Medications OR Therapy in Mental Health Care

Medications Therapy Mental Health

I have mulled over this topic of – Medications OR Therapy – for quite some time now. However, there is invariably a question that comes to mind for a medical doctor who is trained in psychiatry. “Why do we even have to talk about this topic?” Nevertheless, I realize after being in the field of psychiatry for more than 10 years now, it is relevant to explain this in common man’s language. Consequently, this is because of the huge stigma that goes with the subject of mental health.

What are the differences?

Moreover, it is important to note the differences or similarities of Medications or Counseling in Mental health or as such General Health care. As such, Counseling is an art. Whereas, Medicine is as much of an art as it is about science. However, both are ways of approach towards a patient that involves speaking with, building rapport and empathizing with the patient’s condition. 

Nevertheless, while counseling involves different approaches by way of talk therapy using the mind as the subject and the various processes of the mind such as behavior, intellect, memory, insight, understanding, etc,. In addition, a psychiatrist would use medications in combination with counseling or in isolation depending on the time constraints that the patient load would impose.

While, we know that medications are effective in the treatment of mental health conditions, there is evidence in the scientific world that talk therapy or counseling is as effective for some mental health conditions as medications, if not better. 

Depression and anxiety are two such mental health conditions.  Whereas, medications are helpful in the above conditions, counseling or psychotherapy is as effective. Moreover, this fact has been proven that the combination of therapy and medication is more effective than either one of them alone or in isolation.

However, some do argue that psychotherapy is pseudoscience. 

Let us examine as to which ones are on the brink and which kinds of therapy are not useful at all.

Psychoanalysis, dream analysis, narco analysis, and childhood experience analysis are considered as having poor to no therapeutic evidence in the literature. So these are not effective treatments for any mental health condition. However, evidence for placebo or sugar pill being more effective or as effective as the above kinds of therapies exists. 

However, these kinds of studies are very difficult to do. This is because each of these therapies are different in their own regard. They maybe even come across as different to different individuals. Therefore, each one can form their own opinions.

We characterize mental health by a sense of purpose or coherence in the widely chaotic world of medications or psychotherapies. 

Modern thinking

We need to structure either therapies to make sense of this chaos – give some method to the madness. Only expose to traumatic experiences can develop flexibility and resilience.  Therefore, exposure to stress or difficult situations only teach the human mind how to overcome these stresses or difficult situations. Currently, there is evidence that these ingrained experiences in our DNA are passed on to the next generation.  While we know that humans are because of our DNA; we also know – now – that the life experiences also contribute to the DNA. 

Indeed, “epigenetics” is the name for this novel method of thinking. Therefore, although largely genetic, hardiness is also developed by exposure to stress and passed on to the next generation.  This would give new meaning to the phrase – “survival of the fittest.”

There is evidence for medications in large randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in the scientific research world. This is regarding the efficacy of many psychotropic medications i.e. the medications used in treating mental health conditions.  

I also believe that there is a lot of usefulness of these medications routinely. I have used them with patients with mental health disorders for the many years. Evidently, I have practiced psychiatry here in INDIA as well as abroad. I was a resident trainee in couple of post graduate training programs in the United States.  

Cultural Variables:

However, there are cultural variables in the acceptance of these medications.  The cultural variables are explained by the fact that mental health was in general seclude. That is, all over the world, mental health was not a very well accepted pathology.  In a sense, mental health was not important till it was recognized most recently to be treatable.  

In the past mental health was considered as a curse or as a social malaise. People were institutionalized in penitentiaries or asylums and sometimes even put to the guillotine.  However, this fact has rapidly changed with the onset of scientific evidence. The existence of benefits with the use of psycho-therapeutic medications is immense.

Finally, now we have concluded. Firstly, therapy – either talk therapy or medication therapy or a combination of both, is helpful in depression and anxiety. Now let us learn about a few medications used in depression.  

When you get a prescription you should:
About medications

I also believe that acute psychiatric crises make use of medications to tide over them. They may be needed only for a short term in contradiction to the popular notion. Most people’s belief is that such medications for mental health conditions are used for a lifetime should be changed. Other misinformation is that they cause side effects and are “harmful” for the body.  This is NOT entirely true. 

One should weigh the risks versus the benefits of the medications. Thus, one should only then ponder over the decision to take them or leave them. In addition, this is true with psychotherapy or talk therapy or counseling as well.  Finally, it may be best to consult your primary health caregiver for deciding what may be best for you.

Quit Smoking Now !!

Quit Smoking Tobacco Cigarettes Cigar

Indeed, this post will help you quit smoking now. So, listen on. Nicotine or tobacco addiction refers to an acute dependence upon tobacco products primarily due to the presence of the nicotine drug. In other words, nicotine addiction refers to an inability to stop using tobacco products despite the knowledge and awareness that it is harmful to you. While nicotine only induces addiction, it is the presence of other substances in tobacco which makes it damaging and injurious to health.

Nicotine has the tendency to produce effects in the brain, both physical as well as mind altering, that give temporary satisfaction. This is precisely why people get hooked into the habit of tobacco consumption, which eventually leads to addiction.

Unfortunately, stopping tobacco use immediately can also lead to several withdrawal symptoms, like agitation and restlessness, and therefore you would need the help of a psychiatrist who is an expert in de-addiction. Therefore, quit smoking now might not not literally mean quitting cold turkey but liturgically over a period of time.

Causes

The main reason why tobacco is so addictive is due to the fact that nicotine releases neurotransmitters such as dopamine in the reward centre of the brain, which in turn improves your mood and gives you temporary pleasure.

Causes of nicotine addiction can either be physical or behavioral, for instance situations or feelings, which make you crave for tobacco. These include:

  1. Specific times during the day, say after every meal or during breaks at work
  2. While defecating
  3. While drinking alcohol
  4. Stressful or depressive situations
  5. At the sight or smell of a burning cigarette
  6. Peer pressure
  7. While driving

Symptoms of nicotine addiction include:
  1. Inablility to quit smoking despite frequent attempts.
  2. The experience withdrawal symptoms after attempting to quit.
  3. Continuing to smoke despite the awareness that it is injurious to your health.
  4. You forego social as well as recreational activities because of your need to smoke.
Effects of Smoking on Sexual Health

Smoking, in general, has a negative effect on the human body. It can cause a host of disorders such as mouth cancer, blood pressure problems, and lung cancer. Smoking affects the sexual performance of both men and women.

Here are some effects that smoking has on sex

  1. Impotence: Smoking can damage the blood vessels that lead to erectile dysfunction (a condition where the penis cannot sustain an erection).
  2. Decrease in libido: Smoking can cause various physical problems such as stamina reduction and lack of desire for sex. An individual who smokes won’t be able to give an optimal sexual performance and this can further lower satisfaction levels.
  3. Erectile dysfunction: Smoking can cause problems related to the circulation of the blood in the body. It can narrow the arteries that supply blood and this is directly linked with erectile dysfunction.
  4. Tissue damage: Smoking can damage the tissues inside the penis thus impairing your ability to have an erection during sexual intercourse.
  5. Early onset of menopause: It can affect the estrogen (a sex hormone) levels in the female body; so, women who smoke tend to reach menopause early.
  6. Reduction in penis size: It can reduce the penis size in men by damaging the blood vessels and the structure of the tissue around the penis. This is more common in younger men.
  7. Reduction in stamina: Smoking can cause a reduction in the stamina, thus a person will not be able to perform well sexually. It can lead to fatigue and tiredness during sex.
Therapies

Of course, there are a lot of therapies which can help you recover from the damage already happened because of smoking and prevent further damage.

Smoking is a phenomenon where the smoke emanated from a burning substance, usually tobacco, is inhaled. Smoking is a major cause for multiple diseases such as lung cancer, mouth cancer, blood pressure disorders etc.

Cigarette or Cigar or Beedi smoking tends to limit the capabilities of the immune system. Thus, this makes it easier for various diseases to affect the body. Smoking can lead to problems in the teeth where the gum tissues that attach the bone with the teeth are affected. This may cause the blood flow to the gums to be impaired and affect the functioning of the teeth.

The changes that the teeth undergo due to smoking are –

1. It may increase teeth sensitivity.
2. Smoking causes the teeth to be pulled away from the gums.
3. It can result in swollen and bleeding gums.
4. It may cause pain while chewing food.
5. Bone loss around the jawline occurs in smokers.
6. It can result in stained teeth and bad breath.

Disorders related to the teeth caused by smoking

There are various disorders of the teeth which are directly linked to smoking, they are –

  1. Mouth cancer – in this condition tumors are formed in the mouth
  2. Smoking can cause plaque to accumulate in the teeth
  3. Tobacco may cause gum disease that can result in tooth loss
  4. Also, smoking may interfere with healing period of any dental treatment
  5. Tobacco usage reduces the success rates of teeth implants
  6. Sweeteners present in the tobacco can also cause tooth decay

The effects of smoking on the tooth can be minimized by avoiding smoking altogether. Apart from that, following proper dental hygiene such regular brushing and flossing of the teeth will keep the teeth healthy. Avoiding smoking also reduces chances of lesion leukoplakia (white patches near teeth and gums).

Unfortunately, stopping tobacco use immediately or to quit smoking now, can also lead to several withdrawal symptoms, like agitation and restlessness, and therefore you would need the help of a psychiatrist who is an expert in de-addiction.

Depressed Women Vaginismus

Depressed Women Vaginismus

Depressed Woman Vaginismus comes to mind. It is not only the cyclical changes in physiological and psychological terms that women have to endure and become resilient. Women also need to change to external circumstances.  Hence, they are probably designed to be flexible enough for change.  However, depression can get the better of even the so called toughest woman. Good news is that it is something that can be treated to the fullest degree. Among the various symptoms of depression that are easily modified with medications sexual symptoms are rarely discussed. However, one symptom rarely discussed is that of sexual problems or disinterest due especially to physical causes resulting in depression.  

A specific sexual disturbance especially during the initiation of first sexual contact or encounter is that of dyspareunia. The female version of which is vaginismus, which could possible be more common in depressed women. There are various successful vaginismus treatments that do not require interventions. These include medications, surgical operations, psychotherapeutic measures, nor any other complex interventional procedures.


Vaginismus is treatable and the success rates are quite high. 


Among the most effective treatment approaches are a combination of pelvic floor control exercises very commonly known as kegel exercises. This along with insertion or dilation training using objects that are specific to the sexual treatment procedures is helpful. Resulting in pain elimination techniques using psychotherapeutic measures like exposure and response prevention are helpful. Likewise, transition steps with incremental tolerance to pain and enjoyment of the act are taught. Also, exercises designed to help women identify, express and resolve any contributing emotional components are helpful. They either are from the past experiences or from ill-informed sexual learning experiences which are mostly hearsay.

Treatment

Women can do their treatments at the comfort of their homes. Thus, allowing a woman to work at her own pace in privacy, or in cooperation with her health care provider. The sexual pain, tightness and penetration difficulties that are due to vaginismus in depressed women are completely treatable. In addition, they fully overcome any remaining pain or discomfort, over the course of time.

Women experiencing pain or tightness during sexual activities can expect great benefit. However, if pain is associated with penile penetration problems including unconsummated relationships, they can expect high degree of resolution of vaginismus. This is true even in depressed women. This would allow for full pain free and adequate intercourse to the satisfaction of both partners.

Vaginismus treatment in depressed women and exercises follow a manageable, step-by-step process ~
Step 1 –

Understanding Vaginismus. Step 1 provides an overview of vaginismus and how symptoms can arise from it. Symptoms include sexual pain, tightness, burning sensations or penetration difficulties may result from it. Women start their sexual endeavor with this approach. The women become proactive about their sexual health. This is because an understanding vaginismus is fundamental to the process of overcoming it. Topics also include how to obtain a solid diagnosis, treatment methods, relationship issues, pelvic/relaxation techniques, conditioned responses and muscle memories.

Step 2 –

Sexual History Review & Treatment Strategies. A balanced approach helps women review and analyze their history. Exercises help identify and evaluate any events, emotions, or triggers contributing to vaginismus sexual pain or penetration problems. Checklists and detailed exercises map out a woman’s sexual history and pelvic pain events, working toward appropriate treatment strategies. Emotional reviews help detail any negative events, feelings, or memories that may collectively contribute to involuntary pelvic responses. Topics also include blocked or hidden memories. In addition, how to move forward when there have been traumatic events in a woman’s past.

Step 3 –

Sexual Pain Anatomy. Women often lack complete information about their body’s sexual anatomy, function, and the causes of pelvic pain and penetration problems. Confusion regarding problems with inner vaginal areas and vaginal muscles frequently lead to misdiagnosis and frustration. Step 3 educates about these sexual body parts with emphasis on their role in sexual pain and penetration issues. Topics include how to distinguish what kind of pain or discomfort is normal with first-time or ongoing sex. Also, what physical changes take place during arousal to orgasm cycles in the context of sexual pain or penetration problems. In this step, explanations about the Anatomy areas such as the hymen and inner vulva. These areas are demystified (for example there are six diagrams of hymen varieties to help distinguish hymen problems).

Step 4 –

Vaginal Tightness & The Role Of Pelvic Floor Muscles. Female sexual pain and penetration difficulties typically involve some degree of involuntary tightening of the pelvic floor. This step focuses on the role of pelvic floor muscles, especially the pubococcygeus (PC) muscle group. This explains in great detail how triggering the PC once continues their involuntary tightness. This continues with increasing attempts at intercourse. Effective vaginismus treatment focuses on retraining the pelvic floor to eliminate involuntary muscle reactions that produce tightness or pain. Learning how to identify, selectively control, exercise and retrain the pelvic muscles is a trick. This is to reduce pain and alleviate penetration tightness and difficulties is an important step in vaginismus treatment.

Step 5 –

Insertion Techniques. Allowing initial entry without pain, for women with painful penetration is the purpose of this technique. In this step, women practice pubococcygeus (PC) muscle control techniques. Women allow the entry of a small object (cotton swab, tampon, or finger) into their vagina. Thus, gradually working completely under their control and pace. The step helps in any previous closure of the entrance to the vagina and prevention of penetration by involuntary muscle contractions. Women begin to take full control over their pelvic floor. They subsequently learn how to flex and relax the pelvic floor at will, eliminating unwanted tightness and allowing entry.

Step 6 –

Graduated Vaginal Insertions However, when used properly, vaginal dilators are effective tools to further help eliminate pelvic tightness due to vaginismus. Also, dilators provide a substitute means to trigger pelvic muscle reactions. Thus, the effective dilator exercises in Step 6 teach women certain techniques. However, these include how to override involuntary contractions, relaxing the pelvic floor so it responds correctly to sexual penetration. Subsequently, graduated vaginal insertion exercises allow women to comfortably transition. Hence,this is to set the stage where they are ready for intercourse without pain or discomfort.

Step 7 –

Sensate Focus & Techniques For Couples To Reduce Pelvic Floor Tension. Helping with the transition to pain-free intercourse, this step explains sensate focus techniques. This is for couples to use to reduce pelvic floor tension and increase intimacy. Couples begin to work together during this step as exercises teach how to successfully practice sensate focus (controlled sensual touch). In addition, they prepare for pain-free intercourse using techniques from earlier steps. The exercises build trust and understanding. In addition, they assist in the process to adjust to controlled intercourse without pain.

Step 8 –

Pre-Intercourse Readiness Exercises Finalizing preparations for couples to transition to fully pain-free intercourse, this step completes pre-intercourse readiness. Couples review and practice techniques that eliminate pelvic floor tension and prepare to transition to full intercourse. Preparing ahead of time is the key to this step. This is to manage, control and eliminate pain or penetration difficulties. Hence, the exercises assist with the final transition to pain-free intercourse.

Step 9

Making The Transition To Intercourse. Step 9 explains the techniques used to eliminate pain and penetration difficulties while transitioning to normal intercourse. This section includes many troubleshooting topics of great use. Examples include, such as positions to use to maximize control and minimize pain, tips to ensure more comfortable intercourse, etc.

Step 10

Full Pain-Free Intercourse & Pleasure Restoration. The final step toward overcoming vaginismus includes penis entry with movement and freedom from any pain or tightness. To educate, build sexual trust and intimacy are the goals of Step 10. They help complete the transition to full sexual intercourse free of pain. Couples can begin to enjoy pleasure with intercourse, initiate family planning, and move forward to live life free from vaginismus.

CONSULT THE SEXUAL MEDICINE SPECIALIST FOR BEST RESULTS

Love and Relationships

Love Sex Relationships

It often becomes exasperating and excruciating if we find ourselves feeling unloved frequently. This may lead to much confusion, especially with love and relationships, and possibly will lead to numerous fights or conflicts, resulting in both partners to feel worn out and bleak.

In spite of being aware that your partner does love you, and still feeling unloved, that’s when you should know that there are other major factors which are playing a role behind it. Not the least of which is sex.

The consequence of feeling unloved perpetually leads to inferior self-esteem. This can further result in you becoming clingy, not self-reliant, and other individuality traits which can propel any probable lover to become restless. Here are some ways which you can follow to rekindle your love life and relationships:

ALTERING YOUR PERCEPTION

The foremost thing that can help is changing perspective and looking at things in a diverse manner. Hunting for the positive side, retrieval of self-esteem, and being strong enough without seeking anyone’s validation can also help.

LISTENING PATIENTLY

Building a strong and mature relationship needs both verbal and non-verbal communication. In a relationship only speaking your heart out won’t help, listening and paying attention, while your partner speaks is also essential.

BEING STRAIGHTFORWARD

One should not lie and cheat on his or her partner in a relationship. Communicating whatever comes on mind and spilling it can hurt the other person’s feelings. In a relationship, both partners need to understand each other.

SPEAKING YOUR MIND OUT

Keeping secrets from each other while in a relationship can deteriorate situation. Disregarding one’s feelings, emotions and discussing the problem is a better idea than keeping things to oneself.

PAMPER YOURSELF

Try to take out some time for yourself giving your life and connection a profound thought and shape things out to make your relationship stronger. It will further boost your wish to explore intimacy. Loving yourself is also needed in place of thinking only about your partner’s happiness.

Why feel unloved in your relationship unnecessarily when you are actually loved?  Free yourself from this illusion by functioning at understanding, considering, and knowing your partner better!

How to Increase Sexual Energy for MEN

Sex Men Energy Kegel Exercises

How to Increase Sexual Energy for Men

What are Kegels?
Firstly, a Kegel is an exercise specifically designed to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.  This can help you improve erection angle, improve erection quality, give more intense orgasms, indirectly enlarge your penis, cure incontinence, and much more !!! Hence, this is on of the most important ways on how to Increase Sexual Energy for Men.

Kegel History:
Firstly, Kegels were invented by Dr. Arnold Kegel, an Obstetrician, in the 1940s. Although, developed for women, it became clear keels are also great for male sexual health !!!

Find your PC (pubococcygeus) muscle:
While urinating, contract your muscles so you either slow or stop the flow of urine.  Indeed, those are your pelvic floor muscles !!!

4 Simple Steps:
1. Contract
2. Hold
3. Release
4. Repeat

Multi-Orgasmic Men?
YES !  However, with strong pelvic floor muscles and practice, men CAN become multi-orgasmic !!!

Don’t just Kegel
In addition, combine your Kegel with other penis exercises like jells and stretches, to maximize your results !!!

TIP ~

Firstly, have your partner do Kegel too.  In fact, you’ll both enjoy a harder erection and a tighter vagina !!!

In addition, within the framework of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) definition of health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, reproductive health, or sexual health/hygiene, addresses the reproductive processes, functions and system at all stages of life. However, UN agencies claim sexual and reproductive health includes physical, as well as psychological well-being vis-a-vis sexuality.

Therefore, reproductive health implies that people are able to have a responsible, satisfying and safer sex life and that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so. Therefore, one interpretation of this implies that men and women ought to be informed of and to have access to safe, effective, affordable and acceptable methods of birth control.

Also, access to appropriate health care services of sexual, reproductive medicine and implementation of health education programs to stress the importance of women to go safely through pregnancy and childbirth could provide couples with the best chance of having a healthy infant.

Indeed, individuals do face inequalities in reproductive health services. However, inequalities vary based on socioeconomic status, education level, age, ethnicity, religion, and resources available in their environment.

Finally, it is possible for example, that low income individuals lack the resources for appropriate health services and the knowledge to know what is appropriate for maintaining reproductive health.

Tips to Prevent Migraine

Migraine

You can do a lot (tips) to prevent migraine headaches.

Migraines can be debilitating, annoying, and impact your quality of life — however there is much you can do to avoid them. From identifying what triggers your headaches to making proactive lifestyle changes, it’s possible to get better control and manage your migraine symptoms. Here are some tips to prevent migraine.

1. Be aware of your triggers.

Migraines do not impact everyone the same way and the events that trigger a migraine can vary significantly from person to person. While you will never be able to avoid all triggers, you will be in a better position if you know which triggers impact you. Common triggers include emotional stress, menstruation and other hormonal changes in women, skipping meals, weather changes, irregular sleep, strong odors, lights and other visual stimuli, sudden noises, smoke, exercise or overexertion, or sex.

2. Watch your diet.

Many patients are not aware that what you eat can significantly impact your migraine symptoms. Studies show as many as 50% of migraine sufferers have headaches triggered by a food item. While I find some patients know that migraines can be related to aspartame or monosodium glutamate, they are often surprised to learn that alcohol, caffeine, cheese, chocolate, and processed meats may also impact migraines. 

3. Keep a headache journal.

Keeping a headache journal can be a great tool to help you. Also, it not only identify triggers, but also figure out what treatments might work best. This is for preventing and relieving your headaches. Make sure to record the date, time, intensity, preceding symptoms, triggers, medication, and response to medication. You may also want to record how frequently headaches are occurring. Other associated symptoms, where the pain is located, and a description of the pain (e.g. throbbing or piercing). In addition, Consider tracking food intake, any over-the-counter vitamins or supplements you are using. Also, what your sleep is like, and how much exercise you have been doing.

4. Consider a medicinal preventive treatment.

Indeed, I find many migraine patients suffer in silence. While there are no hard and fast rules or guidelines, I generally offer preventive therapy to patients. Especially, if they have more than four migraines in a month. Also, if they have significant headaches that last 12 or more hours or if the migraines are debilitating. There are a number of different medication options that will depend on your particular medical situation. Consult your psychiatrist to learn more about these options.

5. Look into alternative preventive treatments.

Feverfew, coenzyme Q10 and butterbur root are the most widely-studied alternative treatments for the prevention of migraines. Butterbur root is an herbal medicine that is marketed in the United States as a food supplement. In addition, several studies have shown that taking 150mg daily can prevent headaches. In a small study using an antioxidant called coenzyme Q10, a significant number of patients reduced migraines by more than half at a dose of 100 mg three times daily. Feverfew, an herbal plant-based remedy, has also had a number of trials but results on its efficacy are conflicting. Moreover, if you decide to implement an alternative treatment, talk with your doctor to make sure these products will not interfere with any other medical treatments. These products are not as widely studied and not as tightly regulated by the FDA.

6. Try over-the-counter medicines.

Mild headaches are often relieved with over-the-counter (OTC) medications. For example, such non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac or paracetamol. All medications can have side effects, so be sure to ask your doctor what OTC medicine is best for you. Thus, if a medication works for you, consider asking your doctor about a prescription product that combines it with caffeine. This is because the combination sometimes works better than the OTC medicine alone. While migraines can be hard to get rid of, treating at the first sign of headache will increase likelihood of relief. 

Migraine We Do Magic

Yes!!! That’s right.If you have migraine we do magic to relieve it  

Firstly, a migraine headache is characterized by a severe headache usually affecting one side of the head. In addition, there are other symptoms along with headaches like nausea/vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound. Nevertheless, some patients experience neurological phenomena like changes in vision, temporary loss of sensation and altered sensation, a phenomenon known as an aura (flashes of light, zigzag patterns, bright spots, tingling in the arms and the legs). A migraine headache can last for 2 to 3 days. Migraine ? We do magic!!

Symptoms

The symptoms depend on the stage of a migraine attack. The stages of a migraine attack can be: 

  1. Prodrome, Aura, Headache or attack, and Postdrome. 
  2. Prodrome: One to two days prior to the migraine attack, patient may experience; 
  • Mood swings. 
  • Cravings for food. 
  • Increased yawning. 
  • Stiff neck. 
  • Constipation and frequent thirst and urination. 

In case of an aura (during or before a migraine), there may be visual, motor, speech, and sensory illusions and disturbances such as, 

  • Loss of vision. 
  • A strange sensation of needles pricking an arm or a leg. 
  • One side of the body becomes weak and numb. 
  • There are visual illusions such as the appearance of flashes of light, zigzag patterns, bright spots. 
  • There is a problem in hearing and speaking. 
  • However, in some cases, there may be a hemiplegic migraine (the limb becomes weak). 
During a Migraine Attack (lasts for 4 to 72 hours), there may be 
  1. A throbbing pain on either one or both sides of the head 
  2. Blurred vision, light-headedness. 
  3. Nausea and vomiting 
  4. Sensitivity to light and sound 
  5. Sensitivity to touch and smell (though rare) 

Finally, in Post-drome (after a migraine), there can be 

  1. Mood swings. 
  2. A person may be sensitive to light and sound. 
  3. Dizziness and weakness 
  4. Confusion 
  5. Extreme fatigue 

Indeed, an amalgamation of environmental and genetic factors may be responsible for a migraine. Therefore, triggers varies for each patient: 

  1. Stress and extreme physical exertion 
  2. Obesity 
  3. Alcohol and caffeinated drinks and beverages 
  4. Salty and processed foods 
  5. Altered sleeping habits 
  6. Hormonal alterations in women (Constant fluctuation in the level of estrogen) 
  7. Oral contraceptives and certain vasodilators (nitroglycerin) 
  8. Preservatives like MSG (mono-sodium glutamate) and Aspartame (sweetener) 
  9. Sunshine, certain odors, travel, etc can trigger a migraine. 
Treatment and Prevention: 
  1. Medicines under supervision to abort an attack of a migraine and special drugs to stop attacks as well as to prevent a migraine from recurring, also known as maintenance therapy
  2. Finally, Lifestyle changes are helpful to decrease attacks: 
  • Avoid your trigger for a migraine. 
  • Follow regular sleep-wake cycle. 
  • Regular exercise, meditation. 
  • Avoidance of alcohol, caffeine-containing beverages. 

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions! Yes… Migraine We do Magic

Grief Loss and Bereavement

Grief Loss Bereavement

Can Expressing Yourself Help You Cope With Grief Loss and Bereavement?

Medication is absolutely necessary to relieve yourself of the pain and grief.

True or false?

1. Which of the following can be a symptom of grief?

Anger 

Fear

Physical symptoms 

All of the above

Answer – All of the above

It is normal to be angry over the loss of a loved one, loss of a job, severe illness or other common reasons that cause grief. You might consider it imperative to blame somebody for your loss. Fear is also a common symptom, for you can have a lot of insecurities or fears if you have lost a loved one and are coping with it. Grief loss and bereavement can also come with its share of physical symptoms like nausea, fatigue, vomiting, backaches, weight gain, etc.

2. Which of the following is the first stage of grief?

Denial & shock

Anger

Depression

Bargaining

Answer – Denial & shock

This stage helps to protect the individual from going through the intensity of his loss. It may be useful when the person is preparing to take action (For e.g.: arrangements for a funeral in case of a death of a loved one). Numbness is also a very common reaction at this stage. Over time, as the person realizes the impact of the loss, denial and numbness will subside.

3. Expressing your feelings in a tangible way can help to cope with grief

Answer – True

You should try writing about your feelings down in a journal. If you’ve lost a loved one, write a poem or a letter saying things you could never say. You can also make an album on the life of the person you’ve lost and celebrate the person’s life, or join any social cause or some organization which that person had been a part of.

4. You will be able to cope with grief faster if you ignore it

Answer – False

Trying to ignore your pain or preventing it from resurfacing can only make matters worse over time. Grieving or mourning in the face of a loss is very natural and one of the healthier ways of coping with grief. You should never ignore the wounds your loss has left you with. Acknowledging them and accepting the pain you are feeling will help you in overcoming your grief and moving on in life.

5. Medication is absolutely necessary to relieve yourself of the pain and grief

Answer – False

Though medications are prescribed in a few cases, grieving and mourning will always be the most honest ways to deal with your loss. Accepting the pain and moving towards it to embrace that as a part of your reality will work wonders for you in overcoming your grief.

Grief is not an illness which should be cured with medicines. Sympathy from your loved ones, compassion and a clear understanding of your loss also helps. However, when the symptoms are intense or are prolonged, You should consider visiting a psychiatrist at the earliest. This is especially true if you or your loved one’s day to day routine has been affected significantly and you have noticed that you/they have been taking a longer time than expected to heal emotionally. Not having moved on and gotten on with daily activities is a sure sign of needing clinical help.

Insomnia and Sleep Difficulties

Can it affect your Emotions?

Insomnia Sleep Difficulties

Firstly, there is a distinct relationship between sleeping disorders and your emotional health. In fact, both influence each other. However, insomnia and sleep difficulties, are common sleeping disorders, is generally caused due to stress and tension.

In fact, depression and anxiety also account for insomnia. Indeed, it has been proven by research. In fact, people who experience sleeplessness or cases of insomnia are at a higher risk of depression and similar psychiatric disorders.

In fact, insomnia and sleep difficulties are an important factor which cause depression, and many people affected by it commit suicide. However, researchers have found dysfunctional activity in the area of the brain where emotions are processed and regulated. In fact, among people with insomnia, their study explains the mechanism by which insomnia affects and influences emotions. In addition, in people, this leads to depression and other disorders.

The ways in which insomnia and sleep difficulties affect your emotions:

In fact, there is a clear difference in the brain activities of people with insomnia. However, this is when compared with normal people who get good sleep. In fact, there is usually a great difference between the activities of the amygdala. Indeed, these are neurons in the temporal lobe of the brain. Thus, the amygdala is very important in regulation and processing of emotions.

Signs and symptoms
  1. Insomnia disrupts the ability of the brain to process negative emotions.
  2. Nevertheless, insomnia causes neural change and problems with regulating emotions.
  3. Insomnia disables the ability of judging or sensing any kind of emotion by looking at the face of a person. However, it is difficult to judge emotions such as anger and sadness in people suffering from insomnia. This impairment occurs more in women.
  4. Insomnia and similar sleeping disorders affect our inhibition and disrupt our impulse control mechanism. An insomniac person is likely to develop increased impulsiveness to negative stimulus.
  5. People suffering from insomnia develop a perception towards negative stuff and perceive most things in a negative way. However, rather than looking at the bright side which a normal person tends to do. Insomniacs are characterises by a negative mood and are pessimism.
  6. A sleep deprived or insomniac patient shows greater activity around the limbic area of the brain. Emotional regulation and processing undertakes in the limbic area.
  7. A person suffering from insomnia develops a cranky personality. The patient is in an irritable mood. The slightest and pettiest of circumstances triggers him. However, insomnia characterizes other symptoms. Examples include, swinging moods, high temper and general fatigue, which result due to lack of sleep.

Insomnia is a sleeping disorder which directly affects a person’s emotions and the processing and regulation of emotions. There is a direct and important link between insomnia and emotional disorders.  Indeed, if you believe you have insomnia or sleep difficulties then it may be best to contact our psychiatrist. Click HERE for the best advice that we can offer for you.

Natural Secrets for a Refreshing Sleep

Natural Secrets Refreshing Sleep
Natural Sleep Secrets Tailored to Your Nightly Needs

Natural Secrets for a refreshing sleep sounds elusive. Sound slumber results in increased energy and productivity, improved heart and immune system health, a better mood, even a longer life. And hey, you just feel so much better after a satisfying 8 hours of rest. But chances are, you’re not getting it. Sleep issues are epidemic among women today,

Plan.

Not surprisingly, women tend to get less sleep than men do overall. Even if you don’t have children, levels of sleep-promoting estrogen sink regularly during menstruation and then permanently in menopause. And symptoms related to both—cramps, headaches, hot flashes, and night sweats—also disrupt slumber.

But experts agree that these biological facts don’t mean that sleep deprivation has to be your destiny. Feeling tired should never be considered normal. Yet there are no stock sleep solutions, either: Finding out what works for you takes some trial and error, but it’s well worth it. Sleep is a basic biological necessity—just like eating—and it has an impact on every aspect of your health and your life. Here are the natural secrets for a refreshing sleep.

Try these 20 ideas to find the sleep formula that works best for you.
Set a Sleep Schedule

If you do only one thing to improve your sleep, this is it: Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning—even on weekends. A regular sleep routine keeps your biological clock steady so you rest better. Exposure to a regular pattern of light and dark helps, so stay in sync by opening the blinds or going outside right after you wake up. 

Keep a Sleep Diary

To help you understand how your habits affect your rest, track your sleep every day for at least 2 weeks. Write down not only what’s obviously sleep related—what time you go to bed, how long it takes you to fall asleep, how many times you wake up during the night, how you feel in the morning—but also factors like what you ate close to bedtime and what exercise you got. Comparing your daily activities with your nightly sleep patterns can show you where you need to make changes.

Stop Smoking

Reason number 1,001: Nicotine is a stimulant, so it prevents you from falling asleep. Plus, many smokers experience withdrawal pangs at night. Smokers are 4 times more likely not to feel as well rested after a night’s sleep than nonsmokers, studies show, and smoking exacerbates sleep apnea and other breathing disorders, which can also stop you from getting a good night’s rest. Don’t worry that quitting will keep you up nights too: That effect passes in about 3 nights.

Review Your Medications

Beta-blockers (prescribed for high blood pressure) may cause insomnia; so can SSRIs (a class of antidepressants that includes Prozac and Zoloft). And that’s just the beginning. Write down every drug and supplement you take, and have your doctor evaluate how they may be affecting your sleep.

Exercise, But Not Right Before Bedtime

Working out—especially cardio—improves the length and quality of your sleep. That said, 30 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise keeps your body temperature elevated for about 4 hours, inhibiting sleep. When your body begins to cool down, however, it signals your brain to release sleep-inducing melatonin, so then you’ll get drowsy.

Cut Caffeine After 2 p.m.

That means coffee, tea, and cola. Caffeine is a stimulant that stays in your system for about 8 hours, so if you have a cappuccino after dinner, come bedtime, it’ll either prevent your brain from entering deep sleep or stop you from falling asleep altogether.

Write Down Your Woes

“The number one sleep complaint I hear? ‘I can’t turn off my mind,'” – To quiet that wakeful worrying, every night jot down your top concerns—say, I have to call my insurer to dispute that denied claim, which will take forever, and how can I spend all that time on the phone when work is so busy? Then write down the steps you can take to solve the problem—I’m going to look up the numbers before breakfast, refuse to stay on hold for more than three minutes, and send e-mails tomorrow night if I can’t get through—or even I can’t do anything about this tonight, so I’ll worry about it tomorrow. Once your concerns are converted into some kind of action plan, you’ll rest easier. Are You Nice To You?

Take Time to Wind Down

“Sleep is not an on-off switch,”. “It’s more like slowly easing your foot off the gas.” Give your body time to transition from your active day to bedtime drowsiness by setting a timer for an hour before bed and divvying up the time as follows:

First 20 minutes: Prep for tomorrow (pack your bag, set out your clothes).

Next 20: Take care of personal hygiene (brush your teeth, moisturize your face).

Last 20: Relax in bed, reading with a small, low-wattage book light or practicing deep breathing.

Sip Milk, Not a Martini

A few hours after drinking, alcohol levels in your blood start to drop, which signals your body to wake up. It takes an average person about an hour to metabolize one drink, so if you have two glasses of wine with dinner, finish your last sip at least 2 hours before bed.

Snack on Cheese and Crackers

The ideal nighttime nosh combines carbohydrates and either calcium or a protein that contains the amino acid tryptophan—studies show that both of these combos boost serotonin, a naturally occurring brain chemical that helps you feel calm. Enjoy your snack about an hour before bedtime so that the amino acids have time to reach your brain.

Some good choices:

  • One piece of whole grain toast with a slice of low-fat cheese or turkey
  • A banana with 1 teaspoon of peanut butter
  • Whole grain cereal and fat-free milk
  • Fruit and low-fat yogurt
Listen to a Bedtime Story

Load a familiar audiobook on your iPod—one that you know well, so it doesn’t engage you but distracts your attention until you drift off to sleep. Relaxing music works well, too.

Stay Cool…

Experts usually recommend setting your bedroom thermostat between 65° and 75°F—a good guideline, but pay attention to how you actually feel under the covers. Slipping between cool sheets helps trigger a drop in your body temperature. That shift signals the body to produce melatonin, which induces sleep. That’s why it’s also a good idea to take a warm bath or hot shower before going to bed: Both temporarily raise your body temperature, after which it gradually lowers in the cooler air, cueing your body to feel sleepy. But for optimal rest, once you’ve settled in to bed, you shouldn’t feel cold or hot—but just right.

…Especially if You’re Menopausal

During menopause, 75 percent of women suffer from hot flashes, and just over 20% have night sweats or hot flashes that trouble their sleep. Consider turning on a fan or the AC to cool and circulate the air. Just go low gradually: Your body loses some ability to regulate its temperature during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, so overchilling your environment—down to 60°F, for instance—will backfire.

Spray a Sleep-Inducing Scent

Certain smells, such as lavender, chamomile, and ylang-ylang, activate the alpha wave activity in the back of your brain, which leads to relaxation and helps you sleep more soundly. Mix a few drops of essential oil and water in a spray bottle and give your pillowcase a spritz.

Turn on the White Noise

Sound machines designed to help you sleep produce a low-level soothing noise. These can help you tune out barking dogs, the TV downstairs, or any other disturbances so you can fall asleep and stay asleep.

Eliminate Sneaky Light Sources

“Light is a powerful signal to your brain to be awake:. Even the glow from your laptop, iPad, smart phone, or any other electronics on your nightstand may pass through your closed eyelids and retinas into your hypothalamus—the part of your brain that controls sleep. This delays your brain’s release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin. Thus, the darker your room is, the more soundly you’ll sleep.

Consider Kicking Out Furry Bedmates

Cats can be active in the late-night and early morning hours, and dogs may scratch, sniff, and snore you awake. More than half of people who sleep with their pets say the animals disturb their slumber, according to a survey from the Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Center. 

Check Your Pillow Position

The perfect prop for your head will keep your spine and neck in a straight line to avoid tension or cramps that can prevent you from falling asleep. Ask your spouse to check the alignment of your head and neck when you’re in your starting sleep position. If your neck is flexed back or raised, get a pillow that lets you sleep in a better-aligned position. And if you’re a stomach sleeper, consider using either no pillow or a very flat one to help keep your neck and spine straight. 

Breathe Deeply

This technique helps reduce your heart rate and blood pressure, releases endorphins, and relaxes your body, priming you for sleep. Inhale for 5 seconds, pause for 3, then exhale to a count of 5. Start with 8 repetitions; gradually increase to 15. To see if you’re doing it right, buy a bottle of children’s bubbles, breathe in through your belly, and blow through the wand. The smooth and steady breath that you use to blow a bubble successfully should be what you strive for when you’re trying to get to sleep.

Stay Put If You Wake Up

“The textbook advice is that if you can’t fall back asleep in fifteen minutes, get out of bed,”  “But I ask my patients, ‘How do you feel in bed?’ If they’re not fretting or anxious, I tell them to stay there, in the dark, and do some deep breathing or visualization.” But if lying in bed pushes your stress buttons, get up and do something quiet and relaxing (in dim light), such as gentle yoga or massaging your feet until you feel sleepy again.

Exams and Concentration Difficulties

Exams and Concentration difficulties are all too common. ADHD, CDD, short-term memory loss, forgetfulness, insomnia and so many more terminologies we would have come across very often.

They all seem to have evolved from a common origin and that is concentration issues. Have you pondered on these questions!! Why can’t it be easy to concentrate? Why can’t it be easy to remember everything? If yes, then read on to know more.

Concentrate! Focus! Pay attention! These are not just words but one huge and complicated process in itself. Many children and as well as adults often develop this issue wherein they find extremely difficult to concentrate.

Science behind exams and concentration difficulties: 

When an individual performs a single task; for example reading a book, the image of what he is seeing hits the retina. From the retina, the nerve fibres carry the image to the brain which stimulates the brain cells to fire an action potential. The signal from here moves to the thalamus and proceeds to the visual cortex. This signal activates locus coeruleus which is a brain stimulant. It targets the particular area of the brain becoming the deciding factor as to how one responds to a stimulus, which in this case is an image. When there is deregulation of the locus coeruleus, it is then that a person develops disorders like

ADHD, anxiety, depression, insomnia and others.

Factors influencing concentration:

Concentration is a skill that requires you to prioritize your senses while doing any work. It is an ability to block out distractions.
  • Dedication to the task
  • Interest in the task
  • One’s ability to complete the task
  • Physical and emotional state
  • Conducive environment with few distractions.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and concentration deficit disorder (CDD)


Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and concentration deficit disorder (CDD) are the two predominant concentration issues. The first one is more common among the children while the latter is observed in mostly the adults. Any individual with ADHD or CDD can show abnormalities in their behavior and social life.

ADHD individuals tend to be forgetful and face problems sticking to one task and may even display excessive fidgeting. CDD individuals tend to be lethargic, move slowly and have trouble in staying alert. Adults may become socially withdrawn and exhibit slow information processing.

Solutions for concentration issues:

Concentration issues require a lot of time to be overcome. You can try to figure out what causes the distractions and avoid them as much as possible by refocusing your mind only on what you are doing. You can give yourself timers which comprise of “distraction time” and “focus time”. This strategy helps if one’s mind is actively processing other things.

You may also create subtasks by listing the things you need to do and then ruling out one by one once you accomplish them.

Always breathe better and try for long inhalation and exhalation. This helps to bring down your anxiety levels which hinder the concentration.

Though the above-mentioned strategies are just to help you improve your concentration they are not the ultimate cure for any of the issues.

Every individual is unique and sometimes accepting oneself can solve many complications as it reduces the need for unnecessary thinking. Always bear positive thoughts in your mind as it will act as a driving source.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

How to Help Your Child Learn to Read

Help Learn Read Reading Disorders

As a parent, you feel a special deep panic when you realize that your child—your beautiful, clever, funny child, who regularly surprises you with precocious bons mots, who built an ingenious bow out of tubing and rubber bands that can shoot a chopstick across the living room with remarkable accuracy—is having trouble learning to read.

Meanwhile, all the other kids appear to be breezing along, polishing off Harry Potter books while your child stumbles over the difference between “how” and “now.” You don’t want to be one of those hysterical parents who gets all crazy about every little developmental bump in the road, but, hey, your kid can’t really read yet, and the others can. In your darker moments you feel the desolate urge to ratchet down your ambitions for your child from valedictorian to graduating at all. So, How to Help Your Child with reading disorders Learn to Read…

Such fears may be exaggerated, but they’re not irrational. Reading ability does predict school achievement and success (which is, of course, related to income, health, and other factors), and reading gains ever greater importance beyond school, as more jobs are now based on information and technology. Failure to read places significant limits on how one fares in other parts of life. And a lot of people never do learn to read well: Approximately 40 percent of fourth grade children in the United States lack basic reading skills; 20 percent of all graduating high school seniors are classified as functionally illiterate (meaning that their reading and writing skills are insufficient for ordinary practical needs) ; and about 42 million adults in the United States cannot read. So, you’re not nuts to take a reading problem seriously.

Perspective

Now for some perspective. First, let’s take a moment to recognize that compared with the development of oral language, the acquisition of reading is unnatural. Speech and the ability to understand speech can be considered the result of a natural process in the sense that the requisite skills emerge without formal training. Several species of animal employ sounds such as clicking, whistles, song, or foot tapping in a fashion that constitutes focused and targeted communication (and dolphins actually seem to have names for one another). Before children can speak fluently, they move from sounds to words, words to phrases, and so on, acquiring their growing expertise from exposure to the speech around them. They then make efforts to speak, with little formal guidance. By contrast, children must be taught to read.

The good news for kids who have trouble reading is that while a deficiency in reading may look like an across-the-board failure, it is often a local problem in just one or two of the components that add up to the ability to read. Reading, like golfing or playing the guitar, is not one big global skill but a constellation of many smaller ones. When we read fluently, the little skills weave together so seamlessly that they look like a single expertise.

There are components to – How to Help Your Child Learn to Read – It is important to look at the components because a holdup in the development of any single one may be at fault in a child’s poor performance in reading. If we can identify the component that’s not doing its share, we can do a great deal to improve reading.

The components that make up reading are interrelated and overlapping, but distinguishable:

  1. Vocabulary: knowing the meanings of words. A child’s comprehension of what is read depends on this. Better vocabulary better prepares a child for reading.
  2. Comprehension: understanding and being able to interpret what is read, connecting the printed words and sentences with human experience.
  3. Phonological awareness: identifying and manipulating units of oral language, such as words, syllables, onsets, and rimes. Children who have phonological awareness can recognize that sentences are made up of words, words can be broken down into sounds and syllables, sounds can be deleted from words to make new words, and different words can begin or end with the same sound or have the same middle sound(s).
  4. Decoding: breaking down words into their constituent sounds and building words from those sounds. This begins with blending sounds (“puh” plus “al” equals “pal”) and extends into sounding out words the child has never seen before by recognizing the sounds of letters and syllables that form them.
  5. Fluency: reading smoothly with accuracy, speed, and expression that conveys the sense of what’s being read.

As a parent with no particular professional expertise in teaching literacy, there’s a lot you can do on the level of normal play and routine home life to promote reading—and without turning it into a chore or a high-pressure struggle.

To start with:

Parents can begin working on the components of reading when their child is still an infant and extend the process throughout childhood. To begin with, the more the child knows about oral language, the better. When she begins to read, she will draw upon a reserve of expertise that she first built up as a speaker and listener: vocabulary, comprehension, phonological awareness, connecting words to things.

With infants, talk to the child and encourage him to make a range of talk like sounds. Begin reading to the child, and keep books around, including some within the child’s reach. Do what you can to make reading fun, enjoyable, peaceful, and engaging, setting the stage for what comes next at the toddler level. You are building command of sounds, love of reading, and an appreciation of the value and importance of books.

With toddlers and pre-schoolers, it helps to connect reading to some routine such as bed time, nap time, or a pre or after meal lull. Select topics she likes; let the child select books for you to read. Get in the habit of activities or games that rhyme and otherwise play with sounds: songs, jingles, made-up phrases (e.g., “Billy is silly” to catch the rhyming sounds, “Sally sounds silly” to catch the sound of the initial S). Nursery rhymes are especially rich in words, rhyming, and other fundamentals. Talk about a greater range of subjects, even very mundane ones—like pointing to the parts of a car or animal in an illustration and labelling them.

As you read, stop and ask a gentle question: “What do you think Babar is thinking here?” or “What do you think will happen next?” These are great for comprehension. If the question is too difficult, offer a little more guidance by attaching a statement: “I’ll bet Babar is a little lonely. What do you think would make him feel better?” Also, you can encourage your child to experiment with writing, which helps reading because she uses sounds to try to write the word. You might see the child write “sn” for “sun,” a great start that shows awareness of sounds and the breakdown of words into sounds.

How to Help Your Child Learn to Read:

As your child continues in elementary school and begins to work hard during the school day on reading, it’s a good idea to continue reading with and to him, mixing in casual writing practice (some kids will go for the idea of alternating entries in a journal with a parent) and talking over dinner and in other family settings about what the child has read.

If there’s a series of books that speaks to one of your child’s enthusiasms, helping him get into that series will allow him to become familiar with continuing characters and engage with a larger story, which makes even new books seem familiar.

Keep a dictionary around and easily accessible, and use it once in a while. Thus, inviting your child to do this with you. The dictionary not only reinforces vocabulary and comprehension, it helps your child decode words. Hence, by showing that they are composed of syllables that can be sounded out.

Make up word games to play while driving or in a store. “Think of words that sound like snow” is good for a first or second grader. However, you can work up to more complicated games for older children. If you make the play competitive (if your family is into that), please resist the temptation. The temptation to rattle off 50 words in a row and then do your special taunting wiggly victory dance.

Next Steps:

And, of course, continue to show by your actions. Not just your pronouncements – that reading is engaging, relevant, and a path to fresh experiences. Keep books around where your child can pick them up in the natural course of things. And don’t forget to pick up a book yourself. Model the desired intimacy with books; don’t just preach it.

You can’t add becoming a fulltime reading tutor to the already fulltime demands of parenting. Nonetheless, children will vary in interest, ability, and attention. So, you’ll inevitably have to select just a few of the many possible activities to promote reading skills. In general, go for regularity—a little almost every day. And, as part of a routine that links reading to the more relaxed moments in the day. Rather than a Shakespeare marathon one Saturday a month. That is How to Help Your Child Learn to Read.

And when setting priorities, bear in mind that two activities are clearly the most critical:
  1. Firstly, read aloud to the child. So, it shows that reading is important, part of everyday life, and fun. Also, it allows you to model the basic component skills. However, it’s fine to read the same books over and over, as many children like to do. Research indicates that repeated readings help a child to integrate words better; comprehend meaning; and connect sounds, words, and meaning. Even on the 50th time through the same story, interact during the reading to bring the child into the activity. “What is Pooh doing? What do you think is in the jar?”
  2. Secondly, help the child understand that letters are related to sounds and that words can break down into sounds. Finally, the child’s reading will advance by being able to sound out words, not by memorizing individual words. There are alphabet books to help you work with your child to connect letters to sounds. In the middle of reading, stop and sound out a word. “Let’s sound this out together: Err … un. Run! He’s getting ready to run.”
Conclusion

Reading may be important and complex and very scary when your child has trouble with it. However, parents should take heart. And remember that mundane low-pressure practice during games and other activities with you can make an enormous difference. Even a slightly increased sensitivity to breaking down sounds or rhyming may help. Also, a slightly heightened familiarity with books and motivation to engage with them, can provide a significant boost at school. Reading preparation is at the top of the list of factors that make a difference in school achievement. Such preparation need not – and should not – feature threats, severity, and drudgery. Instead, help your child to read by doing what you do anyway. This includes, playing with him, talking with her – in a slightly more purposeful manner. How to Help Your Child Learn to Read may be difficult. Indeed, you may need a school counselor or a child psychiatrist.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Overview

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a brain disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.

  • Inattention means a person wanders off task, lacks persistence, has difficulty sustaining focus, and is disorganized; and these problems are not due to defiance or lack of comprehension.
  • Hyperactivity means a person seems to move about constantly, including in situations in which it is not appropriate; or excessively fidgets, taps, or talks. In adults, it may be extreme restlessness or wearing others out with constant activity.
  • Impulsivity means a person makes hasty actions that occur in the moment without first thinking about them and that may have high potential for harm; or a desire for immediate rewards or inability to delay gratification. An impulsive person may be socially intrusive and excessively interrupt others or make important decisions without considering the long-term consequences.
Signs and Symptoms

Inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity are the key behaviours of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Some people with ADHD only have problems with one of the behaviours, while others have both inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity. Most children have the combined type of ADHD.
In preschool, the most common Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder symptom is hyperactivity.
It is normal to have some inattention, unfocused motor activity and impulsivity, but for people with ADHD, these behaviours:

  • are more severe
  • occur more often
  • interfere with or reduce the quality of how they function socially, at school, or in a job
Inattention


People with symptoms of inattention may often:

  1. Overlook or miss details, make careless mistakes in schoolwork, at work, or during other activities
  2. Have problems sustaining attention in tasks or play, including conversations, lectures, or lengthy reading
  3. Not seem to listen when spoken to directly
  4. Not follow through on instructions and fail to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace or start tasks but quickly lose focus and get easily side-tracked
  5. Have problems organizing tasks and activities, such as what to do in sequence, keeping materials and belongings in order, having messy work and poor time management, and failing to meet deadlines
  6. Avoid or dislike tasks that require sustained mental effort, such as schoolwork or homework, or for teens and older adults, preparing reports, completing forms or reviewing lengthy papers
  7. Lose things necessary for tasks or activities, such as school supplies, pencils, books, tools, wallets, keys, paperwork, eyeglasses, and cell phones
  8. Be easily distracted by unrelated thoughts or stimuli
  9. Be forgetful in daily activities, such as chores, errands, returning calls, and keeping appointments
Hyperactivity-Impulsivity


People with symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity may often:

  1. Fidget and squirm in their seats
  2. Leave their seats in situations when staying seated is expected, such as in the classroom or in the office
  3. Run or dash around or climb in situations where it is inappropriate or, in teens and adults, often feel restless
  4. Be unable to play or engage in hobbies quietly
  5. Be constantly in motion or “on the go,” or act as if “driven by a motor”
  6. Talk nonstop
  7. Blurt out an answer before a question has been completed, finish other people’s sentences, or speak without waiting for a turn in conversation
  8. Have trouble waiting his or her turn
  9. Interrupt or intrude on others, for example in conversations, games, or activities
Diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder:

This requires a comprehensive evaluation by a licensed clinician, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or child psychiatrist with expertise in ADHD. For a person to receive a diagnosis of ADHD, the symptoms of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity must be chronic or long-lasting, impair the person’s functioning, and cause the person to fall behind normal development for his or her age. The doctor will also ensure that any ADHD symptoms are not due to another medical or psychiatric condition. Most children with ADHD receive a diagnosis during the elementary school years. For an adolescent or adult to receive a diagnosis of ADHD, the symptoms need to have been present prior to age 12.

Difficulties:

ADHD symptoms can appear as early as between the ages of 3 and 6 and can continue through adolescence and adulthood. Symptoms of ADHD can be mistaken for emotional or disciplinary problems or missed entirely in quiet, well-behaved children, leading to a delay in diagnosis. Adults with undiagnosed ADHD may have a history of poor academic performance, problems at work, or difficult or failed relationships.

ADHD symptoms can change over time as the person ages. In young children with ADHD, hyperactivity impulsivity is the most predominant symptom. As a child reaches elementary school, the symptom of inattention may become more prominent and cause the child to struggle academically. In adolescence, hyperactivity seems to lessen and may show more often as feelings of restlessness or fidgeting, but inattention and impulsivity may remain. Many adolescents with ADHD also struggle with relationships and antisocial behaviours. Inattention, restlessness, and impulsivity tend to persist into adulthood.

Risk Factors

Scientists are not sure what causes Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Like many other illnesses, a number of factors can contribute to ADHD, such as:

  • Genes
  • Cigarette smoking, alcohol use, or drug use during pregnancy
  • Exposure to environmental toxins during pregnancy
  • Exposure to environmental toxins, such as high levels of lead, at a young age
  • Low birth weight
  • Brain injuries

ADHD is more common in males than females, and females with ADHD are more likely to have problems primarily with inattention. Other conditions, such as learning disabilities, anxiety disorder, conduct disorder, depression, and substance abuse, are common in people with ADHD.

Treatment and Therapies

While there is no cure for ADHD, currently available treatments can help reduce symptoms and improve functioning. Treatments include medication, psychotherapy, education or training, or a combination of treatments.

Medication

For many people, ADHD medications reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity and improve their ability to focus, work, and learn. Medication also may improve physical coordination. Sometimes several different medications or dosages must be tried before finding the right one that works for a particular person. Anyone taking medications must be monitored closely and carefully by their prescribing doctor.

Stimulants

The most common type of medication used for treating ADHD is called a “stimulant.” Although it may seem unusual to treat ADHD with a medication that is considered a stimulant, it works because it increases the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine, which play essential roles in thinking and attention.

Under medical supervision, stimulant medications are considered safe. However, there are risks and side effects, especially when misused or taken in excess of the prescribed dose. For example, stimulants can raise blood pressure and heart rate and increase anxiety. Therefore, a person with other health problems, including high blood pressure, seizures, heart disease, glaucoma, liver or kidney disease, or an anxiety disorder should tell their doctor before taking a stimulant.

Talk with a doctor if you see any of these side effects while taking stimulants:decreased appetitesleep problemstics (sudden, repetitive movements or sounds);personality changesincreased anxiety and irritabilitystomach-achesheadaches

Non-stimulants.

A few other ADHD medications are non-stimulants. These medications take longer to start working than stimulants, but can also improve focus, attention, and impulsivity in a person with ADHD.
Doctors may prescribe a non-stimulant:

  • when a person has bothersome side effects from stimulants;
  • when a stimulant was not effective;
  • or in combination with a stimulant to increase effectiveness.
  • Although not approved specifically for the treatment of ADHD, some antidepressants are sometimes used alone or in combination with a stimulant to treat ADHD.
  • Antidepressants may help all of the symptoms of ADHD and can be prescribed if a patient has bothersome side effects from stimulants.
  • Antidepressants can be helpful in combination with stimulants if a patient also has another condition, such as an anxiety disorder, depression, or another mood disorder.


Doctors and patients can work together to find the best medication, dose, or medication combination

Psychotherapy

Adding psychotherapy to treat ADHD can help patients and their families to better cope with everyday problems.

Behavioural therapy is a type of psychotherapy that aims to help a person change his or her behaviour. It might involve practical assistance, such as help organizing tasks or completing schoolwork, or working through emotionally difficult events.

Behavioural therapy also teaches a person how to monitor his or her own behaviour give oneself praise or rewards for acting in a desired way, such as controlling anger or thinking before acting

Parents, teachers, and family members also can give positive or negative feedback for certain behaviours and help establish clear rules, chore lists, and other structured routines to help a person control his or her behaviour.

Therapists may also teach children social skills, such as how to wait their turn, share toys, ask for help, or respond to teasing. Learning to read facial expressions and the tone of voice in others, and how to respond appropriately can also be part of social skills training.

Cognitive behavioural therapy can also teach a person mindfulness technique, or meditation. So, a person learns how to be aware and accepting of one’s own thoughts and feelings to improve focus and concentration. The therapist also encourages the person with ADHD to adjust to the life changes that come with treatment, such as thinking before acting, or resisting the urge to take unnecessary risks.

Family and marital therapy can help family members and spouses find better ways to handle disruptive behaviours, to encourage behaviour changes, and improve interactions with the patient.

Education and Training

Firstly, children and adults with ADHD need guidance and understanding from their parents, families, and teachers to reach their full potential and to succeed. So, for school-age children, frustration, blame, and anger may have built up within a family before a child is diagnosed. However, parents and children may need special help to overcome negative feelings. Thus, mental health professionals can educate parents about ADHD and how it affects a family. In addition, they also will help the child and his or her parents develop new skills, attitudes, and ways of relating to each other.

Secondly, parenting skills training (behavioural parent management training) teaches parents the skills they need to encourage and reward positive behaviours in their children. Thus, it helps parents learn how to use a system of rewards and consequences to change a child’s behaviour. So, parents are taught to give immediate and positive feedback for behaviours they want to encourage, and ignore or redirect behaviours that they want to discourage. Finally, they may also learn to structure situations in ways that support desired behaviour.

In addition, stress management techniques can benefit parents of children with ADHD by increasing their ability to deal with frustration so that they can respond calmly to their child’s behaviour.

Support groups can help parents and families connect with others who have similar problems and concerns.Groups often meet regularly to share frustrations and successes, to exchange information about recommended specialists and strategies, and to talk with experts.

Tips to Help Kids and Adults with ADHD Stay Organized

For Kids:

Parents and teachers can help kids with ADHD stay organized and follow directions with tools such as:

  1. Firstly, keeping a routine and a schedule. Keep the same routine every day, from wake-up time to bedtime.
  2. In addition, include times for homework, outdoor play, and indoor activities. Also, keep the schedule on the refrigerator or on a bulletin board in the kitchen.
  3. Then, write changes on the schedule as far in advance as possible.
  4. Organizing everyday items. As such, have a place for everything, and keep everything in its place. This includes clothing, backpacks, and toys.
  5. Accordingly, using homework and notebook organizers. Therefore, use organizers for school material and supplies. So, emphasize to your child the importance of writing down assignments and bringing home the necessary books.
  6. Being clear and consistent. Children with ADHD need consistent rules they can understand and follow.
  7. In addition, giving praise or rewards when rules are followed. Children with ADHD often receive and expect criticism. Look for good behaviour, and praise it.
For Adults:

Indeed, a professional counsellor or therapist can help an adult with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder learn how to organize his or her life withtools such as:

  • Keeping routines
  • Making lists for different tasks and activities
  • Using a calendar for scheduling events
  • Using reminder notes
  • Assigning a special place for keys, bills, and paperwork
  • Breaking down large tasks into more manageable, smaller steps so that completing each part of the task provides a sense of accomplishment.

In either case it is best to consult your psychiatrist.

Reading Disorders

How Do I know If My child Has Reading Disorders

Reading disorders occur when a person has trouble with any part of the reading process. Reading and language-based learning disabilities are commonly called dyslexia. These disorders are present from a young age. Thus, usually result from specific differences in the way the brain processes language.

There are many different symptoms and types of reading disorders, and not everyone with a reading disorder has every symptom. People with reading disorders may have problems recognizing words that they already know and may also be poor spellers. Other symptoms may include the following:

  • Trouble with handwriting
  • Difficulty reading quickly
  • Problems reading with correct expression
  • Problems understanding the written word

Reading disorders are not a type of intellectual and development disorder. Also, they are not a sign of lower intelligence or unwillingness to learn. People with reading disorders may have other learning disabilities, too, including problems with writing or numbers. Visit learning disabilities for more information about these problems.

Types of Reading Disorders

Dyslexia is a brain-based type of learning disability that specifically impairs a person’s ability to read. Individuals with dyslexia typically read at levels significantly lower than expected despite having normal intelligence. Although the disorder varies from person to person, there are some common characteristics among people with dyslexia. They are difficulty with phonological processing (the manipulation of sounds), spelling, and/or rapid visual-verbal responding. Dyslexia can be inherited in some families. Moreover, recent studies have identified a number of genes that may predispose an individual to developing dyslexia. Examples of specific types of reading disorders include:

  • Word decoding. People who have difficulty sounding out written words; matching the letters to sounds to be able to read a word.
  • Lack of fluency. People who lack fluency have difficulty reading quickly, accurately, and with proper expression (if reading aloud).
  • Poor reading comprehension. People with poor reading comprehension have trouble understanding what they read.

A related problem is alexia (pronounced uh-LEK-see-uh), or an acquired inability to read. Unlike most reading disabilities, which are present from when a child starts to learn to read, people with alexia were once able to read. However, they lost the ability after a stroke or an injury to the area of the brain involved with reading.

How will I know if my child has a reading problem?

The news usually comes in one or more of three ways.

  1. School feedback. If your child’s teacher alerts you to a problem, resist falling into the blame games. If the teacher asks, “Do you ever read to him at home?” don’t come back with, “Aren’t you teaching him to read at school? Whatever you’re doing isn’t working.”
  2. Your child’s statements. The child may well make general or specific comments. Like “I don’t want to read.” or “I can’t do this”. “I don’t get what’s happening in this story.” More likely, your child will just express frustration. Strong resistance against practicing reading, including blanket statements like “Reading is dumb” is an obvious sign.
  3. Behavior’s you can observe. Reluctance to be read to, getting stuck on most words in a sentence. And slow or no reaction when you ask a simple question. For example, “What is the sound of that letter?” Another warning sign would be if the child’s reading is very slow. Accuracy in early reading is much more important than speed. However, if you can wash and dry the dishes before the sentence is completed, fluency is a problem. Or you may notice that the child gets the beginning of the word but guesses at the rest of it. Like, reading “smoke” as “smile,” for instance—which suggests she is trying to memorize whole words. Instead of breaking them down to sound them out.
Reading Disorders

Can’t I just wait until the child gets to school, where they have teachers trained to teach reading?

You could, but it would be better if you did not. Practicing the components of reading in the home doesn’t mean you force reading before your child is ready to. However, you can help develop important skills without rushing the process. Also, the child who does practice those skills will do better when he does get to school and is ready to read in earnest. Studies show that having more of the component skills in place at age 5 predicts better school achievement at ages 7 and 15.

What do I do if I think my child has a reading problem?

Indeed, a reading evaluation can be very important. A trained specialist can identify weakness in any of the component skills and will know how to work on it. Bear in mind that the child’s negative reaction to reading alone will not necessarily show you where the problem is. Your best bet is to ask your child’s teacher, school psychologist, or principal to bring in a reading specialist. Or if you prefer to seek out help on your own, you can do your own search. Search for a reading specialist online or in the phone book.

Moreover, a little respectful tact in dealing with your child’s teacher may well be necessary. However, you’re not questioning the teacher’s competence or going over her head by consulting a specialist. Thus, reading is a well-developed area of educational specialization, with masters and doctoral level professionals. Hence, they can offer very focused assistance that goes beyond what can happen in the classroom. So, plan to work with the teacher as will any reading specialist your child ends up seeing.

However, there are more serious problems—auditory disorders, dyslexia, pervasive developmental disorder—that can lead to reading impairment. Thus, one reason to go to a specialist is that there are different strategies. Hence, these are associated with addressing each of the many causes of a reading problem.

What if my child can read, but just won’t? What if my child just has an attitude problem?

You can be certain of motivational problems only if all of the component skills are well established. So, as a parent, you probably cannot determine this on your own. However, if you’ve taken your child for a reading evaluation and problem is just motivational then you might try these. So, establish more reading routines and engage in more talking about reading at the dinner table and have the child select a book to read together at the bookstore; switch to engaging magazines or something else other than a book that has words to read; read stories connected to movies, and see the movies with the child.


My child is pulled out of class for an intensive reading program. If I enroll her in an outside program for a few weeks, will that bring her up to speed?

Nevertheless, a few weeks in an intensive reading program, all by itself, probably will not be enough. A program that is sustained and supported in the home is more likely to have staying power. Also, research suggests that much can be done to help the child and build the skills needed. In addition, that steady progress takes precedence over a quick fix. Therefore, notably the mundane game like activities I’ve discussed above will go far to improve reading and complement school activities. Thus, if you can start early, all the better. Then, you have the option, select day care, preschool, and kindergarten that emphasize sounding out, rhyming, and other pre-reading skills.

But do not leave the teaching of reading to the school. Without becoming a whip cracking achievement monster, you can accomplish a great deal. This is as part of a regular routine of play and home life.