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Depression: Learning How It Affects Children

Depression is said to be one of the silent killers in society. It can affect all people no matter what their economic status is, their gender or their age. Even children today do experience depression and the negative effects it entails. Some people think that depression only affects older people as they may have a tendency to overthink about their problems. But this is a wrong belief because children are also among those groups of people that are affected by this psychological state.

In Phoenix and Paradise Valley, a lot of factors also contribute to the high risk of children being depressed. Some of these factors include socio-economic status, hunger, lack of attention given by parents and bullying among many others. These factors, when ignored, can increase the chances of children experiencing massive depression attacks even at early ages.

What others fail to see about this condition are the bad effects it can have and the reaction of both the physical body and the mental health of these children. Depression greatly affects a person’s way of thinking. In severe cases, people tend to temporarily forget (assuming that it is not intentional) to take care of themselves.

For children’s cases, they end up losing appetite and they begin to feel restless even at night. This puts a toll on their bodies and their health. Because their body is weak, their mind cannot perform its cognitive functions well. Because of this, children experience noticeable effects of depression, such as sudden weight loss, refusal to eat, being irritable and not being able to respond properly in situations that need their actions.

Cases of children affected by depression are more delicate because of the fact that they are not as good as adults when it comes to dealing with the effects of it. Unlike adults, children at early ages cannot do activities that can serve as their “outlet” for negative emotions. They cannot drink alcohol or be engaged in physical activities such as sports because their bodies cannot handle the rigors of these events.

It is then important for parents, school authorities and even government officials to see to it that proper actions are taken to avoid the onset of depression attacks among children. If there is any way to prevent it from happening, they should do everything they can to do so. Otherwise, they will be forced to deal with the undesirable effects of depression as seen in many children in places such as Phoenix and Paradise Valley. There is no need to wait for these to happen when you can already prevent the problem.

April 13th, 2018

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Binge Eating Disorder: Everything You Need To Know

Consuming food on a daily basis is a normal human characteristic. After all, we eat to survive. However, it is not normal when we eat in excess especially in amounts that is seen as too much.

Now, what is binge eating disorder?

Binge eating disorder, or BED, is a disease wherein a person has recurring episodes of eating in excess or an abnormally large amount of food than what a person would usually eat. The key term here is the amount of food being consumed in just one sitting. Usually those who suffer from BED are self-conscious about their eating habits and would often conceal their symptoms from others especially to the people closest to them. This results into another characteristic of binge eating: doing it in secrecy. It is also because of this that they would feel depressed and would constantly feel self-shame after each episode, thus creating this poor body image for the victim. Furthermore, these cravings are insatiable and choose no time of the day when striking.

In terms of demographic, women tend to suffer from BED more frequently than men, wherein the former is composed of 5% of the population.

It is interesting to note that it is still unknown what causes BED. However, because of how it affects people, it has been placed in the DSMV with calls for increased awareness and understanding for this disease in order to improve the quality of life of those suffering from it. Some experts link genetics to BED while some would relate it to other diseases such as depression or lifestyle.

Now, what are the symptoms associated with BED?

Symptoms that are associated with binge-eating disorder would include discreet consummation of food that is larger than most people would eat under a similar instance and in a distinct period of time, as well as lack of control during this period.

There are also other things that are associated during a binge eating period such as distress, depression, eating even if one is not hungry, self-shame and eating until one is uncomfortably full.

One is considered a binge eater if one experiences such episode consistently at least once in a week for three months.

It is also to be noted that binge eating is not always related to bulimia and/or anorexia though it can be in some cases. Furthermore, though body weight is commonly being associated by everyone to this condition (with a majority suffering from it either overweight or obese), it is important to know that it is possible that binge-eaters can also sport a normal weight.

April 10th, 2018

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Natural Ways To Treat Depression

Depression is one of those mental illnesses that one should be vigilant in looking out for. It is not because they can go off at any moment but because this disease calls for a complex list of prescription drugs to be taken at certain or specific points of the day.

Having a long medication list can be intimidating, much more if you are someone who is suffering from a mental illness such as depression. In fact, although medications help the person deal with the diseases, it can also be dangerous as these medications tend to have side effects that can affect one’s health, lifestyle and relationships with other people. Furthermore, these medicines don’t come cheap and most patients often have to deal with depression with most of their life without medication because of the cost.

It is because of these factors that many are now calling for alternative ways in treating depression while either reducing the amount of medicines being taken or removing them completely. Here are some alternative ways on how you can treat depression. Take note that these are not absolute solutions and may not work for everyone.

One of the most recommended ways is to put yourself into a routine. People with depression often have a stagnant lifestyle but getting them to fall into a routine will not only help them place their mind in a good place but also allow them to get minimal exercise such as walking. Though creating a routine and sticking to it may prove to be difficult, it will be worthwhile in the long run.

Once you have a daily routine, it is time to set up goals. Depression often leaves one feeling like they cannot accomplish anything in their life and this often leads to them spiraling down. However, setting up goals will help you focus and this will serve as a shining beacon for them to keep on staying positive. It does not have to be big goals as you can start off simple such as cleaning the house, taking out the trash, cooking dinner, doing the dishes, eating more healthy food or even getting up to walk every day. Remember that these have to be do-able within a day at least.

While you’re at it, get enough sleep. As much a depression makes it hard for one to sleep, too little sleep makes it worse. You can do this by adjusting your lifestyle such as eliminating distractions before bed or drinking a cup of hot cocoa or chamomile tea before going to bed. Also eliminate or reduce your caffeine intake during the day as too much caffeine reduces your serotonin levels.

If you think about having a lesser type of medication, you can always ask your doctor if you can take supplements. Fish oil and folic acid are just some of those that seem to help in easing depression. However if you are still under medication, it is best to discuss this first before leaping headfirst.

April 4th, 2018

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What is Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

Teenagers are known to go through a phase where they become moody, brooding, and irritable, especially with parents. They will begin to argue and get angry as they are now emerging from the innocence of childhood, where they were fully dependent on their families, to the independence of an adult.

These years can be extremely difficult at times, for both the parents and the teenager. Sometimes, the teen’s behavior is so erratic and intense; it becomes unbearable and may cause some parents to worry if they had done something wrong along the way.

Although this phase is quite normal, parents should keep a lookout for signs that this behavior is not a sign of oppositional defiant disorder. This disorder is characterized by severe anger and defiance, argumentativeness, or an inability to control temper.

The teenager will frequently argue or act against those in authority, such as adults, teachers, or parents, and blame others for his or her mistakes. This behavior may cause significant problems in the teenager’s school life as well as at home.

Although it may subside in the late teen years or early adulthood, it can be challenging for the parent to constantly endure the endless arguments and it may prove to be an intolerable experience to simply wait it out.
In some cases, this behavior may lead the teenager to develop more serious problems, as he or she rebels against acceptable standards. This rebellious behavior may lead to depression, bipolar disorder, the use of substances, and in worst cases, lead to an addiction.

Oppositional defiant disorder can vary from mild symptoms to severe symptoms. Mild symptoms usually mean that the teen only exhibits defiant behavior in a single setting, such as at home, or with family members specifically.
Moderate symptoms are slightly more intense, as the behavior can be exhibited even in a school setting, with teachers and classmates. This can disrupt the teen’s learning capability and interfere with their education.
The most severe of symptoms will usually cause the teen to act out in all places, not limiting their selves to one setting. They will demonstrate irritable behavior in school, at home, and in other public places.

To those concerned for these argumentative teenagers, keep a lookout for any signs that their lashing out could be signaling something more serious. Though it’s important to also note that oppositional defiant disorder is not only limited to teenagers, but can also be seen in children as young as 5 years old, sometimes even below this age.
If the child is 5 years old or younger, the symptoms may occur for at least six months on most days, but for teenagers, the symptoms only appear once a week, also for a period of at least six months.

March 15th, 2018

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Teens with Sleeping Problems are Prone to Self Harm

sleep-problemAdolescents with sleep problems were significantly more likely to report self-harm than those without sleep problems, according to the findings of a study led by Mari Hysing from Uni Research in Bergen, and published in the British Journal of Psychiatry. Insomnia, short sleep duration, long sleep onset latency, wake after sleep onset as well as large differences between weekdays versus weekends, yielded higher odds of self-harm consistent with a dose–response relationship. Depressive symptoms accounted for some, but not all, of this association, the study found.

In order to assess the relationship between lack of sleep and self-harm, a survey was conducted in Norway covering 10,220 adolescents aged 16–19 years on mental health, including a comprehensive assessment of sleep and self-harm. A total of 702, or 7.2% of the total, met the criteria for self-harm, and of those, more than half, or about 55%, reported harming themselves on two or more occasions. Self-harming occurs more frequently among girls than boys, and cutting is the most prevalent form of self-harm. Furthermore, the risk of self-harming was 4 times higher among the adolescents who fulfilled the diagnostic criteria for insomnia. Adolescents who reported self-harm had, as expected, also higher rates of both depression, signs of perfectionism, as well as ADHD symptoms. The researchers say that depressive symptoms accounted for some, but not all, of the association to self-harming. However, the latter association remained significant even in the fully adjusted analyses, they emphasize.

Since the findings highlight a strong relationship between sleep problems and self-harm, the authors of the study recommend that interventions to reduce adolescent self-harm should also incorporate sleep problems as a treatment target.

Of course, treatment depends on finding out first the real cause for the lack of adequate sleep. Insomnia, the inability to get the amount of sleep a body needs to wake up feeling rested and refreshed, is the most commonly cited cause. But insomnia itself is often a symptom of another underlying problem, like stress, anxiety, depression, or a medical condition. It can also result from certain lifestyle choices, including lack of exercise, jet lag, too much partying, or even imbibing too much coffee or cola. Aside from insomnia, other common sleep disorders are sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, and narcolepsy. If you suspect your child is having problems sleeping, have him or her checked up by a doctor soon before it leads to even bigger mental health concerns, including self-harm.

March 12th, 2018

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5 Types of Depression

teen-depressionOne of the common misconceptions of society is that there is only one type of depression. However, this misconception should be avoided as not all depressed people are diagnosed all the same. It is true that the main characteristic of depression is someone who feels down and sad most of the time. However, it should be understood that depression is caused by either two things: certain events in life or chemical imbalances in your body.

Here are the different types of depression and how they are characteristically defined and differentiated from one another.

Major Depression

This is also referred to by doctors as major depressive order. Often people who are diagnosed with this is down and depressed for long periods of times in the week. When people suffer from major depression they tend to lose interest in activities that they are known to enjoy and may either gain or lose weight drastically. Some may have trouble sleeping or would often sleep more often as usual. Their moods would also be unpredictable but often would either be “sped up” or “slowed down” and their energy levels would be always low. What’s also characteristic in major depression are a person’s inability of making right decision and often having thoughts of suicide or extremely worthlessness and guilt. This is something that should be constantly looked out for as it may harm the person, or kill them if left unchecked.

Persistent Depressive Disorder

This type of depression is known to last for 2 years or even longer than that. It is also called a dysthymia. Most of its characteristics are the same as major depression such as loss or excessive appetite, little or too much sleep, difficulty in making decisions, low concentration levels and feelings of hopelessness. Those suffering from this type may also experience low self-esteem.

Bipolar Disorder

Also referred to as manic depression, this type of depression is often characterized by extreme ups and downs and extreme mood swings. It is when someone is in that down phase that they experience major depression.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

The definition for this type of depression can easily be derived from its name: seasonal. That means people experience their depressive moments during certain periods such as winter. This is because of the small amount of sunlight one gets.

Postpartum Depression

This type of depression could only be experienced by females in the succeeding weeks and months after childbirth.

March 3rd, 2018

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Anxiety: What it is and What you need to know?

Feelings of fear are normal and often helpful in times of danger, as they can help warn a person of a harmful situation and have them prepare to handle it, thus getting them out of harm’s way. Certain levels of fear are normal, and even healthy, and each situation has a different level of fear which is acceptable to the circumstances.

For example, it is normal to be terrified when you are standing at a great height, afraid to fall. This is your body’s way of warning you to steer clear of the depth. It is also normal to be squeamish around spiders or other insects, as it can help you in the case that these insects are venomous. In a way, the fear is your friend, helping you to stay safe and warning you to be careful.

However, when these levels of fear exceed a reasonable degree, it may be a sign of a type of anxiety disorder known as a phobia. When you are standing at a great height or in the face of a spider, and you are suddenly overwhelmed with a sense of panic, and your vision begins to become unclear as you are overcome with the dread of dying or an urge to choke, this is no longer a healthy reaction to the situation.

Because of these feelings, you will be taking great and often unnecessary measures to avoid the situation at all times and at all costs. When faced with the situation your phobia is associated with, you’ll always have an intense need to escape, making your decisions in the moment irrational, unstable, and possibly harmful to your mental health.

Common phobias may include a fear of heights, spiders and insects, and darkness. Less common are the fear of needles or pointed objects, clowns, and thunder or lightning. These can be easy to recognize as they are situations and objects that will probably be faced more than once in a person’s life, making it more likely the fear can be pinpointed.

Rare phobias are more difficult to assess, as they are not usually encountered frequently, such as the fear of reptiles, ferns, or even holes. Phobias extend to such a wide spectrum of situations, it’s important to be aware at all times and assess if your fear is still at an acceptable range.

Once you’ve identified whether this fear is within normal parameters, you can now take action and get treatment if necessary. It’s important to learn to face your fears, no matter how long the process may take, most especially if it is something you will be seeing often. Fear can consume your thoughts and lead to more serious mental health issues.

February 18th, 2018

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Sensitivity of Reproductive Hormones Related to Risk for Depression in Women

Studies, particularly in epidemiologic studies, suggest that the sensitivity of women’s reproductive hormones is closely related to the risk of depression. This means that women are more prone to becoming depressed throughout their entire reproductive life cycles due to hormonal fluctuations. The specific events that occur within the reproductive life cycle include the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and all stages of menopause, namely perimenopause, menopause, and post menopause.

A research was conducted by the National Comorbidity Survey, otherwise known as the NCS, which pointed out that men who are susceptible to depression disorders remained at only 12.7%, while women rose to 21.3%. The survey was done by individuals between the ages of 15 years and 54 years old.

Physiologically speaking, the risk of depression could possibly be caused by the effects of post menstrual syndrome (PMS), dysmenorrhea, or other occurrences of hormonal fluctuations and imbalances. These fluctuations are observed to be able to influence the neurochemical pathways that are related to depression.

Specifically, estrogen and progesterone have been seen to affect regions of the brain that are responsible for modulating mood and behavioral patterns. These hormones go to receptor sites in the brain, which are identified as the prefrontal cortex, the thalamus, hippocampus, and the brain stem.

However, mentally, emotionally, and socially speaking, the instability brought on by these reproductive life events such as childbirth and puberty is not only physiologically causing depression. Besides physiologically affecting neurochemical pathways, depression is also caused by mental and emotional stress related to social issues during reproductive life events.

For example, childbirth may induce high levels of stress because of multiple factors, such as the responsibilities of raising the baby, difficulties in financial issues, problems relating to lower income, and even complications in the hospital or anything medically related. These factors, along with possible past traumas, social pressures, sexual issues, and even divorce or the death of a family member are enough to weigh down on any woman, which, if collectively mounted atop each unfortunate circumstance, will eventually be enough to push the woman to develop major depression disorder, or MDD.

Bipolar disorder is also a possibility that could occur within two scenarios— either it is developed from depression of reproductive live events, or it could branch out from itself and eventually lead to depression. In any case, women should have access to treatment for any signs of feelings of instability during life events relating to their reproductive systems.

February 15th, 2018

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How to Overcome Panic Attacks

Choosing which path to take when overcoming a panic attack can be difficult, as each path requires a different set of responses that may or may not produce effective results. Sometimes, sticking with a certain technique for the sake of ‘perfecting’ it won’t be the best approach, as these can render the technique ineffective, thus giving you the same negative result over and over again.

Exploring different techniques and finding which will work best for your case will help you achieve faster progress, and studies show that the five step technique— adapted and modified from several other techniques, has been highly effective among its users. This five step technique is called ‘AWARE’, with each letter representing one step in the process.

The ‘A’ stands for acknowledging and accepting that you are experiencing a panic attack. You must be able to recognize the symptoms and accept the fact that these symptoms will continue to become dominant within your senses. Any progress in overcoming your panic attack will stem from this step, so it is crucial to neither ignore nor suppress the feelings of panic, but to simply acknowledge its presence.

The ‘W’ stands for waiting and watching, which entails attempting to regain your ability to process logical thoughts and concentrate. Panic attacks are usually characterized by a loss of these abilities, so simply standing your ground and waiting will enable you to control your actions before you unintentionally and instinctively flee or struggle. Watch how your mind and body react as you remain in place; hopefully the relief will be the one coming to you gradually, instead of you running to seek it out.

If all goes well with this step, the waiting and watching will most likely change to working. By this point, you have already successfully dealt with the two most crucial steps in overcoming your panic attack.

The second ‘A’ in ‘AWARE’ stands for the actions you will take to make yourself feel more at ease and comfortable with your surroundings as the panic begins to subside. These actions can differ from each person, as you can choose whichever simple action will provide you comfort. For example, some actions include deep breathing by expanding your belly instead of your chest, or talking to yourself by simply providing assuring words such as, “I’ll be okay.”

The ‘R’ stands for repeat when you have another panic attack. You can repeat these steps however many times you’d like if they prove to be effective for you.

Lastly, ‘E’ stands for end. Congratulations, you have successfully overcome your panic attack!

February 10th, 2018

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Anger Management and Why It’s Important

Many people tend to suppress their anger when this powerful emotion surfaces, as it can be overwhelming and shocking. However, suppressing anger, which is a normal human emotion, can lead to significant physical harm, most especially when the levels of anger are extending past the boundaries of normal levels.

These significant physical damages include anxiety, depression, and even high blood pressure and heart problems if you experience chronic anger. There are a few key steps you can follow to ensure it won’t come to this.

Some methods include breathing deeply, talking to yourself positively, and mentally imagining a barrier between your controlled self and your angered thoughts. When you breathe deeply, make sure you draw air from your diaphragm, as this can provide a more proper posture and a clearer mind.

When you speak to yourself on positive notes, you can either recite simple words or phrases, such as “relax” or “just take it easy.” You can repeat this to yourself until the intense anger eventually subsides.

Imagining a mental barrier in your mind can be a bit tricky and requires quite a deal of concentration. Summoning enough concentration to envision this while at the peak of your anger can seem impossible, but planning a scene beforehand can help imagining this barrier easier.

Many people have different interpretations as to how this barrier can be formed. Some people create a brick wall being raised, separating the vivid, intense fires of a burning forest from a bright and pleasant meadow. Others will create a literal image of themselves— one image expressing anger, and the other expressing control. These two figures will then be mentally placed in separate locations, isolating and doing away with the one expressing anger.
You can get creative with planning your scenario, as long as it involves isolating your anger and being able to place it in a corner you can monitor. This is also known as a form of meditation.

If you are not too adept with your imagination and rely more heavily on logic, you can use perspective as a way to try and understand the side and reasoning of the source of your anger if it involves another individual. Usually, stepping into another’s shoes will give you a better idea of why things have come to this disagreement, and will allow for a more peaceful conflict both within yourself and the other parties involved. Whichever technique you choose, the main goal is to establish peace and control within your thoughts.

February 3rd, 2018

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