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Posts tagged ‘depression’

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Food for Depression

Food for Depression 



It is January, and now officially winter everywhere. Since I live in Florida, our cold is just arriving for its short while. During the winter months people are much more likely to become depressed. People can become depressed from the cold weather, the cloudy skies, staying warm with layers of clothes, your monotonous job. There are endless reasons why someone could get down and feel a little depressed. The good news is, there are so many ways to fight depression with food, eating the right kind. Here are two examples of foods to eat to feel less sad and lessen depression. 


If you are in need of a pick-me-up, or a mood booster, here are foods for a brighter mood. Boosting your mood can elavate you to another level. They can turn that frown upside down… if you let them. 


What is it in our bodies that keep us happy? Do you know? This chart shows what you need to eat to keep a happy brain. 


In our brains we have 4 chemicals that keep us regulated and happy. Without them, even having one low can cause you to feel fatigue and create anxiety, up to depression. So learn these four chemicals and feed your brain. 





Along side depression is stress and anxiety. There are so many foods that can help you ease your stress, and lessen anxiety. I have struggled with anxiety for over a decade now, and I have come to learn that I act nicer and feel happier when I have these foods in my body. 



So stay healthy and happy this winter season. Eat the right foods, supplements and vitamins, whatever it calls for to keep a happy brain, and help stay away from depression. Along with alleviating depression. 

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Essential Oils for Autism

Essential Oils for Autism

 “More and more we are hearing about essential oils and the benefits of using them. Some time ago, I remember reading a thread in a private autism parents group. The gist was divided; half were for essential oils, half thought it was just another waste of time. Some parents even had the misconception that people were touting essential oils can “cure” autism.”

Source: autismparentingmagazine.com




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Hurricane FACTS 

Hurricane Facts: 

WHAT IS A HURRICANE?

A hurricane is a type of storm called a tropical cyclone, which forms over tropical or subtropical waters.


“Hurricanes are large, swirling storms. They produce winds of 119 kilometers per hour (74 mph) or higher. That’s faster than a cheetah, the fastest animal on land. Winds from a hurricane can damage buildings and trees.”


“Hurricanes form over warm ocean waters. Sometimes they strike land. When a hurricane reaches land, it pushes a wall of ocean water ashore. This wall of water is called a storm surge. Heavy rain and storm surge from a hurricane can cause flooding.”

“Once a hurricane forms, weather forecasters predict its path. They also predict how strong it will get. This information helps people get ready for the storm.”


“There are five types, or categories, of hurricanes. The scale of categories is called the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. The categories are based on wind speed.”


Category 1: Winds 119-153 km/hr (74-95 mph) – faster than a cheetah

Category 2: Winds 154-177 km/hr (96-110 mph) – as fast or faster than a baseball pitcher’s fastball

Category 3: Winds 178-208 km/hr (111-129 mph) – similar, or close, to the serving speed of many professional tennis players

Category 4: Winds 209-251 km/hr (130-156 mph) – faster than the world’s fastest rollercoaster

Category 5: Winds more than 252 km/hr (157 mph) – similar, or close, to the speed of some high-speed trains

Source: nasa.gov
Only five times in US history have there been category five hurricane hit the US. 1932, 1933, 1961, 2005, and 2007. Only in 2005 have more than two category five hurricanes formed. 

  • Hurricane Names:

When the the winds from these storms reach 39 mph (34 kts), the cyclones are given names. Years ago, an international committee developed names for Atlantic cyclones (The History of Naming Hurricanes). In 1979 a six year rotating list of Atlantic storm names was adopted — alternating between male and female hurricane names. Storm names are used to facilitate geographic referencing, for warning services, for legal issues, and to reduce confusion when two or more tropical cyclones occur at the same time. Through a vote of the World Meteorological Organization Region IV Subcommittee, Atlantic cyclone names are retired usually when hurricanes result in substantial damage or death or for other special circumstances.

  • Looking back on some of the worst hurricanes:

Hurricane Andrew:



Hurricane Katrina:




Hurricane Frances:



Hurricane Ivan:



Hurricane Charley:




Hurricane Jeanne:




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Yoga for Depression & Anxiety

Yoga for Depression & Anxiety


I have struggled with different amounts of anxiety and depression many times during my life. I was first diagnosed with depression at 17, and I don’t remember having very much anxiety back then. Now that I have been diagnosed with bipolar for close to a decade now, I have noticed throughout the years different levels of anxiety too. I used to get a lot of anxiety from large crowds and social settings. But once I got on the right medications, the anxiety went away. But, after I was diagnosed with being bipolar, I was also diagnosed with having ADHD. I was in very much in need of medication for my ADHD. I first began with Adderall, and if I took a pill without eating, forget it! I had so much anxiety I had to take 1-2 1mg Klonopin to combat the shaking and heavy breathing. A few years go by, and I am fully integrated with my Adderall and it doesn’t give me much anxiety anymore. 


Throughout the past 10 years, since being diagnosed Bipolar, I began practicing yoga. I have been doing yoga for over six years now, and it makes me feel so much better then any medication can make me feel. My background is in dance and cheerleading, so when I began yoga I was automatically good at an intermediate level going on advanced. For a few years, I even wanted to become a yoga instructor. But my shoulder had problems from tumbling in gymnastics, so I couldn’t pursue that career. But the yoga I did made me feel so incredible after every session. I loved the high after it was all done. It can be a very euphoric experience if and/or when you understand the breath, and breathing through motions. I think everyone should try yoga, especially those suffering with depression and anxiety. Yoga has stopped my anxiety due to all of the breathing you do during a series. Yoga brings me back to my normal state of mind and even a relaxed state.





*Essential Oils are always a good idea to use to help the stress go away! Tip- USE A DIFFUSER WHILE DOING YOUR YOGA


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New Seasons can Affect Bipolar Disorder 

New Seasons Affect Bipolar Disorder 


I know that I am definitely one of the millions of people who suffer each season with Seasonal Affective Disorder. It’s part of the bipolar disorder. It has to do with our circadian rhythm’s, and how we get depressed from not enough daylight. 

Do you ever feel depressed for no reason during fall and winter months? Did you know that the amount of sun we receive each day does have an affect on our bodies happiness. And those who suffer from a mental illness are much more likely to feel or get depressed. When the sun is out less and less, more darkness is what we observe. So remember to get as much sun as possible by opening blinds, curtains, and letting in light. As well as, going outside more will help with not feeling as depressed. 

Sourceeverydayhealth.com

*Seasonal Affective Disorder Versus Seasonal Bipolar Disorder


“Doctors have long distinguished between seasonal depression and seasonal bipolar disorder. Seasonal depression — commonly referred to as SAD, for seasonal affective disorder — is a mood disorder brought on by the biological effects of a lack of sunlight. Typically experienced in the late fall and winter, it is particularly prevalent in northern regions, according to the American Psychological Association (APA). What distinguishes seasonal bipolar disorder from SAD is the presence of a manic episode within a given period of time.”



“People must have a history of manic or hypomanic episodes (the extreme highs) to be diagnosed with a bipolar mood disorder, explains Ken Duckworth, MD, medical director for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and an assistant professor at the Harvard University Medical School. If that’s not part of their medical history, he says, then their seasonal winter response is a depressive disorder and not bipolar.”



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Psychotic Experiences Linked to Cognitive Changes


Psychotic Experiences Linked to Cognitive Changes

From: Psychcentral.com



“Recent research suggests that people who have psychotic experiences, but no diagnosis of psychotic illness, have altered cognitive functioning compared with people without psychotic experiences.”

“A substantial minority of the general population, around six percent, experiences subclinical psychotic experiences, report MSc student Josephine Mollon of King’s College London, UK, and colleagues in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.”

“Both disorders share risk factors such as low IQ, childhood maltreatment, and stressful life events, as well as similar brain scan results such as deficits in grey and white matter.”

“The researchers looked at neuropsychological functioning and psychotic experiences in adults, taking into account sociodemographic characteristics and age. They used information gathered from household surveys covering 1,677 people aged 16 years or older, living in two areas of London, UK. Average age was 40 years.”
“Participants’ psychotic experiences were measured using the Psychosis Screening Questionnaire, which is administered by an interviewer. It assesses psychotic experiences in the previous year, covering thought disorder, paranoia, strange experiences, and hallucinations. The tool also covers hypomania, a mild form of mania, marked by elation and hyperactivity, but this was not assessed as the focus was on psychosis.”

“Cognitive functioning was measured with a series of tests looking at verbal knowledge (using a reading test), working memory, general memory, and cognitive processing speed. From this, an overall IQ score was calculated.”
“One in ten of the participants had previously had psychotic experiences. This group was not significantly different from those without psychotic experiences on overall IQ or processing speed. But they scored less highly on verbal knowledge, working memory, and general memory.”

“Medium to large impairments in cognitive functioning were seen among participants aged 50 years and older with psychotic experiences. These differences remained once socioeconomic status, cannabis use, and common mental disorders were taken into account.”

“The team writes, “The profile of cognitive impairment in adults with psychotic experiences differed from that seen in adults with psychotic disorders, suggesting important differences between subclinical and clinical psychosis.””

6-Year Delay from Initial Diagnoses of Bipolar, to Final Diagnoses. 




“A new international study discovers it takes almost six years following symptoms of bipolar disorder and determination of diagnosis and initiation of treatment.”
“Many experts believe crucial opportunities to manage bipolar disorder early are being lost because of the delay.”

                                       –psychcentral.com


“Investigators performed a meta-analysis of 9,415 patients from 27 studies, the largest of its kind.”

“They discovered many patients experience distressing and disruptive symptoms for several years until receiving proper treatment for bipolar disorder, previously known as manic-depressive illness.”


“According to lead researcher Dr. Matthew Large, a psychiatrist at Prince of Wales Hospital, the delay is often longer for young people because moodiness is sometimes misperceived by parents.”


“This is common as providers may attribute symptoms as the ups and downs of the teenage years rather than the emergence of bipolar disorder. The misdiagnosis is disturbing as bipolar can be effectively treated with mood stabilizing medication.”


“This is a lost opportunity because the severity and frequency of episodes can be reduced with medication and other interventions,” Large said. “While some patients, particularly those who present with psychosis, probably do receive timely treatment, the diagnosis of the early phase of bipolar disorder can be difficult.”

“This is because mental health clinicians are sometimes unable to distinguish the depressed phase of bipolar disorder from other types of depression.”


To learn more about this, please read the whole article. I have taken the best of it to show to you, but the article will tell you so much more.

Go to:  Delay in Bipolar Diagnosis Scary

And don’t forget to spread that AWARENESS IS KEY.  That is my motto on this blog

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High & Low Levels of Cortisol are Bad for Bipolar Disorder – Part 2

Now that you know all about cortisol and how it’s the “stress hormone”, learn why older bipolar patients are affected more when their levels of cortisol are off. It leads to depression and a whole lot more. Please share this information with friends, family, co-workers and most importantly, those who have mental illnesses like bipolar disorder. 

Learn more at:

www.anxiety.org
“The increased risks of those with bipolar disorder”: 

  

Elevated or low levels of the stress hormone cortisol are associated with depression and lower quality of life in bipolar patients, a new study from Umeå University in Sweden announced. The study found that depression is almost twice as common and poor quality of life is five times as common in people with bipolar disorder.”

  

“Bipolar disorder affects approximately 5.7 million adults in the US every year. People with bipolar disorder experience unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. Previous studies confirmed that stress triggers bipolar episodes in patients. Mania and depression further contribute to the stress load experienced by people with bipolar disorder. The relationship between the stress system, depression, and quality of life, however, had not been examined until this study.”

  

““In bipolar depression the stress system is often activated, which means that the affected individuals have elevated cortisol levels in the blood. We have now been able to show that both over- and underactivity in the stress system, with corresponding elevated or reduced cortisol levels, can impair mental health in terms of depression and poor quality of life in these patients,” said Umeå University PhD student Martin Maripuu.”
  

  • The Research

“The study examined the cortisol levels in 145 type one and two bipolar patients and matched them with 145 controls. Researchers used the Dexamethasone Suppression Test (DST) to measure cortisol levels in patients, the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS-S) to measure self-reported depression, and the World Health Organization Quality of Life Assessment–100 and the Global Assessment of Functioning to measure self-reported quality of life.”

  

“Depression was twice as common in bipolar patients with high and low cortisol levels, as compared to people with normal cortisol levels in their blood. Low quality of life was six times more common in patients with bipolar and low cortisol levels. It was five times more common in patients with bipolar and high cortisol levels. Additionally, patients with low cortisol have, on average, had their disorder for a longer period of time. This could mean that people with bipolar disorder experience chronic stress, which causes an “exhaustion” of the stress system, resulting in reduced cortisol levels.”

  

  • What it Means

“Though these new breakthroughs need additional research, this information could lead to a better understanding and better treatment of bipolar disorder. These researchers have shifted the focus of bipolar disorder treatment by suggesting that effective treatment of bipolar disorder should involve regulating and researching the stress system.”

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Friendships May Play A Huge Role In Depression Recovery

“We get by with a little help from our friends.”

  • Read more below:

FRIENDSHIPS PLAY IMPORTANT ROLE  
“It’s not always easy to know how to help a friend who’s struggling with depression.”

“It turns out that just being there for that person might be the best thing that you can do, according to a new British study.”

  
“Research from the Universities of Manchester and Warwick, published this week in the Proceedings of the Royal Academy, suggests that being around people with healthy moods can play a major role in the recovery of individuals with depressive symptoms, ranging from low mood to clinical depression. Spending time with people who are depressed, however, doesn’t make a healthy person any more likely to become depressed themselves.”

“In other words, good moods may be contagious — but bad ones aren’t.”

   
 
“For the study, scientists used an infectious disease model to track the spread of mood among U.S. high school students, allowing them to examine the effect of a person’s friendships on their ability to recover from depression.”

  
“The model showed that being around friends with healthy moods reduces a teen’s likelihood of developing depression by 50 percent. Among teens with depression, being in the presence of positive people increased their chances of recovering from the condition by 50 percent over a period of six to 12 months.”

   
 
“”Having sufficient friends with healthy mood essentially doubled depressed people’s chances of recovery,” House said.”

  
“They also found that depression does not seem to spread from person to person — debunking the common myth that depression is “contagious.””

   
 
“While psychologists have long known that social connections play a role in emotional well-being, exactly how important healthy social connections are for teenagers has been less clear. Research has shown that social isolation and loneliness are major risk factors for developing depression, and on the other hand, social support can be key to depression prevention and recovery.”

  
“The doubled chance of depression recovery found in the study is a significant effect, and the findings suggest that high school students may benefit greatly from social interventions for preventing depression. More than 10 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds have experienced at least one major depressive episode.”

 
” “More work needs to be done but it may [be] that we could significantly reduce the burden of depression through cheap, low-risk social interventions,” House said in a written statement.”
“Potential programs to reduce the burden of depression include “opening youth clubs or education in schools to encourage healthy, safe friendships amongst adolescents,” House said.”

  
   
 

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Friendships May Play A Huge Role In Depression Recovery

  

Friendships & Recovery

“It’s not always easy to know how to help a friend who’s struggling with depression.”

“It turns out that just being there for that person might be the best thing that you can do, according to a new British study.”

“Research from the Universities of Manchester and Warwick, published this week in the Proceedings of the Royal Academy, suggests that being around people with healthy moods can play a major role in the recovery of individuals with depressive symptoms, ranging from low mood to clinical depression. Spending time with people who are depressed, however, doesn’t make a healthy person any more likely to become depressed themselves.”

  

“In other words, good moods may be contagious — but bad ones aren’t.”

“There is a lot of evidence that people influence each others’ mood,” Dr. Thomas House, an applied mathematician at Manchester and the study’s lead author, told The Huffington Post in an email. “We tried to quantify that in the context of depression in adolescents.”

“For the study, scientists used an infectious disease model to track the spread of mood among U.S. high school students, allowing them to examine the effect of a person’s friendships on their ability to recover from depression.”

  
“The model showed that being around friends with healthy moods reduces a teen’s likelihood of developing depression by 50 percent. Among teens with depression, being in the presence of positive people increased their chances of recovering from the condition by 50 percent over a period of six to 12 months.”

“Having sufficient friends with healthy mood essentially doubled depressed people’s chances of recovery,” House said. 

“They also found that depression does not seem to spread from person to person — debunking the common myth that depression is “contagious.””

“While psychologists have long known that social connections play a role in emotional well-being, exactly how important healthy social connections are for teenagers has been less clear. Research has shown that social isolation and loneliness are major risk factors for developing depression, and on the other hand, social support can be key to depression prevention and recovery.” 

“The doubled chance of depression recovery found in the study is a significant effect, and the findings suggest that high school students may benefit greatly from social interventions for preventing depression. More than 10 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds have experienced at least one major depressive episode.”

  

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Six Journal Ideas to Deal with Depression

Ideas to deal with depression

“I have been writing in a journal almost all of my life. In the beginning I wrote about movies I saw and my Superman trading card collection, but by the time I was a teen I learned that journaling helped me work out my moods, worries, and problems. Sometimes there was no more therapeutic a process I could do for my ADHD & Depression than hold an internal conversation with myself. This was the power of the journal: to provide a constructive environment for me to explore private issues and often resolve them.”

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“Here are six ideas for journals that can provide a constructive method of self-expression as a coping strategy:”

“The Traditional Journal: Your local bookstore will usually have an entire wall dedicated to journals. You don’t have to break the bank for a leather-bound, hand-sewn journal filled with handmade papers. An inexpensive notebook will do. You can even make your own journal with scraps of paper & yarn to thread the pages together, but you might want something sturdier for regular usage.
I recommend writing about your thoughts & feelings instead of creating a journalogue of your day to day activities. Life often flies by faster than you can keep up, getting you quickly behind in your journal writing and making the process work instead of joy. Most people eventually stop because catching up is too stressful. Try setting a theme for each journal instead. Having a topic relieves some of the pressure of thinking of what to write. You can also let your journals represent set periods of time like semesters, quarters, or years. This gives you a chance to begin anew mentally and creatively at the beginning of each new time period.”

“The Digital Journal: These are functionally the same as traditional journals, but with the benefits of having less to carry around since you already have a smart phone, tablet, or laptop, being able to add media files to your entries, and always having them on hand when you feel the need to jot down your thoughts. Some apps give you access to the same journal across all devices. These journals generally sync to the cloud, so you may want to see if encryption and password protection is possible. An alternative to journaling apps is blogging. This is a public process usually, though they can be password protected if you wish. I knew a girl who created a new blog for each phase of her life. It was a creative & unique use of blogging.”

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“The Art Journal: Whether you sketch, paint, or collage, sketch books are built with heavier paper and can handle much more than the flimsy pages of traditional journals. There are many choices from spiral bound student sketchbooks to hardbound beauties made with journaling in mind. Turning a sketch book into an art journal lets you express with images what you are feeling. It can be as fancy as you need it to be, or as sparse. You can annotate, or let the art stand on its own. Pairing art with self-expression can be very healing and stress reducing.”

“Sound & Video Journals: Modern devices make these types of journals possible. If writing is hard for you, but talking isn’t, you may find that an app that gathers your voice memos or video clips gives you an avenue of expression that is very therapeutic. The downside to these types of journals is that they take up a lot of data, and they can be overheard, but they are the easiest to maintain. Just tap and talk.”

“The Social Media Journal: Social media is often mocked for its emphasis on ephemera and boring minutia like what somebody had for breakfast, but who is to say that there isn’t an audience to appreciate breakfast microblogging? Here is a perfect medium for expressing feelings that ebb and flow with your day. Many people find social media a very convenient and succinct way to journal without the work. It’s spontaneous and unfiltered. Twitter’s limit of 140 characters per post should help you keep your thoughts short and sweet as you experience ups and downs. Tumblr or Facebook can offer you longer entries. Other likeminded individuals can then find you and offer words of encouragement.”

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“You may want to create an anonymous profile to spare friends & family members the pain of reading your entries. Not everybody is supportive of transparency. There have been more than a few times in my twenty years online where a family member has complained to my parents that I am too negative or too down on myself. They don’t call me to see how I’m doing. They don’t offer words of encouragement. They just worry that I am embarrassing myself. Somehow they feel that shutting down my avenue of expression will help me become more positive, so I politely ignore them. However, this is the reality of public journaling. When you express yourself in public, you cannot control who reads it and how they feel about it. Just a word of warning.”

“The Throw-Away Journal: Why keep a journal‽ Who’s going to read it anyway, right? There have been times that I have created text journals on my computer that I deleted from existence once I felt they were done. They were never meant to be passed down to posterity. They were never meant to be shared. I poured my darkest, most secret feelings into them until I had nothing left to pour. You can buy a cheap notebook and fill it with your thoughts, then recycle it or chuck it in the bin. It is in these journals I expressed my ugliest, suicidal thoughts—a cathartic bleeding with text. When I destroy them, nobody, not even I, will ever miss them. In journal writing, the process is sometimes more important than the archive.”

“Having a place where you can regularly expunge or explore your feelings can be very therapeutic. Perhaps you haven’t given journals a chance because they seem like work. However, if you find your unique method of expression you may find journals more helpful than you ever imagined.”

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People in Neighborhoods with High Incarceration Rates Are More Likely to Suffer from Depression and Anxiety

neighborhoods

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“To hear proponents tell it, broken-windows policing—a strategy that calls on officers to react strongly to minor crimes in order to ostensibly prevent major ones—is all that has stood between New York as we now know it and its graffiti- and crime-drenched past. Entire neighborhoods once widely considered no-go zones turned into desirable addresses. Stop and Frisk seemed like a painless and effective component of broken-windows policing, in which police officers were encouraged, some say even required, to informally detain, interrogate, and pat down individuals engaged in a tragicomic range of activities. The most common: walking down the street unarmed, innocent, and in possession of a certain amount of melanin. It’s no wonder that as recently as last year, 55 percent of white New York voters told pollsters that crime would clearly rise if police abandoned Stop and Frisk.”

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“Opponents, on the other hand, have long argued that this kind of policing has encouraged civil rights violations, damaged the relationship between police and communities, and generated few meaningful crime-fighting results. New research published this month in the American Journal of Public Health reveals some additional unsettling consequences of a criminal justice system that concentrates its attention on particular communities. Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health have identified significant collateral damage for the mental health of people left behind in neighborhoods where incarceration rates are unusually high.”

“The researchers found elevated rates of major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder in neighborhoods with higher than average imprisonment rates. (Generalized anxiety is characterized by potentially debilitating levels of worry and fear. It impedes thinking, working, and decision-making; it can also manifest in physical symptoms such as insomnia, trembling, twitching, muscle tension, and other problems.) The effects were so severe, that even individuals who lived in these neighborhoods but had never been jailed were more likely to suffer from serious anxiety than people living in communities where a prison experience remains rare.”

“The Columbia researchers came to this conclusion by cross-referencing address data from Michigan prison admissions files and mental health information from the Detroit Neighborhood Health Study. Researchers also gathered information from 4,180 individuals by phone. After controlling for a number of variables (age, race, income levels, etc.), the team found that anxiety and depression levels remained higher in communities where a larger than average number of residents were in prison or back home after being paroled.”

“Why do high neighborhood incarceration rates cause that kind of damage to community mental health? The researchers found that removing large numbers of people from a community disrupts what they call the “social ecology.” It limits the availability of family and friends to provide the support, comfort, and assistance that helps sustain human mental health. In other words, when the threat of jail time is in the air, and your support network is diminished, the risk of major depression and debilitating anxiety grow.”

“The study did not attempt to determine why or how some communities came to contribute a larger than average number of inmates to Michigan’s prisons. But others draw a direct line from aggressively proactive policing in certain communities to high incarceration rates in those same neighborhoods.”

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“The succinct answer on the cause [of mass incarceration] is we chose to be here,” says Jeremy Travis, president of John Jay College of Criminal Justice. As crime surged around the country in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s, recessions, municipal cut backs, and white flight made some cities look and feel like war zones. State and federal legislators elected on law-and-order platforms dedicated considerable energy to fighting crime. They made prison sentences longer for even nonviolent crimes. They implemented mandatory minimums and funded the war on drugs. As the crack epidemic raged in many low-income black neighborhoods, activists, clergy, and residents called on police to be more proactive, and, most of all, present, says Inimai Chettiar, the director of New York University Law School’s Brennan Center for Justice Program. But the police officers who provided that stepped-up neighborhood presence also brought with them a litany of conscious and unconscious biases, Chettiar explains. Together, these conditions exponentially expanded the nation’s incarceration rate. Between 1973 and 2009, the United State’s prison population more than quintupled. Most of that increase ensnared people of color.”

“Most of the U.S. prison population, in fact, comes from a relatively small set of predominantly black, low-income neighborhoods, according to Harvard University social scientist Robert Sampson. These neighborhoods are scattered all over the country, but sit primarily in major cities. In Chicago, the subject of Sampson’s 2012 book A Great American City, incarceration rates in predominantly white communities with the biggest prison-going problems were 45 times smaller than those in the hardest hit black neighborhoods. (Sampson’s research focused on the period between 1990 and 2005, but he told me these patterns remain remarkably consistent.)”

“More recently, Sampson and Travis were part of a group of social scientists who conducted a multi-year examination of the country’s elevated incarceration rate. The National Academy of Sciences published the massive study’s full results last year. The group’s conclusion: Incarceration has become a source of public harm. It may cause more crime than it prevents, damage the families and communities from which the nation’s prisoners overwhelmingly come, and vacuum up huge shares of state budgets that could go to other poverty-alleviating programs. In fact, the country is so deeply invested in mass incarceration that many rural communities have become almost completely dependent on the economic activity created by prisons. And, in 2009, 62 percent of black children whose parents had not completed high school also had a parent who was sent to prison. The same was true for 17 percent of Hispanic children and 15 percent of white children with similar parents.”

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“Some reforms are beginning to take hold. In New York, Stop and Frisk has been so deeply rebuked by a federal court that the city abandoned a legal fight for the program. The number of people waylaid by suspicious New York City police officers dropped off dramatically last year. In Illinos, Ohio, and California, lawmakers are rewarding counties that reduce the parole revocations that send many people back to prison each year. In California, the first year of the program saved $180 million in incarceration costs and produced a 23 percent drop in parole revocations, says the Brennan Center.”

“But those efforts are relatively new. Nationally, the damage wrought by decades of mass incarceration remains. Young, black men who don’t finish high school have become more likely to enter prison than hold a job, Travis told me. Once released, those who do find work tend to earn 10 to 30 percent less over their lifetimes than peers who were never incarcerated. Numerous studies have found a host of related consequences: fractured families, deep poverty, children who perform poorly in school and struggle with behavior problems—in short, these children grow up amid the challenges that make time in prison more likely.”

“A study showing that elevated community incarceration rates create ripple effects that unnerve human beings may sound obvious. But the findings matter. In a country where nearly 3 percent of the adult population is in prison, on probation or parole, and federal officials estimate that one in three black men will be ensnared in the criminal justice system in their lifetime; that’s a very serious problem.”

“Katherine Keyes, an epidemiologist and one of the researchers behind the new Columbia study describes the significance of the team’s findings this way: “There’s absolutely no reason to believe that any of the damage done to mental health in Detroit is any different than it is in any other major city in this country.”

6 Ways Knitting Improves Mental Health

Knitting is a craft that has been enjoyed by many for centuries. The benefits of knitting are far greater than the finished scarf, hat, gloves, blankets, sweaters, etc. Knitters further benefit from the neuroscience behind the bilateral, rhythmic, automatic movements. Knitters also benefit from the combination of physiological, behavioral, psychological, and social benefits experienced by […]

http://northshorementalwellness.com/2015/02/12/6-ways-knitting-improves-mental-health/

Lit review finds ‘significant link’ between cannabis use and onset of mania symptoms.

Researchers from the University of Warwick have found evidence to suggest a significant relationship between cannabis use and the onset and exacerbation of mania symptoms.  The researchers carried out a review of scientific literature examining the effect of cannabis use. The literature sampled 2,391 individuals who had experienced mania symptoms. Mania symptoms are part of […]

http://health-innovations.org/2015/02/11/lit-review-finds-significant-link-between-cannabis-use-and-onset-of-mania-symptoms/

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7 Helpful Things to Say to Someone with Depression

Helpful Things to Say
“Depression has a way of being an all-consuming, monster of a battle. It takes a toll physically and emotionally. It’s often stigmatized. But perhaps one of the biggest struggles for those who suffer is the feeling that no one else in the world can truly understand what they’re going through.”
“However, those feelings of isolation provide one of the biggest opportunities for loved ones to help, explains Gregory Dalack, M.D., chair of the department of psychiatry at the University of Michigan.”

“The key thing is to help the [depressed] person know that you understand that they’re ill,” he tells The Huffington Post. “A lot of people view depression as some sort of character flaw. To let someone know that you understand that this is an illness that needs to be treated is important.”

“The fact is, depression isn’t an easy fight — but you don’t have to suffer from it in order to be a source of comfort for those who do. If you’re looking to support someone with depression but can’t exactly figure out what to say, mental health experts offer the seven suggestions below — and explain why these phrases matter.”

“I’m here for you.”

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“Sometimes the smallest gestures go a long way, Dalack explains. By telling someone with depression that you’re there for them — and then really showing it — you’re probably helping more than you realize. “It requires a little reflection and thought to be supportive,” Dalack says. “Family members, friends and significant others have an opportunity to help in a way that’s not judgmental — even if it’s just helping them get to appointments, take medications or stick to a daily routine.”

“You’re not alone.”

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“Depression can feel like driving through a dark tunnel that you’re navigating alone. It’s important for loved ones to make it clear to those suffering that they don’t have to journey through the disorder by themselves, says Adam Kaplin, M.D., an associate professor in the departments of psychiatry and neurology at Johns Hopkins.”

“It may look incredibly bleak for them right now,” he says. “It’s helpful to remind them that the feelings are temporary and you’ll be right there with them. Say, ‘It’s you and me against the depression, and we will win.”

“This is not your fault.”

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“Letting loved ones know that depression isn’t their fault is crucial to the healing process, Dalack says. “Sometimes folks with depression feel that it happens because there is something wrong with them,” he explains. “When you have the flu, you can’t remember what it feels like to feel good. Well, when your brain is the main target of the illness, it’s even harder to deal with because your mind is affected along with the rest of your body — but you feel like it’s your fault. It’s important to convey that you understand that they’re suffering from an illness almost in the same way as they suffer from the flu.”
“For those who don’t understand the complicated nuances of depression, telling someone to “buck up” or asking what they have to be sad about may seem logical. However, phrases like these suggest that depression is something they’re choosing to live with, Dalack says.”

“Those all imply that there’s something that the person is doing to get them into that state,” he says. “It’s not their choice, just like it’s not your choice to get the flu. You didn’t ask for it and you’re not going to snap out of it. If we don’t think of depression in the same way, then you increase the likelihood that someone is going to victimize themselves.”

“I’ll go with you.”

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“This goes for therapy sessions, doctor appointments or even just the pharmacy. “It’s not going to be an overnight cure, but being there during the process of treatment can help them see it through,” Dalack says. “The only thing harder than encouraging someone to seek treatment is getting them to follow through and complete it. By offering to go with them, you’re not only being supportive, but you’re telling them that what they have is treatable and not just brushing it off as something that’s no big deal.”

To read the rest of this article, click on the link above

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Myths and Facts about Depression

Myth: Hard Work Beats Depression

Depression affects nearly one in six people at some point in their lives, so folk remedies and half-truths about this common illness abound. One such idea: throw yourself into work and you’ll feel better. For a mild case of the blues, this may indeed help, but depression is a different animal. Overworking can actually be a sign of clinical depression, especially in men.

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Myth: It’s Not a Real Illness

Depression is a serious medical condition — and the top cause of disability in American adults. But it’s still confused with ordinary sadness. Biological evidence of the illness can be seen in brain scans, which show abnormal activity levels. Key brain chemicals that carry signals between nerves (shown here) also appear to be out of balance in depressed people.

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Fact: Anyone Can Get Depressed

Poet or linebacker, shy or outgoing, anyone from any ethnic background can develop depression. The illness is twice as common in women as in men, but it may be that women are more likely to seek help. It’s often first noticed in the late teens or 20s, but an episode can develop at any age. Tough personal experiences can trigger depression, or it may develop out of the blue.

Myth: Help Means Drugs for Life

Despite the buzz about a “Prozac Nation,” medication is only one of the tools used to lift depression. And asking for help does not mean you’ll be pressured to take prescription drugs. In fact, studies suggest that “talk” therapy works as well as drugs for mild to moderate depression. Even if you do use antidepressants, it probably won’t be for life. Your doctor will help you determine the right time to stop your medication.

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Fact: Family History Is Not Destiny

If depression appears in your family tree, you’re more likely to get it too. But chances are you won’t. People with a family history can watch for early symptoms of depression and take positive action promptly — whether that means reducing stress, getting more exercise, counseling, or other professional treatment.

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Fact: Depression Imitates Dementia

In seniors, depression can be the root cause of memory problems, confusion, and in some cases, delusions. Caregivers and doctors may mistake these problems for signs of dementia, or an age-related decline in memory. Getting treatment lifts the cloud for the majority of older people with depression. Psychotherapy is particularly useful for people who can’t or don’t want to take medication.

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Myth: Talking Makes Things Worse

People were once advised not to “dwell on” problems by talking about them. Today, there’s evidence that guided discussions with a professional can make things much better. Different types of psychotherapy help treat depression by addressing negative thought patterns, unconscious feelings, or relationship troubles. The first step is to talk to a mental health professional.

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Fact: Positive Thinking May Help

The old advice to “accentuate the positive” has advanced into a practice that can ease depression. It’s called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). People learn new ways of thinking and behaving. Negative “self-talk” and behavior is identified and replaced with more upbeat thoughts and a more positive mood. Used alone or with medication, CBT works for many people.

Fact: Exercise Is Good Medicine

Very good studies now show that regular, moderately intense exercise can improve symptoms of depression and work as well as some medicines for people with mild to moderate depression. Exercising with a group or a good friend adds social support, another mood booster.

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Fact: It’s Not Always Depression

Some life events cause sadness or disappointment, but do not become clinical depression. Grief is normal after a death, divorce, loss of a job, or diagnosis with a serious health problem. One clue of a need for treatment: the sadness is constant every day, most of the day. When people are weathering difficult times appropriately, they can usually be distracted or cheered up for short periods of time.

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Fact: Hope for Better Days Is Real

In the depths of depression, people may think there’s no hope for a better life. This hopelessness is part of the illness, not a reality. With treatment, positive thinking gradually replaces negative thoughts. Sleep and appetite improve as the depressed mood lifts. And people who’ve seen a counselor for talk therapy are equipped with better coping skills to deal with the stresses in life that can get you down.

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Living Mindfully with Mood Disorders

Living Mindfully

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Living Mindfully and Compassionately with Mood Disorders

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“Manic depression, post-traumatic stress, and addiction are all complex psychiatric mood disorders that many suffer concurrently. Those of us who have been diagnosed with one or more of these mood disorders, or mental illnesses, (co-occurring) contend with debilitating symptoms, which may include severe anxiety, dramatic mood swings, rage, ruminations, flashbacks, and nightmares. Our manic episodes are often life-changing and can result in death. Although there are no cures for any of these disorders, adopting a Buddhist practice that includes mindfulness and Tonglen meditations can augment our existing treatment protocol.”

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“Mindfulness Meditation:

Mindfulness is simply being fully aware and present in the moment. It’s like having an orchestra conductor inside our heads, who also serves as a gatekeeper—intercepting negative thoughts, such as urges, ruminations, flashbacks, and addiction cravings. When we’re free of these triggers and symptoms, we can concentrate, reach a higher consciousness, and embrace insights, which can lead to emotional breakthroughs and healing.

Belly breathing is the core technique for practicing mindfulness meditation. Also referred to as “abdominal” and “diaphragmatic” breathing, this is our inborn way of respiring and it has distinct advantages over breathing from our chest. Belly breathing enables us to take in more oxygen with fewer breaths—with more carbon dioxide being expelled on the out breath. Increased utilization of our diaphragm to breathe lowers our heart rate and helps to stabilize our blood pressure. Belly breathing stimulates the area just below the navel, where our body stores chi energy. This is where our Buddha nature resides.”

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Click on the link above, to read the full article

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7 Of The Most Helpful Things You Can Say To Someone With Depression

Helpful Words to Someone with Depression

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“Depression has a way of being an all-consuming, monster of a battle. It takes a toll physically and emotionally. It’s often stigmatized. But perhaps one of the biggest struggles for those who suffer is the feeling that no one else in the world can truly understand what they’re going through.”

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“However, those feelings of isolation provide one of the biggest opportunities for loved ones to help, explains Gregory Dalack, M.D., chair of the department of psychiatry at the University of Michigan.”

“The key thing is to help the [depressed] person know that you understand that they’re ill,” he tells The Huffington Post. “A lot of people view depression as some sort of character flaw. To let someone know that you understand that this is an illness that needs to be treated is important.”

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“The fact is, depression isn’t an easy fight — but you don’t have to suffer from it in order to be a source of comfort for those who do. If you’re looking to support someone with depression but can’t exactly figure out what to say, mental health experts offer the seven suggestions below — and explain why these types of phrases matter.

“I’m here for you.”

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“Sometimes the smallest gestures go a long way, Dalack explains. By telling someone with depression that you’re there for them — and then really showing it — you’re probably helping more than you realize. “It requires a little reflection and thought to be supportive,” Dalack says. “Family members, friends and significant others have an opportunity to help in a way that’s not judgmental — even if it’s just helping them get to appointments, take medications or stick to a daily routine.”

Link

I Am Scared Of My Depression Returning

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Lithium Still Tops In Reducing Suicide Risk In Depression, Bipolar Disorder

Lithium Still Tops in Reducing Suicide

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“A new study shows that lithium treatment reduces the risk of suicide in patients with bipolar disorder or depression by more than 60 percent, compared to placebo.”

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“The drug lithium was approved by the FDA in the 1970s for people with mood disorders. With the arrival of other types of mood drugs, such as atypical antipsychotics and anticonvulsants, it became less clear which drugs worked best for the prevention of suicide.”

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Depression and Diet

Can Food Really Affect Your Mood?

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“Trying to find a diet to ease depression? Unfortunately, there’s no specific diet that works for depression. No studies have been done that indicate a particular eating plan can ease symptoms of clinical depression.”

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“Still, while certain diets or foods may not ease depression (or put you instantly in a better mood), a healthy diet may help as part of an overall treatment for depression. “

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“How Can Diet Affect Depression?”

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Heal Your Depression

Heal Your DepressionIMG_2575.PNGDepression is a second most disease in the world. There are many treatments for depression you can find out through google search, yahoo search or wikipedia.

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(Rethinking Depression) A video that supports my meme: Everything matters

Thank you for talking about this subject. It is so important for awareness to be spread throughout every neighborhood and community!

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Dr. Charles Raison makes explicit at the beginning of the below video that the general argument he’s making can be made about all labeled psychiatric disorders — that is: most often, they are not brain disorders as popularly understood in psychiatry, but instead a combination of many things in our lives and environments intersecting with our bodies, too.

Rethinking How We Understand and Treat Depression: Charles Raison

Dr. Charles Raison “Coming to our Senses: Rethinkng How We Understand and Treat Depression”. Dr. Raison is an Associate Professor at the University of Arizona Department of Psychiatry, in the College of Medicine. See also this book he wrote: Treating the Whole Patient: Exploring the Healing Potential of a Mind-Body Approach to Mental Health

This also supports the idea that there are as many paths to wellness as their are human beings. There are endless combinations of possible causes for all these so-called distinct psychiatric disorders…

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10 Barriers to Communication During Depression

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http://www.healthcentral.com/depression/c/4182/170055/communication-depression/?ic=6043

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“One of the most challenging aspects of living with or supporting a person who suffers with depression is communication. People who are depressed are usually highly sensitive to direct or implied criticism. Ideally we should try to understand but this often doesn’t happen. There are some very common ways that both cut off communication and serve to make things more difficult than they need to be.”

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Hope for Mental Health

http://m.psychologytoday.com/blog/crazy-life/201406/hope-mental-health

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“Even if we can’t cure our disorder, we can always try to manage it.”

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