First Steps to Treating your Depression

Depression is a slippery beast to treat. This is for many reasons: general stigma surrounding mental health treatment, depression’s symptoms can often be confused with other emotional responses, and the inertia depression generates. Although awareness of mental illness has generally increased over the past several decades, folks can still face repercussions at work or from their family when disclosing mental illness.

 

depression

 

The conversation about how to shift culture and change fundamental issues within the mental health system is for another article. For now it’s enough to say – mental health is a right, not a privilege. Every person deserves access to resources that can help them to be healthy, and 1 in 4 American adults experience mental illness in a given year. Depression isn’t fun but it is common, and treatable.

 

Am I Depressed?

Sometimes depression can be easy to miss because it doesn’t fit our preconception of what depression is supposed to look or feel like. While TV may have taught us that depression = sad, in reality there are a variety of symptoms wrapped up in it.

 

  • Depressed or irritable mood most of the day, every day, that is different from your “normal” mood.
  • Impaired level of function – i.e. it’s hard to go to work, clean the house, and other daily tasks of living.
  • Decreased interest in pleasurable activities
  • Significant weight change (gain or loss)
  • Change in sleep (inability to sleep or sleeping all the time)
  • Change in activity (slowing down or speeding up)
  • Fatigue/loss of energy
  • Feeling guilty or worthless
  • Inability to concentrate or be decisive
  • Thoughts of suicide or self-harm

 

When noticing these symptoms in yourself it’s important to also consider duration. Many of these may come up normally just as part of being a human living an imperfect life. If these symptoms or feelings persist continually for more than two weeks, then you may have depression. If you or someone you love are experiencing these symptoms, seek treatment with a therapist immediately.

 

How do I Start Therapy?

In addition to general stigma, Depression’s symptoms can create barriers to treatment. Depression can take away motivation to do things you used to enjoy, much less boring and repetitive tasks like making the necessary phone calls to enter treatment. Worse, depression can make you feel worthless and guilty – suddenly the fact that you’re not in therapy is because you’re lazy or undeserving and not because you’re sick. In order to keep depression from keeping you out of therapy, use the tips below:

 

  • Get a buddy. Starting therapy can feel overwhelming – it involves phone calls and google searches and leaving your house, all things that depression may tell you are too hard. Ask a friend to help you look up providers or sit with you while you make phone calls and even take you to your first therapy appointment. If you have a friend experiencing depression the single most helpful thing you can do is make an appointment for them.
  • If you have insurance, go to their website to find a list of providers that definitely accept your coverage. This can save you a lot of time, and prevent any added financial stress or disappointment during appointments.
  • If you don’t have insurance and money is a concern, look for universities with Social Work or Psychology programs – they will often offer reduced price or sliding scale services by students who are in training. You can also find group practices like http://www.therapyinphiladelphia.com, The Center for Growth. Private training programs like The Center for Growth, have the added bonus of more intensive supervision for interns, meaning more oversight for your issues.
  • If finances are not an issue, we strongly encourage working with senior level therapists. Therapists who have at least ten years of experience have a higher treatment “success” rate than new therapists.  Depression is a serious condition that is treatable.  With the right supports, most people can learn to manage their depression as opposed to depression managing them!
  • Treat your first therapy session as an interview. This is a chance to see if you want to work with this therapist, and to help them identify your treatment goals. Come up with a list of things that are important to you: More important than their educational level, or even school that they attended is were their clinical hours video-taped? Unfortunately most training programs do not require clinicians to have their work videotaped and reviewed on a weekly basis with a supervisor and thus many new therapists are poorly trained. Other important questions to ask is have they treated depression before? And if so, what percent of their population struggles with that particular issue.  Many therapists will tell you they treat depression (eating disorders, grief, addiction etc) even if they only work with 2 people a year with that issue.  It is absolutely your right to know the frequency that they work with your particular issues.  In addition, you want to know how many clients a week your therapist sees.  10-25 clients a week typically allows the therapist enough emotional energy to spend thinking about each particular case and continuing to push themselves to clinically grow. Therapists that see 30+ clients a week typically are emotionally overloaded and do not have enough emotional energy to clinically grow.  Yes, many good clinicians work more than 30 hours a week, they are just not spending all of their time in people’s heads. They are doing other types of work like consulting, teaching, writing etc.  Lastly, asking your therapist if they have they worked with people who share your racial, gender, sexual, religious, etc identities is recommended?  It’s not your job to educate your health care providers on your identities.
  • Remember that therapy is about fit. Too many first-time patients stick with therapists they hate or think “therapy isn’t for me” because they don’t click with their first therapist. If you don’t feel comfortable opening up to your therapist- find a new one! They are professionals and it will NOT hurt their feelings. We strongly recommend making several first sessions and then you have a way of comparing them. If all three of them tell you the same thing, that says something. Typically, you will find yourself gravitating towards one person over the next.  If you hate all three of them, then the issue is likely you.  One major benefit of seeing a therapist at a group practice is that if you don’t like one practitioner, you often are allowed to “test” out a different one free of charge.

 

Above all remember: you deserve help. Help is within reach. If it feels like too big a task to manage on your own, ask for help getting help. Call 267-324-9564 to make an appointment with a therapist at the http://www.therapyinphiladelphia.com The Center for Growth today.

Share Button

Common Diabetic Problems (And How To Fix Them)

Diabetes just by itself is enough of a problem for those carrying the illness. That’s not to mention the host of other health problems that can crop up along the way! It’s a disease that affects life, and lifestyle, in many different ways, and there’s not always a solution to each issue.

That being said, it is possible to help yourself if you know what to look for. Diabetes sufferers often possess a specific set of symptoms which relate to another, more serious problem. By catching these symptoms early on, the problem can be fought – and potentially fixed!

Kidney problems

 

2610 The Kidney

Diabetes and the kidneys are directly related. Diabetes affects the blood vessels in the kidneys, meaning that they cannot clean your blood properly. This can result in waste building up in your blood, as well as your body holding more water and salt than necessary.

Difficulties include the inability to empty your bladder, kidney failure and urine tract infections. To solve these issues, or at the very least catch them early on, it’s recommended to have your urine checked for protein regularly. If you show any of these symptoms – swollen ankles, excessive weight gain – visit your doctor immediately! Quick treatment can halt these effects.

Kidney failure in diabetes sufferers is also commonly caused by medication like Invokana. Invokana injuries also range from strokes and heart attacks, so make sure you’re aware of the risks before getting a prescription.

Heart problems

 

Heart anterior exterior view.jpg

Patients suffering from any type of diabetes are more prone to heart disease. Other related issues include high blood pressure, and fluctuating blood sugar levels. Your first port of call will be to stay on the lookout for any of the basic signs of a heart attack or stroke. These include:

  • Feeling dizzy and faint
  • Chest pains
  • Sickness/being sick
  • Blurred vision or difficulty speaking
  • Painful headaches

If you suddenly gain two or more of these symptoms, you must visit your nearest hospital immediately. It could be nothing, but it could also be a serious issue. Better safe than sorry!

However, there are a couple of things you can do to delay the onset of, and possibly even prevent, any heart attacks or failure. For starters, you can stop smoking – smoking doubles your chances of a heart attack.

Secondly, if you remove your central obesity, you can reduce the risk of heart disease. Central obesity refers to the amount of weight you’re carrying around your waist. This type of fat can increase your cholesterol, and deposits blood fat on the inside of your vessels.

Other problems

 

feet

Your feet are also at risk if you have diabetes. High blood sugar can lead to nerve damage, and loss of feeling in your feet. To prevent infection, it’s essential that you keep your feet and skin healthy and attend to any cuts or sores.

And finally, that high blood sugar can also cause a condition known as neuropathy. Neuropathy is a condition which affects the nerves up and down our body. Symptoms include tingling, numbness and loss of feeling. You must consult a doctor if you experience any of these on a long-term basis!

 

Image credit:

Image 1 – By OpenStax College [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Image 2 – By Patrick J. Lynch, medical illustrator – Patrick J. Lynch, medical illustrator, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1492978

Image 3 – pixabay.com

Share Button

Intervention: An effective treatment for substance abuse problem

Drug and alcohol addiction can be crippling not only to the sufferer but to the people that love him. There are many times when the person who is addicted cannot see how their addiction is destroying their life and the lives of the people who are around them. They simply are not able to help themselves get clean. In these cases, it may be necessary to stage an intervention. Understanding how this process works is key to helping your loved one make the changes he needs to fix his life.

drug addiction

Image source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkTGEfolhqg

What is an Intervention?

Many people have heard about interventions but few people understand how they actually work. An intervention is a process in which loved ones of an addicted person step in to demand that they get help or treatment. Interventions are meant to empower, not to shame the person. They are often necessary when a person cannot understand the extent of their problem and how it is affecting their life.

How to Stage an Intervention

There are several things that you should and should not do when staging an intervention.

Practice what you will discuss

This is one of the most important factors in hosting a successful intervention. It is easy for the discussion to get derailed and turn into an emotional blame-fest. By making an outline of what you will talk about and what you will not, you can keep the conversation on the topic at hand.

Be concrete and specific with what you want from your loved one. Don’t just say, “we think you need to get help.” Say things like, “we have found a list of Houston drug detox centers and we want you to enroll in a program by next month.” This will make your intentions clear and make it more likely that your loved one will follow your advice.

Involve the Right People

An intervention is not an opportunity for you and your family to gang up on the person and humiliate him. Struggling with drug addiction is a challenge in itself, and it can be hard for the sufferer to face reality. Involve only those people who are absolutely essential to the conversation such as a parent, spouse or child. Don’t advertise the intervention or mention it to others who are not involved. The key is to preserve the person’s dignity while attempting to help them with their addiction.

Stage it in a Neutral Place

Avoid having the intervention in a place where the person will feel trapped or intimidated. Choose a neutral place that will allow for privacy and give the person the means to leave, if necessary. The last thing you want to do is to make the person feel cornered or attacked.

Hire a Professional

The best way to conduct an intervention is to hire a professional who specializes in staging these types of events. Interventions are deeply personal, and if they are not handled correctly, they can destroy relationships. A professional will be trained in how to handle these situations with grace, and they can give you guidance on how to proceed. Interventions often get emotional and can devolve into screaming, tears and arguing. A professional is a neutral third party who can keep the atmosphere calm and make sure you stay on the topic at hand.

Give Consequences

There have to be real consequences in order for your loved one to take action. An intervention is not just a simple chat. This is a serious effort on your part to change the course of another person’s life. Deliver real consequences and be prepared to act on them. Some people tell their loved one that they will have to move out if they don’t enroll in drug treatment. Other people tell them that they will lose their relationship with their children or spouse. Still others withhold financial support if the person does not get help for their addiction. Remember, however, that the addiction is a real medical condition that requires professional care. Most people who are addicted sincerely want to quit but find it challenging to do so.

Staging an intervention is an effective way to force a loved one to get treatment for their substance abuse problem. There are professional intervention companies that will step in and help you to plan and execute your intervention with your family member. They have years of experience and offer trained professionals who can make the process run as smoothly as possible.

If your loved one is addicted, don’t wait to take action. His life depends on it.

Share Button

How Can I Fix My Heart Problems?

image via pixabay.com

If you came to this article wanting advice about romantic heartbreak, then I’m afraid this isn’t the article for you. The heart problems we’re talking about here are physical, medical problems.

Do I have a heart problem?

If you have even the slightest reason to believe there may be a problem with your heart, then you should see a doctor. The sooner you see a doctor, the better.

But how can you tell if you might have a heart problem? The problem here is that there are so many potential signs! When you’re reading through them, try not to worry too much. The possible signs include many things that you may have experienced recently. Some are common. But if they’re happening often, or are causing you inconvenience and pain, get yourself checked out.

The most common sign is chest pain. A strong feeling of pain, pressure or tightness in your chest lasting more than a minute or so could be a sign of heart problems. If the pain spreads from the chest to your throat or your arm, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Frequent dizziness and shortness of breath are also warning signs. Prolonged swelling in the legs, feet and ankles can be a sign that your blood isn’t being pumped around your body properly.

image via pixabay.com

Another common sign is your heart beating irregularly. This doesn’t mean you should buy a heart rate monitor and start recording everything your heart does! If your heart rate becomes irregular enough, you’ll know for sure. You’ll have no doubt experienced it at some point. There can be a sudden light feeling in your chest, combined with dizziness and shortening of breath. It usually lasts a few seconds. If you feel this often, or if the sensation lasts more than a few seconds, then see a doctor. Chronic irregularity of your heart rate is called arrhythmia, and it’s vital you get this seen to as soon as possible.

Why do I have a heart problem?

It can be hard to determine what exactly causes a heart problem. If you’re reading too many newspapers then it can seem that everything you do can contribute to problems with your heart!

Some issues have very specific causes. Issues with the electrical conduction system of your heart will cause the previously-mentioned arrhythmia. These issues will require specific treatments, so finding the source of the electrical disturbance is key. Going to an electrophysiologist can solve such a mystery. If you have cardiac arrhythmia, consider getting checked by a company Abbott Electrophysiology.

In general, heart problems in later life are caused by long-term inadequate health care. By “health care”, I’m not referring to a government health program. I mean you, looking after your own health! What follows are some of the most common causes of heart problems and what you can do about them, today.

 

image via visualhunt.com

Smoking

People often associate smoking with lung problems, but the habit also takes a terrible toll on the heart. Smoking damages the lining of your arteries, slowly narrowing them. The carbon monoxide also reduces the amount of oxygen in your blood; the smoke fills your blood with toxins, which get into your heart. Smoking will also reduce your ability to maintain fitness; energy levels and stamina are shot by frequent smoking. And if you can’t get adequate exercise then you’re not doing your heart any favours at all!

If you’re a smoker, quit. That is really the best advice we can give here!

Stress

The effects of stress in all areas of your life are underestimated by many. Frequent stress increases the levels of cortisol in your body. Cortisol is also known as the stress hormone. When there’s too much cortisol coursing through your body, it can cause a host of issues. It messes with your immune function and interferes with memory and concentration. More relevantly, it causes increases in blood pressure and cholesterol. And where there are those things, heart disease is never too far away.

If you’re finding yourself stressed all the time, you should assess why you’re so stressed. What are the causes? Are you not happy with your job? Is a personal relationship causing a strain? Whatever it is, you need to find ways to alleviate the problem. If your job is causing you health problems, you should consider whether it’s worth keeping it.

 

stress

Image credit: bottled_void – https://flic.kr/p/4mLoa2

Poor diet

This is starting to sound like a very generic “things that are bad for you” list! But it’s important to realise how these things affect your heart. Fatty foods increase your cholesterol, which prevents your veins from doing their job efficiently. Sugary food and drink should also be avoided. Some sugar every now and then is all well and good, but too much will affect your heart. Your body turns all that surplus sugar it doesn’t need into fat. Putting on more fat increase the strain on your heart. It has to pump more blood around your body, a job it’s already doing inefficiently because of cholesterol.

Fresh fruit and vegetables are the way! This helps ensure that your heart is getting all the vitamins and minerals it needs.

Not sleeping enough

When you sleep, your blood pressure drops. This is important for maintaining heart health! A lot of people are getting less than six hours of sleep a day. This short amount of sleep, over a long period of time, creates problems. When you do this, you don’t give your body enough time to remain in a low blood pressure state. Getting less sleep also increases your stress levels, and can contribute to desires to consume sugar to stay awake.

If your sleep isn’t satisfactory, there are several things you can do. If you drink plenty of tea and coffee, try to cut down. You shouldn’t really be drinking any more than four cups a day, and even that isn’t really recommended. Stay away from caffeinated drinks after 4pm. Another common problem is technology. The use of computers and smartphones before bed means your brain hasn’t been able to wind down before your head hits the pillow. Try reading a book before bed instead!

These things can help you avoid heart problems later in life. They can even help reverse any problems you may already have. Take care of yourself!

 

Share Button

Possible Causes of Back Pain

Back pain is never fun, and it cannot be cured – it is merely manageable. Lower back pain is often different to upper back pain as well, and both can have different causes. Do not try and treat yourself if you feel twinges of pain in your back, because you may end up exacerbating the problem. Go and see a medical professional as soon as possible as they will be able to give you the appropriate advice.But you can often catch the origin of back paint before this point, see below the four major causes of back pain that can quickly be fixed.

Untitled

Image credit: Samantha Evans – https://flic.kr/p/7HEMNx

Sleeping Badly

Your back, neck and shoulders suffer if you are sleeping on inappropriate bedding. This usually relates to the type of mattress you have, but can also be connected to the pillows you have as well. You should choose a mattress according to the way you sleep – whether this be on your back, your side, or your stomach. Different positions put strain on different parts of the body, so it’s important that you have a mattress that provides you with the appropriate support. If you are waking up with niggles in your back or neck and you think you may need a new mattress, specialists such as Sleepy’s can help you figure out what would suit you best.

Posture

It is surprisingly easy to have bad posture, but it is also quite simple to correct this. Just take special note whenever you are sitting down or standing up for extended periods of time – you will find that you will most likely end up slouching or getting lazy with your posture. Poor posture, over time, can result in back pain, so it is best to nip it in the bud early.

Lifting

Lifting with your back instead of your legs can place unneeded strain on your back. There are manual lifting procedures found in almost all workplace health and safety manuals these days, but you should also follow these when lifting heavy boxes or equipment at home or at a friend’s place. Do not ever lift anything that you think you cannot handle, as you do not want to throw your back out.

Exercise

Exercising without the proper equipment or technique can be dangerous. You might twist incorrectly, or put additional strain on your back without knowing or meaning to. If you are unsure of what you are doing, or if you don’t know if you are doing an exercise properly, get a friend or a trainer to accompany you for a while before you are comfortable with what you are doing.

Back pain is usually a symptom of a particular medical condition, or an unwanted result of improper stress on your body. Your back holds your whole body up, after all, so it is important to take good care of it and to avoid hurting it if at all possible.

Do you know anyone who suffers from back pain? Do you know what caused it? What other things do you think everyone could look out for in order to minimise their chances injuring their back? Leave your thoughts below.

Share Button

Tips And Tricks To Help Relieve Inflammation

Most of us have suffered from inflammation at some point in our lives. As we age, we may have to live with inflammation every day. Arthritis and other conditions that are associated with inflamed areas of the body can be very painful all the time. But it’s possible to cause similar symptoms just by overdoing it at the gym.

Whether you are fit and healthy or not, pain is not fun. It’s very difficult to tolerate the pain that you cannot relieve. You may start to treat it by taking anti-inflammatory painkillers from your pharmacy. These are fine for a few days, but drugs like Ibuprofen can upset the lining of your stomach. They are not often a long term solution.

More and more people are finding that gently using the affected area can bring gentle relief. It is advisable to speak to your doctor about your condition or injury first, though. Inflamed muscles should be treated differently than inflamed joints for example. Muscles tear when we use them, especially in bodybuilding. They take time to knit and repair. The gentle movement of the area can be helpful during this period.

If you don’t keep an area mobile, you may find it more difficult to gain that mobility back later. So long as you are not aggravating the sore area, you should continue to move gently the limbs affected. Don’t let your posture alter. We often tense and hold our body in unnatural positions when we are in pain. This will cause tension, pain, and even injury in other areas of the body.

09/04 - Worst. Bed. EVAR!

Image credits: Erik Ogan – https://flic.kr/p/n3cb8

Many people turn to natural remedies for pain relief. It is thought that some hemp oils can provide relief from inflammation. You can find out more about it at cbdoilangels.com. It is thought there may be several other benefits of this natural oil. If you have had no relief from prescription medication, turning to supplements could be worth a try.

Heat and cold can help with muscle and joint pain sometimes. Heat keeps the area warm when it is aching from the cold. But if you are inflamed, it is usually best to apply cold to the area. This is especially true if you have an injury. Heat is soothing for spasms and muscle pains that are not inflamed. Heat applied to a new injury may even cause additional pain.

Sleep is difficult to do when you are in pain. But it is still one of the most effective remedies for pain. It gives your body a chance to heal and renew. Regular massages to keep the tension out of your body can also be quite beneficial. It’s not necessary to massage the affected area. Try to improve your diet while you are in pain. Your body is dealing with enough without being bombarded with junk food to digest.

Vegetarianism or a diet with plenty of fish is thought to reduce inflammation. Try to stop consuming refined sugar and drink plenty of green tea to help with this condition if it is long term. Be healthy.

 

Share Button