Monday, October 31, 2011

What You Should Ask a Mental Health Expert

If you suspect that you have a disorder you should do your best to be very accurate on your symptoms, research them and document them. If you go to a therapist you will be ahead of the game and by knowing and researching your symptoms you may be able to prevent an incorrect diagnosis.

When you visit a therapist they will talk to you and listen to you. They will search for many signs and disturbances in your thinking patterns. Therapists will search for symptoms such as:

Mental Health

· Vague thoughts · Fleeting ideas · Peripheral thought patterns · Blocking thoughts · Disassociation · Break in reality · Paranoia

If the patient displays a disturbance in their thinking patterns, the therapist may consider psychosis. Counselors will consider schizophrenia or psychosis if the patient shows a break in reality. Paranoid and paranoia may be misconstrued if the therapist doesn't have a good understanding between the two conditions. Schizophrenics are often paranoid and may suffer from post traumatic stress in the early stages. If a patient provides answers to questions that are unrelated, the therapist may consider a potential mental illness. Another area of concern is if the patient speaks in fragments of thoughts and don't deliver complete sentences or ideas. This is known as a fleeting thought process. If a patient is illustrating thoughts that are off the subject, the therapist may also show concern.

Other areas that are considered include language. Some patients may simply have a lack of education, but they should be able to speak in a comprehensible manner. It is important that the patient is not misdiagnosed simply because they have poor communication skills.

What You Should Ask a Mental Health Expert

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Mental Health Awareness Month and Mental Illness Awareness Week - Free Depression or Anxiety Tests

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, during which the free National Anxieties Disorders Screening Day is held. Consider what Kim Bassinger, Marc Summers and football great Earl Campbell have in common. They have all suffered from an anxiety disorder, America's most common mental illness. According to the National Institute for Mental Health, nearly a quarter of the American adult population will suffer from an anxiety disorder at some time in their lives. Unlike normal worries, these individuals can experience a variety of symptoms which can include spontaneous panic attacks, endlessly checking and rechecking their actions, persistent, uncontrollable worry and social anxiety, which interferes with their lives.

The symptoms of anxiety disorders are characterized by fear and anxiety that appear for no apparent reason. Anxiety disorders include Panic Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Social Phobia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Left untreated, these conditions often become accompanied by depression, substance abuse and suicidal thoughts. Although most sufferers never connect with appropriate treatment, effective treatments do exist, which can offer relief within a relatively short period of time.

Mental Health

The first week of every October is designated as Mental Illness Awareness Week, during which the National Depression Screening Day is held. Consider what Abraham Lincoln, Ernest Hemingway, and Brooke Shields have in common. They have all suffered from clinical depression. Depression and manic-depression strike more than 17 million Americans each year, according to figures from the National Institute of Mental Health. Fewer than half, however, actually seeks treatment, despite the fact that treatment can help 80 - 90 percent of those affected.

Common symptoms of depression include feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, restlessness and irritability, changes in sleep and appetite, loss of energy and thoughts of death or suicide. Manic-depression includes feelings of euphoria or agitation. Clinical depression is more than just the 'blues. It is a real, pervasive condition that even has the potential to be life threatening. A sufferer has no better chance to "just snap out of it" than someone, for example, with a seizure disorder simply controlling their attacks.

The screenings initiatives are invaluable opportunities for people, who might otherwise be timid about discussing their concerns or symptoms, to do so without feeling pressured. Click HERE to watch the online video: "The Pain of Depression - A Journey Through the Darkness"

Mental Health Awareness Month and Mental Illness Awareness Week - Free Depression or Anxiety Tests


Friday, October 28, 2011

Mental Health Insurance

Despite public awareness campaigns highlighting the issues facing people with mental health problems and the fact that no one is immune to developing a mental illness, people with mental health problems are still facing unfair discrimination, prejudice and stigma every day of their lives, not just from members of the public but also from businesses, banks, employers and even when it comes to taking out an insurance policy.

The truth is, any one of us can develop a mental illness, regardless of our age, gender, location, occupation or social status. Actually, the statistics show that at least one in four of us will experience some kind of mental health problem in the space of any one year. Mental health problems can be hugely diverse in nature and can range from mild cases of depression and anxiety to more serious cases of bipolar depression and schizophrenia with the types of symptoms and the degree of intensity of these symptoms varying from person to person. However, there are problems to face in the outside world too.

Mental Health

Possibly one of the most distressing aspects of mental illness is the isolation and social exclusion often experienced by the sufferer purely as a result of ignorance and misunderstanding on the part of other people and it is this that needs to change. If we consider insurance for example, something that most people take for granted, but not if you have had a mental illness in the past or are suffering from a mental health problem at the moment.

The findings of a major report on discrimination against the mentally ill showed that Insurance companies will often deny insurance or place exemptions on an insurance policy when there is a history of mental health problems, even if those problems existed many years ago and are no longer an issue. This applies to any type of insurance and not just life insurance either, travel insurance, mortgage insurance, employment insurance, payment protection insurance, all become more difficult to obtain if you have a mental health problem or a history of mental illness.

This would appear to suggest that insurance companies as well as many others still do not understand the issues or the facts surrounding mental illness or the information just isn't getting through. For example, mental health problems can occur as an isolated case in relation to a specific set of circumstances and once treated, will never happen again, some types of mental illness are episodic in nature, and most people who seek help for mental health problems do go on to lead full and normal lives. Probably the most important point is that just because someone is suffering from a mental health problem doesn't automatically mean they pose a greater risk than anyone else. Insurance companies calculate their insurance premiums on the level of perceived risk, which is supposedly based on medical evidence. Perhaps this is the area that needs to be addressed.

So what can you do about it? Certainly, if there is a case of unfair discrimination then it is possible to sue under the Disability Discrimination Act but according to Mind, the leading UK charity for mental health, only a small number of cases are taken out under this Act and of these, few are ever successful. Similarly, the Citizen's Advice Bureau (CAB) report that most claims against payment protection insurance fail when mental illness is involved as it is a common exclusion in many insurance policies.

It isn't all doom and gloom though, people do seem to be waking up to the fact that something has gone wrong somewhere and that people with mental illness deserve to have the same rights as anyone else. Over in the USA for example, a study by the Mental Health America Association found that the majority of Americans believe that people with mental health problems should no longer be subjected to discrimination by health insurance companies. In fact, some 96% of Americans believe that health insurance should also cover mental health. Here in the UK the government are aware of the issues surrounding mental health and exclusion and are tightening up legislation to protect people from unfair discrimination.

In the meantime, we would all do well to remember that mental health problems are not only common, they are treatable, and can affect any one of us at any time. Until we insist that people with mental health problems receive the same rights in society as everyone else, the problem with insurance will persist.

Mental Health Insurance

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Suffering With Mental Health Issues

One in four Americans suffers from some type of mental health issue. It can range from depression to anxiety and anything in between. Whatever kind of mental health issues a person suffers from, it can become debilitating and make it impossible to do day to day activities. The good news is help is available you just have to seek it out.

Mental health issues can be temporary or permanent. For example, someone going through a particular situation that is really stressing them out may suffer from panic attacks. These panic attacks because they are caused by a specific situation may go away after the situation has resolved itself.

Mental Health

Other people have more long term problems that may be caused by a chemical imbalance or more stressful situations from childhood. Regardless of if your mental health problems are permanent or temporary they most likely cause you difficulties in life and need to be managed.

One of the biggest issues in mental health today is people who suffer from depression. Depression can be totally debilitating. It can make it impossible to get out of bed in the morning and do what you need to do. It can make it hard to keep relationships in tact and to do your work. It begins to creep into every aspect of your life and if left untreated can have terrible consequences such as suicide.

This is why you have to seek out help. You have to get your mind back to a healthy place and that is not always something you can do on your own. Once you deal with the immediate effects of your mental health issues there are many things you can do to keep your mind healthier in general and avoid depression.

A clear mind is more effective at decision making and allows you to be able to cope and get through situations without them turning into a mental health emergency. Most mental health issues start as a result of stress when you have a clear mind and can think things through and make good choices you are less likely to have stress that you are unable to manage.

If you are currently having issues managing your stress you should talk to a professional. There are also other things you can do to help you think more clearly. Brain games or brain training activities can go a long way in giving you a healthy mind. A healthy mind is far better equipped to manage stress and make good decisions.

Suffering With Mental Health Issues

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Where to Get Affordable Mental Health Insurance

Mental health insurance is a fairly new type of insurance. As recently as ten years ago, most insurers offered little if any coverage for mental health problems. Now, many states require that insurance companies include some form of mental health insurance coverage as part of their health insurance policies. Here's how to get affordable mental health insurance.

What Does Mental Health Insurance Cover?

Mental Health

Mental health insurance coverages vary widely among insurance companies. Most insurance companies cover problems such as

* Anxiety

* Depression

* Relationship difficulties

* Social phobias

They typically do not cover alternative therapies such as aromatherapy, nor do they cover therapy related to gender change.

Insurance companies typically allow around 20 to 30 sessions with a mental health professional per year, paying anywhere from 50-80 percent of the bill.

Selecting a Mental Health Insurance Policy

Whether you're looking for an insurance policy that just covers mental health or a policy that includes both physical and mental health coverage, your best option for finding an affordable policy is to shop around. Go to an insurance comparison website and get quotes from multiple A-rated companies that you can compare. As you compare the policies, look for whether the policy:

* Requires a referral from your primary care physician or employee assistance program.

* Includes a preferred list of providers and hospitals you must choose from and what the financial consequences are if you choose someone else.

* Includes a separate annual deductible for mental health services.

* Pays for office visits, medication, respite care, outpatient hospital care, and inpatient hospital care and what the co-payments are for these services.

* Limits your number of visits.

* Excludes certain diagnoses or pre-existing conditions.

* Includes an annual or lifetime cap for mental health coverage.

Where to Get Affordable Mental Health Insurance

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Combine Physical and Mental Exercise For Brain Health - Interview With Dr Kramer

Dr. Arthur Kramer is a Professor in the University of Illinois Department of Psychology, the Campus Neuroscience Program, the Beckman Institute, and the Director of the Biomedical Imaging Center at the University of Illinois.

I am honored to interview him today about recent brain research findings focused on how to maintain a healthy, strong brain.

Mental Health

Alvaro Fernandez (AF): Dr. Kramer, thank you for your time. Let's start by trying to clarify some existing misconceptions and controversies. Based on what we know today, and your recent Nature piece (Note: referenced below), what are the 2-3 key lifestyle habits would you suggest to a person who wants to delay Alzheimer's symptoms and improve overall brain health?

Dr. Kramer (DK): First, Be Active. Do physical exercise. Aerobic exercise, 30 to 60 minutes per day 3 days per week, has been shown to have an impact in a variety of experiments. And you don't need to do something strenuous: even walking has shown that effect. There are many open questions in terms of specific types of exercise, duration, magnitude of effect...but, as we wrote in our recent Nature Reviews Neuroscience article, there is little doubt that leading a sedentary life is bad for our cognitive health. Cardiovascular exercise seems to have a positive effect.

Second, Maintain Lifelong Intellectual Engagement. There is abundant prospective observational research showing that doing more mentally stimulating activities reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer's symptoms.

Let me add, given all media hype, that no "brain game" in particular has been shown to have a long-term impact on Alzheimer's or the maintenance of cognition across extended periods of time. It is too early for that-and consumers should be aware of that fact. It is true that some companies are being more science-based than others but, in my view, the consumer-oriented field is growing faster than the research is.

Ideally, combine both physical and mental stimulation along with social interactions. Why not take a good walk with friends to discuss a book? We lead very busy lives, so the more integrated and interesting activities are, the more likely we will do them.

AF: Great concept: a walking book club! Now, part of the confusion we observe is due to the search of "magic solutions" that work for everyone and everything. We prefer to talk about several pillars of brain health, and different priorities for different individuals. Can you elaborate on what interventions seem to have a positive effect on specific cognitive abilities and individuals?

DK: Perhaps one day we will be able to recommend specific interventions for individuals based on genetic testing, for example, but we don't have a clue today. We are only beginning to understand how the environment interacts with our genome.

But I agree on the premise that there probably won't be a general solution that solves all cognitive problems, but we need a multitude of approaches. And we can't forget, for example, the cognitive benefits from smoking cessation, sleep, pharmacological interventions, nutrition, social engagement.

Physical exercise tends to have rather broad effects on different forms of perception and cognition, as seen in the Colcombe and Kramer, 2003, meta-analysis published in Psychological Science (Note: referenced below).

Cognitive training also works for a multitude of perceptual and cognitive domains - but has shown little transfer beyond trained tasks.

No single type of intervention is sufficient. Today there is no clear research on how those different lifestyle factors may interact. The National Institute on Aging is starting to sponsor research to address precisely that.

AF: To wrap up, what's in your mind the best way to explain the relative benefits of physical vs. cognitive exercise? From a fundamental point of view, it seems clear that physical exercise can help enhance neurogenesis (Note: the creation of new neurons), yet learning/ cognitive exercise contributes to the survival of those neurons by strengthening synapses, so I see more how those two "pillars" are complimentary than "one or the other".

DK: I agree. Given what we know today I would recommend both intellectual engagement and physical exercise. However, we do know, from a multitude of animal studies, that physical exercise has a multitude of effects on brains beyond neurogenesis, including increases in various neurotransmitters, nerve grown factors, and angiogenesis (the formation of new blood vessels).

AF: Dr. Kramer, many thanks for your time.

DK: You are welcome.

Copyright (c) 2008 SharpBrains

Combine Physical and Mental Exercise For Brain Health - Interview With Dr Kramer

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Does My 2-3 Year Old Need to See a Mental Health Professional?

Unfortunately some children have behavioral and/or developmental problems that make it very challenging on a family. Many parents are left with the question, is it time that I bring my 2-3 year old to a behaviorist, therapist, or psychiatrist? The aim of this article is to help she some light on that answer.

Some of the things to consider is whether or not your 2-3 year old is meeting the age -appropriate milestones. For a child of the age of 2, this means that your child should be able to feed himself/herself, can say several hundred words, and his/her motor skills are such that a child is able to move around considerably.

Mental Health

Behaviorally, it is quite typical for a 2 year old to literally throw his/herself on the ground and tantrum, yell, kick his/her feet, stomp on the ground, and from time to time hit others. It is also normal for a 2 year old to have an extremely short attention span and switch from one thing to the next in a matter of seconds. Usually, when a 2 year old doesn't want to socialize with other, often resorts to biting, kicking, and tantruming, and can only say a couple of words, may need to be seen by a professional.

3 year olds can do a whole lot more than he or she could at the age of 2. At this point in the toddlers life he/she can take care of most hygiene and feeding routines with guidance. Since there are more words developed in the vocabulary of a 3 year old, he or she usually has a higher frustration tolerance than before.

If you find that your 3 year old fails to show any remorse during the majority of his or her aggressive actions, or your 3 year old is particular cruel to animals, this can be a sign of needing to seek help. Finally, even though a 3 year old has a long attention span, if he or she is unable to sit still for longer than a few minutes at a time and hear simple 1 step directions (i.e. sit, stand up, lay down, walk, etc), then you may want to consider looking for help outside the home.

Do you want to learn exactly how to eliminate your child's out-of-control and defiant behavior without using Punishments, Time-Outs, Behavioral Plans, or Rewards?

Does My 2-3 Year Old Need to See a Mental Health Professional?

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

When is it Time to Bring My 3-4 Year Old to a Qualified Mental Health Professional?

Many challenges arise with typically developing 3-4 year olds. So many parents ask, how do you know when it is time to seek professional help for my child? The aim of this article is to help parents determine when it is appropriate for the parent to seek professional help.

There are couple of things you can pay attention to in order to see if you 3-4 year old needs help from a mental health professional. One of the first things to look for is if your 3-4 year old is constantly tantruming for more than 90% of the things he/she wants or needs from a parent. Also, if you 3-4 year old is in danger of hurting himself/herself, or other, this is usually an indicator of needing professional help.

Mental Health

Another thing to look for, in terms of your 3-4 year old possibly needing help, is too watch for the development of physical symptoms (i.e. headaches, vomiting, and difficulty breath, swallowing, or sleeping). If your 3-4 year old wasn't having any problems with these things and then all of the sudden these are now issues, it is important to check for medical reasons that may be causing your child's behavioral issues.

The third thing to look out for is if your 3-4 year old is constantly putting himself/herself in danger, threatening others, and/or attempting to destroy things on a regular basis. Using these strategies above as a way to cope or problem solve for the majority of the time may be an indicator of something going on emotionally.

Ultimately, believe your institution if you feel that something is not right. It is better to have made the necessary attempts to get the help that you need than to watch things progressively get worse and worse.

Do you want to learn exactly how to eliminate your child's out-of-control and defiant behavior without using Punishments, Time-Outs, Behavioral Plans, or Rewards?

When is it Time to Bring My 3-4 Year Old to a Qualified Mental Health Professional?

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Friday, October 21, 2011

How to Use Turmeric Extract to Protect Your Health and Mental Well Being

There's no doubt about it, turmeric can help to prevent many deadly diseases including cancer as long as you take it correctly. Once you know how to use turmeric properly, you can reap the many health rewards.

The actual health giving properties come from the active ingredient called curcumin. This pigment gives it its characteristic yellow colour and bitter taste.

Mental Health

It has been shown to have great anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities that help to keep you healthy. The list of conditions it can help with include preventing cancer in all stages, treatment for type 2 diabetes, effective for arthritis and help in treating and preventing Alzheimer's.

If you know how to use turmeric properly, you can reap all the health rewards.

The important thing is not to use turmeric on its own as the body struggles to absorb it. When combined in a nutritional supplement for example with piperine from black pepper, absorption rates soar to give you the maximum benefits.

You also benefit from the synergistic mix of many other nutrients and some others that combine well include ginkgo biloba, green tea and olive leaf extract.

The next important factor is an enteric coating to ensure the contents are not released in the stomach where the benefits will be lost but in the upper intestine. This also avoids any potential digestive discomfort and means you can take them anytime.

As regards dosage, if you get the above things right, you can get the most from this spice by having 50mg a day of pure curcumin extract at a purity of 98% in a multi supplement.

One of the more interesting turmeric benefits I found during my research was how it has been shown to help you stay sharp as you get older, and with half of us predicted to get some form of dementia, this is vitally important.

Studies with turmeric and mental health reveal its special anti-inflammatory qualities help to keep you sharp and the reason why it is so effective in treating degenerative brain conditions like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Now you know how to use turmeric extract to gain the maximum benefits and just how many different conditions it can help with. It's no wonder it has been used for centuries in traditional Indian and Chinese medicine and it great to see that here in the West we are finally catching up.

If you would like to learn more about the nutritional supplements I personally take that contain turmeric extract, visit my website below.

How to Use Turmeric Extract to Protect Your Health and Mental Well Being

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Mental Health - Utopia for Crazy Human Beings

Craziness begins with deceptions and suffering, but it basically originates in the anti-conscience, which is schizophrenic in nature.

Craziness is inherent in the anti¬-conscience and was formed through many deceptions, tragic events, and serious mistakes that could not be rectified.

Mental Health

Craziness is the absence of sensitivity, and the adoption of the absurd and false logic of selfishness, where justifications for several mistakes replace corrections. These rationalizations appear to transform what is wrong into something natural and is therefore allowed to exist.

There is far too much craziness in the human psyche. The bitter truth is that humans are crazier than they are balanced and sensible, since the biggest part of the psychic sphere belongs to the wild conscience (anti-conscience) that is evil, cruel and violent. The anti-conscience is a disaster, the result of the disorganized formation of the conscience that first appeared by chance. It originates from a chaotic condition and tends to return to chaos.

It is our primitive conscience and is still the same as it was at its formation because it has not evolved through the process of consciousness in the manner our conscience did.

On the other hand, even our human conscience is absurd because it is one-sided. It judges reality based on only one of four psychological functions that is predominant in the psyche and using another one that is only partially developed. The conscience is still very far from balance and wisdom...

In addition to the anti-conscience and the absurdity of the human conscience, there are several behavioral patterns in our learning mechanism that determine our actions based on the environmental stimuli. Our behavior is quite automatic and instinctive on many occasions.

Therefore, mental health is really a goal that the human being can only barely achieve.

Fortunately, the unconscious mind responsible for the functionalism of our organism sends us dreams containing symbolic messages. The unconscious is a perfect human conscience that could differentiate itself and live free from craziness.

The wise unconscious is a natural doctor that is always at your disposition in your psyche and sends you every day dreams with guidance and psychotherapy because you need help in order to be mentally healthy.

Mental Health - Utopia for Crazy Human Beings

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Stigma of Mental Illness

The stigma of mental illness still exists today. It's true that mental disorders have gained much more exposure over the past few years, but there are still many people who either run from those who have mental health issues or makes jokes. Because of this, people who are suffering will often stop or never begin treatment.

If you are someone who has been feeling anxiety, depressed, or other types of symptoms, it's important to seek help. It's better to see your healthcare professional then live each day a prisoner in your own body. When you are experiencing emotions or thoughts you cannot control, medication and counseling can help. Without it, you will live each and everyday feeling hopeless and helpless. That is no way to live.

Mental Health

The stigma of mental illness still exists but you would be surprised at the amount of closet mental health sufferers. Since no one talks about it, people walk around assuming that no one else is having the same mental issues. That is simply untrue. In 2004, there were 57.7 Millions of Americans suffering with a mental disorder. These people are not only found on the streets homeless or in rural areas, they are found in your workplace and in your neighborhood. These people don't talk about it because of the fear they will be ridiculed. It's sad, isn't it?

Mental disorders are just like medical disorders in that they make life difficult and most of the time can be a life sentence. That is why it is so important to seek out help to alleviate symptoms. Many mental disorders cannot be cured but the symptoms can be helped so you can live without struggling each day.

Confidentiality laws protect patients from the stigma of mental disorders. If you speak to a doctor or see a counselor, they are bound by law not to give out any information about you or your treatment. Someone cannot call a psychiatrist, psychologist or counselor to ask if you are a patient. They will be unable to confirm or deny whether you receive services. This protects you from employers finding out private information as well as family members or friends. The only way anyone can find out anything about your treatment is if you sign a consent form granting the medical professional to divulge information. So be rest assured that just because you need medication doesn't mean that everyone will know about it. You can be happier in your life and be confident knowing that no one will find out why.

Stigma of Mental Illness

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The Effects of Exercise and Your Mental Health

Exercise has been long known to create the feeling of well being when the natural release of endorphins occurs (endorphins are released by the brain). Besides feeling an increase in energy and sleeping better as a result of exercise, it also leads to feelings of happiness (a euphoria of a sort). In people who suffer from depression, poor sleeping habits and low energy are known to be experienced.

For those suffering anxiety, exercise can help lower blood pressure which is often elevated during periods of anxiety. Blood flow improvement is another benefit of exercise especially in the brain, and better muscle relaxation which often is 'tight' during moments of stress and anxiety, is another bonus to begin an exercise regimen.

Mental Health

Those suffering from depression, anxiety and stress have often feelings of low self-worth and low-self esteem. Exercise and fitness can help this perception for not only are you improving blood flow to the brain, heart and organs, your body image will become improved. Those who suffer from depression and anxiety as well are known to neglect this fact. Exercise is a natural, strong, confidence-building device that no prescribed medication can afford you.

Though exercise will not cure anxiety and depression, doing something natural which can be thoroughly enjoyable (especially if done in a health club where you can enroll with a friend or two) is definitely a plus for anyone, under any circumstance.

You may be taking anti-anxiety or anti-depression medication, and can feel that exercise is not what you need at the moment. Small moments of exercise a few days a week can help boost your mental health, your self-esteem and your confidence, as well as your energy level. Which, after this makes you feel happier, can lead to longer exercise periods once you've appreciated the benefits you reaped.

Once checked and approved by your health provider, you can begin your exercising to better mental health, doing exercises such as:

Taking a walk in the park or a beach

Dancing (not only great exercise but fun to do!)

Playing basketball or tennis


There are other exercises one can partake in, such as yoga and tai chi, as well as other low-impact exercises which still holds the same purpose. There is no set rule on how long or how hard you have to exercise: the only rule is finding a way to begin.

And to know it is actually for your good, in more ways than one.

The Effects of Exercise and Your Mental Health

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mindfullness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) - Effects On Physical And Mental Health

Mindfullness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is one of several meditative echniques derived from Eastern philosphy and religion which is increasingly catching on as an alternative to medication use for anxiety and depression. MBSR incorporates techniques including meditation and being in the moment. A meta-analysis (where data from all studies are put together) of mindfulness meditation found that

MBSR was a useful adjunctive intervention for patients with a broad range of chronic
disorders, including patients with cancer, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, and psoriasis (Grossman et al 2004).

Mental Health

Mindfulness may be defined as intentionally paying attention to present-moment experience (physical sensations, perceptions, affective states, thoughts and imagery) in a non-judgmental way and thereby cultivating a stable and non-reactive awareness. It is a state of sustained attention to these ongoing mental contents and processes without thinking about, comparing, or in other ways evaluating them. In mindfulness meditation attention is brought to notice whatever thoughts, feelings, and sensations are appearing in awareness, while at the same time remaining aware of the capacity to maintain the focus of attention on these contents, or to deliberately redirect attention to a wider field of awareness or to a different object. Bringing these mental processes under greater voluntary control and directing them in beneficial ways fosters psychological and physical well being, giving one a greater sense of control, and thoughts and feelings no longer threaten to overwhelm him/her. A person's increasing tolerance for his/her experiences may in turn lead to reductions in emotional reactivity elicited by the symptoms, enabling the person to respond and behave more effectively. Further, participation in MBSR has been shown to increase participants' overall sense of control through a positive accepting mode of control, which is associated with greater emotional well being.

MBSR has been shown to be effective in reducing anxiety and panic in patients
diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder (maintained at
three-year follow-up) as well as anxiety in patients with heart disease. MBSR has also been shown to be effective as an adjunctive intervention in reducing psychological distress and depression, as well as health-related quality of life. Reported favorable changes in distress (SCL-90-R) have been found to endure at three-month follow-up, six-month follow-up, and four-year follow-up (Miller et al 1995; Tacon et al 2003).

The bottom line is that MBSR and other meditative are helpful and demonstrate how changing the mind can influence the body. And best of all there are no side effects!

Grossman P, Niemann L, Schmidt S, Walach H. Mindfulness-based stress reduction and
health benefits: A meta-analysis. Journal of Psychosomatic Research. 2004;57:35-43.

Miller J, Fletcher K, Kabat-Zinn J. Three-year follow-up and clinical implications
of a mindfulness-based stress reduction intervention in the treatment of anxiety
disorders. General Hospital Psychiatry. 1995;17:192-200.

Tacon AM, McComb K, Caldera Y, Randolph P. Mindfulness meditation, anxiety reduction,
and heart disease: a pilot study. Family & Community Health. 2003;26:25-33.

Mindfullness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) - Effects On Physical And Mental Health

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Mental Health Depression

Mental health is really about how we think and feel about ourselves and the world around us, and about how we behave and interact with others in our day to day lives. It isn't easy to define exactly what it means to have good mental health as people will interpret what it means to be mentally healthy in different ways. On the other hand, there are some signs and symptoms that can indicate when someone has a mental health problem, when their mental functions are not performing as well as they could, and we see evidence of alternations in their thinking and behaviour.

Take depression for example, even though there is no set pattern and each person will be affected differently; there are some simple clues that we can look out for.

Mental Health

What it means to be depressed

Depression is a lot more than feeling a bit fed up and down in the dumps, which is something we all experience from time to time and is a natural part of the ups and downs of life. To be clinically depressed means that we cannot just shake off our low mood and get on with our lives, the depression persists and starts to interfere with our normal daily routines and we can no longer enjoy activities and pastimes that used to be pleasurable.

o We may find it hard to get up in the morning to go to work or school, and we may have difficulty getting to sleep at night and when we do get to sleep, our sleep might be disturbed

o Our relationships with family, friends and work colleagues can suffer and our self esteem may be low and we don't feel good enough

o We could find ourselves worrying constantly and feeling anxious and panicky for no particular reason

o Our eating patterns can change and we could see fluctuations in our weight as we may eat a lot more or lose our appetite

o Maybe we are tearful and cry a lot, or we may find we cannot get in touch with our emotions and feel numb and unable to express our emotion

o Some of us may become more aggressive and hostile or irritable for no real reason

o Life may seem too difficult and so we struggle to cope with even minor tasks

o We may feel guilty and worthy of blame and punishment

o Our memory and concentration might not be as good as it was and we find it more and more difficult to make decisions

o Other physical symptoms such as headaches, and various other aches and pains may convince us that we have something else wrong with us

Regardless of the different ways that some of these symptoms can affect us, the main factors that point to depression are the same. Major depression is likely to be diagnosed if the symptoms of depression have persisted for more than two weeks accompanied by low moods and a lack of pleasure in pursuits that were once enjoyed and the symptoms are severe enough to interfere with normal daily routines and activities.

Who gets depressed?

No one knows why some people become depressed and not others and there is no single known cause of depression either. Depressive episodes can be triggered by biochemical, genetic, psychological, environmental and social factors or a combination of these. What is known is that certain groups of people appear more at risk of developing depression than others. These include the long term sick and disabled, those in poor living conditions, those with a history of depression in the family, the homeless, ethnic minorities and people in prison. Sometimes life circumstances can trigger an episode of depression such as redundancy, retirement, divorce, bereavement, problems at work or financial difficulties.

However, no one is immune to depression and someone can develop a depressive disorder even if they are not considered at greater risk. The reality is that any kind of mental health problem and depression can strike any one of us at any time of our lives.

Getting well again

One of the biggest barriers to recovery for someone suffering from depression or indeed any mental health problem is a reluctance to seek help. Many people are afraid of admitting that they cannot cope and so try and deal with it on their own but the symptoms are unlikely to just disappear and will continue possibly for years without appropriate help and treatment.

Any kind of mental health problem can be an intensely isolating experience as the individual concerned cannot help how they are feeling so the understanding and support of family and friends can be of enormous help for someone struggling to cope with their depression. However, the most important thing to remember is that depression is treatable and it is also fairly common.

Your doctor is the best person to advise you on what treatment options are available as he or she will be able to make full medical assessment in order to obtain a correct diagnosis and can take into account any other contributory factors that might need dealt with. Usually, treatment will consist of medication and perhaps some form of talking therapy or a combination of both.

Mental Health Depression

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Keeping A Balanced Mental Health

Mental health typically refers to a positive state of mind. It is a reflection of the way we see and handle the world around us. Mental health is generally thought of in a positive manner. Conversely poor mental health can refer to situations where a person has trouble dealing with emotional issues or a variety of other issues.

A good state of health is essential for a person to deal with the everyday challenges and realities of life. It is necessary for people to better understand how their outside environment affects how they think and feel. Individuals with good mental health typically feel good about themselves and are generally happy and well balanced.

Mental Health

On the other hand, people who suffer from poor mental health may have a lot of difficulties dealing with the everyday realities of life. They may be unhappy or emotionally unstable.

Some people may exhibit violent outbursts or have difficulty getting along with others. And a common type of problem associated with mental health is depression. This is a problem which can be caused from situational variables or they may stem from a chemical imbalance in the brain chemistry.

People who suffer from depression tend to be withdrawn, sad and moody. They are less likely to get involved in social situations and avoid much interaction with others. These people may also be very moody and subject to outbursts and anger without much provocation.

There are other types of mental problems such as psychosis. The difficulty with this particular problem is that it can sometimes be difficult to identify, diagnose and treat. In many cases it is up to the patient to understand what is happening to them and then seek appropriate treatment.

A common type of treatment for mental health issues involves counseling. It has been found that patients can often cure themselves if they understand why they are feeling the way they way and what they can do to change it. Counseling generally involves one on one meetings with a trained therapist who can help the patient to understand and deal with a variety of issues.

There are also a number of drugs which have been found to help with mental health problems. These drugs can help to balance out unstable brain chemistry and may also stimulate changes which can affect positive results but as we know, drugs and over medication might also have some negative counter effects. It is crucial to speak with your doctor to understand the different treatments that exist.

Training your brain with a scientifically validated brain fitness program might also help you keep a balanced brain health by exercising certain cognitive abilities that are important for your daily life.

But it is very important for sufferers from mental health problems to understand their situation and know how to seek out appropriate assistance.

Keeping A Balanced Mental Health

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

How Mental Stress And Anxiety Can Affect Physical Health

When one has a lot of stress and anxiety and they don't know how to deal with it then their body will undergo physical changes as it starts to get hit with a barrage of external anxiety·producing experiences. The natural response for the physical changes within the body is for protection. When suddenly faced with a dangerous situation, the anxious person actually becomes physically prepared to respond by either assaulting the source of stress or running from it. This is commonly referred to as the "fight or flight" response and is accompanied by a release or hormones called corticosteroids. The purpose of these intense hormones is to constrict the blood veins in the outermost parts of the body which drives the extra volume towards the brain and also feeds the larger muscles in preparation for extra reserve strength. The heart starts to rev up, the digestive system halts, breathing is intensified, and muscles get tense.

The fight or flight response plays out in distinct stages of progression. The first stage is the initial alarm stage as just described. If the impending doom one suddenly faces is dissipated just as fast then the alarm stage goes into reverse mode and the physiological changes that were taking place are ceased and the body resumes it's normal functions. However, if the source of anxiety, or danger continues, a secondary stage shows up in more of a confrontational mode. The physical changes in the muscles, digestion, and breathing continue in their elevated state. When this confrontational stage persists due to prolonged anxiety or the threat of danger continues indefinitely, the heightened physical state begins to take it's toll on the body and it becomes overstressed. At this point, many of it's functions start to shut down.

Mental Health

Many people react differently to stress and anxiety by amplifying some of the physical changes mentioned while experiencing none of the others due to the variety of external stimuli and simple hereditary factors. The reactions of some individuals focus primarily on the musculatory system, some on the circulatory, some on the digestive tract, and some simply succumb to full blown panic attacks. Those with the muscle focused reactions are continually stressing the connective tissue in the back, neck, and shoulders leading to tension headaches. Eventually, this stress heads towards the lower back causing the often heard of "lower back pain." This is actually the root of the most prevalent cases of back pain.

These people lose the ability to relax and are constantly plagued by that "nagging backache" and begin endless quests to ease the pain. This becomes a vicious cycle as the source of the pain due to constant stress and anxiety is not addressed but more often, just the relief of the pain itself. People who's stress is more focused in the torso area become affected by colitis, ulcers, and other digestive anomalies due to the constant tension within the stomach and intestinal tract. Individuals who are more affected in the circulatory system by ongoing fear and anxiety become victims to the indescribable pain of the migraine headache. This happens when the extra supply of blood is forced into the brain which increases pressure on the blood vessels in the cranial area. These vessels are then stressed beyond what they are designed for and the migraine headache arrives. In addition, since the blood is redirected from the outer extremities during a prolonged stressful situation, the hands and feet remain constantly chilled.

Ongoing studies indicate long term exposure of reactions to stress and anxiety can suppress immunity making the body susceptible to a host of life threatening conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart attacks, strokes and even cancer.

How Mental Stress And Anxiety Can Affect Physical Health

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Friday, October 14, 2011

The Truth About The Meaning of Dreams and Our Mental Health

The truth concerning the importance of dreams is still ignored by humanity. Only now that everyone is learning about my work continuing Carl Jung's research that this truth is becoming known.

I discovered how to put an end to all mental illnesses through dream translation because I recognized my own ignorance and lack of sensibility. I accepted and followed the wise guidance of the unconscious mind in my dreams. This was how I found sound mental health instead of becoming schizophrenic like my father. Then, I helped many people through dream therapy, since 1990.

Mental Health

Only after learning how to immediately translate the meaning of dreams and after curing many impossible cases, could I publish my work online, in 2007. I was then attacked by many people who refuted my research.

Most people believe that we are intelligent and balanced. However, this is a very big illusion. We are so far from sound mental health that the attempt to cure mental illnesses without the superior knowledge of the unconscious mind is predestined to fail.

This is why our world is ruled by terrorism, violence, immorality, hypocrisy and greed. This is why poverty and indifference to human pain mark our history with suffering and despair. This is also why nobody in our world cares about the truth. Everybody cares only about making money and living well, while ignoring the suffering of the biggest part of our population.

If you want to find sound mental you have to study the dream language. This is how you'll be able to understand the hidden messages of the unconscious mind in the dream images and follow its guidance. Only the wise unconscious mind can protect your mental health and help you evolve. Nobody else knows so well your life story and the content of your psyche. Nobody else can give you very clear advice, showing you what you have to do to find peace and happiness.

Human beings ignore so many truths that they are destroying our planet. All the wild animals and plants are disappearing.

On the other hand, a suicide happens each second in our world. Endless crimes eliminate the camouflage of global peace with their terror. You'll never find sound mental health living in a world where money is adored as if it was a god, and selfishness prevails.

There are too many monsters on Earth who are dominated by their anti-conscience; their evil and cruel animal nature. You may become another one of their numerous victims. You'll then explode of anger, completely losing your mind.

Schizophrenia is the result of the despair generated by terror. There are many hidden schizophrenics in our world. However, they possess important social positions and are very powerful because they have a lot of money. My father was one such example.

I was very lucky because I discovered Carl Jung's method of dream interpretation. I was even luckier because my own literary works helped me understand the meaning of dreams much better than Jung, who was not a poet like me.

You are very lucky too because I managed to transform Jung's complicated method into a fast method of instant translation that you'll easily learn. You'll be able to understand the wise unconscious messages in your own dreams, and find sound mental health that lasts forever. Then, you'll help the world with your wisdom.

The Truth About The Meaning of Dreams and Our Mental Health

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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mental Health Awareness Day - 10th of October!

The 10th of October is World Mental Health Awareness Day. This day aims to raise awareness, increasing peoples understanding of mental health issues and those who suffer from them. This annual worldwide day also encourages us to look available services including the treatment and prevention.

This awareness day is supported by the United Nations and currently over 100 countries acknowledge the day and run related events and activities.

Mental Health

This year, a main theme of the awareness day is to get people talking about how they are feeling. Encouraging individuals to talk can help maintain good health and well being. Talking about problems you are experiencing can make you feel like you have support around you and allow you to cope better with certain situations. Across the globe it is estimated that one in every four suffers from mental ill health (that's almost 12 percent off the worlds population) which can range from anything from depression to stress at work.

In the UK alone a recent study found that stress at work is now worse than ever. Last year 8 percent of the population left a job due to stress and more than 1 in 10 workers felt they had insufficient support from their managers.

The situation has undoubtedly been worsened by the recession with people working longer, harder hours to keep up with the added pressure that now comes with many jobs.

The cost of unemployment and absence from work due to mental health related issues costs our economy over 30 billion a year.

New research has shown that, in England, the total cost of mental health has risen from 28 billion to over 105 billion and treating mental health problems costs the NHS and social care organisations over 21 billion per year.

In many countries there is a lack of mental health services in terms of funding and available human resource.

Mental Health Awareness Day - 10th of October!

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Demon Possession and Mental Illness

Jesus clearly cast evil spirits out of many people who He met (Matthew 4:24, 8:16; Mark 1:32, 4:41). However, we are told about 6 cases in some detail:

The demon possessed Gerasene(s): Matthew 8:28-34; Mark 5:2-20; Luke 8: 26-39

Mental Health

A demon possessed mute man: Matthew 9:32-34; Luke 11:14-26

A demon possessed blind and mute man: Mt 12:22-28

The Canaanite or Syro-Phoenecian woman's daughter: Matthew 15:22-28; Mark 7:25-30

An epileptic boy: Matthew 17:15 -21; Mark 9:14-2 9; Luke 9:3 8-43

The man in the synagogue at Capernaum: Mark 1:21-28; Luke 4:33-36

~The Bible as the resource~

With that said, let me also add I am not a religion scholar student on demons nor in the name of religion - so I want be debating against one or the other on this post. I am a mental health nurse of 21 years. I am going to share a story with you and allow you to call it what ever you like. I have my opinion and I will keep that to myself. What I witnessed was in full color, full volume, hair raising, live and in person event that occurred many times with many witnesses.

Over the course of around 8-10 yrs we had a client that came into the facility for lengthy stays. With many attempts and failed home visits she continue to stay in the confines of the walls.

She was a tall slender young female with a babyish childs voice. Who dressed neat an took care of her personal hygiene...until she got sick. At first the staff related her odd an unusual behavior on her menses, then noticed her mothers visits seem to trigger an out burst. The out burst became so severe she was even sent to another facility to be observed for attention seeking behavior - she returned with a diagnose that read she could control her behavior at will. The staff who worked with her felt a little differently.

Normally she would sit on the hall an read her bible day in an day out. She needed continuous reassurance that she was ok, an a good girl. Very polite. Until she requested to go into the quiet room.

The quiet room had a window with a screen across the bars for protection an a sheet less plastic covered mattress that laid on the cold tile floor. A mirror that over looked the room in the ceiling, a small single light bulb. With a flap over the 3ft x 2in window in the door to be observed by the staff.

Once she entered the room she striped her clothes off an began spinning in circles. Making snorting animal sounds. Her voice deepen, she grunted an gnashed her teeth. If you were not standing observing the activities in the room you would swear someone took a pitcher of water an slowly poured it over her head. Her body was drenched with water - her head would snap back an her eyes would disappear in her head. She was not able to communicate or hear staff talking to her, and when she talked - it was not her voice but a males. The staff were to observe an protect her if she started to harm herself.

She would fall to the ground masturbate then urinate all over the room. Staff would remove her from the quiet room in a covered sheet to clean the room, give her a shower then escort her back to the quiet room at her request.

This behavior or state of mind could continue for 24 hrs or several days. The sounds that came from her were not your normal human sounds. They raised the hair on the back or your neck an you knew there was something in that room besides just her. You felt the thick, heavy, feeling which is hard to describe but everyone felt it. Was it demons? Was it out of control behavior? Demonic take over. No one knows for sure. Once she had cycled through for many hours of internal torture. She would stand up after flailing on the mattress nude, Her baby childish voice returned as she knocked on the door. "Ma'am can I come out now, I will be good. I want to get a shower." Just like that it was over.

When questioned one time "why do you do that?" She replied,'I don't know - he does." He never had a name, we just knew who she was talking about. She took a shower, and cleaned herself up then began reading an carrying her bible again. She would always ask "'God loves me right? I am good. I am sorry I acted like that"

I don't have the answers. Our staff witnessed a spiritual take over of some kind. I have observed that these clients cling to the bible. They read. They pray. They want reassurance that God has not left them. They beg him and pled for help. A life no one wants to live

Continue reading more on mental illness by: clicking here.

Demon Possession and Mental Illness

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Carl Jung's Theories and The Self-Advanced Dream Interpretation and Mental Health

The trip to the Self is an internal journey through dream interpretation, or through literature, in which the dreamer or literary author speculates the content of his/her psyche. The symbolic meaning of this trip is the pursuit of the true meaning of life.

According to Carl Jung's psychology this trip is part of an advanced level of dream interpretation. It begins only when the dreamer has already passed through the first stages of the basic unconscious psychotherapy. This trip will be followed only by those who have the desire to discover solutions for existential problems that cannot be easily solved.

Mental Health

I had to disagree with Carl Jung in this point after continuing his research in the unknown region of the human psyche. I discovered the roots of the human absurdity, clarifying all the obscure points that he couldn't see with the knowledge he had.

You don't need to be the big hero described by Jung when you decide to speculate the unknown content of your psyche because this content is already known thanks to my research. I show you from the beginning all the dangers of your journey ahead, and what you'll find in the end. You only need to take dream interpretation seriously and truly believe in the unconscious wisdom.

For Carl Jung, the trip to the Self was very dangerous because he didn't know that all the evilness and the absurdity of the human mind come from the anti-conscience, the wild side of our conscience. Jung believed that those who have no necessity to learn more must simply live based on their conscious notions, without investigating the dark content of their psyche.

I totally disagree with his statement. Everyone must indispensably investigate the content of their psyche through dream interpretation before having psychological problems. Teenagers must learn how to translate the meaning of their dreams while their human conscience is still very strong. This way, they will never become mentally ill in their lives.

The craziness we have inherited in the anti-conscience is a true bomb. We have to get rid of this poisonous content as fast as possible.

The unconscious mind can cure all mental illnesses through dream interpretation. However, it takes a lot of time to cure patients who suffer from grave mental illnesses, like psychosis, schizophrenia, or some types of bipolar disorder.

These patients cannot follow dream therapy alone. They don't cooperate with their doctors; they refuse to pay attention to their dreams or relate them to what is happening in their lives. Their psychotherapy is based on the dreams that the psychiatrist/psychologist will have about their mental condition and on the observation of their behavior. The unconscious mind gives clear information to all doctors about the mental and physical health of their patients.

Depressed and neurotic individuals are cured in a period of time that varies from 2 to 8 months of psychotherapy, while patients who suffer from grave mental illnesses may need up to 15 years of psychotherapy. This is why I concentrated my attention on preventing craziness before it is too late.

Follow my lessons and learn the dream language. You'll be constantly protected and guided by the wise and saintly unconscious mind that produces your dreams. After acquiring perfect mental health, you'll help everyone around you with this knowledge.

Carl Jung's Theories and The Self-Advanced Dream Interpretation and Mental Health

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Sunday, October 9, 2011

An Approach to Overcome the Challenges Faced by Modern Mental Health Services

Like all areas of modern healthcare, particularly in industrialized nations such as the UK and USA mental health services are in crisis. The problem is twofold, state run services are oversubscribed and underfunded; while private services are for many patients simply unaffordable.

Developing countries also have problems with access to psychological care, though for somewhat different reasons. Cost and lack of state funded health systems is part of the problem, but the bigger issue is that there is still a big stigma attached to admitting that you need help to cope with the problems of life, this is particularly prevalent in Asian cultures where any form of mental illness is viewed as a form of weakness.

Mental Health

Modern life itself is the main causative factor in mental health today. The way that we live can be held directly responsible for the near epidemic level of anxiety and depression that we are now seeing in some places. This high incidence of ordinary people with issues puts a huge burden on mental health services. No longer is psychological intervention merely for so called ''lunatics'', slowly but surely individuals are seeing the importance of having a sound mind and at the same time are more aware of the impact that emotional disorders can have on overall health.

All of the aforementioned problems faced by modern mental health care can be solved in whole or in part by utilizing the correct therapeutic approach. Individual therapy is effective for many, but at the same time is very expensive; whether paid for by the state or the client themselves. One to one approaches also limit the amount of people that can be helped at any one time, by an individual practitioner.

By utilizing a group approach we can both lower costs to the state system and allow more patients to be treated at any one time. This is because client to therapist ratios are much higher in group therapy. Twelve patients to one therapist are not uncommon, nor so high as to prevent effective outcomes from being achieved.

Most people would view traditional group therapy as consisting of multiple individuals verbally expressing the nature of their problems or feelings in turn, with the occasional interjection by the hosting psychotherapist in order to guide the session. This is indeed the general way of things, such groups tend to meet on a regular basis for a set number of weeks and often to have a psychoanalytic slant to their therapeutic model.

In contrast to the typical group scenario, what I propose is more of a corporate approach to therapy. Instead of working in an overly clinical way, therapy can be conducted like an academic seminar or workshop. By taking this approach clients do not feel that they are being treated for an illness, instead they are able to look on the therapy as if it were simply any other type of business meeting that they are required to attend. This can be very advantageous, as one of the obstacles to overcome in order to make any type of group work effective is the participants own perception that they are being ''singled out'' from ''normal'' people because they are attending group therapy sessions. Another advantage of such workshops is that the whole process does not need to be a lengthy one, typical group therapy consists of a set number of sessions for a set number of weeks; some groups may in fact meet on an ongoing basis. At this point we must draw a clear distinction between proper group therapy and self-help support groups. Group therapy is always guided by a professionally qualified therapist, and has specific goals in mind and the aim is usually to achieve these goals within a specific timescale. Support groups on the other hand aim to provide a forum where one can talk with other who have experienced, or are experiencing a similar situation; often they are led by volunteers who have experienced similar things to the group members. They usually receive training in group methodology but are not qualified therapists.

Cost and time required for effective therapy to take place then can be reduced, so much so in fact that for some conditions only one meeting may be required. This comment will surprise many readers, but by working with the correct therapeutic model we can in fact achieve results in just one session. Cognitive-behavioral therapy and psychoanalysis based treatments have both proved to be effective in general group settings. Another form of therapy though can give the same measurable results, is Gestalt. Gestalt has been utilized for years in group settings, some professionals are actually of the opinion that it is more effective as a group therapy than it is as a form of individual therapy. Experientially based, this therapeutic approach relies on practical experimentation or exercises. The founder of Gestalt therapy, Fritz Perls primarily utilized his method in groups.

Practical exercises help patients to help themselves. The idea is to give them strategies and skills that can be applied in their everyday lives, in order to alleviate or at least better cope with their condition. Talking alone may help to get feelings and emotions out in the open, but unless these feelings and emotions are addressed there can be no improvement in mental health. In order to address them patients must learn to deal with them as they arise in everyday situations. Furthermore, clients find it easier to internalize their feelings and reflect, rather than having to undertake the daunting and sometimes embarrassing task of letting their defenses down in a room full of people that they do not know.

To conclude the majority of the mental health burden in modern healthcare consists of conditions such as anxiety, depression and stress. All of these are inter-related, which means a similar methodology can be used to treat them. Therefore, it is possible for us to have set or scripted workshops, which can be hosted on a regular basis by a trained therapist. By taking this approach we can increase the number of clients which can be helped at any one time and decrease costs to the system. The only initial development required is of the workshops themselves, a task which can be undertaken by any therapist with training in Gestalt methodology. Conducting therapy in this way even opens up the possibility for individuals to self refer, thus saving the general medical services time.

A final note now, I have personally utilized the approach detailed here in order to treat feelings of anxiety. That is using one off experience based therapeutic workshops. Out of 10 people in attendance, only one required follow up individual therapy in order to fully manage their condition. Good feedback was received from all participants and most scheduled to return for seminars on managing other conditions.

An Approach to Overcome the Challenges Faced by Modern Mental Health Services

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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Mental Training For Improved Memory

Mental training is something that many people wonder when to start in life. You may have noticed that your memory is not what it used to be. Your motor skills might have decreased due to lack of use. You might just be looking for a way to improve your current function and be the best you possibly can.

No matter what the reason is for wanting to participate in brain training, you can begin this step in your life at any time. Brain plasticity allows someone to retrain their brain and improve their concentration and focus at any age.

Mental Health

Many people think that the time to begin looking for ways to improve brain function is in later years when problems begin to occur. This is not the case and you can prepare for the future by getting your brain function in the best shape possible now. Even someone with a brain injury can benefit from mental training and this can help many people experience some type of recovery from trauma or an injury.

When you are looking for brain fitness activities you want to find something that stimulates the brain. This could be a memory exercise or even motor control activities. This can be a very beneficial step for everyone and event those that feel they are sharp an on point. You can always improve your brain function and this is something that you can begin doing right away with the right tools.

Neuroscience has provided a great deal of information about the neurons in the brain and how they make connections and pathways. When you begin to look at all of the concrete information available about brain health and mental health, you can learn a great deal about yourself. Having this knowledge can help you to begin to form a routine of exercises that you complete on a daily basis to help you improve your cognitive skills.

If you make mental training a part of your life now, you might be a much sharper and focused older individual. This is something that everyone should think about and this can help you to protect your future. Being robbed of your memories can be a very scary and uneasy time and preparing for this time in your life can help add to the quality of life you experience as you age and get older. There is a clear need to keep your brain in shape to remain healthy in the longer term.

Mental Training For Improved Memory

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Friday, October 7, 2011

Mental Healthcare of Young Mothers

The birth of a baby can trigger a range of powerful emotions such as excitement, joy, even fears. But it can also result in something you might not expect-postpartum depression. It is a condition which affects the mental health of many young mothers. The symptoms are the following: strong feelings of sadness, anxiety, or irritability, emotional stress which interferes with taking care of self or family,tearfulness,trouble to motivate oneself to do normal, routine chores, compulsive overeating or diminished interest in food, lack of interest in self grooming, inability to sleep when tired or too much sleeping, trouble concentrating or making decisions, forgetfulness, loss of pleasure or interest in doing things which used to be fun, undue worry about the baby, lack of interest in the new baby, fear of harming the new baby, thoughts of self harm or suicide.

The causes of postpartum depression could be hormonal changes. Sometimes the hormonal changes in a woman's body may trigger some symptoms. The amount of the two female hormones estrogen and progesterone increase greatly during pregnancy in a woman's body. During the first 24 hours after childbirth, these amounts decrease rapidly and keep dropping till it reaches the normal level. Apart from these biological changes, numerous physical, psychological and environmental factors also contribute to postpartum depression such as fatigue, broken sleeping patterns, insufficient rest etc.

Mental Health

There are various breakthroughs in medical sciences dedicated to the mental healthcare of young mothers. The most common treatment for depression is the use of antidepressant medication, psychotherapy or a combination of the two. The treatment depends on the nature and severity of the depression and to some extent on the individual preference. In severe cases medication is generally recommended under the supervision of a psychiatrist.

It is necessary to help young mothers cope with postpartum depression. It is to be borne in mind that everything cannot be done single handedly by the young mother. She should get sufficient rest when the baby sleeps. Friends, relatives or spouse can be solicited to assist in housework, baby care and cooking. The young mother should find time for herself and the spouse. One need not be guilty if the medications make it impossible to breastfeed the baby. A good mother is the one who takes care of herself so that she is able to take care of the baby. When the baby starts to have regular sleep during night, it is time to think about the mother's diet and exercise program to aid her get back into shape. Exercise and proper diet will improve the mood and give a boost to the self esteem as well. Breastfeeding will help to jump start on shedding the baby weight.

If depression is interfering with one's ability to take care of the baby, it doesn't make one a bad mother. Be aware of the fact that it is only a passing phase and can be treated effectively. It is imperative to get professional help and follow the doctor's instructions if one is suffering from postpartum depression. Finally, the support of spouse and family is vital to assure mental healthcare of young mothers.

Mental Healthcare of Young Mothers


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Geriatric Mental Health Mistakes in Nursing Homes

Medical care for the elderly takes center stage making mental health care take a back seat, especially in nursing homes. A great deal of time is spent assessing vital bodily functions in order to ensure nursing home residents are as comfortable as possible.

Because this is so time consuming, mental health care is easily overlooked even though it can add so much to quality of life.

Mental Health

There are other ways mental health care mistakes are made in the care of geriatrics. Another major mistake is the way treatment is approached by psychiatrists. Depression is very common in nursing home residents. Their way of life is drastically changed. The usual treatment with antidepressant medications does not address how someone can deal with these changes.

Behavioral problems often arise in residents with Alzheimer's disease. Drugging the resident as a way to diminish the behavior is usually the last resort but it is very common and disturbing.

Over-medicating is a prevalent problem that doesn't seem to be improving. Medications can cause symptoms of mental illness which is an easy problem to ignore because the elderly are expected to suffer some type of mental distress. Both psychiatric medications as well as with non-psychiatric medications have interaction risks in the elderly.

Nursing home residents have difficulties speaking, ambulating and taking care of their personal needs. This can be humiliating when concerns cannot be appropriately communicated. The downside is someone never receives appropriate help.

Recreational therapy can address loneliness and keep residents involved in social activities but does not appropriately address individual concerns that affect behavior and mental wellness.

An integrated wellness approach is an ideal way to treat geriatric mental health in nursing homes. Not all mental health concerns are best addressed medically considering the high risk of over-medication that doesn't address behaviors or recent events that precipitate normal grieving.

Family members who know how to evaluate their loved ones' situations and effectively communicate their concerns can make a huge and positive impact. An elder care consultant who specializes in a holistic well-assessment can fill in the gaps not managed by medical and psychiatric care.

Geriatric Mental Health Mistakes in Nursing Homes

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Does My 4-5 Year Old Need to See a Mental Health Professional?

Parents often wonder if their child is showing typical behavior for a 4-5 year. The most pressing question that parents ask is when it is really time to seek professional help from a qualified mental health professional? This answer may seem confusing at times so the aim of this article is to help distinguish when it really is the time to seek help for your 4-5 year old.

Although it is very common for children in the age range to still tantrum and throw fits, it because worth it to talk to a mental professional is your 4-5 year old is constantly fitting. Most importantly if your child is fitting 5+ more times a day with the average tantrum lasting more than 15-20 minutes. There is a possibility if it is taking your child that long to settle down after a frustrating moment, something may be going on emotionally.

Mental Health

Secondly, if you child's default way of communicating with his/her family member is to kick, bite, punch, kick, destroy things or attack other, this is also an indicator of need to get outside help. Children in the age of 4-5 have more words at his/her disposal than a 2-3 year old, so becoming physically violent with others at this stage may mean it is time to seek help.

The 3rd indicator is the deliberate abuse towards a younger sibling and/or animal. I am not talking about playing to rough with a younger sibling, cat, or dog because the child is just unaware of how rough he/she is playing (then the child feels bad for hurting others and says "I'm sorry"). I am talking about the purposeful and deliberate attack on younger siblings and animals without showing any remorse.

In conclusion, if you happen to see the 3 above indicators, it may be time that there is something going on emotionally beneath the behaviors that need to be addressed. As a parent when you see these things going on over the course of a few months, it may be time to make an appointment to see a qualified mental health professional.

Do you want to learn exactly how to eliminate your child's out-of-control and defiant behavior without using Punishments, Time-Outs, Behavioral Plans, or Rewards?

Does My 4-5 Year Old Need to See a Mental Health Professional?

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Adrenal Glands and Your Mental Health

Hormones are major links in the mind body connection. They are chemical the chemical messengers that can turn on and off a variety of genes in every cell in your body-including your brain! All known hormonal imbalances may manifest as psychiatric disorders, such as depression, mania, anxiety, ADD, memory disturbances, dementia and even psychosis. On the other hand, bearing the burden of any of these disorders, over time, will affect your hormonal function as well. Hormonal imbalances also mimic the side effects of anti-depressants by causing weight gain, brain fog, sexual problems, and depleted energy levels. It is clear then, that hormonal problems go hand-in-hand with depression, and sorting out "hormone triggered" depression from clinical depression is not always easy. Most patients have a mixture of the two. For this reason, in the practice of Whole Psychiatry, a detailed assessment of the hormonal systems should be a routine part of every psychiatric evaluation.

A hormone called cortisol (made by your adrenal gland) is part of the body's shock absorber system. We all drive down the road of life. and we hit real or imagined pot holes. If our shock absorbers are functioning well, its like we are driving a Cadillac. We feel the pothole, but only briefly and then we make a quick recovery. If we have poor shock absorbers, we feel like we are driving an old pick-up truck over a dirt road. We hit a pot hole, are stunned by it, and may even veer off the road.

Mental Health

What determines how our shock absorbers work? Some of it is genetic, and some of it is set by the time we are 11 or 12 weeks of age! In addition, chronic stress, nutritional and chemical factors, social environments, attitudes, percieved sense of control, spiritual orientation, and interpretation of the meaning of events play an important role.

Your body's glands take their cues from your brain. When an event is perceived, a meaning is assigned to the event, and a hormonal response appropriate to the assigned meaning occurs. Thus your brain determines the exact timing and amount of cortisol that is released into your blood stream: too much cortisol at night, and you can't fall sleep, too little cortisol in the morning, and you can barely peel yourself out of bed!

By the same token, your brain then gets a message from your adrenal glands via the cortisol in your blood stream, which provides a status update on hormone production and release. The constant relay of information between your brain and your adrenal glands keeps your brain, immune system and stress response functioning normally.

But this system's equilibrium can be upset when you take a blow from, say, depression, manic depression, anxiety, chronic stress (such as a divorce or chronic illness), chronic pain, or recurrent bouts of low blood sugar. In fact any of a number of hormonal imbalances (e.g., adrenal, thyroid, reproductive hormones) are one of the major reasons that many anti-depressant treatments don't work, or why patients with bipolar disorder are not stabilized.

In summary, if you have a mood disorder, check into your hormonal status, looking at adrenal function, thyroid function (check a TSH, free T3, free T4, reverse T3, body temperature), blood sugar regulation, reproductive hormones, and melatonin.

Give the wide variety and effect of pesticides and hormone interrupters in our world, I strongly advocate for organically grown foods. Aside from the superior nutritional content, and health benefits seen in experimental animals, there is growing concern that the chemicals we accept in our environment cause significant hormonal problems in the population at large, by mimicking or blocking the functions of our own hormonal systems.

The Adrenal Glands and Your Mental Health

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Monday, October 3, 2011

Mental Health Insurance and Parity

Mental Health Insurance will soon be treated the same as medical and surgical benefits. Addiction Treatment benefits will have the same rate of return as those as a surgical procedure. When the congressional economic recovery package was signed on October 3rd the Mental Health and Addiction Parity Act was a rider on that package.

This Act will lead to wholesale changes in the way insurance benefits are written for those suffering with mental health problems and addiction problems. Since 1973 when HMOS started limiting the treatment benefits for addicts and alcoholics the number of days allowed in drug rehabs has dwindled to what it is today. Some policies allow only detox with no reimbursement for any continuing care or aftercare.

Mental Health

Families faced with the financial cost for addiction treatment often felt betrayed by the provider when the coverage just wasn't there. Some people would mortgage their homes others would be forced to put the bill on their credit cards and still others just went without treatment.

The Mental Health and Addiction Parity Act will impact over 100 million people enrolled in state regulated or employer-funded plans. The bill will go into effect in January 1, 2010. This is not a free pass for drug rehab centers and eating disorder treatment programs to bill providers outrageously. Benefits will continue to be managed and medical necessity will still have to be proven. What this bill does accomplish is group health plans will be required to raise the cap to match the medical surgical plans giving the coverage necessary for addicts, alcoholics and those with mental health problems to receive the help they deserve.  

Mental Health Insurance and Parity

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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Proceedings of 6th Rocky Mt Region Disaster Mental Health Conf by Ed G W Doherty - Review

Rocky Mountain DMH Institute Press (2008)

ISBN 9781932690569

Mental Health

The 6th Annual Rocky Mountain Disaster Mental Health Conference was held in Cheyenne, Wyoming from November 8-10, 2007. The main theme was: "From Crisis to Recovery: Resilience and Strategic Planning for the Future." Presenters from the conference put their materials into articles which are in this book. This is an excellent resource for people who attended the conference because they can use this as a reference for the information presented.

The purpose of this conference is to present information, "to promote the development and application of practice, research and training in disaster mental health, critical incident stress management, traumatology, and other emergency response interventions and to promote community awareness, resilience and recovery." This information is needed by people who deal with critical incident stress management, behavioral health professionals, first responders and others who might be dealing with crisis situations.

I did not attend this conference; however, I found the information presented to be fascinating. Several important topics were discussed, in areas of critical importance to what is happening in our world today. It is imperative that people who are involved in crisis situations read this material. It is all well written and presented in a way that is easily understood and very interesting.

Some of the topics covered traumatic stress in the workplace with issues like police suicide. Others involved emergency preparedness. It is so important that people who deal with emergency and disaster situations are appropriately trained and have resources to handle the stressors of dealing with these situations. Many times, their lives have been impacted in a way in which they are unable to handle the aftermath of having dealt with horrific situations, such as having to deal with an airplane crashing. There are also discussions about the importance of having disaster readiness plans in places such as tourist vacation spots where natural disasters or terroristic acts can occur. In addition to needing to be trained in advance about how to handle these events, people also need to have an understanding of the traditions of the cultures that they might be helping.

"Proceedings of the 6th Rocky Mountain Region Disaster Mental Health Conference" is a must have for first responders and mental health professionals. Addressing the needs of people who work in these fields is critical. The better trained they are to be emotionally equipped for disasters, the better they can help others. I think that the 120 pages of information covered in this book will be some of the most important information needed by people in this field today.

Proceedings of 6th Rocky Mt Region Disaster Mental Health Conf by Ed G W Doherty - Review

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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Mental Health's Importance in Today's World - A Psychologist's Perspective

A growing recognition of the fact that "mental health is fundamental to a person's overall health, indispensable to personal well-being and instrumental to leading a balanced and productive life" likely contributes to the fact that about 15% of our country's population now use some form of mental health services in any given year. Nonetheless, despite effective treatments, according to Dr. Satcher's 1999 Surgeon General's Mental Health report, "Nearly half of all Americans who have a severe mental illness fail to seek treatment". The fact that nearly one in five Americans are affected by a mental disorder, reinforces the understanding that "few Americans are untouched by mental illness", whether directly or indirectly.

Clinical anxiety and clinical depression are real, treatable conditions that interfere with a person's overall well-being and ability to do many of the things that they would otherwise enjoy. A suffer of clinical depression can no more "snap out of it," than a person suffering from a seizure has the will-power to stop taking a seizure.

Mental Health

Mental illnesses range from clinical anxiety and depression to Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia. Anxiety disorders, the most common form of mental illness, affect more than 10% of Americans yearly. Almost 25% of Americans will suffer an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. Every May, thousands of sites throughout the country offer free, local anxiety screenings, as part of National Anxiety Disorders Screening Day. Each October, national sites off free screenings for depression, as part of National Depression Screening Day.

For more information about N.A.D.S.D., N.D.S.D., as well as a complete on-line copy of the Surgeon General's 500 page mental health publication, visit:

Jerry Solfanelli

Mental Health's Importance in Today's World - A Psychologist's Perspective

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