Mental illness medication

Psychiatrists are usually consider prescribing mental illness medication when patients exhibits symptoms that interfere with their normal functioning, such as work, relationship, and physical and psychological health.   Mental illness medications normally influence the level on some important chemicals in the brain. The medications work by either increasing or decreasing what are called “neurotransmitters”.  As the medication takes effect, the level of these transmitters increase, and the patients start noticing some improvement or fewer symptoms than they had presented at the first place.  However, scientists still don’t know how these chemicals or neurotransmitters affect how an individual function. For example, if a physician or a psychiatrist prescribed specific kind of anti depressant and the patient reported that the medication didn’t work, the psychiatrist would consider altering the type of drug until patient shows improvement

According to the World Health Organization, One in four individuals in general population will exhibits and  experience a mental health problems at some point in their lives.

Depression and anxiety are considered to be the most common problems presented. Moreover these problems can occur to anyone despite their gender, age, race, and culture. Unfortunately, researchers couldn’t specify and pinpoint causes the illness or the impartment in an individual functioning. However, and generally speaking, the combination of environmental and genetics factors contributes to the causes of such a mental health issue.  In addition, some traumatic events or brain injuries contribute to symptoms that continue for years.

 It is important to note that undergoing psychotherapy/counseling is just as important as taking the medication, as the patient develops distorted thinking and beliefs as a result of the symptoms.  Social support from family and friends, spirituality, routine changes, and other treatment protocols are crucial components in effective as oppose to just symptoms reduction. In some cases, when an individual suffers from severe mental illnesses such as psychosis and some form of addiction, inpatient hospital admission is the first step for treatment plan.

Having the mental health symptoms under control allows the  patient to make progress in psychotherapy. According to American Medical Association, cognitive behavioral therapy combined with medication tends to lead to significant improvement of some mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and attention deficit hyperactivity symptoms in adults. Of course, a common outcome of effective psychotherapy is decreasing or eliminating mental illness medications.

Some people prefer not to take medication due to preconceived notions that it’s not natural, and the stigma associated with mental health issues.

Again, the medication is simply helping the body to produce what is supposed to be there in the first place. Very similar to a diabetic needing insulin. Others are concerned with possible side effects. Not all medications will have the same side effect on every person. In other words, we’re all different, and some people may have side effects, while someone else on the same medication may not. In either case, it’s important to discuss your concerns with your doctor. In many cases there are other medications which may be used.

Many people will be on medications for a period of time, be free of symptoms, and suddenly stop taking their medication thinking they are “cured”.  This poses a great danger not only to the mental health of the patient, but may also have physical consequences. Some medications require a gradual reduction; others require that a person be on the medication for a certain period of time, to make sure that the body can continue the production of the neurotransmitter. If your thinking or wanting to come off the medication, please discuss the issue with your prescribing doctor first. If you having any issues with your medication, again, please discuss them with the prescribing doctor first. Clinicians should educate their patients about their options if they decide to use medication or going off medications because medication that works fine for someone might not be the best option for another. It is essential to have an in-depth honest discussion between patients and their doctor, which includes medical history (including previous medications taken along with their effectiveness), symptoms, diagnosis, and therapeutic goals, and referrals to a psychotherapist before they start their medication.

It’s time to break the stigma associated with mental health. Mental illness is real. It’s not imaginary, it’s not something which a person can control. It is illness that is as real as any physical illness. As with a physical illness, mental illness can be treated. There are specially trained professionals who are here to help you on the road to wellness.

lonliness

Loneliness

Let’s face it – we all get lonely at times; some more than others. We may wish we had someone or a different person in our lives, or simply, even with a significant other we still feel lonely. We may think it’s the result of another person, or not having another person. I propose another theory, the problem lies within us. We are the source of our loneliness.

You may feel emotionally isolated when you are surrounded by people but are having difficulty socializing with them. Feeling lonely is not the same as being alone. A person will always have a time when they choose to be alone. Instead, loneliness is the feeling of sadness about being alone.

Our feelings are neither right or wrong, they simply are. With some feelings we feel great. With other feelings we don’t feel great. The ones where we don’t feel great are the ones that serve as guides — telling us that something has to be learned, accepted, or changed.

What must be learned? What is it about being lonely that we feel so uncomfortable with? Why can’t we sit with ourselves and enjoy and be comfortable our own company? Why is it that we believe that we have to be around others all the time as a distraction from ourselves? Don’t get me wrong, we are social creatures after all, however, we also need time to be alone – to rest, to re-energize, to collect ourselves, or simply, just to be alone. Yet, loneliness is different. For many, those lonely times, are when we can’t stand to be in our own company. What is it about ourselves that we don’t like? What is it we need to change or grow in? What would it take for us to be comfortable with accepting Faults, all and all. Ask yourself these questions – and not just when you’re feeling lonely.

The lesson of loneliness is to be comfortable with yourself . perhaps you are lonely when your with your friends, or with your partner. This could mean there is something not right in these relationships.

Maybe you’ve changed, or your partner has changed. Perhaps your interests are now different then that of your friends. This can be negative, in that they are continuing to develop as people, and you are not, or positive in that you are developing , growing as a person and they are not. Perhaps it’s time to work on the relationship, work on the friendships, or on you. What is important to remember is go forward, not back.

Loneliness is often a painful emotion! It also is a powerful emotion! It’s all on how we CHOOSE to look at it, and what we’re going to do with it.

Option 1: feel sorry for ourselves (which I don’t recommend), as this will lead to depression.
Option 2: CHOOSE, to take the time of loneliness to reflect on what needs to happen, what needs to be worked on, what needs, to be changed. What you like about yourself and what you don’t. What’s good about your relationship(s) and what isn’t. Write it down, both the positive and the negative. Wait a few days until your feeling better and review your list. THEN decide on what has to be done, and work towards that.

Be well, be happy

Medication Addiction

Many people think that because a doctor prescribes a medication, or because you can buy a medication at a pharmacy it will not be addicting, and won’t cause you harm. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Prescription medication is always prescribed for a specific purpose. To heal, to treat symptoms, to keep conditions under control. However, some medications are quite strong, and can become addicting.  Most specifically, pain medications regardless of the condition. Read more

addiction relapse treatment by professional in saudi arabia

Addiction Relapse

Having a loved one enter treatment for addiction gives one a great deal of hope.

Families view it as the ‘cure’. One round of treatment and their loved one’s are fixed. Families look at it in the same way as going into the hospital for treatment of an illness. You’re discharged, and the problem is solved. Not necessarily so in the case of addiction.

Read more

the emptiness inside maabar psychologist jeddah saudi arabia

Emptiness Inside

Many of us walk through life on automatic pilot. We rush waking up, have coffee, shower, ready ourselves for work, or get the children ready for school, then ourselves, and we’re off.. the day begins. We trudge through the day, work, gym, shopping, cooking, cleaning, meetings, phone calls and the list goes on and on. We simply don’t stop!

One reason, simply put, is the demands of modern life. Another reason is to escape the void. What is the void? Many experience it, many have it. It’s that feeling of emptiness that is constantly there, deep within you. You don’t know what it is, nor why it’s there. It just is, as I have labeled it ‘the void’. So we avoid it, we keep ourselves busy, and when we’re not busy we’re bored or depressed. We just can’t be alone with ourselves. Read more

eating disorder in saudi arabia

Eating Disorders and Personality Traits

The psychological causes of an eating disorder are not well understood. One of the predisposed factors of an eating disorder is an individual temperament, which is the biological feature of the personality that plays a role in the manifestation of any eating disorder.

Personality traits that are related to emotional instability such as, preoccupation with self image, having obsessions, and perfectionism contribute at some point to eating disorders. Researchers concluded that these personality traits are related at some point to genetic factor. People who have these characteristics are likely to be anxious, depressed, perfectionistic and self-critical. Thus, all of these components contribute to the emergence of an eating disorder, and hence causes difficulty managing weight and eating in a healthy manner. These characteristics are related to Neuroticism, which is “a long-term tendency to be in a negative emotional state”.  Individuals with neuroticism have tendency to be depressed, they suffer from feelings of guilt, envy, anger and anxiety, more frequently and more severely than other individuals (Christian Nordqvist.2013). In addition, an individual with neuroticism is typically self-conscious and shy.

According to the national institute of mental health, an eating disorder is a disorder that can lead to sever dysfunction in human health and that because of a problematic behavior to one’s everyday diet. For example, eating a very small amount of food (anorexia) or severely overeating (bulimia and binge eating disorder). A person with an eating disorder may have started out just eating smaller or larger amounts of food, but at some point, the urge to eat less or more spiraled out of control. Severe distress or concern about body weight or shape may also signal an eating disorder. Common eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder.

 Being competitive and driven to succeed are common traits in individuals with anorexia and bulimia. Furthermore, they are likely to have unrealistic expectations of themselves as they compare their appearance and accomplishments against unrealistic standards. Most of their beliefs stem from their culture and peer and or media pressure rather than personal preference. Hence, those who suffer from aneating disorder tend to be anxious about what other people might think of them. (B. ENGEL, N. STAATS, and M. DOMBECK .2007)

Despite of types of standards they set their life for,  individuals with eating disorder usually  make every effort to meet the greatest standard of performance possible to the point that they find themselves in a self-defeating cycle that is full of apprehension and frustration, especially when they don’t reach their expectations and goals,

People with anorexia tend to have obsessive thoughts about food and this obsession accompanied with the idea of controlling their eating. In addition to that, people with an eating disorder have irrational thoughts that has to do with “black and white cognitive distortion”, such as, “I could be either perfect or horrible. Due to that cognitive rigidity, individuals with anorexia tend to be not capable of recognizing that their behaviors are out of control and that there are different ways to be happy in addition to weight loss. Thus, it is very hard for them to accept advices or other point of views from other people

Clinicians have suggested that individuals with eating disorders are lacking of essential coping mechanisms and they use that dysfunctional eating behavior to compensate these coping mechanisms they tend to abuse eating habit to sooth and comfort themselves. Furthermore, they tend to numb their emotional pain, seek attention, release stress, control, punish, and protect themselves.

People with binge eating disorders use food as a coping skill. However, people with anorexia and bulimia use disordered behavior as a means to become thin. Most people who binge eats have trouble dealing with intensive emotions, such as anger, depression, boredom, and anxiety. According to research findings, about half of all binge eaters have depression. The findings however were not clear whether depression is a side effect or a cause of binge eating.  Individuals who binge didn’t learn or have healthy coping skills so they use food to bring comfort and sooth their aching psyche.

In addition to psychotropic medication such as antidepressant, psychotherapy, especially CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) that is tailored to the individuals with eating disorder, has been shown to be effective. This type of therapy can be offered in an individual or group environment.

Women under the Scope of Violence

Women under the scope of violence

Women and children can be in great danger in the place where they should be the safest, within their families. For many, home is a place where terror exists and violence is coerced upon loved ones at the hands of somebody whom they should be able to trust. Those who are victimized experience physical and psychological consequences. With the ever-present threat of violence looming, victims are rendered unable to make decisions, voice opinions, or protect their children. Their basic rights are denied, and thus they are robbed from their own existence.

 

Etiology of domestic violence

Many terms are used to define domestic violence, including domestic abuse, spousal abuse, courtship violence, battering, marital rape, and date rape. The United Nations (1996) Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women defined violence against women as:

“Any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”

According to the American Psychiatric Association there are many psychiatric disorders associated with domestic violence:

  1. Mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar depression.
  2. Anxiety disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  3. Personality disorders, such as avoidant personality disorder or dependent personality disorder.
  4. Sexual dysfunction disorders, such as sexual aversion disorder and hypo-active sexual desire disorder.
  5. Substance abuse disorders. Ehrensaft, Moffitt, and Caspi (2006) also found that women but not men who were involved in abusive relationships had an increased risk of adult psychiatric morbidity.

 

Conventionally, abusers tend to take out frustration on those who are the closest to them, the people they see everyday. Into the bargain, if abusers marry, the union seems indissoluble when other life adversities are added to the unresolved anger, such as financial problems, and difficulties in raising the children. Another major element involved in the assault is the degree to which there was chaos in the abuser’s early life, and lack of exposure to any collaborative living between his parents.

 According to Lionel J.R’s study Evaluation and Management of the Violent Patient there are different personality types that define the wife batterers. The “passive aggressive” male in which the tendency to feel vulnerable and helpless is dominant. Nevertheless, these self-concepts grow and are drawn out of social interactions; they might trigger feelings of anger and rage, which result in irrational aggressive actions. The “obsessive compulsive” man is not likely to assault, unless added threat pushes him to the limit, it may result in an explosion which has external effects and may result in an attack. Moreover, the man living with concealed rage is usually paranoid and most likely to assault his wife or any person that is close to him. The sadistic man uses an assault as an ongoing attack on the person with whom he lives in greatest intimacy, because basically the sadist is close to no one, so he uses the assault as a refuge. His assaults might be physical, but they are calculated and only a part of what defines his relationship: the everlasting destruction of another person. Such assaults involve a punishment in a cold process and are not aggressive (Lionel,1972).

  There are many factors that affect the personality of the aggressor. The use of brutal force indicates his overburdened frustration that is pushed to the limit. Moreover, it also indicates a refusal to compromise; it is the insistence on power as a means of resolving differences. In fact, the inability to tolerate frustration is an indication of infantility, resulting in low impulse control.

Jealousy is another factor that affects assaulters, when it is more than a very rare or occasional emotion, it creates a situation of danger for his wife. Effectively, it connotes very low self-esteem and high self-hate it is an unconscious emotion that causes irrational behaviors. The individual might feel undeserving of his spouse, he sees other men as potential threats (Symonds, 1975).

 

  Dupont and Grunebaum have written an empirical study entitled “Willing Victims: the Husbands of Paranoid Women”, according to them the beater’s wife is inevitably part of her own assault; this is not a way to say that she is to blame for the assault. Nevertheless, in some marriages, the wife may have distorted self-concepts, such as that her social role as a ‘mother’ and or ‘wife’ and responsibilities that come with it lead her to believe that she must remain in the relationship. People tend to choose their partner unconsciously based on their own unrecognized emotional needs. Relationships in which beating occurs can be characterized either by one partner being overly submissive; and the other being attacking, overly demanding, and sadistic. More importantly, there is a kind of sex role division, with the woman being the submissive partner, although this is not always the case.

In the past decades, we have seen changes that have increased the acceptance of women in society. We now even see women working in public places such as in malls and supermarkets etc. The changes have been occurring in different domains, the mass media, business and advertisements, and lead to affecting attitudes and beliefs, lowering traditional social roles, and encouraging an “accept yourself as you are” philosophy.

Accept yourself as who you are, and stand up for your rights!

meeting

Do support groups help

Be it formal or informal support groups have been around for a very long time, and are naturally an effective way to gain support, understanding and encouragement. Being sewing circles, coffee cloches, gathering around the water cooler, card games with friends, and the list can go on.

Support groups are a valuable way of sharing joy and pain, and they will always be. Let me elaborate. When you share your happiness, you multiply it, when you share your pain you divide it. Very often, I find in my life and in my work that this is completely true. Everything what is separated from others is not natural. Human beings are created to be social creatures. We are not meant to be alone and disconnected from one another. Which in our current time, is more and more common, due to working from home, or at great distances from our family and friends, technology which removes the personal face to face interaction which is so vital to our over all well being and connectedness with one another.

Support groups join people together with a common purpose, a common situation, difficulty, and experience. Together, they share in one another’s journey by identification. They share what they have learned from their own struggles. They share in resources. They gain additional insights, which alone they may not have, and as a result, perhaps a different perspective. At the very least, they learn that they are not alone, and there are other’s who are facing the same situation.

A Long time ago they were not called support groups, they were simply called life. Let me share a story  about fishermen’s wife’s from far and away cost of Northern Brazil. Their husbands would go on the big ocean for days and ocean sometimes know how to show a cruel side of nature. Some of them became very young widows. Having a husband on the sea or not, they would gather together and using old fabrics they would make Fuxico, beautiful colourful flowers that are made with gathered pieces of fabric. Looking at the Fuxico, I realised how advanced therapy that was. Then they didn’t call it support group, those ladies were together because their longing, worries and fear were turn into creativity. This is a simple story about normal human behaviour.

Support groups now a days are more structured. They are a group of people who gather for a specific cause, to support each other in a particular problems such as, depression, cancer, addiction etc.. A peer member or a mental health professional member can guide it. In Saudi Arabia it might be difficult to find a support group in your area, I encourage you to contact any social consultant center or clinic, you might find guidance from there. If you weren’t successful you may try to join a support group online, there are many.

Support groups can help people battling with chronic illness or diseases. According to research support groups helps cancer patient in many areas such as providing a unique sense of community and unconditional acceptance (Ussher, J., Kirsten, L., Butow, P., & Sandoval, M. 2005).  It also provides an educational environment for the discussion of new clinical trials, treatment experiences, and additional support from people who are undergoing the same exact situation.

Though there may be a hesitation in joining a support group, embarrassment, fear, not wanting to share, not wanting to face your situation, it is still well worth the effort. I strongly suggest that you go to several meetings before you come to a conclusion on if it’s for you or not. Usually 6-8 sessions is a good number. If that group isn’t for you, try another! The benefits have been repeatedly proven to be a significant contributing factor in one’s over all well being. In the case of dealing with illness, it does help a great deal in treating the illness.

 

Reference:

Ussher, J., Kirsten, L., Butow, P., & Sandoval, M. (2005). What do cancer support groups provide which other supportive relationships do not? The experience of peer support groups for people with cancer. Social Science & Medicine, 2565-2576.

people pets

The Health Benefits of Pets on Humans

Companion animals such as cats, dogs, horses, birds and fish can have great impact on one’s wellbeing, both physically and psychologically. Pet owners will surely confirm the impact their pet has on them. This article will discuss different ways animals can contribute in enhancing one’s health.
Animals help you reduce your blood pressure. A study in 2002, measured how participants blood pressure change during a stressful event (mathematics exercise), and how the results defer between dog or cat owners and non-pet owners. Results revealed that people with pets had lower and less spikes in their blood pressure, and both their heart rate and blood pressure returned normal more quickly. In a similar study blood pressure, heart rate, and behavioural distress were measured in children between the age of 3 and 6, during regular physical check-ups. In one visit, a dog “ that is not related to the subject” was present, and in another visit the dog was not present. Results indicate that children had lower heart rates, better blood pressure measures, and less behavioural distress when the dog was present.

Animals can also be used for companionship. Studies indicate that dog therapy can help children with mental or developmental disorders, people with epilepsy, PTSD or any other disability such as being blind or deaf or even elderly individuals who don’t have the energy to have their own pet. Interaction with dogs in therapy can help children with autism over-come developmental disorders by increasing their focus, increasing their interactions, and reducing the level of pain and anxiety among children and adults in a hospitalization setting.
Animals benefit one’s physical health. Dogs can substitute as a personal trainer because they encourage you to walk more. A study in USA monitored people’ walking habits over a 3 year period; it shows dog owners who take their dogs for a walk spend more time walking than people walking alone.
If you are looking for non-traditional way to strengthen your muscles or lose weight, owning a horse may be the thing you need. Alison Stout, DO, of the Evergreen Health Sport & Spine Center in UK explains “Horseback riding really works the core muscles that stabilize the trunk, the abdominal, back, and pelvic muscles. It’s not just about the strength of the core, but the coordination and stability of it as well. The more you ride, the more the body learns to move with the horse.” Horses are also used with children.

The development of technology has made it easy for every household to have friendly electronic devices. This helped children enhance their cognitive skills and development of analytical skills. However the concern is that those children are becoming more skillful in technological sense than in real life related skills. Having a pet will definitely help in the improvement of these skills as studies show that pet owners are more extraverted. Having to feed, clean and take care of a pet will also help teach the child responsibility. This can also be turned to a family activity, with each member volunteering to do a task.

Research on the impact animals have on humans resulted in the formation of different forms of therapies such as (AAT) animal assisted therapy, (PFT) pet facilitated therapy, Equine Assisted psychotherapy or (DAT) dolphin assisted therapy. In these therapies, animals are used as a form of treatment, they help patients enhance their social, emotional, or cognitive functions. More research is needed in the area, but overall patients reveal great level of improvement.

With all that said, I personally adopted a cat recently. It’s a Persian black cat with yellow eyes. Because was living in the street for a while, he was a bit aggressive at first. It was hard for me to give him a bath or even catch him without fearing his scratch! It took him a while to get adjusted to the place. After few months he became more friendly, going home after a busy day, his company is always enjoyable, he makes me laugh with his curiosity. I would like to know if you had a good experience with a pet and whether you really witnessed his impact on you? I personally did! What about you ?

Reference:


  1. Johnson RA (2011). Animal-assisted interventions in health care contexts. In McCardle P, McCune S, Griffin JA & Maholmes V (Eds.), How animals affect us (pp. 183-192). Washington D.C.: American Psychological Association.
  2. Allen K, Blascovich J, Mendes WB (2002). Cardiovascular reactivity and the presence of pets, friends, and spouses: the truth about cats and dogs.
  3.  Nagengast SL, Baun MM, Megel M, Leibowitz JM (1997). The effects of the presence of a companion animal on physiological arousal and behavioral distress in children during a physical examination. J Pediatr Nurs. Dec;12(6):323-30.