Are You Feeling Suicidal?

Feeling Suicidal

How to Deal with Suicidal Thoughts and Feelings and Overcome the Pain

You’re not alone; many of us have had suicidal thoughts at some point in our lives. Feeling suicidal is not a character defect, and it doesn’t mean that you are crazy, or weak, or flawed. It only means that you have more pain than you can cope with right now. This pain seems overwhelming and permanent at the moment. But with time and support, you can overcome your problems and the pain and suicidal feelings will pass.

I’m having suicidal thoughts, what do I need to know?

No matter how much pain you’re experiencing right now, you’re not alone. Some of the finest, most admired, needed, and talented people have been where you are now. Many of us have thought about taking our own lives when we’ve felt overwhelmed by depression and devoid of all hope. But the pain of depression can be treated and hope can be renewed. No matter what your situation, there are people who need you, places where you can make a difference, and experiences that can remind you that life is worth living. It takes real courage to face death and step back from the brink. You can use that courage to face life, to learn coping skills for overcoming depression, and for finding the strength to keep going. Remember:

  1. Your emotions are not fixed – they are constantly changing. How you feel today may not be the same as how you felt yesterday or how you’ll feel tomorrow or next week.
  2. Your absense would create grief and anguish in the lives of friends and loved ones.
  3. There are many things you can still accomplish in your life.
  4. There are sights, sounds, and experiences in life that have the ability to delight and lift you – and that you would miss.
  5. Your ability to experience pleasurable emotions is equal to your ability to experience distressing emotions.

Why do I feel suicidal?

Many kinds of emotional pain can lead to thoughts of suicide. The reasons for this pain are unique to each one of us, and the ability to cope with the pain differs from person to person. We are all different. There are, however, some common causes that may lead us to experience suicidal thoughts and feelings.

Why suicide can seem like the only option

If you are unable to think of solutions other than suicide, it is not that other solutions don’t exist, but rather that you are currently unable to see them. The intense emotional pain that you’re experiencing right now can distort your thinking so it becomes harder to see possible solutions to problems, or to connect with those who can offer support. Therapists, counselors, friends or loved ones can help you to see solutions that otherwise may not be apparent to you. Give them a chance to help.

A suicidal crisis is almost always temporary

Although it might seem as if your pain and unhappiness will never end, it is important to realize that crises are usually temporary. Solutions are often found, feelings change, unexpected positive events occur. Remember: suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Give yourself the time necessary for things to change and the pain to subside.

Even problems that seem hopeless have solutions

Mental health conditions such as depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder are all treatable with changes in lifestyle, therapy, and medication. Most people who seek help can improve their situation and recover. Even if you have received treatment for a disorder before, or if you’ve already made attempts to solve your problems, know that it’s often necessary to try different approaches before finding the right solution or combination of solutions. When medication is prescribed, for example, finding the right dosage often requires an ongoing process of adjustment. Don’t give up before you’ve found the solution that works for you. Virtually all problems can be treated or resolved.

Take these immediate actions

Step #1: Promise not to do anything right now

Even though you’re in a lot of pain right now, give yourself some distance between thoughts and action. Make a promise to yourself: “I will wait 24 hours and won’t do anything drastic during that time.” Or, wait a week.

Thoughts and actions are two different things—your suicidal thoughts do not have to become a reality. There’s is no deadline, no one’s pushing you to act on these thoughts immediately. Wait. Wait and put some distance between your suicidal thoughts and suicidal action.

Step #2: Avoid drugs and alcohol

Suicidal thoughts can become even stronger if you have taken drugs or alcohol. It is important to not use nonprescription drugs or alcohol when you feel hopeless or are thinking about suicide.

Step #3: Make your home safe

Remove things you could use to hurt yourself, such as pills, knives, razors, or firearms. If you are unable to do so, go to a place where you can feel safe. If you are thinking of taking an overdose, give your medicines to someone who can return them to you one day at a time as you need them.

Step #4: Don’t keep these suicidal feelings to yourself

Many of us have found that the first step to coping with suicidal thoughts and feelings is to share them with someone we trust. It may be a family member, friend, therapist, member of the clergy, teacher, family doctor, coach, or an experienced counselor at the end of a helpline. Find someone you trust and let them know how bad things are. Don’t let fear, shame, or embarrassment prevent you from seeking help. And if the first person you reach out to doesn’t seem to understand, try someone else. Just talking about how you got to this point in your life can release a lot of the pressure that’s building up and help you find a way to cope.

Step #5: Take hope – people DO get through this

Even people who feel as badly as you are feeling now manage to survive these feelings. Take hope in this. There is a very good chance that you are going to live through these feelings, no matter how much self-loathing, hopelessness, or isolation you are currently experiencing. Just give yourself the time needed and don’t try to go it alone.

Reaching out for help

Even if it doesn’t feel like it right now, there are many people who want to support you during this difficult time. Reach out to someone. Do it now. If you promised yourself 24 hours or a week in step #1 above, use that time to tell someone what’s going on with you. Talk to someone who won’t try to argue about how you feel, judge you, or tell you to just “snap out of it.” Find someone who will simply listen and be there for you.

It doesn’t matter who it is, as long as it’s someone you trust and who is likely to listen with compassion and acceptance.

How to talk to someone about your suicidal thoughts

Even when you’ve decided who you can trust to talk to, admitting your suicidal thoughts to another person can be difficult.

  • Tell the person exactly what you are telling yourself. If you have a suicide plan, explain it to them.
  • Phrases such as, ‘I can’t take it anymore’ or ‘I’m done’ are vague and do not illustrate how serious things really are. Tell the person you trust that you are thinking about suicide.
  • If it is too difficult for you to talk about, try writing it down and handing a note to the person you trust. Or send them an email or text and sit with them while they read it.

How to cope with suicidal thoughts

Remember that while it may seem as if these suicidal thoughts and feelings will never end, this is never a permanent condition. You WILL feel better again. In the meantime, there are some ways to help cope with your suicidal thoughts and feelings.

If You Have Suicidal Thoughts and Feelings

Things to do:
  • Talk with someone every day, preferably face to face. Though you feel like withdrawing, ask trusted friends and acquaintances to spend time with you. Or continue to call a crisis helpline and talk about your feelings.
  • Make a safety plan. Develop a set of steps that you can follow during a suicidal crisis. It should include contact numbers for your doctor or therapist, as well as friends and family members who will help in an emergency.
  • Make a written schedule for yourself every day and stick to it, no matter what. Keep a regular routine as much as possible, even when your feelings seem out of control.
  • Get out in the sun or into nature for at least 30 minutes a day.
  • Exercise as vigorously as is safe for you. To get the most benefit, aim for 30 minutes of exercise per day. But you can start small. Three 10-minute bursts of activity can have a positive effect on mood.
  • Make time for things that bring you joy. Even if very few things bring you pleasure at the moment, force yourself to do the things you used to enjoy.
  • Remember your personal goals. You may have always wanted to travel to a particular place, read a specific book, own a pet, move to another place, learn a new hobby, volunteer, go back to school, or start a family. Write your personal goals down.
Things to avoid:
  • Being alone. Solitude can make suicidal thoughts even worse. Visit a friend, or family member, or pick up the phone and call a crisis helpline.
  • Alcohol and drugs. Drugs and alcohol can increase depression, hamper your problem-solving ability, and can make you act impulsively.
  • Doing things that make you feel worse. Listening to sad music, looking at certain photographs, reading old letters, or visiting a loved one’s grave can all increase negative feelings.
  • Thinking about suicide and other negative thoughts. Try not to become preoccupied with suicidal thoughts as this can make them even stronger. Don’t think and rethink negative thoughts. Find a distraction. Giving yourself a break from suicidal thoughts can help, even if it’s for a short time.

Recovering from suicidal thoughts

Even if your suicidal thoughts and feelings have subsided, get help for yourself. Experiencing that sort of emotional pain is itself a traumatizing experience. Finding a support group or therapist can be very helpful in decreasing the chances that you will feel suicidal again in the future. 

5 steps to recovery

  1. Identify triggers or situations that lead to feelings of despair or generate suicidal thoughts, such as an anniversary of a loss, alcohol, or stress from relationships. Find ways to avoid these places, people, or situations.
  2. Take care of yourself. Eat right, don’t skip meals, and get plenty of sleep. Exercise is also key: it releases endorphins, relieves stress, and promotes emotional well-being.
  3. Build your support network. Surround yourself with positive influences and people who make you feel good about yourself. The more you’re invested in other people and your community, the more you have to lose—which will help you stay positive and on the recovery track.
  4. Develop new activities and interests. Find new hobbies, volunteer activities, or work that gives you a sense of meaning and purpose. When you’re doing things you find fulfilling, you’ll feel better about yourself and feelings of despair are less likely to return.
  5. Learn to deal with stress in a healthy way. Find healthy ways to keep your stress levels in check, including exercising, meditating, using sensory strategies to relax, practicing simple breathing exercises, and challenging self-defeating thoughts.

What if you still don’t feel understood?

Contact the psychiatrist immediately.

Depression – Medications Play a Key Role in Recovery

Depresssion Medications Recovery
What is antidepressants and mood elevators?

Depression – caused by the imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain. Therefore, medications play a key role in recovery. Thus, antidepressant or mood elevator, prescribed to patients with depression to alleviate their symptoms. Antidepressant medicine not only used for the treatment of depression. Additionally, also prescribed in other psychiatric conditions. These include anxiety disorders, social anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), dysthymia (mild chronic depression), etc,.

The use of antidepressants is on the rise. Although, antidepressants do not cure depression, they relieve the symptoms. Andipressants come in various types. The first medication to try may not benefit. However, one must consult their doctor and find the right choice of medication/s for their condition.

Antidepressant adherence

Non-adherence to antidepressants – one of the causes of major negative consequences on health. Nonetheless, it also majorly contributes to the under treatment of anxiety and depression in maximum cases in the population. Consequently, a set of reasons why people do not comply with their therapy or treatment must be explored. Firstly, forgetting to take the medicine. Secondly, other factors that contribute to non-adherence of antidepressants include –

  1. Fear of addiction
  2. High cost of medications
  3. Fear of drug-induced sexual dysfunction
  4. Delayed onset of action of the medication
  5. Poor instructions and protocols by the doctor
  6. Fear of side effects
Benefits of Adherence

Nevertheless, adherence to the medication with proper guidance from the doctor will decrease the symptoms of depression. Thus, leading them get back to their normal life. Also, under-treatment of depression at times fatal. However, if the depression escalates, suicidal tendencies can follow. Inspite of and apart from these, suddenly stopping the medications – associated with withdrawal symptoms which can get fatal in severe cases.

Indeed, in recent times – depression – a common problem and the reason for the rise of fatalities that it causes. Thus, the importance to consult a doctor to get the condition’s diagnosis and get on the right treatment. Also, of equal importance to adhere to their therapy and abide by the guidelines.

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.

Schizophrenia – The “psycho” disorder?!

Schizophrenia

What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a complex brain disorder, with its pathogenesis in neurodevelopmental anomalies. The 5 domains of schizophrenia include:

  • Positive symptoms (delusions, hallucinations).
  • Negative symptoms.
  • Ubiquitous cognitive deficits
  • Motor symptoms (dyskinesias).
  • Deficits in social cognition, or socio-occupational functioning.
Negative Symptoms: 

Negative symptoms include blunted affect, alogia, avolition, asociality, amotivation, anhedonia, ideational constriction, apathy or inertia, and abulia.

  • Blunted affect: This refers to the decreased intensity and repertoire of emotional expressions.
  • Alogia: This refers to the paucity in the speech content that is evident in patients of schizophrenia.
  • Avolition: This refers to the deficits in initiation and maintenance of goal-directed behaviors.
  • Anhedonia: This is the decreased ability to experience and anticipate pleasure, or pleasurable emotions. Recent studies have pointed out that patients with schizophrenia have the ablility to enjoy the pleasurable experience. However, they display a lack of wanting to experience these pleasurable pursuits or enjoyable experiences. Consummatory hedonia is the ability to experience an emotion. Also, anticipatory hedonia is the want to experience a pleasurable pursuit. Patients with schizophrenia display anticipatory anhedonia. However, negative symptoms have not been unique to schizophrenia alone.
Classification of Negative Symptoms:

Deficits in the brain circuitry concerning reward (nucleus accumbens), motivation and pleasure are the reason for negative symptoms.

Negative symptoms are further classified into:

  • Enduring Primary Negative Symptoms: The enduring primary negative symptoms can consistently present over long periods of time, despite fluctuations in other aspects of the disease. These enduring primary negative symptoms constitute what is called the deficit syndrome in schizophrenia.
  • Transitory Secondary Negative Symptoms: Secondary negative symptoms can occur transitory in nature, fluctuate largely over the course of the illness, and abate with reduction in the other aspects of the disease.
What Causes Secondary Negative Symptoms?
  • These are secondary to positive symptoms. That is, if a patient hears voices commanding him not to venture out of his home, lest he is attacked by his arch nemesis, such an individual is bound to stay at home for the fear of being attacked. Such an individual will also limit his social interaction, and display paucity in his speech content. People mistake this for apathy and alogia. However, in fact it is a reflection of the aftermath of auditory hallucinations, a positive symptom.
  • Secondary negative symptoms are attributable to chronic social deprivation. This is evident in patients who are chronically institutionalized in asylums. Such long bouts of social isolation serve to remove all motivation in these individuals to interact with the outside world, especially at a time when they are overwhelmed by their illness, and are unable to integrate their inner perceptual experiences. Chronic institutionalization comes across as a severely under-stimulating environment. 
  • Lastly secondary negative symptoms may be due to medications themselves. In medical terms, it is called neuroleptic-induced dysphoria. The medications which are used to treat a psychotic breakdown cause a reduction in the levels of the happy hormone serotonin, and this may produce a depression like picture. However, this is not to be confused with the post-psychotic depression that is commonly seen after a psychotic episode. Although the treatment does not differ in both these scenarios, recognition of the individual clinical scenario has important prognostic ramifications. In theory, risk of exacerbation of the psychotic symptoms exists, when the post-psychotic depression is treated with antidepressants.
Deficit Syndrome:
  • Indeed, deficit syndrome or a clustering of these negative symptoms entails a poor quality of life, and impaired socio-occupational functioning.
  • Subsequently, individuals become unproductive, and lead a life of social isolation and deprivation.
  • The motivation to go out and do something beautiful, achieve a target, strive towards betterment of oneself diminishes and stops. Also, work towards a greater good of one’s community, all day to day goals in the lives of a regular individual, cease to exist.
Degree of Future Negative Symptoms:
  • Firstly, Among the strongest predictors of the degree of future negative symptoms is Duration of Untreated Psychosis, or DUP.
  • Thus, DUP refers to the time lag between the appearance of the first psychotic symptoms, and the treatment sought for these symptoms.
  • However, greater the duration of the untreated psychosis, greater is the future occurence of negative symptoms and cognitive deficits.
  • Indeed, an individual with a substantial cognitive reserve offers some protection against the cognitive deficits in schizophrenia, and dementia.
  • Since the nature of these cognitive deficits is ubiquitous, these may be evident as early as the prodromal phase of schizophrenia.
  • Indeed, greater the volume of grey matter loss, greater is the cognitive deficit syndrome. Also, greater the duration of untreated psychosis, greater is the grey matter volume loss.

Treatment:

Factoring in all these points, it becomes imperative to seek comprehensive professional psychiatric help early in the course of the illness. The prodromal phase of schizophrenia presents with memory disturbances, vague anxiety and depressive symptoms, progressive social withdrawal, before the positive symptoms set in. This prodrome can last as long as 5 years before the onset of core psychotic symptoms, like delusions and hallucinations.

Management of Negative Symptoms:
Non-pharmacological Management:
  1. Psychosocial interventions: Indeed, this is as important as psychopharmacological interventions. Thus, forming support groups, and meeting at regular intervals of these groups is important. Nevertheless, these group meetings give voice to individual experiences and problems. So, thereapists give encouragement to client participation. Assessment is done of the progress so far. Therapists also ascertain the goals for the future.
  2. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Therapists aid the clients in recognizing cognitive distortions. Subsequently, they help in unlearning older maladaptive behaviors, and focusing on learning newer adaptive ones. Individualized therapy is suitable. Because, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment. Studies consistently show that individual therapy is better than group therapy in the treatment of negative symptoms.
  3. Cognitive remediation therapy for cognitive deficits: This includes pencil-paper tasks, sudoku, crossword, computer exercises. Therapists tailor some of the exercises to focus on deficits in individual domains like attention, speed of thought processing, verbal working memory, reasoning, and social cognition.
  4. Others: Thus, aerobic exercises help in neurogenesis, synaptogenesis, and modulate neuroplasticity. 
Pharmacological Management:
  1. In fact, Amisulpiride and Fluoxetine treat the negative symptoms. Amisulpride increases levels of the hormone prolactin in the long run. Hyperprolactinaemia can set the precedent for osteoporosis.
  2. However, recent studies have shown that Clozapine has the highest level of evidence in the management of negative symptoms.  With Clozapine, the improvements can be visible even after 6 months of initiation of treatment. 
  3. Moreover, Clozapine trial requires regular monitoring of the White Blood Cell counts, and causes constipation, weight gain, salivation, postural hypotension, and palpitations as common side effects.

Brain Stimulation Techniques:

  1. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). Firstly, TMS of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) has proven to be very effective in the treatment of negative symptoms.
  2. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). However, it is not as effective for negative symptoms, as it is for depression and positive symptoms.

Novel Treatment Approaches:

  • Emerging molecular targets – These include GABAergic modulation, targeting oxytocin receptors (implicated in the social cognition deficits in schizophrenia, along with mirror neurons). Also, countering neuroinflammation by using cyclo-oxygenase inhibitors like Rofecoxib. Others include – NMDA (N-Methyl-D-Aspartate) antagonists like Memantine, Glycine-reuptake inhibitors like Bitopetrin, and Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor 2/3 agonists like Pomaglumetad. Memantine, Bitopetrin and Pomaglumetad come under the purview of glutamatergic modulation.

There is definitely hope for those afflicted with the deficit syndrome, with researchers identifying a plethora of molecular targets.

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.

Sexual Intercourse or… simply Sex

Sexual Intercourse or Simply Sex

When a man and a woman have sexual intercourse or simply sex – where a man’s penis enters the woman’s vagina – it is called vaginal sex. Find out more about what it is, why people do it and how to do it safely. Sleep Hygiene has a lot to do with Sexual Health.

Should I have vaginal sex?

Deciding whether to have sex is a very personal thing and there is no rule to say whether you ‘should’. The main things to consider are whether it feels right, and whether you and your partner are both sure. 

Vaginal sexual intercourse or simply sex, usually starts when a man and a woman are getting sexually excited from kissing, stroking, caressing, rubbing and touching each other. You’ll often know you’re getting aroused (which means your body is preparing itself for sexual intercourse) from certain physical signs:

  • for women, the vagina (the sexual opening between the legs) begins to moisten
  • men get an erection, which means their penis will get bigger and harden.
The importance of foreplay

Try not to rush things. The best approach is to enjoy each other’s bodies and make sure you’re relaxed with one another – this is called ‘foreplay’ and it’s an equally important part of sex as intercourse itself. It’s also perfectly ok not to go any further than this stage. Many couples enjoy having foreplay for a long time before they move on to having vaginal sex.

If you are both ready to have vaginal sex, it’s important that foreplay lasts for long enough. If the woman is not sexually excited enough, then her vagina will not become lubricated and it will be difficult for the man’s penis to enter.

How does vaginal sex work?

When you are both aroused and ready to have sex it helps if one of you uses your hand to guide the penis into the vagina. Take your time, and don’t worry if it takes a few goes to guide it in properly – this is very normal, especially when you are both getting used to each other’s bodies.

Once the penis is inside, you can move your bodies so that the penis pushes into the vagina and then pulls partly out again. Do what comes naturally and feels good – being slow and gentle is a good idea to start with as you can both make sure one another is comfortable.

What about different positions?

One common position involves the woman lying down, with the man lying or sitting on top (also called the ‘missionary position’). Alternatively, the woman can be on top – or you can both lie on your sides. It is probably easiest to choose one of these positions if you are having sexual intercourse for the first time. As you get to know each other’s bodies better you can experiment with different positions that work for you both.

After a while you might find certain movements, positions and ways of touching that lead to one or both of you having an orgasm. This is also called ‘coming’ or ‘climaxing’. Don’t be too concerned if this doesn’t happen straight away or at all. It takes time to get to know what works for you sexually. And for your partner as well. And sex can be enjoyable whether you climax or not.

Will it hurt – and will the woman bleed?

It can take a bit of time to get used to the sensation of sex. And, some women can find it a little uncomfortable or painful at first. Taking things slowly and using a good water-based lubrication can help.

If it’s a woman’s first time having sex she may bleed a little. This is generally nothing to worry about. Since, it’s a sign that her hymen (a very thin piece of skin that partially covers the entrance to the vagina) has broken. Sometimes, a woman’s hymen will have been broken through activities. For example, horse riding or through using tampons. So, not all virgins bleed the first time they have sex.

If you continue to bleed everytime you have sex then it’s a good idea to speak to a healthcare professional. This is for reassurance and to check it’s nothing to worry about.

Being safe and sure

Knowing how sex works can help you to feel more relaxed and ready to have sex. However, being clued up about contraception and protection is just as important. If you aren’t, you will put yourself (and your partner) at risk. This includes unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV.

There are many STIs that you can get through unprotected vaginal sex. These are chlamydia, herpes or HIV and it can happen as a result of just having sex once. Using condoms is the only way to be sure that you’re both properly protected is to always.

If you’ve had unprotected sex make sure you seek healthcare advice as soon as possible. This is to access emergency contraception to prevent unwanted pregnancy, and perhaps post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) to prevent HIV infection. 

Talking to your partner about protection before you start having sex will help things go more smoothly. This can be embarrassing, but it’s an important part of having sex. Additionally, if you find it difficult to discuss then it is a sign you aren’t ready to start having sex yet. That’s fine. However, remember that there are lots of ways to enjoy being together and to explore your sexual feelings until the time is right.

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!

Sexual Problems – How Does It Affect You

Sexual Problems How Does It Affect You

Both men and women can suffer from sexual dysfunction or sexual problems. In common man’s parlance it is a problem that prevents you from experiencing sexual satisfaction. If you are experiencing sexual dysfunction in any part of the sexual response cycle, you are not alone. This traditionally includes excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution. Research suggests that 43 percent of women and 31 percent of men report some degree of sexual dysfunction or difficulty.

It also remains a topic that many people are hesitant to discuss and resolve worldwide. Read on to know more on sexual dysfunction. This is so that you can understand it and seek treatment for it. Moreover, this is because treatment options are available and extremely helpful.

Types of sexual dysfunction
Sexual dysfunction is classified into four categories:

  1. Desire disorders: This is a generalized lack of sexual desire or interest in sex
  2. Arousal disorders: Inability to become physically aroused during sexual activity
  3. Orgasm disorders: A delay or absence of orgasm
  4. Pain disorders: Pain during intercourse
Symptoms of sexual dysfunction 

In men:

  1. Erectile dysfunction – An inability to achieve or maintain an erection for penetrative sexual intercourse
  2. Retarded ejaculation – An absent or delayed ejaculation despite sexual stimulation
  3. Early or premature ejaculation – Inability to control ejaculation

In women:

  1. Inadequate vaginal lubrication before or during sex
  2. Inability to relax the vaginal muscles for sexual intercourse to happen
  3. Lack of interest in or desire for sex. An inability to become aroused or pain during intercourse are also classified as sexual dysfunction.
Causes of sexual dysfunction
  1. ​Physical causes – A number of medical conditions can cause problems with sexual function. They include diabetes, heart and neurological problems , hormonal imbalances, kidney or liver failure, and alcoholism and drug abuse. Antidepressant use can also affect sexual function
  2. Psychological causes. – Stress and anxiety, sexual performance anxiety, relationship problems, depression. These are some of the psychological causes responsible for sexual disorders. Feelings of not being good enough and the effects of a past sexual trauma also come into play.
Diagnosis of sexual dysfunction

Subsequently, the doctor will begin with a history. This includes talking about symptoms, followed by a physical exam to rule out medical problems.

However, a major part of diagnosis is psychological. Therefore, the doctor will evaluate your attitude about sex, as well as other contributing factors. Hence, these may include fear, anxiety, past sexual abuse, relationship problems, medications, alcohol or drug abuse, etc. In conclusion, this is to understand the underlying cause of the problem.

Treatment

In fact, most types of sexual dysfunction can be treated by addressing the underlying physical or psychological problems. In addition, other common ways to treat sexual dysfunction are:

  1. By changing a medication which may be causing sexual dysfunction. If you have a sexual dysfunction due to hormone deficiencies, you may benefit from hormone shots, pills, or creams. Men can use Viagra or Cialis for erectile dysfunction by increasing blood flow to the penis.
  2. Mechanical aids – Penile implants or vacuum devices can be used in men to maintain an erection. Vacuum devices are used in women too. In addition, there are dilators to help women who have an extremely narrow vaginal opening.
  3. Sex therapy – Marriage counselors and therapists help couples resolve their relationship issues that may be causing sexual dysfunction.
  4. Behavioral therapy – This helps you to seek insight into your behaviour which may be causing sexual dysfunction and address it.
  5. Psychotherapy. This type of therapy can help you resolve prior sexual trauma. Also, feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, fear, or guilt, and poor body image.

In conclusion, if you have questions and are suffering from any of the above kindly click to read more here. Also, feel free to contact the expert to have your problem/s solved.

Understanding Tumultuous Adolescence

Adolescence

Understanding Tumultuous Adolescence

Understanding Tumultuous Adolescence and Young Adults is NOT easy. Therefore, during teenage years, there will be a noticeable change in the behaviour of young people. Many mental illnesses have their onset in adolescence, including those that run a chronic course resulting in significant disability.

So what is so distinct about this age group? Understanding Tumultuous Adolescence and Young Adults is NOT easy. Therefore, during teenage years, there will be a noticeable change in the behaviour of young people. Adolescence is the period in life marking the transition from being a child to being an adult, and it overlaps with teenage. In other words, it is a phase where one gradually moves from being a dependant to becoming an independent person. This is the time when one’s personality starts to evolve. There is physical, social and intellectual development. This period is one of the busiest times of life; there is so much happening.

Imaging studies and brain development

Using structural and functional MRI scans in their research on adolescents, a team of scientists in London found that strangely the brain reduces in size by a tiny proportion, losing some nerve cells during the phase. It is reported that some connections between nerve cells are eliminated by discarding some neurons, while strengthening those connections is deemed important. The brain development that is correlated with hormone-related to puberty, usually occurs at the beginning of teenage for boys and just before teenage for girls. The scientists rightly argue that there is a biological reason for what happens during the adolescent period of life.

At this age they develop curiosity to explore and experiment. They have reduced communication with parents and start spending more time with friends in school and college. They come under peer influence easily. Scientists found that there is high risk-taking behaviour, especially if they perceive motivation by peers watching them closely. However, they seem to perform well when they are not being watched by peers. There is also an urge to perform an act to stand out or do something exciting. Because the front part of the brain is evolving, that creates inhibitions to certain kinds of behaviour. There will be mood swings, and decision-making is likely to be inconsistent.

Fear of peer rejection

It is common for young people to start spending excessive amounts of time with friends, more than with family members. Very few people prefer to remain aloof or alone during this period. Peers can influence ways of thinking, although thoughts are generated in their own mind. In fact, it is the individual who has to take responsibility for their own thoughts. If they feel they are having frequent and excessive intrusive thoughts, termed automatic thoughts, then they should seek advice without delay.

Being hypersensitive towards the reaction of peers is very common, but at the same time they can be hypersensitive in terms of emotional reactions towards family members. It is believed that the commonly occurring mood swings around this time can lead to conflicts about decision-making, hinder communication with family members as they easily misread the expression and body language of the family members.

Other reasons for low self esteem

Another reason for this is that their social development is still taking place and they are beginning to learn social interactions. Lots of activities occur as group activities and no one likes to be left out of a group. The person feels indirectly forced to accept an offer of alcohol or drug by peers, just to be part of a group, feeling that otherwise they will be isolated. There is the risk of using the substance weighed up against the risk of being isolated.

Individuals at teenage may become extremely anxious over the prospect of being rejected, and this could lead to using substances. Thus they become vulnerable to peer influence. On the positive side, peer influence motivates the person to attend college regularly and take part in physical activities such as sports or cultural activities. It can be difficult to pick and choose. Some peer group behaviours and activities can be highly unpredictable. Understanding Tumultuous Adolescence and Young Adults is NOT easy. Hence, during teenage years, there will be a noticeable change in the behaviour of young people.

Social development

There is a change in the social interaction patterns occurring due to changing roles. From being daughter or sibling, roles change to being a friend, college student, then employee. The individual is moving from dependency to independence during this time. The person is expected to take up new responsibilities. There will be direct or perceived family expectations that the person, after completing his or her education, could take up paid employment in the next few years. This could even create a conflict if goals that are set are not in line with expectations.

Impulse control and addiction

The urge to do an act develops through the stimulation of the limbic system, which is the area that deals with emotions, with the intention of seeking instant rewards. Therefore the acts that give instant fun to the individual through this process get reinforced. The person gets into the vicious circle of seeking immediate reward and performs acts. This can be one of the main reasons for behaviours such as smoking, and drug or alcohol use. Involvement in social media groups for prolonged lengths of time that affects daily functioning, academic performance and the ability to work towards their own goals needs early intervention.

Areas of the Brain involved

At this stage, the front region of the brain that is to do with inhibition of impulses, called the pre-frontal cortex, that is generally well-developed in humans, is slowly evolving, towards making a person’s mind mature. Teens also go with the trend of phone use, gadgets, social media use and clicking selfies. Several deaths have occurred during clicking of selfies due to risk-taking behaviour. Alcohol or drug use could persist through adulthood, and often such behaviour has its beginnings at this age.

Lots of Change

There are changes in so many dimensions, that the person may struggle to adapt if not given support. There is change in physical body structure in girls and boys. Girls start to have regular monthly periods. There are hormonal changes that can lead to changes in emotions and this in turn can affect thoughts. Sexual orientation develops and a few can have excessive sexual urges. Adaptations are required to cope with the new roles of the person. Career choices may need to be made. Generally they may feel under the influence of their parents and agree with them, but may later feel it was not their own choice. Some people may struggle in their careers and manage somehow, but it can trigger anxiety and depression in some.

Body image perception

In a survey, a majority of teens reported that they needed to maintain a certain body shape and size, being influenced by magazines. Media influences the image perception of self. An individual may develop a fear of gaining weight and appear obese, may become preoccupied by intrusive impulses, urges or thoughts, which take precedence over any other activity for them for weeks and months. These conditions are Anorexia nervosa and Bulimia nervosa, one concerning eating disorders that is commonly seen in a small percentage of girls. Again these may be due to the fear of being rejected by peers, or may even have been a result of bullying for being obese in the past.

Is It something else like an eating disorder?

Firstly, missing meals and significant reduction in quantity of food intake in order to lose weight are common. Sometimes, immediately after a round of binge-eating, to avoid the guilt, they induce vomiting to avoid gaining weight. However, these behaviours need early attention, so the deterioration to the extent of harm to physical health can be prevented. Even though, there may be significantly and morbidly low in weight or in body mass index, they still can get intrusive thoughts of feeling obese, or there is a part of their body seen in the mirror as fat. Consequently, this condition needs attention, and assessment by psychiatrists and suitable treatment must begin at the earliest.

Suicides and mental illness

Mental Illness and suicides are prevalent, and rising in this age group. As per Census in 2011, 30% of the population of India was between 10 and 24 years of age. The mental health care needs of the segment is increasing. Public health education and engaging teens are ways of early identification and prevention of breakdown, anxiety and depressive illness. Even if there is illness, with appropriate engagement and consultations with psychiatrists this can be treated.

Self-esteem and identity

At this age, individuals are searching their own identity — who they are and how they fit into the society. For some, they will not know what’s really going on with so many changes happening. They should try avoiding comparisons with their peers. They can start to set small achievable goals that they can achieve. With every small achievement, their self-esteem increases. Self-appreciation is something that needs to be emphasised in colleges. Because of low esteem they try seek attention, and they cannot cope with rejection by peers. They may slowly indulge in risk-taking behaviour, try drugs or alcohol or smoking. Patients need to be aware of the influence that their peers can have on them. Clients need to be able to weigh the pros and cons and learn to be assertive, and say “no” at times.

Coping mechanisms

Everyone tries to cope with stressful situations when face them and develop certain coping mechanisms. Mal-adaptive coping mechanisms include use of substances, self-harm, shouting, screaming, abusing or use of foul language. It is the time they need to learn adaptive coping mechanisms, which include sports, hobbies, ignoring, self-distraction, meditation, exercise, yoga and reading, and focus on higher achievement or charity work.

Cognitive behaviour therapy

Principles of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) involves examining one’s own thoughts, challenging own thoughts and slowly changing them to adaptive thoughts, by understanding their influence on emotions and their own behaviour. However, a negative thought brings about anger or sadness, which leads to a person becoming less sociable, whereas a positive thought would cheer up, leading to more socializing. Thus, understanding their own thought patterns and working on them by keeping a diary of their own thoughts, might help. Remember that Understanding Tumultuous Adolescence and Young Adults is NOT easy.

Mindfulness

Lots of countries are reportedly trying to help adolescents learn to practise mindfulness, which is learning to experience only the present moment. Indeed, this may generally work well if it is combined with a suitable meditation technique. Practising meditation regularly will give the individual good control over thoughts. 

Tackling peer pressure

Remain aware of the extent of the influence. Set your own goals and focus on your disciplined routine, including with regard to sleep hygiene. Learn to be assertive. Examine your own self-esteem level and work on them. Take time to make decisions as you may have mood swings that have interfered with your decision-making. Discuss with mentors or even with your sibling or mother. You should believe in your abilities. Moreover, fear of rejection or even rejection would not be the end of the world in reality. It is just an anxiety of becoming lonely as people do fear loneliness.

Understanding Tumultuous Adolescence and Young Adults is not the most easiest of things. However, lots of reasons for lots of things happening around adolescence exist. Society should focus on them. They are able to start learning as it is considered the best time to learn what can sustain for life. Educating teens regularly about their behaviours can be made a part of their curriculum. In conclusion, positive changes brought about can bring them on the right track that can make their future bright, thus creating great advantage to society.

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.

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.

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.