Understanding and identifying psychosis

Understanding and identifying psychosis

Psychotic symptoms, otherwise known as psychosis, can affect a variety of different types of people and does not always constitute a mental health disorder. Psychotic symptoms can be found among many different types of mental health disorders including schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder and bipolar disorder. A psychotic disorder NOS (not otherwise specified), is usually diagnosed when a person has experienced a psychotic episode, but doesn’t meet the criteria for any other psychotic based disorder (Randle 2015). Determining the exact cause of psychosis and who is at risk of developing it, has still yet to be determined (Diamond 2010). Continue reading

Technology and its effect on mental health

Technology and its effect on mental health

New visual media such as iPads, smartphones, laptops, X-box and computers have become social norms of the millennium. These technological instruments play a huge role in communication, social engagement, organization, planning work and personal goals; they are also gaining a reputation as a source of addiction, as well as a reflection of mental health and emotion. Continue reading

How deficient levels of neurotransmitters cause stress responses

How deficient levels of neurotransmitters cause stress responses

Deficiencies in neurotransmitters can cause a significant reaction in a person’s ability to process and react to external stimuli appropriately. Everybody has to deal with daily stressors in life, but not everybody reacts to stress the same way. How a person responds to stressors has much to do with the levels and transmission of the neurotransmitters epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine. These neurotransmitters increase heart rate, metabolism, blood vessel constriction and bronchial dilation, all of which are characteristics of the fight or flight biological and psychological response. Continue reading

What is Mindfulness based cognitive therapy and how does it work?

What is Mindfulness based cognitive therapy and how does it work?

Mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT) was designed to help people who battle depression break negative thinking patterns. MBCT combines the use of mindfulness techniques with cognitive behavioral therapy(CBT). While CBT helps the individual build skill sets that provide an outlet for them to be aware of their thoughts and emotions, mindfulness helps the individual learn to be attentive and aware during the present moment. Through combining these two techniques, MBCT can help ease stress and depression by teaching people to pay attention to the present moment and to focus on developing new thought processes. (NIMH 2015) Continue reading

OCD and the role of neurotransmitters

OCD and the role of neurotransmitters

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by the presence of unreasonable thoughts and/or fears that manifest as obsessions, compulsions or both. People who have OCD usually don’t recognize the irrationality of their obsessions. There is an apparent challenge in diagnosing OCD due to the symptoms being very similar to other mental health disorders. Diagnosis is also a challenge because of the disorder’s comorbidity with other mental health issues; for example, obsessive and compulsive thoughts and actions could also be a symptom of an anxiety disorder, depression, schizophrenia or another mental illness. Continue reading

The mental and emotional toll of narcissistic personality disorder

The mental and emotional toll of narcissistic personality disorder

According to studies done at the Laboratory of Epidemiology and Biometry and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the lifetime rate of narcissistic personality disorder was 6.2 percent, with rates greater for men than for women. NPD was significantly more prevalent among black men and women, Hispanic women, younger adults and separated divorced or widowed adults. NPD is also associated with substance use, mood and anxiety disorders. Continue reading

The how and why of self-harm and how to get help

The how and why of self-harm and how to get help

Self-harm is a direct and deliberate, non-verbal expression of emotions accomplished through physically harming oneself. The most common form of self-harm is cutting on one’s arms, legs, and other parts of the body. However, there is a spectrum of various self-harm behaviors that range from mild to risky to fatal. Self-harm will also commonly involve addictions like drug abuse, alcoholism, eating disorders and compulsive gambling. Continuous self-harming behaviors can lead to a person’s downfall if not treated. Continue reading

Why stroke survivors are at higher risk of attempting suicide

Why stroke survivors are at higher risk of attempting suicide

Studies have shown that stroke victims are at a higher risk of taking their own lives, compared to people who haven’t suffered a stroke. (MNT 2015) A stroke occurs when the blood flow that is supplied to the brain suddenly stops. There are two different types of stroke: the ischemic stroke and the hemorrhagic stroke. An ischemic stroke is caused by a blood clot that blocks the flow of blood in a blood vessel. A hemorrhagic stroke is caused by a broken blood vessel that bleeds into the brain. There are also ‘mini-strokes’ that are called transient ischemic attacks, when blood supply to the brain is interrupted briefly. Continue reading

The neurotransmitters related to stress

The neurotransmitters related to stress

The neurotransmitters that regulate the body’s reactions to stress are norepinephrine, epinephrine and cortisol. Acute (shorter periods) and chronic (longer periods) levels of stress can be caused when there are increased levels of these hormones. With increased levels of stress the heart rate increases, blood vessels dilate and blood pressure increases. According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress is experienced over a prolonged period of time and can contribute to long-term problems in the heart. Continue reading