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

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 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

Loneliness as a public health concern

“Solitude expresses the value of being alone, while loneliness expresses the pain of being alone.”-Tillich 1959

There are many factors that can affect why somebody gets the feeling of being lonely. Sometimes it could just be due to a slow week of socializing, other times it might be due to rejection or lack of a significant other. Somebody could be in a crowded room full of people and still feel lonely. Everyone feels lonely at some point or another but when loneliness turns into continuous social isolation, there is a need for concern. Continue reading

What is a “Delusional Disorder”?

Delusional disorder is a type of psychosis that can be incredibly difficult to deal with, or be around. Most people would find it very hard to understand how somebody could actually see or hear one thing, but fail to understand the reality of the situation based on internal belief systems. Delusions are paranoid thoughts of actions or situations that haven’t happened, yet a person has an unshakable belief that these events have actually occurred. Delusions can also be described as hallucinations. Common characteristics of a person with DD thinks he or she is being followed, poisoned, conspired against, loved from afar, mistreated, or has a special talent or ability that he or she really doesn’t have. Continue reading

Using psychodynamic therapy to treat depression

Mental health can be significantly stunned or stunted when affected by unfortunate circumstances such as a mental health disorder. Depression, for example, is a long lasting illness that can affect a person’s physical, mental and emotional state of being. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, major depression is defined as severe symptoms that interfere with one’s ability to work, sleep, study, eat and enjoy life. A depressive episode can occur only once in a person’s lifetime, but more often, a person will endure several depressive episodes throughout their life. Continue reading

What is intermittent explosive disorder?

Intermittent explosive disorder is a condition characterized by impulsive acts of aggression, as opposed to planned violent or aggressive acts. The diagnosis itself is one of exclusion by eliminating the possibility of other disorders and symptoms, as the characteristic traits of IED are very similar to those of other mental health disorders. People that have been diagnosed with IED have symptoms that are very similar to bipolar disorder. In a manic state, a person can act out in fits of rage; people with IED can also blackout during their fit or spell, which are also symptoms associated with bipolar disorder during a manic state. Although there has been very little research done in regards to IED, according to the National Institute on Mental Health, patients with IED are said to have a high propensity of a co-occurring bipolar disorder. (NIMH 2006) Continue reading

The many different faces of Bipolar disorder, March 30, 2015 World Bipolar Day

Bipolar disorder comprises a spectrum of mental health irregularities characterized by moods that swing between poles of mania and depression. These mood swings can range from mild to severe. All bipolar types experience manic, hypomanic and mixed bipolar symptoms to different degrees (Moadel, 2013). There are significant elements that make up what bipolar disorder can look like. Within the spectrum of bipolar disorder are two primary “types” — bipolar I and bipolar II. These types delineate varying degrees of mania and depression. The pattern, frequency, duration and intensity of the manic and depressive episodes will differ and not necessarily remain consistent in their patterns. Continue reading

Alternative treatments for ADHD

The rise in misdiagnosing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has resulted in an increase in the abuse of ADHD medications. The importance of finding alternative ways to combat lack of concentration, disinterest, depression and hyperactivity is more important than ever in today’s age. ADHD medications are a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, both of which are central nervous system stimulants used to restore the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain. A study done by Dr. Lawrence Diller in 2014, noted how the United States Drug Enforcement Administration maintains records of the annual quotas approved for production by drug companies in the U.S. Annual quotas for approved production are probably the best indicator of the rates of which the drugs are being used.

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Mindfulness found to be as effective as cognitive behavioral therapy

Meditation and mindfulness have been incorporated more frequently into treatment programs due to their therapeutic effects, but not much is known about how they compare to more traditional approaches such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). A new study has found that group mindfulness treatment is as effective as individual CBT in patients with depression and anxiety, reopening the debate on mindfulness-based practices in therapy. Continue reading