The neurotransmitters related to stress


The neurotransmitters that regulate the body’s reactions to stress are norepinephrine, epinephrine and cortisol. Acute (shorter periods) and chronic (longer periods) levels of stress can be caused when there are increased levels of these hormones. With increased levels of stress the heart rate increases, blood vessels dilate and blood pressure increases. According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress is experienced over a prolonged period of time and can contribute to long-term problems in the heart. Continue reading

Loneliness as a public health concern


“Solitude expresses the value of being alone, while loneliness expresses the pain of being alone.”-Tillich 1959

There are many factors that can affect why somebody gets the feeling of being lonely. Sometimes it could just be due to a slow week of socializing, other times it might be due to rejection or lack of a significant other. Somebody could be in a crowded room full of people and still feel lonely. Everyone feels lonely at some point or another but when loneliness turns into continuous social isolation, there is a need for concern. Continue reading

Alternative treatments for ADHD


The rise in misdiagnosing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has resulted in an increase in the abuse of ADHD medications. The importance of finding alternative ways to combat lack of concentration, disinterest, depression and hyperactivity is more important than ever in today’s age. ADHD medications are a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, both of which are central nervous system stimulants used to restore the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain. A study done by Dr. Lawrence Diller in 2014, noted how the United States Drug Enforcement Administration maintains records of the annual quotas approved for production by drug companies in the U.S. Annual quotas for approved production are probably the best indicator of the rates of which the drugs are being used.

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Cognitive behavioral therapy for panic attacks


When a person has a panic attack, he or she typically experiences the feeling of impending or current harm along with symptoms such as weakness, dizziness, sweaty palms or a pounding heart. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th Edition, the “attack” can last anywhere from ten minutes to an hour, sometimes even longer. Panic attacks can cause serious problems for those dealing with them. Continue reading

Mindfulness found to be as effective as cognitive behavioral therapy


Meditation and mindfulness have been incorporated more frequently into treatment programs due to their therapeutic effects, but not much is known about how they compare to more traditional approaches such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). A new study has found that group mindfulness treatment is as effective as individual CBT in patients with depression and anxiety, reopening the debate on mindfulness-based practices in therapy. Continue reading

Identifying and treating PTSD


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) initially developed from the struggle of Vietnam War veterans suffering and coping with the psychological and physiological after-effects of combat. The National Institute of Mental Health describes PTSD as an anxiety disorder which develops after a traumatic event and it can be caused by various types of traumatic experiences. Child abuse, incest, domestic violence, exposure to death and dying, auto collision, repeated physical abuse, repeated mental abuse, medical complications and/or surgery are all situations which can result in PTSD. Continue reading

What is seasonal depression?


As the seasons change and our days get shorter, many people continue on with their lives, simply adjusting to fewer hours of daylight. In some cases, a person may not have such an easy experience. With fewer hours of light during the day, some people may be facing a change in their moods. This is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or seasonal depression. SAD is a type of depression that is related to the changes in the seasons, normally causing depressive symptoms that start in the fall and continuing throughout the winter months. In some rare cases, SAD may occur in the spring and summer months. In most cases these symptoms will start off as mild but will become more severe as the season progresses, which highlights the need for someone to get proper treatment to combat the issue so it doesn’t put a halt on their day to day life. Continue reading

Junk food and mental illness in kids


Fast food has been blamed for many health problems. It can now add mental health to the list, according to a University in Melbourne, Australia study. Focusing on prenatal and early childhood exposure to junk food, the researchers found a link with behavioral and emotional problems later in life. Other studies have found links between poor diet and mental health issues, but this was the first to look at maternal nutrition in regards to prenatal and early postnatal mental health. Continue reading

Learning disabilities fuel anxiety and depression


Adolescence is typically a time of adjustment. Young teens are grappling with physical changes, new hormone fluctuations, and social clumsiness, to name just a few of the challenges facing this age group. Throw in a learning disability, one the adolescent may have been struggling with for years, and the effect on their self-esteem and mental health can be significant. No doubt, as children, they had already experienced a sense of shame or embarrassment due to their inability to process curriculum as their peers could. But now, in a middle school or high school setting, the stigma attached to being learning disabled can intensify. Continue reading

How to handle a mental health emergency


Friends and family who are learning to cope with a loved one recently diagnosed with a disorder will naturally want to educate themselves on the condition. Of course, this will allow them a better understanding of the individual and the opportunity to assist them in appropriately helpful ways. However, there may be more extreme instances when professional assistance is required at once. Such occurrences will often constitute a mental health emergency and it’s important to know when, as well as how, to respond accordingly. Continue reading