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Understanding Traumatic Experiences

Traumatic experiences are disturbing or distressing events that have occurred in an individual’s past. These experiences are not classified as traumatic based on objective facts, because it is the individual’s subjective experience that determines whether they have been traumatized. The more frightened and helpless a person feels, the more likely it would be personally considered as a traumatic experience, and the more likely that the damage will be long-lasting.

These experiences could include physical trauma to the body, such as a wound that has inflicted severe damage. This type of trauma is easier to repair, as it can be remedied with the help of medical treatment along with the body’s natural healing process.

Emotional trauma is a bit more difficult to overcome, as it can have massive impact on a person’s brain. Due to the brain’s intricate neurological pathways, the level of stress brought upon a traumatized individual cannot only be treated by conventional medicine. Medicinal treatments should also be accompanied by moral support, the comfort provided by loved ones, and a specific treatment regimen designed to instill trust in the victim. This is usually done by an experienced trauma specialist, as they are familiar with handling victims who need help in regulating strong emotions, pent-up energies, and processing negative memories.

General events that, if experienced repeatedly or intensely, could cause trauma are the following:

  • Injuries from sports such as falling
  • Certain types of surgery that may have appeared intimidating or hopeless
  • Death of a loved one, especially if sudden or unexpected
  • A long-term relationship coming to an undesired end
  • Discovering the presence of a lifetime illness or disease
  • Humiliation in a public area or among valued company

The above events only have the potential to cause trauma, meaning if any of them has been experienced, it does not necessarily mean lasting emotional or physical damage has occurred. After a potentially traumatic event, it is absolutely normal to react with shock, anger, confusion, fear, and shame. In a physical scenario, it’s also normal for your body to react with fatigue, tension in the muscles, lingering aches and sleepless nights.

However, it’s important to determine when normal reactions have crossed into the boundaries of trauma. If these symptoms persist and progress into insomnia, emotional withdrawal, disconnection from society, sensations of numbness or other more serious signs, seek out an experienced psychiatrist who offers treatment sessions for trauma,  or any dedicated specialist to help suffering victims get back on their feet before it further develops into PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).

April 20th, 2017

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Helpful Apps for Children and Adults with ADHD

One of the biggest problems for any ADHD person, adult and children alike, is how to divert their attention positively or at least create some sense of order into their chaotic minds. This is one of the biggest challenges that these people have to endure. Luckily, technology of today has advanced so well, apps are being created to cater to different kinds of people from different walks of life.

In fact, people with ADHD can greatly benefit from the right apps. Fortunately, there are different apps with different uses.

Some apps are used to help with the issue of distraction. A great example for that is RescueTime. This app allows people to monitor the time they use to spend on things and if they are being wise about it. Furthermore, it helps you become self-conscious on how much time you’ve burned at the computer. Bonus? It has a free version and if the app really satisfies you, you can buy the full app. In the full version, it limits your time on certain websites or apps to help you with time management.

Another app that helps with distraction is Focus@Will. The name itself suggests that it is designed to help better your focus and attention. It has specially engineered technology wherein audio similar to the frequencies of the human voice are removed because people with ADHD are often inclined to pay attention to these frequencies and thus distracts them. Unfortunately, this app is only free for the first 30 days of use.

Now there are two apps that are highly efficient when paired and can help with both productivity and focus, Freedom and Anti-Social. These two are designed to block the Internet from your devices and social media respectively. All you have to do is to arrange a schedule on when these apps will block you and you’re good to go.

If you want to be reminded in an ‘epic’ way, Epic Win is something to consider. Though this app is a to-do-list, it makes things easier by making the simplest of chore sound like an adventure. Whether you’re out doing groceries or washing the dishes, you can level up by doing these tasks. Unfortunately, this app is only exclusive to iPhone users. Its Android counterpart is Task Hammer.

If you’re the type who is more productive when someone nags you, there’s an app for that. Nag is a timer app that follows you up every single time until you finally acknowledge that you need to do certain tasks. Annoying, but it does work for some people.

How about money management? Yes, there is an app for that. You Need a Budget or YNAB is a money management app designed to prevent impulse buying or making unnecessary purchases and expenses. It also monitors your spending pattern and provides reminders.

April 18th, 2017

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Obsessive Compulsive Behavior – What You Need To Know

For normal people, double checking something is a trivial task, but people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder cannot move forward without these repeated checks. Perhaps this is the most observed effect among people with OCD – the need to perform rituals and routines even if it becomes a hindrance to doing things of greater importance. This sets the premise for what most people know as obsession.

The obsession that brings about a stream of uncontrollable thoughts, impulses and images cannot be stopped even if the affected wants to and thus, creating a nuisance that is both disturbing and distracting but must be undergone in order to relieve the mind of it.

However, the relief is not permanent and will often persist in reduced time intervals. In fact, in most cases, it can be too persistent that it prompts for a repetition of routines and rituals. This driven repetitive behavior constitutes compulsion, which causes further distress and anxiety as routines become more time-consuming and demanding.

The condition is known to show signs during childhood until the early 30s and is less likely to manifest in people who are 35 and above. More than 2.2 million adults, in the United States alone, are affected by the disorder. Most of those who have OCD were diagnosed at the age of 19 without any inclinations toward gender. However, the diagnosis doesn’t come easily and it may not be apparent to most, with the exception of mental disorder specialists, since the symptoms tend to disappear and re-occur at different levels.

Those diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Behavior are often classified based on the routines that they end up repeating. Some of the most common are the washers, checkers, doubters and sinners, counter arrangers and hoarders. The urge for doing these tasks is often brought about by fear.

For instance, a washer must constantly clean and wash his/her hands because of the fear of contamination. The same is true for the hoarders who are afraid that a catastrophe may occur when they discard items, which they neither use nor need.

Several complications arise in OCD sufferers due to the nature of the disorder, which includes, but not caused directly or limited to, eating disorders, alcohol and drug abuse, anxiety disorders and in the worst cases, the tendency to entertain suicidal thoughts. Therapy is, by far, the most popular and effective recourse. Group therapy, with the involvement of family and friends, is encouraged. Joining the therapy sessions can inform them of how to adjust and help the patient.

April 14th, 2017

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The constant movement of children with ADHD helps them learn, cope in school

adhd-schoolThe constant movement seen in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may just be their way of trying to learn, cope and otherwise perform better cognitively. This in a nutshell is what a recent research study from UC Davis Mind Institute suggests. The hyperactivity may be compensatory behavior on the part of children with ADHD to help them focus their thinking. They move in order to remain alert to the task at hand.

The study, titled “A trial-by-trial analysis reveals more intense physical activity is associated with better cognitive control performance in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder,” published last month in Child Neuropsychology “is the first to assess the relationship between activity and task performance on a trial-by-trial basis in ADHD,” the authors said.

For the study, the authors recruited 26 children with validated ADHD diagnoses and 18 who were developing typically and served as controls. The participants were between the ages of 10 years and 17 years. The pre-teens and teenagers with ADHD were examined to determine how movement — its intensity and frequency — correlated with accuracy on cognitively demanding tasks requiring good attention. Their movements were measured by affixing a device to their ankles that measured their level of activity while completing a “flanker test” that requires good attention and the ability to inhibit paying attention to distractions. It found that participants who moved more intensely exhibited substantially better cognitive performance. The accuracy of the participants with ADHD was significantly improved when they were moving, the study found. In other words, correct answers were associated with more motion than incorrect answers.

“It turns out that physical movement during cognitive tasks may be a good thing for them,” said professor Julie Schweitzer, director of the UC Davis ADHD Program and study senior author.
“Parents and teachers shouldn’t try to keep them still. Let them move while they are doing their work or other challenging cognitive tasks. It may be that the hyperactivity we see in ADHD may actually be beneficial at times. Perhaps the movement increases their arousal level, which leads to better attention.”

“Maybe teachers shouldn’t punish kids for movement, and should allow them to fidget as long as it doesn’t disturb the rest of the class,” adds Arthur Hartanto, a study coordinator with the ADHD Program and the lead author of the study. “Instead, they should seek activities that are not disruptive that allow their students with ADHD to use movement, because it assists them with thinking.”

April 11th, 2017

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