Exercise and Mental Illness

on Wednesday, 08 August 2018.

Exercise and Mental Illness

Most associate the term health with physical health, but mental health also plays a major role in your well-being. Nearly five percent of the population of the United States suffers from a form of severe mental illness, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health, with individuals between the ages of 18 and 25 being the most affected.

Mental health relies on a number of factors, including genetics, but exercise and proper nutrition can help prevent or treat some forms of mental illness.

A regular exercise regime can benefit your mental health. Performing moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, such as cycling, for 30 minutes a day, three times a week, significantly reduces the symptoms of depression, according to Southwestern Medical Center at the University of Texas.

Low-intensity exercise also helps relieve depression, according to the Center, but not to the same extent as more vigorous workouts. If you suffer from depression, adding regular aerobics to your lifestyle might help you better control your disorder, or might even reduce your need for medication.

Following a healthy and balanced diet, as well as following a fitness program, all benefit your mental health, but cannot always replace traditional therapy or medication for mental illness. Talk with your doctor to find the best plan for you!

What is Emotional Abuse?

on Tuesday, 17 July 2018.

What is Emotional Abuse?

Emotional abuse can be defined as a type of abuse that makes a person feel poorly about himself or herself for a prolonged period of time. This type of abuse damages a person’s dignity or self-worth.

Though emotional abuse is widely believed to be something that occurs between people in a romantic relationship, the abuse can happen in all types of relationships. This includes between friends, between a parent and a child, and even between a teacher and a student.

Acts of emotional abuse include isolation, verbal abuse, humiliation and intimidation. Perpetrators of emotional abuse damage their victim’s self esteem through these acts. In many cases, the victim ends up developing depression and anxiety.

Common behavior of the perpetrator includes threats of violence that instill fear in the victim, constant criticism or insults that demean the victim, isolation of the victim from friends or family, or treating the victim as a servant. In other cases, the perpetrator will make the victim believe that he/she is responsible for the abuse or that they even deserve it. Many perpetrators will often “gaslight” their victim, causing them to feel as though the abuse isn’t really happening and that it is just in their head.

It is important to remember that, like physical abuse, emotional abuse is offensive conduct, and the victim needs to find a safe place away from the perpetrator. If you feel that someone you know is a victim of emotional abuse, help him or her to get away from the perpetrator as soon as possible and help them to avoid seeing the perpetrator. 

People who suffer from emotional abuse will probably suffer from mental health issues that can linger for many years. Seeing a mental health professional is the best way to help heal the effects from the past abuse.

 

What is Bipolar Disorder?

on Monday, 09 July 2018.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder can be characterized as a mental disorder that causes dramatic shifts in mood and activity levels. About 5.7 million Americans over the age of 18 have been diagnosed with this illness. It affects people of all genders, ethnicities, social classes and ages.

The disorder mainly manifests itself in dramatic mood swings from high periods, known as mania, to low periods, known as depression. Mania is characterized by feeling extremely happy and restless for a significant period of time. During the mania phases, people with bipolar disorder can engage in dangerous behavior, and they will often be easily distracted and overconfident.

During the phases of depression, they will feel sad for an extended period of time. They will often withdraw from family and friends and lose interest in things they used to love. They may also experience feelings of sleepiness and a loss of energy.

The two most common types of the disorder are Bipolar I and Bipolar II. Bipolar I disorder is characterized by extreme manic phases that usually last at least a week and can even escalate to the point where the person needs to visit the hospital. In this type of disorder, depressive phases last about two weeks.

Bipolar II disorder is more common than Bipolar I, and its manic phases, known as hypomanic symptoms, are not as extreme. Bipolar II can be more difficult to diagnose.

If you suspect that you or a loved one is suffering from bipolar disorder, then you need to seek help from a medical professional. Bipolar disorder can only be diagnosed by a trained medical provider. Treatment options include medication and therapy. People with the disorder often have to maintain treatment over time in order to control it throughout their lives.

How Sleep Affects Your Mental Health

on Wednesday, 20 June 2018.

How Sleep Affects Your Mental Health

In the United States, 40 percent of the population gets less sleep than they need. According to Gallup, American adults average about 6.8 hours of sleep each night, slightly less than the recommended seven to nine hours. These statistics are a little concerning considering how vital sleep is for a healthy life.

It is widely known that sleep can impact your physical health. People who do not get enough sleep have an increased risk for ailments such as cancer and heart disease, and their immune system is weaker. But it is not as widely known that sleep also has a huge effect on your mental health.

Simply put, not getting enough sleep can hurt your brain. People who are sleep deprived often have memory issues and trouble with thinking clearly and concentrating. Sleep deprivation also can cause mood swings and put you at a higher risk of mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression.

If you are not getting enough sleep each night, you need to take steps to do so. Ways to help you get more sleep include setting and sticking to a bedtime, exercising regularly and not drinking caffeine products or alcohol close to your bedtime.

If you find that you have trouble with sleep (this can include issues with falling asleep or staying asleep), then you should see a doctor to determine if you have a physical condition that is hurting your ability to sleep.

A mental condition also could be affecting your ability to get enough sleep. People with mental illnesses may be at an increased risk of developing sleep problems. In fact, issues with sleeping are a symptom of depression. If this is the case, then it is important to see a mental health provider who can help you discover the root cause of your sleep issues and find ways to treat them.

Mental Health in the LGBTQ Community

on Wednesday, 06 June 2018.

Mental Health in the LGBTQ Community

Anyone can experience a mental illness, but certain groups are more prone. And the LGBTQ community is one of those groups. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the risk for mental health issues for people in the LGBTQ community is three times higher than the general population.

Common mental illnesses in the LGBTQ community include depression and anxiety. Suicide rates are elevated as well, as LGBTQ youth attempt suicide four times more often than the general population. Depression in LGBTQ youth can often be attributed to bullying they encounter at school.

Drug and alcohol abuse is another concern. LGBTQ youth are twice as likely to be substance abusers than heterosexual youth. And the same is true for the rest of the LGBTQ community. Members have higher levels of heavy drinking than straight people. Many members of the LGBTQ community report substance abuse issues are often the result of using drugs and alcohol to cope with the stigma they face in everyday life. 

People in the LGBTQ community also report that they have lower levels of satisfaction with their lives and lower levels of support than straight individuals.

As with any person who is suffering from a mental illness, LGBTQ people who suspect they have a mental health condition should see a therapist. However, LGBTQ people need one who has experience with treating people in the LGBTQ community because of the community’s specialized needs. Some good resources to find a therapist include the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association’s Provider Directory and the Healthcare Equality Index.

LGBTQ people can improve their daily mental health by finding/creating a support network. LGBTQ groups are great ways to do so, and there are national and regional groups available.

Though the LGBTQ community faces different obstacles in their paths toward a positive and healthy life, people in the community are still capable of overcoming mental illnesses through support networks and therapy.

How to Support People Who Suffer From Depression

on Monday, 07 May 2018.

How to Support People Who Suffer From Depression

Depression – characterized as a mental disorder that causes prolonged feelings of sadness and disinterest – is slowly becoming more common. Depression is the second most common mental illness in the United States (behind anxiety), affecting nearly 7 percent of adults. Worldwide, it affects about 300 million people, and estimates say 15 percent of adults will experience depression at some point in their lives.

Depression can be treated through various methods, including therapy. Though it is truly up to the person who is suffering from depression to take the steps for treatment, it always helps to have a support system.

If you know someone who is suffering from depression, there are ways for you to support them. First, talk to them. Tell them you have noticed their depressed behavior and that you are there to support them. And above all else, listen to them. Listen to how they describe their feelings, and do not offer any judgments. Listening is one of the most important and effective ways of supporting someone with depression.

Next, encourage them to seek treatment. Unfortunately, most people who suffer from depression go untreated. In fact, according to Mental Health America, only about 35 percent of people with severe depression actually end up seeing a mental health professional. People with depression often do not seek treatment because doing so can be an intimidating task; they may believe their situation is too hopeless, or they may just not have the will power to physically go to a professional. Regardless of the reason, people with depression need treatment in order to effectively overcome the disorder.

If you have suggested treatment to the person with depression, and they seem hesitant, offer to go with them or help them to set up an appointment. Offering your help and support can make treatment seem a little less daunting.

Lastly, support them through their treatment. Make sure they are continually seeing a mental health professional (oftentimes, a single visit is not enough), and support them with the treatment plans they are given. It also can help to encourage them to live a healthy lifestyle and to not isolate themselves.

Depression is a serious disease that afflicts millions of people each year. Though the person suffering from the disorder is really the only person in control over treating their illness, you can still support them. With your help and support, you can help them deal with their depressed feelings and overcome their symptoms.

Easy Ways to Improve Your Daily Mental Health

on Monday, 23 April 2018.

Easy Ways to Improve Your Daily Mental Health

Mental illness is not uncommon in the United States, with an estimated 43.8 million adults – or 18.5 percent of the adult U.S. population – experiencing a mental health issue each year. Because of the prevalence of mental illnesses, it’s important to take steps to care for your daily mental health.

 

However, even if you do not personally suffer from a mental health issue, you still should make an effort to care for your daily mental health to help prevent issues from arising. And, of course, if you do suffer from a mental health issue, improving your daily mental health can help relieve the issues you face.

 

There are various ways to improve your daily mental health, and truthfully, the best ways vary from person to person. Many people will have to try multiple methods of improving their mental health before they find the most effective way.

 

One way to improve your daily mental health is to take care of your body. A healthy body decreases your chances of developing a mental issue. Eating healthy, exercising frequently and getting enough sleep are all ways to take care of your body.

 

Other ways of improving your mental health concern how you work. Multitasking has been linked to an increase in stress, and procrastinating has been linked to an increase in anxiety. To keep your mental health grounded as you work, create schedules (and stick to them), only focus on one task at a time and never wait until the last minute to complete anything.

 

You should also find ways to take a break from work. Responsibilities such as your education, career and even family can require a lot of energy from you and leave you feeling drained and exhausted. Find times for you to have “me-time” where you focus on yourself and relax from your daily stress triggers.

 

Lastly, limit your technology use. Too much time spent with technology, such as televisions, computers and smartphones, can overstimulate your brain and leave you exhausted. Just like you need to find time for yourself, you also need to find time to take a break from technology – even if it’s just for a few hours each week – so your brain can have a break.

 

Improving your daily mental health is something that every person should do. When you have good mental health, you are more likely to live a positive and healthy life. Though it can take some time to find the right methods for you to improve your daily mental health, it is worth it to keep trying.

 

 

 

Mental Health Issues as We Age

on Tuesday, 17 April 2018.

Mental Health Issues as We Age

Mental health issues do not discriminate, and they can affect anybody of any age. That being said, certain mental health issues are more prevalent in certain age groups. And this holds true for the elderly – defined as the generation that is 60 and older – who are more prone to certain mental health issues than the general population.

According to the World Health Organization, 20 percent of the elderly population suffers from some sort of mental illness. The most common illnesses seen in this age group are dementia (a disorder defined by a decline in memory, thinking and everyday behavior) and depression, followed by anxiety and then, substance abuse issues.

Signs of a mental health issue in an elderly individual include persistent sadness, social isolation, constant fatigue, confusion, loss of appetite, memory loss, feelings of hopelessness, unexplained body aches, issues maintaining their appearance or struggles in working with numbers.

Some of the triggers for a mental illness in an elderly individual include a serious illness (such as cancer), a physical disability, the loss of a loved one, a change of environment (such as moving into an assisted living facility) or a poor diet.

Overcoming a mental health illness as we age is similar to overcoming a mental illness in all other age groups. The person with the issue should seek help from a professional. Unfortunately, the National Institute of Mental Health reports that only one in three elderly individuals who have a mental illness actually seek professional help for it.

Ways to help prevent the elderly from developing mental illnesses include ensuring that they have freedom and security, quality housing and social support. However, if an elderly individual still ends up experiencing a mental illness, it is important to help them find treatment.

Rising Mental Health Issues Among College Students

on Tuesday, 10 April 2018.

Rising Mental Health Issues Among College Students

Mental health issues are rising in college students across the nation. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 20 percent of college students experience mental health issues. And the Pennsylvania State University’s Center for Collegiate Mental Health reports that the number of college students seeking treatment for mental health issues rose by 50 percent between 2015 and 2016.

College is a prime time for mental health issues to surface due to the stress students face and the fact that many of them are away from their families for the first time. The most common mental issues that college students face are depression, substance abuse, anxiety, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, panic attacks, eating disorders, sleep disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Though the issues facing college students are diverse and numerous, common behaviors that indicate an underlying mental illness include poor performance in class, exhibiting a constant state of sadness and social isolation.

The most important step college students with mental health issues can take is to speak with someone about their issues. This can be a parent or guardian or even a trusted friend.

Next, college students should seek help for their issues. Colleges often have numerous mental health resources on their campuses, such as counselors. These counselors can help students to diagnose and devise treatment plans for their issues.

Though getting treatment is the best way to overcome a mental illness, other ways to cope with mental illnesses include eating healthy, exercising and getting enough sleep. By taking care of their bodies and their health, college students can better deal with a mental health issue.

College students must remember that mental health issues are nothing to be ashamed about. Many college students experience issues because of the stressful environment of higher education. If you are a college student and you think you have a mental health issue, you need to seek help. Finding treatment is the best way to overcome your mental health issues.

How Mental Health Issues Affect Women

on Thursday, 05 April 2018.

How Mental Health Issues Affect Women

Though mental health issues can affect both men and women, there are differences in how the issues affect the different genders. Certain mental health issues affect women more prevalently, and women may also be affected in different ways than men.

One of the most noticeable differences concerns depression. Women are more likely to suffer from depression and be diagnosed with the illness than men. According to prevention.com, between 10 and 15 percent of women will experience depression at some point in their lives, which is twice the number of men. Reasons for the discrepancy include hormones and the significant biological shifts that women undergo during the lifetimes.

Women also experience depression differently than men. While men with depression often externalize their negative feelings by exhibiting anger, irritation and aggression, women often internalize their depression, leading to feelings of constant sadness and guilt.

Women also experience anxiety at higher rates than men. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, women are two times as likely to suffer from an anxiety disorder than men. The same goes for post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD; women are twice as likely to suffer from it than men. Some experts attribute the gap to the fact that women are more likely to experience sexual abuse and assault, which are triggers that can lead to PTSD.

Lastly, eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, are more common in women. The reason for this prevalence is society’s culture of pressuring women to fit into certain beauty standards, which includes the standard that women should have a thin body.

Though people of both genders can experience mental health issues, it is important to understand that women experience these issues at different rates and in different ways than men. Acknowledging the differences can help mental health providers to better diagnose and treat women, while also allowing women who experience mental health issues to better understand and recognize their conditions.

Stress after Traumatic Events

on Wednesday, 21 March 2018.

Stress after Traumatic Events

Lingering stress after traumatic events is most commonly known as post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Though PTSD is most often associated with veterans returning home from wars, anybody can suffer from the mental illness.

 

Traumatic events that can trigger PTSD include things like the death of a loved one, a natural disaster, a car accident or a major illness. Any event that causes severe trauma to a person (which could be physical or emotional trauma) can cause PTSD in that person.

 

PTSD is characterized by persistent stress that lasts more than a month following the traumatic experience. Symptoms of PTSD can include flashbacks and nightmares, as well as avoidance of things that remind them of the traumatic experience. For example, a person suffering from PTSD from a devastating hurricane may avoid being outside when it rains.

 

Other symptoms include difficulty sleeping, feeling tense, being startled easily and loss of interest in fun activities. Ultimately, what makes PTSD different from normal stress following a traumatic experience is that the person has a difficult time functioning and they experience a disruption in their daily lives.

 

Overcoming PTSD requires a diagnosis and treatment from a licensed mental health professional. Mental health professionals can help treat the illness through medications and/or therapy.

 

It is important to note that not all stress after trauma is considered PTSD. Most people experience stress after traumatic events, but it goes away in a reasonable amount of time and does not develop into PTSD.

 

This normal stress does not require treatment from a mental health professional. Ways to cope with normal stress after a traumatic event include asking for support from family and friends, talking about the experience with trusted individuals, practicing self-care and acknowledging your emotions.

 

Stress after traumatic events is normal, and there are ways to overcome it. But, if you find that the stress is not going away and is negatively impacting your daily life, then you may suffer from PTSD. PTSD can be difficult to cope with, but with treatment, it can be overcome.

Depression in Teenagers

on Wednesday, 14 March 2018.

Depression in Teenagers

Teenagers will often experience periods of time when they feel sad or “down,” but when these feelings are persistent, they may be suffering from depression.  According to Colombia University and the City University of New York, depression rates among teenagers rose from 8.7 to 12.7 percent between 2005 and 2015.

Though anyone can experience depression, the teenage years come with a unique set of challenges that can amplify the mental illness. Teens are often faced with school, social and family pressures, as well as hormonal changes due to puberty. 

Signs of depression in teens are numerous and can include persistent feelings of sadness, loss of energy or appetite, social isolation, low self-esteem, angry behavior, poor grades in school, self-harm, suicidal feelings or drug and alcohol abuse.

If you are a teen and you feel as though you have depression, there are things you can do to help your situation. Try to make new friends or join a new club or sport. Doing so can increase your self-esteem, keep you busy (so you cannot dwell on the negative feelings), and prevent you from becoming isolated.

However, if your depression persists and does not improve, then you should talk to an adult that you trust. A trusted adult can help you choose your best course of action. Therapy is a good option because a therapist can help you understand the underlying reasons why you are depressed, and he or she can help you create a specific course of action to address it.

Depression in teens is on the rise, so it is important to be aware of the signs and to know what to look for. Ignoring it will not make it go away, and untreated depression can have severe consequences, including suicide. If you are a teen who is depressed, remember that there are resources available for you.

How to Improve your Self-Confidence

on Tuesday, 06 March 2018.

How to Improve your Self-Confidence

You may think of self-confidence issues as something that teenagers deal with. You picture lonely teenagers in high school, struggling with self-confidence as they try to fit in with the cool kids. But the truth is, anyone can have issues with their self-confidence, including adults.

 

Self-confidence issues can make you feel sad and hopeless. People with poor self-confidence often hold themselves back in life because they are too afraid to take on risks or challenges. Ultimately, self-confidence issues can lead to an unhappy, unfulfilling life.

 

If you have poor self-confidence, there are steps you can take to build up your confidence. Firstly, think more positively. When you have poor self-confidence, you often feel down on yourself and have a negative feeling in regards to your life. To overcome this, focus on what is good in your life. What are the positive traits that you have? What are your greatest accomplishments? Thinking more positively about your life will help you to feel more confident.

 

Next, try to figure out what makes you feel bad about yourself. Maybe it is another person who makes snide comments about you, or it could even be a place or activity. Whatever it is, try to avoid it. Cutting the things that make you feel bad about yourself out of your life will make a huge difference.

 

Also, find a task to do, and stick with it until it is complete. This can be something as simple as making a new recipe for dinner, to something more elaborate such as planting a new garden. When you challenge yourself to do something and you carry through and complete it, you feel better about yourself because you know you can set goals and reach them.

 

Lastly, take care of yourself. Eat healthy, exercise and sleep well. Reduce the stress in your life, and try to present yourself in a way that will make you feel confident. A put-together appearance and a healthy body can go a long way toward making you feel better about yourself.

 

Poor self-confidence can hold you back, but there are ways to overcome it. Take control of your life today, and become the self-confident person you were meant to be.

 

How to Handle a Break-Up

on Tuesday, 06 March 2018.

How to Handle a Break-Up

Bad break-ups are often the focus of comedies in Hollywood. However, there are people who truly struggle with getting over a break-up with a significant other, and it can be a serious issue. Some people feel depressed or angry after a break-up, and others feel completely heartbroken or even sick. Whereas some people bounce back, others have a much more difficult time getting over it.

If you are in the midst of a break-up, and you find yourself having a hard time letting go, you must find ways to handle it better. Firstly, don’t suppress the feelings you have. It may seem as though ignoring your feelings is the way to go, but ignoring them will prevent you from moving on. Acknowledge how you feel, so you can better deal with the break-up.

Also, think positively. After a break-up, it is easy to despair and feel as though something is wrong with you, but these feelings are what is causing you to have a difficult time letting go. Instead, think of what is positive in your life. It could be your job or a talent that you have. It also could be other people in your life.

In addition, do not try to contact your ex. Doing so will just bring back all the feelings of negativity. Truthfully, if your ex broke up with you, it probably means that he or she does not want you in his/her life anymore. So, why try to go back to someone who doesn’t want you around? Instead, focus on the people who do want you in their lives – such as your friends and family – and spend more time with them. Spending time with the people who love you can help you feel better following a break-up.

It is also important to take care of yourself. You may want to stay home all day, watching movies and indulging in ice cream to make yourself feel better, but these unhealthy habits will take a toll on your body and make you feel worse in the long run. Eat healthy, get enough rest, and exercise. Take time to go out (instead of confining yourself in your home) and do the things that you love, such as going to the movies or doing yoga. Taking good care of yourself will help you to bounce back.

A break-up may feel like a trying time in your life, but it does not have to keep you down for too long. Ultimately, the decisions you make and the things you do after a break-up will determine how quickly you move past it.

Are you a Parent Who is Constantly Fighting with Your Teen?

on Tuesday, 06 March 2018.

Are you a Parent Who is Constantly Fighting with Your Teen?

The teenage years can be a tumultuous time for you and your teenager. As soon as the teenage years hit, it may seem as though your child has changed overnight. They are irritable, angry and rebellious. The hormones, social pressures and school can all contribute to these changes in your child.

Parents often speak about how the most difficult part of the teenage years is the constant fighting they have with their child. It may seem as though you are fighting about everything with your teen – from what they are wearing to their grades at school. You want to provide guidance to your teen and to prevent them from going down the wrong path. And your teenager wants to become more independent, which means, essentially, that they want you to leave them alone. The situation is prime for conflict.

If you are constantly fighting with your teen, one thing you can do is try to see the situation from their point of view. You were a teenager once; you may be able to understand where they are coming from and why they are angry.

Secondly, always try to deescalate the situation. If your teen is yelling, yelling back will just make the fight worse. Remain calm and try to speak to your teen rationally. Ask them what they really want. Sometimes, a fight can veer off course to include other issues that have nothing to do with the original fight. Getting the situation back on track will help end the conflict early.

Thirdly, try to compromise. Maybe your teen wants to stay out with friends until 3 a.m. when their curfew is at 10 p.m. Your first response may be a definite “no,” but giving this answer is likely to lead to a big fight. Instead, try to compromise. Maybe let them stay out until midnight, or tell them that they will be allowed to stay out that late in a few years.

Lastly, know what to do after a fight. Once the conflict is over, you may have trouble talking with your child (who probably does not want to speak with you). Let your teen cool off, and give them time and space. Eventually, you can try to correct things with your teen.

Fighting with your child is never pleasant, but it is a normal occurrence during the teenage years. With patience and a willingness to work with your teen, you should be able to deescalate confrontations and make them a little less unpleasant.

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