Tag Archive for depression

Depression in Teens: How Screenings Can Save Lives

This week teen depression made the news in a positive way. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force reports that all young people between the ages of 12 and 18 should be screened for depression. This means primary care doctors, including pediatricians and family physicians should screen adolescents routinely for depression.

» Read more..

3,430 total views, 2 views today

Mental Health Awareness Week: October 4th-10th

Mental Health Awareness Week this year takes place October 4th through 10th. It’s important for all of us to get real and educated about stigma and how mental health impacts our friends, family and often ourselves. Depression, anxiety and other diagnoses impact all of us. This Mental Health Awareness Week is dedicated to helping the public understand what resources are available and to help spread stigma-free awareness.  » Read more..

2,186 total views, 2 views today

Is Your Diet Making You Depressed, Sick and Stressed?

It has been said that 70 million Americans suffer from digestive issues. Your gut is your second brain and if it’s not healthy, your brain won’t be either. Research shows that digestive issues contribute to mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, and insomnia. Autoimmune illnesses, migraines, eczema, acne, and chronic gastrointestinal symptoms all can be traced to an irritated GI Tract. » Read more..

5,260 total views, 4 views today

Tossing and Turning? Sleep Deprivation and Your Health

There aren’t many people who are happy with their sleep: They get too little, they feel restless, they don’t wake up refreshed, they can’t stay asleep. In fact, most Americans admit to having erratic sleep patterns, especially through the work week. So what does sleep deprivation actually do to the body? And if we can’t add more hours to our sleep, how can we make the sleep we do get better? Top-Nursing-Programs.com shares their tips:

Sleep

 

Sleeping Beauty? 8 to 8.5 Hours of sleep per night adults generally require (1).  Are you getting enough?

1 in 3 Adults who have insomnia at some point in their lives (1)

43% of Americans ages 13-64 say they rarely or never get good sleep on weeknights.

60% admit to suffering some sleep problem every night (snoring, waking constantly, feeling groggy in the morning). (2)

15% of adults 19-64 say they sleep less than six hours on weeknights. (2)

The Science of Sleep

Our bodies experience two types of sleep on a nightly basis: NREM (non-rapid eye movement) and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Since sleeping is a cycle, NREM occurs as we first fall asleep, with REM following about 90 minutes after and recurring about every 90 minutes.

Stage 1: Light sleep, between sleep and wakefulness.

Stage 2: Onset of sleep, during which we become disengaged with surroundings. Breathing and heart rate are regulated and body temperature drops.

Stages 3 and 4: Breathing slows, muscles relax, tissue grows and repairs, energy is restored and hormones are released.

How Sleep Deprivation Affects the Body

Lack of sleep or insomnia can have multiple negative effects on the human body and mind. Here are some of the most common and dangerous problems.

  • Fatigue. It is estimated that fatigue due to sleeplessness is the cause of 100,000 car accidents every year.
  • Dulled cognitive processes. Sleep consolidates and affirms memories in your mind. Without it, people have a hard time retaining learned information from the day before.
  • Increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke. 90% of those with insomnia also have other health conditions.
  • Lack of sex drive. For men especially, lack of sleep can contribute to lower testosterone levels.
  • Depression. In a 2007 study of 10,000 people, it was found that those with insomnia were five times more likely to develop depression.
  • Premature skin aging. The stress hormone cortisol is released in great amounts in those with insomnia. Cortisol can break down collagen in skin.
  • Weight gain. People who sleep less than six hours each day are 30% more likely to become obese than those who sleep seven to nine hours.

How to Sleep Better

Most of us could use help falling and staying asleep. Just a few daily changes could mean the difference between a restless night and a restful one. (4)

1. Set a regular bedtime and stick to it. Wake up at the same time every day; even on days off.

2. Test your neurotransmitters. Unblanced levels lead to sleep cycle issues.

3. If you really need to make up for lost sleep, opt for a short (30-minute) daytime nap. Don’t sleep in.

4. Fight after-dinner drowsiness by remaining active at home before bedtime.

5. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine late in the day.

6. Light sources suppress melatonin production. Try not to use a computer, TV, smartphone or tablet just before getting into bed. Consider orange tinted glasses to block the blue light, aiding in melatonin production.

Source: Top-Nursing-Programs.com

Sources:
1. http://deltasleeplabs.com
2. http://sleepfoundation.org
3. http://www.webmd.com
4. http://www.helpguide.org

 

*    *    *    *    *

Emily Roberts MA, LPC is the clinical therapist for the Neurogistics Children’s Program. She has worked with Neurogistics for over a decade. Emily is also an award-winning author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Becoming Who You Are, Psychotherapist, TV & Media Contributor, educational speaker and parenting consultant.  Express Yourself is available at bookstores nationwide and on Amazon. To learn more about Emily click here.

 

 

 

4,892 total views, 4 views today

New Research on Depression: Scientists Discover a “Dimmer Switch”

By Emily Roberts MA, LPC

UC San Diego researchers have discovered that ratios of neurotransmitters may be more important than the brain chemicals themselves when treating depression. Two neurotransmitters, Glutamate and GABA which have very different roles are important in depression and how our brains react to bad news. » Read more..

3,756 total views, 4 views today

Stanford Study Shows Girls Can Rewire Their Brains to Ward Off Depression

A new study from Standford University suggests that girls 10-14 years of age can rewire their brains in order to risk becoming depressed in their later teenage years and adulthood.

Using an fMRI girls were able to look at their brain activity levels and actively lower the over aroused states by positive thinking.

http://news.stanford.edu/news/2012/february/depression-brain-imaging-020912.html

 

2,717 total views, 3 views today

Keep Your Brain & Body Healthy This Winter

By: Emily Roberts, MA, LPC

Tis the season to be…Sick? Injured? Exhausted?  Let’s hope not.  As the chilly air approaches and the snowflakes begin to fall your immune system is up for a challenge.  Winter is notoriously one of the most difficult times of the year on our health.  Holiday stress takes a toll on us mentally and physically, add in a cold, dehydration, or even a hit to the head and you have yourself a rough few months.  In order to keep your family healthy this seasons our suggestions below.

Immunity Boost.  Our immune systems often take a nose dive when there is a change in temperature.  As adults, the stress of the season, end of year deadlines, and having contact with our office mates who arefeeling under-the-weather, can severely affect our body’s ability to fight off viruses. For kids, they are constantly around runny noses and germs. You know the drill one kid get the flu, and suddenly a classroom of 20 becomes 10.

- Tip: For adults and children, make sure that you are taking your vitamins consistently. Studies suggest that when taken regularly, vitamins and minerals do their job to keep us healthy and happy. When implemented at the sign of sickness, they are not built up in our immune system enough to ward off viruses. Also, it is suggested that Vitamin D, especially in the wintertime, can ward off depression and increase overall immunity.

-Tip: Remember the basics and remind children: cover your mouth/ nose when you sneeze-don’t sneeze on others, wash your hands,  use hand sanitizer, blow your nose in a tissuenot your shirt sleeve ( I really do see adults do this all the time- yuck!) .

Stay Hydrated.  Getting our H20 intake is one of the most neglected parts of our winter routine and is detrimentally to our health.  Dehydration can be just as common in the winter as in the summer. Since your body is not sweating as much as it did in those hot and humid summer months, it’s easy to overlook the signs of dehydration. A dehydrated body can lead to exhaustion, muscle fatigue, cramps, loss of coordination and even stroke.  Dehydration can also leave your body more susceptible to common colds and flu, which are both more prevalent in the winter.

- Tip: Coffee can dehydrate you big time, and although it’s tempting on a chilly day, try tea instead.  The health benefits of tea are immense. The American Dietetic Association (ADA) suggests many teas increase immunity, fight free radicals, reduce cancer risks, heart disease, and other ailments.  Tea also contains flavonoids that may help with blood vessel functionality and buildup of cholesterol. If you’re not into tea, try hot tea, sparkling water, or flavored water if regular water isn’t hitting the spot. For kiddos, cut their juice with water, and decaffeinated flavored tea such as spiced apple or honey lemon can make a great warm treat (plus many feel mature drinking tea- huge selling
point!). Read more: Howto Stay Hydrated During Winter | eHow.com

Head Injuries.  Winter sports can bring on many physical risks.  For our skiers and snowboarders out there helmet use is strongly recommended.  Long term mental issues are often systemic of childhood head injuries.  Dr. Daniel Amen’s work on traumatic brain injury has more verified this. Helmet use is associated with a 22 percent to 60 percent reduction in head injury risk, but helmets are not being used by the majority of those on the slopes. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that half of head injuries on the slopes could be prevented by helmets, but a survey of several United States ski resorts found that helmets were worn by just one in eight skiers and snowboarders. Notably, the most-skilled athletes were most likely to wear a helmet.

-Tip:  If your renting ski supplies make sure that you ask for helmets, many rental facilities do not reserve these for you unless you ask in advance.

-Tip: If your child protests, find a picture of a famous Olympic athlete cruising down the slope in their cool helmets, it will help them make a positive association with staying safe.  Also be a good role model, if you’re telling them to wear aone, and your helmet-less they are less likely to comply.

So drink up, stay safe, and be healthy this season.  You’ll enjoy hitting the slopes and building those snowmen much more with an optimal immune system- and your kids will too!

4,650 total views, 6 views today

What Are Amino Acids Anyway?

By Emily Roberts MA, LPC

All to often, unless your in this industry, we forget about what our 7th grade biology teacher that taught “amino acids are the building blocks of life.” What does that really mean to us as adults?  Amino acid imbalances can effect us all.  Due to diet, trauma, genetics, fatigue, stress, and GI issues, some of our children are at a neurological disadvantage from the get go, and many adults become at risk do to many of life’s circumstances.  A stressful job, athletic training, depression or anxiety, or stress at home can literally hijack your Neurotransmitter levels, which amino acids create.  Wouldn’t you like to be able to do something about this naturally?  Here are the basics on Amino Acids and how they effect you and your child.

What are Amino Acids?

Amino acids are the breakdown products of proteins, some of which are not readily available in diet and need to be supplemented in a concentrated form.  They are the building blocks of proteins.  Proteins play a very important role in maintaining our health and make up a big part of the diet. The three main macronutrients found in food include carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Proteins are required in our diet, as they are an important building block of muscle and brain tissue.

Amino acids, derived from protein intake, are precursors to brain chemicals such as serotonin, a natural anti-depressant-like chemical produced in the brain. Without the proper amino acids in our brains can become depleted of these crucial chemicals, otherwise known as neurotransmitters. However, often times we cannot get amino acids from diet alone. Neurotransmitter depletion can be the root cause of many mood and health issues; depression, insomnia, Attention Deficit Disorder, anxiety, memory loss, weight gain and addictive disorders, aggression, and increased sensory sensitivities.

The History of Amino Acid Therapy

There is a long, well documented, history of using amino acids for depression and other issues related to brain chemistry imbalances.  Discovered in the early 1900s, amino acids were used up to the late 1980s as the physician’s mainstay for treating these types of conditions.  While the advent of pharmaceutical medications all but eliminated this natural treatment option from the allopathic repertoire, amino acids have continued to be a popular option for complementary / alternative medicine modalities and an essential for those seeking natural methods for brain chemistry balancing.

Can’t You Get Amino Acids From Food?

The amino acid profile of various proteins varies greatly. Foods that contain protein, whether they are vegetarian or animal in origin, contain different combinations of amino acids. While we do need to keep up our overall daily intake of protein in order to maintain our health, proper neurotransmitter balance cannot always be achieved through diet alone.  Stress, trauma, ones GI issues, and physical exertion can all play a role. Protein intake increases the level of amino acids circulating around in the blood stream. Once proteins are broken down into amino acids by the digestive system, they are then released into the blood stream. In order for these amino acids to be taken up into the brain, they have to be carried across the blood-brain barrier using a specific transport system. This transport system will not help to correct amino acid imbalances within the brain. For example, if you have become depleted in serotonin because of high stress, dietary deficiencies or other lifestyle factors, the tryptophan uptake will not increase in any capacity across the blood-brain barrier.

Why We Need Amino Acid Supplements

Amino acid therapy is often used to help address many of the symptoms listed in Table 1.  Each neurotransmitter has a specific amino acid, which is required for its synthesis and plays a particular role within the brain and body.

Table 1:  Amino Acid Precursors

Neurotransmitter Neurotransmitter plays a role in:
Serotonin Sleep cycle, depression, anxiety, carbohydrate cravings, PMS (inhibitory)
Dopamine Focus, attention, memory, motivation/ drive, mood, addictive disorders (inhibitory/excitatory)
Norepinephrine Energy, drive, anxiety, focus, metabolism, mood (excitatory)
Epinephrine Energy, drive, anxiety, focus, metabolism, mood (excitatory)
Gaba Reduces excess stimulation (inhibitory)

Since each of us has a unique neurotransmitter profile, recommended supplements in any program should be specific to your imbalances which are derived through testing, without testing it becomes a “guessing game.”  While single amino acids can work to balance the brain, testing for these imbalances is the only way to know for sure what is out of balance. Using this method often requires several different products and should also include mineral cofactors, vitamins and a high quality omega-3 fatty acid.  Protocols that are created after your results are received incorporate your individual requirements and provide a program of highly targeted amino acids specific to your imbalances.  All of your brain nutrient needs are combined into a few products making it easy and convenient to buy and use.  Individual protocols can make the difference when based on proven testing methods. Restoring neurotransmitter levels and achieving your correct balance can change your life.

10,518 total views, 3 views today

Praise: Why “Good Job” Isn’t Good Enough

By Emily Roberts MA, LPC

Saying “I love you” and “great job” are phrases parents say all the time.  Often parents are so busy and frustrated that they say these words, but the child does not hear them.  Why?  The negative and often critical phrases that they hear all day are more powerful.  If you tell your child ” Your late again!” or ” Why can’t you do what I say the first time?”, they remember them, the negative charge decreases their feelings of accomplishment and self-esteem; comments like these stick with a child, and positive statements become obsolete, leading to low self worth.  If you think about it they are faced with these comments from others all day too.  Whether its a teacher “Timmy you really need to study harder” or a friend “My doll is prettier than your doll.”  Kids are faced with an enormous amount of negative feedback on a daily basis.

Dr. John Gottman reports that most parents say 5:1 critical or negative comments to their children, shouldn’t it be the other way around?    With generously using positive statements a child’s self esteem is boosted. Self-esteem is the beliefs or feelings that we have about ourselves, our self perceptions.  Self-esteem influences our attitudes, relationships, behaviors, and emotions.  Self-esteem can also be defined as the combination of feeling of being loved.  A child who is happy and has been recognized with achievements, if not loved still feels internally empty.

Low self-esteem is linked to a variety of behavioral and mental health problems, that your child can develop now, or later in life.  If I had a dollar for every young adult who told me,” My parents never told me they were proud of me, maybe they said it but they said a lot of things that made me believe otherwise” I would be a very wealthy woman.   It is never to late to help your child develop a healthy self-esteem.  Here are some tips to assist you and your child.

  • A good rule of thumb:  praise your child on the process rather than just the accomplishment. So “Great effort on that homework kiddo” instead of just “thanks for finishing your homework”.  This lets him know that you notice how hard he is working. 
  • Use phrases that can be generic but add your own unique twist. Rather than just “Super job!” try “Super Job on cleaning your room, it looks great!”  Adding what the praise is for helps a child feel accomplished.
  • Here are some phrases to get you started: Nice try! That really helped me! Way to go! That was awesome! I am proud of your effort! Keep up the good work! I am so proud of you! You made my day! You are such a hard worker! Thank you! Wow!  You are so special!  Well done!  Fantastic!  Great job!  Super Job!  You’ve got it!  Beautiful job!  You are unstoppable!  What a good idea!  Great job following directions!  You are such a good listener!  Good for you!  Keep it up!  You are unique!  You are so creative!  You are so precious!  You’re a winner!  I like when you do that!  Great try!  Fantastic Job!  Terrific!  You’re important!  You’re Phenomenal!   You’re such a trooper!  Super work!  You’re fun!  Great job sharing!  You are caring!  What an imagination!  Great effort!  You make me happy!  I trust you!  Outstanding behavior!  You played nicely!  You are a good friend!  I respect you!  Thank you for being respectful!  You mean the world to me!  You make me laugh!  You are wonderful!  You’re a joy!  Keep up the good work! Bravo!  Super!  You’re the best!  You made my day!  That was a good try!  I love you

Remember try and counter any negative or critical statement with a positive statement 5:1 positives versus 5:1 negatives, it helps create a child, and eventually an adult, who feels good about themselves.

17,466 total views, 6 views today

Eliminate Negative Self Talk: 5 Steps

 By Emily Roberts MA, LPC

Mistaken beliefs often keep you from achieving your important goals in life, they come from the negative thoughts we have about ourselves.  These thoughts can come from others, negative scripts we have told ourselves, and the mixed messages you hear from the media.  Mistaken believes set limits on your self-esteem and self-worth.  Many times I hear clients say ” I should be _______”, when you focus more on the should’s, ought’s, and could’ves you are selling yourself short and not looking at what you have done and are capable of doing.  Negative thinking and mistaken beliefs need to be challenged to reduce anxiety, decrease depression, and increase well-being.

Try this exercise to help rid yourself of a of a negative believe you have.

ex) People don’t like me

1.  What is the evidence for this belief?  Looking objectively at all your life experience, what is the evidence that this belief is true?   Evidence- in the past others rejected my friendship.  BUT I also have made and maintained many friendships over the years.  My friends and family love me for who I am. 

 2.  Does this belief always hold true for you?  If not, when has it been proven false? This belief only looks at a few circumstances when I was not accepted by others; this has only happened a few times. I also just made a new friend at work.

3.  Does this belief look at the whole picture?  Does it take into account both positive and negative ramifications? If I think this way I wont get hurt by people, but if I think this way I also will be lonely and not make new friendships or form new relationships.

 4.  Does this belief promote your well-being and/or peace of mind?This belief makes me more anxious and does not promote well being.  When I feel this way I am less confident, making it harder to make new friends and be myself. It DOES NOT benefit me.

 5.  Did you choose this belief on your own or did it develop out of your experience of growing up in your family? Experience with a bully in high school and a few failed relationships in my twenties made me feel like others don’t like me.  However, these people were not positive, and were aggressive personalities, perhaps they are not the best judge of my character. Family and long term friends do not feel this way.

Try this exercise when you notice you have an overwhelming negative thought, one that is causing you distress or a perpetuating beleif that is not benefiting you.  Long lasting change and elimination of the negitive self-talk takes time and practice, be patient and determined.

5,294 total views, no views today

This site is protected by Comment SPAM Wiper.