ADHD is outlined by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that interfere with social or academic function. The symptoms last for a minimum of six months, and onset usually occurs before 7 years of age. Symptoms may occur in multiple settings such as school, home, and work.
There is no specific etiology. However, many have;
- Central nervous system pathology
- Disadvantages family
- Specific school situations
Prevalence: 5% of school-age children occur at 9:1 male to female ratio.
Onset: Initially recognized when a child enters school, and symptoms usually persist throughout childhood. ADHD persists into adulthood in approximately 30% of affected individuals.
- Short attention span
- Constant fidgeting
- Inability to sit through meals
- Inability to wait in lines
- Failure to stay quiet or sit still in class, insufficient attention
- Fighting, poor academic and learning performance
- Carelessness and poor relationship with siblings
- Low self-esteem
- Mood lability
- Conduct disorder
- Learning disorders
- Motor skill disorders
- Communication disorders
- Drug Abuse
- School performance failure
- Physical trauma as a result of impulsivit
Parents and teachers use IQ tests and various structured symptoms rating scales
- Age-appropriate behavior
- Mental retardation
- Autistic disorder
- Mood disorders
There have been many studies on the effects of ADHD on the brain, and there are still more to be done. ADHD can disrupt how nerve cells release dopamine in a part of the brain’s prefrontal cortex (PFC) that is responsible for mental planning, decision-making and impulse control.
This disruption leads to problems with prioritizing tasks, remembering things, paying attention etc. These symptoms cause dysfunction in other areas such as disruptions in emotional responses or sleep quality among others. Basically, ADHD tends to affect any parts of the brain that process information from our senses or communicate with other parts of our body.
What else does it affect? General function of the PFC at various levels can result in social and behavioral problems like
Treatment includes psychological, social, and educational intervention to increase structure and stability to home and school environments. Use specialized educational techniques, such as short and frequently repeated instructions, immediate reinforcement for learning, and minimization of classroom distractions.
Use psychostimulants, such as methylphenidate (>6yr old), dextroamphetamine (>3yrs old), and modafinil. Medications will reduce hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity. Newer medication includes atomoxetine (very safe). These may use drug holidays where medications are given during the school year and not during the summer. Reassessment is needed to see medications are still needed.
Other medications include antidepressants and clonidine.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5. 5th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2013. https://dsm.psychiatryonline.org. Accessed Jan. 26, 2019.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. National Institute of Mental Health. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd/index.shtml. Accessed Jan 26, 2019.
Brown A. Allscripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 9, 2018.Information about Mental Illness and the Brain https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK20369/
Aggression refers to threatening behavior that could result in physical injury. Aggressive behavior can take many forms, such as verbal or physical violence, and it includes actions directed toward other people and animals.
The cause of aggression is hard to pinpoint because there are so many contributing factors, including environment, mental health conditions and the presence of drugs or alcohol. Doctors often look at whether there’s a history of abuse in order to determine if someone has an underlying condition such as post-traumatic stress disorder or borderline personality disorder.
The DSM-IV defines aggression as “A response that is intended to inflict damage or harm on another individual”. Aggression can be either physical or verbal and may include destruction of property. The DSM-IV classifies four different types of aggressive behavior:
- Physical-only aggression includes such behaviors as hitting, kicking, or destroying property
- Verbal aggression includes such behaviors as name-calling, threatening with harm or physical punishment, and saying things to deliberately hurt someone else’s feelings
- Physical-only aggressive behavior is called “oppositional defiant disorder” and is characterized by defiant, irritable, argumentative behavior with at least two of the following: a) often loses temper; b) often argues with adults; c) often actively defies or refuses to comply with requests from authority figures; d) often deliberately annoys others.
- Physical and verbal aggressive behavior is called “intermittent explosive disorder” and includes impulsive acts of aggression that are grossly out of proportion to any precipitating psychosocial stressor.
The psychological effects of aggression disorder on the brain are not as well-understood as the physical ones. However, recent research does suggest that a compromised frontal lobe might affect some patients with severe aggression and rage.
According to the studies, brain scans revealed that people with frontal lesions had significantly reduced activity in their orbital cortex, which is associated with decision-making and controlling social behavior. These results suggest that people who have damaged or underdeveloped parts of their prefrontal cortex might show more aggressive or impulsive behavior than those without injuries to these areas.
Furthermore, people who have experienced traumatic events in early childhood are more likely to grow up to be aggressive adults. This is partly due to differences in brain development during childhood, but there’s also some evidence that childhood trauma can actually change the structure of the brain over time.
Aggression can occur as a result of many different factors but is usually associated with mental disorders or personality disorders that are causes for concern. Possible intervention measures include psychopharmacology, individual and group therapy, peer support programs and non-violent methods of subduing the person.
Psychopharmacology includes medication, such as steroids or anti-depressants which have a calming effect on the mind and body. Psychiatrists claim that medications should be used in conjunction with psychotherapy.
Agoraphobia is a fear of large or public places. A person with this phobia has the constant worry that they will be unable to escape from it because of their panic disorder. This problem can interfere with daily life and make it harder for someone to maintain jobs, social relationships, and other activities which require them to go out into larger areas.
- Nausea, tingling or numbness in the hands and feet, cold sweat, chest pain, rapid heart rate
- Fear of being unable to escape from a situation because of panic attacks
- Fear of dying from a panic attack
- Excessive worry about it happening again in the future. This could lead to avoidance behavior, such as not leaving home or avoiding crowded spaces because they have been associated with past attacks.
The effects of agoraphobia on the brain are difficult to predict for any given individual because everyone has their own unique genetic makeup and life experiences. There are some neurobiological changes associated with agoraphobia though, including structural changes in certain regions of the brain when someone is anticipating an anxiety-provoking event (like intense scrutiny after acting overly bold). Additionally, there are strong associations between depression and anxiety disorders like agoraphobia, often leading to heightened feelings of hopelessness or helplessness over time.
There are different treatments available such as cognitive behavioral therapy and medication albeit not all people want these therapies. It may also take time for one’s agoraphobic fears to lessen but most people have found that addressing underlying anxiety issues usually results in a reduction in agoraphobic symptoms over time.
Some people try various forms of therapy including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). In this type of treatment there may be some exposure therapy where one gradually faces their fears while working through any anxiety triggered reactions. Some medications like antidepressants can help reduce these types of responses but often the goal is to try and address the condition from a different angle such as through therapy.
According to the American Psychological Association, “Anger is an emotional response to a perception of being wronged.” Anger often results in behavioral changes intended to punish or deter future actions that are perceived as unjust. Anger can manifest itself as verbal abuse, physical violence, or other forms of aggressive behavior.
The most frequent cause of anger is a perceived threat to our person or possessions. This perception is based on our making a comparison between the situation we are in and one that we feel is “ideal.” When there’s an unfulfilled expectation, anger results.
Anger may be temporary or long term. Anger can be perceived as a trait rather than an emotion; meaning it is part of a person’s personality while other emotions are felt in response to situations.
This disorder is when your anger causes you to harm yourself or others; this could include thoughts such as:
- Violence toward oneself – Suicide attempts
- Violence toward others – Homicide and/or physical harm
- Feeling constantly irritated or frustrated,
- Difficulty controlling your temper in specific situations
- Increased heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
- Reddening of the face
The brain affects and changes with the development of anger disorder. Anger disorder is a serious mental health condition that can have debilitating consequences if not treated.
It’s possible for the effects of anger to lead to problems in memory, concentration, one’s moods and sense of self, sleep difficulties, social relationships and much more. Memory impairment as a complication of anger has been well-explored by research but what others might not know is how it can also affect one’s perspective on their current life circumstances.
The hippocampus (a region located deep within the temporal lobe) plays a significant role in forming memories where they are formed by combining stored information from long-term memory storage with new experiences based on sensory input received from bodily sensations or current events. The degree to which the hippocampus has been weakened in a person suffering from anger disorder can lead to an irregular pattern of storing information into one’s memory as it is no longer able to properly process such information.
This can result in the person lacking a profound sense of how their current situation compares with what they have experienced in the past and therefore can give them the impression that they have no control over their current situation. An inability to properly process personal experiences along with an irregular pattern of memory storage can lead to other complications such as anxiety, depression, panic attacks and even suicidal feelings if left untreated.
Anger cannot be “cured” but it can be controlled with counseling and medication which will help regulate moods and thoughts, leading to a decrease in anger. Counseling will help a person become aware of his or her triggers for feelings of rage and how to cope with these emotions when they arise, ultimately helping the patient gain control over his or her life.
The best way to deal with anger is through recognizing its root cause which can then be addressed either through counseling (talk therapy) or medication. Anger is a natural human emotion but when it becomes excessive and chronic, anger can be very harmful to oneself and others.
Anxiety disorders are a group of mental disorders characterized by excessive anxiety, which is often accompanied by nervous behavior, such as pacing back and forth, somatic complaints, and rumination. Anxiety in normal beings is caused by specific situations: the person sees an object or hears a sound that he knows might be dangerous; that perception triggers fear, which is followed by a physical response of arousal, such as sweating or a racing heart. In anxiety disorders, however, the fear is inappropriate: it is out of proportion to the actual danger.
Anxiety symptoms can be so severe that they interfere with day-to-day functioning and cause extreme distress and discomfort in otherwise “normal” situations. Symptoms of anxiety include;
- A sense of impending doom: Fear that something awful is about to happen, which causes feelings of panic or dread
- Fear that something awful is about to happen, which causes feelings of panic or dread.
- Restless feeling and a tendency to jump at every noise
- Fatigue: Exhaustion, as if you’ve been running a marathon for days on end
- Fears: Being afraid of things that most people don’t usually worry about—like using public restrooms or leaving the house
- Irritability: Inability to relax, even when you want to. This leads to constant tension and frustration
- Insomnia: It’s hard for those with anxiety disorders to fall asleep—and if they do nod off, they wake up too soon.
- Nausea: Feeling sick to your stomach or nauseous without a physical cause.
- Panic attacks: Intense feelings of terror that strike suddenly without warning.
- Rapid heartbeat: A heart rate that feels faster than usual—sometimes so much that you think it may burst out of your chest.
- Sweating: Cold and clammy hands and feet, as if you just got out of the shower.
- Trembling: A nervous shaking that won’t go away, usually in your legs or arms.
Anxiety disorders affect the brain in two general ways;
First, they impact the body’s stress response system (the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis)). This impacts a person’s mood and then may trigger or worsen anxiety symptoms.
Second, the body releases neurotransmitters called catecholamines during periods of high stress which can go to excess at times during an anxiety attack. The hippocampus is responsible for learning and memory but these neurotransmitters can interfere with this process which can put you at risk for PTSD if past events are replayed in your mind. They also put the prefrontal cortex under increased stimulation which has been linked to depression and panic attacks.
Anxiety disorders are usually treated with medications and psychotherapy or a combination of both. Sometimes, lifestyle changes might also be needed to prevent the reoccurrence of anxiety symptoms like avoiding places that trigger panic attacks. Since eating habits can affect your health condition, it’s best to adopt a healthy diet that could help control anxiety. Talk to your doctor about the best medications and therapy methods for you based on your condition.
Bipolar disorder is a chronic mental illness that can severely impact all areas of a person’s life, including relationships with friends and family, work or school performance, and general health.
People with bipolar disorder have alternating periods of depressed or elevated moods, called episodes. During these episodes, people may experience:
- Euphoria (intense excitement, irritability and high energy)
- Racing thoughts and talking very fast
- Decreased need for sleep with constant activity (psychomotor agitation)
- Grandiose thoughts that one has abilities beyond what is considered normal or possesses high creative talents, such as writing a novel or painting a masterpiece. These thoughts are usually unrealistic. Also known as delusions of grandeur, grandiose thinking can lead to exaggeration of the self-worth leading to risky behaviors such as excessive shopping sprees, sexual promiscuity or hyper investing in stocks and gambling. Suicidal ideation is during a depressed state.
- Recurrent impulsivity, including excessive spending, sexual indiscretions, substance use and other behaviors that can have damaging consequences for the person. Impulsivity may increase during a manic episode when judgment is poor.
- Poor decision-making skills such as choosing to engage in risky or harmful behavior because of impaired thinking. This can lead not only to criminal activity but also to financial problems such as debt issues which are caused by excessive spending or gambling.
- During an elevated mood with mania, people feel a high level of self-confidence, their thoughts race (with racing thoughts) and they feel energized to carry out many tasks at once – sometimes called hyperactivity.
Studies are showing that bipolar disorder can have a major impact on cognition and memory. These cognitive skills can include attention, concentration, problem-solving, verbal intelligence, working memory and visual-spatial intelligence. This information could be used to help determine the type of support patients would require for their disease with regards to future employment prospects or educational goals.
While some people may find relief with Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), others may find that SSRI antidepressants like Prozac or Zoloft are effective for them. Medications used to treat schizophrenia have been known to ease the symptoms of bipolar disorder; however, they also carry a risk of causing mania.
It is also possible that bipolar disorder may be relieved with lithium, which is used to help treat mood disorders caused by ‘chemical imbalances’ in the brain. Besides medication there are other treatments like CBT which can bring about lasting relief and recovery from Bipolar Disorder. This form of therapy helps individuals control their moods through understanding of the symptoms they’re experiencing as well as changing negative or harmful thought processes.
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious mental health problem that can lead to distress and ongoing problems with relationships, work, and emotions. People with BPD often have an intense fear of abandonment and unstable moods, especially depression, which can result in reckless behaviors including self-injury or suicide.
Some people with this condition may harm themselves or attempt suicide. Others may continually make frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.
People who have borderline personality disorder usually do not follow through on promises made to others or themselves. They value the opinions of others more than their own opinions. They display inappropriate anger when someone criticizes them, but do not express anger in other situations.
People who have borderline personality disorder may have problems understanding what is real and what they imagine to be real. They may distort facts, such as by misinterpreting the words or actions of others or believing things that are not true. They may feel like people are watching them or talking about them.
Such feelings can lead to sudden paranoid thoughts, relationships with others are often stormy and unstable, and there may be a history of self-harm (such as cutting or burning oneself) from desperate attempts to cope with difficult emotions. Signs and symptoms of borderline personality disorder are varied. Common characteristics include;
- Intense emotional responses, such as feeling happy or angry
- Sudden changes in energy levels
- Impulsivity (acting on their feelings without thinking)
- Fearful and paranoid thoughts
- Problems with self-image and relationships with others
- Impulsive behaviors, such as excessive spending or binge eating followed by extreme guilt
- Headaches or stomach aches that last for hours to days without physical cause
- Children may have temper tantrums during which they can be aggressive, destructive and severely demanding.
BPD affects the brain by altering its ability to regulate emotions and controlling impulses (such as binge-eating). The abnormalities found in the prefrontal cortex are believed to contribute to BPD patients’ inability to control their emotions and regulate their impulses.
Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) varies among individuals. As with other mental illnesses, it is important to treat BPD in a way that addresses the individual’s specific symptoms and problems.
Different treatment approaches may help people with borderline personality disorder, including medication, psychotherapy or both. Medication may help reduce some of the core symptoms of BPD like; fearfulness, anger, impulsiveness and chronic feelings of emptiness. It also can help control mood swings and limit outbursts or self-destructive behavior. Psychotherapy typically involves helping people manage their emotions more effectively by changing negative thinking patterns and destructive behaviors.
Bullying is a misuse of power. It’s the person or group doing something that overpowers another, usually with repeated verbal, physical and/or social behavior. Bullying can happen in person or online, and it can be obvious, hidden, or both. This behavior often continues over time.
Any form of bullying can have immediate, medium and long-term effects on all those involved. These consequences may include both physical and verbal abuse. One event does not constitute the act as bullying unless it intentionally harms someone for a specific reason or continues after they ask you to stop.
Being bullied makes youth feel extremely insecure. Victims of bullying often feel constantly on-guard and unsupported. Even if not actively being attacked, the victims almost always know it could happen at any time.
It has a big mental and emotional impact—you feel unaccepted, isolated, angry, and withdrawn. You always wonder how to do better or escape from a bully’s notice without giving up friendships that are crucial to your development?
One way to tackle bullying is by practicing mindfulness meditation. This form of meditation allows a person to observe what’s happening in the mind and body without judging themselves or the thoughts they’re having. By practicing this mindful state, people are better able to experience life in the present moment with less fighting against their thoughts or emotions.
This then gives them space and agency from which to make new decisions about how they want to react when faced with similar situations in the future.
Burnout is a severe stress condition that directs to severe physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion and depleted. It is worse than ordinary fatigue; burnout makes it difficult for people to survive with pressure and deal with day-to-day operations. As a result, many may adopt a negative attitude toward life and feel miserable.
Burnout doesn’t heal on its own. If untreated, it can lead to severe physical and psychological illnesses like pessimism, heart disorders, and Diabetes Mellitus.
Repeatedly exposed to high levels of stress can suffer burnout. Helping experts, such as emergency room staff, physicians, and nurses, are highly vulnerable to this state of circumstances.
Together with career-induced burnout, people looking after children can also experience this type of extreme exhaustion. A recent survey found that, just like health professionals and business managers, there is a high tendency for parents also to burn out.
Five stages of burnout include;
- Honeymoon Phase. When we begin a new task, we often initiate by experiencing high job satisfaction
- Onset of Stress. The second stage of burnout begins with an awareness of some days being more difficult than others.
- Chronic stress
- Habitual Burnout
Physical signs and symptoms of burnout:
- Feeling tired and drained
- Lowered immunity making you more susceptible to frequent illnesses like cold and flu.
- Frequent headaches or muscle discomfort.
- Change in appetite or sleep habits.
Emotional signs and symptoms of burnout:
- Sense of disappointment and self-doubt.
- Feeling helpless
- Detachment, feeling alone in the world.
- Loss of motivation and courage.
- Increasingly cynical and pessimistic attitude
- Decreased satisfaction and sense of accomplishment.
- Behavioral signs and symptoms of burnout
- Withdrawing from responsibilities.
- Isolating yourself from others.
- Procrastination and taking longer to get things worked out.
- Use of drugs or alcohol to cope.
- Putting out own frustrations on others.
- Avoiding work
Whether you realize the signs of looming burnout or have already passed the breaking point and trying to push through the exhaustion and proceeding as you have been will result in further emotional and physical damage.
How can you help yourself overcome burnout and feel healthy and positive again?
Recognize. Watch for the alarm signs of burnout.
Reverse. Undo the damage by seeking support and control stress.
Resilience. Build your stability to stress by taking care of your physical and emotional wellbeing.
Depression: What is burnout? Informed Health Online. https://www.informedhealth.org/what-is-burnout.2125.en.html?part=symptome-5i. Accessed Oct. 8, 2018.
Bianchi R, et al. Burnout and depression: Causal attributions and construct overlap. Journal of Health Psychology. In press. Accessed Oct. 9, 2018.https://kingcounty.gov/~/media/audience/employees/employee-survey/docs/2021/Burnout-discussion-guide.ashx?la=en
Depression: What is burnout? Informed Health Online. https://www.informedhealth.org/what-is-burnout.2125.en.html?part=symptome-5i. Accessed Oct. 8, 2018.
Bianchi R, et al. Burnout and depression: Causal attributions and construct overlap. Journal of Health Psychology. In press. Accessed Oct. 9, 2018.https://kingcounty.gov/~/media/audience/employees/employee-survey/docs/2021/Burnout-discussion-guide.ashx?la=en
Chronic pain is a broad term that encompasses any continuous, long-term, and often debilitating pain. It is known to be the most common cause of disability among adults in developed nations. Chronic pain can affect an individual physically (causing muscle stiffness and fatigue), psychologically (affecting mood and memory functions), socially (making it difficult to carry out daily activities).
Pain that lasts longer than six months becomes chronic when it interferes with a person’s ability to function normally on a day-to-day basis. In fact, even moderate levels of chronic pain are enough for some people to require occasional visits to hospital or doctors’ offices for treatment.
Chronic pain is a complex problem that does not have one simple solution. Chronic pain ranges from mild to debilitating and can result from many different causes including surgery, cancer, repetitive injuries or work-related stress. The following are some of the most common symptoms associated with chronic pain:
- Pain that doesn’t get better with rest or changes in position
- Pain that causes a decrease in productivity or increased dependency on others to perform routine daily activities
- Decreased mobility and physical activity – movement is often limited by pain
- Fatigue, loss of energy and general malaise
- Difficulty sleeping, frequently waking up at night or having non-restful sleep when falling asleep due to pain and discomfort
Sometimes chronic pain will have no identifiable cause. In this case the symptoms are triggered by unknown factors such as age, genetics, previous injuries or stress on the body.
Many people with Chronic Pain have changes in the brain areas that control movement, perception and emotions. The normal function of our brains is to process pain signals sent from peripheral nerve endings near your nerve tissue but chronic pain trains the brain to switch on what we call a “pain state”.
So it goes like this: your central nervous system can be triggered by abnormal receptors or other initiating factors which send messages via spinal cord to the brain about the sensation of pain, emotional responses (stress, fear), perceptions (allodynia) and somatosensory changes. All these mental processes may feel more exaggerated in people suffering from Chronic Pain because they’re continually having signal spikes going up into their brains over and over again- where there wasn’t such a spike response before. It’s a chronic sensitization of the nervous system and brain, causing increased sensitivity and heightened perception of stimuli coming from the body.
Chronic pain cannot be cured and does not disappear on its own. However, it can be successfully managed through medications, surgery, alternative medicine treatments like acupressure, acupuncture etc. and self-help techniques.
There are various medications available that can help to relieve the pain and other symptoms associated with chronic conditions like arthritis, diabetes, backache etc. but most of these medicines have certain side effects like nausea, constipation or diarrhea. These adverse effects are manageable in many patients but those who cannot tolerate such drugs need an alternate treatment for managing their pain.
If painful joints are treated through medication only then they tend to get stiff and further damage the cartilage surrounding them which restricts movement of joints leading to disability later on. This is why surgery is recommended as a last measure for treating painful joints if all other types of treatments fail to give relief from pain and improve quality of life. Surgery can be innovative solutions or joint replacement. However, surgery is not a permanent cure for chronic pain. Once you are out of the hospital and back home with your medications, just like before surgery, you will still have to cope up with the pain.
People who suffer from various types of chronic conditions like arthritis or nerve disorders etc. can manage their symptoms by practicing certain self-help techniques. These exercises help in improving muscle strength which helps to manage weight as well as reduces stress levels and allows them to sleep better at night. Such techniques involve exercising and yoga that helps patients gain confidence while handling their lives on their own without depending upon others around them.
It is a mood disorder that presents with at least a two-week course of symptoms that change from the patient’s previous level of functioning. Depression (major depressive disorder) is a severe medical illness that impacts how you feel, think, and acts.
The happy news is it is treatable. However, depression causes emotions of sadness, loss of interest in activities you previously liked. It leads to various emotional and corporal problems and reduces your capacity to work at the office and home.
Symptoms can vary from mild to severe.
- Depressed mood or feeling sad
- Loss/ lack of interest or pleasure in activities previously enjoyed
- Significant weight loss or gain independent of dieting and differences in appetite.
- Insomnia or hypersomnia
- Loss of stamina or increased fatigue nearly every day
- Increase in meaningless physical activity slowed movements or speech
- Feeling worthlessness or guilt
- Difficulty thinking, focussing or making decisions
- Suicidal thoughts
Also, medical situations like thyroid gland problems, a brain tumor, or vitamin deficiency can mimic signs, and symptoms of depression, so it is essential to determine general medical causes.
Major Depression is seen more frequently in women due to several factors such as hormonal differences. The typical age one set is 40 years.
There is a higher incidence in those who have no interpersonal relationships or are divorced or separated. In addition, many studies have shown abnormalities in the level of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. Other risk factors include exposure to stressors, family history, behavioral reasons.
Laboratory tests are not the primary diagnostic method. But may find abnormal dexamethasone suppression tests or thyrotropin-releasing hormone tests.
Depression affects the brain by changing its neurochemical personality. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and serotonin are two important neurotransmitters affected by depression, leading to decreased levels of these chemicals in the brain.
The effects of depression on the brain can be profound and can include problems with cognitive functioning such as memory, attention span, or decision-making. In some cases however, low levels of BDNF and serotonin may lead to growth in connections between neurons that foster negative thinking patterns which are difficult to break free from
It’s essential to secure the safety of the patient, given that suicide is a high risk
- Pharmacotherapy includes antidepressant medications such as SSRIs, tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), or monoamine oxidase inhibitors ( MAOIs).
- Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may indicate if the patient is suicidal or worried about side effects from medications.
- Psychotherapy helps the patient to deal with conflicts.
- Cognitive therapy will change the patient’s distorted thoughts about the self, future, world.
Depression. National Alliance on Mental Illness. http://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Depression/Overview. Accessed Jan. 23, 2017.
Depression: What you need to know. National Institute of Mental Health. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression-what-you-need-to-know/index.shtml. Accessed Jan. 23, 2017.
What is depression? American Psychiatric Association. https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/what-is-depression. Accessed Jan. 23, 2017.
Depression. NIH Senior Health. https://nihseniorhealth.gov/depression/aboutdepression/01.html. Accessed Jan. 23, 2017.
Eating disorders are psychological illnesses that disrupt eating habits and lead to abnormal weight in individuals. There are two types of eating disorders; the restrictive form, which involves consuming lesser amounts of food for fear of gaining fat; and the binge-eating/purging type, where people consume large amounts of food in a short time or subsequently induce vomiting or laxative [induce bowel movement] by taking medications in an effort to lose weight. It is generally considered that there are three major types of eating disorders including Anorexia Nervosa (AN), bulimia nervosa (BN) and atypical eating disorder (AED).
Researchers have identified a number of symptoms that might be used to identify an eating disorder. These include the following:
- Preoccupation with food and dieting
- Feelings of guilt after eating
- Eating when feeling uncomfortable or upset
- Not wanting to eat in front of others, especially friends or family members
- Frequent checking on weight
- Fear of getting fat
- Discontinuation/omission [stopping] of meals
- Food hoarding
- Making excuses for overeating
- Eating alone
- Increased irritability
- Lack of energy
- Sleeping problems
- Feeling out-of-control regarding food
- Being secretive about food
- Trouble concentrating
Eating disorders usually affect the brain by influencing levels of hormones and neurotransmitters, such as serotonin. These changes in brain chemistry can lead to anxiety, mood swings, obsessive thoughts about food and weight, distorted body image and irrational fears.
Anorexia Nervosa for example, has been found to be a result of abnormal regulation of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin helps regulate appetite so those with low serotonin levels typically have little desire for food or social contact.
Anorexia isn’t just an issue with metabolism– it’s also a mental health condition rooted in obsessive/compulsive thinking mixed with depression which is why treatment needs to involve psychotherapy/medication combined with nutrition counseling, along with increasing the intake of foods that can promote the body’s natural serotonin production. Taking SSRI medications like Prozac or Zoloft is one way to boost serotonin levels but it isn’t a long-term solution to Anorexia Nervosa since those medications only mask symptoms.
There are a number of treatment options for eating disorders, including medical, psychological and educational approaches. The treatments that work best for an individual with an eating disorder depends upon the type of eating disorder they have. Treatment is usually provided by a team that includes doctors, psychologists and nutritionists.
- Psychological interventions: Cognitive behavior therapy helps people replace distorted thoughts with more realistic ones and teaches new ways to cope with situations. It is particularly useful in treating bulimia nervosa or binge-eating disorder where there is a clear link between moods, behaviors and emotional response. It involves working on self-directed change through psycho-education about the illness and problem-solving skills training to help individuals challenge their faulty logic about food and eating.
- Educational interventions: Educating patients about the illness is a vital part of treatment, and it can help them to take responsibility for learning new skills. It will also allow patients to feel less at the mercy of an eating disorder. Family members can be involved in this process too.
- Medication: Antidepressants have been used in both anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, but their role has yet to be clarified; they are not generally first-line treatment. Some antidepressants might aggravate binge-eating in some individuals with bulimia nervosa. Anti-psychotic medications may be useful when people experience psychotic symptoms such as auditory hallucinations or delusions that underlie some cases of anorexia nervosa. It should be emphasized that atypical antipsychotics are not a treatment for anorexia nervosa, but might be useful in certain people when used alongside psychological and nutritional interventions.
- Other treatments: In addition to psychological and educational approaches, other treatments can help with the underlying causes of eating disorders. Treatments such as interpersonal therapy or psychoanalysis may be particularly useful where there is a strong relationship between body-image disturbance and distorted self-perception, depression or low self-esteem.
Generalized anxiety disorder is a mental health condition where people have excessive and persistent worry that interferes with their day-to-day activity.
Scientists think of the brain as divided into two parts: one part called the limbic system, which controls emotions and emotional behavior, and another part called the cortex, which controls thinking and reasoning. Scientists believe that in people with generalized anxiety disorder, certain connections between neurons in both parts of the brain are stronger than normal. This increased connection may cause the strong negative feelings associated with this condition.
- Hot flushes
- Nausea and vomit
- Shortness of breath
- Feelings of choking
- Chest pain
- Muscle tension and aches
- Stomach cramps
- Stomach cramps
Those who experience Generalized Anxiety Disorders are more sensitive to an active alarm system in the brain. This makes it difficult for those with anxiety disorders to ease into relaxation mode.
Some studies have shown that people with generalized anxiety disorder have structural differences in their brains – such as enlarged amygdalae and shrunken hippocampus regions – when compared to the general population. The amygdala is responsible for processing emotional responses, while the hippocampus deals with memory and learning new information and facts about our world. When there are structural differences in this area of the brain, short-term stress can develop into long-term paranoia and anxiety that acts as a continuous feedback loop from what could be considered ‘normal’ stress.
There is no cure for generalized anxiety disorder and people will usually need to keep taking any prescribed medication or treatment for the rest of their life.
- Medication and CBT: The most common treatments are: medications, which include antidepressants such as SSRIs; cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT); or a combination of medicines & psychological therapies.
- Changes in lifestyle (such as trying to relax) can also be helpful, but many people with GAD find it difficult to change habits that could have been present for a long time.
- Psychological treatments for GAD Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most effective psychological treatment for GAD at present, and works best when it’s given over several months or longer. It focuses on helping people with anxiety overcome their fears by facing them gradually in a controlled way. For example: someone may fear going onto a bridge but through CBT they would go closer and closer to the edge of the bridge until they were able to go onto the bridge. Psychological therapies for GAD are generally carried out by therapists rather than doctors, although they may have medical backgrounds. They can be effective in both the short-term and long-term. Doctors often refer people to psychotherapy on their own or together with medication during a single consultation.
- Anxiety management (also called social skills) is another psychological treatment aimed at helping people with GAD deal better with everyday life, and includes techniques such as breathing exercises or muscle relaxation.
Goal setting is the process of determining specific, measurable, and challenging objectives that a person can strive to achieve in order to improve or maintain certain performance standards.
Goal setting is considered to be an essential element in personal development, employee performance management, business strategy and planning. Many workplaces regularly set goals among employees to increase productivity and efficiency.
Not only does goal-setting increase work productivity, it improves worker morale. It also helps track a company’s progress over time so mission statements may be consistently met.
Goals often challenge people to make things better than they currently are or reach higher standards than previously set by other people or companies. The emphasis on having challenging goals leads people to strive for them even when the initial enthusiasm begins to decline, making it easier for them not to give up their pursuit of said goals.
When properly developed and used as a guide, goals can provide people with a framework to help them make the right decisions. They also force people to think about their actions instead of just acting on instinct and emotions, which help keep them from making impulsive or irrational decisions that, may hurt them in the long run.
- Identify what it is that you want to achieve
- Determine if there are any attitudes or skills that you need improve on.
- Design your goal setting plan
- Plan how often and when you will review your progress towards reaching each goal
- Set up checkpoints along the way for yourself so that you know whether or not you are on track and headed for your overall goal: Checkpoints can be both qualitative (such as a quick satisfaction survey) and quantitative (such as a numerical goal you must achieve at specified checkpoints)
- Track your goals and progress
- Review your plan every time you set new goals
- Reward yourself for reaching the checkpoints along the way to your final goal
- Keep a record of both positive behaviors and mistakes, so that you can act more effectively in the future: Your errors may be pointing out what you need to change in order to reach your next objective. Individuals who keep records find it easier to learn from their experiences, since they are able to see patterns emerge across different areas of their lives rather than having to rely on isolated memories of each experience
- Keep a record of the results you are achieving, so that you can chart your progress towards your goal: Record keeping gives your goals more substance and meaning
- Choose an end time for a goal, if appropriate: It may be helpful to give yourself a deadline when thinking about reaching any long-term objective
- Being satisfied with your own performance is an important part of success in setting and meeting goals. Don’t just focus on the short-term goals but set some intermediate ones as well, so that you can see improvement along the way
- Rather than looking at failure as something bad, look at it as feedback. Feedback helps us learn what works and what doesn’t work in achieving our objectives
- Reward yourself for reaching your checkpoints: The reward should be something you enjoy and value, and not something superficial
- Set yourself up for success by choosing a goal that is realistic: If you set a very difficult goal at the beginning of the year, then every time you make some progress towards it, your feelings of accomplishment will be enhanced. However, if you were to realize that it is too difficult to reach your objective within the time frame available, then you will feel despondent because in effect you are failing all along: Therefore, be selective about what goals you decide on
- Try setting some easy targets as well. You may think they won’t let you much scope for feeling good about yourself but such “mini-goals” can actually give you many opportunities to develop positive habits; when these become ingrained, it will become easier for you to achieve your “bigger” targets
- Your ultimate success in setting and meeting goals can be dependent on plenty of factors.
- Finally, it is important to set goals that are realistic: If you set a very difficult goal at the beginning of the year, then every time you make some progress towards it, your feelings of accomplishment will be enhanced. However, if you were to realize that it is too difficult to reach your objective within the time frame available, then you will feel despondent because in effect you are failing all along: Therefore, be selective about what goals you decide on
- Set yourself up for success by choosing a goal that is realistic.
Grief and bereavement are emotional responses carried out in a series of sequential steps. It is characterized by extreme sadness, feelings of loneliness and regret for the deceased person. The emotion worsens with time; as more time passes following the loss, some people report an improvement in their emotional state. Grieving takes place after someone has died which can take anything between a few days to several years.
Grief is not a disorder or disease rather it’s the way in which we deal with loss; this process is essential for adaptation after death. It gives us a chance to come to terms with what has happened, say good bye and move on.
There are numerous ways in which people undergo bereavement and they all have different coping methods. Many suffer from suicidal thoughts and even act upon them like it happened in my case.
Some people also suffer from antisocial behavior as well as poor eating habits. If a person is suffering from these symptoms for an extended period of time they may need to seek help on their own or with the help of friends or family members.
This is not a complete list of symptoms and can vary greatly from person to person.
- Lack of concentration or short attention span
- The inability to remember things and solve problems
- Loss of appetite leading to weight loss (or overeating)
- Insomnia or sleeping excessively, over two hours in one go
- Irritability, anger, confusion; feeling trapped, helplessness or guilt without cause; numbness/dissociation (feeling unreal/detached from others)
- A person may also experience a disruption in their normal routine for example: they normally spend their time reading the newspaper but now it is not something that they have an interest in. They are also more likely to complain about physical pain for example they keep talking about a sore back and are most likely to avoid people who have suffered from the same loss.
- People may also experience sadness; feel as though there is a “hole” in their lives and that something is missing. This can lead to panic attacks throughout the day which interrupts their normal daily routine. They may feel helpless or see no purpose in life especially if they were religious before such an event occurred.
Grief and bereavement affect the Brain in various ways. The death of a loved one can cause changes to how different regions of the Brain function. For instance, parts of the prefrontal cortex (important for emotional regulation) are activated when people experience grief. Meanwhile, there may be less activity in regions that play a role making decisions or solving problems.
Aside from these functional changes, certain physical changes also occur to parts of the brain during grief and bereavement . After an injury or illness, such as in stroke or Alzheimer’s disease, old connections between cells are lost – but new ones form over time after a healthy period has passed.
This is not always true for an event like losing someone close – after which there are no new connections and the brain may actually shrink. The area of the Brain that loses volume is the hippocampus, which is important for forming new memories and regulating emotions.
Although many people are not aware of this, there is actually a form of treatment out there for people who are suffering. There are numerous ways to get help and one way is by attending an occurrence group dealing with bereavement and grief and talking to other people about it.
It also helps to recognize that you’re not the only person who has ever suffered through such an ordeal in their life as well losing somebody close can be extremely distressing and difficult to deal with especially if they were lifelong friends or family members. Another option would be to attend individual therapy just with the therapist instead of others in a room.
This allows you to speak your mind without worrying how others will perceive what you have said or feel like they need to say something back when all they really want is to be left alone. Another method of treatment would be keeping a journal which allows you to write down any feelings that you may have and express them on paper instead of bottling them up inside. This can help release any emotions that you are feeling about the person who has passed away as well as helping you process through the loss better than keeping it all bottled up within yourself.
The last option for people who are suffering from grief or bereavement is group therapy dealing with issues of death and dying in order to gain comfort from others who have had similar experiences.
The central idea behind grief therapy is that people who are going through the process of bereavement need to work through their feelings in order to overcome them and ultimately cope with their loss more effectively.
Happiness is the state of being happy. The concept covers a variety of related concepts, such as well-being, contentment, enjoyment, and pleasure.
In the western world, happiness is considered to be a virtue in many religious or philosophical traditions. It is also considered to be a subjective mental state that can be defined by each person according to their own standards.
There are many factors of happiness in which we all look for it but some have found it. We can all relate to what makes us happy because everyone has had similar experiences as well as different ones at the same time.
- Happiness improves your health: Happy people live longer, sleep better, have lower blood pressure, and relax more easily than unhappy people. Happiness can help you deal with stress and illness.
- It increases your chance for success: People who are happy make good leaders because they inspire others and give them confidence; they are also usually thought of as being attractive which helps them get ahead in their careers;
- Gives you something to look forward to: This will cause a chain reaction that makes things seem much easier and puts enjoyment into doing tasks
- Happiness attracts other positive things to you: Like happiness attracts other positive things, stress and negativity can often bring bad situations into your life. It is always good to approach the day with a sense of happiness or at least contentment.
Health anxiety is a disorder that is characterized with excessive worry and fear about having or getting sick, symptoms indicate. It can also be related to other issues like body image or concerns.
People in this situation are known as hypochondriac, which refers to someone who exhibits extreme concern over their health. This condition is seen in people of older adolescent age and mostly in females.
It occurs more often during adolescence where the individual is still struggling with adjusting to his/her new body. The prevalence of health anxiety disorder is estimated about 6 per 100 to 1,000 people; however, it may be underreported because there are some that do not want to talk about their condition or they are unaware that they are suffering from a health condition.
People affected by health anxiety experience constant preoccupation over some illness or disease. They have excessive fear and anxiousness due to anticipation that illness will occur in the future which makes them affected in their daily activities. This obsession leads the person to dwell on his/her health and to become anxious about his/her possible illness, thus having an impact on their social life. Such individuals have trouble with working or attending school because of the fear of being sick or injured as they do not want to leave the house.
An example is that a person who fears getting sick may cancel his/her appointments with unfamiliar people and avoid crowded places as it triggers his/her anxiety. For some, the belief of having a disease or illness causes them to have panic attacks, trouble sleeping and other problems. There are also those who worry excessively about how they see themselves. They spend time worrying about their weight when in fact they may not have any issues with their body image.
Another symptom is that people who suffer from health anxiety may have the feeling of a “lump in their throat”, or they may feel pain, numbness and weakness in their body. They are very concerned about getting test results back, even if there is no concern with what it shows. Getting any medical exam can be difficult for such individuals as they believe that it is better to be over-safe than sorry. They are afraid of finding out that there is something wrong with their body as this can lead them to thinking about what may happen in the future or how it could affect their lives.
- Fear of becoming ill
- Fear that an existing illness has a more serious cause
- Frequently checking for symptoms of illness or disease such as: feeling the temperature on one’s body, taking one’s pulse, checking in with medical professionals (excessive visits), measuring height or weight (in girls)
- Excessive time spent on looking up symptoms and possible diagnoses for a wide range of illnesses
- Fear that the disease will come out as soon as one starts feeling better, this is known by some health anxiety sufferers as “post-recovery syndrome”
- Fear of certain illnesses
- Preoccupation with avoiding bacterial infection and germs (e.g., fear of touching door handles)
- Excessive use of hand sanitizer, antiseptics or other disinfectants (potential harm can be caused if they are used excessively). The sufferer may believe that they will not be able to get ill if they use these products often enough.
- Refusal to eat or a marked increase in appetite (eating very little or over-eating) without any reason
- Increased sense of smell and taste, which is used as an indicator that one has caught some sort of illness from food that has gone bad
- Regularly wearing surgical masks in public and often carrying around bottles of sanitizer
- Excessive fear of getting diseases from other people, such as flu or AIDS. This excessive concern can lead to the avoidance of touching others and even seeing doctors for fear that a disease may be passed on by them. There is also the fear that germs left on doorknobs and other commonly touched objects can cause diseases.
- Being overly concerned with the health of family and friends; may spend a great deal of time worrying about others while neglecting their own needs in the process
Health anxiety has been shown to activate the same areas of the brain in those with a more generalized anxiety disorder. Anxiety was correlated with heightened activity in limbic structures, such as the amygdala and insula.
In addition, increased levels of worry correlated with heightened connectivity between the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and other areas known for emotional processing. Together these regions indicate that those diagnosed with health anxiety may experience their fears as both bodily feelings (i.e., increased heart rate, muscle tightness, stomach pain or nausea) and also as worries about future harm to their body (i.e., higher concern about illness).
- Psychotherapy is a proven form of treatment for Health Anxiety, showing that cognitive behavioral therapy can help individuals manage their symptoms.
- In depression and anxiety disorders are commonly treated with medication such as antidepressants (SSRIs) to help treat symptoms associated with the disorder.
- Some sufferers have attempted self-treatment by avoiding contact with others to reduce the risk of passing on diseases. Some people even avoid doctors to prevent themselves from getting sick, or they spend time over-preparing their answers for a doctor’s questions in order to protect themselves.
Identity means the state of being who you are, or as commonly put in layman’s terms, “being yourself.” It is complex to have a strong sense of identity because we always want to be better than who we are now and thus become someone else along the line.
However, having an identity means focusing all your attention on developing yourself into becoming a better person in all aspects instead of becoming someone entirely new just so that you can feel better about what you have achieved already. As one continues to develop their identity they will find themselves feeling more confident with the decisions they make and less conflicted with carrying out those actions.
It can often be difficult for people to know which decisions and actions better reflect their own identity. Ultimately it is a free choice and everyone’s identity is different, however people need to find out what works best for them individually so that they can be at peace with themselves and others.
Importance of Knowing Your Identity
It is important to learn about yourself and interpret it into a definition of who you are as a person. When people know themselves, they can see the things that they are really good at and the actions they should take to further develop those areas of themselves.
In addition, they can also see their flaws which then allow them to work on correcting them so that they don’t hinder themselves in any way. Knowing your identity is extremely helpful when making decisions because if one does not know what their interests or values are, then how could one decide about anything?
On the contrary it is not good to just focus on oneself if you have other people around whose lives also matter. In order for relationships between people to work at their best everyone must feel comfortable being themselves. However, feeling comfortable about being yourself also means knowing yourself well enough so that you know when someone else may be struggling with their own identity.
To know your identity, you must first be honest with yourself about what you want. Some people think they know themselves but really, they are just listening to the way other people describe themselves and assuming that is how one should act as well. If you want to get closer to finding your own identity, then find out who you are in situations without other people around.
The best way to do this may be by journaling. Spend time writing down every detail possibly related to how you feel inside, especially those feelings which make it hard for you to say aloud. It can be scary when thinking of doing this because often times these things we bury deep within ourselves do make a difference on how we act and react towards others, but if one wants to their life than one must be honest about how they are being.
If you really want to know yourself and better your character then you have to be willing to do all that it takes. Once you figure out how to better yourself in whatever way suits you, then hold onto those values and ideals no matter what the cost.
One can develop a false sense of identity if one allows other people’s opinions affect their actions too much because this can result in giving into peer pressure or sacrificing personal values for social prestige. As long as one remains true to themselves regardless of any ‘outside’ pressures there is little chance of developing a fake identity which won’t help anyone along the way. However, with having an authentic identity comes with great responsibility because now we’re responsible for our own actions and who we are becoming which means no one else is to blame but ourselves about the consequences that come along with them.
Insomnia is the difficulty in falling asleep (sleep latency) and staying asleep (sleep maintenance) for longer than the wished duration. One type of insomnia is primary insomnia which can be caused by stress, anxiety and depression.
It is more likely to resolve spontaneously when the cause has been dealt with. However, if this does not happen or insufficient relief from the symptoms has occurred after three months then it may be a sign of secondary insomnia which requires professional help.
Secondary insomnia is often caused by another medical condition such as chronic pain, heart disease, anemia, hyperthyroidism and some medications. If you are being treated for these conditions then the insomnia may be relieved with medication or altered sleep routines but if not corrected it may lead to other health complications.
Insomnia can be divided into two types: Transient and short–term which is often caused by stress or anxiety, or chronic and long-term where it has been present for more than a month without any relief.
Transient and short-term include; difficulty falling asleep, waking up frequently and early in the morning.
Chronic and long-term signs of insomnia are more severe and include; daytime sleepiness (often present during work or school), fatigue after awakening from sleep, depression, irritability, mood instability, poor concentration and excessive worrying.
Sleep disturbances are often associated with mood disorders, pain syndromes and medical conditions. Common symptoms include sleep–wake schedule disruption and poor quality of sleep.
Insomnia and the Brain
When sleep is severely disrupted for an extended period, the brain becomes physiologically and cognitively impaired. The person has trouble thinking clearly; doesn’t react appropriately; feels foggy, irritable, and unengaged with work or relationships.
The main treatment for insomnia is cognitive behavioral therapy that targets the thought process in order to decrease anxiety levels. This includes relaxation training, stimulus control and sleep restriction therapy. This helps people to understand what causes their insomnia, the effect that it has on them and how they can change these negative behaviors and thoughts to improve their sleep. Another treatment is cognitive counseling which focuses on thought processes such as worries or concerns that may be keeping you awake. The therapist will teach you how to end these thoughts and move on with your day which helps you to get a good night’s sleep.
Another way of treating insomnia is by using medications such as benzodiazepines, nonbenzodiazepine hypnotics or antidepressants. These medications may not be used for long periods (usually less than 4 months) because of potential adverse effects that they may cause.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is characterized by obsessive thoughts and compulsive rituals. In the most severe cases, it can be disabling to a point that it prevents people from working or getting out of bed in the morning. OCD is the fourth most common psychiatric disorder worldwide.
People with OCD normally experience obsessions, compulsions or both. Obsessive thoughts occur repeatedly in a person’s mind and cannot be controlled. People can try to get rid of them by attempting to think about something else. Compulsions are behaviors the person feels the urge to do in response to an obsession. It may be a mental or physical act. The purpose of doing compulsions is to get rid of the obsessive thoughts.
One way OCD affects the Brain is by weakening connections between the frontal lobe (that’s used for decision making) and other parts of the brain involved in planning and carrying out tasks. This doesn’t seem to occur when people have obsessive/compulsive spectrum disorders where there isn’t a fear of harm coming from their obsessional thoughts or behaviors. More research needs to be done on these less severe versions of OCD before any conclusion can be made on exactly what’s going on.
The main treatments for OCD are medications, behavioral therapy and cognitive behavior therapy. The first step is to determine the proper medication that will be effective in reducing symptoms completely. This may take time and some drugs may not work as well as expected or have side effects. Behavioral therapy includes exposure and response prevention (ERP). In ERP, the person is exposed to the obsessive-compulsive triggers and learns to resist their compulsive urge. People with OCD should also learn other cognitive techniques that help them identify their thoughts as well as the impact of these thoughts on their behavior.
Panic disorder is a mental illness in which a person experiences repeated unexpected panic attacks. A person suffering from panic disorder may also suffer excessive anxiety about being able to function normally. In addition, he or she may have a dread of being in crowded places.
In general, panic attacks last around 10 minutes and are quite distressing to the patient. However, it is possible that they may last much longer than this as well as coming in clusters. One can also experience physical symptoms associated with a panic attack such as sweating, trembling, heart palpitations, chest pain and feeling faint.
The physical symptoms are not dangerous in themselves but experiencing them can be very frightening for the individual having a panic attack. Typically, it will take several minutes after the person has overcome the feelings of terror before they are able to relax again.
In addition to these attacks of intense anxiety, panic disorder sufferers may also have feelings of being completely overwhelmed with stress and feel that they are going to lose control. They become convinced that they are dying or losing their mind, even though there is no evidence whatsoever to support these fears.
In milder cases of the condition people will be able to identify the attacks as unusual episodes in their lives and are able to talk about them with other people. More severe cases of the condition can make it hard for sufferers to carry out daily tasks or engage in social activities.
Although many panic disorder patients know that there is no real danger, their feelings may be so extreme that they feel unable to cope. The feelings associated with a panic attack may be so intense that they require medical treatment.
However, not all those with panic attacks will develop anxiety disorder. Up to 20% of sufferers will have another condition alongside their panic disorder such as major depression or alcoholism. Also, a certain percentage of people who experience the symptoms of a panic attack will never suffer from the condition again.
It is important to remember that although the symptoms of this condition are extreme they do not lead on to further problems in a person’s life. The symptoms may be distressing but they cause little or no long term problems for sufferers once their initial fears have subsided. Most people with panic disorder can carry out normal daily tasks without any problems.
Common symptoms of panic disorder include:
- Persistent and recurrent episodes of intense fear, terror or apprehension that last for a maximum of 10 minutes. The attacks may be so severe that they cause the individual to remain in bed all day, not being able to function normally.
- The individual may feel as if he or she is having a heart attack. They may have palpitations, chest pain and feel faint, dizzy, or sick to their stomach with the fear that they are going to die.
- A sudden feeling of not being able to breathe properly. This can make people hyperventilate which makes them feel lightheaded and faint.
- Intense feelings of apprehension about social situations where one feels that other people are judging him or her in an unfavorable way. People with this condition will avoid such situations altogether, even on occasions when they would normally be at ease speaking to others without any problems whatsoever such as work or social gatherings.
- Withdrawing from family and friends. This can cause great distress to a person’s life, especially as they are missing out on social occasions which can make them feel more isolated from other people.
- Being easily startled and reacting to what appears to be nothing as if it is a sign of danger.
- A fear that something terrible is about to happen. This can make the individual feel unable to relax at all, even in situations where nothing untoward has occurred. The feeling may be present all the time or come upon them suddenly for no apparent reason.
Panic disorders disrupt the orderly flow of information in a variety of circuits. People who suffer from panic disorder have a sensationally hyperactive amygdala, often causing more fear than necessary for safety and leading to people avoiding places where they have had past panic incidents.
It’s also thought that long-term exposure to stress hormones can lead to hypertrophy or degeneration of neurons in the hippocampus which can cause memory problems as well as other psychological difficulties.
There is no permanent cure for panic disorder but the symptoms can be controlled. Here are the common treatment options which may help.
- Therapy: If a patient is suffering from their anxiety and stress because of an ongoing problem in their life such as problems at work or problems with family members, psychotherapeutic treatment will help them to deal with these issues so that they do not become triggers for further episodes of panic. The therapist helps sufferers to slowly feel less anxious about situations which may have been previously troublesome. This approach can take several months to complete. SSRI medications are often prescribed alongside therapy sessions in order to assist patients in recovering from this condition. These medicines are serotonin reuptake inhibitors and have been proven to reduce feelings of fear, terror and apprehension within 2 months of their use. Medications must be prescribed by a doctor.
- Self-help groups: These are fairly common and can provide support for sufferers. They will be able to talk about problems with other people who are going through the same thing, as well as hearing from guest speakers who have had more success in overcoming these conditions than those currently attending face to face meetings.
- Chemical interventions: There are various medications which can assist sufferers with this condition. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this condition but it is very much possible that medication can relieve them from suffering from attacks while they work on getting their life back on track and so begin to feel better about themselves again. Some of the medications that may be used in this case include beta blockers and antidepressants. Beta blockers act like tranquillizers, but are not addictive. They will help to relieve anxiety and stress, as well as prevent an individual from trembling or shaking due to their attacks. Antidepressants are often used when a person is suffering from panic disorder in conjunction with therapy sessions or self-help groups. The individual must take these medications for several months before they begin to feel the effects of them working on their symptoms.
Parenting is the process of promoting and supporting physical, emotional, social, financial, and intellectual development and wellbeing of a child from infancy to adulthood. The term ‘parenting’ most often refers to the complex tasks undertaken by biological parents or foster carers (such as fatherhood or motherhood), but it may also refer to other adults who take on parental roles.
Parenting involves any combination of sharing responsibility for the child with others in varying degrees: some amount of guidance and instruction, correction when appropriate, encouragement when needed.
Proper parenting helps children to grow into better adults with good morals. Also, teaching your child how to be independent is another great idea. You might not always be around forever so it’s for their own good they learn things on their own instead of relying on you all the time.
Teaching kids how to work hard and take initiative is important because they’ll need that later in life as adults. They won’t want someone to hand them everything or tell them what exactly they need to do every step of the way like parents would do.
The best way to become a good parent is just by having the support of your family. Just have fun being a parent with them, be there for them, and let them know that you love them every day.
Always be there for them and believe in them. It might not seem like it but your there to help them! Let them know that they can always talk to you about anything, even if it is just something silly.
To get children to learn responsibility, give them chores or give them something they want if they do chores right away. Set a timer so that it’ll help teach time management as well.
You could also make the idea of losing an allowance more severe such as taking things away from their bedrooms or helping take care of animals. Set rules and talk about responsibilities accordingly; have patience to answer questions without getting frustrated.
Personal growth is a term that refers to the development of one’s character, emotions, and intellect. The ultimate goal of personal growth can be summarized in the saying “know yourself.” Personal growth takes place on an individual level and can be pursued on several fronts: mental, physical, spiritual or emotional.
When trying to achieve personal growth, it is important not to push ourselves too hard or become discouraged when results are slow. If a specific personal growth goal is not working out as hoped, it is important to reassess how and why the plan is not working so that we can formulate an alternative strategy for personal growth.
Personal growth should be pursued throughout one’s life. However, the focus may change from time to time. For example, while a person may concentrate on his physical fitness during his youth, he might shift his main focus later in life when tending toward overweight or neglecting exercise becomes more of a problem than lack of strength and endurance.
Personal growth is important because it allows us to develop ourselves, to grow into the best people we can be, to develop new abilities and a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us. When personal growth stops – or when it never starts – we stop growing as individuals. We begin to feel like there is no point in trying anything new or different. So our lives become stagnant and dull despite the fact that we continue to age physically.
Some people call this process “settling.” Settling means you are okay with where you are in your life right now even though you know that what is happening in your life is not what you want or like.
Personal growth allows us to change our lives for the better, which can sometimes be a scary idea. Only when we are able to grow as individuals will we truly develop into the best versions of ourselves and live the fullest possible lives.
- Identify your values and shortcomings: The first step to personal growth is self-awareness—looking at your life as it is now, where you are headed, and what you want to change. This requires identifying both the things you value, such as freedom or honesty; and the ways in which you fall short of these ideals, such as by lying to rarely tell the truth when it matters most.
- List your strengths and areas for improvement: Next, create a list of your strengths: qualities that make you unique from other people on this earth. Then try creating a list of areas that could use development or improvement: faults that hold us back in life but don’t have to destroy our lives if they get worked on.
- Exploring and pursuing: Once you have a list of your strengths and areas for improvement, it’s time to explore the possibilities for growth in each area. For example, if honesty is one of your strengths, think about specific ways that you can grow this quality even further. Maybe by being more accountable or doing your work on time so others don’t have to cover for you – or maybe through learning how to lie well in certain situations.
- Make personal growth a priority: It’s easy to get busy with our day-to-day lives and give up our pursuit of personal growth altogether. In order not to do this, we need to prioritize self-improvement just as we would any other important goal, such as a new career or a relationship.
- Embrace failure and mistakes: Personal growth is impossible without the freedom to fail—In fact, we need to make room for failure so that we have the chance to learn from our mistakes. This means not getting down on ourselves when things don’t work out as planned.
- Make time for personal development activities: In order to achieve true personal growth, it’s necessary that we take time every day – or at least once every week – for these self-improvement activities: meditation, journaling; learning something new; reading inspirational books, attending workshops and seminars, experimenting with new ideas, and meeting with like-minded people who will support and inspire us
- Seek out feedback from others: We can’t grow as individuals when we’re stuck in our own heads – only when we take the time to look at ourselves from different perspectives and get honest feedback from trusted friends, family members, teachers or co-workers. This doesn’t mean always listening to other people or trying to seek their approval; rather, it means simply being open and honest about whom you are with the people in your life
- Be realistic in your expectations of yourself: It’s important not to set out with the expectation that you’ll achieve personal growth in all areas at the same time—or even within a short period of time. Remember that true personal growth takes time and effort – so slow down if you’re pushing too hard or trying to change everything about yourself at once.
- Give yourself a break: Finally, don’t beat yourself up when you slip up; give yourself space when you need it; forgive your mistakes; and celebrate your achievements. After all, you’re on a lifelong journey of self-discovery – so make sure that it’s an enjoyable one.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. Exposure to the trauma may involve seeing it happen to someone else, learning about it happening to a close relative or friend, being repeatedly exposed to a realistic re-enactment of it, or experiencing it directly.
The person with PTSD often relives the trauma by remembering key aspects of what happened (hyperarousal), and this is accompanied by severe emotional distress and changes in behavior triggered by exposure to cues associated with the event (triggers). The person’s attempts to avoid these reminders may result in significant problems related to work, social activities, or family life.
Symptoms typically develop immediately after the event, but sometimes they begin or worsen after a delay of weeks or years. The following symptoms may occur:
- The person relives the trauma in nightmares or flashbacks
- Sudden and uncontrollable thoughts about the event can cause distress in daily life
- The person has a hard time falling asleep or feels detached from others, numbed by reminders of the trauma, and highly irritable
- Fears related to specific places, situations, or events are common; classically, such fears include fear of loud noises or sudden movements (e.g., from fireworks), small spaces (e.g., elevators), crowds (e.g., shopping malls), being out alone at night, driving on freeways, and being home alone after being involved in a natural disaster like an earthquake or hurricane
- People with PTSD frequently have alarming feelings of anger and vulnerability
- The person is on alert for danger, scans the environment for threats, and feels easily startled
- The person has a hard time concentrating, and is easily distracted
The symptoms can cause significant distress or impairment in work performance or social life, and may lead to avoidance of people, places, thoughts, activities, objects, or situations associated with the trauma. Symptoms must last more than one month for a diagnosis of PTSD.
PTSD and the Brain
PTSD affects the brain in varied ways. Brain scans have found PTSD to damage parts of the brain that control memory, emotions, and fear response. This damage is common in people with chronic PTSD but can also occur with temporary stress from acute trauma exposure.
The chemical chemistry of long-term PTSD changes as well; a boost in some chemicals causes depression and overwhelming during times of stress while other chemicals reduce strength or cause anxiety or flashbacks during those same times.
The symptoms of PTSD can be treated with psychological and behavioral interventions, as well as medications. These include:>
- Psychotherapy is the main form of treatment for PTSD. It involves one-on-one discussion between a counselor or therapist and a client who has been diagnosed with PTSD. Several types of psychotherapies have been found to be helpful for people suffering from PTSD, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, and exposure therapy.
- Medications are sometimes prescribed to treat certain symptoms of PTSD, such as sleep problems or anxiety disorders that occur in conjunction with the disorder, but many studies suggest that they do not help alleviate core symptoms such as re-experiencing the event or avoidant behaviors.
The National Institute of Mental Health lists the following treatments as helpful for people with PTSD:
- Finding a supportive therapist who has experience treating trauma is important for all forms of psychotherapy. This means that a therapist should be capable of building trust, maintaining confidentiality, and providing support during traumatic retellings of events
- In cases where there are coexisting disorders such as depression or substance abuse, medication treatment can help to relieve symptoms while therapy is underway. Some people find medications alone sufficient to alleviate their symptoms
- Practice relaxation exercises daily, such as yoga or progressive muscle relaxation
- Cognitive-behavior therapy helps reduce troubling thoughts and fears associated with an upsetting past event by teaching new ways of thinking about the event and changing thoughts and behaviors
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is an updated form of exposure treatment that involves the therapist making side-to-side eye movements while the person with PTSD describes traumatic events, resulting in decreased emotional impact of memories of such trauma. This therapy can be short-term or last as long as necessary to help a person overcome his or her difficulties with PTSD.
- People who have had a past trauma are likely to benefit from supportive group therapy sessions where they can listen to others’ experiences and learn how others have coped—or still cope—with their own traumatic events. A recent study indicated that mindfulness meditation may be helpful in decreasing posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms (PTSD)
Relationships are the connections that exist between people. There are many different types of relationships, ranging from family members to platonic friends and everything in between.
Friendship(s) can be between more than two people or it could just be a one on one friendship with someone. When a person is involved romantically with someone else they are in a relationship.
Their relationship may consist of sexual intercourse or it might not be a sexual relationship at all. Sometimes friendships turn romantic and then develop into something more serious like love and marriage.
The types of relationships that exist between people differ from each other – for example a parent-child relationship is very different to a friendship between two teenagers.
There are also different types of relationships, such as:
Relationships are important because without them we wouldn’t be able to function. We need relationships to get on in life, with our friends and families. Without relationships, there is no life.
The first step to building a healthy relationship is the bond which forms between two people. This usually starts with getting to know someone, and if you hit it off then more trust will be built up which leads to a healthy relationship growing.
Most relationships are based on trust so without this the relationship will be weak and more likely break down. If there is less trust in a relationship then more arguments can take place because of uncertainty towards each other.
Trust also relates to honesty, as when you tell your partner something they feel lied too they feel like they can’t trust you so therefore they would not want another argument to happen again as they don’t trust their words either so the circle goes around and around until an argument happens anyway.
There is lots of different types of trust out there and when you have a non-trusting relationship, for example in an abusive relationship, this can make the other person feel more nervous about what they say or do. You will always feel like you’re having to measure up to their expectations so that your partner trusts you more.
Relationships take hard work as well as time and effort but if you put all these things together then a healthy steady long-lasting relationship occurs.
Self-Development is the process of self-change through which an individual or organization becomes increasingly more effective in satisfying his own needs and that of others. Generally, it involves personal growth and maturity as well as organizational growth and development.
Numerous benefits are associated with self-development. It leads to positive personality changes, which in turn can change the behavior of an individual or organization. As a result, everyone can achieve more satisfying lives and jobs, as well as deliver higher quality services and produce better products respectively.
- Increased performance: Effective individuals or organizations understand that personal growth is a continuous process through which they will continuously improve their performance through experience and learning from others who have achieved ahead of them in various aspects. This is because when they have acquired new knowledge from outside sources such as books, seminars etc., it will help them take up new challenges with a different perspective, therefore leading to better results than before. Moreover, by helping themselves improve, they will enable others to do the same subsequently.
- Better job satisfaction: Self-development helps one become more comfortable with his/her own abilities and skills as well as with the reactions of other people towards them. In addition, when an individual or organization can identify their strengths and weaknesses, they are better able to accept themselves for who they are and understand where improvements are needed in order to make a good contribution to their surroundings. On the other hand, it is not uncommon for individuals or organizations that have self-developed over time to realize that there is much more in life than just work, which actually leads to increased job satisfaction due to knowing one’s own intrinsic value outside of work.
- Job enrichment: Job enrichment is a process through which the knowledge and skills of an employee are used to maximum potential, leading to maximized job satisfaction as well as better productivity. In fact, jobs that employees feel they have a certain autonomy over can help them develop both their skills and knowledge.
- Increased self-esteem: Besides improved performance, another major benefit associated with increased self esteem is enhanced interpersonal relationships. Individuals or organizations who have developed themselves will be able to relate better with others due to heightened confidence in their own abilities and values. As a result, they will be more cooperative and less confrontational while working together and building lasting professional relationships with one another when appropriate.
- Enhanced leadership capabilities: Self-development encompasses not only personal growth but also organizational growth. The latter helps leaders develop a better sense of direction and purpose in their work, which enables them to motivate staff members by providing clear long-term vision for the organization as well as relevant short-term objectives.
- Read: Self development can be attained by reading books on self-improvement such as “self-help books”. These can either be purchased or borrowed from libraries where they are available. In fact, some individuals or organizations make it a daily habit to read at least 30 minutes per day so that they can continue learning throughout life and improve themselves consistently with every second that passes and every word that is read.
- Maintain good social skills: Good interpersonal communication skills are essential to promote self-development and good working relationships, which is why such skills can be gained by attending seminars on improving communication or even just participating in casual discussions with friends. Similarly, practicing good listening skills and empathy can help individuals and organizations develop better relations with others.
- Pursue hobbies: Hobbies are not only fun activities but they also have the potential of helping individuals improve their knowledge and skill-sets in the process. For example, drawing a painting requires one to look at an object as a whole instead of simply focusing on each part separately, which relates well to learning new things about oneself since it helps one understand his/her own individual characteristics better too (e.g. positive traits and negative traits).
- Participate debates: In addition to practicing good listening and questioning skills, debate can help an individual or organization develop even better critical thinking capabilities. Being able to express one’s own point of view while always trying to consider the other side of the argument is something that will improve over time with practice.
Self-image is an image of oneself that one possesses. It is often thought to be a “perception” or “perspective” of the individual about his/her self. While many people believe that self-image is affected by outside forces, psychologists view it as a result of social cognitive processes.
An individual’s self-image looms large in terms of how they think and act. It is a person’s perception about themselves, and it plays an important role in the way he/she thinks and acts.
When an individual has a strong self-image and believes that he/she is capable and worthy of doing something or succeeding at something, then they will work harder due to this positive type of motivation. Inversely, if they believe that they are not good enough then their motivation would become negative rather than positive.
Besides, if someone believes that they have high self-esteem they will be more likely to try new things because they probably have a more positive outlook on the world. They will not let something like failure stop them from trying again, and with each attempt they become better at it
A healthy self-image develops when one has an awareness of being able to do something (which in turn affects how they see themselves) and builds from there into an image of confidence, openness, and higher self-esteem. There are many ways that a person can build or strengthen their self-image. It starts with the way they perceive themselves and then affects how they think about things.
The following are some steps that someone can use for building up their self image:
- One must believe in him/herself
- One must face everyday problems and solve them.
- Take control of one’s life and set goals for oneself
- Don’t be influenced by others
- Be assertive rather than passive
Speech anxiety refers to the state of tension that one feels before giving a speech. Most people get speech anxiety because of reasons like; fear of being judged. It may also be caused by being shy and lack of self-confidence. Some causes include genetics and personality factors as well as prior bad experiences.
The most common symptoms of speech anxiety include:
- Racing thoughts
- Feeling of dread
- Dry mouth
- Nausea and
Speech anxiety disorder can lead to disruptions of the brain’s own neural network. This would affect how a person handles feedback from other people after they speak.
Speech anxiety is usually treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy. During this type of therapy, one learns how to think about the situation differently and he/she practices successful speech in a safe environment under the supervision of trained therapist. Medication is also an option to treat speech anxiety. The common drugs used are benzodiazepines. Avoid drinking alcohol when taking medications for speech anxiety.
In order to achieve effective results from different methods, follow some tips like; avoid caffeine as it may worsen your symptoms, relax before giving the speech by concentrating on your breathing, take small breaks during the speech if possible and make sure that everyone is comfortable while you step up to speak or deliver a presentation.
Stress, as defined by the American Psychological Association (APA), is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances. While stress can have both negative and positive effects on an organism, it can also be damaging if not managed correctly.
Stress can have both negative and positive symptoms. The positive symptoms of stress are increased physical activity, focused attention on the source of the stressor, improved vigilance and an increase in general arousal.
Some common negative effects include irritability, inability to relax, sleep disturbances and hunger. People also tend to become more withdrawn than usual, space out a lot or even lose touch with reality.
While it is normal for your body to react this way when faced with threatening situations such as danger encounters, high-stress levels brought about by continuous bullying may lead people (who lack social support) to suffering from anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Studies have shown that stress alters the brain causing a variation of changes. The changes are seen as less activity in areas of the brain linked to rational thought and decision-making, and more activity in areas related to fear and anxiety.
Stress is best treated with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). According to the APA, CBT can take into account the person’s perception of a stressful situation while tailoring techniques for each individual. Treatment options may include relaxation training, stress management and medical assistance when necessary.
The American Psychological Association (APA) defines trauma as, “an emotional response to a terrible and terrifying experience” It is a form of damage to the psyche that occurs as a result of an overwhelming amount of stress from which the sufferer could not defend him or herself.
A traumatized person can have a range of emotions instantly after the event and in the long term. For example, they may feel stressed out, helpless, shocked, or have difficulty processing their experiences. If signs and symptoms persist and do not lessen in severity, it can predict that the trauma has evolved into a mental health disorder called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Acute trauma: This effects from a single stressful or difficult event.
- Chronic trauma: This is an outcome of repeated and prolonged exposure to highly stressful events. (child abuse, bullying, domestic violence)
- Complex trauma: consequences of exposure to numerous traumatic events.
- Secondary trauma: person develops trauma symptoms from close contact with someone who has undergone a traumatic episode. The symptoms often reflect those of PTSD.
Symptoms include emotional numbness, difficulty in feeling emotions or regulating emotions, flashbacks of the event that caused the trauma (including but not limited to nightmares and hallucinations), decreased interest in usual activities, increased alertness or vigilance, fatigue, irritability or outbursts of anger. These symptoms can also appear later in life and fade as time passes, but they persist. In some cases, these symptoms can lead to more serious mental health issues if not treated at the time of initial trauma.Emotional and psychological responses:
- Rejection, anger, fear, sadness, shame, confusion
- difficulty concentrating
Together with an emotional response, trauma can cause physical symptoms like;
- digestive symptoms
- racing heart
- feeling jumpy
Trauma can have a significant impact on brain development. Children in high-stress, dangerous environments may not get enough sleep or be well nourished which leads to impaired cognitive and emotional functioning. In adults, a traumatic event or chronic stress can lead to changes that include hypersensitivity, withdrawal from family and friends, difficulty regulating emotions including aggression.
Treatment for trauma is very individualized and depends upon the type of trauma. Treatment may include antidepressants, relaxation exercises, anxiety-reducing techniques and therapy. In severe cases treatment may also include hospitalization.
To cope with trauma, some people prefer to rely on their support systems while others prefer to take the route of denial and letting time heal them. Whatever method you choose it is important that you remember your safety should be a priority in whatever action/decision you make during this time. It is also important to seek professional help if coping doesn’t seem to work for you or if your symptoms persist for longer than 3 months, or more than 6 months if the issue was pertaining to sexual abuse.
It’s the first-line treatment for trauma.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) helps people to change their thought patterns to influence their behavior and emotions.
- Eye movement desensitization, reprocessing (EMDR) is another typical trauma therapy. EMDR helps people process and integrate traumatic memories.
- Somatic therapies -somatic or body-based techniques to help the mind and the body process trauma.
- Sensorimotor psychotherapy:
- Acupoint stimulation: applying tension to specific points on the body induces a state of relaxation.
- Touch therapies
Self-care – mindfulness, balanced diet, and proper sleep
Medications – SSRIs, antidepressantsIt’s not difficult to come out from the traumatic event. However, proper therapy and treatments ensure to improve quality of life.
Weight problems are considered to be a problem that the weight of humans has gone out of control. It is when there is an excessively amount of fat or overweight people who have fallen into diseases caused by their own excessive weight.
There are three major signs of weight problems. They are; Obesity, being overweight and the inability to exercise because of a weakened physical condition due to obesity.
Weight problems affect the brain by bringing about a change in personality and temperament. A lot of times, people who are way overweight experience depression, mood swings, and impulsive behavior changes. If they don’t maintain healthy relationships with close ones it can bring about more mental trauma as well. There have even been cases where these symptoms can be life threatening because they sometimes happen when one develops an eating disorder or has high cholesterol or diabetes because of their weight problems.
The cure for weight problems is to lose excess body fat. Both through exercise and dietary modifications this can be accomplished. For people who are morbidly obese, there are also surgery options available. The most common surgical procedure performed on morbidly obese patients is gastric bypass surgery.