Depression – Types and Symptoms

Depression is frequently confused with natural and circumstantial feelings of grief or sadness. However, depression is not merely a weakness. It is not something to be taken lightly. Indeed, it is quite a serious issue and can last for long periods of time. Accordingly, there are different types of depression and they could present with more than a couple of symptoms.

In fact, depression does not merely involve feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and worthlessness. To summarize, it is much more terrible and has a negative effect on your day-to-day functioning.

Further, there are many different types of depression. These are:

  1. Firstly, Major depression
  2. Secondly, Bipolar depression
  3. Thirdly, Psychotic depression
  4. Fourthly, Chronic depression (even dysthymia)
  5. Fifthly, Seasonal depression
  6. Sixthly, Substance-induced depression
  7. Seventhly, Postpartum depression
  8. Eighthly, Double depression
  9. Ninthly, Treatment-resistant depression
  10. Tenthly, Secondary depression
  11. Finally, Masked depression
Symptoms

First off, signs and symptoms of clinical depression vary. Secondly, they depend largely on how severe, how long lasting and how often they come into play. In addition, there are individual differences. Therefore, while some experience a few signs of depression, others experience more. Hereunder, is a list of symptoms that might indicate that you may be suffering from depression and that you might want to consult a psychiatrist:

  1. Firstly, Being sad for most parts of the day, especially in the morning
  2. Secondly, Feeling like blaming yourself unnecessarily or feeling worthless almost every day
  3. Thirdly, More inclined towards being negative
  4. Fourthly, Sleep Difficulties i.e. Loss of sleep or Excessive sleep
  5. Fifthly, Regular contemplations of death or suicide
  6. Sixthly, Significant weight gain or weight loss
  7. Seventhly, Appetite loss or overeating
  8. Eighthly, Feelings of high fatigue and low energy levels almost every day
  9. Ninthly, Inability to make decisions or impaired focus and difficulty concentrating
  10. Tenthly, Lack of interest in almost all daily activities or hobbies, including sexual activity
  11. Eleventhly, Irritability and restlessness
  12. Twelthly, Cramps, headaches and digestive problems which persist even with treatment
Causes

Although, the exact cause of depression is not yet determined, depression is supposedly caused by a combination of a number of factors:

  1. Biological differences
  2. Hormonal imbalances
  3. Brain chemistry
  4. Inherited traits or genetic disorders.
  5. Social and Psychological factors.
  6. Also, Co-morbid or Chronic Medical conditions.

And finally, 7. Treatments with certain Medications.

Hallucinations Delusions Schizophrenia ?

hallucinations delusions schizophrenia

Weird, Bizarre, Incoherent – Hallucinations Delusions Schizophrenia ?! Serious Mental Illnesses (SMIs) and side effects to varied medicines may cause hallucinations in many individuals. Psychosis and Schizophrenia are the most commonly known causes that may cause this condition. Hallucinations are sensations and feelings that may appear as real to the patient. Thus, convincing him or her of the occurrence of things that are not really happening in reality. Hearing voices, seeing people, and experiencing things that no one else can, are some of the ways in which hallucinations work.

Let us find out the varied signs and symptoms of this condition.

Hearing Voices: One of the most common signs of hallucinations includes hearing voices. You may hear voices from people who cannot be seen or heard by other people around you. In such cases, you may have the distinct feeling of hearing these voices from within. However, this could also be from a source outside your own mind and body. In many cases, you may feel like these voices are trying to talk to you or give you a certain message. Ringing of the ears on a persistent basis may also be experienced in such cases.

Visual Hallucinations: Such hallucinations will make the patient see things. In such cases, the patient may be witness to a scene that cannot be seen by anyone else. Essentially, it is a scene that may not be happening in reality. In visual hallucinations, the patient may also see people that other people in the room or the area cannot see. The patient may also see objects and other creatures. For example, insects crawling across his or her hand. Subsequently, the patient reacts with fear or anxiety, when in reality, no such scene may be happening. These kind of hallucinations also cause occipital seizures where the patient will see spots, shapes and rings of brightly coloured lights. They may be coming towards him or her, or even encircle him or her.

Other kinds of hallucinations

Tactile Hallucinations: In this kind of hallucinations will make the patient feel things that may not really be happening. For example, these hallucinations will make the patient feel hot during winters. They may also feel a blast of air even when there has been none.

Taste Hallucinations: In these hallucinations, the patient may get a salty taste from sweet food, or vice versa. Such hallucinations make the patient imagine that he or she tastes a certain flavor when in reality, this is not true. They are also called gustatory hallucinations.

Olfactory Hallucinations: These hallucinations have to do with odd smells that the patient may get a whiff of. In these hallucinations, the patient imagines certain smells like burning, or other odours. Patients may also feel that their own bodies are letting out certain odours which may not be the actual case.  

Delusion vs. Hallucination

A delusion is a false belief based on incorrect inference about external reality that is firmly sustained despite what almost everybody else believes. This is also despite what constitutes incontrovertible and obvious proof or evidence to the contrary. The belief is not one ordinarily accepted by other members of the person’s culture or subculture For example, it is not an article of religious faith.

A hallucination occurs when environmental, emotional, or physical factors such as stress, medication, or extreme fatigue. In a mental illness the mechanism within the brain that helps to distinguish conscious perceptions from internal, memory-based perceptions misfire. As a result, hallucinations occur during periods of consciousness. They can appear in the form of visions, voices or sounds, tactile feelings (known as haptic hallucinations), smells, or tastes.

Delusions are a common symptom of several mood and personality-related mental illnesses. These include schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia, shared psychotic disorder, major depressive disorder, and bipolar disorder. They are also the major feature of delusional disorder. Individuals with delusional disorder suffer from long-term, complex delusions that fall into one of six categories. They are persecutory, grandiose, jealousy, erotomanic, somatic, or mixed.

So… are all hallucinations delusions schizophrenia ?! If you notice any of the above, it may be time to consult a neuropsychiatrist OR visit your nearest doctor to find out more.

Fits Seizures Epilepsy Treatment

fits seizures epilepsy treatment

Fits, Seizures, Epilepsy is a form of chronic disorder and it is characterized by recurrent seizures and importantly does have treatment options. The episodes of epileptic seizures may differ from person to person. These seizures could be a result of genetic disorder or a result of trauma or stroke. During a seizure, a patient may also experience symptoms of neurological disorders and sometimes lose consciousness. However, treatment is available.

Medical help for fits seizures or epilepsy i.e. treatment

Medications cannot cure seizures entirely. However, proper medicines help in eliminating recurrent seizures. These medicines stabilize the electrical activity within the brain preventing seizures.

How effective is the medication treatment for fits seizures or epilepsy?

The success of controlling seizures using medicines depends on the type and severity of the epilepsy. Medicines for epilepsy are usually very effective and may fully keep seizures under control. However, brain problems can cause seizures. In such cases treatment may be more difficult. Usually, epilepsy medicines can control seizures for a long period of time when they are taken regularly.

Need for medical help

The decision about when to start medicines for epilepsy is a tricky one. This is because a first seizure cannot confirm whether a person has an on-going epilepsy problem. A second seizure may occur after many years or may not happen at all. Prediction of seizures is also quite difficult.

The severity of seizures also indicates when to start medicines for treatment. In case a first seizure is quite severe, medication should be started at once. Some people have very mild seizures even though they may be recurring in nature, and medication can be avoided in this situation.

All the pros and cons must be thought over before starting medications for the treatment of fits or epilepsy. It is advisable to wait for a second seizure and then start medications for treatment. You should always consult a doctor to know when you need to start taking medicines to treat the condition.

For making the most out of the medicines to control seizures, you should follow certain steps:
  1. You must take medications exactly as your doctor has prescribed.
  2. Before switching to generic versions of your medicines or before taking other prescribed medicines, you must consult your doctor.
  3. You should never stop taking the medicines.
  4. In case you experience enhanced depression, mood swings and suicidal thoughts, you should talk to your doctor immediately.
  5. In case you have migraine, you should let your doctor know so that he can prescribe you anti-epileptic medicines, which also prevent migraines.

Medicines cannot treat the underlying cause of epilepsy, but these help in controlling seizures and this is the most common symptom of epilepsy. Visit with a neuropsychiatrist after making an appointment.

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

Worry Fear and Anxiety

Worry Fear Anxiety

Worry fear anxiety are all a normal part of life, and can even be helpful in some instances. We often worry about things that are present in our lives, such as finances, work, and family, and this worry has the potential to help us make good decisions in these areas. This is normal and is not a cause of concern as this kind of worry leads to solutions to problems.

It is possible, however, for worry to become more confronting, emotionally, than these everyday worries. If you are experiencing worries that are excessive, uncontrollable, or irrational, and have been experiencing these worries for an extended period of time, you may be suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or GAD.

If you feel that your worrying is out of your control and that you need some help understanding and dealing with it, this information on worry and Generalized Anxiety Disorder will help

While most people worry about everyday things such as family, work pressures, health, or money, worrying about these kinds of things do not typically get in the way of everyday functioning. However, people with GAD find that their worry is excessive (they worry more about a situation or scenario than others do or “blow things out of proportion”), difficult to control, and pervasive (they worry fear or anxiety begins about a specific event but then extends to all similar or related events). GAD often results in an occupational social and physical impairment, as well as emotional distress.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

There is a 10% chance of a person developing Generalized Anxiety Disorder at some point in their life, and 3% of the population will be diagnosed with GAD in a given year. This disorder is one of the most common diagnoses at the primary care level. The age of onset of GAD is quite variable, ranging from twenty to forty years of age, but most report that they have always been worriers and that worrying is only now becoming a handicap. Females are more likely to develop GAD than males.

GAD tends to develop gradually and fluctuate in severity over time. Although most people appear to be symptomatic for the majority of the time since the onset of the disorder, about one-quarter of people with GAD exhibit periods of remission (three months or longer without symptoms).

Research has identified various core issues in the development and maintenance of GAD. For example, intolerance of uncertainty about the future has been identified as one of the core issues in GAD. The role of “worry about worry, in which people believe that worry is uncontrollable or inherently dangerous, is also central. Excessive worry can also be a way of avoiding emotional processing related to fear, and the role of emotion dysregulation and experiential avoidance may also be central to GAD.

Signs and Symptoms

So what are the signs of Anxiety which result in GAD that requires you to consult a psychiatrist to find the right solution in terms of therapy with medications or counseling or both:


1. Excessive worrying that lasts for months, plus some or all of the following
2. Feeling restless, keyed up, or on edge most of the time
3. Being easily tired
4. Having difficulty concentrating, or having your mind go blank.
5. Being irritable.
6. Having tense or sore muscles.
7. Having difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or having restless, unsatisfying sleep.
8. Over-planning
9. Excessive list making
10. Seeking reassurance from others


Seek help when you still can and has not yet gotten to the point where worrying is actually making you NOT be able to function either at home in making domestic relationships better or outside of the home in the work or school or any other setting that is making your productivity go down and getting you into trouble. CONSULT a psychiatrist as soon as possible.

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.

Sleep Hygiene

Sleep Hygiene

What is sleep hygiene? 

Sleep hygiene is a variety of different practices and habits that are necessary to have good nighttime sleep quality and full daytime alertness. 

Why is it important to practice good sleep hygiene? 

Obtaining healthy sleep is important for both physical and mental health. It can also improve productivity and overall quality of life. Everyone, from children to older adults, can benefit from practicing good sleep habits. 

How can I improve my sleep hygiene? 

One of the most important sleep hygiene practices is to spend an appropriate amount of time asleep in bed, not too little or too excessive. Sleep needs vary across ages and are especially impacted by lifestyle and health. However, there are recommendations that can provide guidance on  how much sleep you need generally. Other good sleep hygiene practices include: 

LIMITING DAYTIME NAPS
  • Limiting daytime  naps to 30 minutes .  Napping does not make up for inadequate nighttime sleep. However, a short nap of 20-30 minutes can help to improve mood, alertness and performance.  
AVOIDING STIMULANTS
  • Avoiding stimulants such as  caffeine and nicotine close to bedtime.  And when it comes to alcohol, moderation is key 4. While alcohol is well-known to help you fall asleep faster, too much close to bedtime can disrupt sleep in the second half of the night as the body begins to process the alcohol.    
EXERCISE
  • Exercising to promote good quality sleep.  As little as 10 minutes of aerobic exercise, such as walking or cycling, can drastically improve nighttime sleep quality.  For the best night’s sleep, most people should avoid strenuous workouts close to bedtime. However, the effect of intense nighttime exercise on sleep differs from person to person, so find out what works best for you.   
FOOD HABITS
  • Steering clear of  food that can be disruptive right before sleep.   Heavy or rich foods, fatty or fried meals, spicy dishes, citrus fruits, and carbonated drinks can trigger indigestion for some people. When this occurs close to bedtime, it can lead to painful heartburn that disrupts sleep. 
THE SLEEP-WAKE CYCLE
  • Ensuring adequate exposure to natural light.  This is particularly important for individuals who may not venture outside frequently. Exposure to sunlight during the day, as well as darkness at night, helps to maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle .
A BEDTIME ROUTINE
  • Establishing a regular relaxing bedtime routine. A regular nightly routine helps the body recognize that it is bedtime. This could include taking warm shower or bath, reading a book, or light stretches. When possible, try to avoid emotionally upsetting conversations and activities before attempting to sleep.
SLEEP ENVIRONMENT
  • Making sure that the sleep environment is pleasant. Mattress and pillows should be comfortable. The bedroom should be cool – between 60 and 67 degrees – for optimal sleep. Bright light from lamps, cell phone and TV screens can make it difficult to fall asleep, so turn those light off or adjust them when possible. Consider using blackout curtains, eye shades, ear plugs, “white noise” machines, humidifiers, fans and other devices that can make the bedroom more relaxing.

What are signs of poor sleep hygiene?

Frequent sleep disturbances and daytime sleepiness are the most telling signs of poor sleep hygiene. In addition, if you’re taking too long to fall asleep, you should consider evaluating your sleep routine and revising your bedtime habits. Just a few simple changes can make the difference between a good night’s sleep and night spent tossing and turning.

Contact your psychiatrist to find the right kind of therapy for YOU either counseling or medications or a combination or both for good sleep hygiene.

Tips for a Magical Sleep

Tips Magical Sleep

Good sleep habits or good sleep hygiene, are mostly common sense. However life is very busy and we often don’t think about them. So, here are some tips for a magical sleep which may help.

Value your bedtime and have the same getting up time during the work week, regardless of sleep. The body has an internal clock and hormones that control sleepiness and wakefulness. This clock works best if there is a regular sleep routine. When you feel sleepy at bedtime try not to ignore this by staying up, as this is a window of opportunity for sleep. Some tips for a magical sleep.

Some tips:

Going to bed too early can also disturb your sleep. In the hour before going to bed, it is important that you have a relaxing sleep routine to allow you to wind down. This may include any form of “time out” compared with your day e.g. a warm bath, reading quietly or a warm milk drink.

Falling asleep on the couch during the evening reduces your sleep drive and makes it harder to fall asleep when you go to bed.

Caffeine needs to be avoided for at least four hours before going to bed. This includes colas, soft drinks, coffee and tea.

Smoking makes it difficult to go to sleep, so there should be no cigarettes before going to bed or during the night.

Alcohol might help you get to sleep in small amounts but may make it harder to stay asleep. Too much alcohol will make snoring and sleep apnoea worse as well. Stimulating activities should be avoided in the hour before bed.

Mealtime – Your body slows down at night, and eating too close to bedtime i.e. less than two hours, makes it difficult to sleep. Eating too late may impact your glucose metabolism.

Bed – A Place to look forward to – Your bed must be comfortable, warm and restful. Both the temperature of the room and having enough blankets is important – warm hands and feet are essential. Remove distractions from the bedroom e.g. television, computer, radio and telephone. Any clocks in the bedroom should be covered to avoid clock-watching. If possible, do not allow children and pets to disturb you.

Daytime – Exercise is good for sleep, but not just before going to bed. The best times are in the morning and before dinner. It is best to be outside in the early part of the day. Avoid lying in bed during the day.

Using the bedroom to study, watch television, make phone calls and read books makes it harder to sleep as the brain will no longer link the bed with sleep. The bedroom is for sleeping and intimacy only.

Some more tips:

Can’t Sleep, won’t sleep, what shall I do? – Sleep is not something you can force to happen. If you are not asleep within 20-30 minutes of going to bed, get up, go to another darkened room and sit quietly. Boredom can promote sleep!

Do not watch television, use a computer, eat, drink or do household chores. When you feel tired again go back to bed. This helps your mind link bed with sleep – not with being unhappy and not sleeping. Do not look at the clock. No matter what time it is you will have an emotional reaction.

REST IS GOOD – IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE SLEEP

My brain won’t switch off – If you lie awake in bed at night and cannot switch off your thoughts, set aside a “worry time” during the evening. Use this time to think about the day’s event, make plans and possible solutions. Then acknowledge any thoughts and learn to “let them go”. Keep the hour before bed as your wind down time – develop a routine that prepares your body and mind for sleep. Listen to quiet music or do relaxation. Our thoughts continue all the time, so try to make them calmer by creating a favorite fantasy place or daydreaming of your favorite holiday spot. If other thoughts come in, consider them for a moment and then try to gently replace them with calm thoughts.

How much sleep do I need?

Most adults need seven to nine hours sleep each day. Younger people have different sleep needs. If you are a poorer sleeper it is important you learn to match time in bed with perceived sleep time to improve sleep quality. If you spend more time in bed, you will be telling your body that it is OK to drift in and out of sleep all night. Going to bed later at night may be the best thing to reduce your time lying awake in bed at night.

If you are taking short afternoon naps (10-20 minutes maximum) without any problems, then you might want to keep doing this. However, naps in the evening or dozing in front of the television can make it harder to get to sleep at night.

Your doctor and medications – If you are struggling with your sleep, seek advice from your doctor who may refer you to a sleep specialist or psychologist. Some medications make it easier to get to sleep but others will keep you awake. It is best to take them only when your doctor or pharmacist says so. Sleeping pills can be good when a specific event in your life is making it hard to sleep but they are only a short term fix. These are some tips for a magical sleep.

Always consult a psychiatrist if your problems interfere with daily normal functioning.

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.