20 Jan 2022
9 mins
Anxiety Treatment: Therapy, Medications And Other TechniquesAnxiety is our body’s way of telling something is not correct. It keeps us alert by protecting us from impending danger and prepares us to remain alert. However, for some people, anxiety is continuous and irrational. It could be so overwhelming that it interferes with simple everyday activities. Such interruptions could be damaging to one’s mental health [https://www.mrmed.in/health-library/mental-wellness/depression-symptoms-causes-treatment]. The World Health Organisation [https://focus.psychiatryonline.org/doi/pdf/10.1176/appi.focus.19203] reported that around 264 million people worldwide suffer from anxiety disorders. Read further to know about various anxiety disorder treatment approaches and commonly prescribed anti anxiety meds.   TYPES OF ANXIETY TREATMENT:   There are several approaches for anxiety disorder treatment, including psychotherapy, anxiety medications and alternative therapies. Read further to understand each anxiety treatment in detail.   1. PSYCHOTHERAPY APPROACHES FOR ANXIETY: a. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT):   Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a highly effective and lasting anxiety treatment. Its primary focus is to understand and change the thinking and behavioural patterns. In this anxiety treatment, your mental health professional will work with you to find unhealthy thought patterns that could destroy your beliefs and behaviours. During your therapy session, you will learn specific skills that you need to practice regularly to see improvement.    The skills that you learn during this therapy will be helpful throughout your life that help you to have a sense of control and support over your recovery. Depending on the individual, it takes 12-16 weeks to show visible changes.  b. Exposure therapy:   Exposure Therapy is a form of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy where you will be exposed to anxiety-triggering situations or objects where you learn to become less sensitive over time. c. Acceptance and commitment therapy:   Acceptance and commitment therapy involves learning about mindfulness and behaviour change. In this therapy, you will learn a few techniques to focus on the present moment. This makes you cope with unwanted thoughts and feelings and helps you see your problems more clearly.   d. Dialectical behavioural therapy:   Dialectical behavioural therapy is a modified form of cognitive behavioural therapy. It is a combination of cognitive-behavioural techniques, concepts from eastern meditation and acceptance therapy. This therapy will be carried out individually or in groups to learn mindfulness and gain skills to tolerate distress and control your emotions.   In this anxiety disorder treatment, your therapist will work with you to make you learn acceptance of uncomfortable thoughts and feelings instead of struggling with them. You will eventually understand that once you know to validate your thoughts, feelings and behaviours, your transformation goals no longer seem impossible. e. Interpersonal therapy:   Interpersonal therapy focuses on the relationships one has with others. It is a short-term psychotherapy that typically involves 12-16 one-hour sessions weekly. In this anxiety treatment, your mental health practitioner will collect details regarding the nature of your mental health issue.    Your mental health practitioner will teach you to evaluate how you interact with others. As a result, you become aware when you isolate yourself or find it difficult to understand others. In this technique, you will also learn how to deal with other people in the best way possible and improve your interpersonal skills.   2. COMMONLY PRESCRIBED ANTI ANXIETY MEDS:   Your mental health practitioner might prescribe anxiety medications either alone or along with psychotherapy. There are various groups of medications that have proven effective for anxiety treatment. Let’s look at some currently prescribed anti anxiety meds:   a. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors:   Some of the effective medications used for anxiety disorder treatment under this category are: * Fluoxetine – 20-60mg/day * Sertraline – 50-200mg/day * Citalopram – 20-40mg/day * Escitalopram – 10-20mg/day * Paroxetine – 20-60mg/day * Paroxetine ER – 27-75mg/day * Fluvoxamine – 100-300mg/day   b. Selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors:   * Duloxetine – 30-60mg/day * Venlafaxine – 75-300mg/day * Desvenlafaxine – 50-100mg/day   c. Tricyclic antidepressants:   * Clomipramine – 100-250mg/day * Imipramine – 100-300mg/day * Desipramine – 100-200mg/day * Nortriptyline – 50-150mg/day   d. Benzodiazepines:   The benzodiazepines are preferred medications as they help provide rapid relief from panic and anxiety than other antidepressants. * Clonazepam – 1-2mg/day * Alprazolam – 1-4mg/day * Lorazepam – 2-6mg/day * Chlordiazepoxide – 20-100mg/day * Oxazepam – 30-60mg/day   e. MAOIs:   Monoamine oxidase enzyme is present in the brain, intestine, placenta, liver and platelets. * Phenelzine – 30-90mg/day   f. Mixed antidepressants:   * Mirtazapine – 15-45mg/day   g. Antipsychotics:   * Trifluoperazine – 2-6mg/day * Olanzapine – 5-15mg/day * Quetiapine – 50-300mg/day   h. GABAergic drugs:   * Pregabalin – 150-600mg/day * Gabapentin – 600-2400mg/day   i. Beta-blockers:   * Propranolol – 60-120mg/day   j. Antihistamines:   * Hydroxyzine – 25-100mg/day 3. ALTERNATIVE MEDICINES FOR ANXIETY DISORDER TREATMENT:   There is an increasing interest in complementary and alternative medicines to treat various mental health problems. If you do not want to take conventional methods of anxiety disorder treatment, you can opt for alternative anxiety medications. Some of the alternative anxiety treatment methods include meditation, massage therapy, energy therapy, naturopathy, homoeopathy and traditional Chinese medicines.   Complementary anxiety treatment methods include aromatherapy to reduce discomfort. This method is used along with standard forms of anxiety disorder treatment. In contrast, alternative medicine is used to replace traditional therapy. Acupuncture and yoga are other effective options for anxiety treatment. a. Deep brain stimulation:   Deep brain stimulation is an anxiety disorder treatment method for patients with severe obsessive-compulsive disorder who do not respond to other anxiety treatments.   This is a surgical approach to anxiety treatment. A surgeon will implant electrodes to a specific part of the brain and connect them to collarbones injected with pulse generators. This pulse generator contains a battery and a microchip that regulates brain stimulation. b. Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR):   In this therapy, your mental health practitioner will guide you to move your eyes from side to side while processing the anxiety-provoking thoughts. This treatment directly affects the way your brain processes information and reduces the intensity of your anxiety triggering thoughts.   RELIEVE YOURSELF FROM ANXIETY:   All your worries won’t go away on their own. If your symptoms are not treated at the right time,  they may get worse. Please seek the help of your doctor or a mental health provider at the earliest. Getting help early to get treated quickly.
Bhairavi
19 Jan 2022
10 mins
Symptoms Of Anxiety Disorder You May Not KnowWe all know that stressful situations like exams and job interviews trigger mild anxiety in us. It is our body’s way of preparing us to face those upcoming events by keeping us alert all the time. Mild anxiety during these stressful events is normal, but it is problematic when anxiety symptoms occur often, and are intense which interfere with daily life. If you are unable to perform daily tasks due to fear and anxiety, check with your mental health professional as this indicates symptoms of anxiety disorder. Read further to understand what is anxiety, symptoms of anxiety disorder and how anxiety symptoms in women are different.   WHAT IS ANXIETY?   People with anxiety disorder often feel overwhelmed with fear or worry which causes them to avoid situations that trigger them. Anxiety disorders are real problems that tremendously affect a person’s thoughts, behaviours and body.    Anxiety disorders contribute to non-fatal health loss. In 2015, WHO reported that almost 38,425,093 people in India were diagnosed with anxiety disorder. After the COVID-19 pandemic, the worldwide estimate of anxiety disorder [https://www.thelancet.com/action/showPdf?pii=S0140-6736%2821%2902143-7] is 374 million people.   SYMPTOMS OF ANXIETY DISORDER:   [https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/spJfR_aOLjVlR-JCXalYAk-CTYrjfvXxD-G7q_AGmxHRYEfgFmQKB20Qm6tzuC9dYim_F5uRW_qAEmJstWpI1qxxNioib_mZ5lONmY2-qiL3PO-SVGspzi87A_iHv82Q62YXlObX] Image URL: https://cdn-daojd.nitrocdn.com/rEopQdNnarrtHfrrUBhWDKpYROHreHqS/assets/static/optimized/rev-b35a044/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Symptoms-of-Anxiety-Disorder.jpg [https://cdn-daojd.nitrocdn.com/rEopQdNnarrtHfrrUBhWDKpYROHreHqS/assets/static/optimized/rev-b35a044/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Symptoms-of-Anxiety-Disorder.jpg]    WHAT PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS CAN ANXIETY CAUSE?   The physical symptoms of anxiety disorder are more often confused with physical symptoms of severe underlying disease. For example, chest pain and breathlessness could be due to anxiety, but they are often mistaken for heart attack. Here are some of the physical symptoms of anxiety disorder:   ● Faster breathing, Chest pain, Increased heart rate: Anxious feelings trigger the release of stress hormones that act on the same brain areas that also control heart functions. This shows up in the form of symptoms like chest pain, rapid heart rate and breathing rate.   ● Dizziness: Crowded places like grocery stores, malls or wide-open spaces can sometimes cause discomfort and a sense of imbalance. Dizziness due to anxiety feels like a spinning sensation from within rather than the surrounding.   ● Sweating and shaking: Anxiety makes your sympathetic nervous system work overtime that presents symptoms like excessive sweating and trembling.   ● Hair loss: Short-term or long-term stress could be a primary cause of hair loss. Stress or anxiety could lead to the release of cortisol hormone that contributes to hair loss.   ● Headache, Muscle tension, tiredness, insomnia: When you have anxiety, your brain activates the sympathetic nervous system. This is a form of coping mechanism where your sympathetic nervous system works non-stop to deal with the perceived threats. While this works temporarily, it creates a problem when the sympathetic nervous system becomes underactive after a certain period.   Underactive sympathetic nervous system makes you weak and causes headaches, muscle tension, joint pain, tingling in the hands and feet and other neurological problems.   ● Upset stomach: Do not mistake the feeling of “butterflies in the stomach” as excitement or happiness when there is no reason to be excited. Sometimes these butterflies also indicate that you have stomach problems like indigestion. Anxiety and worry disturb the natural balance of the stomach contents. In some people, it causes bloating, constipation and pain, while in others, it causes diarrhoea.   EMOTIONAL ANXIETY SYMPTOMS:   ● Fear and worry: Are you always alert, anticipating the worst to happen even if there are no possible signs of danger? Do you constantly worry about mundane things that usually don’t bother others in the same way?. It could be one of the anxiety symptoms that need to be addressed.   ● Inability to relax: Do you feel it is impossible to feel relaxed? Anxiety disorders can make you restless and irritable all the time.   ● Avoidance of challenging situations: This involves avoiding any place, situation or doing tasks that could trigger your feelings of anxiety. For example, if you had a prior bad experience with driving, you avoid driving altogether. If you find yourself going out of your way to avoid inevitable challenging situations, it's the right time to check with your mental health professional.   ● Isolation: People with social anxiety disorder feel anxious about things that other people would not be bothered about. Some examples are feeling of being ‘watched’ while eating a meal, meeting strangers, fear of being judged negatively. These anxious feelings make them isolated from the outer world.   ● Poor sleep: People with anxiety will feel really hard in organizing their thoughts and feelings, and it becomes difficult for them to ‘shut down’ their brain at night. This results in sleep disturbances or no sleep at all.   ● Overthinking and Trouble concentrating: Do you have a tough time focusing on one thing for a long time? Does your mind go blank at times?   Anxiety disorder will make you live in constant fear, long-term panic and uncontrollable worry. You might be thinking of things that happened in the past or those that may or may not happen in the future. This hinders your ability to take calculated risks because your quality of thinking and decision making is adversely affected.   ● Problems with work, social or family life: Everyone experiences problems with their work, social or family once in a while, and it is a normal occurrence. But the same issues give way to unrealistic feelings that stop one from living an everyday life if they have an anxiety disorder.   ● Alcohol or drug abuse: Most often, anxiety disorders are accompanied by other mental health disorders like alcohol or drug abuse. People indulge in these habits to feel ‘relieved’ and ‘better’ only to end up in more misery and trigger thoughts.   Thoughts That Occur Due To Anxiety:   These are the thoughts that frequently occur in the minds of people with anxiety: * “Something wrong is about to happen.” * “This worry is going to make me go crazy.” * “I can never trust people.” * “I am not safe.” * “I escaped from an accident once, I cannot be lucky the second time.”   Anxiety Symptoms In Women: Are Women More Prone To Anxiety?   Do you know that anxiety symptoms in women are different from that of men? In fact, anxiety symptoms are more intense in women than men. This can be attributed to various changes that occur in a woman’s lifespan like puberty, menstrual cycles, pregnancy, postpartum changes, and menopause. Although these are natural body processes, the hormone functions become erratic during each phase, triggering anxiety.   Stress is another factor that causes more anxiety in women than men. Women are more likely to experience stress in their childhood due to physical, sexual and emotional abuse and neglect. These childhood traumas are more likely to cause anxiety in women that continues in their adulthood.   COMMON ANXIETY SYMPTOMS IN WOMEN:   Though anxiety disorders are equally damaging for all genders, anxiety symptoms show up differently in women. Following is a list of symptoms faced by women due to anxiety: * Stomach problems: nausea, eating problems and stomach pain. * Rapid heart rate during stressful situations. * Tiredness, lethargy or weakness * Difficulty focusing * Panicking and constantly feeling something might go wrong  * Irritation * Sleeping issues * Sweating and shaking.   Never Let Anxiety Control You:   Some people are totally aware that their fears are irrational and unreasonable. But they have a hard time coping with it. Pay close attention to symptoms of anxiety disorders. If you or somebody you know is experiencing anxiety symptoms, contact your mental health professional immediately, since untreated anxiety disorder could lead to anxiety attacks.  
Bhairavi
17 Jan 2022
7 mins
Understand Mental Stress Symptoms And Effects On Your BodyAre you experiencing too much pressure? Let’s discuss physical symptoms and mental effects of stress that require attention and care.   In response to stress, your body increases your strength, focus and speeds up your reaction time by the release of hormones in order to prepare yourself to face the situation. That’s why your blood pressure rises, breath quickens, heart rate becomes faster, and your senses become sharper when you are stressed or facing a threat.    When you experience high stress or are frequently stressed, almost every system in your body gets disrupted and causes health problems. This is because your body recognizes your stress as an emergency situation, and the nervous system loses its balance.      PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS AND EFFECTS OF MENTAL STRESS   Continuous activation of the nervous system due to chronic stress creates problems in other bodily systems. Let’s talk about the symptoms and serious effects which can be caused by long-term stress.   a.) Digestive system:    Your digestive system and brain have constant communication. Stress can cause a decrease or increase in appetite and affects how quickly food passes through the body, which can end up in diarrhea or constipation. It can increase the severity of heartburn and bowel disorders.    Also, stressed individuals tend to eat much less or more or consume alcohol or tobacco to cope with it, which results in heartburn. The other mental stress symptoms of the digestive system are nausea, vomiting, and other stomach discomforts. Stress may alter the gut bacteria, which in turn can influence your mood.   b.) Endocrine system:   During a stressful event, the brain signals the adrenal glands located above the kidneys to produce more cortisol (stress hormone). As we need the energy to face the stress, our liver produces high blood sugar due to increased cortisol. During prolonged stress, our body fails to use this excess blood sugar and may increase the risk of developing diabetes [https://spectrum.diabetesjournals.org/content/18/2/121].    c.) Respiratory system:    The breath quickens (rapid breathing) in stress in order to quickly distribute the oxygen to the body. It can cause shortness of breath. Generally, our body can manage this, but stress can worsen the condition in people with respiratory disorders such as asthma and COPD. Sudden disruptive stress can even trigger asthma attacks.   d.) Cardiovascular system:    During stress, heart rate increases and heart muscles contract stronger. The surge of hormones increases the amount of blood pumped to the muscles to increase their strength. This also increases blood pressure. The workload of the heart increases in constant stress and increases the risk for high blood pressure [https://www.nature.com/articles/jhh200874], heart attack, and stroke.   e.) Muscular system:    In order to protect from pain and injury, muscles become tight and stiff during stress. Once the stress passes, the muscles relax. When muscles are tense for long periods due to chronic stress, it can lead to headaches, migraine, and pain in the back. These mental stress symptoms occur due to chronic muscle tension in the neck, head, and shoulders.   f.) Reproductive system:    An excessive amount of stress hormone cortisol can affect the reproductive system. Extended stress leads to low production of a male hormone called testosterone, resulting in a decrease in sex drive. It can even lead to impotence. Stress also negatively impacts sperm production and quality and decreases the rate of conception.   High-stress levels can cause absent or irregular menstrual periods, painful menstruation, decreased sexual desire, and decreased ability to become pregnant in women. Strong emotions can make the mental stress symptoms worse in menopausal women.   g.) Immune system:   Our immune system becomes vulnerable [https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/326983/WH-1994-Mar-Apr-p4-5-eng.pdf] to chronic stress. It can cause a decrease in the number of blood cells involved in fighting infections. This increases the susceptibility to develop infections such as flu and cold. Stress can delay the recovery from diseases and injuries. It can also speed up the ageing process.      MENTAL EFFECTS OF STRESS   Sometimes, stress is positive. It helps us be focused and motivated to meet a particular challenge. The problem arises when the stress becomes constant and frequent. Mental stress caused by financial problems, job loss, workplace, unhealthy relationships, etc., can affect how you feel and think and get through your daily routines.  a.) Mental effects of stress in cognitive function:   Stress affects how memories are formed. People find it difficult to remember things during stress, and this creates learning difficulties. The other cognitive symptoms are inability to concentrate, constant worrying, poor judgement, and negative perception. b.) Mental effects of stress in behavior:    The behavioral symptoms of constant stress are changes in eating habits (eating very more or less than usual), drinking alcohol or smoking too much, sleeping too much or too little, and too often, avoiding social contact, using drugs, gambling, and aggressive behavior.   c.) Mental effects of stress in emotions:    The emotional symptoms are irritability, anger, anxiety, isolation, feeling unmotivated or unfocused, making bad decisions, and other mental health problems. Introvert people and people seeking more perfection find it hard to manage mental stress symptoms compared to others. Know about the symptoms and treatment of clinical depression [https://www.mrmed.in/health-library/mental-wellness/depression-symptoms-causes-treatment].     REFRAME YOUR THOUGHTS   American psychologist William James says “the greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another..”   Thoughts influence emotions and emotions influence behavior. Try to change the thoughts about a stress-causing factor. When you are stressed about something, try to concentrate on other things. Have a habit of acceptance on matters which you can’t have control. Go through healthy ways to relieve mental stress.  
Guruvigneshwari
15 Jan 2022
9 mins
Bipolar Disorder: Signs, Symptoms & Treatment Every one of us suffers from mood swings from time to time. Feelings of happiness, sadness and anger change according to circumstances. This is not the case for a person with bipolar disorder. They experience extreme mood changes irrespective of the situation surrounding them. The bipolar disorder symptoms interfere in their entire process of thinking, behaviour and brain functions.   Showing signs of bipolar disorder does not mean that a person is weak or unstable. It is a long-term illness like diabetes or heart disease that needs to be managed carefully. Treatment of bipolar disorder becomes feasible if its symptoms are viewed as a more significant part of the problem than small, separate issues. WHAT IS BIPOLAR DISORDER?   Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that influences a person’s mood and energy levels tremendously. It is ranked as one of the 20 leading causes of disability [https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0253717620957936]. It is widely diagnosed among males and females across various countries and cultures. BIPOLAR DISORDER SYMPTOMS: HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU HAVE BIPOLAR DISORDER?   According to a study published by M. Solmi et al. [https://www.nature.com/articles/s41380-021-01161-7.pdf], the typical age at which the signs of bipolar disorder occur is 19.5 years. One of the classic signs of bipolar disorder is the extreme, unpredictable mood changes that are not related to the happenings in a person’s life.  People with bipolar disorder go through intense emotional states called mood episodes that occur at different periods. The mood episodes occur in two forms. One is the manic episode where a person is overjoyed and excited. This phase is followed by the depressive [https://www.mrmed.in/health-library/mental-wellness/depression-symptoms-causes-treatment] episode, where the person feels extremely sad, helpless and hopeless. When both manic and depressive episodes occur at the same time, it is referred to as the mixed episode. If your symptoms occur every day for at least a week or two, it indicates a bipolar disorder episode. At times, bipolar disorder symptoms could be so intense that it disturbs a person’s ability to concentrate in school, work or home. SIGNS OF BIPOLAR DISORDER ARE AS FOLLOWS: 1. Manic Episode:   * Overly happy or outgoing mood: You feel extremely good or happy, as if you’re on top of the world. Other people might notice that you are not your usual self. * Feeling jumpy or wired: You feel self-confident to the extent where you think you possess God-like powers. * Irritation: You experience intense irritation to the extent where you scream at people or start fights and arguments. * Talking very fast and Racing thoughts: Inability to slow down thoughts that you end up speaking faster than usual. * Being easily distracted and Restlessness: Due to constantly racing thoughts, you find it hard to slow down and focus on one particular thing. * Increased focus on taking up new projects: You feel hyperactive, full of energy and over-schedule your projects * Reduced sleep: You find yourself not needing sleep, and you do not miss it. * Risky behavior: Risky behavior include impulsive business investments, sexual activity, reckless spending.   2. Depressive Episode:   * Worry: You feel helpless, sad, hopeless and worthless. * Loss of interest: There is a strange emptiness in you that you lose interest in activities that you usually enjoy. * Tiredness: You feel tired all the time. You do not feel motivated to do anything. * Trouble concentrating: Your mind does not focus on one thing, and you face difficulty in remembering things and making decisions. * Changes in your routine: Your daily routine like eating and sleeping is disturbed. You feel more hungry than usual, with irregular sleep schedule and fluctuations in your body weight. * Suicidal thoughts: You often wonder about death and do not see a point in living. 3. Hypomania:   Hypomania or a hypomanic episode refers to the state where your mood swings are not that extreme. Hypomania is less intense than mania, but it is still disruptive. During this episode, you could feel good, productive and highly functioning. Hypomania could progress to a full-blown manic episode or severe depression.   4. Mixed episode:   Manic and depressive episodes often occur in cycles and are unpredictable. Sometimes it all gets mixed up, and you feel periods of highs followed by lows, and it is a vicious cycle. Some of the common symptoms of mixed episodes are: * Agitation * Sleep disturbances * Changes in appetite * Suicidal thoughts * A mix of sadness and extreme energy   Sometimes bipolar disorder can also induce psychotic symptoms. For example, a bipolar disorder patient might believe they are famous, have a lot of money, or have special powers during a manic episode. In the depressive episode, the person believes that they are ruined, penniless and on the roads. These bipolar disorder symptoms synchronise with another disorder called schizophrenia, and this may lead to the wrong diagnosis. TREATMENT OF BIPOLAR DISORDER:   Medications and psychotherapy are two effective modes for the treatment of bipolar disorder. If you or someone you know have this disorder, it is advisable to contact a qualified mental health practitioner for professional guidance.   1. Medications:   When it comes to treatment of bipolar disorder, you need to remember that even if you feel better, you should not discontinue the medications without your healthcare practitioner’s approval.   * Mood stabiliser: Your health practitioner will prescribe medicine like lithium which you need to take every day to prevent unpredictable and wild mood swings. * Atypical antipsychotics: These medications have powerful sedating effects that help in controlling manic episodes and exaggerated thoughts. People who have to take antipsychotics on a long-term basis will be prescribed atypical antipsychotics like risperidone, quetiapine, olanzapine etc.  * Antidepressants: Though antidepressants are primarily prescribed for depression, they are also helpful to cope with bipolar disorder symptoms. These medications affect the concentration of neurotransmitters of the brain (serotonin, dopamine). Antidepressants should be used with caution in the depressive episodes of bipolar disorder, since they can also lead to manic episodes.   2. Psychotherapy:   Psychotherapy or talk therapy can help you work out the cause of your illness. You can work with your close friends or join support groups.    * Cognitive behavioral therapy: Your mental health practitioner will guide you to change negative thought patterns, feelings, and behaviour in cognitive behavioural therapy. This will minimise the occurrence of harmful behaviors. * Family-focused therapy: Family-focused therapy is aimed towards helping the family and caretakers of the patient. This therapy guides them to identify new episodes early on and help their loved ones. This therapy also enhances communication and problem-solving abilities within the family.   PREVENTION OF BIPOLAR DISORDER:   Even Though there is no sure way to prevent bipolar disorder you can prevent the worsening of mental health conditions. Pay attention to the warning signs and get treated at the earliest. Take the prescribed medication as directed and maintain a healthy lifestyle by avoiding drugs and alcohol.
Bhairavi
13 Jan 2022
8 mins
PTSD: Symptoms, Causes & TreatmentMany people who have suffered trauma undergo a period of stress in their lives. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) refers to an intense physical and emotional response to a traumatic event, like experiencing thoughts and memories of that particular event even after months it had happened. Read further to know the causes of PTSD, symptoms, and treatment of PTSD   WHAT ARE THE COMMON PTSD SYMPTOMS?   The average age [https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/02537176211035074] at which PTSD symptoms appear is 22 years. 88.3% of males and 79% of females who were diagnosed with PTSD had at least one of the symptoms. Following are some of the most common PTSD symptoms:   • Reliving The Traumatic Event:   Are you getting nightmares or recurring thoughts about any disturbing event that you have ever experienced? Memories and recollection can happen at any time without warning and it could trigger you so much that you feel you are living through that event again.   • Avoidance:   Have you ever voluntarily avoided thinking about any particular event? This might be a symptom of PTSD. Avoidance symptom refers to consciously avoiding the place, people or situations that bring back your memories related to that event. Sometimes it could lead to changes in routine just to avoid triggers.   • Exaggerated Negative Beliefs:   After the traumatic event, the way you perceive yourself and others change for the worse. You could have trouble experiencing authentic emotions and end up with lots of guilt and shame, assuming no one can be trusted.   • Feeling Alert All The Time:   Are you constantly feeling angry and alert about any expected danger? This is referred to as an arousal symptom. Arousal symptoms make you feel agitated, tense, startled, and behave recklessly, interfering in everyday activities like sleeping, eating, or concentrating.   • Mood Symptoms:   In PTSD you might feel negative about yourself and filled with guilt and self-blaming tendencies. You isolate yourself from social events and lose interest in things you used to enjoy.   • Other Symptoms:   These include panic attacks, depression [https://www.mrmed.in/health-library/mental-wellness/depression-symptoms-causes-treatment], suicidal thoughts, feeling isolated and inability to complete mundane tasks.   HOW DO PTSD SYMPTOMS SHOW UP IN CHILDREN?   Children and teens may not experience symptoms the same way as adults. This is because children have extreme reactions to trauma that can be witnessed through the following symptoms: * Bedwetting even if the child knows how to use a bathroom. * Inability to talk or forgetting how to talk * Being strangely clingy to a parent or other adults. * Acting out the traumatic event while playing.   WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF PTSD AND WHO GETS MORE AFFECTED?   Ever wondered why some people are more vulnerable to PTSD while others are not? The truth is, not everyone who experiences dangerous situations develops PTSD in their lives. Here are some of the most common causes of PTSD: * Exposure to dangerous events or trauma. * Getting hurt or witnessing other people get hurt or killed. * Helplessness or extreme fear. * Having nobody to support you after the trauma. * Additional stress that burdens the trauma. * Family history of mental illness or substance abuse. * Physical or sexual assault.   TREATMENT OF PTSD:   Sometimes PTSD symptoms go away on their own within three months. However, if the event that caused the trauma was severe, life-threatening, the symptoms do not go away on their own. The person may get recurrent thoughts of past trauma where they feel that they cannot just “get over it”. This is when it is advisable to contact a qualified mental health practitioner immediately.    Why suffer in silence when you have solutions? It is better to seek treatment for PTSD rather than suffering. If you feel that you have PTSD symptoms, reach out to a mental health practitioner experienced in treatment of PTSD. There are various treatment methods including psychotherapy, medications, or both.  1. Psychotherapy:   Psychotherapy is a system of talk therapy where a mental health professional will provide education and guidance about the disturbing event in a safe way so that you can identify the source of the trigger and change the troubling emotions, thoughts and behaviours.   a. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:   Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is one of the most effective treatment methods for post-traumatic stress disorder. This technique consists of cognitive processing therapy (CPT) and Prolonged exposure therapy (PE).  * In cognitive processing therapy, you will learn how to identify trauma-related thoughts and change them in such a way that it is a lot less damaging. * Prolonged exposure therapy is where you talk about the disturbing event over and over again until those memories no longer upset you. When you are exposed to the triggering event in a safe way, it helps you in managing your fears. b. Stress Inoculation Training (SIT):   Stress inoculation training (SIT) consists of a combination of skills such as relaxation, stopping the thoughts and positive self-talk. These techniques help you to manage PTSD symptoms better.   c. Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprogramming (EMDR):   EMDR treatment involves thinking about the images and events that are triggering you. Your health practitioner will guide you to do this by making you move your eyeballs from side to side. 2. Medications:   Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI):   SSRI medications raise the levels of serotonin in your brain. They reduce symptoms of PTSD and make you feel better. They help you control feelings of sadness, anger, worry and emotional numbness. Some of the most commonly prescribed SSRI medications are: * Venlafaxine * Sertraline  * Fluoxetine * Paroxetine    HOW TO HELP YOURSELF WHILE SUFFERING FROM PTSD?   Good things take time. With time and proper help, it is possible to get better and thrive. Here are some ways to support yourself: * Discuss your treatment options with your healthcare advisor and follow the treatment plan. * Spend quality time with family and friends you trust and discuss the things that trigger you. * Try to follow a routine for food, exercise and sleep. * Avoid alcohol and smoking. * Be aware that your symptoms will improve gradually and not instantly. * Set realistic goals and perform tasks according to your abilities.   Get Proper Help And Guidance To Overcome PTSD:   Treatment of PTSD is not a one-size-fits-all phenomenon, and sometimes in certain places, people could experience recurrence of symptoms. Some people recover from PTSD symptoms within three months, while others might take a longer time. Therefore, it is crucial to stay in touch with your mental health practitioner to formulate a plan and deal with the recurrence of PTSD symptoms.  
Bhairavi
12 Jan 2022
7 mins
Ten Major Causes Of Mental Stress“People are disturbed not by a thing, but by their perception of a thing” – Epictetus (Greek Philosopher)   Increasing demands makes stress common in our lives. Frequent mental stresses can lead to chronic health conditions. Don’t let a problem create another problem. Try to be more optimistic and flexible in approaching a problematic situation.    Let’s talk about the causes of mental stress and the common reasons behind them.   1. Workplace stress: For many people, stress at work is the biggest stress in their lives. Even though workplace stress is common, being frequently stressed can affect both mental and physical health. There are various things responsible for stress at work.    Being unsatisfied with the job, working too much, harassment or discrimination in the workplace, conflicts between co-workers or higher officials, high targets, slow career progress, insufficient incomes, or lack of recognition are some of the common causes of workplace stress. According to a recent article, 55% of India’s employed professionals [https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/55-of-indias-employed-professionals-are-feeling-stressed-linkedin/articleshow/86834803.cms] experience workplace stress.   2. Relationships: Like Fawn weaver said, “Happily ever after is not a fairy tale. It’s a choice.” Relationships are the soul of life, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be stressful. The most common reasons that lead to stressful relationships are lack of effort from other people, arguments and disagreements, and being busy spending time with each other.    The number of causes of mental stress is high in romantic relationships. In today's life, social media triggers people to compare their lives to other people's success, relationships, etc. This may lead them to feel inadequate and low self-esteem leading to mental stress. 3. Job loss: Job loss is a sudden and disruptive change. It is one of the significant causes of mental stress. Losing a job puts you at lots of challenges. Questions about the future, and financial management, especially when there is a health crisis, can leave you depressed and hurt.    You may feel betrayed and powerless. Emotions can be overwhelming. With the right coping techniques, you can ease your stress and move on with your life. Stop being hard on yourself and develop a network for new employment.  4. Grief and stress: The death of someone you love is, of course, the biggest stressful thing. Going through shock, confusion, and prolonged periods of sadness is very intense. As time goes, most people can recover naturally through social support and healthy habits. Some people may need the help of mental health professionals to recover. Know about the symptoms and treatment of clinical depression [https://www.mrmed.in/health-library/mental-wellness/depression-symptoms-causes-treatment].   5. Financial troubles: Common situations which can cause financial stress is job loss, unexpected medical expenses, increased costs of living, and inability to pay the debt. Financial stress can negatively affect relationships with others. Worrying about financial problems constantly can also result in mental stress. 6. Influence of personality: Being pessimistic, less flexible, unrealistic expectations, inability to accept the things which can’t be controlled and rigid thinking are causes of mental stress. Certain people respond more negatively or positively to stress triggers.   The attitude and perception of a person lets him/her see a situation as minor discomfort or stressful event. And also, a situation that looks stressful to someone may be fun to others. For example, some people enjoy talking on stage while others find it stressful to even stand up on stage. 7. Childcare: The factors which lead to parenting stress are a busy schedule, low levels of social support, being a single parent, a child with medical or emotional problems, and economic background.    Excessive parenting stress can make you less sensitive to children and can lead to poor parent-child relationships. It may affect a child’s health and development. 8. Traumatic stress: Examples of traumatic stress include natural disaster, theft, assault, rape, severe accident, and war. People under traumatic stress may experience emotional and physical symptoms that disturbs their mental health.   9. Major life changes: Diagnosed with a severe illness, divorce, unhappy marriage, imprisonment, injury, retirement, or moving to a new home are some of the major life changes that make a big impact on your mental health. Some people struggle to cope up with these sudden and significant  changes in their life which results in mental stress. 10. Stress from caregiving: While taking care of loved ones with injury, illness, or disability; you might feel exhausted and overwhelmed at a certain point of time. Constant worry, tiredness, and spending maximum time in caregiving may make you lose interest in  activities you used to enjoy.    Too much stress can harm your mental and physical health. When there are things you can’t change or there are no clear answers, all you have to do is accept. Focus on what you are able to do and seek social support.   TAKE IN CHARGE OF YOUR MENTAL STRESS   How we perceive and respond to a cause of stress largely impacts our ability in handling it. So, try to avoid unrealistic expectations and negative mental attitudes. Surround yourself with people who are supportive and positive. Know more about the causes of mental stress and assess what to expect in solving the problem. Whatever might be the problem, you can handle it without getting stressed by following many healthy ways. This might relieve your mental stress.    
Guruvigneshwari