Do you fume when something goes against your wish?
Does your blood pressure rocket when someone tells you something that you don’t like?
Firstly, anger control and management are keys to better relationships. Anger is a normal emotion of human psychology, but it is equally important to keep your anger under control. Just like any other emotion, anger too varies from person to person and the circumstances. Uncontrolled anger can lead to mental and physical stress. It also causes stress on relationships and damages your health. This may lead to Anxiety and Depression. Therefore, it is important to practice anger management exercises to control such extremes of emotions.
Here are some of the anger management tips that can help you control your anger:
Please think before you speak: We often say something out of anger and then regret it later. This is a common condition that almost everyone has faced at some point in time. Do not say things abruptly without thinking. Always take your time and think over what you are about to say.
Express your anger once you are calm: Do not say things in the heat of the moment. Once you calm down, express your views on things that are bothering you. This will help you express yourself better without hurting anyone.
Exercise: Regular exercise is one of the best tools to reduce stress. Light meditative exercises performed regularly, such as a morning jog or deep breathing, can control your anger to a great extent.
Identify the specific cause: Instead of being grumpy about things that make you angry, try to find out the root cause of the issue and eliminate it so that you don’t have to face it again. Remind yourself that anger won’t solve the problem and can only make situations worse.
Hold no grudge: Holding on to negative feelings can only hurt your own health. Learn to forgive others. Forgiving not only keeps the relationship healthy but also keeps you away from stress and negative emotions.
Practice relaxation tactics: When your temper reaches its height, put your relaxation tactics in action. A few tactics like deep breathing or repeating words to yourself like “Take it easy” or “Calm down” can actually calm you down during critical situations.
Take a timeout: Take short breaks during stressful times of your day. This helps to release some of your stress and calm you down. You may also listen to music, take a light snack or do something that you like to spend some time away from stressful conditions of your daily routine.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult the doctor get answers to your questions!
Depression (with all its types and symptoms) 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:
Firstly, Major depression
Secondly, Bipolar depression
Thirdly, Psychotic depression
Fourthly, Chronic depression (even dysthymia)
Fifthly, Seasonal depression
Sixthly, Substance-induced depression
Seventhly, Postpartum depression
Eighthly, Double depression
Ninthly, Treatment-resistant depression
Tenthly, Secondary depression
Finally, Masked depression
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:
Firstly, Being sad for most parts of the day, especially in the morning
Secondly, Feeling like blaming yourself unnecessarily or feeling worthless almost every day
Thirdly, More inclined towards being negative
Fourthly, Sleep Difficulties i.e. Loss of sleep or Excessive sleep
Fifthly, Regular contemplations of death or suicide
Sixthly, Significant weight gain or weight loss
Seventhly, Appetite loss or overeating
Eighthly, Feelings of high fatigue and low energy levels almost every day
Ninthly, Inability to make decisions or impaired focus and difficulty concentrating
Tenthly, Lack of interest in almost all daily activities or hobbies, including sexual activity
Eleventhly, Irritability, and restlessness
Twelthly, Cramps, headaches, and digestive problems persist even with treatment
Although the exact cause of depression is not yet determined, depression is supposedly caused by a combination of a number of factors:
I have mulled over this topic of – Medications OR Therapy – for quite some time now. However, a question came to the mind of a medical doctor trained in psychiatry. “Why do we even have to talk about this topic?” Nevertheless, I realize after being in the field of psychiatry for more than 10 years now, it is relevant to explain this in common man’s language. Consequently, this is because of the huge stigma that goes with the subject of mental health.
What are the differences?
Moreover, it is important to note the differences or similarities of Medications or Counseling in Mental health or as such General Health care. As such, Counseling is an art. Whereas, Medicine is as much of an art as it is about science. However, both are ways of approach towards a patient that involves speaking with, building rapport and empathizing with the patient’s condition.
Nevertheless, while counseling involves different approaches by way of talk therapy using the mind as the subject and the various processes of the mind such as behavior, intellect, memory, insight, understanding, etc,. In addition, a psychiatrist would use medications in combination with counseling or in isolation depending on the time constraints that the patient load would impose.
While, we know that medications are effective in the treatment of mental health conditions, there is evidence in the scientific world that talk therapy or counseling is as effective for some mental health conditions as medications, if not better.
Depression and anxiety are two such mental health conditions. Whereas medications are helpful in the above conditions, counseling or psychotherapy is as effective. Moreover, the combination of therapy and medication being more effective than either one of them alone or in isolation is proved fact.
However, some do argue that psychotherapy is pseudoscience.
Let us examine as to which ones are on the brink and which kinds of therapy are not useful at all.
There is poor evidence in the scientific literature that therapy like psychoanalysis, dream analysis, narco analysis, and childhood experience analysis. So these are not effective treatments for any mental health condition. However, evidence for placebo or sugar pill being more effective or as effective as the above kinds of therapies exists.
However, these kinds of studies are very difficult to do. This is because each of these therapies are different in their own regard. They maybe even come across as different to different individuals. Therefore, each one can form their own opinions.
We characterize mental health by a sense of purpose or coherence in the widely chaotic world of medications or therapy.
We need to structure either therapy to make sense of this chaos – give some method to the madness. Only exposure to traumatic experiences can develop flexibility and resilience. Therefore, exposure to stress or difficult situations only teaches the human mind how to overcome these stresses or difficult situations. Currently, there is evidence that these ingrained experiences in our DNA are passed on to the next generation. While we know that humans are because of our DNA; we also know – now – that life experiences also contribute to the DNA.
Indeed, “epigenetics” is the name for this novel method of thinking. Although largely genetic, hardiness is also developed by exposure to stress and passed on to the next generation. This would give new meaning to the phrase – “survival of the fittest.”
RCTs or Randomized Controlled Trials give us evidence about the efficacy of medications. This is regarding the efficacy of many psychotropic medications i.e. the medications used in treating mental health conditions.
I also believe that there is a lot of use of these medications routinely. I have used them with patients with mental health disorders for many years. Evidently, I have practiced psychiatry here in INDIA as well as abroad. I was a resident trainee in a couple of post-graduate training programs in the United States.
However, there are cultural variables in the acceptance of these medications. Across time and geographical locations, cultural variables explain the mental health seclusion. Mental health is not a well-accepted pathology. In a sense, mental health was not important till it was recognized most recently to be treatable.
In the past mental health was considered as a curse or as a social malaise. People were institutionalized in penitentiaries or asylums and sometimes even put on the guillotine. However, this fact has rapidly changed with the onset of scientific evidence. The existence of benefits with the use of psychotherapeutic medications is immense.
Finally, now we have concluded. Firstly, therapy – either talk therapy or medication therapy, or a combination of both, is helpful in depression and anxiety. Now let us learn about a few medications used in depression.
Lastly, your psychiatrist or psychotherapist should know whether you are using only medications. Or, that you are using only therapy. Or, both as the case may be. It sometimes is the case that when one is on therapy for certain conditions. Therefore, one does not need the other kind of therapy.
I also believe that acute psychiatric crises make use of medications to tide over them. In contradiction to the popular notion, they need short-term use of medications. Most people’s belief is that such medications for mental health conditions are used for a lifetime should be changed. Other misinformation is that they cause side effects and are “harmful” to the body. This is NOT entirely true.
One should weigh the risks versus the benefits of the medications. Thus, one should only then ponder over the decision to take them or leave them. In addition, this is true with psychotherapy or talk therapy, or counseling as well. Finally, it may be best to consult your primary health caregiver for deciding what may be best for you.
Schizophrenia is a complex brain disorder, with its pathogenesis in neurodevelopmental anomalies. The 5 domains of schizophrenia include:
Positive symptoms (delusions, hallucinations).
Ubiquitous cognitive deficits
Motor symptoms (dyskinesias).
Deficits in social cognition, or socio-occupational functioning.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Others: Thus, aerobic exercises help in neurogenesis, synaptogenesis, and modulate neuroplasticity.
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.
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.
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:
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). Firstly, TMS of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) has proven to be very effective in the treatment of negative symptoms.
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.
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 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:
You must take medications exactly as your doctor has prescribed.
Before switching to generic versions of your medicines or before taking other prescribed medicines, you must consult your doctor.
You should never stop taking the medicines.
In case you experience enhanced depression, mood swings and suicidal thoughts, you should talk to your doctor immediately.
In case you have migraine, you should let your doctor know so that he can prescribe you anti-epileptic medicines, which also prevent migraines.
With age, most body organs begin to deteriorate in their function. Therefore, memory loss with age is not uncommon. Nonetheless, this happens to the brain too. Thereby, it reduces the overall speed of functioning of most organs. While slowing of bodily movement is visible, the internal organs functioning also slows down. However, this is not that obvious.
Memory loss or dementia is one of the main manifestations of this degeneration of the brain.
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. The associated symptoms includes reduced reasoning abilities and cognitive defects. Although, it is seen only in the elderly, not all elderly people will have Alzheimer’s. Consequently, the overall quality of life of the affected person is reduced. Thus, there is difficulty with remembering things that were recently learned. It is a progressive disease and as it gets more severe, a full-time caretaker may be required.
In fact, the brain cells are affected by protein masses known as plaques and tangles. Thus, these hamper the way communication between the brain cells happens. Consequently, these also affect nutrition from reaching all parts of the brain. However, this leads to shrinking of the brain, eventually leading to memory loss and other problems. In addition, there is also a strong genetic linkage, as most people with Alzheimer’s have the lipoprotein A gene.
Though memory loss with age is the most common symptom, there are other symptoms:
Being confused about places, people, and times
Inability to find the right words during conversations
Regular objects are misplaced
Becoming irritable, (in someone who was not so previously)
Inability to organize thoughts
Not able to make the right decisions
Repetitive talks and actions
Forgetfulness (not something the person always does)
Difficulty with numbers (again, not something calculations
Difficulty managing everyday tasks and minor problems
Suspicion of others (like immediate family members and friends)
While age is definitely a risk factor, the fact that not all aged people develop Alzheimer’s is to be borne in mind. Nevertheless, other risk factors include the history of stroke, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, obesity, and poor lifestyle choices.
Whereas, there is no definitive way to diagnose Alzheimer’s, symptoms can indicate disease. In addition, brain scans and neuropsychological function testing are useful ways to confirm the diagnosis.
Hence, treatment is aimed at two things reducing the rate of disease progression and treat (or reverse) symptoms if possible.
Firstly, talking about vaginismus, a depressed woman 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. The good news is that it is something that Psychiatrists can treat 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 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 dyspareunia. The female version of which is vaginismus, which could be more common in depressed women. Various successful vaginismus treatments 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 in depressed women with vaginismus is pelvic floor control exercises, commonly known as kegel exercises. This, along with insertion or dilation training using objects specific to the sexual treatment procedures, is helpful. Resulting in pain elimination techniques using psychotherapeutic measures like exposure and response prevention is 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 past experiences or from ill-informed sexual learning experiences, which are mostly hearsay.
Women can do their treatments in the comfort of their homes. Thus, allowing a woman to work at her own pace in privacy or cooperation with her health care provider. The sexual pain, tightness, and penetration difficulties due to vaginismus in depressed women are completely treatable. In addition, they fully overcome any remaining pain or discomfort with time.
Women experiencing pain or tightness during sexual activities can expect great benefits. However, if the pain is associated with penile penetration problems, including unconsummated relationships, they can expect a 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 that may result from it. Women start their sexual endeavors with this approach. The women become proactive about their sexual health. This is because understanding vaginismus is fundamental to the process of overcoming it. Topics also include obtaining 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 leads to misdiagnosis and frustration. Step 3 educates about these sexual body parts, emphasizing 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 occur 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 help further 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 overriding involuntary contractions and relaxing the pelvic floor to respond correctly to sexual penetration. Subsequently, graduated vaginal insertion exercises allow women to transition comfortably. 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 practice sensate focus (controlled sensual touch) successfully. 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 of adjusting 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 a life free from vaginismus.
Love and Relationships can be difficult initially for any couple, and having some knowledge about sex can help immensely in performing sexual intercourse.
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. Please 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 or sexual intercourse?“
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 usually starts when a man and a woman get 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 (before sex or sexual intercourse)
Try not to rush things for sexual intercourse. The best approach is to enjoy each other’s bodies and make sure you’re relaxed with one another before sex – 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, foreplay must last 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 you use 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 body 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 have 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 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 fragile 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 every time you have sex, 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 they 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 many ways to enjoy being together and explore your sexual feelings until the time is right. If you continue to experience problems and affect your family life consult an expert in the field.
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 lead to numerous fights or conflicts, resulting in both feeling worn out and bleak.
Despite being aware that your partner does love you and still feeling unloved, that’s when you should know that other major factors are playing a role behind it. Not the least of which is sexual intercourse.
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 diversely looking at things. Hunting for the positive side, retrieving self-esteem, and being strong enough without seeking anyone’s validation can also help.
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.
One should not lie and cheat on his or her partner in a relationship. Communicating whatever comes to 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 the situation. Disregarding one’s feelings, emotions and discussing the problem is a better idea than keeping things to oneself.
Try to take some time for yourself, give 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!
If you have questions or concerns AND want to confidentially/privately talk about your problems, speak with a professional mental health provider.
Both men and women can suffer from sexual dysfunction or sexual problems. In common person’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% of women and 31% 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 about 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:
Desire disorders: This is a generalized lack of sexual desire or interest in sex
Arousal disorders: Inability to become physically aroused during sexual activity
Orgasm disorders: A delay or absence of orgasm
Pain disorders: Pain during intercourse
Symptoms of sexual dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction – An inability to achieve or maintain an erection for penetrative sexual intercourse
Retarded ejaculation – An absent or delayed ejaculation despite sexual stimulation
Early or premature ejaculation – Inability to control ejaculation
Inadequate vaginal lubrication before or during sex
Inability to relax the vaginal muscles for sexual intercourse to happen
Lack of interest in or desire for sex. An inability to become aroused or pain during intercourse is also classified as sexual dysfunction.
Causes of sexual dysfunction
Physical causes – Several medical conditions can cause problems with sexual function. They include diabetes, heart and neurological problems, hormonal imbalances, kidney or liver failure, and the use of habit-forming substances. Antidepressant use can also affect sexual function.
Psychological causes. – Stress and anxiety, sexual performance anxiety, relationship problems, depression. These are some of the psychological causes responsible for sexual disorders. In addition, 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 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, habit-forming substances, etc. In conclusion, this is to understand the underlying cause of the problem.
In fact, psychiatrists and sexologists can treat most types of sexual dysfunction by addressing the underlying physical or psychological problems. In addition, other common ways to treat sexual dysfunction are:
By changing a medication that 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.
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.
Sex therapy – Marriage counselors and therapists help couples resolve their relationship issues that may be causing sexual dysfunction.
Behavioral therapy helps you seek insight into your behavior, causing sexual dysfunction, and addressing it.
Psychotherapy. This type of therapy can help you resolve prior sexual trauma—feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, fear, or guilt, and poor body image.
Understanding Tumultuous Adolescence and Young Adults is NOT easy. Therefore, during the teenage years, there will be a noticeable change in the behavior 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 the teenage years, there will be a noticeable change in the behavior 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 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 the 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 correlated with hormone-related puberty usually occurs at the beginning of teenage for boys and just before teenage girls. The scientists rightly argue that there is a biological reason for what happens during adolescence.
At this age, they develop the 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 high risk-taking behavior, especially if they perceive motivation by peers watching them closely. However, they seem to perform well when peers are not watching them. 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 behavior. There will be mood swings, and decision-making is likely to be inconsistent.
Fear of peer rejection
It is common for young people to spend excessive amounts of time with friends, more than 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 minds. In fact, it is the individual who has to take responsibility for their own thoughts. If they feel they have frequent and excessive intrusive thoughts, termed automatic thoughts, they should seek advice without delay.
Being hypersensitive towards peers’ reactions 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. Many 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 habit-forming substances by peers, 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, leading to using substances. Thus they become vulnerable to peer influence. On the positive side, peer influence motivates the person to attend college regularly and participate in physical activities such as sports or cultural activities. It can be difficult to pick and choose. Some peer group behaviors and activities can be highly unpredictable. Understanding Tumultuous Adolescence and Young Adults is NOT easy. Hence, during the teenage years, there will be a noticeable change in the behavior of young people.
There is a change in the social interaction patterns occurring due to changing roles. From being a daughter or sibling, roles change to being a friend, college student, then employee. The individual is moving from dependency to independence during this time. Parents expect them to take responsibility. There will be direct or perceived family expectations that the person could take up paid employment in the next few years after completing his or her education. This could even create a conflict if the 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 to seek instant rewards. The person gets into the vicious circle of seeking immediate reward and performs acts. This can be one of the main reasons for behaviors such as smoking and other habit-forming substances. 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, which is to do with inhibition of impulses called the pre-frontal cortex, is slowly evolving towards making a teenager’s mind mature. Teens also go with phone use, gadgets, social media use, and clicking selfies. Several deaths have occurred during the clicking of selfies due to risk-taking behavior. Habit-forming substance use could persist through adulthood, and often such behavior 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 a 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. The person needs to adapt to cope with the new roles. They need to make career choices. 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, most teens reported that they needed to maintain a certain body shape and size. Magazines influence and reinforce their behavior. Media influences the image perception of self. An individual may develop a fear of gaining weight and appear obese, may become preoccupied with 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 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 a significant reduction in the quantity of food intake 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 behaviors need early attention, so a psychiatrist or a specialist in adolescent medicine can prevent the deterioration to the extent of harm to physical health. Even though there may be significantly and morbidly low in weight or body mass index, they still can get intrusive thoughts of feeling obese or 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 are increasing. Public health education and engaging teens are early identification and prevention of breakdown, anxiety, and depressive illness even if there is an illness, with appropriate engagement and consultations with psychiatrists, who can treat this.
Self-esteem and identity
Individuals are searching for their own identity at this age — who they are and how they fit into 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 emphasized in colleges. Because of low esteem, they try to seek attention, and they cannot cope with peer rejection. They may slowly indulge in risk-taking behavior, try habit-forming substances, or smoke. Patients need to be aware of the influence that their peers can have on them. Clients need to weigh the pros and cons and learn to be assertive and say “no” at times.
Everyone tries to cope with stressful situations when they face them and develop certain coping mechanisms. Mal-adaptive coping mechanisms include substances, self-harm, shouting, screaming, abusing, or use of foul language. 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 behavior therapy (CBT) involve examining one’s own thoughts, challenging own thoughts, and slowly changing them to adaptive thoughts by understanding their influence on emotions and their own behavior. 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.
Many countries are reportedly trying to help adolescents learn to practice 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. Practicing 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 concerning 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. It would help if you believed in your abilities. Moreover, fear of rejection or even rejection would not be the end of the world in reality. It is just anxiety of becoming lonely as people do fear loneliness.
Understanding Tumultuous Adolescence and Young Adults is not the easiest of things. However, lots of reasons for lots of things happening around adolescence exist. Society should focus on them. They can start learning as it is considered the best time to learn what can sustain for life. Educating teens regularly about their behaviors can be made a part of their curriculum. In conclusion, positive changes brought about can bring them on the right track to make their future bright, thus creating a great advantage to society.
We discuss how to increase sexual energy for men naturally.
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, thus improving sex !!! Hence, this is one of the most important ways on how to Increase Sexual Energy for Men. These are some of the many ways to improve many sexual problems.
Firstly, Kegels were invented by Dr. Arnold Kegel, an Obstetrician, in the 1940s. Although developed for women, it became clear Kegels 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:
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 !!!
Firstly, have your partner do Kegel too. In fact, you’ll both enjoy a harder erection and a tighter vagina. Here we have discussed how to increase sexual energy in men !!!
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 can have a responsible, satisfying, and safer sex life. In addition, they must 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 have access to safe, effective, affordable, and acceptable birth control methods. Men should thus, know how to increase sexual energy in themselves.
Also, access to appropriate health care of sexual, reproductive medicine and implementation of health education programs to stress the importance of women going 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. Men are more likely NOT to access healthcare services, especially to increase their sexual energy.
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.
You can do a lot (tips) to prevent migraine headaches.
Migraines can be debilitating, annoying, and impact your quality of life — however, there is much you can do to avoid them. Identifying what triggers your headaches or migraine to make proactive lifestyle changes makes it possible to control better and manage your migraine symptoms. Here are some tips to prevent migraine.
1. Be aware of your triggers.
Migraines do not impact everyone the same way and the events that trigger a migraine can vary significantly from person to person. While you will never be able to avoid all triggers, you will be in a better position if you know which triggers impact you. Common triggers include emotional stress, menstruation and other hormonal changes in women, skipping meals, weather changes, irregular sleep, strong odors, lights and other visual stimuli, sudden noises, smoke, exercise or overexertion, or sex.
2. Watch your diet.
Many patients are not aware that what they eat can significantly impact their migraine symptoms. Studies show as many as 50% of migraine sufferers have headaches triggered by a food item. While I find some patients know that migraines can be related to aspartame or monosodium glutamate, they are often surprised to learn that caffeine, cheese, chocolate, and processed meats may also impact migraines.
3. Keep a headache journal.
Keeping a headache journal can be a great tool to help you.Also, it not only identifies triggers but also figures out what treatments might work best. This is for preventing and relieving your headaches. Ensure the date, time, intensity, preceding symptoms, triggers, medication, and response to medication. You may also want to record how frequently headaches are occurring. Other associated symptoms, where the pain is located, and a description of the pain (e.g., throbbing or piercing). In addition, Consider tracking food intake, any over-the-counter vitamins or supplements you are using. Also, what your sleep is like, and how much exercise you have been doing.
4. Consider a medicinal preventive treatment.
Indeed, I find many migraine patients suffer in silence. While there are no hard and fast rules or guidelines, I generally offer preventive therapy to patients especially, if they have more than four migraines in a month. Also, if they have significant headaches that last 12 or more hours or if the migraines are debilitating. Several different medication options will depend on your particular medical situation.Consult your psychiatrist to learn more about these options.
5. Look into alternative preventive treatments.
Feverfew, coenzyme Q10, and butterbur root are the most widely studied alternative treatments for preventing migraines. Butterbur root is an herbal medicine that is marketed in the United States as a food supplement. In addition, several studies have shown that taking 150mg daily can prevent headaches. In a small study using an antioxidant called coenzyme Q10, a significant number of patients reduced migraines by more than half at a dose of 100 mg three times daily. Feverfew, an herbal plant-based remedy, has also had several trials, but results on its efficacy are conflicting. Moreover, if you decide to implement an alternative treatment, talk with your doctor to ensure these products will not interfere with any other medical treatments. These products are not as widely studied and not as tightly regulated by the FDA.
6. Try over-the-counter medicines.
Mild headaches are often relieved with over-the-counter (OTC) medications. For example, such non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), like aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac, or paracetamol. All medications can have side effects, so be sure to ask your doctor what OTC medicine is best for you.
Those are some tips to prevent migraines. Thus, if a medication works for you, consider asking your doctor about a prescription product that combines it with caffeine. This is because the combination sometimes works better than the OTC medicine alone. While migraines can be hard to get rid of, treating them at the first sign of headache will increase the likelihood of relief.
Firstly, a migraine headache is characterized by a severe headache usually affecting one side of the head. In addition, there are other symptoms along with headaches like nausea/vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound. Nevertheless, some patients experience neurological phenomena like changes in vision, temporary loss of sensation, and altered sensation, a phenomenon known as an aura (flashes of light, zigzag patterns, bright spots, tingling in the arms, and the legs). A migraine headache can last for 2 to 3 days. Migraine? We do magic!!
The symptoms depend on the stage of a migraine attack. The stages of a migraine attack can be:
Prodrome, Aura, Headache or attack, and Postdrome.
Prodrome: One to two days before the migraine attack, the patient may experience;
Constipation and frequent thirst and urination.
In case of an aura (during or before a migraine), there may be visual, motor, speech, and sensory illusions and disturbances such as,
Loss of vision.
A strange sensation of needles pricking an arm or a leg.
One side of the body becomes weak and numb.
There are visual illusions such as the appearance of flashes of light, zigzag patterns, bright spots.
There is a problem with hearing and speaking.
However, in some cases, there may be a hemiplegic migraine (the limb becomes weak).
During a Migraine Attack (lasts for 4 to 72 hours), there may be
Throbbing pain on either one or both sides of the head
Blurred vision, light-headedness.
Nausea and vomiting
Sensitivity to light and sound
Sensitivity to touch and smell (though rare)
Finally, in Post-drome (after a migraine), there can be
A person may be sensitive to light and sound.
Dizziness and weakness
Indeed, an amalgamation of environmental and genetic factors may be responsible for migraines. Therefore, triggers vary for each patient:
Stress and extreme physical exertion
Caffeinated drinks and habit-forming beverages
Salty and processed foods
Altered sleeping habits
Hormonal alterations in women (Constant fluctuation in the level of estrogen)
Oral contraceptives and certain vasodilators (nitroglycerin)
Preservatives like MSG (monosodium glutamate) and Aspartame (sweetener)
Sunshine, certain odors, travel, etc., can trigger a migraine.
Treatment and Prevention:
Medicines under supervision to abort an attack of migraine and special medicines to stop attacks as well as to prevent a migraine from recurring, also known as maintenance therapy
Finally, Lifestyle changes are helpful to decrease attacks:
Avoid your trigger for a migraine.
Follow regular sleep-wake cycle.
Regular exercise, meditation.
Avoidance of caffeine-containing and other habit-forming beverages.
Can Expressing Yourself Help You Cope With Grief Loss and Bereavement?
Medication is necessary to relieve yourself of the pain and grief.
True or false?
1. Which of the following can be a symptom of grief?
All of the above
Answer – All of the above
It is normal to be angry over losing a loved one, loss of a job, severe illness, or other common reasons that cause grief. You might consider it imperative to blame somebody for your loss. Fear is also a common symptom, for you can have many insecurities or fears if you have lost a loved one and are coping with it. Grief loss and bereavement can also come with their share of physical symptoms like nausea, fatigue, vomiting, backaches, weight gain, etc.
2. Which of the following is the first stage of grief?
This stage helps to protect the individual from going through the intensity of his loss. It may be useful when the person is preparing to take action (E.g., arrangements for a funeral in case of a death of a loved one). Numbness is also a widespread reaction at this stage. Over time, as the person realizes the impact of the loss, denial and numbness will subside.
3. Expressing your feelings in a tangible way can help to cope with grief
Answer – True
It would be best if you tried writing about your feelings down in a journal. If you’ve lost a loved one, write a poem or a letter saying things you could never say. You can also make an album on the person you’ve lost and celebrate the person’s life or join any social cause or organization that that person had been a part of.
4. You will be able to cope with grief faster if you ignore it
Answer – False
Trying to ignore your pain or preventing it from resurfacing can only make matters worse over time. Grieving or mourning in the face of a loss is very natural and a healthier way of coping with grief. It would be best if you never ignored the wounds your loss has left you with. Acknowledging them and accepting the pain you are feeling will help you overcome your grief and move on in life.
5. Medication is absolutely necessary to relieve yourself of the pain and grief
Answer – False
Though medications are prescribed in a few cases, grieving and mourning will always be the most honest ways to deal with your loss. Accepting the pain and moving towards it to embrace that as a part of your reality will work wonders for you in overcoming your grief.
Grief is not an illness that Mental Health Professionals should cure with medicines. Sympathy from your loved ones, compassion, and a clear understanding of your loss also helps. However, when the symptoms are intense or are prolonged, You should consider visiting a psychiatrist at the earliest. This is especially true if you or your loved one’s day-to-day routine has been affected significantly and you have noticed that you/they have been taking a longer time than expected to heal emotionally. Not having moved on and gotten on with daily activities is a sure sign of needing clinical help.
Life is rarely without its challenges. There are some, however, that can be so overbearing that it seems impossible to move on. Whether it’s the death of a loved one or overwhelming feelings of anxiety. Nevertheless, it is important you know that help is available for every problem life throws your way. So when should you consult a psychiatrist?
So what are some common reasons people see a Psychiatrist?
1. Loss – Grieving is a normal process, however bereavement, when prolonged, can be a cause for depression. However, loss of life is not the only issue that can make one depressed. However, it can be material things like ownership of property – movable or immovable, money, relationships, etc,.
2. Stress and Anxiety – This has been discussed in previous posts and can cause you to have physiological problems. For example, sleep difficulties or overthinking resulting in loss of daytime peace and incoherence at work.
3. Depression – Although causes are usually external and modifiable, sometimes getting help in handling the physical symptoms is useful. Also, confiding in a neutral environment that is nonjudgmental is useful. That is when you should consult a psychiatrist. Biological depression without any physical or external cause is also something one should be aware of.
4. Others include Phobias, Family, and relationship problems. Sexual problems, Habits and addictions, Performance enhancement, Finding Mental Clarity, and other Mental disorders. Aches and Pains, and even Headaches that are persistent and Medically Undiagnosed Problems.
A psychiatrist (to consult) is someone who has first studied medicine to, later on, specializes in psychiatry. This means that a psychiatrist is a doctor, to which you can come for psychological problems. The most important difference compared to a psychologist is that a psychiatrist is allowed to prescribe medication. In addition, he has not had as much communication technique training as a psychologist. So a psychiatrist may prescribe medication and will more quickly use medication as treatment than a psychologist will.
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
Insomnia and Sleep Difficulties. Can it affect your Emotions?
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 or insomnia or sleep difficulties
Insomnia disrupts the ability of the brain to process negative emotions.
Nevertheless, insomnia causes neural change and problems with regulating emotions.
Insomnia disables the ability to judge or sense any kind of emotion by looking at a person’s face. However, it is difficult to judge emotions such as anger and sadness in people who have insomnia. This impairment occurs more in women.
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 stimuli.
People who have insomnia develop a perception of negative stuff and perceive most things negatively, however, rather than looking at the bright side, which a normal person tends to do. Insomniacs are characterized by a negative mood and are pessimistic.
A sleep-deprived or insomniac patient shows greater activity around the limbic area of the brain. Emotional regulation and processing undertake in the limbic area.
A person who has insomnia develops a cranky personality. The patient is in an irritable mood. The slightest and pettiest of circumstances trigger him. However, insomnia characterizes other symptoms. Examples include swinging moods, high temper, and general fatigue due to lack of sleep.
Sleep hygiene is a variety of different practices and habits 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, some recommendations can guide 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 such as caffeine and nicotine close to bedtime. And when it comes to habit-forming substances, moderation is key. While these habit-forming beverages are 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 habit-forming beverage.
Exercising to promote good quality sleep. As little as 10 minutes of aerobic exercises, 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.
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 and 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 a warm shower or bath, reading a book, or light stretches. When possible, try to avoid emotionally upsetting conversations and activities before attempting to sleep.
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 phones, and TV screens can make it difficult to fall asleep, so turn those lights off or adjust them when possible. Consider using blackout curtains, eyeshades, earplugs, “white noise” machines, humidifiers, fans, and other devices to 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. A few simple changes can make the difference between a good night’s sleep and a night spent tossing and turning.
Contact your psychiatrist to find the right kind of therapy for YOU, either counseling or medications or a combination of both for good sleep hygiene.
Natural Sleep Secrets Tailored to Your Nightly Needs and Refreshing Sleep
Natural Secrets for a refreshing sleep sounds elusive. Sound slumber results in increased energy and productivity, improved heart and immune system health, a better mood, even a longer life. And hey, you feel so much better after a satisfying 8 hours of rest. But chances are, you’re not getting it. Sleep issues are epidemic among women today,
Not surprisingly, women tend to get less sleep than men do overall. Even if you don’t have children, levels of sleep-promoting estrogen sink regularly during menstruation and permanently in menopause. And symptoms related to both—cramps, headaches, hot flashes, and night sweats—also disrupt slumber.
But experts agree that these biological facts don’t mean that sleep deprivation has to be your destiny. Feeling tired should never be considered normal. Yet there are no stock sleep solutions, either: Finding out what works for you takes some trial and error, but it’s well worth it. Sleep is a basic biological necessity—just like eating—and it impacts every aspect of your health and your life. Here are the natural secrets for a refreshing sleep.
Try these 20 ideas to find the sleep formula that works best for you.
Set a Sleep Schedule
If you do only one thing to improve your sleep, this is it: Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning—even on weekends. A regular sleep routine keeps your biological clock steady, so you rest better. Exposure to a regular pattern of light and dark helps, so stay in sync by opening the blinds or going outside right after you wake up. Natural secrets for a refreshing sleep do help.
Keep a Sleep Diary
To help you understand how your habits affect your rest, track your sleep every day for at least 2 weeks. Write down not only what’s obviously sleep-related—what time you go to bed, how long it takes you to fall asleep, how many times you wake up during the night, how you feel in the morning—but also factors like what you ate close to bedtime and what exercise you got. Comparing your daily activities with your nightly sleep patterns can show you where you need to make changes.
Reason number 1,001: Nicotine is a stimulant, so it prevents you from falling asleep. Plus, many smokers experience withdrawal pangs at night. Smokers are 4 times more likely not to feel as well rested after a night’s sleep than nonsmokers, studies show, and smoking exacerbates sleep apnea and other breathing disorders, which can also stop you from getting a good night’s rest. Don’t worry that quitting will keep you up nights too: That effect passes in about 3 nights.
Review Your Medications
Beta-blockers (prescribed for high blood pressure) may cause insomnia; so can SSRIs (a class of antidepressants that includes Prozac and Zoloft). And that’s just the beginning. Write down every medicine and supplement you take and have your doctor evaluate how they may be affecting your sleep.
Exercise, But Not Right Before Bedtime
Working out—especially cardio—improves the length and quality of your sleep. That said, 30 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise keeps your body temperature elevated for about 4 hours, inhibiting sleep. When your body begins to cool down, however, it signals your brain to release sleep-inducing melatonin, so then you’ll get drowsy.
Cut Caffeine After 2 p.m.
That means coffee, tea, and cola. Caffeine is a stimulant that stays in your system for about 8 hours, so if you have a cappuccino after dinner, come bedtime, it’ll either prevent your brain from entering deep sleep or stop you from falling asleep altogether.
Write Down Your Woes
“The number one sleep complaint I hear? ‘I can’t turn off my mind,'” – To quiet that wakeful worrying, every night jot down your top concerns—say, I have to call my insurer to dispute that denied claim, which will take forever, and how can I spend all that time on the phone when work is so busy? Then write down the steps you can take to solve the problem—I’m going to look up the numbers before breakfast, refuse to stay on hold for more than three minutes, and send e-mails tomorrow night if I can’t get through—or even I can’t do anything about this tonight, so I’ll worry about it tomorrow. Once your concerns are converted into some action plan, you’ll rest easier. Are You Nice To You?
Take Time to Wind Down
“Sleep is not an on-off switch.” “It’s more like slowly easing your foot off the gas.” Give your body time to transition from your active day to bedtime drowsiness by setting a timer for an hour before bed and divvying up the time as follows:
First 20 minutes: Prep for tomorrow (pack your bag, set out your clothes).
Next 20: Take care of personal hygiene (brush your teeth, moisturize your face).
Last 20: Relax in bed, reading with a small, low-wattage book light or practicing deep breathing.
Sip Milk, Not a Martini
A few hours after drinking, levels in your blood start to drop, which signals your body to wake up. It takes an average person about an hour to metabolize one drink, so if you have two glasses of wine with dinner, finish your last sip at least 2 hours before bed.
Snack on Cheese and Crackers
The ideal nighttime nosh combines carbohydrates and either calcium or a protein that contains the amino acid tryptophan—studies show that both of these combos boost serotonin, a naturally occurring brain chemical that helps you feel calm. Enjoy your snack about an hour before bedtime so that the amino acids have time to reach your brain.
Some good choices:
One piece of whole-grain toast with a slice of low-fat cheese or turkey
A banana with 1 teaspoon of peanut butter
Whole-grain cereal and fat-free milk
Fruit and low-fat yogurt
Listen to a Bedtime Story
Load a familiar audiobook on your iPod—one that you know well, so it doesn’t engage you but distracts your attention until you drift off to sleep. Relaxing music works well, too.
Experts usually recommend setting your bedroom thermostat between 65° and 75°F—a good guideline but pay attention to how you actually feel under the covers. Slipping between cool sheets helps trigger a drop in your body temperature. That shift signals the body to produce melatonin, which induces sleep. That’s why it’s also a good idea to take a warm bath or hot shower before going to bed: Both temporarily raise your body temperature, after which it gradually lowers in the cooler air, cueing your body to feel sleepy. But for optimal rest, once you’ve settled into bed, you shouldn’t feel cold or hot—but just right.
…Especially if You’re Menopausal
During menopause, 75 percent of women suffer from hot flashes, and just over 20% have night sweats or hot flashes that trouble their sleep. Consider turning on a fan or the AC to cool and circulate the air. Just go low gradually: Your body loses some ability to regulate its temperature during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, so overchilling your environment—down to 60°F, for instance—will backfire.
Spray a Sleep-Inducing Scent
Certain smells, such as lavender, chamomile, and ylang-ylang, activate the alpha wave activity in the back of your brain, which leads to relaxation and helps you sleep more soundly. Mix a few drops of essential oil and water in a spray bottle and give your pillowcase a spritz.
Turn on the White Noise
Sound machines designed to help you sleep produce a low-level soothing noise. These can help you tune out barking dogs, the TV downstairs, or any other disturbances so you can fall asleep and stay asleep.
Eliminate Sneaky Light Sources
“Light is a powerful signal to your brain to be awake: Even the glow from your laptop, iPad, smart phone, or any other electronics on your nightstand may pass through your closed eyelids and retinas into your hypothalamus—the part of your brain that controls sleep. This delays your brain’s release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin. Thus, the darker your room is, the more soundly you’ll sleep.
Consider Kicking Out Furry Bedmates
Cats can be active in the late-night and early morning hours, and dogs may scratch, sniff, and snore you awake. According to a survey from the Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Center, more than half of people who sleep with their pets say the animals disturb their slumber.
Check Your Pillow Position
The perfect prop for your head will keep your spine and neck in a straight line to avoid tension or cramps that can prevent you from falling asleep. Ask your spouse to check the alignment of your head and neck when you’re in your starting sleep position. If your neck is flexed back or raised, get a pillow that lets you sleep in a better-aligned position. And if you’re a stomach sleeper, consider using either no pillow or a very flat one to help keep your neck and spine straight.
This technique helps reduce your heart rate and blood pressure releases endorphins and relaxes your body, priming you for sleep. Inhale for 5 seconds, pause for 3, then exhale to a count of 5. Start with 8 repetitions; gradually increase to 15. To see if you’re doing it right, buy a bottle of children’s bubbles, breathe in through your belly, and blow through the wand. The smooth and steady breath you use to blow a bubble successfully should be what you strive for when trying to get to sleep. This is one of the best natural secrets for a refreshing sleep.
Stay Put If You Wake Up
“The textbook advice is that if you can’t fall back asleep in fifteen minutes, get out of bed,” “But I ask my patients, ‘How do you feel in bed?’ If they’re not fretting or anxious, I tell them to stay there, in the dark, and do some deep breathing or visualization.” But if lying in bed pushes your stress buttons, get up and do something quiet and relaxing (in dim light), such as gentle yoga or massaging your feet until you feel sleepy again.
The exam season has arrived. And so has Exam Anxiety and Phobia.
Students can be seen immersed in their books and notes.
Excitement is in the air and so is anxiety.
While the former is a good thing to see, the latter raises concerns in the minds of parents and teachers. However, the fact is that anxiety before exams is a normal thing.
The pressure to perform will make students experience nervousness. Indeed, this is alright, but only if it is up to a limit. If it reaches an unhealthy level, it needs to be managed.
If a student experiences the following symptoms before exams, then the anxiety is unhealthy. And it is time for a session with a psychiatrist.
Difficulty in breathing
These symptoms are an indication of the student being in the grip of panic and fear.
Nevertheless, it can be managed and controlled with the following tips.
Make a study plan for preparation:
In some cases, students get anxious because they are not ready with the preparation. However, just days before the exam, they feel at a loss. They become anxious as to how they will answer the questions in the exam. To avoid this, students should make a plan for preparation. Indeed, devoting adequate time to each topic so that the entire syllabus is covered and their preparation is complete.
Meditate and try breathing techniques:
Meditation is a great relaxation technique that soothes the mind and body. Also, taking deep breaths (inhaling and exhaling). For example, 15 to 20 minutes can go a long way in controlling the symptoms of anxiety. In addition, meditation gives you confidence, removes negative thoughts, and improves your concentration and memory.
Getting involved in physical activity before an exam seems like a waste of time to many. However, it is necessary to avoid tension and stay healthy. So, if sports cannot be indulged in, one should do exercises such as stretching and aerobics. Indeed, they relax the tensed muscles and keep fatigued at bay.
Eat green vegetables and light food:
Eating healthy is also important during exam preparation. If one skips meals or takes recourse to fast foods, it makes anxiety worse. In fact, junk food makes one drowsy. On the other hand, fruits and vegetables are light and easy to digest. They also provide complete nutrition and ensure the sustained release of energy during the study sessions.
Many students compromise on sleep. They think that it would help in studies. However, lack of sleep leads to poor focus and concentration, which further affects the studies. It also makes one irritable and drowsy. So, one should make sure that one is getting 6 hours of sleep every day.
Exams and Concentration difficulties are all too common. ADHD, CDD, short-term memory loss, forgetfulness, insomnia, and many more terminologies we would have come across very often.
They all seem to have evolved from a common origin, and that is concentration issues. Have you pondered on these questions!! Why can’t it be easy to concentrate? Why can’t it be easy to remember everything? If yes, then read on to know more.
Concentrate! Focus! Pay attention! These are not just words but one huge and complicated process in itself. Many children and adults often develop this issue wherein they find it extremely difficult to concentrate.
Science behind exams and concentration difficulties:
When an individual performs a single task, for example, reading a book, the image of what he sees hits the retina. The nerve fibers carry the image to the brain from the retina, which stimulates the brain cells to fire an action potential. The signal from here moves to the thalamus and proceeds to the visual cortex. This signal activates locus coeruleus, which is a brain stimulant. It targets the particular area of the brain, becoming the deciding factor as to how one responds to a stimulus, which is an image. When there is deregulation of the locus coeruleus, it is then that a person develops disorders like
ADHD, anxiety, depression, insomnia and others.
Factors influencing concentration:
Concentration is a skill that requires you to prioritize your senses while doing any work. It is an ability to block out distractions.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and concentration deficit disorder (CDD) are the two predominant concentration issues. The first one is more common among the children while the latter is observed in mostly the adults. Any individual with ADHD or CDD can show abnormalities in their behavior and social life.
Individuals with ADHD tend to forget and face problems sticking to one task and may even display excessive fidgeting. CDD individuals tend to be lethargic, move slowly, and have trouble staying alert. Adults may become socially withdrawn and exhibit slow information processing.
Solutions for concentration issues:
Moreover, concentration issues require a lot of time to be overcome. You can try to figure out what causes the distractions and avoid them as much as possible by refocusing your mind only on what you are doing. Also, you can give yourself timers that comprise “distraction time” and “focus time.” This strategy helps if one’s mind is actively processing other things.
You may also create subtasks by listing the things you need to do and then ruling out one by one once you accomplish them.
Always breathe better and try for long inhalation and exhalation. This helps to bring down your anxiety levels which hinder concentration.
However, although the above-mentioned strategies help you improve your concentration, they are not the ultimate cure for any issues.
Thus, every individual is unique, and sometimes accepting oneself can solve many complications as it reduces the need for unnecessary thinking. Finally, always bear positive thoughts in your mind as they will act as a driving source.
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.
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:
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.
Comprehension: understanding and being able to interpret what is read, connecting the printed words and sentences with human experience.
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).
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.
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.
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:
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?”
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.”
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.
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 at the moment without first thinking about them and that may have a high potential for harm, or a desire for immediate rewards, or an 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 of ADHD
Inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity are the key behaviors of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. There are many types of ADHD. Some people with ADHD only have problems with one of the behaviors, while others have 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 behaviors:
are more severe
occur more often
interfere with or reduce the quality of how they function socially, at school, or in a job
Inattention in ADHD
People with symptoms of inattention may often:
Overlook or miss details, make careless mistakes in schoolwork, at work, or during other activities
Have problems sustaining attention in tasks or play, including conversations, lectures, or lengthy reading
Not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
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
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
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.
Lose things necessary for tasks or activities, such as school supplies, pencils, books, tools, wallets, keys, paperwork, eyeglasses, and cell phones
Be easily distracted by unrelated thoughts or stimuli
Be forgetful in daily activities, such as chores, errands, returning calls, and keeping appointments
Hyperactivity-Impulsivity in ADHD
People with symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity may often:
Fidget and squirm in their seats
Leave their seats in situations when staying seated is expected, such as in the classroom or the office.
Run or dash around or climb in situations where it is inappropriate or, in teens and adults, often feel restless
Be unable to play or engage in hobbies quietly.
Be constantly in motion or “on the go,” or act as if “driven by a motor.”
Blurt out an answer before a question has been completed, finish other people’s sentences, or speak without waiting for a turn in the conversation
Have trouble waiting for his or her turn
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 before age 12.
Difficulties for Parents:
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 personages. In young children with ADHD, hyperactivity-impulsivity is the most predominant symptom. As a child reaches elementary school, inattention symptoms 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 behaviors. Inattention, restlessness, and impulsivity tend to persist into adulthood.
Risk Factors for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder:
Scientists are not sure what causes Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Like many other illnesses, several factors can contribute to ADHD, such as:
Use of habit-forming substances or beverages 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
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 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.
ADHD medications reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity for many people and improve their ability to focus, work, and learn. The medication also may improve physical coordination. Sometimes psychiatrists or developmental pediatricians must try several different medications or dosages before finding the right one that works for a particular person. Anyone taking medications must be monitored closely and carefully by their prescribing doctor.
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 more than 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 appetite, sleep problems, tics (sudden, repetitive movements or sounds); personality changes, increased anxiety and irritability, stomach-aches headaches
A few other ADHD medications are non-stimulants. These medications take longer to start working than stimulants and 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 treating ADHD, some antidepressants are sometimes used alone or combined 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.
Adding psychotherapy to treat ADHD can help patients and their families to better cope with everyday problems.
Behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy that aims to help a person change his or her behavior. 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 behaviors and help establish clear rules, chore lists, and other structured routines to help a person control his or her behavior.
Therapists may also teach children social skills, such as waiting their turn, sharing toys, asking for help, or responding 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-behavioral therapy can also teach a person mindfulness techniques or meditation. So, a person learns how to be aware and accept 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 behaviors, encourage behavior 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 succeed. So, 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 (behavioral parent management training) teaches parents the skills they need to encourage and reward positive behaviors in their children. Thus, it helps parents learn how to use a system of rewards and consequences to change a child’s behavior. So, parents are taught to give immediate and positive feedback for behaviors they want to encourage and ignore or redirect behaviors they want to discourage. Finally, they may also learn to structure situations in ways that support desired behavior.
In addition, stress management techniques can benefit parents of children with ADHD by increasing their ability to deal with frustration to respond calmly to their child’s behavior.
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, exchange information about recommended specialists and strategies, and talk with experts.
Tips to Help Kids and Adults with ADHD Stay Organized
Parents and teachers can help kids with ADHD stay organized and follow directions with tools such as:
Firstly, keeping a routine and a schedule. Keep the same routine every day, from wake-up time to bedtime.
In addition, include times for homework, outdoor play, and indoor activities. Also, keep the schedule on the refrigerator or a bulletin board in the kitchen.
Then, write changes on the schedule as far in advance as possible.
Organizing everyday items. As such, have a place for everything and keep everything in its place. This includes clothing, backpacks, and toys.
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.
Also, being clear and consistent. Children with ADHD need consistent rules they can understand and follow.
In addition, praising and rewarding children is helpful. Children with ADHD often receive and expect criticism. Look for good behavior, and praise it.
Indeed, a professional counselor or therapist can help an adult with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder learn how to organize his or her life with tools such as:
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 to complete each part of the task provides a sense of accomplishment.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.