Lifestyle, Rx to Wellness, Uncategorized

Schizophrenia: Symptoms, Types, Causes, Treatment

Schizophrenia: Symptoms, Types, Causes, Treatment

 

A panoramic concept shows the face of a man with schizophrenia.

 

Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, debilitating mental illness characterized by disordered thoughts, abnormal behaviors, and anti-social behaviors. It is a psychotic disorder, meaning the person with schizophrenia does not identify with reality at times.

Who is Affected

Schizophrenia affects more than 2 million people in the U.S.

  • Schizophrenia affects about 1.1% of the world’s population
  • 3.5 million Americans have schizophrenia
  • Schizophrenia is most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 16 to 25
  • Schizophrenia can be hereditary (runs in families)
  • It affects men 1.5 times more commonly than women
  • Schizophrenia and its treatment has an enormous effect on the economy, costing between $32.5-$65 billion each year

How Common Is Schizophrenia in Children?

 

Children may also be affected by schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia in young children is rare. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates only 1 in 40,000 children experience the onset of schizophrenia symptoms before the age of 13.

Types of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia health care check list.

There are five types of schizophrenia (discussed in the following slides). They are categorized by the types of symptoms the person exhibits when they are assessed:

  • Paranoid schizophrenia
  • Disorganized schizophrenia
  • Catatonic schizophrenia
  • Undifferentiated schizophrenia
  • Residual schizophrenia

Paranoid Schizophrenia

A woman suffering from paranoid schizophrenia is distressed.

Paranoid-type schizophrenia is distinguished by paranoid behavior, including delusions and auditory hallucinations. Paranoid behavior is exhibited by feelings of persecution, of being watched, or sometimes this behavior is associated with a famous or noteworthy person a celebrity or politician, or an entity such as a corporation. People with paranoid-type schizophrenia may display anger, anxiety, and hostility. The person usually has relatively normal intellectual functioning and expression of affect.

Disorganized Schizophrenia

A young woman pours a pot of spaghetti on her head.

A person with disorganized-type schizophrenia will exhibit behaviors that are disorganized or speech that may be bizarre or difficult to understand. They may display inappropriate emotions or reactions that do not relate to the situation at-hand. Daily activities such as hygiene, eating, and working may be disrupted or neglected by their disorganized thought patterns.

Catatonic Schizophrenia

A man is in a catatonic state.

Disturbances of movement mark catatonic-type schizophrenia. People with this type of schizophrenia may vary between extremes: they may remain immobile or may move all over the place. They may say nothing for hours, or they may repeat everything you say or do. These behaviors put these people with catatonic-type schizophrenia at high risk because they are often unable to take care of themselves or complete daily activities.

Undifferentiated Schizophrenia

A young man with undifferentiated schizophrenia wears a tinfoil hat while staring into a TV.

Undifferentiated-type schizophrenia is a classification used when a person exhibits behaviors which fit into two or more of the other types of schizophrenia, including symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech or behavior, catatonic behavior.

Residual Schizophrenia

A schizophrenic girl's reflection shows her inner turmoil.

When a person has a past history of at least one episode of schizophrenia, but the currently has no symptoms (delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech or behavior) they are considered to have residual-type schizophrenia. The person may be in complete remission, or may at some point resume symptoms.

What Are Causes of Schizophrenia?

Rate of gray matter loss: Composite MRI scan data showing areas of gray matter loss over 5 years, comparing 12 normal teens (left) and 12 teens with childhood-onset schizophrenia. Red and yellow denotes areas of greater loss. Front of brain is at left.

Schizophrenia has multiple, intermingled causes which may differ from person to person, including:

  • Genetics (runs in families)
  • Environment
  • Brain chemistry
  • History of abuse or neglect

Is Schizophrenia Hereditary?

Twin sisters look at each other.

Schizophrenia has a genetic component. While schizophrenia occurs in only 1% of the general population, it occurs in 10% of people with a first-degree relative (parent, sibling) with the disorder. The risk is highest if an identical twin has schizophrenia. It is also more common in people with a second-degree relative (aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents) with the disorder.

Schizophrenia Symptoms

Intense anxiety is a symptom of schizophrenia.

Many people with schizophrenia do not appear ill. However, many behavioral changes will cause the person to seem ‘off’ as the disease progresses. Symptoms include:

  • Social withdrawal
  • Anxiety
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoid feelings or feelings of persecution
  • Loss of appetite or neglecting to eat
  • Loss of hygiene

Symptoms may also be grouped into categories, discussed in the following slides.

Positive (More Overtly Psychotic) Symptoms

A person with schizophrenia may experience psychotic symptoms.

The “positive,” or overtly psychotic, symptoms are symptoms not seen in healthy people, include:

  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Disorganized speech or behavior
  • Dysfunctional thinking
  • Catatonia or other movement disorders

Negative (Deficit) Symptoms

A man sits by himself.

“Negative” symptoms disrupt normal emotions and behaviors and include:

  • Social withdrawal
  • “Flat affect,” dull or monotonous speech, and lack of facial expression
  • Difficulty expressing emotions
  • Lack of self-care
  • Inability to feel pleasure (anhedonia)

Cognitive Symptoms

A schizophrenic may have difficulty remembering simple tasks.

Cognitive symptoms may be most difficult to detect and these include:

  • Inability to process information and make decisions
  • Difficulty focusing or paying attention
  • Problems with memory or learning new tasks

Affective (or Mood) Symptoms

A depressed woman.

Affective symptoms refer to those which affect mood. Patients with schizophrenia often have overlapping depression and may have suicidal thoughts or behaviors.

How Is Schizophrenia Diagnosed?

Doctor with stethoscope.

The diagnosis of schizophrenia is made both by ruling out other medical disorders that can cause the behavioral symptoms (exclusion), and by observation of the presence of characteristic symptoms of the disorder. The doctor will look for the presence of delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech or behavior, and/or negative symptoms, along with social withdrawal and/or dysfunction at work or in daily activities for at least six months.

The doctor may use physical examination, psychological evaluation, laboratory testing of blood, and imaging scans to produce a complete picture of the patient’s condition.

How Is Schizophrenia Diagnosed?

A mental-health professional diagnoses a patient.

Mental health screening and evaluation is an important part of the diagnosis process for schizophrenia. Many other mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, anxiety disorders, severe depression, and substance abuse may mimic symptoms of schizophrenia. A doctor will perform an assessment to rule out these other conditions.

Schizophrenia Treatment – Medications

Zyprexa 10 mg vial, Abilify Discmelt 15 mg tablet, Risperdal M-Tab 1 mg ODT, Geodon 20 mg vial

Antipsychotic medications are the first-line treatment for many patients with schizophrenia. Medications are often used in combination with other types of drugs to decrease or control the symptoms associated with schizophrenia. Some antipsychotic medications include:

  • olanzapine (Zyprexa)
  • risperidone (Risperdal)
  • quetiapine (Seroquel)
  • ziprasidone (Geodon)
  • aripiprazole (Abilify)
  • paliperidone (Invega)

Schizophrenia Treatment – Medications (Continued)

Lamictal XR 25 mg tablet, Depakote 125 mg sprinkle cap, Zoloft 100 mg tablet, Cymbalta 20 mg capsule

Mood swings and depression are common in patients with schizophrenia. In addition to antipsychotics, other types of medications are used.

Mood stabilizers include:

  • lithium (Lithobid)
  • divalproex (Depakote)
  • carbamazepine (Tegretol)
  • lamotrigine (Lamictal)

Antidepressants include:

  • fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • sertraline (Zoloft)
  • paroxetine (Paxil)
  • citalopram (Celexa)
  • escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • venlafaxine (Effexor)
  • desvenlafaxine (Pristiq)
  • duloxetine (Cymbalta)
  • bupropion (Wellbutrin)

Schizophrenia Treatment – Psychosocial Interventions

Family psycho-education teaches family members problem-solving skills.

Family psycho-education: It is important to include psychosocial interventions in the treatment of schizophrenia. Including family members to support patients decreases the relapse rate of psychotic episodes and improves the person’s outcomes. Family relationships are improved when everyone knows how to support their loved one dealing with schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia Treatment – Psychosocial Interventions (Continued)

A psychiatrist, nurse, case manager, employment counselor, and substance-abuse counselor often make up an ACT team.

Assertive community treatment (ACT): Another form of psychosocial intervention includes use of out-patient support groups. Support teams including psychiatrists, nurses, case managers, and other counselors, meet regularly with the schizophrenic patient to help reduce the need for hospitalization or a decline in their mental status.

Schizophrenia Treatment – Psychosocial Interventions (Continued)

About 50% of individuals with schizophrenia suffer from some kind of substance abuse or dependence.

Substance abuse treatment: Many people with schizophrenia (up to 50%) also have substance abuse issues. These substance abuse issues worsen the behavioral symptoms of schizophrenia and need to be addressed for better outcomes.

Schizophrenia Treatment – Psychosocial Interventions (Continued)

A group socializes around a laptop computer.

Social skills training: Patients with schizophrenia may need to re-learn how to appropriately interact in social situations. This kind of psychosocial intervention involves rehearsing or role-playing real-life situations so the person is prepared when they occur. This type of training can reduce drug use, and improve relationships.

Schizophrenia Treatment – Psychosocial Interventions (Continued)

A woman helps a job applicant fill out forms.

Supported employment: Many people with schizophrenia have difficulty entering or re-entering the work force due to their condition. This type of psychosocial intervention helps people with schizophrenia to construct resumes, interview for jobs, and even connects them with employers willing to hire people with mental illness.

Schizophrenia Treatment – Psychosocial Interventions (Continued)

A doctor uses cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) intervention with a patient.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): This type of intervention can help patients with schizophrenia change disruptive or destructive thought patterns, and enable them to function more optimally. It can help patients “test” the reality of their thoughts to identify hallucinations or “voices” and ignore them. This type of therapy may not work in actively psychotic patients, but it can help others who may have residual symptoms that medication does not alleviate.

Schizophrenia Treatment – Psychosocial Interventions (Continued)

Weight gain can be a side effect of some antipsychotic and other psychiatric medications.

Weight management: Many anti-psychotic and psychiatric drugs cause weight gain as a side effect. Maintaining a healthy weight, eating a well-balanced diet, and exercising regularly helps prevent or alleviate other medical issues.

What Is the Prognosis for Schizophrenia?

A family supports each other.

The prognosis for people with schizophrenia can vary depending on the amount of support and treatment the patients receives. Many people with schizophrenia are able to function well and lead normal lives. However, people with schizophrenia have a higher death rate and higher incidence of substance abuse. When medications are taken regularly and the family is supportive, patients can have better outcomes.

 

-People Start to Heal The Moment They Are Heard- 

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Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Poor Diet = Poor Mental Health

Poor Diet = Poor Mental Health

In this groundbreaking talk, Dr. Weil illuminates the worst trends in American nutrition, and the toll they are taking on our health.

Researchers at Loma Linda University in California have found that adults in the state whose diets are poor are more likely to have poor mental health regardless of their gender, age, education, marital status or income level than those with healthy diets. The team reported that increased consumption of sugar was associated with bipolar disorder and that fried foods, or those that contain a lot of sugar and processed grains, were linked with depression.

To reach these conclusions the researchers reviewed data from more than 240,000 telephone surveys conducted with California residents over a 10-year period. The team found that nearly 17 percent of adults were likely to suffer from mental illness – 13.2 percent with “moderate psychological distress and 3.7 percent with severe psychological distress. Those whose diets were poor (they ate more French fries, fast food, soda and sugar) were more likely to be among those with mental illness than people whose diets were deemed healthy Study leader Jim E. Banta, Ph.D., M.P.H., said the results are similar to those from earlier studies conducted in other countries that found links between mental illness and unhealthy diets. While the new findings don’t prove that unhealthy diets contribute to mental illness, Dr. Banta said evidence seems to be pointing in that direction.

May take? These findings are disheartening but not surprising. The evidence from previous investigations conducted in Europe that Dr. Banta referred to suggests that the trans-fats and saturated fats in some junk foods increase the risk of depression. In 2010 researchers from Spain who followed the diet and lifestyle of more than 12,000 men and women for 6 years reported that at the outset, none of the participants had been diagnosed with depression, but at the study’s end, 657 were found to be depressed. They noted that the risk of depression increased among participants who consumed junk foods. In 2009, British researchers reported that among nearly 3,500 midlife men and women participating in a 5-year study those whose diets were high in processed meat, chocolates, sweet desserts, fried foods, refined cereals and high-fat dairy products were 58 percent more likely to be depressed that those whose diets were composed mainly of fruit, vegetables and fish.Contact us and we can get you started on the right track.

 

-People Start to Heal The Moment They Are Heard- 

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Lifestyle, Uncategorized

How to Cope with Loneliness During the Holiday Season

Health and Wellness Associates

How to Cope with Loneliness During the Holiday Season

loneliness2

Tips to make your holidays brighter when you feel alone

Christmas evokes images of green and red for many. But for those suffering from loneliness, the holiday blues are also a very real thing.

Loneliness is common during the holidays. When we feel there is an expectation is to experience extreme joy or happiness, feelings of sadness and loneliness can strike even harder.

Whether you’re feeling alone or you want to be there for those around you, understanding what causes loneliness, as well as how to minimize it, can make your holidays much more joyful.

Understanding loneliness

Feeling lonely doesn’t mean you don’t have friends, family or loved ones who care. In fact, it’s very possible to feel lonely while having a loving support system in tow.

Some studies have called loneliness a disease, and others have called it a “hidden killer” of the elderly. While there are many studies on loneliness, there is no exact definition.

Loneliness is a subjective feeling. It can refer to a state of solitude, as well as the perception of feeling alone. While loneliness is a universal human emotion, it amplifies is different ways. Lonely people often dread the holidays, because of the perception that everyone around them is experiencing human connection in a way that they are not.

Examples of groups that tend to experience this more than others include those who are recently single, divorced or widowed, those who live far from family, and those who stay emotionally distant from others. Studies have shown that adults under age 30 tend to experience significantly higher levels of loneliness than other age groups, though those ages 80 and older can experience high levels as well.

How to beat loneliness during the holidays

One thing that is agreed upon is that there are ways to overcome loneliness. However, because these ways tend to involve emotional risk, many are slow to adopt them. Whether you’re feeling alone or you are in solitude, here are some tips to use this holiday season:

Tips to overcome loneliness when you feel alone

  • Practice self-care. While you may be thinking about giving gifts to others this season, don’t hesitate to give yourself the gift of a spa treatment, invest in a hobby, or other activities that will get you to socialize and enjoy the season. Taking your focus off feeling alone can help curb the feeling.
  • Choose the right people to surround yourself with. When you’re lonely, it may be tempting to call up your friend who loves to co-commiserate. But because loneliness is contagious, you won’t be doing yourself any favors. Choose to surround yourself with positive people.
  • Pursue gratitude. Whether you prefer journaling, meditation or prayer, taking the time to write or say what you’re thankful for can shift your attention away from what you don’t have, and spotlight what you do have. Always remember that thankfulness is a choice.

Tips to overcome loneliness when you are alone

  • Be vulnerable. If you’re waiting for your neighbor to be the first to say hello, take the risk and say hi first. Call a friend you haven’t spoken with in a while, or learn more about that person you always take a fitness class next to. Remembering that we’re all seeking human connection can take the pressure off the situation.
  • Give back. Helping others who have less than we do often reminds us of all we have to be thankful for. Bonus: you may meet some volunteers who have similar interests to you, and are open to helping others.
  • Release your expectations. In the age of social media, it’s easy to think the holidays are supposed to look as perfect as a Christmas card. Rethinking your expectations can stop you from playing the comparison game, at which point you may realize you have plenty to be thankful for.

 

Stepping out of your comfort zone is never convenient or easy, but it may be just the thing you need this holiday season.

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Dr Mark Williams

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Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Reduce Anxiety Without Drugs

anxiety

 

Reduce Anxiety Without Drugs

 

 

“High Anxiety” may have been Mel Brooks’ idea of funny, but it’s no laughing matter for more than seven million North Americans who struggle with insomnia, headaches, muscle tension, eating problems (too much or not enough) and relationship conflicts that general anxiety disorder can trigger. But there have been some interesting treatment approaches making the news.

 

A free smartphone app called Personal Zen, designed by a clinical psychologist, offers an anxiety-reducing game that helps shift your attention away from a seemingly threatening situation or thought to a nonthreatening one.

 

But immediately we wondered: “What if my battery dies? Or there’s an incoming call while I’m using the app?” So if you’re trying this, we suggest you find a quiet spot and put your phone on airplane mode.

 

Then there’s the recent study that suggests you shouldn’t try to calm down. Instead, reframe your feelings by convincing yourself that you’re excited, a far more positive revved-up feeling, say the researchers.

 

We say that may work if you’re nervous about public speaking, but not if you’re fretting about paying your bills or losing your job; those thoughts are never exciting!

 

We like a third approach: According to Johns Hopkins researchers, mindful meditation can ease anxiety symptoms for some folks as well as medication can.

 

Daily, sit comfortably in a quiet room for 10 minutes. Close your eyes. Breathe slowly, in and out. If thoughts pop into your brain, expel them as you exhale. You’ll decrease your stressful feelings, reduce inflammation and release feel-good brain chemicals.

 

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Mantram? What is it?

In solitude there is healling. Speak to your soul. Listen to your heart. Sometimes in the absence of noise we find the answers.

In solitude there is healling. Speak to your soul. Listen to your heart. Sometimes in the absence of noise we find the answers.

Mantram: What Is It, And Should You Try It?

 

Mantram is a Sanskrit word that means, roughly, “instrument of thought.” As a discipline, it refers to the practice of silently repeating certain syllables or phrases. It is a way to keep the mind occupied by putting attention on sounds or words that are believed to have spiritual meaning and positive effects, and thus free from the usual endless succession of varied, distracting thoughts.

 

 

Mantram is most often associated with Hinduism, Buddhism, and other Eastern religions, but a similar practice is also part of Western religious tradition, as exemplified by the Roman Catholic Rosary and the Jesus Prayer (“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner”) of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

 

Some contemporary psychologists, however, recommend mantram as a purely secular method of diverting attention from troublesome thoughts in order to reduce anxiety, anger, and stress.

 

Several researchers have documented the efficacy of this method to improve emotional well-being. One study, published in the Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing in 2006, measured outcomes of a five-week program of mantram practice in a population of healthcare workers (nurses and social workers, primarily female), who were experiencing high stress.  Participants were asked to choose a mantram from recommended sayings from the major spiritual traditions and were given wrist-worn counters to tally the daily frequency of repetition. The investigators found that the program reduced stress and improved the emotional and spiritual well-being of the participants. They concluded that, “Mantram repetition is an innovative stress-reduction strategy that is portable, convenient, easy to implement, and inexpensive.”

 

 

As Dr. Weil says, “This accords with my experience. After reading about mantram in my early thirties, I began repeating om mani padme hum to myself when I was falling asleep, driving long distances, or just sitting quietly. After a time, I found I could use it to break cycles of worrying that made me anxious or kept me awake. It has also helped me get through dental procedures and remain calm in the midst of turmoil.

 

“I do not repeat the words on any fixed schedule or keep count of the number of times I do it, but I’ve done it so often that I can now slip into it almost without conscious effort. Because mantram repetition is, indeed, portable, convenient, easy to implement, and inexpensive, I recommend it to you as a method worth trying to take your attention away from thoughts that make you anxious or sad.”

 

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Foods That Fight Back Pain

Foods That Fight Back Pain

Foods That Fight Back Pain

 

As reported by the University of Maryland Medical Center, back pain is the second leading cause for doctor visits, with up to 80% of adults in the United States suffering from this type of pain. Inflammation is a common cause for back pain. While inflammation is a natural response to disease or injury in the body, making small changes to your daily diet can help reduce this inflammatory response.. There are many different types of foods that help fight inflammation and reduce back pain. Dietary changes can be used alone or in conjunction with other treatments as recommended by your physician.

 

Fatty Fish

 

Fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel, contain omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce both inflammation and pain in the body, and can be especially effective for non-surgical back pain according to research at the University of Pittsburgh. However, there is a risk of bleeding with certain forms of omega-3 fatty acids that may be increased if you take blood-thinning medications so check with your doctor.

 

Red Grapes

 

Red grapes contain a compound called resveratrol. Resveratrol has been shown to help prevent deterioration of tissue and damage to cartilage in the back. Other foods that contain this beneficial compound include blueberries, cranberries, and red wine (but not too much!).

 

Cherries

 

Tart cherries contain antioxidants called anthocyanins, which have been shown to be effective in reducing inflammation, joint pain, and muscle pain.

 

Berries

 

Berries contain high amounts of antioxidants, helping to reduce inflammation. Certain berries also contain anthocyanins and ellagitannins, which can fight inflammation and pain. Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, acai, and pomegranate all have pain-fighting components.

 

Pineapple

 

Pineapple is well-known for helping to relieve pain due to the enzyme, bromelain. Bromelain helps suppress the inflammatory response, can reduce swelling, and ease pain. However, bromelain can increase bleeding, affect ulcers, and interact with medications, including certain antibiotics.

 

Broccoli

 

Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables contain a compound called sulforaphane that can reduce inflammation before it starts and block certain damaging enzymes to help prevent destruction of joint tissue.

 

Spices and Herbs

 

How you season your food can help fight pain as well. Use herbs and spices such as ginger, turmeric, boswellia, white willow bark, and devil’s claw. Some herbs may interact with medications, so check with your doctor before you start taking any new supplements.

 

Foods that Create Inflammation

 

Just as there are foods that can fight inflammation and pain, there are also foods that can potentially trigger an inflammatory response from the body, increasing inflammation and pain. The Cleveland Clinic recommends avoiding gluten, tobacco, and foods from the nightshade family, including the following:

Tomatoes

Peppers

White Potatoes

Eggplant

Paprika

 

Because all individuals react differently to different foods, try avoiding these foods for a couple of weeks to see if the pain improves. This can help you to identify your dietary inflammatory triggers.

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Health and Disease, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

2 Ways to Practicing Visual Imagination

2 Ways To Practicing Visual Imagination

2 Ways To Practicing Visual Imagination

 

Visual imagination or visualization can be a potent tool for emotional well-being. It is mostly what we focus on when we daydream, and it can totally fascinate us when we engage in imagining what we desire.

 

A significant portion of the brain, the visual cortex, is responsible for processing visual imagination and other data coming from the retinas and optic nerves. When the brain is not occupied with that task, it is free to generate pictures of its own – from your brain’s perspective, the distinction between what you see and what you visually imagine is not large. The visual cortex can act as a conduit between the conscious and unconscious mind, giving access to parts of the nervous system that regulate body functions normally considered involuntary.

 

Meditation on visual images is a religious practice in Hinduism and Buddhism, where geometric designs of spiritual significance are used. Apart from its religious purpose, this sort of meditation is said to calm the mind and body.

 

Visual images that we pay frequent attention to can determine the set point of our emotions just as habitual patterns thought can, possibly more so, because they influence physiology so strongly.

 

To get a sense of the power of visual imagination, close your eyes and picture a lemon wedge, freshly cut and glistening with juice. Concentrate on making the image as clear and detailed as you can. Then visualize bringing the lemon to your lips, sucking on it, and biting into it. As you do this, chances are you will experience sensations in your mouth and salivation, just as if you had sucked on an actual slice of lemon.

 

Practitioners of visualization therapy, visual imagination and interactive guided imagery teach patients to modify health conditions by taking advantage of this mind/body phenomenon, often with good results. Over the years, I have referred many patients to such therapists and have seen benefit with problems ranging from atopic dermatitis (eczema) and autoimmunity to cancer and recovery from surgery.

 

To improve emotional well-being, I am experimenting with visualization in two ways:

 

Practice shifting attention from negative thoughts to mental images that evoke positive feelings. For example, think of an actual place where you experienced contentment, comfort, and serenity.

Select an image that you associate with your most positive moods and focus on it frequently. Take that scene from earlier, and recreate it in your mind’s eye. Each time you do, concentrate on sharpening the details, making the colors brighter, imagining sounds, physical sensations, and scents that might have been part of the experience. Keep that image as a place you can go to in your mind whenever you feel stressed, anxious or sad.

Find your own such place, and visit it mentally whenever stress threatens to overwhelm you.

If the negative mental and physical effects of unhealthy stress are affecting your day-to-day life, take steps to address it. Proper diet, lifestyle and supplements may be beneficial.  Call us at Health and Wellness Associates to get you on your personal wellness plan.

 

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Surviving Heart Attack Often Means Leaving Job Behind

heartattack

Surviving Heart Attack Often Means Leaving Job Behind

 

Recovering from a heart attack can be a long, painful process, and now a new study finds that almost one-quarter of those patients who returned to work ultimately left their jobs over the following year.

 

The findings suggest that “even though patients return to work after a heart attack, they may still require individual adjustments at their workplaces in order to stay employed,” said study author Dr. Laerke Smedegaard Petersen. She is a graduate student at Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark.

 

An estimated 676,000 people in the United States survive heart attacks each year, according to the American Heart Association. Many survivors are of working age: The average age of heart attack is 65 for men and 72 for women, the association says.

 

The new study examined the medical and work records of over 22,000 patients in Denmark who were employed before suffering heart attacks between 1997 and 2012.

 

Of those, 91 percent returned to work within a year. But within a year of going back to work, 24 percent of the patients had left their jobs. That’s three times the normal rate of leaving a job, the researchers reported. It’s not clear, however, whether the heart attack survivors quit their jobs, or were fired or laid off.

 

Patients aged 30 to 39 and 60 to 65, and those who had heart failure, diabetes or depression, were especially likely to leave their jobs. Workers with higher incomes and more education were more likely to stay on the job, the findings showed.

 

Petersen said the percentage of heart attack patients who return to work and then leave their jobs may be even higher in the United States.

 

“In Denmark, all citizens have equal access to health care and all patients receive treatment free of charge,” she explained.

One U.S. expert said the findings are sobering.

 

“The study is an important reminder that recovery is often measured in months and years, not just weeks,” said Dr. Harlan Krumholz, director of the Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation at Yale-New Haven Hospital in Connecticut.

 

“To understand the impact of a heart attack requires that we fully understand people’s roles and function. We should study how best to help people fully resume their prior activities and have the choice as to whether they want to continue working,” Krumholz explained.

 

Karina Davidson, executive director of Columbia University’s Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health, said fatigue and an inability to perform manual labor are some of the reasons why heart attack survivors leave their jobs.

 

“Patients after a heart attack do indeed have a long road to recovery, and cardiac rehabilitation, strong family support and follow-up with their medical care are important components to ensure the best recovery possible,” she said. “Returning to work full-time will be realistic for some patients, but not for all.”

 

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Toxins and Fibromyalgia

fibromyalgia.jpg

An Over-Toxified Body Could Be Causing Fibromyalgia

 

Are you fatigued or in pain? It may be time to check underlying toxic exposures that create conditions which may be exacerbating how you feel.

We are electrical beings. There are many things in our world today that can deplete electricity.  Causes of depleted electricity can be linked to Fluoride, and medications containing fluoride such as SSRI’s, toxic cosmetics containing aluminum, mercury, and vaccines. Addictions causing a toxic liver can be a cause of depleted oxygen and energy. These include smoking, excessive alcohol, and sugar.  Food choices that can steal our energy and disrupt our hormones are pesticides in processed foods, MSG, Aspartame, HFCS and the SAD diet, all which can lead to increased risk for inflammation and other autoimmunity disorders. According to Science News, chronic fatigue is in our gut and not our head.  A toxic liver and toxic gut will affect all organs without exception. It could deter healing, slow down recovery, cause fatigue, weaken immunity, cause low energy, increase weight gain, depression, and ailments of all sorts including autoimmunity disorders. EMF’s can deplete our energy and disrupt our sleep patterns which continue to stress the mind and body. A high caffeine diet can exhaust adrenal glands.  And finally, deficiencies in Magnesium can steal our energy and oxygen-rich red blood cell count can be low.

There is a blood test called FM/a that identifies possible markers produced by immune system blood cells in people with fibromyalgia. But a diagnosis is really dependent on how you feel. Fibromyalgia includes body pain, fatigue, and insomnia. But Fibromyalgia can also be called a skin condition.  Trigger points are inflamed tissue that’s located just below the skin and is generally especially sensitive to the touch. The pain symptoms of fibromyalgia are believed by many researchers to be related to the fascia of the body. In fibromyalgia, the amount of blood flow to the peripheral tissues (the skin) is substantially reduced.

In layman terms, the immune system within the skin is acting up and this involves the capillaries and small blood vessels. To make matters worst, fibromyalgia is found in our gut. Fibromyalgia pain is found mostly in the back of the head, neck, stomach, hip and knees. Most complaints are chronic headaches and nausea.

 

But, fibromyalgia is no longer considered to be similar to the arthritic condition. (a disease of the joints) If we were to take a step back -we could possibly find the hidden connections.  There is a mental health concern with fibromyalgia that is not with arthritis. 

Today our children from about age 7 to 10 years old are diagnosed with fibromyalgia.  You may find this shocking. But if we check, it’s no surprise to find that these children can also have a toxic internal environment from a poor diet and lack of movement. They are also stressed. Subsidized school lunches can increase the risk for obesity. Increase wi-fi use can increase toxicities. Being overweight can play a causative role in pain, inflammation, and low energy levels. Secondly, children are prescribed more antibiotics, Ritalin, statins and antidepressants in the last decade. Medications can decrease good gut microbiome, decrease the quality of sleep and cause weight issues.

 Dont ever treat fibromyalgia with another toxin or chemical, such as an unnecessary prescription.  

If you think you have fibromyalgia, and you want to know how to cure this, please give us a call and set up a consultation.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived

Dr P Carrothers

312-972-WELL

 

HealthWellnessAssociates@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/HealthAndWellnessAssociates/

 

Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Sibling Stress

Sibling-Stress

How to Navigate A Stressful Relationship with a Sibling

 

Parents have a huge effect on the people their children become. But there’s another family dynamic that can influence us just as much, if not more: the one with our siblings. Relationships with brothers and sisters usually continue long after our parents are gone, and they affect us at every stage of life.

 

Never is this more evident than when we struggle with an adult sibling. It is normal for brothers and sisters to compete with each other as kids, and even fight; parents often assume we’ll grow out of it, and many of us do. Yet simmering resentments about family roles or parental favoritism can persist over time and cause real pain and rivalry.

 

We may also find ourselves at odds with a sibling over core values — like political or religious views, or how to best raise our kids — and these differences can intensify routine disagreements.

 

As intractable as sibling conflicts can seem, they don’t need to be permanent, says psychotherapist Jeanne Safer, PhD. Adjusting our perceptions and taking a few simple actions can help build the best possible bonds with our challenging brothers and sisters, even if the relationships might never be perfect.

 

CHALLENGES TO OVERCOME

Idealizing sibling relationships.   “We have this idea that these relationships are, or should be, wholly positive,” says Safer, “and we use them as metaphors for very high ideals: Sisterhood is powerful. All men are brothers. It can be hard to live up to the idealizations.”

Parental favoritism. Safer says parental favoritism plays a prominent role in nearly all sibling conflicts — and it has its roots in a parent’s experience with his or her own siblings. “If a parent is the youngest of three children, and has three children, she is probably going to favor the youngest child, seeing herself there unconsciously,” she explains.

Denial. Believing you’ve outgrown any childhood rivalry with your sibling, or that you should have, makes it hard to address underlying resentments.

Differing destinies. If one sibling has a more successful career, is luckier in love, or has an easier time having or raising children, this can sustain resentments developed in childhood, Safer says. She cites the case of a physician who was a failed musician. The doctor envied her less-affluent sister, who played the piano beautifully.

Opposing values. You may be a lifelong Democrat and your sister a staunch Republican, or you may let your kids roam free while your brother keeps his on a short leash. If these differences create tension, Safer believes it indicates historical factors are at play. “These differences in values can usually be handled if the underlying issues are addressed,” she says.

Divergent memories. We might be angry at siblings who don’t share our views of the family system, but Safer believes that our memories and experiences are inevitably different. “You and your siblings have the same biological parents but live in different ‘psychological families’ because of the different roles you play,” she says.

Parental interference. When conflict erupts between siblings, parents often push for immediate reconciliation, Safer notes. “This very often means that the higher-functioning sibling is supposed to suck it up and tolerate anything that the lower-functioning one does.”

STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS

Take the initiative. “If you’re waiting for your sibling to address the issues between you, you may have to wait a very long time,” says Safer. “Get the ball rolling by reaching out yourself.”

Remember the good things. If you’re preparing to address a conflict with your sibling, Safer suggests a positive focus. Recall times when he or she was kind to you, stood up for you, helped you with something. “In your conversation, bring it up and thank him or her.”

Ask your sibling about his or her experience. Ask how he or she felt in your family — and be open to the explanation. Don’t expect it to match your own. Safer suggests this type of approach: “I really want to make things better between us, and I think that starts with our childhood. What was your experience of our parents?”

Address difficulties directly. Don’t let a casual “Mom likes you best” or “I always have to take care of everything” pass without a sincere response, Safer says. Ask if the two of you can talk about it. Explain that you want to connect and get beyond your roles.

Listen nondefensively. “You need to do a lot of listening,” says Safer. “And you need to listen particularly carefully to what the sibling has to say about the person you least want to hear about — yourself.”

Offer your services. Your sibling may respond better to what you do than what you say, especially if he or she is less inclined to ask for help, Safer notes. Offer to watch the kids, do some cooking, run errands. This allows you to show your implicit regard for him or her, which can help build trust.

Settle for modest improvements. Sibling struggles are deeply rooted, and they don’t always change for the better immediately — or completely. Your sibling might disagree that your issues stem from early family life, and he or she may not be ready for change. “But trying counts,” says Safer. “If you can go from being so estranged that you can’t stand to be together to being able to be decent to each other, that’s big progress.”

 

Please contact us with any of your concerns.

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived   J Spayde

312-972-WELL

HealthWellnessAssociates@gmail.com