Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Nutritional Approach To Clinical Depression

Many people who are diagnosed with clinical depression have found great value in adding a nutritional approach to their medical treatment.

The idea is to put an emphazis on those food groups that contain as much nutritional value as possible. Authors who have brought a great deal of knowledge to the table are mostly found among those who advocate a vegan or a raw food diet. Their reasoning being that the more food is still alive when you consume it the more minerals and vitamins you actually take in to support your physical well being.

One author and nutritional teacher I respect the most is Victoria Boutenko. She, as well as her entire family, were suffering from all kinds of illnesses for many years before they decided to go raw. Not only did each family member experience instance improvement in their health condition but they also noticed depression lifting more and more rapidly.

Over the years Mrs Boutenko has taken to teach about their journey and has published various book on the subject matter. Today´s tip is a classic:

"Green Smoothies"

Just look it up in your local book store or head over to Amazon.

How to Recognize 4 Common, But Bizarre Side Effects Related to Anti-Depressants

In order to understand the side effects of anti-depressant drugs, one needs to know a few basic facts about brain chemistry. Brain chemicals are called neurotransmitters (they are responsible for communicating information chemically between the brain and cells). Considering that there are hundreds of neurotransmitters, three are important for our discussion: serotonin, adrenaline, and dopamine (referred to as the brain's "feel good" neurotransmitters).

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that aids communication in areas of the brain and spinal cord. This neurotransmitter is said to play a role in regulating a person's moods, emotions, and perception of pain. Functions thought to be regulated by nerve cells that utilize serotonin include mood and behavior, physical coordination, appetite, body temperature, and sleep.

Adrenaline is one of the hormones secreted by the adrenal glands that help release sugar stored in the liver. Adrenaline increases blood supply to the muscles, and helps the muscles contract in response to stress or exercise. Similar in chemical structure to amphetamines, adrenaline is often called the "fight or flight" hormone. In addition, adrenaline increases the heart rate, and accelerates certain metabolic processes.

This is a neurotransmitter that's linked to sexual desire, pleasure, and movement. Dopamine is essential for the healthy functioning of the central nervous system; it has effects on emotion, perception and movement. Parkinson's disease is caused by the degeneration or the destruction of nerve cells that produce dopamine. Schizophrenia and the psychotic features of bipolar disorder are associated with imbalances of the activity of dopamine and serotonin in the brain.

Patients taking anti-depressants are usually reduced to a relaxed state once the drug takes effect. However, over a period of time, some anti-depressant users start to show bursts of intense twitching around the eyes, often called tics. In some cases the tics lead to a wide-based, twisting and writhing of the hands, lurching gaits or swinging and flailing of the arms. This may take weeks, months or years to develop. This is one side-effect of taking drugs containing serotonin, i.e., Prozac, Paxil, Luvox, and Zoloft. There are thousands of cases listed in the Harvard Medical School Library detailing different side-effects involving loss of motor control when certain anti-depressants are used.

The 4 Common Side-Effects
Four common side-effects to be aware of that are related to taking prescribed anti-depressants include:

1. Tics, which is twitching, usually around the eyes.
2. The second is drug-induced Parkinsonism, with symptoms similar to those seen in Parkinson's disease.
3. The third is neurologically driven agitation, ranging from mild leg tapping to severe panic.
4. The fourth is muscle spasms which, when they are mild, can cause tension in the neck, shoulder, or jaw, but can lock body parts in bizarre positions when severe.

These 4 neurological side-effects represent abnormalities in the involuntary motor system, which is a large group of nerves found deep in the older part of the brain. Normally, these nerves influence automatic functions like eye-blinking, facial expressions, and posture.

When the brain attempts to compensate for the effects of a drug, it can lead to a disorganized, chaotic activity in the involuntary motor system and loss of motor control. An example is Prozac. Reports have shown that patients experiencing any of these side-effects are at increased risk to develop the others, including tics. Many studies report that once the drug was discontinued, and stopped being used by patients, many of the involuntary movements ceased completely.

Stress aggravates tics. Many patients complain that tics get worse when they are stressed or anxious. Due to this, many patients withdraw from social settings because they are afraid that a tic would act up in the middle of a conversation. Imagine meeting a stranger at a social gathering whom you may want as a client, or maybe as a friend, and you get a sudden outbreak of tics?

A study being conducted at the Yale University School of Medicine has estimated that 32% of patients develop persistent tics after 5 years on major tranquilizers, 57% by 15 years, and 68% by 25 years. With tics being associated with serotonin boosters, it is not known how many patients will ultimately develop them, or what percentage might be permanent. Serotonin boosters are still relatively new and these sides-effects have not been studied systematically.

Parkinsonism is a term used for drug-induced side effects that resemble the symptoms of Parkinson's disease in the elderly. Parkinsonism is generally considered reversible when the drug is stopped, while Parkinson's disease has an inevitably progressive course.

Parkinson's disease can make people feel overwhelmingly fatigued and lazy. Many people on Prozac-type drugs experience a strange "dead tired-like fatigue" in which they feel "worn out". What's strange is that the person is tired, but is unable to fall asleep. Their whole expression from speech, facial, walking, and movement forms make them look as if they are doing everything in slow motion.

In some of the most severe cases, individuals are almost rendered powerless and trapped in a stage of arrest. Some patients may even develop strange uncontrollable behavior characteristics.

Muscle Spasms
Muscle spasms are prolonged contractions of muscles that lock body parts in abnormal positions that can last from minutes to hours. This is in contrast to tics, which are short bursts of repetitive activity.

There are many documented cases about patients who experience muscle spasms as a result to taking anti-depressants. Take the one about a thirty-eight year old Chinese woman who lived in Singapore, who after five months of taking Luvox, developed severe tightening of the muscles in her jaw, resulting in involuntary clenching of her teeth. Her lockjaw became so severe that she had great difficulty chewing food. Obviously, such a dramatic situation would be quite scary. The patient's lockjaw improved when the Luvox was reduced from 100 to 50 milligrams, but did not fully clear until the drug was stopped.

Some cases of muscle spasms can be even more dramatic and terrifying. Spasms affecting the arms, legs, or torso can lock the body in bizarre twisted postures. In the January 1994 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, there was a case reported regarding a fifty-four year old woman who developed acute spasms in her legs and back, a month after she started taking 20 milligrams of Prozac a day.

The spasms caused bizarre posturing in which she tilted backward to the right. When she tried to walk, the spasms caused her to drag her left foot. In addition to the bizarre posturing, and foot dragging, the patient developed a tremor in her lip called "rabbit syndrome", and spasms in her left eyelid that clamped her eye shut.

Agitation was the first of the neurological side effects associated with Prozac-type medications to come to the attention of professionals. In a 1989 article published by a team of Harvard Medical School psycho pharmacologists at McLean Hospital, it was reported that one patient, within days of starting Prozac, experienced severe anxiety and restlessness. She paced the floor throughout the day, found sleep at night difficult because of the restlessness, and constantly shifted her legs when seated.

In another case, two days after starting Prozac, another patient stated that he couldn't keep his legs still. This same patient stated that he would find himself bicycling in bed or just turning around and around. He concluded that this restlessness of his legs kept his roommate awake.

It was concluded in the report that neurologically driven agitation was a "common side effect of Prozac", and estimated that 10-25% of patients experience this suffering. Similar reports of agitation with Zoloft, Paxil, and Luvox appeared after these drugs were introduced. In medication-induced agitation, the patient cannot escape the urge to move, particularly to move the legs. When the drug is stopped being used, the agitation is usually cleared within a matter of days.

We live in a time when side effects make up the downside of taking a prescribed medication. And it's not just with anti-depressants. The next time you're watching television, pay close attention to the ads that feature a prescribe medicine and listen to the list of side-effects associated with using the particular drug.

It's not to say that prescribed medication is all bad. However, individuals experiencing negative side-effects with any medication should report these occurrences to their physician immediately. The bottom line is that once you recognize the side-effects and become aware of the possible complications that may accompany the use of a certain medication; this should open the door to explore the use of alternative medicine. It's an individual choice that must be considered in deciding what other options may work for you or a loved one when it comes to taking any medication.

At the National Stress and Anxiety Prevention Center (NSAPC), we promote total health - body, mind and spirit. While we focus on the mental aspects of relieving stress, anxiety and depression, we must not forget that nothing is impossible for God. Remember that anything you do outside of your regular routine challenges your brain.

When you create a world of peace and tranquility instead of one filled with fear and chaos, excessive stress, depression and anxiety have no entry points in your life. Remember, these three conditions cannot occupy the same space at the same time when peace and tranquility is present.

If you would like to learn more about the dangers of anti-depressants and alternate ways to treat certain conditions in your life, please visit the website at

This article was written by Richard Wills, also known as Dr. Rich, CEO of the National Stress and Anxiety Prevention Center (NSAPC) and a member of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). He has written numerous articles and has helped 100's of individuals defeat excessive stress, anxiety attacks and depression over the past 22 years. He is an expert and author of the breakthrough book Suffer No More - The Ultimate Guide to Free Yourself From Excessive Stress, Anxiety Attacks and Depression in 2½ Minutes which provides a strategic level of drug-free therapy for stress, anxiety and depression using biblical principles and medical scientific facts evolving from his personal, firsthand experience with what works and what doesn't work. For additional information regarding upcoming events, services offered and a free consultation, please feel free to visit or call 877-747-7960 today. © Richard Wills 2011

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Stanford's Sapolsky On Depression in U.S.

Clinical Depression: Also an Inheritance

People not only inherit the colour of eyes or the skin tone or height from their parents but one can become heir to clinical depression as well. Researchers have proved that if somebody from the family suffers from such a mental disease, the probability is very high for someone from next-generation to also be affected with similar complications. The root cause of this disease is still away to be discovered but scientists have brought such the factors into light. Even it is also proved that chemical imbalances in brain can cause depressive disorder, manic depression and dysthymia. Such preposition is inherited in most of the cases.

Recent researches have proved that a person is prone to have 1.5 to 3 times more chances of developing stress and depression but which gene is specifically responsible for it is yet to be identified. This is the reason why it is still tough to say which gene is the culprit. But there is no controversy that hereditary cause clinical depression in most of the cases. This is a serious condition that can completely change the way how you feel, you think and you act. An individual suffering from this health complication can have a diverse change in the behavior. Usually, they start to become less interested in any kind of activities. Body, mood, thoughts - all can be changed for any individual.

Clinical depression is a serious mental illness that can last long for weeks, months or may be years. Even an individual's several kinds of habits including eating, feeling, and thinking can be changed. This is not easy to find out the exact cause. Suddenly one can find to be in very depressed mood. Not only for once but the person may suffer such consequences for several times. The person can tends to cry and feel sad very often. There is not such concrete reason behind such saddest feeling but this is very often for a person suffering from this chemical complication. In other words, this is the basic among all the other symptoms of depression. Along with it the person can feel a decrease in the feeling to be happy. The victim can show lethargy in most of the cases.

Suicidal tendency is the most common among such patients. They do not have the strength to fight against the grim reality. Regardless of age and gender, anyone can be affected with pain and depression. Social background also matters a little. A combination of genetic, psychological, and environmental factors can be blamed as the most responsible factor of such a mental complication. More dangerously, it can destroy a person' will power to be normal once again as this does not occur due to some personal weaknesses. This is the reason why people get confused on how to overcome depression. There are several therapies and medications available to treat such mental complication. Help is required from both medical and personal sphere to treat such a patient. With right treatment and very kind support from the family one can get rid of all such complication.

Milton King has been researching on clinical depression since a long period of time. If anybody wants to get more and more information on pain and depression, one can go through the articles of Milton King. He can provide very useful information that can help one effectively.

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Learn About The Cycle Of Depression

Deepen your understanding of depression by taking a look at the cycle in which depression usually occurs:

The Latest News About Depression: Could Your Brain Have a Natural Opiate Deficiency?

If absolutely nothing has been able to break your cycle of depression, and you are frustrated to the point where you don't know how you can live without getting better soon, there is an alternate theory about your problem you need to learn more about.

I have spent thousands of hours doing general research on moods and the human brain because I am completely fascinated by the subject. I recently discovered something that continues to blow me away when I think about it. Being a victim myself of bipolar depression, terrible anxiety disorders and ADHD, I know what it is like trying to escape the indescribable negative feelings and overwhelming heaviness and terror these disorders create in the mind.

What follows will probably stun you if you have never heard it before, but I think it also proves that drinking and/or drug use and mood disorders --especially depression -- are linked by a natural cause. Here is what I find incredible and am surprised is not that well known or publicized:

It was recently discovered that the human brain and body manufactures morphine in the identical molecular structure as that which comes from the opium poppy. Here is the clearest proof, published in a report just 2 years ago by the Neuroscience Research Institute: "Recent empirical findings have contributed valuable mechanistic information in support of a regulated de novo biosynthetic pathway for chemically authentic morphine and related morphinan alkaloids within (human) animal cells".

The opium poppy, of course, is what the devil's drug heroin is made from. Not coincidentally, I believe that is why it is the most addictive drug on earth. It makes one feel so euphorically happy when they first start taking it, that the desire to feel that way all the time gets embedded in the brain. It is really important that you understand that your brain does not manufacture a chemical that makes you feel like you have taken an opiate -- it manufactures the exact opiate itself.

We know for certain that what the brain manufactures in terms of neurotransmitters or other "feel good" brain chemicals, it unfortunately does not manufacture enough of in people who are clinically depressed. You have undoubtedly heard examples of these other "feel-good" neuro-chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin or endorphins. Too little of these chemicals results in depression, and antidepressants help correct the problem.

Doctors don't know exactly how most of these drugs work, mind you, and some were meant for totally different problems -- but we'll save that for another article. The main point I am driving at is that if some people can be deficient in other brain chemicals, it certainly stands to reason that they could be deficient in their opiate levels. From what I have researched this is being referred to as either Endorphin Deficiency Syndrome, or Endogenous Opioid Deficiency. Not having enough opiates is a subject I have direct experience with and can describe for you, as a bad back got me into opiate-based painkillers and I got addicted to them.

Because you develop a tolerance an opiate drug, you need more and more and more of it over time just to feel "normal" after taking the drug for several months. Without it, after taking higher amounts for a while, you go into opiate withdrawal. I don't think there is anything more uncomfortable and frightening than this kind of withdrawal, either. Your body feels like it has the flu times 100, and your mind goes into a state of a tortured paralysis. Doing anything effectively while in such a state is nearly impossible, and your brain is stuck on one thought and one thought only -- how to get more opiates.

One reason people go to rehab is to get some medical relief from such sickness by way of other drugs the doctors can give you to keep you a little more comfortable. You need mental support as well, because your brain function is totally impaired. Depression is also inevitable, and that leads us back to the point of this article.

There are growing numbers of what they call "treatment resistant" people who have got depression. The thinking is that some people are driven into depression by the lack of the naturally made opiate. Every one of the people in this group whose web comments I read experienced what they called an incredibly pronounced and dramatic lift in their mood upon taking an opiate. They are completely convinced it is the only thing that will help beating depression. After trying everything else, they get stuck in a position where they know they need an opiate, but feel very guilty about it because of the attached negative stigmas to the drug.

Fortunately, a drug has been developed that is used for easing people off of opiate addictions and it is called Suboxone. It is made in doses of 1 MG pills, where up to 18 MG might be prescribed for a heavy addict in withdrawal. But I have heard of people going on Suboxone for the long term with very good effects at just 2 MG. It is addicting, but people experienced with opiates say if you run out of your Suboxone you may feel a little achy for a few days at the 2 MG level, that's all. I should mention that obviously Suboxone itself is a type of substitute opiate to help addicts, and giving it to people long term where technically they could become slightly addicted is highly controversial in the medical community. Some docs frown upon this whole notion, while others know it's a life-saver. I am not a doctor, so you need to speak with a progressive psychiatrist about everything I have mentioned here.

Hopefully this knowledge can make a difference in somebody's life, and help bring happiness to those stuck in the awful grip of depression-- if they are truly treatment resistant. How about you? What do you think of somebody taking an opiate type substitute for perhaps the rest of your life. Do you frown on it or believe it should be OK to practice this idea? I pray this information will reach somebody who has not lost hope while depressed. So please spread the word about this and post references to this article in places where people in need might see it, please.

My name is Thomas Rees and I am originally from New York, now living in Los Angeles. I quit my 18 year career on Wall Street and doing a radio show to pursue ventures that can help make a difference in people's lives who suffer from mood disorders and or substance abuse as I did. I suffered a severe midlife crisis after my divorce, and can identify with people stricken with depression.

Clinical depression is a living hell on earth -- and I endured it for many years before being hospitalized to get better. I'm now on a drug regime for depression and anxiety. I'm grateful to have my life back, better than ever. I really feel that sober living makes the difference between relapsing frequently or not, and that after going to a treatment center one should definitely take some time in this venue. I have launched a massive site with 7000 houses listed so people can find the nearest sober living or halfway house in their neighborhood!

Come visit Sober Living Halfway House Search

You can find my blog at Depression, Anxiety, and Addiction. Look for the Endorphin deficiency post and it has the website I was talking about. If someone in your family has a mood disorder or a possible addiction, you should find the blog very helpful. I'm not selling anything but honesty.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Symptoms Of Depression

The Secret of Postnatal Depression

Around 20 percent of women and 10 percent of men go through postnatal depression. There is nothing to be ashamed about if you are one of them and if you are a friend or partner, you should not judge them for their feelings. There are many reasons why someone will go through these problems and it is possible to get treatment without the use of medication.

Postnatal depression is commonly referred to a postpartum depression. It affects both men and women, for different reasons, but is more commonly remembered as a condition that many new moms go through. Women usually find the disorder occurs due to a sudden change in hormones while men will find it occurs due to a sudden change in lifestyle.

There are many feelings that will be experienced while a man or woman is going through postnatal depression. Some will have a fear of not being able to care or provide for the infant while others will feel resentment for the baby changing their lives so much. This is commonly the reason why parents do not like talking to each other or their friends about their feelings; they fear that the other parent or the friends will not understand their feelings and will judge them.

Making a few changes in the home can really help with dealing with the postpartum depression. Setting a schedule has been known to help, especially for men, since it means they can have some order back into their lives. Getting the rest needed helps both sexes because it gives the bodies a chance to rejuvenate and deal with the next day.

Techniques like the Emotional Freedom Technique are commonly used to help with treating postnatal depression. EFT is done in three stages. The first stage is when the person suffering with the condition is able to talk openly about their fears and feelings. This helps the professional know the best ways to treat them. The second stage is the treatment phase; this is when pressure is placed on acupuncture points and the person suffering will think about their feelings and say a mantra over and over again.

The benefit of EFT is that the treatment and post-treatment phases (the last part) will continue until the fears and feelings and subsided enough to help treat postnatal depression. This is something that can be used on men and women and has been known to help a number of people. The main benefit is that there is no need to take any antidepressant medication.

Learn How You Can Get Rid of Your Postpartum Depression today.

Learn a natural postpartum depression treatment at

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Finding a Treatment for Clinical Depression

If you feel that you have clinical depression or have been officially diagnosed with this very common mental health disorder, then looking for information on how to treat it online is a great idea. There was a time when finding treatment for clinical depression was virtually impossible since people just didn't want to talk about it, but now it is fairly common for people to discuss their mental health issues with friends and family.

Finding treatment for clinical depression can be done in any number of ways, but most people start with their family doctor. You might feel embarrassed to discuss your depression with him or her, but they have either heard it all before or might even have suspected that you were suffering from it already. There is nothing wrong with discussing your feelings about this with your doctor and if you don't get a positive outcome, then find another doctor.

What About Psychiatrists?

Years ago, the psychiatrist's role in the life of a depressed person was very important but now he or she acts more like a case manager would in a hospital setting. They are also usually the only licensed person who is able to or would be willing to prescribe medications. In old movies, you see people lying on a psychiatrist's couch, telling them their problems, but that doesn't really happen anymore.

Prescription Medications

By now, everyone has seen at least one television commercial for one of the dozens of medications that are used for treatment for clinical depression. These medications certainly do work on some people (but not all of them), but they often come with side effects that make them intolerable for some individuals.

Seeing a Therapist

A good place to also start seeking treatment for clinical depression is a therapist. These come in different forms and have a variety of letters after their name. Usually, a family therapist, a councelor, or a licenced social worker will be able to work with you to find answers to your problems. This can be done with talk therapy or any number of behavioral therapies that will help you to overcome your depression.

Alternative Treatments

Because of the inherent dangers of prescription medications, more and more people are turning to alternative treatments. These also come in different forms and can be as easy as taking a yoga class or going to see an acupuncturist. You can also look into a wide variety of herbal and natural remedies that have been used for centuries and have been proven to provide useful results.

Herbal supplements such as Ginseng or St. John's Wort can be used in conjunction with any of the above treatments and will help you feel better within a matter of days. In addition, by opting for a more natural and less processed diet, you will be able to detoxify your body, which will in turn help your mind. Many practitioners recommend the use of all of these methods for treatment for clinical depression rather than taking medication that can harm the body.

Are you suffering from depression. Visit our site '' and learn about the types of depression, the signs and symptoms of depression, the antidepressants and antidepressant side effects and the additional treatment options available to treat depression.

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Omega-3 and Depression - Happy People or Happy Hype

Happy hands are busy hands, this old adage was very much true before the Industrial Revolution in America. As the workdays became shorter and there were fewer things to occupy a person's time addictions became a popular form of recreation after the Civil War and all through the years leading up to the Great Depression. As World War II drew to a close people in America found the purpose and now as we round the first turn of the new century the headlines are more about the generation that has been lost rather than the cut accomplishments of the great nation. Searching for answers, many medical professionals have turned to the link between nutrition and depression in order to explain the growing epidemic of mental illnesses.

Two studies done right at the turn-of-the-century found a correlation between countries with the highest rates of depression and the lowest rates of fish consumption. While this link is not conclusive evidence that a lack of omega-3 fatty acids causes depression, it does offer an interesting proposition. Increase the dietary intake of fish oil and see if the depression gets better. While studies have given intriguing results, getting rid of depression is not as simple as just increasing the intake of omega-3 fatty acids.

Scientists point to the two most active ingredients in omega-3 fish oil as the reason patients receive some benefit. These nutrients eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) have led to thousands of hypotheses concerning the mechanism by which omega-3 fatty acids provide the benefit to humans. The large number of ideas translates into English as meaning no one has yet come up with the real reason it helps.

An early study by Harvard University medical school work with only 30 patients. Half of these patients were given nearly 10 g of fish oil per day and the other half received olive oil. 22 of the participants were all medications to treat their disorder and their medications were unchanged. After 120 days the group taking fish oil capsules showed a significant reduction in their disorders progression and reported less depressive feelings. The follow-up to this study in 2006 was unable to duplicate these results. While numerous small trials have shown promise there has been no trial that has provided enough significant evidence to justify much of the hype about fish oil.

Current thought continues to be that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation can provide a number of benefits but is not, and should not be considered a substitute for current medications and therapy modalities. However, it should be looked at as an enhancer for any current treatment. Dosages should be worked out with your current position. Extremely high doses (greater than 3 g per day) has shown some metabolic stress which has been mitigated by the administration of antioxidants being taken at the same time. Vitamins C and E has shown to help the body better metabolize higher dosages of fish oil.

Digestive upsets that sometimes occur when taking fish oil can be alleviated by starting with a low dose of fish oil and slowly increasing over time. Taking the supplements with meals or using and enteric-coated capsule will help relieve the symptoms.

Depression is a serious problem and requires physical and mental treatment. Fish oil is not a panacea that will immediately relieve this growing problem, but the small trials and anecdote of evidence are enough to add this generally safe nutritional supplement to your treatment regime. Omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil, and a higher intake of fish may offer relief to the many millions of people suffering from depression.

William Allen Wilson is a strong believer and writer within the Naturopathic community. He has been studying and living a naturally healthy lifestyle for more than 20 years and has recently been passing that information to his friends and family. Please visit our site Fish Oil Benefits for more information and to follow the updates as they become available.

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

At a young age I was overwhelmed with anxiety and depression that no one could ever figure out. I sought help of Guidance Councillors, Psychiatrists and Social Workers, and I was a mystery case. No medicine or help would help me. Over the years it progressively got worse, until one day, senior year of High School. I saw an Oprahepisode on Body Dysmorphic Disorder. A disease where people are so consumed by the way they look that they do not leave their house, and it interferes with their social health, leading to major anxiety and depression. I know this is what I had, constantly picking at my hair and skin was something I had done since I was a child. I immediately researched the disease to find that it is common and widely unknown. I sought help from a specialist and over time have began to accept my flaws and lead a happy life. BDD gets worse with aging, people begin to see little flaws that no one else notices and begin to obsess over it and it can lead to bigger, darker problems.

Some Symptoms of BDD are similar to that of Eating Disorders but should not be confused with one another.

The symptoms are as follows:

Frequently comparing one's appearance with that of others, or scrutinising the appearance of others;

Often checking how one looks in the mirror: camouflaging the perceived defect with clothing, makeup, a hat or a hand, or changing one's posture, often this can draw attention to the perceived defect convincing the sufferer of the offensiveness of its appearance.

Seeking surgery, dermatological treatment, or other medical treatment for appearance concerns when doctors, parents, or peers have said such treatment is unnecessary; Constantly seeking reassurance about the perceived flaw or attempting to convince others of its repulsiveness;

Excessive grooming (combing one's hair, shaving over and over, removing or cutting hair, applying heavy makeup or cover-up creams); picking at one's skin or squeezing pimples/blackheads for hours, avoiding mirrors,

Exercising or dieting excessively;

Frequently touching the perceived defect, measuring the "unpleasant" body part;

Excessively reading about the supposed defective body part, avoiding social situations.. in which the perceived defect might be exposed; and feeling very anxious and self- conscious around peers because of the perceived defect.

If you feel like you or someone close to you is suffering from BDD, I suggest seeing a specialist, it changes your outlook on life once you rid of the anxiety about appearance, most cases of BDD go unnoticed, so I felt it was my duty to shine some light on a sensitive matter.

Brenda Rusnak is a health care specialist who writes about health-aging and prevention.

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Friday, August 12, 2011

The Biology of Depression: The Affects of Stress

How to Break the Depression Cycle

Depression affects millions of people every year. I suffered from depression for many years, trying to feel "normal" again was a daunting task. I spent thousands on doctors, therapy, hospitalization and medications, which helped but it just wasn't enough. I never really felt happy, like I had at a younger age, until I incorporated simple day-to-day changes in my routine that I was able to break the cycle of depression.
Changes you can make in your life to help break the cycle of depression:
  1. Avoid triggers that cause negative thoughts and emotions - Sounds simple, but it takes hard work. First, start a journal. Write down all the negative thoughts and feelings you had during the day, try to remember what triggered them. Ask yourself who you were with? Where were you? Look for patterns, common denominators. When you find these triggers to negative thoughts try to avoid them, or work to come up with new ways to think about them.
  2. Change - Find new hobbies, ones that make you feel good and help to take your mind off the negative thoughts associated with depression. Set new rules for yourself to stay away from bad habits that keep you stuck in the cycle of depression. Find these habits by journaling. If you're stuck in a cycle of depression, change your environment. Try to paint your rooms with brighter colors, take a different route to work, try a different restaurant, or find new hobbies. Change can help shake off the old stale ways of doing things that keep you in a pattern of negativity.
  3. Schedule your activities around bad and stressful experiences - Don't let life's difficulties derail your achievements. When life throws you a monkey wrench, such as a death of a friend or family member, financial loss, or divorce; Schedule positive and relaxing activities around the event. Don't let yourself slip.
  4. Laugh - Find something that makes you smile, or laugh everyday. Make it a routine to do this and stick with it. You'll find that not only will you feel better, but also the people you interact with will react more positively to you.
  5. Exercise and diet - Develop a daily exercise plan and stick to it. The chemicals released when you exercise help to promote positive thought and feelings. Positive thinking is one of the best ways to break the cycle of depression. Make sure that you eat right, drink lots of water, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and complex carbohydrates and proteins.
  6. Don't isolate - Stay connected with friends and relatives. But be wary of whom you associate, stay away from negative thinkers and anyone that reinforces the negative thinking patterns that you're trying to break. If you are like me and have associated yourself with negative friends, try taking a class, or volunteering, talk to a therapist, but get positive feedback and stay away from negativity.
It took years of trial and error for me to break the cycle of depression. If I had known how effective these simple changes would have been to my overall well-being, perhaps I would have recovered and stayed happy sooner. It took many years of failures, trial and error before I finally achieved the happiness I feel today. The important thing is to keep trying, making changes in your daily routine and staying positive and healthy.

Greg Johnson offers more information, tips and advice on his website You will find a short depression quiz, a depression toolkit, facts on symptoms, types of depression, treatments, and A to Z guide on depression. To get your free downloadable PDF guide on depression go to:
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