Category Archives: Anxiety Information

What is Social Anxiety

Social anxiety disorder symptoms can vary. Some individuals may only suffer from a specific fear such as eating or drinking, speaking, or writing if others are around or watching. Some people have a fear or going to the bathroom in a public restroom. Other people are fearful in all social situations and are never comfortable.

The normal daily activities that most people take for granted are so horrifying and worrisome it can be physically debilitating. This illness can cause people to miss work or school if they fear they will have to get up and be seen or noticed.



Many persons with social phobia may have problems with relationships and can find it very difficult to meet and keep friends.

Even when the person has friends they may not be able to enjoy going out with them or being with them in large crowds of other people who might be less known.

Five of the most common symptoms are:

  • Blushing often in social situations.
  • Profuse sweating when anxious.
  • Trembling when approached or spoke to.
  • Nausea as anxiety increases and possibly vomiting.
  • Extreme difficulty talking.

This disorder affects approximately 5.3 million American adults with men and women being affected equally.

Social phobia usually starts to develop in childhood or the early teens. There is belief that social anxiety disorder can also be hereditary so if a family member has it you are at a higher risk of developing it.

Because of the nature and the severity of the anxiety people with this disorder have a higher risk of self-medicating with drugs and alcohol to try to relax and calm down.

This only leads to worse problems and possibly addiction. To treat this disease one needs to see a doctor and seek psychotherapy and/or medications.

The Types of Depression

Depression can take many forms. Seasonal affective disorder, clinical depression, and bipolar depression and postpartum depression are all commonly diagnosed types of depression.

Conditions such as substance abuse or an eating disorder may be confused with depression, and can make any form of depression rather hard to diagnose. Other conditions can worsen a case of depression.

The following are some very common forms of depression.

One of the major types of depression is bipolar depression (also known as manic depressive illness). Bipolar depression is commonly recognized as someone experiencing being overly happy, then suddenly becoming horribly depressed.

One of the major types of depression that women are known to suffer from is postpartum depression. This takes place right after giving birth to a baby.

A common subtype of depression is seasonal affective disorder. This form of depression seems to be tied to the way people react to the amount of sunlight that is available to them each day.

A very serious form of the many types of depression is psychotic depression. Those that suffer from psychotic depression very often hallucinate.

This is one of the most dangerous types of depression and often there is a need for someone else to jump in and help.

People that seem to be suffering constantly from a mild form of depression are likely to be suffering from dysthymia.

Another of the many types of depression that are very commonly suffered by women is atypical depression.

Experiencing things like panic attacks, overeating, and sleeping disturbances commonly mark this form of depression.

No matter which one of the many types of depression you might be suffering from, knowing the difference between them is the best way to get the best possible treatment.

Discuss any signs of depression with your doctor and work with him to find the treatment that is best suited for you.

Remembering the Terror

A form of anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is sometimes formed after someone has experienced a very terrifying ordeal, usually where serious physical damage could or did occur to the person involved.

Events that can trigger PTSD to occur include violent attacks on people e.g. muggings, rape, human caused or natural disasters, and military combat. Once someone has PTSD they often find it to be hugely disabling.

In terms of PTSD symptoms, those affected tend to re-experience the worst parts of their horrible past in the form of memory flashbacks and nightmares/ frightening thoughts.

Other symptoms of PTSD are numbness to emotions, depression, poor sleeping ability, anxiety, and outbursts of anger and general irritability. Powerful emotions of guilt are also common. If symptoms like these endure for over one month PTSD can then be diagnosed.

PTSD can affect any age, from children right through to the elderly. Symptoms are likely to show themselves within three months of a particular traumatic event.

Once apparent this illnesses duration and severity are variable, lasting from just six months to many years.

Other problems can sometime become associated with PTSD, e.g. alcoholism, substance abuse, co-occurring depression and other types of anxiety disorder.

Gastrointestinal complaints, dizziness, problems with the patient’s immune system, headaches or chest pains, amongst numerous other possible bodily ailments are not unusual.

What is important is that quick, effective diagnosis and treatment of these conditions occurs, so as to provide the best chance of treatment success..

Individuals more open to developing PTSD are those that have suffered abuse when a child or people who’ve undergone highly traumatic experiences.

Today’s society is becoming increasingly terror-filled. Research has made treatment of this disorder more available.

It is possible that in the near future, a standardized treatment model will be produced that can end the suffering of many who suffer PTSD.

What Effects Does Nutrition Have On Mental Health

It has been an enduring belief that nutrition plays a significant role in the state of mental health of an individual. But is this true or not?

Recent as well as previous researches have proven that nutrition (or the lack of it) does have effects on how a person’s brain functions, his moods and his behaviors.

Say for example, a person who has skipped a meal is observably weak, out of focus and irritable. This case worsens when extended to a certain period of time when the person becomes severely moody and indifferent to the demands of his environment thus showing decreased speed in reaction time.

These behaviors occur due to the lack of nutrition supply to the brain. The brain requires high energy and nutrient supply. It comprises, in fact, 20{07965d1a73f172391d248434f2d27e2a2315fb5c95eb3ba6629368cfee7d254a} to 30{07965d1a73f172391d248434f2d27e2a2315fb5c95eb3ba6629368cfee7d254a} of all the energy consumption of the body during rest periods. Thus, any change in diet or nutrition level of the body directly reflects in the mental functioning.

Chronic energy deprivation, such as the case of malnourished people, results to the eventual shutting down of the body by decreasing its activities and redirecting all its energy sources towards the systems that require higher energy supply.

This results to altered levels of activities, changes in hormonal levels, lessened immune system efficiency and transport of nutrients and oxygen to certain body parts, all of which could directly or indirectly influence mental health. People with extremely low nutrition are more likely to become sad, depressed and emotional as compared with those who have adequate nutrition.

Newborn babies and fetuses are also susceptible to brain damage if they are subjected to lack of necessary nutrition. The type and degree of damage is dependent on the severity of malnutrition. Also, malnutrition among babies has proven to produce low level of intelligence, cognitive defects as well as functional abnormalities.

Protein, carbohydrates, lipids and vitamins all have individual effects on the brain. Lack of supply of these necessary nutrients result to alterations in the activities of the neurotransmitters, a chemical component in the brain that transmit one nerve impulse from one nerve cell to another.

Malfunctioning of the transmitters could influence a person’s mood, thinking and even sleep patterns. Additionally, deficient levels of nutrition may result to nerve cell damage that could disrupt cognitive and mental functions.

Neurotransmitters are partly made of amino acids, the building block of protein. Trytophan for example, makes up the neurotransmitter serotonin. If the required amino acid is lacking, the functions of the neurotransmitter could not be executed affecting the normal functioning of the brain.

In case of deficient protein consumption and failure to supply the necessary amino acid to make serotonin, the body would experience low mood and perhaps, aggression. On the other hand, diseases that could cause the build up of certain amino acids could lead to brain damage thus affecting the mental health of an individual.

Mood regulation could also be associated with the sufficient intake of dietary fats. Some studies have yielded inconclusive results on the correlation between serotonin level and intake of omega-3 fatty acids, a certain type of fat found only in white fish to stress and symptoms of bipolar disorder (a mood disorder having the representations of both mania and depression).

Directly or indirectly, nutrition has an effect on mental health. Changes in the nutritional intake of a person could lead to alterations in the mental health and vice versa.

Perspectives on Mental Health Recovery

If you have a chronic disease like heart attack or diabetes, you will have to live life with it. You will learn to adjust after each attack and would know the signs that there is an acute attack budding. The same is true with recovery from a mental illness.

You cannot expect that during treatment, you will be a renewed man. Symptoms would still be apparent and you would experience things that are sometimes hopeless and debilitating but still you have to adjust through them. And with each adjustment, you would feel that you are starting to move forward, leaving your mental illness behind.

Mental health recovery is all about improvement from a bad case to something better. It is a continuous process and definitely not a linear one. You would move from square one to square two but you should always be ready to move one step back.

You would learn newer ways to control the symptoms of your mental illness and would have insights on how to cope with them. There would be a lot of disappointments and errors the results from these errors are oftentimes rewarding.

Mental health recovery is a lifelong process as much as mental illness took years to develop sometimes even decades. A person could struggle through years of being controlled solely by a mental disorder and will have to face a lifelong effort to get out of it.

You may achieve a life beyond the chains of your previous mental illness symptoms but you would still have to bout with intermittent attacks of symptoms.

One crucial factor to all kinds of illnesses is early intervention. Someone who presents symptoms of schizophrenia during earlier stages have a better chance of easier recovery with early intervention than someone who has aggravated case.

Likewise, any signs of relapse that are recognized and treated early could define the barrier between going through the same disorder again or completely shutting all doors towards total recovery.

However, recovery from a mental disorder is just one of the many parts of the process. A person suffering from mental illness should also work to restore his mental health or sense of well-being.

Many individuals who have histories of mental illness often resort to a life that is withdrawn from the public due to social stigma and discrimination associated with the mental disorder. This leads to impaired sense of self-worth thus invaliding the whole idea of recovery.

For most people, the hardest stage of the recovery process is not the beginning but the end. In this stage, a person has to reclaim everything that he has lost during the entire period he had the mental illness plus every lost opportunity that he would have taken prior to the onset of symptoms.

Sadly, reclaiming these bits of life is far harder than all the aspects of recovery combined. Going back to “what could have been” takes a very long time as well as mending the damages caused by the mental illness due to very limited opportunities opened to people who have suffered a mental disorder.

But this shouldn’t be. You may not be able to go back to your previous job or do the things that you used to do but you could redirect your life to something different but equally rewarding. This has happened before to other people, it will happen to you.

What are Mental Health Jobs?

Now that you’ve finished your medical degree, it’s time to find a job. In hospitals or medical facilities, nothing can be more difficult and demanding as mental health jobs. That is why we often see a great demand of these jobs when we make job searches in the internet or in advertisements. Also, the increase in mental patients in most facilities and institutions contribute to the increase in demand for these jobs.

Contrary to what most people think, there are many aspects of mental health. In the field of psychology alone, there are other areas of specialization such as neuropsychology, geropsychology and health psychology. There is also what we call school psychologists.

These are the counselors in most schools and universities. Another kind is called developmental psychology, which focuses on a man’s psychological development through life. There is also what you call industrial psychology, which focuses on the mechanics of employees in the workplace.

Mental health nurses are those who have graduated the regular nursing course. During the course training, they need to specialize in mental health in order to qualify as mental health nurses.

Doctors who specialize in mental health are commonly called psychiatrists. Each state would impose qualifications before one can practice. For most countries, they are those who graduated the regular physician’s course, and a few years of specialization in psychiatry. There is also a field called psychotherapy, which deals more on counseling and therapy instead of the clinical aspect of treatment.

Mental health jobs can also be found in medical schools where mental health courses are offered.

Aside from those mentioned, there are other jobs in the mental health field. Some of them are medical or hospital social workers, psychiatric technicians and other hospital personnel.

Some mental health centers hire other hospital personnel such as dieticians, physical therapists, pharmacists, dentists, laboratory staff, radiologists, speech pathologists, optometrists, and many others.

As for the pay, the salary range for these jobs is quite wide. Depending on a person’s education and experience, one can earn twice as much as those who work in the same position. And like jobs in other industries, companies prefer applicants who are better qualified and trained. This can be seen in their educational background and previous job experiences.

Aside from the skills necessary to carry out their jobs, an unwritten qualification is added, and that is, their ability to care for the patients and listen to their needs. Mental health patients have extra needs than ordinary medical patients. That is why there is a need for mental health workers to be more patient and understanding than workers in other medical fields.

Health care industries shall continue to expand in the coming years. This means that more mental health jobs shall be available. If you want a job in the mental health field, it is easy to find one. You just have to know where to find them. Make a search for jobs wanted within your area.

You can visit the website of the medical facility or company that you wish to work in to see their job opportunities. Or you may register in a job support website. These websites not only provide you with a list of the jobs available, they also provide articles on career advice, industry news and articles, and tips on job hunting and interview.

Causes of Mental Health Disorders

It is amazing how a lump of gray matter could manipulate all the systems in our body in the most systematic way possible with all the intricacies and complex functioning. But what’s queer about this stuff (the organ we call brain) is that it could malfunction in a way that it could result to single or multiple representations of mental health problems all in an individual.

Clinical research and laboratory observations consistently arrive at a conclusion that mental health disorders are products of the accumulation and interaction of several contributing factors. It would have been easier to identify each disorder if there is only one cause to all meal health disorders but that simply isn’t the truth.

In reality, all mental disorders could root from several causes such as an environment that is conducive to the development of a mental disorder or individual genetic make-up that programs the brain (or the faulty components of the brain) to develop into something non-normal.

Saying that it’s all about the pathological make-up of the brain that causes the mental health disorders is simplistic, to say the least. Looking at the strange development of these disorders would reveal that there are actually at least 3 contributing factors that may be seen as potential causes, all of which have varying degrees. This means that a particular culprit could be more dominant than the other.

First with the physical causes. This bracket of causes is biological in nature. Each individual has a distinct and unique biological make-up that dictates the direction of his health, may it be physical or mental. Some people are born with inherent tendency to develop a specific mental disorder in comparison with other people while others are less prone to risks. This cause also covers the genetic make-up of an individual, the biological make-up and the events in life that affects the physical body (such as a trauma on the head or substance abuse).

Second are the environmental or social causes. Nature VS Nurture has been a great debate in the scientific community but research confirms that a person experience a spilt-half of both. Nature of course are the physical attributes of an individual while Nurture reflects more on the social structures and physical, emotional and mental environments to which an individual was exposed to.

This factor tells us more on how an individual grew up, the interaction of influences that affected all facets of his growth and the mechanisms he used to cope with a specific environment.

It is observable that some mental disorders are caused primarily by the consequences of experience brought about by the environment. For example, people (especially children) living in a stressful, chaotic and unstable environment are more likely to develop mental illnesses than those individuals living in peaceful environment. This consequence is due to the fact that there are certain social and environmental components that may become risk factors to the development of mental health problems.

Third is the psychological factor. This particular factor tells us more on the psychological state of a person, his coping mechanisms to certain life events that could otherwise end up with psychological disorders, his perception on his own self and his environment and thought patterns that affect his mental health.

For example, someone who has gone beyond the limit of his stress coping capacity is likely to break down mentally as a result of the psyche’s automatic “lock down” to protect itself.

For the majority of people lacking mental health, it is often the case of triggering the mental health to break down through series factors that have eventually contributed to the cause of mental health disorder.

Alternative Mental Health Care Solutions

A patient of psychological disorder would usually get his treatments through medication and services of a mental health institution or facilities. However, advocates of Complementary and Alternative Medicine believe that there are less intensive, more holistic approaches that could be rendered to these patients in conjunction to their medical treatments.

While they do not have approved therapeutic claim and there are no conclusive proofs that these alternatives really work they have been practiced for years and have yielded significant positive results in their own fields. Here are the suggested alternative solutions to mental health care:

Slowing down

Daily stressors contribute to the development of several mental health disorders. In fact, stress itself is considered as a threat to mental health. It disrupts sleep, thinking and rest and it usually affects the way we function everyday. Thus it is suggested to adopt several methods that will help lessen and manage the negative stressors we are exposed to everyday.

Biofeedback – This method is normally used in treating mental health disorders such as phobias, panic and anxiety. This works by controlling the involuntary muscle functioning such as skin temperature and heart rate and by controlling muscle tension.

Massage therapy – This method advances the belief the tapping, rubbing, and brushing the skin and muscle groups could relieve pent up emotions and internal tension. People suffering from severe cases of stress and post-traumatic disorders are usually advised to take get massage therapy regularly.

Visualization – Another method to lessen tension and stress is to redirect the perception and the individual techniques on visualization. This works by entering into a deep state of relaxation where the person could create relaxing and “friendly” images that will contribute to his well-being and lessen the occurrence of unwanted thoughts that are detrimental to one’s mental health.

Traditional alternative approaches

Ayurdeva – Imported from Indian Traditional Medicine, Ayurdeva is a holistic approach to caring your mental health. This seeks balance on the body energies rather than on the symptoms that affect the body. This system of traditional treatments includes yoga, a widely practiced alternative solution in the Western world these days. Yoga makes use of postures, exercises, stretches and meditation to achieve the balance of body energies.

Native American approaches – Cleansing rituals and chants are part of the Indian Health Services Programs that are focused on treating people suffering from depression, stress-related disorders and anxiety disorders.

Acupuncture – Used in treating many other ailments in the body, acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medical approach that could also be used as treatment to mental disorders. This makes use of needles with various sizes that are inserted to different pressure points in the body to be able to control its flow of energy.

Diet and Nutrition

According to studies, diet and nutrition affects the manner by which our brains work. If it is deprived with certain nutrients, the brain may fail to function the way it should be.

Vitamin and nutrient intake – According to some studies, there are specific vitamins that our brain needs in order to produce other chemicals that are crucial in maintaining our moods.

Also, some vitamins are important in preventing the development of neurological and degenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. Thus, proper intake of these vitamins and minerals plus supplementation of essential nutrients are highly recommended to maintain mental health.

Mental health care does not only need to include medical treatments, support of other approaches is also needed to maximize the possibility of patient recovery.

An Overview of the Mental Health Assessment

Mental health assessment is conceived only through a series of tedious processes that will help identify all necessary details of the mental wellness of the person leading to a conclusive judgment.

It is a common knowledge among practitioners of mental health care providers that a mental health assessment could only be conceived if all information relating to the disorder could be gathered.
Diagnosis may take a few minutes but arriving at a conclusion is possible only after a certain period of case study.

Fleshing out the details is necessary to arrive at an accurate result- may it be diagnosis or prognosis. But this could only be achieved by paying attention to small details that could uncover underlying symptoms, when developments of symptoms are well-recorded and when the mental state of the patient is strictly monitored.

A psychiatric assessment is built on careful attention to details associated with the person including medical history, upbringing and environment, experiences such as childhood traumas along with others.
If not done properly, the doctor may fail to see crucial details that could affect the result of the evaluation.

Apart from what has been listed above, a psychiatric assessment could also include evaluation on presented behavior, manner of thinking, mood, capacity to reason out and to express oneself and memory.
Routine medical assessment such as blood test, urine test, and other laboratory tests are also included.

Preparation

Health assessment such as this requires prior groundwork. Symptoms of a disorder must be clearly recorded in a diary or journal. This helps keep track of the symptoms that may be a sign of improvement or of worsening the case. This would give the psychiatrist or the doctor a clearer picture of the mental health illness.

If the patient is a child, the parent should see to it that the preparation of the journal is carefully supervised or that the parent should also make a separate journal to keep a detailed history of observations.

If already diagnosed and given medications for the control of symptoms, alterations of behavior or symptoms should also be recorded.

Interview

Nearly all psychiatric assessment require interview. Mental health illnesses normally lack in the presentation of observable symptoms. This is why talk is highly valuable in psychoanalytical and behavioral assessment of a patient.

A series of interviews gives the doctor a better look at the information that a patient could present. This offers the chance to gather information, clarify ambiguous details and to refute any established impressions.

There are three types of questions used during a psychiatric interview-

  • close questions
  • open questions
  • choice questions

Interviews are not only valuable because they clearly open opportunities for gathering information; it is also the opportunity for the patient to tell his or her story. Talk is beneficial as it allows usually terrifying thoughts to be voiced out.

Physical Examination

Neurological and cardiovascular examinations are the most commonly used physical examination for the assessment of mental health. The choice of examination is influenced mainly by factors such as the age of the person, concurrent disorders, planned medical treatment, concurrent medications and substance use or dependency.

Summary of the Findings

Plain examination and evaluation of a patient would not give reliable information for managing his or her mental health. A conclusive summary of all findings and accompanying recommendations for treatments and therapies would help prepare the person for recovery.

Men and Depression

Men and women suffer depression almost equally. Men, however, are taught that any need for help shows weakness.

They are, however, at greater risk for depression-related illnesses and suicide because they hide what is going on from everyone, often even denying it to themselves.

Most men hide their depression by trying to cover their feelings. They most often do this with drugs, alcohol, sex, or work.

Depression shows in men not as helpless or hopeless, but as angry, frustrated, and other aggressive feelings.

Men are less likely to seek treatment than women and they are less likely to admit that they have a problem.

Depression and men is a silent battle that barely makes a rumble until the battle is over. The drugs and the smiles and the carrying on and acting hide many of the typical signs of depression from others.

It’s hard to pick up on the signs of depression if you are close to the person, and it’s even harder if they are trying to cover the feelings up.

If you notice that a loved one is showing any of the typical depression signs like oversleeping or not sleeping, tension, or uncontrollable anger (in the case of men) you should address the topic and let the person know that you care about them and that you are ready to listen when they are ready to talk. It’s important not to push the issue and just let things run their course with men.

If you are a man who is depressed, there are a few things you can do to help yourself:

  • Talk about how you feel
  • Stay active (Find an activity that you enjoy)
  • Give yourself a break to do something you enjoy
  • Find a way to relax at the end of a busy day
  • Try to eat properly
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