Addressing the Misconceptions of Psoriasis

Any immunological reaction prompted against healthy cells, tissues and organs of the body is called autoimmune response. And any disease affiliated with this response is called an autoimmune disease. There are a wide range of these diseases and psoriasis is one of the most prevalent ones in the US.

According to a recent report, more than two percent of the US population is suffering from this autoimmune skin disease. Since many people, particularly the ones not suffering from it, don’t consider it as a serious health concern, several misconceptions have spread about psoriasis.

It is important to address these notions regarding psoriasis because 60 percent of people suffering from this skin issue consider it a major everyday nuisance.

Psoriasis is Infectious    

Due to a misconception that psoriasis is contagious and a healthy individual can catch it from an affected person, this skin issue has been transformed into a social stigma. It should be firmly understood that psoriasis is not contagious at all.

This autoimmune system has genetic roots. It can’t be transmitted through air or contact. It is important to spread awareness for dispelling this false fact about psoriasis because many psoriasis patients avoid social situations because of that.  

Psoriasis is Incurable

Majority of the psoriasis patients persist with the agony of this condition because of the preconceived notion that it is incurable. Even though, the disease is a complicated one due to its genetic roots but that doesn’t mean it’s untreatable. Psoriasis of any degree can be treated through in-home and professional treatments.

Over-the-counter Psoriasis Treatments

For mild to moderate psoriasis condition, several OTC topical products can come handy. Topical corticosteroid, vitamin D ointments, emollients and tazarotene are some of the easily available products used for the treatment of light psoriasis.  

Prescription Drugs for Psoriasis Treatment

If you are suffering from severe skin rashes and inflammation due to psoriasis, then it is better to get a consultation from a skincare specialist. There are several prescription drug used to treat severe instances of psoriasis including retinoids, acitretin and some other pharmaceutical physiological response modifiers. UV light therapy can also be recommended to the people suffering from severe psoriasis symptoms.

The crux of all this discussion is: psoriasis can be treated and one should not overlook the symptoms of psoriasis just for this reason.

Sunlight Aggravates Skin Condition

It is another unsubstantiated fact widely spread about the disease. But in real, there is no truth to it. Even it has been observed that exposure of the sun improves the skin. Formation of Vitamin D due to sunlight exposure is the reason behind improved skin condition of psoriasis patients.   

Psoriasis Always Transmits Genetically

There is another widespread misconception that psoriasis is always inherited by the children of affected parents. It is also just a mere myth and nothing more. Even in the people with the affected gene, merely two to three percent will actually develop the disease. Therefore, it is important to not get unnecessarily worried if your parents or one of them have ever suffered from the disease.

Bathing Worsen the Skin Condition

There is a myth widely spread that water can amplify the degree of psoriasis, hence affected individuals should avoid bathing as much as possible. This is also complete rubbish because oils and salts present in bathing soaps and lotions might help in reducing the psoriasis-related irritation. However, using very hot water can result in severe irritation.  Moreover, swimming in chlorinated pools is not advised because chlorine is a known skin irritant.  

There is More than Only One Type of Psoriasis

Not all psoriasis conditions are the same and hence their treatments and symptoms can vary. Some of the common psoriasis types are:

  • Erythrodermic
  • Guttate
  • Pustular
  • Plaque

The most prevalent psoriasis type is plaque. Symptoms of plaque are red skin patches and flares of dead skin.

Signs and Symptoms of Psoriasis are Superficial

It is important to note that psoriasis is not just an esthetically unpleasing disease. There are several physical and physiological repercussions associated with it. Psoriasis can be painful and severe patches of it can lead to bleeding making the affected individual more vulnerable to other bodily infections.

Similarly, people suffering from this autoimmune skin condition can develop major depressive order and anxiety due to the stigma associated with it. So, it is important to take care of this disease with all the necessary diligence.

Caregiving Made Easier with Technology


”caregiving”

Photo by ronstikyayimages.com

Technology has radically advanced in the 21st century and subsequently, we all have benefited from it in one way or another.  From using smartphones to sitting in self-parking cars to admiring an F-35 stealth fighter fly in the sky, we cannot help but be fascinated by these technological advancements.

And there is one area of advancement that has surprised the expectations of even the best experts. Indeed, the medical field has progressed to the point that people are expected to live to 100. For sure, there are apps and devices available today that can help even the oldest in society and that’s where you come in. By helping your senior citizens learn how to use these devices, they can live a more convenient and comfortable life.  

Advanced devices can make your life as a caregiver much easier. They can also offer greater independence and safety to the people you love.

Most of the technology available in healthcare is user-friendly and setting it up is quite simple. Discuss with the physician of your loved ones or ask other caregivers for help and suggestions. Some doctors have occupational social workers or therapists who can assist in finding the right resources. 

This article entails several ways you can use today’s technology to make caregiving easier. 

Independent Life

Begin with the basic things. For instance, if the person to whom you’re providing care has any physical disability, search for low-tech devices that can provide assistance, like a simple reacher to grab things easily. Even plain tools like a tin opener with easy-to-hold, thick handles can provide a lot of help to a disabled person. These low-tech tools can allow someone to carry out routine tasks which they are not able to do normally without assistance.

Purchase a location tracking system for finding things that can get misplaced. Place a small tag on whatever mostly disappears, like the wallet, glass case, keys or phone of your loved one. They can then use an application or press a button and the tag that you placed on the item will start to beep or ring.

For people who suffer from conditions like Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease, apps on tablets and smartphones can make communication easier. There exists special hardware and software that can also be controlled simply with eye movements.

Setting Reminders

Caregivers mostly use digital watches or egg timers to remind their loved ones about taking their medicine or getting ready for their appointment with a doctor.

An app can provide you greater flexibility in scheduling routine tasks. There are many services that allow you to set automatic text messages, phone calls or emails to alert your loved ones when it’s time to take medicine, exercise or check their glucose levels. You can also add personal messages with the reminder to show them how much you care about them.

There are electronic pillboxes available now that’ll get the medicine out automatically through a timer. If your loved one has taken the medicine the advanced electronic pillbox will alert you and you can remotely monitor adherence behavior so that you have added peace of mind.

With prescription management services, custom medications can be delivered in special shipments. Pills are enclosed together according to specific doses that the person may be required to take, like all the pills that are to be taken after a meal will be packaged together while those that are to be taken at night will be enclosed in another separate package. Your loved one will only have to open the package and take the medicine without worrying about specific dose.  

Emergencies

Medical emergency systems have a pendant or a bracelet with an alarm push button. If your loved one falls or is in trouble, on pushing the button, a call will be made to an emergency service operator. The company will then notify you or send an emergency care provider to help your loved one. Some gadgets can also detect the fall and automatically alert the emergency services.

You can also place buttons in your home in case they ever forget to wear the device. You’ll be charged for the services, but compared to your loved one’s health, the expense is of no value.

Looking After the Person You Care About

You can install motion detectors on doors for added safety. When they are opened, an alarm will sound and you’ll be alerted when someone enters or leave. If you don’t live with your loved one, you can just check these sensors through an online monitoring system.

You can also use pressure sensors to track your loved ones. For example, placing a pressure sensor under the mattress will alert you when the person gets up so that you can check on them.  

Some medical systems are equipped with GPS tracking and you can use this service to find your loved ones in case they ever leave the house without you knowing it.  

The Final Word

If you really care about your loved ones and want to give them the best, you should really consider adopting the latest gadgets. These technological devices will not only make your life as a caregiver easier but will also provide more comfort to your loved ones and make their life easier and safer.

What to Do About Cyberbullying

Individual set aside because of bullying
More needs to be done against bullying, especially within the high-speed Internet environment

As soon as someone is perceived as ‘different’, there lies an opportunity for unscrupulous individuals to take advantage of that person. Maybe it makes them feel superior. Maybe it gives them a natural ‘high’ by showing off to their peers or maybe these instigators just have evil intentions. Whatever the reason, this phenomenon has been around for countless centuries, only to be brought into the mainstream via the Internet and social networking – and maybe that is a good thing.

But how can cyberbullying be controlled and how can preventing it be enforced?


Cyber Aware: Stop Cyberbullying – Infographic from Sano Works on Vimeo.

Sending disturbing emails and texts are part of the problem and are hard to monitor or control; however, preventative procedures can help towards diminishing the amount of bullying that perpetuates the Internet.

Free speech should not be controlled within the social media environment; however, that doesn’t mean to say that it should not be monitored and proper action taken against those individuals whose posts are interrupted as threatening, intimidating or abusive.

Facebook and the other social media should take some responsibility towards keeping a ‘clean’ environment among their members. They all provide policies against bullying and other forms of abuse, but they can’t enforce these policies alone and they depend on others to report these cases of abuse to them. Quite frankly, this procedure has all but failed, as we continue to hear about people (mostly young people) who take their lives due to some malicious posts that were written against them.

That being the case, more has to be done. Starting with the schools, they must take cyberbullying seriously and provide preventative measures to decrease and/or terminate this abuse during school hours AND after school hours as well (when most of the cyberbullying takes place), if it is determined that the abusers are enrolled in the school.

Sometimes, cyberbullying can arise outside of school jurisdiction, as the aggressors might not even be a student; therefore, there needs to be community action as well.

Girl covering her fact
The mental anguish of victims of bullying can be substantial

Overall, some suggestions for controlling cyberbullying are listed below:

 

  • The abusers should be reported to the social media establishment with a request to remove their account(s), but not before copies or screenshots are taken of the abusive posts (for later use if necessary).
  • Schools should provide special classes each semester, using ‘scared straight’ tactics about the dangers of bullying others. Including in this class would be a description of the consequences that could result, depending upon the seriousness of the abuse (suspension, arrest and even the possibility of being sued by the victim’s parents). Case histories would be presented.
  • Establish a support group in the school that would consist of teachers and students where victims of bullying can go to for help.
  • Establish a community support group that would consist of counselors, therapists, law enforcement officers and school officials (preferably those that are part of the school support group) to discuss the victim’s concerns and the possibility of action taken against the aggressors.
  • Parents should be vigilant to cyberbullying and taught what to look out for among their children, whether that be that their child is the abuser or victim. They should also be advised about the local laws that could potentially hold them responsible if it is determined that their son/daughter is cyberbullying another teenager.

As far as maintaining anonymity on the Internet is concerned, most social media networks do not allow a user to remain anonymous. Using anonymous email and in cases where it is allowed and cases where websites are anonymously created, that would be difficult to stop; however, a cyberbully can’t run and hide in the cloud forever. Considering today’s software technology and machine language algorithms, it would only be a matter of time before the abuser is discovered and brought to justice.

Remember These Things If You Care About a Person with Asthma


”Person with Asthmia"
Photo by Wavebreakmedia – yayimages.com

Asthma is an inflammatory disease of the airways which is commonly associated with chest tightness, recurrent wheezing, coughing and breathlessness. Asthmatics often have to use inhalers in order to feel better. Many different environmental, psychological and dietary factors can trigger the symptoms of asthma, leaving the asthmatic feeling sickly, unfit or inadequate. 

Asthma Inhaler
Typical inhaler used by asthmatics

According to American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, 300 million people worldwide suffer from asthma, and by the year 2025, these figures will grow by more than 100 million. In severity, asthma varies from person to person and changes seasonally which often makes it difficult to understand how an asthmatic can be helped or made comfortable.

We’ll share a number of options to consider when living or spending time with someone who has asthma so that they can feel more comfortable and help ease their pain.

Environments that Can be Harmful to People with Asthma

Never Smoke Near Asthmatic People

If you are in the vicinity of a person with asthma, don’t light up your cigarette without asking. Smoking makes it difficult for an asthma patient to breathe and it may even trigger an asthma attack. Even if the person only has mild asthma, second-hand smoking can lead to serious health risks, so be sure to never blow smoke at them.

Asthma Can Get Worse From Dust

If you’re living with an asthma patient, remember that dust can present serious risks and significantly affect their breathing. Luckily, it’s very easy to handle dust issues. Make sure to keep the house well ventilated by opening windows for few hours. Mopping, vacuuming and dusting regularly is also important to ensure that the dust does not build up in the house.

Pets Can be Dangerous

Often times, pets’ fur can aggravate the symptoms of asthma. This should always be kept in mind when deciding to buy a pet if you live with a person who has asthma. If you own a pet already, keep it well-groomed and also keep the sofas, bed and other furniture clean from their fur.

Perfumes Can Cause a Reaction

Some deodorants and perfumes can affect the airways of an asthma patient and make it difficult for them to breathe.  When you spray perfumes, make sure that your asthmatic friend or family member is not in the room, or use subtle fragrances instead of strong ones.

Keep Them Stress-Free

Stress psychologically affects our immune system. During high stress, the immune system becomes weak as the brain diverts most of the internal resources towards immediate survival instead of focusing on the wellbeing in the long term. When stressed, asthmatics start to suffer from acute asthma symptoms like breathlessness or shortness of breath.

Stressful situations are often exacerbated by loneliness, isolation and inability to cope with the disease. Offering to provide help with their work or just chatting with them can often work better than any other remedy and help reduce their symptoms.   

Sensitivity to Some Medicines

Approximately 10-20% of adults with asthma have a sensitivity to a group of painkillers called NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Examples of NSAIDs include aspirin, naproxen and ibuprofen. To reduce fever and treat pain, these drugs are used frequently and for an asthma patient, without these drugs, it becomes difficult to treat a headache, cold or a cough.

The label of the medicine should always be checked before buying them for an asthmatic to avoid harmful reactions. A doctor should be made aware of the patient’s condition so that they take precautions when prescribing the medicines.

Hard Time with Colds and Cough

Asthma patients frequently suffer from inflamed airways which make colds and coughs quite distressing for them. If you know a person who has asthma, you should encourage them to adopt a diet that is rich in vegetables and fruits as it would bolster their immune system to fight colds and coughs.

If your family member suffers from asthma, keep cold and cough medicines readily available to ease their illness, but be cautious of medicines that can aggravate the symptoms.

Breaks are Required During Exercise

An asthmatic should not be expected to compete with others in strenuous activities. Asthma patients can perform routine work, but it should be remembered that they are likely to take more time to recover from labor or an exercise and frequent breaks may be needed for them to recuperate. An asthmatic may feel inadequate because of this so never make an issue of it.  

Living with an asthmatic is not burdensome and with just a few changes, you can make life easier for them. Maintain an open environment so that whenever they need help, they can reach out to you for assistance and comfort.

Health Benefits and Possible Side Effects of the Paleo Diet

”Paleo DietPhoto by Wavebreakmedia – yayimages.com

In our 
previous article, we have talked about premises of the Paleo Diet and the list of foods that are allowed and prohibited in the diet routine. Here, will shed some light on the benefits and side effects associated with this diet.

The purpose of this article is to give you a comprehensive picture of the Paleo Diet in order to make you aware of all the related aspects if you are going to adopt its diet recommendations.  

Benefits of Adopting Paleo Diet Plans

There is a whole range of health benefits associated with the Paleo diet and endorsed by scientific research.

Ensures Health Body Cells and Functions

Foods prescribed in the Paleo diet have a perfect balance of healthy fats which is rare to be seen in other diet plans. Some diet routines increase the ratio while others cut down the consumption of healthy fats.

Let’s take the example of omega-3 fatty acids. These are essential fats and an integral part of intracellular communication, in the formation of hormones regulating blood clotting. They also play important role in the better function of arteries (contraction and relaxation). Omega-3 fatty acids are also important for balancing the homeostasis associated with inflammation.  

The human body is able to produce other fats but it can’t make omega-3 fatty acids on its own. Therefore, one must get them through foods. Seafood, vegetable oils, leafy vegetables and nuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and all of them are essential food items of any Paleo diet chart. Getting ample amount of omega-3 fatty acids helps in improving the overall physiological functions to ensure healthy state of the body.

Accelerates Metabolism, Helps in Maintaining Healthy Weight

The Paleo diet increases the metabolic rate of an individual by simply increasing the muscle content of the body. Lean cuts of all red meats, crammed with proteins, are permissible to eat in the Paleo diet, unlike most of the diet plans.

High intake of protein in your daily diet helps in increasing the muscle mass of your body. Muscle cells are very active and therefore needs more energy to function. By adopting any Paleo diet plan, you will naturally replace fat cells with muscle cells which will help you in maintaining your weight in healthy BMI levels.  

Guarantees Healthy Digestive System

Most of the contemporary food items are loaded with processed sugar and fats which overwhelm our stomach and digestive tract because they are not designed to process such dietary items. Excessive use of these foods usually ends up on the onset of ulcers and leaky gut syndrome.

The Paleo diet prohibits all such manmade foods so that your digestive system can function at its best.  

Ensures Sufficient Consumption of Micronutrients

By allowing leafy and non-starchy vegetables and nuts in its menus, the Paleo diet ensures that you are getting all the essential vitamins and minerals necessary for healthy functioning of the body.

Side Effects and Criticism of the Paleo Diet

With all its benefits, the Paleo diet is also criticized due to some of its shortcomings and side effects.

Cutting Down the Entire Range of Dairy Products Leads to Osteoporosis

Many nutritionists heavily criticize the Paleo diet because it excludes all the dairy products from the dietary consumption. Low-fat dairy items are necessary to fulfill the body needs of Vitamin D and calcium. Cutting down the dairy products for a long time can result in the development of osteoporosis.  

Renal Damage

Consuming high amount of proteins and very low carbohydrates has detrimental effects on kidneys.

High Levels of Cholesterol

People who are already susceptible to cholesterol problems and heart diseases can face complications with more consumption of red meat even if it’s lean.

Body Fatigue

Low amount of carbohydrates and sugar in the diet can also lead to body fatigue in some individuals, especially during increased physical activity.  

In order to get the maximum benefits out of a Paleo diet plan, it is important to have it devised with moderate consumptions of every food item. Eating excessive red meat in the name of the Paleo diet will surely get you in trouble.

Similarly, you can have a modified Paleo diet plan by including healthy dairy products in it. Finally, it is necessary to consult your physician or any seasoned nutrition before getting on any diet plan.

Gluten-Laden Foods are Not Bad for Everyone

”Picture of gluden-laden bread"
Photo by – yayimages.com

In this extremely health conscious world of today, consumption of gluten is another topic on which the scientific community seems to be divided. Most of the health experts believe that gluten is only harmful to people with some specific medical condition. On the other hand, few nutritionists believe that it is better to have gluten-free diet even if you are not suffering from any disease.  

According to a survey from market research company NPD, more than 30 percent of US citizens proactively try to avoid gluten-laden meals. This number is a clear indication that today’s society is also divided between the harms and benefits of gluten. As we all know, wheat is the most regularly consumed gluten-laden grain in the world. So it is important to comprehend the gray area associated with the consumption of gluten, but let’s start by properly understanding what gluten actually is.

Gluten: A Grain-based Protein

The term ‘gluten’ refers to the two proteins abundantly found in grains like wheat, barley and rye. Glutenin and gliadin are these two proteins classified by the name gluten. Some studies have concluded that gliadin is the culprit behind the most of the adverse health effects associated with gluten. Gluten gets its name due to the glue-like property of wet dough or flour, which consists of a sticky meshwork formed by the two gluten proteins present in the flour.

Is Gluten all Bad?

No, this is not the case at all. There are some medical and physiological conditions where certain individuals become intolerant to gluten consumption. Here, we will discuss these medical conditions.

Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is a type of autoimmune disorder in which the immune system of the body perceives gluten as foreign bodies (invaders actually). Immune systems are naturally designed to attack all such foreign bodies. So, when white blood cells attack the gluten particles, the gut lining of the digestive tract also get collaterally damaged.

According to the statistics gathered through National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, celiac disease affects around 1 percent of the US population. Damage to the lining of the gut can result in anemia, nutrient deficiency and acute digestive problems. Celiac disease is usually heredity in nature. Due to its subtle symptoms, most of the affected people (around 80%) don’t even know that they are suffering from the disease.  

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is another very prevalent digestive disorder that affects the colon (AKA large intestine) and people who have it often complain of severe abdominal pains and cramps, diarrhea and gas buildup in the digestive tract. IBS is a chronic disease and it can get aggravated by the consumption of gluten-containing foods; however, sometimes IBS gets confused with Celiac disease. If you have symptoms similar to those mentioned above, it is best to discuss with your doctor, who can run the necessary tests to determine which disease it is, usually by the process of elimination. 

Wheat Allergy

Some people suffer from a rare condition of wheat allergy where their digestive system gets worked up after the consumption of gluten-rich meals.

So there are instances where gluten-containing foods can become a source of trouble for people. To make sure that gluten is not inflicting its detrimental effects on your health, you can have yourself tested for gluten intolerance.  

Blood tests and tissue biopsies are usually conducted to make ascertain that whether one is suffering from celiac disease and gluten intolerance.

However, if you don’t have the condition of gluten intolerance then there is no harm in consuming this composite of proteins. In fact, actively depriving yourself of gluten-containing foods can have some adverse consequences as well.  

According to the research study put forward in this year’s session of American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention, making your diet free of gluten can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This research was observational and studied the impact of low-gluten and gluten-free diet on more than 100,000 participants. The same observational study also concludes that people eating a normal amount of gluten are 13 percent less likely to get diabetes.

Gluten Free Breakfast
Gluten-Free Foods

If you are concerned about eating foods that contain gluten, then concentrating on these foods may be a benefit.

Final Verdict

If you have read the whole article then it might have become very easy for you to take the decision regarding gluten. To put it in a more categorical manner, gluten is inherently not harmful to human consumption except in certain medical conditions. Therefore, people who avoid gluten-containing foods for no reason don’t have to do it because it is totally healthy to consume gluten in normal, healthy diets.  

Dealing with Outsiders in Autism


”Young boy looking out to the river"
Photo by alexx60 – yayimages.com

Everyone has the right to explore the world, visit public places, use public transportation and be an active community member. But while some disabilities are apparent to people, autism does not show up on the surface.

Strangers assume that for autistic people dealing with this world is no different than that for a typical child. Except that it mostly isn’t and when they are held to the same standards as a normal person, it leads to stressful situations for the autistic child.

If you speak with the parents of an autistic child, they’ll surely tell you at least one incident of a passer-by who told them to handle their misbehaving youngster or gave them a strange look. Most people assume that the child is naughty and doesn’t think that disability could be the reason behind their unnatural behavior.

What Problems are Mostly Faced?

Public places present many challenges for children with this disability. Autism creates extra difficulties which makes coping extremely hard as they do not understand appropriate social behavior and what’s normal for them looks strange to others. People don’t appreciate the difference.

Sensory sensitiveness often promotes behaviors that are shocking for outsiders. Children with autism lick or sniff their parents out of love and innocence and the parents are aware of it, but if a stranger is liked or sniffed in the same manner, they are likely to left startled and react in an unfriendly manner.

Eating issues often create trouble in public gatherings. There are several taboos related to food and for children with autism, it can be difficult to observe them all. For instance, taking food from someone else’s plate is considered bad manners but a child with autism would not be able to understand that.

Often people with ASD are not able to manage their voices. It is common for autistic people to speak too loud, sound hostile or angry even when it is not the case. This makes people think that a person is being aggressive or rude deliberately when he or she is only trying to communicate in the best way possible.

We deal with family friends in a different manner than how we interact with strangers. But for children with ASD, it is hard to understand this difference. Some children with autism will hug complete strangers to demonstrate their friendliness, but the strangers are not pleased when such things happen as they find it offending.

Children with ASD often suffer from high anxiety. In a busy or new place, they may quickly lose control and exhibit behaviors that people consider challenging. For parents, managing such behaviors in public can be very difficult.

Parents of a child with ASD realize that even when they do their best, people who do not understand autism will judge them and blame them for their child’s condition. What’s good parenting for children with autism is very different than what is considered good parenting for a normal child: they have different so needs are met differently, too.

Should You Explain?

There have been some serious debates about whether or not you should tell people about your child’s autism disorder and explain that it is the reason for their actions. If you tell them, it would neutralize the wrong assumption about you being bad at parenting. If your child is experiencing a meltdown, people will back off to let you handle it instead of giving you unwanted advice.

On the other hand, you may think that the condition of your child is nobody else’s business and you should not have to provide everyone a medical record. You may not even be in any mood to get involved with others as you’re already worried about your child’s condition.

It all comes down to what you decide. You may think differently on certain occasions and whatever decision you make, just remember the wellbeing of your child should always be your focus, so go ahead with what best supports your child.

Any Resources that Can Help?

Special cards are printed by the “National Autistic Society” which can be used in case of emergencies to make people aware of your child’s condition.

Unfortunately, for you to manage your own feelings there isn’t much official helping material available. It can be really challenging to manage a child with ASD, but you should never give up as your child needs your love and support to survive in this harsh world.

 

The Importance of Mental Health and Counseling

An excerpt from a patient who suffers from mental illness:

DepressionWhy write a blog about mental illness.  Is it an illness?  Is it a disease of the mind?  Is it an abnormality?  Am I normal?  Why put myself out there when it will only invite unwanted criticism and name calling. Being known as someone who has depression and anxiety carries a tremendous personal burden, a steep price of added suffering and torment – one extra hill to climb out of.  So again you ask, why am I doing this?  Because mental illness is just that.  It is an illness.  Most people need to understand that. And the more people who are aware are able to help.  We need a community to band together and stop the shame of depression.  Stop the teen suicides.  If my story can help in anyway shed light on this illness then I am willing to battle the scars of criticism.

Prejudice, stigmas and bigotry take the path of least resistance – they are free of the chains of clear thought, consideration of the differences of others and plain fact. They are free to spread and indiscriminately injure and wound. They are escaped prisoners that need rounding up. They are the bullies that need to be grabbed by the ear and told. Whether they listen or understand or change their nasty ways remains a mystery to me. I mean, if you’re stuck in a revolving door of fear and ignorance long enough eventually you have to jump out, shake off the dizziness and reorient yourself — perhaps desperate optimism or naive hopefulness on my part. I’m sensitive yet thick when I need to be.

Being brave, open and vulnerable.  I am able to with a quiet courage to leave my house every day and endure the mean spirited off handed comments from bored and ignorant. So many, including myself live in fear that our dark secret will somehow get out. That someday someone will catch us taking our medication. That the jabs and ribbing will one day become more than we can stand. Courage, bravery and raw endurance occurs daily in utter silence. You are not alone!

Picture of the brain
Photo by sdCrea – yayimages.com

Overview

We are all aware of the dangers to society when a person whose mental health issues goes undetected, sometimes resulting in tragic and disastrous results. Although there are thousands of people and organizations working to determine what causes people to react this way, there was no indication of this behavior, it is an ongoing and tedious process. And so far, no substantial or specific reason has been confirmed.

Although violence rests in the category of extreme mental illness, most people whose mental health has been affected one way or another usually suffer from stress, depression and/or addiction to drugs.

In this article, we will not dwell on the specific illnesses that exist, nor will focus on the politics related to mental health issues; indeed, this subject alone fills entire websites. Instead, we will concentrate on the underlying factors regarding mental illnesses and simply bring them to light here.

Stressful Environment and Mental Health Disorder

Young Woman in DepressionOne conclusion regarding mental health issues is that there is a direct connection to today’s contemporary world and the the stresses that are associated with it. Just about every one of us have been subjected to some type of stress during our live time, but it is how we deal with it and how we proceed that determines what will happen next.

For many, these anxiety-prone situations can lead to frustration, anger, depression and/or melancholia. When we face such situations, it can cause a deterioration in our daily performance and functioning, as well as the possibility of developing more serious mental health issues.

What is mental health?

According to The World Health Organization (WHO), good physical health starts with good mental health. It is the most basic element for our holistic well being.

Good mental health provides us with the ability to cope effectively with the stressors of our lives. When we are healthy, we are able to use our full potential, perform productively and contribute effectively to our community.

Statistics reveal that over 450 million people worldwide are negatively affected in their cognitive well-being at one time or another and one in six adults and one in ten children suffer from serious mental health issues.

Causes of poor mental health

There are a wide range of factors that can cause mental health deterioration: genetic factors, prolonged stress, physical illness and traumatic events. Political and social environments also play a role in influencing our mental health.

Social Environment

Suicide is not uncommon among American teenagers, especially girls. Many families have to cope with teens that resort to overdosing on prescription or even over the counter drugs. But what caused them to overdose in the first place? According to a multitude of case histories, young girls can resort to attempting to ‘kill themselves’ because they broke up or simply had a argument with their boyfriend. Whether it is just to achieve attention, get back at the boyfriend or something else, most of these young teens survive. As they mature, this precarious mental state subsides and they go on to live normal lives like it never happened.

In one case history, a 15 year old girl grabbed Tylenol and overdosed on them. She wasn’t able to feel her hands or feet and the boyfriend called her parents. She was immediately taken to the hospital. Doctors determined that she will need to sleep it off, but if she happened to take just a little more, she could have had more serious complications, including a damaged liver. Fortunately, she came out of it alright, but a prerequisite from being released from the hospital was to see the hospital psychiatrist. There, she was ‘set straight’ regarding how close she was to running her internal organs, as well as being admitted to a psychiatric ward. The girl is now in college. So in this particular case, a sudden scare into reality was all that was needed.

Other teens are not that lucky. Some are subjected to a more serious mental stain and perceive their issues as ‘not worth living’. Bullying, simply because they are different in some way, can become a motivation towards suicide and unfortunately, in these cases, some do not make it through.  

Depression and anxiety are the most common health disorders that you might face if you are not able to cope with stress that may be affecting your emotional well being.

One of the major reasons that mental health has become a concern is lack of awareness, inability to have effective coping mechanisms and the stigma attached in some societies to get help and go to a professional mental health counselor. Not looking for the assistance that you may need out of fear for being isolated, bullied or not being able to get jobs.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, there are two major categories of mental disorders: neurosis and psychosis. Few indicators of poor mental health are feeling lethargic, withdrawing from society; drop in your productivity and performance, feeling like crying all the time and weight gain or loss.

Benefits of maintaining mental health

Living with mental health disorders affects your relationship, studies, parenting skills and work. It is important in order for you own well being and others that you take the support of mental health counselors.

Your emotional well being improves your quality of life and gives you peace of mind and the ability to live life to the fullest while coping with stressful factors effectively.

Well balanced mental health will help you to cope with stress and be able to maintain healthy relationships, make sound life decisions, use your potential to the maximum level and maintain both your mental and physical health.

Those of you who maintain your mental health and take support of  counselors have to spend less money on their health. Poor mental health causes many physical ailments that increase your frequency of visiting doctors and taking medication. Similarly when you have poor mental health you will take more medications and therapy sessions. Both will increase the cost of medical bills but after you receive proper mental health counseling or therapy you will be more mentally fit and will not have the need to visit the doctor or take medication. This reduces the cost of your medical bills.

Good mental health prevents poor physical healing and dangerous habits such as smoking or unhealthy eating behavior.

Many research studies have provided evidence that those for those of you who took proper mental health care and support of a counselor the number of medical visits decreased.  

Good mental health increases your energy level and provides you with the effective coping mechanisms for stressful environment. It helps you deal with difficult situation and improves your performance and efficiency at work by utilizing your potential to the maximum level.     

About mental health counseling

A mental health counselor helps you deal with your emotions, provide tools to cope with your stress in healthy way and deal with mental health disorders or trauma that you may have faced. Mental health counselors work in various avenues such as school, office and hospitals.

These counselors use various approaches for providing mental health support. Such as cognitive analytical therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, crisis treatment, group or life changing counseling and substance abuse counseling.

Importance of counseling

Mental health counselors help you deal with your emotions, daily life stressors and experiences. It helps you set goals, design action plan for those goals and gain further insight.  

According to the American Counseling Association counseling empowers you to achieve mental well being, education, career goals and mental health.

They are highly trained professionals that help you live a more happy and productive life. The school counselor help you deal with your academic and other school related concerns and daily life stressors related to your school and studies.

The career counselor’s help you improve your productivity and deal with work related stressors or career related identity crisis. They help you find the best career path for you and deal with other employment related concerns.

Mental health counselors play the most significant role by treating those of you who may be suffering from mental health disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and post traumatic stress disorder.

A Mental health counselor helps you become productive and efficient and by helping you gain a healthy mental well being they help you become an effective member of your society.

Avoiding treatment through mental health professional can cause considerable negative social and economic impact to you and your society.

Mental hygiene and counseling

We may take care of our physical health but ignore the importance of staying mentally fit. Dealing with daily life stressors and unexpected extraordinary difficult situation can take a toll on you. By going to a counselor you can vent out your feeling and emotions, gain better insight and be able to cope with your difficult experiences in effective and healthy manner. Thus, keeping your mind and body healthy and becoming an effective member of your society.

 

Learning About Bulimia Nervosa and How to Help Someone Suffering From It


Disorder Notice
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Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder that forces people towards binge eating by trapping them in a world where food is the only source of happiness. The word Bulimia Nervosa was coined in 1979 by British psychiatrist Gerald Russell. Being originally a Greek word, it translates to ‘ravenous hunger’.

Bulimia generally has two stages, one being where the person consumes large amounts of food and the second is called purging. Purging causes the person to instantly induce vomiting. However, vomiting is not the only form of purging. It also encompasses self-induced excretion through laxatives.

Bulimia generally begins with a binge eating disorder which later turns into a life-threatening disease. A person could consume thousands of calories in one day and then stimulate vomiting to lose the extra weight.

Self-induced vomiting is a way for bulimic patients to flush out food from their body as a measure to stop weight gain. Similar to anorexia, it is a mental condition of self-doubt where the person critically judges his/her physical appearance to an extreme. Even a pound of weight gain frenzies them.  The main difference between anorexia and bulimia is that anorexia conveys a sense of self-starvation involving weight loss of 15 percent or more of a person’s body weight, whereas bulimia nervosa patients are usually at their normal weight or above.

What Causes Bulimia Nervosa?

Bulimia Health DiagramBulimia is a severe psychological disorder that leads in resorting to food as an alternative to avoiding problems.

Bulimia is a common condition in both men and women, especially in teens in which the disorder leads to severe emotional and mental distortions. At times, a person having bulimia symptoms traps themselves in a world of shame and silence, where all their thoughts circle around food.

People with bulimia put unnecessary emphasis on their body type and weight for self-assessment. This leads to a person having a low self-esteem and sense of self-worth as they define their existence solely by their looks.

Bulimia Nervosa can also be generated from a history of abuse and trauma. Such people are constantly suffering from severe depression and are prone to developing eating disorders as a way of forgetting their experiences.

Symptoms to Look Out For

Since people with bulimia don’t always realize the disorder as a problem by themselves, it is important to keep a lookout for the most common symptoms found in bulimic patients.  Bulimia symptoms can be categorized into physical and behavioral categories.

Physical Symptoms

People suffering from bulimia display several worrying physical traits that must be immediately looked into. Such as:

  • The most common physical change is sudden weight gain. If a person seems to appear bloated, it could be a sign of weight gain from excessive eating.
  • Look for any cut marks on their hands as vomiting is usually induced by scraping fingers against the teeth.
  • Excessive vomiting causes blood vessels inside the mouth to burst. This leaves small red marks on the face.
  • Bulimia patients also suffer from severe dehydration which also results in dizziness and fainting.
  • The excessive excretion of food can make people appear highly fatigued and tired. It also disrupts their sleeping patterns.

Behavioral Symptoms

People going through a binge and purge disorder not only exhibit several of the above physical symptoms but there are also a few behavioral changes that should be observed in a potential bulimic person.

  • People with bulimia often eat secretly; therefore, a bizarre number of food wrappers and waste should be taken notice of.
  • Spending an unreasonable time in the washroom can also be a sign of binge eating and bulimia.
  • Longer breaks between eating and fasting
  • Displaying an erratic behavior. Such people generally go through several mood swings, with anxiety being a sign of having not eaten for a long time.
  • Lack of control over eating during a binging episode
  • People with bulimia are also seen exercising a lot if not self-inducing vomit. They exercise in order to subsidize the extra pounds gained.
    • Excessive concern about one’s body weight and figure even during routine conversations.

People suffering from bulimia get entangled in severe health problems such as heart and kidney issues, bone thinning and infertility.  At its most advanced stage, Bulimia Nervosa can lead to cardiac arrest and even death. Therefore, looking for signs of bulimia in those around you is necessary for providing them with the proper aid before the addiction becomes worse.

Eating disorder patients may want to consider in enrolling in a rehabilitation center where they are given appropriate treatment promoting a healthier lifestyle and stronger self esteem.

Learning About Tourette Syndrome

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Tourette syndrome is referenced as a neurological disorder and is characterized by repetitive involuntary movements. These recurring movements are known as tics, which can cause both sudden vocal or physical actions. This illness derives its name from French Neurologist Dr. Georges Gilles de la Tourette, who was the first to identify the condition in an elderly aristocrat. Even today, Tourette syndrome is wrongly suggested to be a behavioral deformity or a sign of nervousness. The syndrome largely affects the nervous growth of a person and often starts to develop between the ages 2 to 21 years and continues throughout life.

It is reported that around 200,000 Americans are suffering from the most chronic form of the Tourette syndrome, while there are hundreds of other cases of moderate and mild cases of vocal and motor tics. Similarly, some people who experienced worst symptoms during early teenage years claimed to have witnessed an improvement in their condition later at an older age.

Tourette Symptoms

The Tourette syndrome can be discovered during early childhood by observing significant and noticeable behaviors in the child. Tics are generally like hiccups. They are unplanned and are out of an individual’s control. But hiccups can be stopped by many of the tested and tried tricks like drinking water. However, Tourette tics can’t be controlled under any circumstance. They are experienced as an increasing tension in ones’ body known as a premonitory urge. That makes it irresistible for the person to perform a particular action. Once the tic is released, the tension decreases which relaxes one’s body and brain cells.

Tourette tics can be divided into two types namely, vocal and physical and they usually occur in a combination.

  • Motor Tics

Motors tics are described as sudden and repetitive movements. These actions involve performing a certain action in order to satisfy rising muscle tension. Motor tics are also the first type of tics to be discovered and a person must exhibit two or three such involuntary actions every day for a year to be diagnosed as a Tourette patient. Motor tics can be divided into two types that are simple tics and complex tics.  

Simple tics include actions such as facial contortion, shoulder shrugging, neck stretching and head jerking. These actions can occur independently or in a combination with each other. The more serious tics appear more prominently such as twisting, bending, touching and smelling objects. Although these twitches are physically harmless to the person, there are certainly more severe tics such as jaw clenching and biting.  These actions occur as an outburst of a suppressed frustration and are self-injurious.

  • Vocal Tics

It is generally observed that vocal tics develop after the person has experienced motor tics. Vocal or phone tics causes people to produce sounds they don’t intend to.  These vocal tics can be further classified into simple and complex levels based on their frequency and severity. Simple vocal tics largely include hooting, constantly clearing your throat, coughing, shouting and tongue clicking. While more complex tics can be traced during speech. Around 10-15% of all complex vocal tics are termed as Coprolalia, which causes a person to involuntarily speak obscene or improper words or phrases. Other such symptoms can be repeating someone’s words or anything just heard.

Causes and Diagnosis

Tourette syndrome is described as a genetic disorder but it is not contagious. This means that families with Tourette history are most likely to pass on the condition to future generations. Being a majorly neurological condition with not many developments made in the field, the exact cause of the syndrome is yet to be discovered.

According to a few research studies, Tourette syndrome is a result of imbalances in the brain chemicals namely norepinephrine dopamine, serotonin. These chemicals, collectively known as neurotransmitters, aid the nerves in communicating inside the brain by carrying signals from one cell to another. Another part of the brain called the basal ganglia, which is responsible for various body movements, also plays a role in generating tics.

With there being no specific test for Tourette syndrome, a doctor or neurologist would usually assess the family history along with medical records. A doctor would also observe the individual’s symptoms and in some cases conduct medical tests such as brain scans and blood tests.

Although Tourette syndrome can be a lifelong disorder limiting one’s control over movement, the syndrome in itself is not life-threatening. People suffering from the condition are able to live a normal life, working, studying and enjoying their time like everyone else.