Friday, 27 December 2013

Women, Child Birth and Mental Health

Signs, Symptoms and Treatment of Post-Partum Depression

Nothing can make a woman happier than the birth of her new baby. Yet, some women are sad. Why? It is not uncommon for women to experience some mood disturbances after pregnancy, that which is known as the postpartum period. They may feel guilty about feeling anxious, upset, alone, afraid or even unloving towards their new born. For most women, these feelings and symptoms are mild and go away soonbut 10% – 20% of the women may continue to experience this and develop a more disabling form of disorder known as postpartum depression.

Postpartum depression is a feeling of extreme sadness and psychological disturbance which occurs during the first few weeks or months after childbirth. The causes of sadness and depression after delivery is unclear but depression or any other psychological disorder present before or during pregnancy may be a contributing factor. A family history of depression may also be a cause. Sometimes, physical changes such as change in hormonal levels and the stress of having to take care of a newborn may be a cause for this disorder. Bearing a child can cause fatigue, loss of freedom, feelings of isolation and incompetency. Marital discord, lack of social support and other life stressors such as financial difficulties may contribute to the emotional disturbance.

The most common symptoms of post-partum depression are frequent crying, irritability and mood swings. Feelings of extreme sadness, difficulty concentrating, sleep problems, fatigue, change in appetite, loss of interest and feelings of inadequacy and hopelessness are other prevalent symptoms. Post-partum depression may last for months or years without treatment and this may cause long term distress as women may be unable to bond with the newborn and disrupt marital relationships. This may cause problems for the child who may develop emotional, social or cognitive problems later in life.

Early diagnosis for post-partum depression is very important for both the woman and the baby. If women continue to feel sad or depressed, it is vital that they talk to their doctor about their emotions and feelings and if needed they should consult a mental health professional to seek help. This is treatable and is treated the same way as depression. It is important to get extra support for oneself and for the baby. It is important for one to understand that it is important to get better for oneself and for the baby. One should not bottle up their emotions instead one should talk to people close to them. One should not blame oneself for feelings these symptoms, as it is very common and can affect anyone anywhere. Most mothers feel incompetent and feel that they are poor or bad mothers. Some also fear that if they talk about this then their baby might be taken away from them. This is not true. Instead, treatment and seeking support will help the person deal well with the stress of motherhood.

Various treatment options are available for women with post-partum depression. A combination of anti-depressant medications and counseling sessions provide the best possible support. In some severe cases, if post-partum psychosis occurs, which is, depression combined with suicidal thought, violent feelings, hallucinations or bizarre behavior; hospitalization may be required. In such cases, the psychiatric help provided makes available a supervised unit where the baby is also allowed to remain with the mother. Antipsychotic drugs and antidepressants are both prescribed by the mental health professional. A consultation with the doctor will determine whether mothers can breastfeed the newborn as some drugs may be harmful for the child.

Having a baby can be stressful irrespective of how much a mother has looked forward to it or how much she loves the child. Baby blues are perfectly normal and can be treated with appropriate and timely care, medications, counseling and social support. With such help, one can get back successfully on the road to a happy motherhood and lead a happy stress free life.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Internet Addiction

Signs, Symptoms and Treatment

Internet Addiction
Internet overuse, problematic or pathological computer use – addiction to the internet is a disorder that interferes with daily life. Online activities are normal but becomes troublesome when it interferes with normal life is sometimes called as net compulsions. Compulsive internet use can be productive yet can be problematic for one’s life and relationships.

Various types of internet addictions can be categorized as it covers a variety of impulse-control problems. Cybersex addiction is one of the types that include compulsive use of internet pornography and adult chat rooms which may have a negative impact on one’s real-life intimate relationships. Cyber-relationship addiction is another form that makes a person addicted to social networking; chat rooms and messaging that make online friends more important than real life relationship with one’s friends and family. Net compulsions such as gambling, online auctions, stock trading and online gaming result in financial and work related problems. Sometimes information overload such as compulsive web or database surfing may cause less social interaction with others and decrease productivity.

Various signs and symptoms are associated with addiction to the internet. One of the signs is that the person may feel preoccupied with the internet – thinking of previous online activity and/or anticipating future activity. The person may feel the need to spend increasingly more time online to achieve the desired level of satisfaction. They may have made repeated unsuccessful efforts to cut down or stop internet usage. They may experience feelings of restlessness, moodiness, irritability or depression when they attempt to cut down the behavior. They are at a risk of losing significant relationships in their life and jeopardize their work, education and career. Sometimes people lie to family and friends to conceal their involvement with the internet and may substantiate by using it as a means of escaping their problems of mood, depression, guilt, anxiety or helplessness.

Various risk factors can be kept in awareness for people to know how much at risk they are to be addicted to the internet. People suffering from anxiety, depression, those with other addictions, people lacking social support, unhappy teens, less mobility and socially inactiveness and stressed individuals are at a higher risk for developing this condition.

Some self-help tips may help individuals deal with this problem and to a certain extent may seem successful in overcoming it. First of all, it is important for an individual to understand the underlying problems that support one’s internet addiction. For example, people struggling to deal with stress, anxiety and depression may use the internet as means of soothing oneself.Others may use it to avoid social contact or meeting people due to their inhibitions. Once the root cause is figured out, one needs to build one’s coping skills to deal with one’s own limitations. One may use the internet to release their angry or stress feelings which can instead be done so by building the coping skills to weather the stress and strains of daily life. The next step is to strengthen one’s social support as more social relationships in real life means less need for the internet for social interaction.One needs to dedicate time for family and friends and finding common interest groups as this allows one to interact with others and let natural relationships develop naturally.

Treatment through therapy can give one a tremendous boost in their control of internet usage. Some therapies such as Cognitive Behavior Therapy can provide one with a step by step manner to stop compulsive behaviors and change one’s perception with regard to internet use. It aims to help one learn healthy ways of coping with unpleasant emotions. Group support for addiction is also available where one can try to find a real-life support group of people with similar problems and communicate among them to understand each other, to help and motivate each other.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

E - Counseling

Online: The New Trend in Psychological Counseling

E - Counseling
The computer, the internet and the telephone – since the emergence of technology assisted media such as these, there has been a considerable shift in the way psychologists and mental health professionals provide psychological services to clients and patients. Tele-psychology, cyber-psychology or tele-health; they are all alternate terms to what can also be called e-health, e-counseling, web or online counseling or telephonic counseling.

The mental health industry offers a wide range of services and recently has begun offering web based services to clients. Online counseling has become a fast growing subset of psychological therapy which allows clients to communicate with professionals through live chat, email or the phone. Online counseling provides direct access to therapy and is also convenient, affordable, effective and not time bound. Virtual psychological consultation is an alternative for those who either cannot afford private counseling or those who are afraid to talk to face to face to a psychologist. It may have its own risks for the psychologists who cannot verify the client’s background and cannot observe the much needed nonverbal communication in interviewing and counseling process.

This form of counseling is a new way to make contact between a client and a mental health professional. Its advantage is that it is direct and gains time but the expectations of a client about help and competency may still be prevalent. There has been a recent increase in the number of clients who prefer therapy sessions in the comfort of their homes rather than driving to a therapist’s office. Online sessions using technologies such as Skype and other videocam formats are seen to be less intimidating and makes the client feel more relaxed and in charge. This is a good thing because the goal of therapy is to give the client the tool to better manage emotional suffering and lead a healthier life.

There may be various concerns with regard to online counseling and the credibility of such sessions. Some of the things one should make sure are that the therapist offers free email consultation in order to have the opportunity to describe the emotional issues one is struggling with and feel satisfied with the responses. One can then be convinced to continue with the therapist to pay and obtain services. One can also determine the credibility and approach of the therapist by researching about their published articles or books. It is good if you pay after the session which shows that one only pays when satisfied with the session. One should ensure that the payment is through a secure site such as PayPal.

There are various pros of online counseling. Access issues is one such thing where it internet services facilitate counseling for those who have access to technology and who have difficulty accessing when traveling or people from remote areas or children. One can have the benefit of accessing and conducting sessions at unusual hours and not just office hours. This may be barrier to some who are illiterates or have trouble with written fluency, people from non-English background and those with less knowledge of technology. Client privacy and disclosure can be maintained as people need not fear about gender bias and discrimination as information is secure which enables one to facilitate, enhance and hasten the process of counseling. Ongoing client support is provided by communication for appointment changes, follow-up services, information access or even relapse services.

Some disadvantages of this tool of counseling is that there is a clear lack of access to verbal and nonverbal cues which limits the therapist’s ability to observe clients and affect output. Body postures like clenched fists, tearful expressions or hushed and raised tones are absent in the electronic form. Some forms of therapy like play therapy, sand tray therapy and other forms of interactions and expressions cannot be translated and thus electronic forms of therapy are considered inappropriate for clinical populations and for persons with severe mental disorders.Apart from these limits to intervention, there may also be effects on general efficacy and security problems.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Obesity and Mental Health

The Psychological Effects of Obesity

The Psychological Effects of Obesity
The population of the world is truly becoming rounder. More than 300 million people across the globe are obese and more than 1 billion are overweight. A problem that virtually affects people of all ages and socioeconomic groups, the World Health Organization estimates that the world is in a grip of a global epidemic and by the year 2022, obesity will become the single biggest killer on the planet. It is the biggest health burden for the world and has plagued the earth for quite a few decades now and will continue to do so in the future.

It was believed that obese people were compulsive eaters, under stress, anxious and depressed. But today, the rapidly evolving world has posed as a threat to health. People console themselves with comfort food high in fats, sugars and calories mostly as they are anxious, angry or have a low self-esteem. A type of depression even includes symptoms of lethargy and over-eating. The mind and the body are inter-related and thus obesity can lead to ill health and may be linked to depression and anxiety. Family dynamics and stress may also play a role in mental health and creates more opportunities for affecting food habits and health. Apart from this, recent studies have indicated the relationship between PTSD and obesity. It has also been seen that women, who have a less-than-positive emotional health a more prone to gaining weight.

Obesity can be caused die to behavioral, biological, psychological or social causes. Behavioral changes such as dieting and binge eating can contribute to being obese. Sometimes, physical changes in the body such as increased chronic illness, body pain, sleep problems, poor immune system, side effects of medications or abnormal hormonal changes may cause obesity. Mental health itself can be a cause for obesity than the opposite as poor perception of one’s health, a poor self-esteem or a heightened concern of body image may contribute to this state. Most social stigmas related to weight and body may cause obesity too. Unhealthy lifestyles and using food as a coping strategy for dealing with stress may cause obesity.

Approaching the possibility of one being overweight or obese directly is the best possible way of dealing and treating obesity. It is best to have a referral base of psychologists or counselors who have a reasonable knowledge about obesity and can help by recommending exercises, diet and a medium to communicate one’s issues. Participating in weight loss programs may have a substantial effect on mood and alter body image. Physical activities aim to decrease anxiety, depression and anger and this can in turn enhance mood and improve one’s self worth and body image. This may be challenging but yet it adds to a person’s daily routine as it helps to modify lifestyle choices.
Nutrition and diet is important for the mental health too as it is for the physical health of a person. A person can be aided to manage stress which will eventually have a positive effect on their ability to be able to control their mood and their weight. Treatments include strategies to improve self-esteem, develop self-efficacy and enhance one’s self-worth to help people change their well-being. Psychological therapies can help to improve mood and weight by therapies such as motivational enhancement therapy approach and behavioral activation strategies.

Obesity is the result of changing diets and changes in physical activity levels. The nutrition transition in today’s world is the main cause for this change. Changing urban trends in lifestyle couple with the rise in the range of food available, at lower prices, including fast food and junk food, has contributed to this. For nations whose social and economic resources are stretched to the limits and beyond, the results of obesity could be disastrous. This can be controlled and this will only be possible with effort and change.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Gambling Addiction

Signs, Symptoms and Treatment for Pathological Gambling

Gambling Addiction
Betting on sports, buying scratch cards and lottery tickets, betting on poker or slots or other card games, either online or outside, problem gambling strains relationships, interferes with one’s work and leads to an irreversible financial catastrophe. Problem gambling which is also known as ludomania is a constant urge to continuously gamble although being constantly terrified yet feeling helpless with regard to the harmful negative consequences or a desire to stop the behavior. Addiction to gambling is a mental health problem and is one of the impulse control disorders a person may suffer from.

Gambling addiction is also known as compulsive gambling and is a disorder characterized by the inability to control the impulse to gamble. The person is unable to take their mind off it and they keep gambling whether they are winning or losing or whether they can afford it or not. This behavior disrupts their life and when one is preoccupied with gambling, is spending more and more time and money on it then a person has a gambling problem.

When a person contemplates on why people gamble, it is vital to know and understand that there is no specific cause for pathological gambling. Like most emotional disorders, gambling can be understood to be a combination of biological vulnerabilities, social stressors and ways of thinking. These elements may increase the likelihood of a person developing a gambling addiction. Some of the other risk factors for developing pathological gambling are mood problems, substance abuse disorders, schizophrenia and anti-social personality disorders.

A persistent and recurrent problem, gambling includes various symptoms such as a preoccupation with gambling due to reliving past gambling or planning future gambling experiences and thinking of ways to secure money to enable oneself to finance gambling. The person may also seek the need for more money to achieve the desired level of enjoyment and may have repetitive unsuccessful attempts at stopping or reducing the behavior.A person may also become uneasy or irritated when they try to stop or reduce the behavior. They may lie to friends and family and may commit crimes such as stealing or forgery to finance their gambling. They may end up risking relationships, work and other opportunities. They may also depend on others for money to resolve their financial situation or may try to return to gambling in order to recoup losses.
There is no standardized treatment available for pathological gambling but many participants of Gamblers Anonymous (GA) show that there is an 8% one year abstinence rate for improvement when coupled with psychotherapy. Medications like mood stabilizers and those used to address addiction may help to decrease the urge and the thrill to gamble. Yet, psychotherapy seems to be more effective than medication as financial/debt counseling and self-help interventions are important aspects of the care which is provided to people with gambling addiction. It has been seen than more than 70% of the people with this disorder have another psychiatric problem so it is important to treat the coexisting mental health condition and not just gambling.

It is thus important to be aware of these symptoms and behaviors in order to deal with problem gambling. It is a challenge to stay in recovery and commit to stay away from gambling. it is possible by surrounding oneself with people who are accountable, avoiding tempting environments and initially giving up control of finances and to find more enjoyable activities to replace the problem of gambling. Changing one’s lifestyle and making healthier choices is one way to stop the problem. One should stop doing what they are doing, think about the consequences, tell oneself to stop thinking about gambling and find something else to do. One should let someone else they trust be in charge of their money for some time. One should also make sure to schedule enjoyable recreational time for oneself and find time for relaxation. One should seek professional help as recovery and quitting gambling may bring up issues like depression, loneliness and boredom which need to be addressed. One should reach out for support, give oneself a reality check and avoid isolation to beat this impulse control disorder.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Art Therapy in Psychology

Uses of Art Therapy

Art Therapy in Psychology
At some point in life, people may find themselves overwhelmed by emotions and its intensity as they may be very difficult to face alone or with others. Art can be used as an effective tool in mental health treatment. Art is a medium of expression and thus it can be used for various purposes to help clients with mental health problems. It is a creative process aimed to improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well-being of people of all ages. It follows a simple belief – the creative process involved in artistic self-expression to help people resolve conflicts and problems, manage behavior, reduce stress, develop interpersonal skills, increase one’s self-esteem and awareness and achieve insight.

Art therapy is the therapeutic use of art making which in a professional relationship is aimed for people experiencing trauma, illness, challenges and those who seek personal development. Creative art helps people cope with symptoms, stress and other traumatic experiences and help them enjoy a life-affirming pleasure of making art.

Art therapy integrates aspects of psychotherapeutic techniques with the creative process to enhance well-being and mental health. This form of expression offers people an opportunity to explore intense or painful thoughts and feelings in a supportive environment. A wide variety of art materials can be used in this process such as paints, clay, colors and batik to create visual representations of feelings and thoughts. It is an individual activity but can be successfully used in groups too.

Who is art therapy useful for? Everybody. Art therapy has various functions and can be used with people of all ages, backgrounds, intellectual capacity, caste, gender, etc. It can help managers and employees under stress and others who remain generally stressed and overworked, for people with mental health problems, children and adults with severe learning disabilities, for young learners who have issues conforming in school and with problems at home and also for people who are stress free yet feel the need to explore issues within themselves.

Professionally trained in both art and therapy, art therapists have a considerate understanding of the processes of art underpinned by having a rigorous knowledge of therapeutic practices to work with individuals and groups in a variety of settings such as residential, school, hospitals and community based settings. They have extensive knowledge about human development, clinical practice, psychological theories, traditions and the healing potential of art work.

Other areas of work include adult mental health, child and family centers, learning disabilities, brain injury, trauma, rehabilitation, medical and forensic institutions, wellness centers, schools, prison services and palliative care. Some art therapists work as a part of a healthcare team which may include other specialists such as physicians, psychologists, mental health counselors, family therapists, social workers, nurses and rehabilitation counselors. They help towards determining and implementing a client’s therapeutic goals and objectives. Other art therapists may work independently and maintain a private practice with a range of clients including children, adolescents, adults, groups and families.

Art therapy is used to treat a wide range of behaviors and disorders and psychological distress. It is used to assess and treat problems such as anxiety, depression, emotional problems, mental illness, substance abuse and other addictions, social and emotional difficulties related to disability or illness, abuse and domestic violence, personal trauma, PTSD and loss, physical, cognitive and neurological problems and psychosocial difficulties related to medical illness.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

The Dimensions of Well being

Wellness and Health

Dimensions of well being
A healthy balance of the mind, body and spirit result in an overall well being and not just the general condition of a person who is free from illness, injury and pain. Wellness is a state of optimal well being oriented towards maximizing a person’s potential. It is the life long process of working towards enhancing one’s physical, intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual and environmental well-being. These six dimensions highlight the most important components of wellness.

The physical dimension of well being is important to maintain one’s physical health in order to lead an enhanced life. It includes characteristics of body size, sensory acuity, shape, and body function, susceptibility to diseases and disorders and recuperative ability. Physical health is important to strive for a positive lifestyle behavior and for one to take personal responsibility to take care of one’s physical health. This requires one to get regular health checkups and being consistent with self-exams. For women, it is mandatory to get regular gynecological exams. Immunizations, regular exercises and balanced meals, dental and eye exams are all important to manage one’s physical state of health. One can also limit alcohol and tobacco and practice healthy methods of yoga, meditation and massages to ease tired and worked up muscles.

The intellectual dimension of well being refers to one’s ability to learn, to grow from experience and intellectual capacities. Decision making and problem solving is a vital component of one’s health. It is thus important to find outlets that are intellectually stimulating for a person to set and meet realistic goals, may it be academically, personally or professionally. Various opportunities should be grabbed to enjoy different experiences and also on the lighter side one should decide on things that help one relax and practice deep breathing to help the mind-body connection. It isn’t wrong to spoil oneself after a goal is completed.

Emotional dimension refers to the feeling component which expresses emotions in a healthy and effective manner and includes feelings of self-esteem, self-confidence, trust, love, self-efficacy and other emotional responses. It aims to recognize when emotions affects one’s body and the person’s need to express feelings, thoughts and opinions. Using humor to defuse negative emotions is one of the ways to tackle emotional distress and sustain a healthy mood. Writing can be used as way to relieve stress and being optimistic and believing in oneself and one’s abilities contribute to a healthy emotional aspect of living.

The social dimension of well being relates to the ability of an individual to have satisfying inter-personal relationships and be able to appreciate and respect differences with others. It is the ability to interact with others and adapt to social situations and day to day behaviors. It constitutes developing mutual social relationships and being able to interact with others in a positive manner. It is important to comfortably adapt to social settings and sticking to values and believes without being persuaded by peer pressure. It is vital to join social networks to interact with people with similar interests.

The spiritual dimension aims to seek meaning and purpose in human existence. An individually who is spiritually well seeks to explore and develop personal belief systems and establish values to live a life which is consistent with those values and beliefs. It seeks to enable an individual to create a sense of inner peace in order to function effectively. The spiritual realm of an individual helps one to nourish oneself through morals, personal beliefs and also religion. It is important to feel connected with oneself and others and to find a purpose in life and the meaning of everyday things one does. Developing a philosophy of life that one wants to live life will contribute to a peaceful and healthy existence.

Environmental well being refers to the appreciation for the external environment and the world that we live in and nourishes an individual’s role in preserving and improving one’s environment conditions for a standard life. It enables one to respect the environment and help one to have a place to relax, rejuvenate and feel comfortable. It gives on the strength to help contribute to reduce noise and pollution and keep one and others safe.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Mental Health and the Economy

Economic Crisis and its effects

Mental Health
The global financial crisis may have had a detrimental effect on the Indian economy but yet it has had one positive outcome – bringing to the spotlight the country’s mental health issues. India has become vulnerable with regard to mental health especially in the past decade the economic success has increased leaving unrealistic demands on people’s lives and pockets. Economic uncertainty is ever prevalent and it is thus important to analyze and keep regular checks on how it affects people psychologically.

The economic crisis is profoundly impacting every member in a family. Within the nuclear family, various stressors exist caused by the economic crisis such as job loss, home foreclosure or loss of family savings. This places a strain on the parental relationship and affects children too. With regard to low income families, the stress is even higher due to increased pressure on meeting basic needs like food, security, clothing, healthcare and shelter. Constrained budgets has had an impact on funds for public schools, community health centers and NGO’s which affects the needs of children, youth and families.

The nation’s sagging economy negatively affects people’s lives and the lives of others associated with theirs. People affected financially and socially by the economic changes face challenges psychologically. Rapid globalization and urbanization has caused social upheaval creating stress and anxiety. During times of economic trouble, suicide rates increase generally due to the increase in stress caused by job losses and income loss. In the past two decades, debt and distress has driven many farmers and low income breadwinners to commit suicide.

It is not possible to estimate the effect of the falling economic situations on mental health but various NGO’s and psychologists report an accelerated increase in calls and visits by people affected by this turmoil. An increase of more than 30% rise has been seen by organizations working towards offering emotional support through calls. Yet, it is alarming to see that most people with mental health disorders have stopped taking medications and visiting mental health professionals as they are unable to maintain the financial requirements for paying for their treatment.

Mental health is essential to overall health of a person. It is thus important to recognize the stress that affects a person and balance one’s needs. The adverse effects of the constantly changing economy can be averted by regular physical exercises, diet, appropriate sleep and stress management. It is vital to take care of one’s needs to stay healthy to be able to respond to the needs of one’s family.

Family and friends offer the best possible support at times of need especially in emotionally stressful situations. Their encouragement and support with feedback will help one to think positive and work towards betterment. Positive thinking should be practiced by avoiding activities that cause one to dwell on why one is stressed. One can limit news consumption and make time for other activities such as music, reading, etc., to help relieve stress. Socializing and having mild fun can relieve stress by engaging in low cost activities such as trekking, walking, etc.

Psychology has amassed a great body of knowledge to help people and families address economic stress and for preventing mental health problems like depression, child maltreatment and domestic violence. With appropriate tools and services for positive parenting, prevention of childhood abuse and neglect and for fostering children, youth and families, one can effectively cope with the stress brought on by economic downturns. Many of the steps required to be taken to address mental health in India will take time yet effort can be taken to produce more professionals and train members of the community to work towards this cause, especially during times of economic uncertainty.

Monday, 2 December 2013

HIV/AIDS and Mental Health

Effects and Coping

Physical health problems can affect anybody, anywhere, anytime. The same applies to Mental Health. People diagnosed with HIV are more likely to experience mental health problems than others. HIV can cause AIDS which is an immune deficiency disease that compromises the body’s immune system and causes it to break down making it unable to fight infections. It leaves the body weak, vulnerable and unable to cope. This terminal disease brings along with it a lot of psychological issues causing mental health symptoms and illness.

Being diagnosed with HIV and AIDS, a lot of mental health issues accompany such as emotional distress, anxiety, depression and trauma. Strong emotional reactions are produced upon discovering the prevalence of the physical illness. This may range from initial denial to anger, progressing to depression, fear, anxiety and stress. Along with these symptoms, a lot of social symptoms may also occur such as substance abuse and social isolation to cope with the distress. Conflicting emotions arises which makes the person feel stressed, sad, angry ad helpless. Some may even have suicidal thoughts and it is understandable that feelings of helplessness and fear of illness, disability and death may be present.

When people first discover that they are HIV positive they often deal with it by denying the truth. They may believe that the results were not accurate or there was a mix up. This is usually the first natural normal reaction. Once denial doesn’t help a person cope, the next stage is anger where the person feel rage as to why them or why they didn’t know earlier. Dealing with anger is important by talking to others for support, exercising for eliminating these feelings and avoiding circumstances and situations that may make the person feel angry.

Persistent sadness or depression may engulf the person where the person may feel sad, irritated, and hopeless and may also see changes in eating and sleeping patterns. A natural loss of interest may occur and the person may feel tired, worthless and guilty and have difficulty concentration. Depression is twice as common in people with HIV as compared to others. Treatment can be sought to deal with these feelings by psychotherapy, medications and counseling based on the person’s physical and mental condition.

Anxiety is a feeling of apprehension and panic, accompanied by intensive sweating, shortness of breath, increased heartbeat, nervousness, agitation and headaches. It is often caused by circumstances that result in fear, insecurity and uncertainty which is the discovery of having AIDS in this scenario. Every HIV patient may have a different experience of anxiety and this can be treated by medications and psychotherapy.
Substance abuse is a common presence among people with HIV infection and this unfortunately can trigger and complicate mental health problems.Use of substances can increase the levels of distress, interfere with treatment and can also lead to memory impairment. Addressing this is critical as the symptoms can impersonate mental disorders and other mental health problems.

HIV infection and AIDS affects all the aspects of a person’s life. People with HIV and AIDS are demanded to adapt to a life threatening chronic illness and the associated physical and mental challenges. Coping may seem difficult but it is not impossible. A person can talk to their doctor about treatments for depression and anxiety and can get involved with a support group and find emotional support with family and friends. It is completely normal to have emotional reactions of anxiety, fear and depression but it is important to note that these symptoms are not permanent and help is available with doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, family members, friends, support groups and other services.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Substance Abuse

Drugs and Addiction

Substance Abuse
Alcohol, Tobacco and other drugs have become very common in today’s world. Everywhere around us we see and hear accounts of drug use, abuse and overdose. Our society pays a significant cost for it. The toll of abuse can be seen in hospitals and emergency rooms as it damages physical and mental health.

Substance abuse is a pattern of harmful use of a substance which is used to alter the mood of a person. It is the use of a substance for purposes other than which they are indicated for and in quantities not prescribed for. The uses of illicit drugs are potentially addictive and can cause severe health effects and are thus dangerous and abusive. Some may argue that the use of recreational drugs is not harmful and is just use, but yet they have severe long term physical, mental and psychomotor affects that may become addictive. Illicit drugs are not the only substances that are thought to be abused but many over the counter medications such as alcohol, prescriptions, inhalants, solvents, and even coffee and tobacco can be harmful when in excess.

In a nation with a population exceeding 1 billion people, it is not alarming to note that more than 7.5 crore Indians are addicted to drugs. Recent trends indicate that it is increasing more and more among the semi urban and rural populations. The heightened abuse of substances is more among high risk groups such as commercialized sex workers, labor groups and street children. The usage of substances is higher in the north eastern states and border areas. More than 8% of women in India are addicted to substances which shows that drug abuse is not gender restrained and can prevails irrespective of any race, religion, caste, gender or socio economic status.

Tobacco is the most commonly abused substance in India. It is used for pleasure, improving performance, relief from depression, weight control, limiting hunger and increased vigilance. Nicotine is the primary addictive substance in cigarettes and causes severe health hazards such as heart diseases, cancers, ulcers etc. Withdrawal from nicotine can cause symptoms of anxiety, hunger, uneasiness, sleep disruption and depression.
Alcohol is another very common and prevalent substance across the globe. Alcohol depresses the brain and decreases a person’s inhibitions. It also decreases coordination, muscle control and slurs speech. Withdrawal from alcohol can create anxiety, tremors, irregular heartbeats and even seizures. It is the most common cause of liver damage and can defect most organs.

Marijuana, also known as weed, pot, grass, etc., is usually smoked and irritates the lungs. It creates feelings of pleasure, relaxation, and impairs memory and coordination. This is considered as a gateway drug as it increases one’s chances of progressing to more harmful and powerful drugs such as cocaine and heroin.
Cocaine is also called crack or coke can be smoked, injected, snorted or swallowed and can cause increased alertness and pleasure. It also creates paranoia, irregular heartbeat, and constriction of blood vessels which may eventually lead to hear damage, stroke or even death. It damages one’s heart, brain, the lungs and the kidneys and is potentially life threatening especially with increased intensity and accelerated frequency of abuse.

Heroin, also called smack, creates pleasure, drowsiness and decreased breathing. Overdose of this drug can lead to death as injecting through use of needles is the most common method of use and this can potentially increase other health complications including HIV/AIDS, tetanus, botulism and destruction of heart valves.

Other illicit drugs existent in use are methamphetamines, steroids, club drugs like ecstasy, GHB, ketamine, LSD and PCP which are life threatening and causes eventual death. These drugs alter mood and are increasingly addictive and dangerous. Inhalant such as petrol and thinners are also commonly available and are extremely addictive and causes disruption of a healthy physical and mental well-being.

Many risk factors are involved in a person’s likelihood of abusing substances such as a family history of drug abuse, chaotic family environment and ineffective parenting.Social factors such as inappropriate behavior, poor social coping skills, poor performance etc., may facilitate drug abuse and addiction. Early recognition and social support can increase chances of treatment and facilitate a better and healthier life and a stress free and effective well-being.

Friday, 22 November 2013


Bullying among Children in Schools

Each day millions of children go to school and there a some of them who dread waking up to go. Bullying affects the lives of millions of children across the world and has become an issue of worry for everyone involved and not just the victimized child. Bullying is a phenomenon when a person is picked on repetitively by others who has an increased power, may it be in terms of social standing or more commonly physical strength. This behavior causes an imbalance of power and makes the person feel victimized.

Bullying can take on various forms such as threats, verbal harassment, causing embarrassment and shame or physical assault. This form of violence may be directed towards people from certain grounds such as gender, caste, religion, race, ability or sexuality. Bullying is most commonly seen in schools, families, workplaces and neighborhoods. Bullying consists majorly of three forms such as verbal, physical and emotional.

Sometimes, bullies attack their victims, also called targets, physically and can be anything from shoving or pushing, punching or hitting to sexual assault. Some others may use psychological forms of assault such as verbal insults like swearing, making fun of or abusing, or gossiping, taunting or teasing the target. Verbal bullying may involve sending cruel messages or texts or posting about the target through cyber bullying.
Bullying may leave unseen scars on the target’s life. It may put the person in a state of being constantly scared. Most children may show physical and medical symptoms such as stomach pains and diarrhea or irritable bowel syndromes caused due to the stress of being bullied. Most research has shown that children who have been bullied are at a higher risk for mental health problems such as stress, anxiety, low self-esteem and most importantly depression. The victim may become aggressive in some cases and others may lack developed social skills, have negative thoughts, feel rejected by peers and family, face issues with solving social problems. There is also evidence that bullying can increase the risk of suicide.

What can be done to solve bullying? The tell-an-adult approach always the best method to help children and teenagers deal with bullying who can put an end to it. It is thus important for the target or the bullied victim to report it if it presents an impending threat or danger. Most children and teenagers have been seen to die due to threats or attacks so it is vital to not keep it unreported and silenced which may give the bully more leverage and freedom. 

What else can be done by the victim? It is not cowardly to ignore the bully and walk away. Indeed, it is first important thing to stop bullying from happening. The victim may get angry when such an event occurs and it is vital to control ad hold on to it because the bully should not sense fear and resentment so that they do not gain control over the victim’s emotions. Sometimes the bully can be thrown off guard by using humor instead of anger. The victim should never use physical force to respond to it and confidence must be practiced to deal with such situations.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Childhood Abuse

Types of Child Abuse: Physical, Sexual, Emotional Abuse and Neglect 

Childhood Abuse
Child abuse in India is a phenomenon, often hidden and unreported, especially when it occurs within the family. With regard to abuse, most of the focus has always been on child labor, child marriage and prostitution, but lately a lot of emphasis is being placed on child abuse as a grave issue of concern in our society. This lack of attention has been mostly due to the role of children in the Indian family structure, where they are trained to be obedient and dependent on elders and not to speak out against others. But, with progress, development and increased awareness about child abuse the scenario is changing.
Violence against children can be physical, neglect, emotional and sexual. This affects the normal development of child which thus impairs their mental, physical and social functioning. Any of these forms of abuse are potentially harmful to the child.

Physical abuse is when a child is harmed due to interaction with another person and causes pain and trauma to the child, when the abuse is caused by a person who is in a position of responsibility, trust or power. This may involvebeating, slapping, hitting, throwing, pinching, choking, biting, burning, drowning, suffocating and other forms of severe physical punishment.

Child sexual abuse involves forcing the child to take part in sexual activities and engaging the child in erotic activities which he/she is unaware of and cannot understand and cannot give informed consent to. This can include penetration, intercourse, incest, oral sex or rape. It may also include fondling, touching, kissing, violating body privacy, exposing the child to adult sexuality and commercial exploitation.

Emotional abuse is any behavior or attitude that interferes with mental health and development. This type of abuse may be a verbal insult, mental abuse or psychological maltreatment. It is the persistent ill treatment of children to cause severe effects on the child’s emotional development. This may include conveying to the child that he/she is worthless, inadequate or unloved, imposing inappropriate expectations, exploiting the child or causing child to feel frightened or in danger.

Neglect and negligence treatment is the oversight of development needs of the child, may it be physical neglect, emotional neglect or educational neglect, by a caregiver whose intention of harming the child. It is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic needs, such as food, clothing, shelter, and failure to protect them from physical or emotional danger, failure to meet needs of supervision, medical needs, educational needs, and lack of providing opportunities along with lack of love, care and support.

The report by the Ministry of Women and Child Development on Child Abuse in 2007 reported that more than 53% of the children faced child sexual abuse in one form or the other and more boys were subjected to sexual abuse. It also revealed that more than 50% of the abusers were someone known to the child and was in a position of trust. Most children did not report this abuse to anyone. Every two children out of three were victims of some form of abuse in India. The capital of our county reported more than 83% abuse rate. 

Child abuse is preventable through means of awareness, early detection and treatment. The foremost concern of caretakers is to educate the child about recognizing inappropriate behaviors, may it be sexual or physical and help them to reveal such occurrences to elders who they trust. Psychological help must be sought to deal with the effects of abuse.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Domestic Violence

Violence in the Family

Domestic Violence
Have you ever heard reports of brides being tortured to death due to dowry? Elder people killed due to property disputes? Young children succumbing to injuries after beaten by the father? If you answered yes, which surely you have, these are all reports of Domestic Violence. These reports can be found every single day in news reports across the country. Apart from what we read, more than 90% of these cases go unreported. Violence in bursting in our society and is present everywhere behind the doors of our homes. Domestic violence occurs across all socio economic statuses, social classes, genders, racial lines and age groups.

Domestic Violence is the violence directed towards someone a person is in a relationship with, a wife, husband, son, daughter, mother, father, grandparents or any other family member. Anyone can be a victim or a victimizer. Domestic violence has been an intrinsic part of our society.

Domestic violence is most common against women in our society due to the orthodox mindset of the society that women are physically and emotionally weaker than men. According to UN report, more than two thirds of the married women in India are victims of domestic violence and more than 70% of women are victims of rape, beating and forced intercourse. It has been reported that more than 55%women are victims of domestic violence in India.

Domestic violence is increasingly seen among men too which may sound surprising. The supremacy of men in our society makes it hard to believe that they are not vulnerable to violence. Although the prevalence of assault against men is lesser in India as compared to western countries, it still exists in the form of pushing; shoving, slapping, grabbing and hitting intended to harm them.

Domestic Violence against children is second in terms of cases reported after violence against women. Children are targets of violence due to disobeying parental advice, poor academic performance, debating, arguing and shouting, abusing, swearing, etc. Domestic violence against girls is also more common, mostly due to being born in the home as a girl child through forms of cursing and assaulting.

Domestic violence against the elderly is mostly subjected to by their children and other family members. This is mostly unreported in India due to the dependency of the elderly on their children and the fear of being abandoned and look being looked after. Majorly this occurs due to the fact that children may be hesitant to bear the expenses of the elderly, emotional victimization of the old and intention to get rid of them. One of the common causes is torture for reasons of property disputes.

There are various consequences of domestic violence and this depends of the victim’s age, gender, intensity of violence and the severity of torment. Victims may live under constant fear, humiliation and threat. Psychological trauma and emotional disturbance occurs among victims and causes disruption in normal functioning. The victim may become silent, reserved and fearful to express feelings. Depression and anxiety may create long term consequences.

Domestic violence may have a larger and deeper impact in real life and it is important to spread awareness against domestic violence and see the association of factors provoking it and control it in order to prevent it from occurring.

TV Providers

TV  Providers
Technology has been making great headway in the present world with each passing phase of life providing us with more sophisticated options that are available, making our way of living more easy and comfortable. The digital took off when analogue broadcasting channels discontinued with temporary digital frequencies which later turned out to become permanent. Those interested in enjoying entertainment on TV had to be connected to a digital TV provider and keep pace with updates with all their favorite programs. Digital tv providers have been providing the means to enjoy entertainment on TV. To avail this facility, the user needs to understand if the television is compatible with a digital service which will enable them to access a satellite or a cable provider. Some channels like Channel 4, BBC1, BBC2 and ITV1 can be accessed readily. However to view other channels regularly, namely Sky Atlantic, ESPN, one needs to subscribe with the provider to avail the facility of the same which could either be a monthly subscription or a yearly contract or more.

While entering into any contract, the user needs to beware of the contract details which he can afford and which will give him good value for the money spend. Many of the independent providers offer a wide range of different features and one has the option to choose according to one’s choice of television. There are others who provide the best deal for the type of service chosen and in some cases also include broadband as well as phone services or better still, one can also get more channels with a lower charge for each month. The user also needs to consider the reputation of the service provider in question, with regards to experience, reliability, products and features, add-ons or any additional costs. While there are some providers who charge a nominal set up fee, there are others who permit a plug and play installation. With the digital services, the broadcasting system has progressed into the 21st century and the switch to digital services has led to an increase in mobile TV services, improved coverage in rural areas, more channels, wireless services and improved quality like High Definition images.

Broadband Service Providers

All details pertaining to any product or any information can be availed through online portals which could prove to be of immense help to the user. With internet playing a very important role in the present world, it tends to be a bit difficult in indentifying the most reputed providers available across the internet world. Broadband providers are available in great numbers in the web world, but to decide on the right one needs to be considered after a lot of facts gathered about the said providers. A good many reputed providers are available who render excellent services by way of guides and the much needed information to the users. Moreover they also offer broadband comparison making it easy to access and understandable for the users with all kinds of handy tips and expectation from different speeds, usage guides, broadband download limits and much more. Besides this, they also have some tools which can be used like postcode checker and broadband availability checker which can enable the user to check if a particular type of broadband is available in their area.

Speed checker is also made available wherein the user gets the opportunity to check the current operating speed. It is an easy to use and a good place to get started and check how fast the internet connection is, with regards to Mbps. The useful tools for online use, provided by them are designed to help their users in making a well informed decision in choosing or switching a particular broadband service of their choice. With all these information readily available at one’s fingertips, the user is at an advantage to confidently browse through the information and make appropriate decisions after gathering the information provided at these portals. To add further to the user’s confidence, the reviews posted by other fellow clients, on the different broadband packages also provides useful information which helps the user to understand and obtain product knowledge from another fellow customer’s point of view. In case of any help in choosing the best broadband deal or if the user intends to switch the provider, they could get in touch with their service experts via phone and obtain the necessary help from them.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Movies And Mental Health

Portrayal of Mental Illness in World Cinema

Movies And Mental Health
Cinema has always been one of the key structures in understanding the Indian culture and to reflect the political and economic factors prevalent in our society since a long time through history. The portrayal of mental illness used in films connects entertainment to reality and in a country where film stars are idolized;the awareness on mental disorders is appreciated and responsibly provided to the society.

It is true that for a very long time, the Indian Hindi film industry has portrayed mental illness as an amusing part of entertainment for comical purposes but this view is changing with great strides being made with regard to thoughtful and serious portrayals of characters. There is a slightly successive trend in putting an end to mental health discrimination and public perception of a positive attitude towards mental health is being put into practice.

Many movies use this formula to churn out movies each month, but one out of the many would truly be appreciated as a product of a sensitive director. Movies such as ‘Tere Naam’ (2003) and ‘Kyon Ki’ (2005) portrayed mental illness occurring due to a traumatic event but yet it did not project the illness in the right perspective and was exaggerated for purposes of entertainment. The lead actor playing a schizophrenic yet ill-treated in a mental asylum by being chained is not an exact projection of reality.

For some time now, Aparna Sen, a director of Hindi and Bengali cinema has given visibility to the disabled in her films. Her films have dwelled on schizophrenia, physical disability and relationships, dementia, paraplegia and trauma. Apart from this, some other movies portrayed mental illness for the role of the protagonist. Movies like ‘Koshish’ (1972) portrayed the relationship and the struggles of a deaf and a mute couple; ‘Kunwara Baap’ (1974) portrayed the seriousness of the issue of polio vaccination; ‘Sparsh’ (1980) portrayed the concernon visual impairment and ‘Black’ (2005) showed life without light whereas ‘Koi Mil Gaya’ (2003) shed slight light on dyslexia. Some movies touched upon sensitiveness by appealing to the audience by portrayal of movies such as ‘Taare Zameen Par’ (2007) which touched upon SLD (specific learning disorders) and dyslexia.

The passive acceptance of irrational ideas doesn’t affect society but when it comes to sensitive issues such as mental illness the reality is way different. Films related to mental illness are successful yet the distortions of reality contribute to the stigma associated with mental health.

The power of entertainment media and films cannot be overestimated and it is a medium which should be used to take advantage of the fact that the stigma of mental illness can be dismissed easily. Yet it is important to make sure that scientific messages are conveyed and not distorted for entertainment purposes. Issues presented should be sensitive and well informed as giving out flawed information will only aggravate the long standing problem of the stigma of mental health. Movies can indeed be a medium of awareness of mental health across all layers of society.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Children And Media Violence

TV Violence and its effect on Children

Children And Media Violence
Violence is not new to the human race and has become an increasing problem in our society. Everywhere around us, we witness and hear tales of violent acts. The scope and efficiency of violent behavior has had serious consequences especially with access to technology and media. The proof to this can be seen in television and print media news reports with regard to murders, shootings, terrorism, abuse, etc. there is an escalating rate in violent acts all around us and is it undeniable that children’s exposure to media violence plays a vital role in the etiology of violent behavior.

Children see and hear a lot of things and eventually absorb and learn from their environment. Television and the other forms of media are some forms through which children access information as they are exposed to it right from the very beginning of their life. Violence portrayed through various media’s in today’s world a profound effect on children’s lives and their future. An ongoing topic of focus by researchers, educationalists, psychologists, parents and the public, exposure to media violence and aggressive behavior among children has been seen to have a high association.

Violence is one of the most popular forms of entertainment in today’s media. More than 60% of the content shown on television, movies, and video games contain violent content.

Most children are plugged into the world of television even before they enter preschool. It has been seen that more than two thirds of toddlers and infants watch a screen for an average of 2 hours per day and more young children spend 3 to 4 hours in front of a screen daily. The first few years of life are considered to be a crucial time for brain development. Thus, watching violent content and television can get in the way of them exploring and interacting with the world which aims to help them learn healthy physical and social development. For children, it is difficult to differentiate between reality and fantasy, which makes them more vulnerable to copy and believe what’s shown on television.

But how does violence shown on media have a harmful effect on children? Firstly, the violent content encourages children to learn aggressive behaviors and attitudes. Secondly, insensitivity towards victims of violence may be developed by children, and thirdly children may become increasingly fearful of being victimized by violence.

Risky behavior by children can include violence against others, lack of remorse for the consequences of their actions, faulty thinking, increased feelings of hostility, decreased emotional response to violence and acts of violent behavior towards others through imitation. Increase in aggressive behavior is seen commonly among children who are exposed to violent television content.

Researchers have found that children who have been exposed to high levels of media violence showed altered brain activity linked to self-control and attention. This shows a link between violent media exposure and brain function.

Various contributing factors are associated to the development of aggressive behaviors such as poverty, child abuse, substance abuse, etc. Children imitate elders and others who they consider their heroes and this may be problematic as they imitate the violent acts in real life. Children may become desensitized to violence and may become less likely to attend to victims of real life violent incidents. There may be les responsibility and little sympathy for other victims. Fear of being the next victims of violence may increase greatly due to their inability to differentiate reality and fiction.

HealthKart Coupons

Healthkart one of India’s first ecommerce retailers, provides some of the most top quality health care and beauty products which are directly sourced from renowned manufacturers at affordable prices. They help their customers in making the best choices on health care and beauty requirements. Moreover they also offer their customers, Diabetes management program free of cost together with weight management tools with vaccine reminder charts to enable their customers to take to keep a tab and control their health. Individuals could use the Healthkart Coupons displayed at the site and enjoy the benefit of these deals and offers placed for the benefit of their valuable customers while shopping for various products. They can choose from fitness accessories to sports equipments, apparels, sports footwear, nutrition, home devices and much more using the coupons which can help a great deal with the pricing. Most of the popular brands namely Adidas, Lux, Axe, Brut, Nivea, Organic India, Old Spice, Elle 18, Ranbaxy, to name a few, are available at the site. In case of any queries, the user can get in touch with their customer service team who are always obliging to cater to the needs of their customers and resolve any issues in a timely manner.

They also have a return policy, wherein the customer can return the product if damaged or defective and once the return has been approved by them, the customer is eligible to receive 100% refund for the product returned though the returned product need to be sent in its original packing, which is not used by the customer. The customer also has the option of cancelling the order once placed within twenty four hours of placement of the said order and when the said order get cancelled, receives an email on confirmation of the same. Customers could also check on additional offers like the festive offers, Cash back offers, New coupons and much more and take advantage of the same while shopping at the site. Members also have an added benefit while signing at the site with a sign up offer by way of 20% off which is applicable storewide

Boots Voucher Codes

Some of the latest codes from favorite brands can be availed from renowned service providers catering to the needs of individuals with a variety of voucher codes from 3000’s of famous retailers from Amazon, UK, Sky, Pizzahut, Tesco and many more. Users could get hold on some of the promotional code as well as discount code from fourteen categories and benefit from the same. Presently, active Boots voucher codes are listed at the site along with their date of expiry which could be taken up while they are available and make the most of the deal listed for their consumers. These voucher codes are simple and easy to use wherein the customer gets the opportunity to save money with the minimum hassle while the vouchers codes listed at the site are free to use and does not incur any cost to use them. In order to get the latest updates on the various voucher codes, individuals could subscribe for their weekly newsletter which are directly delivered to the user’s mailbox.

 These providers strive to cater to their members and visitors with the latest voucher codes, promotional codes that can save the user, of their time and money with the purchases done at the site. There are no hidden fees or charges made by the provider for the use of these voucher and the products intending to be purchased can be added to the shopping cart and then proceeded to check out as usual while indulging in online shopping. At the payment stage, the user can furnish the voucher code or promotional code and avail the opportunity of discounts made on the purchased products. Individuals also need to take note on some voucher codes accompanied with terms and conditions which need to be adhered to, which are displayed at the site. Updates on latest deals, free delivery vouchers, top vouchers, Halloween offers and other related information are also listed at the site and users could take advantage of the these offers if interested and take them up before they disappear and they miss the opportunities of savings done while purchasing some of the products from their site.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Psychological Trauma

Causes, Symptoms and Copingwith Trauma

Psychological Trauma
When one goes through psychological trauma, there are persistent and struggling feelings, upsetting emotions, frightening memories and a constant sense of fear. One may feel numb or disconnected and this may also make the person feel unable to trust others. But what is psychological trauma? It is the result of certain stressful events which are extraordinary and thus which causes the person to feel a loss of his/her sense of security and make him/her feel shattered, helpless and vulnerable. A traumatic event is an experience or an event that overwhelms the person and destructs the person’s ability to cope and survive efficiently. It involves a threat to life and safety not in terms of physical harm but a feeling of trauma.

So what causes psychological trauma? Any event that happens unexpectedly and the person is unprepared for it which thus causes heightened trauma. The person feels powerless and is unable to prevent it. Sometimes the event occurs repeatedly and the person may have been subjected to intentional cruelty. A horrible incident, a natural disaster, a violent attack – trauma can occur from any ongoing stress such as a crime ridden neighborhood or maybe due to a terminal illness.

The sudden death of a loved one has been seen as the most common cause of trauma. Among sportspersons, a fall or an injury may cause severe trauma if the person is unable to continue. Detachment from a significant relationship, an extremely humiliating experience, an accident, a surgery or the discovery of a fatal illness, military combat, terrorist attacks, being taken hostage, being a prisoner of war or a personal violent assault may be the other common causes of trauma.

What are the symptoms of emotional and psychological trauma? People react in different ways to different situations and thus there is no right or wrong way to feel or react to situations. Sometimes, most people feel shock and denial or disbelief when faced by traumatic situations. Irritable mood and angry behavior may follow. They may also feel sad and hopeless and have a persistent sense of confusion. It becomes difficult for them to concentrate while feeling anxious or scared and feel disconnected from others around them. Physically them may be startled easily, have a racing heartbeat, experience fatigue and insomnia and feel muscle tension and agitation. These symptoms last usually from a few days to a few months when the traumatic experience occurs and fades as the trauma is processed. Yet, no matter how much time passes, sometimes these memories are triggered, such as a similar event happening elsewhere or a situation reminding the person of the trauma.

How to cope with trauma? First of all, focus on what’s important. When dealing with the aftermath of a crisis, focus on the resources that you have. Emphasize on the tasks that need to be done and put off others for later to conserve your emotional and physical energy. Second, find the support that you need. Let your loved ones help and guide you as it will help you feel better. When someone experiences a crisis, the person may stay in a state of constant stress as it is difficult to stay relaxed. It’s thus important to practice stress relief techniques such as deep circular breathing and meditation to reduce the intensity of stress. Processing one’s feelings is very important and so is talking to a friend or writing in a diary. This helps the person to put into words the experiences to better integrate it. In the process, talking about negative feelings help as it helps the person get it out and move through it and then let go. The person should take care of himself physically through nutrition and sleep and motivate oneself to read a book or see a movie and help oneself enjoy life and relieve stress. Being patient with oneself is another important task as the person may feel disheartened due to the persisting negative feelings.

As trauma is a big deal for the person going through it, others should not look at the person and pass on saying the person is overreacting or seeking attention. It is important to understand that these feelings are real and the person needs to be supported. If the experienced thoughts and feelings are too intrusive and the nightmares are recurrent and if the person is unable to move ahead because of his reaction, then professional help should be sought. It’s a smart and responsible way to take care of oneself through this time of pain and suffering.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Eating Disorders

Anorexia. Bulimia. Bing-Eating.

Eating Disorders
All of us do not spend much time thinking about what we eat but people with eating disorders are completely obsessed with their eating habits, while constantly thinking about it all the time. Most of us, at some point of time; slip into overeating and comfort eating habits; but for some it can be life threatening. The fear of being overweight is installed in all of us because of social pressures on appearance mostly due to the media pressure.

Eating disorder is an illness that causes serious life threatening disturbances in a person’s everyday diet, like eating too little or eating too much. Severe concerns about body weight or shape characterizes eating disorders. Eating disorders mostly being in the teens or early adulthood when the person is developing a self-image and forming his/her self-identity. Eating disorders include attitudes, extreme emotions and the behavior which surrounds food and weight issues.

Anorexia is an eating disorder which is characterized by starving oneself and by excessive weight loss. It simply means that a person starves himself because he is convinced that he is overweight.The simple way to understand this is if a person is at least 15% under his normal body weight and is losing more weight due to not eating, then the disorder can be noted. Anorexia occurs when there is a refusal to maintain body weight that is normal for a person’s age, height, body type and activity level. The person has an intense fear of gaining weight and feels fat despite drastic weight loss.
Bulimia is an eating disorder characterized by frequent and recurring episodes of eating large amounts of food and the person feels a lack of control over it. This is called binge eating and these episodes are followed by a compensative behavior such as forced vomiting, excessive fasting, increased exercise or use of laxatives. People with bulimia have a normal weight with some underweight and like people with anorexia they fear gaining weight, want to lose weight and are unhappy with their body. This behavior is done when alone as most people have accompanying feelings of shame and disgust.

Eating disorders can be treated by proper nutrition, healthy eating patterns, regular exercise and stopping purging behaviors. These are the basic foundations of treatment. Along with these, other special forms of psychotherapy are important, such as, talk therapy, medications and psychological counseling to help the person deal with the disorder. Treatment plans are usually devised according to the person’s disorder and accordingly individual or group therapy, medical care, nutritional counseling and medications are tailored.
Binge eating is another more commonly observed disorderwhich is known by its characteristics of uncontrolled, impulsive and continuous eating which goes beyond the limit of feeling comfortably full. The person seems to lose control over eating. People with binge eating disorder are mostly overweight or obese. They are at a higher risk of developing cardio-vascular diseases and also of having a high blood pressure. Binge eaters are more prone to psychological disorders such as anxiety, loneliness and depression and they also experience shame and guilt.

It is important to keep a check on our eating habits, especially given our stressful lifestyle, unhealthy eating habits and lack of activity caused by a monotonous work schedule. A person with an eating disorder shouldn’t be blamed for it but instead should be motivate to reach out for help. Community help and family support is important to help the person deal with this problem as it is a constant struggle.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013


What, Where, Why and How? 

Procrastination is the act of replacing high priority jobs with low priority ones, just to put off the more important tasks for a later time. In short, just being lazy to do what lies at the top of your to-do list!

It is a normal phenomenon which has a simple explanation. We as humans do not like to feel negative emotions such as fear and we tend to avoid situations and tasks that cause stress or seem to be stressful. It is also true that we perform better under pressure; thus putting off these tasks till later may provide more useful than harmful. This kind of behavior may be seen as a coping mechanism to anxiety related to tasks and decisions.

So what happens due to procrastination? It may result in increased stress and may produce feelings of guilt for not completing the tasks at the appropriate time. Productivity of the person may also decrease due to this. Normal procrastination may be alright but when this becomes prolonged it can be seen as a sign of underlying psychological disorders.

How does procrastination cause a psychological impact?Let’s draw a connection between putting off important tasks and issues of anxiety, low self-worth and loss of interest. Anxiety of doing the task and increased pressure of doing it at the last minute can cause stress to the person. Procrastination can lead to a loss of interest in important activities and this can lead to the person feeling low worth due to the inability to work efficiently.Procrastination may thus lead to depression or symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Thus, it is important to keep one’s procrastination in check and consult a mental health professional if it is chronic and causing disability in the person’s life.

In earlier days of human life, laziness was adaptive as time and energy was more limited as compared to today’s fast paced world. Today, our motivations are more abstract and thus it is harder to avoid tasks. In some instances, procrastination is linked to perfectionism. This is a tendency to evaluate outcomes in a negative manner and also one’s own performance, which is coupled with extreme fear, increased consciousness and anxiety.

Where does procrastination occur in our daily lives? It was seen in a survey that more than 50% students feel a high need for help regarding procrastination. About 80% to 95% of college students engage in procrastination which is not appropriate yet is still the case.

How to overcome procrastination? First, know that you are procrastinating. Be honest to yourself and you will know the answer. If you still won’t accept it, ask yourself – Do you fill your day with low priority tasks first? Do you start a high priority task and then distract yourself and go do something else? Do you wait for the right time and right mood to do the important task? Then yes, you are a procrastinator. Secondly, work on why you procrastinate. Some of the common reasons are that the task is boring or unpleasant, it is disorganized and will take a long time to complete, you feel overwhelmed by the task at hand and doubt that you can’t complete it, or just can’t make a decision!

Now that you know what, what is the how to? Simple tips can help you motivate yourself. Don’t be ashamed to ask others to help you! Tell them to push you to do the task. Make up your own rewards to help you do the work – promise yourself a chocolate cake after the task is done. Get organized. Create a schedule and follow it! Break the project into manageable tasks if it is disorganized. Create an action plan! This will break the destructive habit of procrastinating!

Monday, 14 October 2013

Adult Nurse Practitioner Programs

Acquiring Your Nursing Degree

The University of Cincinnati offers a wide variety of nursing programs that anyone can choose, such as the adult nurse practitioner programs. You also have the alternative of taking your classes on campus. Whether you choose to learn nursing online or on campus, the university's main goal is to provide you with the necessary tools and material so that you can complete your courses. You can learn more about the school's programs and faculty by browsing through the information tabs on the university's website.

Nursing Specialties

The key to doing a great job is to invest in something that you love to do. Some of the nursing specialties that you can choose from can include primary care, clinical nursing, family nurse practitioner and many more. Each of these choices is affordable when it comes to the total tuition amount. You can also expect an in-depth review of each course so that you can be properly trained in your field of expertise.

A Unique Curriculum to Enhance to Your Skills

When it comes to enhancing your nursing skills, the University of Cincinnati offers the curriculum that can help you. You will get to apply your knowledge in different nursing settings. The variety of levels starts you off at the foundation of your nursing program and guides you through it. The thing that makes this curriculum unique is that it offers applications that the medical industry demands along with additional nursing factors.

Doing Your Studies Online

Although it can seem difficult or intimidating to do your courses online, you are sure to succeed with the help of the university's faculty and support. The professors who teach at the University of Cincinnati are experts at the nursing field. The big advantage that you can get from these experts is their knowledge of real-life experiences. These teachers have worked in the medical field and have implemented the latest techniques in the nursing industry. If you are an online student, you are able to contact these professors with any questions about your nursing courses. Rest assured that you will learn a great deal about nursing while increasing your medical skills.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Dreams and its Interpretation

The royal road to the unconscious
dream interpretation
The door to dreams opened into the arena of scientific research and the mechanism of dreams was quite a hot topic by the end of the 19th century. Assigning meaning to dreams may sound strange but the reality lies in the underlying science of the study of dreams.

Dreams: Images, ideas, sensations and emotions that occur during sleep. The content and purpose of dreams may seem difficult to understand. Not only has the scientific approach to understanding dreams been conducted but a lot of speculation through religious and philosophical interest has been created throughout history. It is said that dreams reflect and is connected to the unconscious part of the mind. Dreams may range from ordinary to bizarre and can be frightening, adventurous, sexual or magical too. Dreams cannot be controlled by the dreamer and can sometimes help creatively by giving an inspiring thought to the dreamer!
According to Sigmund Freud, a world renowned neurologist and psychoanalyst, developed the study of interpreting dreams and explained them as a manifestation of a person’s deepest hidden desires and anxieties. He denoted the role of repressed childhood memories in dreams. His book, “The Interpretation of Dreams” explains Freud’s techniques to interpret dreams by using various guidelines to understand the motifs and the symbols that appear in dreams.

The content of dreams has gone through extensive research with various researchers continuously and rigorously aiming to collect different dream contents. Most dream content has said to be included in one or more of the following categories:

- Visual: Visuals include location, people, objects etc. that reflects a person’s experiences but may take a bizarre form.

- Sexual: Around 10% of the dreams occur in this manner and have seen to be more common among the young. Wet dreams may sometimes occur as a result of dreams with sexual content in adults.

- Emotions: Anxiety is mostly experienced in dreams of emotional content. It is interesting to note that more negative emotions as compared to positive ones occur in dreams. Abandonment, fear and anger are other common dream contents.

- Recurring dreams: Sometimes the same dream can occur over varying times and occasions.
Dream Interpretation can occur due to various ideas and experiences. In a recent study conducted in 2009 by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, it was seen that 74% Indians believed Freud’s dream theory and accepted that dreams reveal meaningful hidden truths.

Have you ever faced the attribute of Déjà vu? I’m sure you have. It is the feeling of having experienced something before or having dreamt about a place or situation and forgetting about it and being reminded of it some other time or place. It is not an act of precognition but is an anomaly of memory; a false impression of an experience recalled.

Dream interpretation is a fascinating world where the rules of reality don’t exist. Dreams are unique and one’s dreams are connected to one’s own reality and no one else’s. Dreams have the ability to unite one’s body, mind and the spirit. It gives us an opportunity to gain insight about our own selves and an opportunity for self-exploration. So explore, discover and find out what your dreams signify!

Friday, 11 October 2013


How does it affect your life as a college student? 

Increased freedom, changing schedules, stringent deadlines, heightened stress, hostel living, social obligations and educational responsibilities. These are all part of a college student’s life. From assignments to presentations, from class tests to university examinations, the life of a college student is monotonous. It is filled with books, notes and assignments at one end to fun, movies and trips on the other end.

Sleep is a major concern in today’s youth lifestyle. It is not just the lack of sleep that poses a problem but also over-sleeping that causes a threat. Poor sleep patterns can inhibit a student’s performance whereas excessive sleep can cause hindrances in reaching objectives and fulfilling responsibilities. Sleep is essential to one’s physical and mental health as it regulates the body mechanism and helps one to lead a healthy lifestyle. About 150 million adults across the world suffer from sleep-related problems.

It is not difficult to notice one’s sleep patterns. But how can you tell if your sleep problem is just a minor change due to a hectic week or a sign of serious underlying concerns? Here is a small checklist to help you deal with the uncertainty!

- Feel irritable during the day?

- Hard to focus and concentrate?

- React slowly and can’t pay attention in class?

- Feel like taking a nap every day?

- Look tired?

- Can’t fall asleep at night?

- Difficult to wake up in the morning?

 If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then yes, you do have a sleep disorder! Now that you know there is a problem, what is the solution to deal with this? There are some self-help techniques that can help you deal with these issues. First of all, create a schedule! Maintain a diary to record you daily patterns during the day and at night. This will help you to identify your sleeping habits. Note when you go to sleep, when you wake up, how many hours of sleep you had, what you consumed before going to sleep, your mood before bed and if you have taken any drugs or medications before sleep. You can identify these factors and try to modify and change them to see if any resultant change occurs.

Sleep at the same time every day which should include weekends. Keep and set aside exact number of hours you need to sleep, about 7 to 8 hours. Sleep in a comfortable space where there won’t be any distractions such as noise, light, etc.

Never consume sleeping pills! These can make your sleep patterns worse in the long run and cause more problems for you, except when prescribed by your doctor. It is not wrong to consult your doctor if you have persistent problems with sleep, especially when the self-help techniques don’t work for you.

Try to create such a study environment which will not interrupt your sleep schedules. Avoid all night study sessions and late night computer work which seems to be the highest cause of sleep disruption among college students. Lead a healthy lifestyle and you can defeat the common problems and become more productive!