficulties (Insomnia)

Low Levels
- Severe Anxiety and Panic Disorder
- Severe Hyperactivity
- Severe sleep difficulties (Insomnia)

In addition to the major neurotransmitters mentioned above there are others which effect mood and could be related to anxiety, depression and insomnia. They may include Dopamine, Glycine, Taurine, Glutamate and Histamine.

Medications for Anxiety, Depression and Insomnia:


The most accepted and commonly used medications by allopathic doctors for Anxiety Disorders are the Benzodiazepines which include Xanax, Ativan, Klonopin and Valium. These medications positively effect GABA by making the GABA receptor sites in the brain work more effectively thus enhancing the inhibitory and calming effects of GABA. While initially very effective for all of the symptoms of anxiety including excessive worry, ruminations, hyperarousal, insomnia, nervousness, inability to concentrate, muscle tension and many other physical symptoms, the downside is that they can lose effectiveness in a relatively short amount of time (tolerance) and have potential side effects including amnesia, dependence, and intradose withdrawal. Use of Benzodiazepines can paradoxically increase all of the symptoms of anxiety disorders. Withdrawal from the long term use of these medications can be extremely difficult and should only be done under the supervision of a doctor who understands how to slowly taper by switching the patient over to a "Benzo" with a long half life and over a gradual period of many months.

SSRI's: (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors)

These well known anti-depressants include Prozac, Zoloft, Lexapro, Paxil, Cymbalta and others which all work the same. They effectively block the reuptake of Serotonin molecules into the neuron that released them, thereby making Serotonin more available in the synapse. They are purported to alleviate both the symptoms of anxiety, depression and insomnia. Although several studies show their efficacy barely exceeds placebo and some studies show they are no more effective than placebo. Be that as it may, if a patient is clinically depressed or suffering anxiety so severely that suicide is a real possibility they can be a lifesaver. Warnings and side effects can also include suicide, weight gain, sexual dysfunction, insomnia, violent behavior, fatique, dizziness and many others.

Lifestyle, Dietary and Supplement Recommendations for Anxiety, Depression and Insomnia:

The following protocols are based on my opinion and primarily designed for those whose conditions are moderate and mild in nature. Severe cases of neurotransmitter imbalance should be evaluated by a competent integrative physician. Hormone testing should also be undertaken as it it well known that they also can play a pivotal role in anxiety, depression and insomnia. Adrenal, thyroid, and sex hormones need to be checked and balanced if necessary.

ANXIETY Lifestyle Recommendations:

1. Control stress and avoid extra obligations.

2. Avoid smoking and alcohol consumption.

3. Participate in a regular balanced exercise program that includes wearing a pedometer to ensure that you collect steps and move more. High intensity short bursts (20-60 seconds) of activity during the day is recommended to enhance growth hormone release. Also engage in resistance training that works all major muscle groups (work each group at least 2 times a week). It helps to include calming exercise such as yoga, tai chi, and stretching.

4. Avoid consumption of known or suspected food allergies. Check IgG on DFH Comprehensive Metabolic Profile.

5. Check adrenal function.

6. Practice good sleep habits and get between 8-9 hours of sleep a night. Dietary Recommendations:

1. Avoid all sugars including fruit and fruit juices. Replace sugar with the polyol sugar xylitol.

2. Avoid white flour and all refined carbohydrates including cereals and pasta especially those that are made with yeast such as bread, bagels and English muffins.

3. Avoid caffeine and diet sodas.

4. Get a balance of omega 3's (salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines) and omega 9 fats (olive oil, olives, almonds, hazelnuts, avocados).

5. Stabilize blood sugar by eating protein at every meal including fish, chicken and lean meat.

6. Avoid hydrogenated vegetable oils and fried foods.

7. Cook with olive oil or macadamia nut oil at a low heat.

8. Snack on vegetables and small amounts of almonds, olives, avocado, celery with almond butter, walnut or peanut butter.

9. Do not skip meals.

10. Eat 5-9 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables daily OR add one heaping tablespoon of a concentrated vegetable green and red fruit formula as recommended by your physician to your favorite drink.

11. Carry supplemental Meal Packets and/or high protein health Bars as recommended by your integrative doctor with you throughout the day to prevent missing meals or snacks.

Supplement Recommendations:

Follow specific supplement recommendations given by a nutrition oriented physician who understands which ones effect brain neurotransmitters and functioning in a positive way.

Depression Lifestyle Recommendations:

1. Participate in a regular balanced exercise program that includes wearing a pedometer to ensure that you collect steps and move more. High intensity short bursts (20-60 seconds) of activity during the day is recommended to enhance growth hormone release. Also engage in resistance training that works all major muscle groups (work each group at least 2 times a week). It helps to include calming exercise such as yoga, tai chi, and stretching.

2. Avoid extra stress and obligations.

3. Rule out heavy metal toxicity, overgrowth of Candida Albicans, and hormone imbalance.

4. Rule out hypothyroidism, hypoglycemia and weak adrenal function.

5. Avoid smoking and alcohol consumption.

Dietary Recommendations:

1. Whey protein or other quality protein is essential at every meal to stabilize blood sugar levels.

2. Avoid all sugars including fruit and fruit juices. Replace sugar with the polyol sugar xylitol.

2. Avoid white flour and all refined carbohydrates including cereals and pasta especially those that are made with yeast such as bread, bagels and English muffins.

3. Avoid allergenic foods.

4. Gluten and dairy avoidance may prove extremely helpful for stabilizing moods.

5. Concentrate on fish and foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids such as salmon, sardines and mackerel.

6. Eat 5-9 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables daily OR add one heaping tablespoon of a concentrated vegetable green and red vegetable and fruit formula as suggested by your doctor.

7. Carry a high protein snack and some raw vegetables with you throughout the day to prevent missing meals or snacks.

Insomnia Lifestyle Recommendations:

*Follow same recommendations for anxiety

Dietary Recommendations:

*Follow same recommendations for anxiety

Follow specific Supplement Recommendations as recommended by your physician to alleviate stress and calm the nervous system:

Yours for Better Health Naturally,

Are These Signs My Wife Is Depressed? How To Tell If Your Wife Is Suffering From Depression

Has your wife been acting different lately? Is she being lazy? Mean? Too quiet? When you're asking yourself "Are these signs my wife is depressed?", the answer is not always clear. Here are some ways to tell if your wife is depressed, and some things that you can do to help her.

A lot of people think that a depressed person has to be either sad all of the time, or angry all of the time. That isn't true at all. Depression doesn't affect everyone the same.

Constant sadness is definitely a sign that your wife is depressed. While it is normal for a person to be sad once in a while, it is NOT normal for someone to be sad all of the time.

If your wife is usually a nice person, and happy most of the time, and she has started being mean and hateful, or getting mad about what seems to be nothing at all, then she is probably depressed.

Please know that these actions are NOT your wife's fault - she doesn't even know she's acting like this! Depending on the severity of the depression, she may know that something's not quite right, but she doesn't see the things that you do.

Another sign that your wife is depressed is that she is tired all of the time. Not just tired, but exhausted. All she wants to do is sleep.

Depression drains the life out of a person. A truly depressed person doesn't want to do anything at all, and they have no energy to do anything. If your wife just lays around all day, she's not being lazy. It's not that she is purposely not doing things - she knows things need done, but she just can't muster up the energy to do them.

The absolute LAST thing you should do, if you see these signs of depression in your wife, is to get angry with her, or to yell at her. Like you, she doesn't understand what is happening. Try to talk to her. Tell her that you are worried about her.

Let her know that you love her, and would like her to go to see a doctor. Maybe she is sick, and when she gets treated she'll feel better. If she refuses, try to get her to go by tricking her. Tell her that YOU are sick and have to go to the doctor, and would like her to go with you. So whatever you can to get her to a doctor.

You don't have to take her to a therapist. Your family doctor can prescribe medicine to help her. Sometimes it's easier to see your family doctor - that way, she won't feel funny. She's just going to the doctor because she doesn't feel well.

When you think you are seeing signs of depression in your wife, don't let her get too much further down. If she is depressed now, she can get into a deeper depression soon, and she will be twice as bad as she is now.

Do your best to help her by loving her. Understand that she doesn't mean to be like this - she is ill right now. Your marriage will see better days soon.

Mastering Depression

Clinical depression is a disease - or a dis-ease, it strives to make you 'uneasy.' A powerful metaphor for depression is to consider the disease as a team of engineers, whose primary purpose is to tear down bridges, not build them. The bridges that depression seeks to destroy are those bridges, or pathways in your brain that link the feelings of pleasure to your life experiences with people, place and events. In real life - depression hurts. Before it controls your life completely it is critical you find a way to deal with depression.

A more pathological description of this which illustrates why anti-depression drugs are helpful speaks of the neuro-synaptic pathways (bridges) that are in your brain, and over which these signals travel to connect the cells that retain the memory of our life experiences, to the cells the trigger the endorphins and hormones that we know are the sensation of pleasure. Anti-depression can do two things physiologically - they can stimulate the use of more serotonin (the raw material to build these bridges with) and prevent that raw material from being re-absorbed before it can be used to build the bridge.

These bridges/neuro-synaptic pathways, are built through every experience we have from birth. Like walking in a grassy field, the more you walk the same path, the more the grass lies down, and the clearer and easier the path becomes, until it become second nature.

As you may have experienced, depression tears these bridges down, leaving one dis-engaged, or 'checked-out' from many, and ultimately all, of those experiences that brought you satisfaction or pleasure. For those who allow this core of engineers to tear down these bridges, without enacting a plan to re-build the bridges, and save those bridges yet destroyed. find them selves completely 'checked-out' and reach such despair life may feel as if it has no meaning.

I believe that life is about fully engaging in BOTH love and passion, AND being the conduit of compassion that allows these gifts to flow through us, and to be shared with others. Depression seeks to destroy our meaning of life by breaking these bridges.

Personally I faced the battle of depression back in the 90's when I was burying a friend a week from AIDS, and from my clinical counseling training. I believe a multifaceted approach is the most powerful way to combat depression - a possible combination of drugs, therapy and personal action.

Only a licensed psychiatrist or medical doctor can prescribe anti-depressants. An experienced counselor or therapist is almost always necessary to help you travel this journey - and overcome that insidious corp or bridge destroying engineers!

The personal action is about effecting the plans you create with your counselor or therapist to "kicking the butts" of that insidious corp of engineer and refusing to let bridges to be destroyed, while striving to re-build old ones and create new ones at a rate greater then these nasty guys can destruct them!

Easier said then done, I know, as the loss of these connects leads to apathy, which feeds the destruction. It is quickly a vicious circle that can be created, and only an aggressive plan of action will stop this downward spiral.

Consequently, remaining motivated is not unlike an alcoholic remaining sober. Therapy helps, drugs help, but CRITICAL to success is a personal support system of friends and family who love you so much they will not let you fail. Support groups are great but few things are better then a proven circle of friends and family who love you too much to let you fail, and love you so much, that they can see past your pain, and patiently support you as you re-build these bridges together. Take stock of these relationships. Many may already be strained as depression has already worked its toll. Depression knows these connections are its greatest enemy - desperately seeking to destroy the bridges that you have built with these people. Yet they are the easiest bridges to salvage and re-build as they are the ones that have historically served you well. Your heart knows these relationships can be trusted, even if your brain tried to convince you that you have 'checked-out.'

Curing depression is about creating AND re-creating love and passion in your life. Take a good look around you - who are the sources of the most powerful love you experienced in the past? Who do you know loves you enough that you can trust their judgment over your own as depression seeks to drive you into loneliness and despair? Who loves you enough and who can you trust to walk that journey with you?

Beating depression and living a life of passion and love will only happen in relationship. Those relationship best include your friends, family and loved ones, an experienced counselor or therapist who understands your challenges, and the possible support of a medical practitioner.

Clinical signs of depression may include some or all of the following descriptors. Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, impaired concentration and difficulty making decisions, fatigue, loss of energy, or being tired all the time, low self-esteem, trouble sleeping or oversleeping the use or escalating use of drugs and/or alcohol, and/or a poor appetite or overeating.

If you believe you are suffering from depression it is critical that you seek professional help. The time to do so is as early in the process as possible. If you are experiencing some or any of the symptoms listed above contact a professional who will be able to help you. As you have learned from this article, the earlier in the process that you can take action to prevent the disassembling of the many bridges of love and support in your life as possible, the more effective and the quicker your treatment will be.

Experiencing a life full of passion and love is a phenomenal experience. To live such a life requires that you decide to be the master of your mind and experiences. Many of us do not intuitively know how to exercise these skills and an experienced counselor or therapist provides an excellent opportunity for you to develop this mastery.

Play Therapy - How Can It Help My Child?

Many people look for therapy for their children and they have a narrow focus of what play therapy is. They may think that it is sitting down with the child and having long conversations with them to find out why they are acting the way they are acting. They may think the therapist needs to be firm and tell the client how to behave. This is not play therapy.

What is Play Therapy?

Virginia Axeline (author of Dibbs and In Search of Self) was one of the founders of play therapy. She believed that children expressed themselves through play and that is how they are healed. She would bring the client into the play therapy room, filled with a specific array of toys. She would take dubious notes and write down what the child said and did during the play therapy encounter and later interpret it.

Gary Landreth, founder of Child-Centered Play Therapy followed in her footsteps. When children at home can no longer use their own problem solving tools, they may misbehave or act out at home or school. He believes that, when provided with the right conditions, children can once again learn to cope with difficult emotions and find solutions to their own problems. Thus, he uses play therapy to assess and understand children's play. Part of this is done by allowing children to take ownership of their reactions and behaviors. He also believes that with play therapy, children can learn self-discipline and self-control in the play therapy room.

Instead of the elaborate note take of Virginia Axeline, Gary Landreth would jot down notes. However, he would also "track" what the child is doing. He might say, "You are pouring that into there." He would be careful not to label what the child was using before the child labeled it. The child may be using one object and pretending it was something else. Once the child labeled the item, then he would use their terminology. He would track what they were doing not all the time, but every 5 minutes or so depending on what they were doing. The child may correct him or may go on playing.For instance the child may pretend he is shutting a door and he acts as if he is slamming it, he might say, "You are really angry." The child may then correct him and say that he was just closing the door. If the child did a very positive thing, he may say something like, "Look what you did. You did that all by yourself." He may repeat it, if the child ignores him. He would be careful not to praise the child as he does not want the child trying to pleasing him with their behaviors. He wants the child to be able to take ownership of their own problem solving behaviors or their own feelings.

Usually children talk in their play. Gary Landreth would "reflect" or repeat back what the child would say. Sometimes it is a direct quote, but other times it is reworded so that it means the same thing. It is important for the child to know you are listening to them. Now he may not reflect every utterance. Again it may only be every so often. The child may say, "I don't know if I can do this." The reflection may be "You're wondering if you can really do this by yourself."

What is the Difference Between Directive and Non-Directive Play Therapy?

Virginia Axeline and Gary Landreth take a non-directive approach to play therapy. It is just one approach. Some play therapists are more directive in their approach to play therapy. They may take the stance of confronting problems in the clinical play therapy setting so the children can learn healthier solutions by challenging negative thinking, doing role play, modeling, and playing games that focus on skill development. Neither one is better than the other. What the professional therapist uses is based on the needs of the child.

Why Play Therapy?

Many parents question why play in therapy and not just talk therapy. Children communicate best through play. They do not have the advanced vocabulary as we adults do and their feelings come out naturally in their play. Gil, a pronounced play therapist in her own right, utilizes play therapy to help children express what is troubling them when verbal language to express their thoughts and feeling fails. Toys are the children's world and play is the child's language. However, that is only half of the equation. Children need to build a relationship with their therapist. This is crucial to treatment. Change occurs when all of these things are combined.

Emily was an eight year old girl placed in foster care because her guardian was diagnosed with advanced Alzheimer's disease and could no longer care for her. At the time this happened, Emily would take my toy animals and set up a stage, a play or musical so to speak. The animals were paired with their mothers and they would each sing different songs. During her play, it was inevitable; one of the singers would collapse and need resuscitation. This theme was played out several times. Then, one day during the singing, an ambulance was introduced and took the collapsed singer to the hospital and she was never to return. Emily told me that when she grew up she was going to find a cure for Alzheimer's and then her guardian wouldn't have to go away and die.

Emily had been working on grieving the loss of her guardian and coping with the illness. We can never second guess what the child's meaning of the play is. That is, we cannot interpret it. It is what the child says it is. A car is a car, if the child says it is a car. We don't read into it. We let the child tell their story through play.

Who is Play Therapy For?

Play therapy is typically used with children three through twelve. However, play therapy can also be used with adolescents. Play therapy is used to treat a variety of conditions including anger management, grief, loss, family dissolution, and trauma. It is also used to modify behavioral disorders including anxiety, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity (ADHD), autism, and pervasive developmental, academic, and social developmental, physical and learning disabilities, and conduct disorders. It is also used in treating children whose problems are related to life stressors including, but not limited to divorce, death, relocation, hospitalization, chronic illness, stressful experiences, physical and sexual abuse, domestic violence, and natural disasters.

What are the Benefits of Play Therapy?

Play therapy helps children in a variety of ways.

They become responsible for their behaviors

They develop creative solutions

They develop respect for others

They develop self-acceptance

They learn to experience and express emotions in socially appropriate ways.

They learn empathy for the thoughts and feelings of others

They develop healthier social skills with friends and family members

They develop self-efficacy and are more self-assured about their abilities.

How Long Does My Child Need to Be in Therapy?

Typically treatment on average takes 20 play therapy sessions to resolve a particular problem. However, a lot depends on the child. Serious or ongoing problems take longer to resolve. Sessions usually occur once a week for 45-50 minutes.

The Truth About Debt Consolidation Loans Online

With the average American falling deeper and deeper into debt, it's no wonder debt consolidation loans are becoming increasingly popular. A debt consolidation loan works by replacing all of your previous high interest debts with one lower interest loan, with one lower monthly payment. By reducing the overall interest rate on your balances you will pay much less every month and will have the opportunity to use that saved money to pay off your balances and avoid falling any deeper into debt than you already are.

Millions of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, unsure whether or not they will be able to make payments to their rising credit card bills and still have money left for food, utilities, and housing. This lifestyle is all too common in the United States and is no way for anyone to have to live. The stress associated with excessive debt and financial instability can consume your life, often leading to depression and other illness.

It can often feel like you are totally alone in your battle against debt, but this is where so many people are wrong. Debt consolidation can be the helping hand you've been looking for to escape from debt and start working towards a debt free future. However, consolidation is only one half of the debt elimination puzzle. A consolidation loan can help you get out of debt, but in order for you to avoid falling back into debt, you must make financial changes. Too many people assume that debt consolidation is a magic instant fix to debt, when in all actuality it is only half of what needs to be done. A good consolidation lender will set you up with a quality program to help change your spending habits and set up a plan to avoid falling back into debt.

Staying Positive While Depressed

Depression is a common condition; an estimated 10 percent of Americans will suffer from depression at some time in their lives. I suffer from clinical depression. Depression overwhelmed my life with feelings of loneliness, negative thoughts and emotions; I had difficulty going to work, talking to friends and family. My energy levels both emotional and physical were low. My life spiraled out of control. Eventually medication and hospitalization were necessary. They helped stabilize my condition, but staying positive while recovering from depression was difficult. My medication brought some relief, but I spiraled back into deep depression twice, at great cost to my life. I found that staying positive was the only effective way to overcome depression.

How do you stay positive while depressed?

It is difficult. Depression in itself brings negative thoughts; even medication will only ease some of those thoughts. In addition, the stigma, the financial, social and career problems caused by depression left me feeling hopeless. Staying positive is critical to a complete recovery. I keep a small notebook. I record negative thoughts and emotions that occur during my day. I record the time of day, and what I was doing. Then, each night I go through my notebook and look for patterns, or triggers to the negative thoughts and emotions. I replace the negative thought in my journal with a positive one that I wished or could have thought. The negative thoughts cause the negative emotions, so the idea is to train or reprogram your mind to have positive thoughts, which in turn create positive emotions. By writing down the negative thoughts and developing a plan for how to replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts, I was ready for them when they occurred.

Negative thoughts overwhelm me; I can't get them out of my mind let alone replace them with positive thoughts. What can I do?

It's like a catch 22. I needed to stop thinking negatively, but my brain wanted to hold on to the negative thoughts. I wanted a break from it. I found two things that brought relief from constant flow of negative thoughts and emotions I was experiencing- laughter and exercise. I developed a routine that incorporated both into my life. As my routine progressed, relief from the negative thoughts lasted longer. My ability to replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts increased, and instead of spiraling down deeper into depression, I progressed further up into happiness

Laugh? All I want to do is cry, How can I laugh?

For me, it was watching sitcoms. They brought a half-an hour or so of relief everyday. I watched them before going to work, and after work, eventually my overall mood improved and the people around me reacted more positively to me. It was like a chain reaction, I became happier. I started the day happy and ended it with a smile. I stopped watching dramas and the news. Both paint a depressing picture of the world. What worked for me may not work for you. You might try having dinner with a fun friend, writing a funny story, playing with your dog or cat, but laugh. The old saying, laughter is the best medicine holds especially true for depression.

Exercise? I have no energy, it is a struggle to get out of bed, how do I exercise?

The key, start slowly. First, I walked around the block, and added a few steps each day. Eventually I was could walk three miles. I picked a pleasant route. So that I it was a pleasurable journey. I picked one with lots of people, trees and relaxing scenery. After the walk, I rewarded myself. The walks cleared my mind from the emotional clutter. My energy levels increased; I could walked further each day, and my outlook on life improved. The important thing is to start small, and get a routine going. Walking worked for me, but swimming, biking, running, even household chores, might work for you, but get your body moving.

Staying positive while depressed is critical for recovery. When overwhelmed with negative emotions It's difficult to stay positive, but it's something you must do. Three of the most effective ways to stay positive while depressed are journaling, laughing and exercising.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

How to Deal With Major Depression

Major depression is when five or more symptoms are present for at least two weeks. These symptoms include feeling sad, hopeless, worthless, or pessimistic. In addition with major depression often have behavior changes, such as new eating and sleeping patterns. Major depression increases a person's risk to suicide.

Different people are affected in different ways by major depression. Some people have trouble sleeping, they lose weight, and they generally feel agitated and irritable. Others may sleep and eat too much and continuously feel worthless and guilty. Still others can function reasonably well at work and put on a "happy face" in front of others, while deep down they feel quite depressed and disinterested in life. Others may have periods of several episodes. Still others may have more and more occurrences as they age. Some studies have indicated that the more depressive episodes a person experiences, the less time there is between the episodes. Also, the number of episodes a person has had may predict the possibility of having another bout of depression.

I know of a lady of around thirty who had achieved a good marriage, family and career. She underwent the above symptoms and started having problems with her husband and work place, waking up, she even became untidy. But at the end, the symptoms were noted and she was taken to a hospital and she got help.

Depression is as crippling as chronic heart disease, yet many Severely ill depressed patients receive little or no antidepressant patient's therapy. This needless suffering is tragic in this age of newer, highly effective medications. Antidepressants therapy for major depression dramatically reduces suicide rates and hospitalization rates. Unfortunately very few suicide victims receive antidepressants in adequate doses, and even worse most receive no treatment for depression whatsoever.

Depression Symptoms - Uprooting At Early Stages

A person is diagnosed as having depressive disorder if he is suffering from any five or more of the following common symptoms.

  • sadness

  • mood swings

  • loss of interest or pleasure in activities

  • change in appetite or weight

  • difficulty sleeping or oversleeping

  • physical slowing or agitation

  • energy loss

  • feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt

  • difficulty thinking or concentrating

  • recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

Severe depression often occurs between ages 15 to 30 years; however, it can also appear in children Some people have a chronic but less severe form of depression, called dysthymic disorder, which is diagnosed when depressed mood persists for at least 2 years (1 year in children) and is accompanied by at least 2 other symptoms of depression.

People with dysthymia develop major depression symptoms.

Episodes of depression also occur in people with bipolar disorder In this disorder, symptoms of depression includes depression alternating with mania, which is characterized by abnormally and persistently elevated mood or irritability and depression symptoms including overly-inflated self-esteem, decreased need for sleep, increased talkativeness, racing thoughts, distractibility, physical agitation, and excessive risk taking.

Without treatment, symptoms of depression can last for weeks, months, or years. Appropriate treatment, however, can help most people who suffer from depression to get over their depression symptoms.

Severe mood swings like phases of high mood followed by sadness, then back to high or irritable mood with some phases of normal moods. Added to this are changes in the person's behavior and energy level. These mood swings are commonly called as episodes of depression or mania.

Unlike main health related problems, the diagnosis of bipolar disorder cannot be done physiologically i.e. with regular blood or urine tests. It is usually done by monitoring the depression symptoms narrated by the patient or family members along with the history of the family.

The most severe depression symptoms in patients with depressive and manic-depressive illnesses is suicidal tendencies, which is the main cause for deaths among patients with the mortality rate being higher than it is for most types of heart disease and many types of cancer.

The chances of them having risk of suicide is more in initial phases of the disorder which makes it even more important to be diagnosed at an earlier stage.

Power Vs Force: The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior by David Hawkins

Power Vs. Force is a phenomenal work by David Hawkins that centers around two ideas: kinesiology and the levels of consciousness.

Dr. Hawkins' team developed some extensive theories relating to kinesiology. The premise behind this idea is that there exists a realm which holds within it everything human beings have ever learned. This is similar to Jung's collective unconscious. By using a technique called muscle testing one is able to access this hidden realm and determine the truth or falsehood of any statement.

The actual technique is fairly simple. It requires two people: a test subject, and someone to perform the technique. The subject simply holds their arm out to the side. The questioner will then make a statement. After this, they will press down on the arm of the subject. If the subject stays "strong," or doesn't move, then the statement is true. If the subject goes weak, and their arm falls to the ground, then the statement is false.

Out of this testing method Dr. Hawkins' team arrived at a road map of sorts for human consciousness. This scale is based on extensive testing and ranges from 0 to 1000. 0 is similar to a suicidal depression. Lack of drive, emotion, and desire for life are common around this level. 1000 represents supreme, ineffable enlightenment, similar to that of Jesus, Buddha, or Krishna. In between is the entire range of human emotion, including fear, anger, courage, love, and peace.

These levels of consciousness refer to certain "attractor fields" that behavior associated with each level originates from. The idea is that an angry person is actually aligned with a hidden attractor field consisting of the energy of anger. That persons actions will all be affected from basic motives and energy forms inherent in that field. The same is true for all emotions.

By comparing yourself to the scale you can get a good idea of where you are in your personal development work and what energy field you're aligned with. This is of paramount importance in deciding where your growth should take you next. It's also interesting to track your unique progression throughout your lifetime.

You Need to Hate Coffee to Avoid Depression

Many people love coffee. However, studies have shown that people who need the caffeine equivalent of just one cup of coffee a day will experience symptoms of caffeine withdrawal if they miss their daily infusion. These symptoms include headaches, irritability, low energy, and fatigue, and can last up to four days. Symptoms of too much caffeine include diarrhea, irritability, insomnia, panic, palpitations and rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure, anxiety, and gradual weight gain.

You can avoid caffeine withdrawal, if you prefer, by slowly weaning yourself off caffeinated drinks (coffee and sodas). Reduce your caffeine intake by 25 percent of your daily intake every two or three-days. You should have your addiction broken within two weeks. If you feel headachy after you've reduced your intake, stay at that amount for an extra day or two before reducing your intake further.

You may decide to quit caffeine "cold turkey," which can cause caffeine withdrawal symptoms but has the advantage of helping you to understand that caffeine is as much a drug as any prescription medication. (I've often thought that if caffeine had to pass the Food and Drug Administration approval process, it would be labeled a controlled substance, since it is addictive, can reduce the seizure threshold, and can cause heart arrhythmia's and trigger gastrointestinal distress.) If you choose this route, do it when the impact on your life will be minimal, such as on a weekend or during a slow period at work.

Remedies for caffeine headaches include a warm shower or bath, drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water throughout the day, an over-the-counter pain reliever (make sure it doesn't contain caffeine), exercise, and time.

People often ask me: "How about decaf?" I prefer that you avoid decaf beverages because they do contain some caffeine, and because decaf keeps you one step closer to the real thing and the temptation to relapse. Try out a few non-caffeinated herbal teas if you like a warm drink in the morning.

Depression Treatments 5-HTP and SAM-e: Few Side Effects, Proven Relief

Depression treatments can be expensive, involve ongoing medical or psychiatric appointments, and have numerous and sometimes life-impacting side effects. Fortunately, prescription medications are not the last answer when it comes to treating depression. Non-prescription dietary supplements like 5-HTP and SAM-e are rapidly gaining popularity as safe, effective, low-cost treatments for those wishing to get depression under control once and for all.

What Is 5-HTP? 5-Hydroxytryptophan, or 5-HTP, is a naturally occurring amino acid used by the brain to make the neurotransmitter serotonin. Mood, sleeping patterns, and the perception of pain and happiness are all regulated in large part by serotonin. 5-HTP is itself the chemical precursor to serotonin, which means that without it, serotonin production does not occur. Taking a 5-HTP supplement amounts to giving the brain more of the material it needs to make serotonin, and increasing serotonin levels is considered key in depression treatments.

What Is SAM-e? SAM-e, or S-adenosyl-L-methionine, is found throughout the human body in the form of a naturally occurring chemical which plays a vital role in cellular growth and repair. It is also helps synthesize mood-effecting neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine plays an important role in controlling voluntary movement, feelings of motivation, the sense of punishment and reward, moods, memory, and learning. Studies have shown that people experiencing low moods tend to have less SAM-e present in their bodies, and SAM-e levels tend to naturally decline as we age. Some researchers theorize that SAM-e influences the expression of genes involved in depression, and may change the way neurotransmitters are transported in the brain. Some indicate SAM-e may even have a direct effect on the creation of new neurotransmitters, making it unique among depression treatments.

Are 5-HTP and SAM-e Effective Depression Treatments? A number of clinical trials have been conducted to determine how effective 5-HTP is for treating depression, with favorable results. One study indicated 5-HTP was as effective as the selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor fluvoxamine (brand name Luvox). Repeatedly, 5-HTP's ability to increase the brain's natural serotonin production has been shown to relieve depression by elevating mood, promoting healthy sleep patterns, and reducing anxiety.

Similar positive results have been obtained in clinical trials of SAM-e. A study conducted by the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality suggested that SAM-e use causes significant improvement in depression symptoms, and that in some cases, the supplement is a more effective depression treatment than tricyclic antidepressants. A growing body of research indicates SAM-e's influence on neurological activity has a positive impact on mood and behavior, making it among the most effective depression treatments.

What About Side Effects? Anyone taking prescription depression treatments is likely to experience at least one, and in many cases, a combination of the following common side effects: nausea and vomiting, inability to orgasm, weight gain, dizziness, constipation, fatigue, headaches, dry mouth, diarrhea, daytime drowsiness, insomnia, heart palpitations, tremors, muscle pain, agitation, disorientation and confusion, and in some cases, an increase in suicidality. Research shows up to 45% of people taking an SSRI will experience a decline in sexual function, more than 20% will gain weight, and 2%-4% will experience an increase in suicidal thoughts.

5-HTP and SAM-e have been shown to be remarkably free of side effects. The most commonly reported side effect of both is mild gastrointestinal upset, which usually subsides once the body acclimates to the supplements. Most would consider this a minor inconvenience at worst when compared to the common side effects of prescription depression treatments.

Bank Failures Frighten Senior Citizens

The recent bank turmoil, the stock market plunge and escalating home foreclosures have brought about a feeling of deja vu for many Americans that lived through the Great Depression. Some seniors are even pulling money out of banks, shopping for discounts and warning younger relatives about darker days that may lie ahead.

Although, there are no hard figures available, banking officials say more senior citizens are asking to withdraw their savings. Sales of safes are up as much as 50 percent in just the past three weeks at SentrySafe, the nation's top safe manufacturer.

At the beginning of the Depression the federal government was not guarantying bank deposits, so many people in their 80's and 90's recall withdrawing money - or arriving too late only to find out that their savings had evaporated.

That is unlikely to happen today because FDIC insurance covers most individual bank accounts up to $250,000. But for many older seniors that assurance can be a hard sell. Robert Binstock, a Case Western Reserve University professor of aging, health and society, says "If you have lived through the Great Depression, you believe it can happen again. This all evokes the era of bank failures in the Depression, and they think burying money in a glass jar is a safer bet. "

The collapse of some banks and the forced sale of others has contributed to today's financial crisis, even though it is a far cry from the thousands of bank closures during the Depression.

During the three months that ended June 30, 2008, the latest period for which data are available, domestic bank deposits fell by nearly $40 Billion, according to the Federal Reserve. They now stand at about $7 Trillion.

Some people are so shaken by the negative economic news that nothing but cash will do. A 64 year old Connecticut resident withdrew thousands of dollars in cash from his bank a couple of weeks ago. He said his late great uncle used to tell him stories from the Great Depression and warned him to watch out for a crash.

He said, "I think it's a smart thing to do. I'm afraid there's going to be either a bank shut-down or a bank holiday. If it doesn't get that bad, then fine, I go put the money back in the bank. If it does, at least I'm somewhat prepared."

Some People See Things Differently

Not everyone agrees with stashing cash. Michael Spivey, a professor of finance at Clemson University, said that having lots of cash on hand makes seniors more vulnerable to theft, and the FDIC does not insure cash that is lost, stolen or damaged in someone's home.

Other senior citizens are taking the current financial crisis in stride. As one 86 year old Florida resident said, "Taking your deposits out in cash is the worst thing you can do because that will make the banks fail by causing a run on the bank. You just have to trust the system. It's not something that I lay awake at night and worry about."

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Pain of Bipolar Depression Disorder

Bipolar depression disorder generally occurs before the age of 30 years and may first develop during adolescence, but most commonly presents its symptoms in the late teens and early 20s. It is a type of mood disorder that exhibits marked changes in mood between extreme elation or happiness and severe depression. Bipolar disorder used to be referred to as manic depression.

Like other mental illnesses, bipolar disorder cannot yet be identified physiologically--for example, through a blood test or a brain scan. Therefore, a diagnosis of bipolar disorder is made on the basis of symptoms, course of illness, and, when available, family history. The diagnostic criteria for bipolar disorder are described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM-IV).

A person with bipolar depression disorder experiences cycling moods that usually swing from being overly elated or irritable (mania) to sad and hopeless (depression) and then back again, with periods of normal moods in between. There are statistics that say that one in five people will suffer from depression at least once during their life.

Symptoms of depression include: loss of interest in usual activities, prolonged sad or irritable mood, loss of energy or fatigue, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, sleeping too much or inability to sleep, drop in grades and inability to concentrate, inability to experience pleasure, appetite loss or overeating, anger, worry, and anxiety, thoughts of death or suicide.

Symptoms of manic states are varied and include restlessness, increased energy, euphoric mood, racing thoughts, poor judgment, intrusive or provocative behavior, difficulty concentrating, and a decreased need for sleep.

The exact causes of bipolar disorder aren't known, but stressful life events, un-resolvable problems, or emotional damage in childhood, possibly combined with genetic factors may play a role. Scientists are also studying about the possible causes of bipolar disorder through several kinds of studies. As the causes are more clearly identified and defined through research, scientists will gain a better understanding of the underlying causes of the illness, and eventually may be able to predict which types of treatment will work most effectively. As it stands now it is thought that bipolar depression disorder is caused by electrical and chemical processes in the brain not functioning correctly.

Unfortunately, for most individuals, lifelong treatment may be required to prevent recurrent manic and depressive episodes. They should try to identify the features of the illness that are distinct to that individual, including the warning signs of recurrent manic or depressive episodes, so that someone in treatment can get immediate help to ward off those symptoms. Failure to seek help can lead to suicide so the most important factor in any treatment is the sufferer's acceptance of some form of counseling and/ or medication.

Bipolar depression disorder is a serious mental illness that can be successfully treated with proper psychological counseling and medication. It is important that anyone exhibiting the signs or symptoms of this disease seek help so they can properly manage this condition.

Do Not Let Depression Get The Best Of You

Everybody experiences depression or has had their own share and it actually strikes us or it happens when we do not expect it. One moment you feel ecstatic and the nest minute you feel so down and you do not understand why. Sometimes we feel ashamed to accept or admit to others that we are going through depression. Because, people thinks that admitting it you also admit that you have failed in life and that you have this sort of psychological disorder that may mostly require assistance of a professional counselor or psychiatrist and in worse cases may even end up in a mental hospital.

Well, you should not be embarrassed or ashamed to admit depression. Acceptance is the first step to battling it and is a good sign of recovery. There is nothing to ashamed about it; you are not the only one after all. It is just a matter of handling it the healthy way.

It would be best to keep a journal where you may be able to document your thoughts and how you feel at certain point on time. Journal will help you express your self easily. It is easier to write down how we feel that to say it vocally, right? That way you are not pressured, you can be honest with what you will want to say and write them down without having to fear anything or judgment by others.

Another way to battle depression is to find others whom you can relate to, someone who are going through the same as you are going through and someone you can share your thoughts and feelings with and vice-versa. You may do so by joining open forums, group sessions and counseling. Here you will hear and encounter people who might have the same situation as yours or those who have far worse a situation that what you are going through. Seeing that you have edge compared the others or that you are not alone will boost your spirit and encourage you more to be better.

If and when on the other hand, you feel uncomfortable being around groups of people, you may join online groups instead. There are also lots of online forums where people are able to communicate and share each others stories and feelings and discuss without having to see each other face to face. You can simple sign up or register and log in using an anonymous profile, if you want to keep your real identity. There are cases in online forums where people encounter someone whom they have so much in common, develop friendship and then eventually end up meeting each other in person.

Unfortunately there are those whose situation has become worse by using prescription drugs. Do not easily fall on commercials you see on television that says a certain drug can cure depression similar with yours. In some way, medications may help and is indeed needed for worse cases of depression. But, usually they do not get cured.

You have to take into consideration that medications may turn into drug addiction. Once you are dependent to it, you become addicted with it that your system will only respond normally when you have taken it. Without it, may only make you all the more depressed. So, before you start taking one, think dozen times.

The best way to overcome depression is to think positively and eliminate all the negative thoughts and backward mind. Being negative will only make you feel so down and other will also affect how people feel around you, people do not want to hang out with people who are half empty or whose mind is elsewhere and not responsive. You have to think that everybody goes through depression and if others have surpassed it, so can you. Failures and down fall in life is not an end. They are just challenges that will harness your personality and make you stronger. Keep that in mind.

Depression in Teens is Unfortunately a Common Occurrence

The depth of the depression is what needs to be addressed. It's very normal for a teenager to feel down every so often as that is something all humans feel and is completely normal. If the teen is showing other more serious signs of depression though, help should be sought as soon as possible by a professional counselor, physician or both.

One of the signs that a teenager is suffering from depression is that he or she may start isolating themselves they may show a lack of interest in friends that they've always otherwise enjoyed spending time with. They may retreat further away from family activities. These signs, if they continue for any length of time are indicators that the teen is suffering from depression and needs help. If the teen has always enjoyed doing a specific hobby but loses interest in it, or begins to make lower grades in school then usual they may be depressed. The parents or guardians may notice that the teenager sleeps more and more keeps their room dark and can't seem to feel happiness or excitement about anything that goes on around them.

If these symptoms are observed there is help available. Learning about the signs of teen depression can save lives and is one of the first steps in getting the appropriate treatment. Although many people use the term "depressed" for all sorts of situations, true depression needs to be acted upon as quickly as possible. Due to the technology we now have available many forms of depression in teens can be treated with a wide variety of medications, counseling and learning about the disease itself.

Unfortunately many teens that are suffering from depression don't, for any number of reasons, get the professional help they need and may get so depressed that they consider committing suicide. Because the teen feels such a deep despair and hopelessness, they can't see that there is anything good in store for them in the future. Persons that have never suffered from depression may have a hard time truly understanding how a teen can feel so helpless, but keep in mind it is part of the disease itself and not a shortcoming in the child. They can't control it without proper medical attention. Seeking immediate help for the depressed teen may help save their life. There are many counselors available and the teen's physician can help steer the parent or guardian in the right direction to make sure the teenager gets the proper help.

What Can Fish Oil Do for Your Depression?

When the goal of psychiatric treatment is full remission of depression and other mood disorders, we must be open to the idea of using complementary and alternative medicine, as long as there is scientific evidence that they work.

Omega-3 fatty acids, the active ingredients of those large, translucent fish oil capsules available in all drugstores, are an option that have been subjected to scientific scrutiny, and passed the test in some circumstances.

Fish oil contains 2 types of omega-3 fatty acids: Eico-sa-penta-enoic Acid (EPA) and Doco-sa-hexa-enoic Acid (DHA). When scientifically conducted studies of omega-3's are reviewed, the findings are mixed, but tend to show low-dose EPA (1000 mg/day is considered low dose when we are talking omega-3's) working for mood disorders. Studies of combinations of EPA and DHA tend to show favorable results for the combination when EPA dose in the combination is higher than DHA, with no benefit over sugar pill when DHA is higher than EPA.

Also, when low doses have been compared with high doses (EPA up to 4000 mg/day), it is the lower doses that have shown greatest improvement over sugar pills. Doses up to 9000 mg/day of omega-3s have been studied, with most of the evidence in favor of lower doses.

Most studies of omega-3's have tried to answer the question,"Do omega-3 fatty acids help antidepressants work better?" That is, they try to understand the potential of omega-3's as add-ons to antidepressants. However, there has been at least one study in which EPA alone (1000 mg/day) was compared with Prozac (20 mg/day) in the treatment of Major Depression and found to work just as well, with the combination of the Prozac and EPA working better than either one alone.

Potential benefits of using omega-3's in depression is that they have relatively few side-effects. There is a theoretical increased risk of bleeding, making caution necessary when a person taking them must undergo even minor operations (e.g. tooth extraction) or when that person must take blood thinners for other reasons.

One significant weakness of the studies of omega-3's as compared to those of prescription antidepressant medications is that these studies involve fewer patients - and generally speaking, confidence in the findings of a scientific study increases as the number of enrolled patients increases.

So what is a reasonable role of omega-3 fatty acids in the treatment of depression? Those who suffer from treatment-resistant depression should discuss the pros and cons of adding EPA 1000 mg/day to their medication regimen with their treating physician, and make sure that if they take a combination EPA/DHA pill, it has more EPA than DHA.

Grains in the Spotlight

Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? You've been to a number of doctors, had many tests, and nothing has shown up. Maybe there are answers to your feelings of ill health after all! The answer may just lie in something you are eating every single day. A food group that is the staple of the Western world! A group of grains that unknowingly results in a myriad of symptoms, the cause of which most of the population are completely unaware.

Could your ill health be caused by the gluten grains of wheat, rye, oats, and barley? You may just be suffering from gluten sensitivity or the more serious disorder called coeliac disease!

So what is gluten? Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, oats, and barley. What damage can it do? In persons sensitive to it, a process of an autoimmune reaction causes flattening and shrinkage of the microscopic finger-like projections in the small intestine called villi. The purpose of the villi is to absorb nutrients from food and by a process of enzyme activity, digest, and break down food particles to a soft consistency. When the villi are flattened, digestion of food is impaired, and the full spectrum of vitamins, minerals, trace elements, amino acids, enzymes, fats, and water are not absorbed properly.

What is meant by Autoimmunity? Autoimmune reactions occur when certain white blood cells or lymphocytes, called T-cells, attack healthy bodily tissue in error. These T-cells are like "soldier" cells in our body. They protect our body from invading allergens that they recognize may be harmful to us. In the presence of the protein gluten, in many people (one in a hundred and thirty three), they see it as an "invader" that will harm the body. They then become very active to try and destroy this "enemy". In so doing, they over-multiply. They then not only attack the protein that is gluten, but they also attack our own bodily tissue which is also protein. It is a case of mistaken identity. An autoimmune attack can affect any bodily tissue: red or white blood cells, connective tissue, the myelin sheath on the nerve endings, the synovial membrane in the joints, the heart muscle, islet cells in the pancreas, the liver, gall bladder, lining of the b ladder, the kidneys, the adrenal glands, the thyroid gland, amongst other tissue or organs.

According to research done both in USA and UK in the last 10 to 15 years, gluten sensitivity, an hereditary complaint, could be at the root of any of the following GROUPS of symptoms.

• Upper and lower respiratory tract problems like sinusitis, allergies, and "glue ear" in babies, asthma, bronchitis, post nasal drip.

• Headaches and migraine.

• Symptoms related to malabsorption of nutrients like anaemia and fatigue (lack of iron or folic acid), osteoporosis, insomnia (lack of calcium), skin complaints like eczema, Urticaria, psoriasis, Dermatitis Herpetiformis (lack of vitamin A), mouth ulcers, irritability, nervous system complaints,(lack of B vitamins), underweight or overweight (imbalance of utilization of carbohydrates), poor growth in children and babies, (lack of absorption of all nutrients, and impairment of growth hormone), infertility (hormone production impaired because of malabsorption of other nutrients), thyroid imbalance, pancreatic problems, diabetes.

• Bowel or digestive system complaints:- diarrhoea, constipation, bloating and distention, nausea, spastic colon, Crohn's disease, diverticulitis, stomach cramps, stomach ulcers, ulcerative colitis, IBS, (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), eating disorders like anorexia, lactose intolerance, gall bladder problems, bowel cancer, stomach cancer, lymphoma.

• Autoimmune system problems:- rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, Crohn's disease, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis (muscles are affected), muscular dystrophy, chronic fatigue syndrome, Sj繹gren's syndrome(when the lymphocytes attack the body's moisture producing glands), Addison's disease (adrenal glands are affected), pernicious anaemia (the lymphocytes attack the lining of the stomach where a substance called intrinsic factor is produced, which is needed for the production of vitamin B 12).

• Diseases of the nervous system: - Motor neuron disease, some of the epilepsies, tingling and numbness in the extremities, stammering and stuttering in children and adults (the myelin sheath on nerve endings is impaired)

• Problems that affect the mind:- depression, including bi-polar depression, behavioral problems in children, autism, dyslexia, ME., ADD, ADHD, Alzheimer's disease, Schizophrenia (A Japanese Professor has discovered that there are no less than 13 opioid reactions that can occur from just 1 molecule of gluten - that is, mind-bending addictive-type reactions that upset brain chemicals).

• Genetic problems like Down's syndrome, Diabetes Type 1 (Mellitus), amongst others.

• Cancer and lymphoma: Particularly cancers of the digestive tract, from the mouth, oesophagus, duodenum, stomach and small bowel to the large bowel, the colon.

What are the tests for this condition? They are the IgA and IgG antibody tests for gluten or gliadin, which is the fraction of the gluten molecule which causes the problem. Then, the IgA-AEA (anti-endomysial antibody test), and, the most important of all, the TtG - Tissue Transglutaminase AUTO antibody test for gluten.

Nobody should eliminate gluten before the tests otherwise the results will be inconclusive. Other tests of huge merit are the Delayed Food Allergy Type III (IgG) tests. If the gluten grains showed up on these food screening tests, one would be advised to have further tests for coeliac disease, and possibly the small bowel biopsy to check the state of the intestinal villi.

What is the GOOD news about this condition? The good news is that the damage is reversible. The sufferer changes to a strict gluten free diet, after which the villi in the small intestine start to regrow and can then start digesting food and absorbing nutrients again. The autoimmune reaction of the T-cells also dies down so that autoimmune disorders are reversible.

Now, what of the diet itself? First of all, one has to change from wheat, rye, oats and barley based products to corn, potato, and rice based items. Lots of salads and vegetables and fruit form a large portion of the diet. Pasta must be avoided, although one can buy rice, corn and millet pasta from health shops. There are also other flours one can use like chick pea flour, millet flour and gram flour (made from lentils). One has to scrutinize all ingredients in supermarket products. One can bake homemade bread, muffins, cakes, and pastries.

It is actually a very healthy diet, as one avoids a lot of the processed foods and uses fresh whole foods.

Bipolar Disorder - Manic Depression - The Manic High

Bipolar disorder (or manic depression) is comprised of two halves. Mania is the extreme high and depression is the extreme low. As stated these are extreme mood changes, not just the normal highs and lows everyone goes through from time to time. This article shall concentrate on the mania portion. Doctors also have a diagnosis of hypomania (bipolar 2) which is a mania to a lesser extent. While experiencing hypomania a person will feel in a very happy mood all the time. Many of us would like to feel happy.

Mania can be very extreme with its highs. A person suffering from this condition (he or she will not believe they are suffering though), can become volatile fast. The highs can spiral downward if they are provoked and angered in any way. Many arrests are made when people become angered and start screaming at each other. A manic person will accelerate this into a fight and if weapons are available it can mean disaster. Control is not a strong point of manic people. On a lighter note, mania can also bring out creativity in people. There are a number of great artists, musicians, and writers in history that were diagnosed manic depressive. Many swear that their most productive periods were during episodes. Those periods unfortunately do not last though.

A person who is bipolar or there loved ones should be aware of the warning signs that could trigger an episode of mania. Getting help early in the manic stage could help keep the worst symptoms from occurring. Psychotherapy and medication are known to help the bipolar patient tremendously.
What to look for:

Insomnia or not sleeping normally

Not feeling fatigued (despite no sleep)

Increased energy

Speaking more rapid that normal

Thoughts that race everywhere (rapid speech might show this)


Spending money with no regard to consequences (shopaholic)

Promiscuousness (sleeping around)

Feeling invincible (nothing can touch or stop them)

This list is by no means all inclusive. These are just guideline for which a person can follow. Your medical professional will have better information in relation to you. Everybody is an individual and will have his or her own warning signals. The afflicted and their loved ones should take notice of them and be aware of the signs. Some bipolar patients have recurring episodes throughout their lives. Medication does help to level the moods though so patients should stick with the regimen their doctor prescribes. Weight gain is listed as a side effect on many prescription medications for this illness which can scare people. Everyone is different regarding this and people should take heed. Diet and exercise goes a long way to make sure that this side effect does not take.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Good Credit Foreclosure Crisis

Two or three years ago, all anyone could talk about was the housing market. It was booming. Builders were building, buyers were buying, and lenders were lending. Everybody was making money hand over fist, and everybody loved it.

It didn't last. The market started to lag in 2006 and has only gotten worse in the first half of 2007. Some experts maintain that the market is just returning to normal after a strong surge and that there's nothing to worry about. Others, believing that the housing market is an indicator of the future of the rest of the market, are beginning to utter the unutterable word that starts with r: recession.

One thing is clear. This is not just a slight dip in the housing market. When slight dips occur, contractors are the first to be hurt, then the lenders, and buyers sometimes suffer a little bit. This time, current owners are getting into the mix. Foreclosures are at an all-time high, and it seems to be affecting everyone in the market. Whether you're an owner with bad credit, an investor, or an owner with good credit, the national figures have you at risk of foreclosure. Nationally, there is currently one foreclosure for every 134 households, which represents an increase of over 55% from the same time last year.

It isn't surprising or particularly unnerving that borrowers with bad credit are late on their payments or have already gone to foreclosure. They are, of course, the first borrowers who can be expected to have difficulties. Bad credit borrowers are the perfect prey for predatory lenders using aggressive lending tactics. They hooked borrowers looking to get in on the housing boom a few years ago when those same borrowers never had a chance at a mortgage earlier in their lives. During the housing boom they were able to borrow at subprime rates and the lenders got rich.

Although subprime rates and strong-arm tactics have been around for decades, the extreme slowdown in the housing market seems to have increasingly magnified the problem of late. Legislators are taking action to cut down on the practice. Congresswoman Deborah Price (R-Columbus, Ohio) has cosponsored a bill to help protect homebuyers from fraud in the mortgage market. She says that "Ohio's foreclosure rate is now three times the national average, one in six subprime loans is delinquent, and the problem is expected to worsen." Ohio is definitely at the center of the housing crisis, but states from coast to coast and in all different types of economies are suffering as well.

Real estate investors have greatly contributed to the current situation. Although this is to be expected during difficulties in housing markets, hundreds of thousands of homes and condos now stand empty because these investors got caught and were unable to flip their newly acquired properties. These investors bought property during the tail end of the housing boom at prices and rates that were much higher than in recent past. As prices eased, and in some areas began to fall, these investors are now forced to sell property for less than they bought it, causing them to lose money and some are defaulting on their mortgage payments because they can no longer afford to make them.

What really has a lot of industry experts nervous is the number of home owners with good credit who are foreclosing on their properties. At the epicenter of the housing industry's downturn is Countrywide Financial, one of the largest lenders in the country, who on July 24th, 2007, issued some of the worst news for the housing market in recent memory. While they confirmed the bad news that subprime borrowers were delinquent at record rates, they also surprised many in the financial sector when they announced that 5.4% of their loans to borrowers with good credit were past due. Countrywide was forced to reduce the value of their loans and assets by almost $1 billion. Their stock plummeted, dropping almost 10% in a single day.

Countrywide's announcement has a lot of people scrambling. The words of Chairman and CEO Angelo Mozillo may be the most troubling. On the day of the announcement he said that home sale prices were dropping "almost like never before, with the exception of the Great Depression." Investors shook their heads as they knew any mention of the Great Depression from a high-ranking CEO of a financial company was going to send the Dow plummeting by triple digits.

While many in the market are scratching their heads and asking why borrowers with good credit are defaulting on their payments, Ron Borg, CEO of says the reasons are simple. "There are 3 simple reasons for the tremendous increase in defaults on "good credit" mortgages", says Mr. Borg. "One reason has been the popularity of the Pay Option ARM. While the loan itself is not necessarily a bad loan, three particular features of the loan greatly contribute to defaults on this type of loan".

Mr. Borg continues, "See, the borrower's interest rate adjusts monthly and the rate is determined by adding a "margin" to a specified "index". The "index" is typically a short term bond such as the rate on the U.S. 1 year treasury-bill or other index such as the London inter-bank offered rate, which also based on short term interest rates. Over the past year and a half, short term interest rates have risen approximately 4%! That's a tremendous increase for most people.

Mr. Borg says that the second factor affecting Option ARM defaults is that mortgage lenders and brokers compensation is directly tied to the margin. The margin is the amount of interest that is added to the index which in turn, determines the borrower's actual interest rate. "Most borrowers have absolutely no idea that margins are negotiable" Mr. Borg states. He says that "Margins can vary from 2 ½% to as high as 6 ½%. Most indexes today hover around 5%, so you can easily see why so many borrowers are hurting."

The third feature of the loan is that it is improperly marketed, says Ron Borg. "Companies advertise that it comes with a very low rate, under 2%. This is completely misleading consumers", he says. "The fact is, that "interest rate" lasts for one whole month. After that it becomes nothing more than a calculation to figure a borrower's minimum monthly payment. Unfortunately, that minimum monthly payment isn't enough to even pay the monthly interest on the loan and negative amortization occurs." he says. That is when the balance of the loan actually goes up instead of down. "While this may be a valid short term strategy, thousands of borrowers got sucked in because of that low payment without regard to the consequences. Now they're hurting.

Another part of the foreclosure story is the proliferation of mortgage lead companies.. These companies created websites, spent millions of dollars to drive Internet users to their sites, promised better rates because lenders would compete for their business. "Consumers really don't understand how these companies operate", says Mr. Borg. He says that lenders pay huge advertising dollars to be part of these website companies.

"They receive so many leads from these lead companies, and they pay so much for those leads, that they cannot afford to hire experienced mortgage loan officers. Most hire sales or customer reps rather than actual loan officers. Some companies even outsource these jobs overseas!" he said. These reps are there to sell mortgages, not to provide any level of advice or consultation. Mr. Borg continued. They just want to sell loans. They don't worry about building a client base that can refer more business to them because each and every day they get new batch of leads, provided by the lead generating website company. Experienced loan officers work much differently - they provide consultation and a true desire to provide the best financing package for their borrower's particular needs."

While a large portion of borrowers that apply through lead generation websites have sub-prime credit, many are not borrowing on subprime loans and for the most part they don't have other properties to pay off or lose money on. Common sense would dictate that an individual with good credit would know to stay away from unscrupulous lenders. However, many borrowers with good credit have been lured by the promises of super low interest rates and the competitive environment offered by lead generators when they were looking for a mortgage during the housing boom of the past few years.

The nation had never before seen such a great housing boom in the era of the internet. The internet did not create any new lenders, but it did create a plethora of new lead generators. These are basically websites that get paid by lenders to find possible borrowers and direct them to the lenders. However, the tactics they use and the way these lead generators market themselves may have had an adverse effect even on borrowers with good credit, contributing to the current poor housing market. is a perfect example. Potential borrowers go to their website, provide their personal financial information and then are contacted by a variety of lenders. Their slogan is that "When Banks Compete, You Win." One glaring problem with this business model is that your online application is forwarded to multiple lenders within their network and then each lender makes a credit inquiry on the borrowers", says Mr. Borg.

The problem is that multiple credit inquiries in a short period of time hurt the borrower's credit score. This can sometimes result in less optimal mortgage rates, especially if a quick decision is not made. Furthermore, such sites can be very secretive about what they're doing. They claim that multiple credit inquiries is not a problem and simply push the borrower to make a decision, good or bad; after all, they get paid when customers choose any lender from their site.

Recently, some companies are looking to provide borrowers with similar services as these lead generators but without the risk. is a good example. They offer multiple lender quotes but without the multiple credit inquiries. Instead of submitting credit inquiries to the lenders, they pull the borrower's credit score themselves and manually calculate each rate quote. The borrower gets more accurate quotes and their credit only gets accessed once.

The third reason for the rising foreclosure rate, of course, is the market itself. Mr. Borg had this to say - "While all the politicians are now grandstanding about predatory lending and looking to regulate the problem away, the fact is, if real estate continued to appreciate, most of the problems of today simply wouldn't exist. But when you combine increasing mortgage balances with declining home values, well, let just say, you're going to see some problems."