Category Archives: Anxiety

Speech Anxiety and its Treatment Options

Hi all! Hope you are doing well. Today we will be discussing about the treatment options available for speech anxiety. Do you know what speech anxiety is? Glossophobia or speech anxiety is the fear of speaking in public or speaking in general. The term Glossophobia is derived from the Greek word “γλῶσσα glōssa meaning tongue and φόβος Phobos
meaning fear or being afraid.

The symptoms of Speech Anxiety or Glossophobia include heightened anxiety levels before speaking in public or at the thought of the same, avoiding social gatherings, social phobia, and palpitations, blurred speech, disturbed speech, fumbling, instability in speech, feeling thirsty, frequent urination, profuse sweating, isolation, feeling panicky, restlessness, physical distress and mental instability.

Speech anxiety is an overwhelming experience for those who become a victim of it. Its like you want to say something or express your feelings-thoughts-emotions, but you cannot do it due to the anxiety glued to it. The connection between the body and mind does not seem to be in a balance in glossophobia or speech anxiety. Since speech anxiety involves different categories of symptoms viz. verbal, non-verbal, physiological and psychological… Sometimes it is difficult for some to decide the right professional to approach for the treatment of speech anxiety. Due to the different dimensions of problems/symptoms it is challenging to diagnose speech anxiety at the first place.

Therefore, it is very important to consult a mental health professional if you suspect that you are facing speech anxiety symptoms. Here is an overview of the kinds of professionals who can help you to deal with speech anxiety or glossophobia:

Psychologists

With an extensive training and experience in the field of clinical psycho-diagnostics and psychopathology, psychologists are the main health professionals who can help you to overcome speech anxiety with greater efficacy. Psychologists use different kind of psychological therapies and counseling to help you with the same. Some examples of psychological therapies that they use to help people deal with speech anxiety are:

  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
  • Behavior therapy
  • Exposure therapy
  • Counseling
  • Client-centered Therapy/counseling
  • Family and support therapy (if needed)
  • Relaxation training

Psychiatrists

If the speech anxiety or glossophobia is due to chemical imbalances, neurochemical disturbances or hormonal imbalances, then psychiatrists are the best persons to help you in this regard. Psychiatrists provide pharmacological interventions or medicines to correct the chemical imbalances that may be causing speech anxiety and its co-morbid symptoms.

It is seen that if you have moderate to severe speech anxiety then taking medicines as well as psychotherapies will give you great relief and long-term protection from relapse.

Speech-language Pathologists or speech therapists

Speech therapists or speech pathologists provide therapies to correct the speech or language defects/problems arising due to speech anxiety. If the speech anxiety causes marked fumbling, stammering or stuttering then the speech therapist can help you with fluency shaping techniques along with effective reinforcement strategies.

Vocal/verbal/spoken language trainers

Starting from personality development to confidence building, from vocabulary to articulation, from voice modulation to effectual expression… Vocal or verbal trainers also play a vital role in helping you deal with glossophobia or speech anxiety. They use wide array of methods that would help you to harness your positive skills and groom your personality in a unique and dynamic manner. Other than this vocal trainers also provide training in aspects like how to control your voice and speech in different situations, how to use the right words at the right place, how to build a good vocabulary, how to carry yourself confidently in social situations, how to speak clearly and in an error-free manner, how to influence and mesmerize the minds of the crowd with your speech skills, voice control, word articulation, correct pronunciation… Language/vocal trainers would help you in an all-round manner.

So folks! If you are suffering from speech anxiety or glossophobia then please don’t hesitate to seek help from professional who are already well-equipped and experienced to help you. With the regular practice of therapies and self-improvement, speech therapy can be dealt with in a significant manner.

Tips to Raise Psychologically Healthy and Happy Kids

Hi folks! Hope you have read my blog on “Stress and Anxiety in Children”. This blog is a continuation of the blog. In this blog I would be helping you with some effective techniques to raise psychologically healthy and happy children. So here we go:

  1. Create a safe and happy environment around your home: The more your home environment is safe and jolly for your child, the more psychologically healthy he/she will be. A good and balanced home environment fosters sense of security, self-confidence, sound physical health and overall sense of well-being in a child.
  2. Appreciate your child: Like us, children also want to be appreciated for their achievements and actions. No matter how small or silly your child’s act is… Try to be generous in appreciating your lil’ champ. Appreciation improves self-concept and self-esteem in your child. It also helps him/her master new skills, focus, a well-defined personality and motivation.
  3. Spend quality time with your kid: Even in your busy work schedules, stress and pressures try spending quality time with your child. Talk about your day, try to connect with your child, know more about him/her, try to inculcate a good value system in your child and show your love-warmth-affection. Some parents think that spending time with their kids is like a duty. If you are also thinking like this, then you need to understand that more than a duty it should be a priority. You child is the blessing of your love… The innocent, pure and Heavenly expression of what you and your partner created. So never fall behind in expressing to your child how much you love him/her and what he/she means to you.
  4. Make every corner of your home speak your heart out: If you are a working parent or a busy homemaker, then try to communicate your love and affection plus the way you want your child to be in alternative ways. Hanging family pictures or good times spent with your child on the walls, decorating your home with your kid, inspirational wall hangings, etc are some of the effective and interesting ways to communicate the right message to your child.
  5. Be an active listener: Even if you are a kind of person who wants to talk more and listen less, try to listen to your child as much as you can. Sometimes children convey messages that are very important in their lives and development. If you miss out these important points, then this may lead to serious complications.
  6. Do not discuss or enter into conflicts in front of your child: Children are very sensitive and their minds are very perceptive too. They tend to record and sink into each and every thing they observe. This creates their thinking and responding styles. So, if you fight or create conflicting situations with your partner, your child gets very psychologically disturbed. It shatters his/her thought-world, makes him/her confused, isolated, depressed, aggressive, hostile and he/she develops many personality deficit. So, the rule of the thumb is, try to keep conflicts at bay. Discuss and try to resolve the issues when your child is not around. “Treat others the way you want to be treated”.
  7. Supervise your kid while socializing, watching TV and during exposure to such social/media aspects: I have seen many parents allowing their children to watch TV or socialize without proper guidance. In this process sometimes children are exposed to violent scenes and other negative things that convey the wrong messages to them. This leads to a negative and unhealthy psychological reaction in your child and makes him/her susceptible to mental health issues too. Try to sit with your child and supervise him/her in such situations so that they understand and learn the right things.
  8. Do not compare or underestimate your child in front of others: Let me ask you a question: Would you like a scenario in which someone despises or underestimates you, points your weaknesses and flaws? No, right? If someone does this, you would obviously feel bad and dejected. The same thing applies to your child too. Try not to discuss or say about your child’s weaknesses or flaws in front of others. Never compare your child with another too. This destroys his/her self-confidence and puts a very negative impact on your child’s personality, thinking patterns, etc. It makes him/her more depressed, confused, stressed out, isolated and anxious. I am sure you won’t like that to happen.  Your child is the most precious possession you have and is gifted with his/her own unique qualities. So try to recognize and acknowledge that. If you want your child to work on his/her weaknesses, instead of telling it to others, make your child sit with you and both of you plan and workout on how the weaknesses and problems can be sorted out.
  9. Understand the difference between reinforcement and punishment: Reinforcement leads to positive outcome while punishment leads to negative reactions and behavior If you want your child to give up a bad habit or something negative, then try to reinforce and shape a desirable behavior rather than punishing him/her.
  10. Be a parent cum friend cum role model for your child: Love and guide like a parent, support and understand like and friend and be an inspiration for your child like a role model. This will help your child to develop into a fully-developed human being with the greatest gifts of a sound physical health, a well-balanced mental health and it will help your child to grow into a fully-functioning individual.

Becoming parents and parenting are different facets of helping your children grow. Anyone can become a parent, but to foster effective parenting that boosts a good psychological well-being in your child is a challenging aspect. Parenting is an art. The more creative and careful you are, the more worthwhile children you would gift to this world.

Stress and Anxiety in Children

Children are the purest form of innocence, truth, beauty… and one of the best creations on the Earth. Without children our lives would have been colorless and lifeless. Childhood is the most fascinating phases of human life. Starting from the babbling of a baby to the happy chuckles of a toddler; children make the world more bright and bountiful.

However, in the weary dreary world of today, your tiny tots are becoming the innocent victims of the rat race of competition, zooming fast-paced lifestyle, demands of successful living and the changing societal norms. The way children are oscillating between a competitive world and the environment encircling them, is making them fall prey to many physical and psychological ailments. Among them, the most common problems are Childhood Stress and Anxiety. The lifetime prevalence rate of Childhood Anxiety is about 25.1%. The number is still increasing at an alarming rate. Owing to this, I would be discussing about the technical know-how of childhood stress and anxiety so that you can save your child from the clutches of these problems and suffering.

Causes of Childhood Stress and Anxiety

  • Genetic effects
  • Environmental factors
  • Competition and thriving towards achievement
  • Parental expectations
  • Parental conflicts
  • Peer pressure, and pressure from academic staff
  • Hormonal changes, life transition and lifestyle patterns
  • Need for self-development, self-concept, self-esteem and striving to come at par with the norms and roles of the society.

Problems caused due to Stress and Anxiety in Children

  • Poor performance in academic activities
  • Social withdrawal and need to stay isolated
  • Physical discomfort in the form of palpitations, sweating, frequent urination, trembling, speech anxiety,nightmares,  bed-wetting, panic attacks, disturbed sleep, diet changes, etc.
  • Lack of concentration and focus, problems in memory and complex cognitive skills like decision-making, etc.
  • Depression and suicidal ideations/attempts
  • Lack of self-esteem and confidence
  • Lack of emotional bonding with parents, relatives or care-givers or children may become more panicky and clingy on the flip side.

Children are like sponge soaked in water. They are very sensitive towards their surroundings and easily soak what is said or done to them. That is why, it is very necessary to bring up your children in the most delicate yet effective manner so that they don’t fall prey to the childhood psychological ailments. They have their entire future in front of them. So let us all build our children’s lives in such a way that they can reap a beautiful and meaningful future ahead.

If you want to know more about positive parenting and how to build your child’s life so that your lil’ champ leads a happy, healthy and fulfilling life… then check out my next blog folks!!!

Best wishes,

Sareeta

Test your Emotional World

Emotions play an integral part in the sun and shade of your life. If you are emotionally strong then no one and nothing can disturb or defeat you in the crossroads of life. However, if you are emotionally weak, then probably you may encounter innumerable problems day in and day out.

Your emotions are thus, the gateways to your happiness or sadness, peace or feelings of agitation, positivity or negativity in general. How is your emotional world then? Are you emotionally strong or weak? Are your emotions healthy or need improvisations? Take the test below to find out ad explore your emotional world:

Test your emotional world

  • Do you consider yourself as being emotionally sensitive?
  • How would you relate yourself: Emotional or easy-going?
  • Do your friends or relatives call you “an emotional fool”?
  • How do you react when you see a negative event in front of you: Do you get hurt easily? Do you burst into tears? Or do you hold yourself strong?
  • What is your problem-solving strategy: Do you tend to use your heart or mind more? Do you look into emotional descriptions or practical solutions?
  • What do you like more:  natural scenery or a logical word-game?
  • What do you like to do when you are alone: Would you like to listen to some soft, soothing music, or go partying with your friends?
  • Do you enjoy being alone or do you like to be around people?
  • How do you sleep: Do you like to sleep in your own free style or do you like cuddling a pillow or a soft toy?
  • Do you consider yourself as being an introvert or an extrovert?
  • How would you describe yourself: Calm, quite or excited and full of energies?

Psychologists say that if you consider yourself to be an emotional person, if you are sensitive towards your feelings and surroundings, if you like soothing music and staying isolated… Then you are an emotional person. If you like to cuddle up a pillow or soft toy while sleeping, if you can easily get hurt or burst into tears, if you are calm-quite-introverted and like natural sceneries… Then also you tend to be quite emotional.

Being an emotional or emotionally sensitive person has its own positive aspects. The depth and clarity of your emotional can adorn you with many positive and higher values of life. Your emotions and their abundance can make you pure-hearted, loving and caring, philosophical, understanding, empathetic and sincere. However, at times people may take undue advantage of your emotions and goodness. So, you need to beware of it and see that you are emotionally safe.

On the other hand, if your emotional strength is higher, if you are a practically oriented person and live life through your mind rather than your heart, then you have amazing strength, energies and vitality. You tend to have excellent planning – coordination – decision-making skills. You tend to be attention-seeking at times. And you have top-notch leadership qualities too. Your emotional strength and practical approach makes you a leader and helps you to help people who need your support.

Therefore, folks!!! Emotions have an extraordinary potentiality to give shape and direction to your life. The more emotionally healthy you are, the happier you will be. Emotional health is very necessary for all-round development in life. Your emotional world in a way defines you and your entity.

The world of emotions is sensitive, beautiful and is filled with astonishing life-changing potentials. The more you know about your emotions and the effectively you handle them… The easily you will be propelled towards overall sense of health, happiness, success, peace, contentment and well-being!!!

Mood Swings in Everyday Life

Moods manifest themselves in manifold hues and shades. Sometimes you may fell happy, while sometimes sad; at times you may feel irritated and at times elated. Different internal and external stimuli in your life lead to the expression of your moods in different ways. It is so interesting, isn’t it? If you maintain a mood diary and write about the varied kinds of moods you underwent on a given day, you will find amazing variations in it. Without our feelings, emotions and moods life would have been so mundane and automated. Moods add meaning and significance to life as a whole.

Do not get confused between moods and emotions. Moods are less intense in nature and can be either of a positive valence or negative valence. However, emotional reactions are much more intense and long-lasting. Etymologically, the word mood is derived from the Old English mōd which means military courage. It also refers to a person’s disposition, temperament or humor at a given period or particular time. Moods are of psychological importance as they play a vital role in regulating one’s daily life functioning. Your moods have significant influence on your personal life, social interactions, peer group interactions, professional life and your entire life ‘n’ lifestyle as a whole. Therefore, it is very important to recognize your moods, understand them and keep them under your conscious control.

Mood has to be controlled. Otherwise, it’s your master.” – Toba Beta, My Ancestor Was an Ancient Astronaut

Factors Influencing Moods

There are several factors that influence your moods and mood swings. Some of the pivotal ones are:

Factors Influencing Moods Descriptions
Lifestyle A good, well-balanced and healthy lifestyle leads to happy and healthy mood states. An unhealthy lifestyle makes you agitated, irritated, restless and mentally unstable
Diet Some foods and flavors like hot, spicy and tangy ones lead to moods of negative valence
Sleep If you do not get a good night’s sleep, if you are experiencing hypersomnia or hyperinsomnia… then these sleep problems are very likely to make your mood states unstable and lead to mood swings
Social Mood Sometimes your moods are influenced by the societal behavior or the crowd that you are in. If the people around you are in a good mood, you will feel the same too and vice versa
Medical Conditions Hormonal imbalances, menstrual cycles, PMS (Premenstrual symptoms), pregnancy, menarche, menopause, psychological medical conditions like depression, mania, etc are seen to influence your moods in different ways
Positive vs Negative Moods Positive and negative moods are also seen to play a vital role in the maintenance and regulation of moods. They are also influential in mood swings.

Mood swings are subjective in nature. Everything in and around you can radically alter your mood system. Passing or flunking an exam, getting loved or losing a loved one, falling sick or feeling healthy… Variations in your experiential world take you in a tour of different moods and mood swings. Sometimes understanding your moods and dealing with mood swings is easy. However, if you are unable to deal with mood swings, handle your moods or going through a medical condition that is influencing your moods then try the following tips and techniques:

Identify your moods

Many people don’t even realize the kind of mood they are experiencing or the fact that they are going through a mood swing! So, the first step towards controlling or dealing with your moods is to identify your mood tone. Are you happy or sad… are you feeling alright or emotionally restless—-try to ask yourself such questions and identify the tone and valence of your moods.

Release your moods

If you have a habit of bottling up or hiding your emotions or reactions, please don’t do so. If you are experiencing a mood and its reaction try to express it in adaptable ways. The more you bottle up or hide your moods, the more restless and agitated you will feel. This may also lead to severe mental health issues in future. So, if you are happy then smile, if you are sad then feel free and shed a few tears—-it’s quite natural.

Identify the triggers

There must be something that would be aggravating your negative moods or mood swings. Therefore, you need to identify the triggers and deal with them accordingly.

Lifestyle

Eat healthy, sleep well, exercise, socialize with good people… In short maintain a good lifestyle. The healthier your lifestyle is, the healthier your moods will be.

Seek professional help

If you are frequently experiencing negative moods or mood swigs, then it could be due to a medical or psychological condition. In such a case, it is wise to seek professional help. Psychologists and psychiatrists can help you to effectively deal with it.

Phobia and its Brain Chemistry

Phobia and its Brain ChemistryFear can make a moth seem the size of a bull elephant.” – Stephen Richards, Releasing You from Fear

Close your eyes for a moment and try to imagine the following situations: gasping for breathe in a crowded or closed place, trembling with fear prior to public speaking, panicking with dread be seeing heights and water, experiencing palpitations and profuse sweating by seeing animals… Well, you must be thinking that what is so great or wrong in all these stuff, right? As in what is wrong with closed places, water, innocent animals, heights or public places??? Well, for many people it may seem silly, but those are the difficult symptoms one goes through when he/she experiences phobic episodes.

Phobia is technically defined as an intense, irrational fear. You can develop phobia towards animals, insects, heights, water, closed places, public places and virtually anything that has the potentiality to trigger phobia within you. Before telling you the brain chemistry related to phobia, let me take you towards a quick tour on the causes and symptoms of phobia.

Causes of Phobia

  • Genetic Causes: If there is a family history of phobia
  • Observational Learning/Modeling: Sometimes one tends to develop phobia by seeing others reacting with intense fear towards a particular thing or situation.
  • Life Events: If a life event is too traumatic to bear, then the event or similar situations related to it can potentially trigger phobia symptoms.
  • Problems in coping: Lack or ineffective coping with different life events and situations can also cause phobia
  • Apprehensions and anxiety: Sometimes phobia is also created due to our speculations or apprehensions, without the situation/thing being a threat in reality.
  • Abnormalities in the brain: Maladaptive functioning of the brain chemicals or neurobiological elements can also trigger phobia.

Symptoms of Phobia

Physical Symptoms

  • Restlessness
  • Palpitations, shortness of breathe
  • Profuse sweating
  • Frequent urination
  • Changes in sleep and diet patterns

Psychological Symptoms

  • Intense fear
  • Feelings of anxiety
  • Social withdrawal
  • Depressive feelings
  • Apprehensions

So folks, we looked into the basics of phobia, its causes and its symptoms. Though phobia is caused by genetic factors, situational factors and so on, abnormalities in the brain chemistry or functioning also leads to phobic reactions in some cases. Let me tell you how:

We all have a brain center known as “amygdala”. Its shape is like an almond. It is linked to the brain’s perception of fear. Amygdala has an area called, lateral nucleus. This lateral nucleus is associated with fear responses. The amygdala is also a storehouse of emotional memories too. So what goes wrong and causes the brain to cause phobic reactions in an individual? Subsequent studies and findings have shown that brain lesions and damage to the amygdala cause phobia to a significant level. Other brain areas related to phobic causes or reactions are hypothalamus, hippocampus, and brain stem and so on. Damage to those areas due to any accident or medical cause can trigger specific phobias of different kinds.

Phobia caused due to abnormal functions of the brain is usually treated through an amalgamation of psychotherapies and biomedical drugs. Gone are the days when irrational intense fear was considered as untreatable and overwhelming to bear. Today, advancement in the treatment models of psychological disorders has changed the entire scenario of treatment and well-being. With the help of professional help you can deal with phobia in an effective manner and lead a normal life ‘n’ lifestyle. In the beginning, things may seem devastating to bear and overcome. But, once the treatment process starts, the road to recovery becomes smooth and steady.

When you explore your fears then you set yourself free.” – Stephen Richards, Releasing You from Fear

Online Treatment of Emetophobia – The Intense Fear of Vomiting

EmetophobiaHave you seen someone extremely afraid of vomiting, sickness or feeling nauseated every time? The intense fear of vomiting, fear of throwing up in public, feeling pukish under stressful and anxiety-provoking conditions… is known as emetophobia. It is derived from the amalgamation of two Greek words, viz. εμετός or emesis meaning to vomit and φόβος, meaning phobia or intense irrational fear.

I had a client of mine who would feel pukish under stressful conditions, while leaving home and in social settings. His phobia was so intense that he would eat ice cubes, chewing gum in order to pacify himself. In worst cases, he would also hold ice cubes in his hand to feel good. Emetophobia is not restricted to any certain age group. Starting from childhood to old age, it can affect people of any age range.

Emetophobia can seriously impair normal life functioning if it is not properly treated. Sometimes it presents itself with comorbid symptoms like agoraphobia, social anxiety, stress, fear of flying etc. Women in the reproductive age are pregnant women are among the worst sufferers of emetophobia. Since it is associated with vomiting, it makes the pregnancy phases even more difficult. You will be surprised to know that some women avoid getting pregnant due to profound emetophobia symptoms. They fear the vomiting episodes during pregnancy and morning sickness too.

Therefore, emetophobia is a serious condition for the ones who suffer from it. Not only the victims, but also the caretakers of emetophobia sufferers also have a hard time in helping them and dealing with them. Now, let us look into the pathological aspects of emetophobia:

Causes of Emetophobia

  • Possible traumatic experience with vomiting.
  • Experience of childhood abuse (physical/sexual).
  • Anxiety and its profound symptoms.
  • Lack of a sound locus of control or sense of self-control.
  • Environmental factors and effects one’s surroundings.
  • Illness, pregnancy or alcoholism.

Emetophobia is caused due to several reasons and each and every age group is vulnerable to it.

Symptoms of emetophobia

  • Restlessness and anxiety
  • Digestive upsets
  • Feeling nauseated or need to vomit
  • Palpitations, profuse sweating
  • Stomach pain

Though the symptoms may seem only a few in numbers, they are too difficult to bear. Sometimes, emetophobia is so severe that the patient falls into a trap of depression and suicidal tendencies.

Treatment of Emetophobia

This is another aspect that will surprise you even more. Usually people suffering from any psychological or physical ailment feel better by taking medications. But, emetophobia is one such condition in which people avoid taking medicines. Since some medicines lead to feelings of nausea and vomiting, therefore patients with emetophobia often avoid taking medications. In exceptional cases, some feel well after starting medicines, some also do well after taking gastrointestinal medicines too.

Effective treatment of emetophobia however, comprises of psychotherapies and counseling. Exposure therapies, systematic desensitization, behavior therapy, cognitive behavior therapies, etc. are the ones that are most beneficial in the treatment of emetophobia.

Emetophobia is a very critical ailment to bear and overcome. It affects one’s personal, educational, social, professional… almost all the dimensions of life. Therefore, people suffering from emetophobia need your empathetic understanding and care.

Are You Suffering from SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder?

seasonal-affective-disorderDo you experience depression pangs only during summer or winter? Do you find your mood to be fluctuating only during the winter and summer months? If yes, then it may be due to SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder. Seasonal Affective Disorder is also known as winter depression or winter blues; or summer depression or summer blues. It occurs almost at the same time every year. The symptoms of SAD appear for some time and then fade off. The incidence of SAD is quite common ranging from 1.4% in Florida to 9.7% in New Hampshire. Norman E. Rosenthal and his colleagues, who belonged to the National Institute of Mental Health, did the formal recognition and naming of SAD.

What causes SAD?

Want to know what exactly causes SAD? Well, interestingly the process of hibernation is the main reason that causes Seasonal Affective Disorder. Of course, we do not hibernate like the animals do… But the tendency to hibernate is present in every species in a dormant manner. It becomes active as and when required. Activity decreases during the winter months because of the scarcity of food and the extreme weather conditions. Though you may find food to it during all the seasons, yet the environmental conditions may make you feel low and sloppy. Changes in the environmental conditions have a great influence on human body and behavior. It is often considered that SAD is the residual symptom of some remote ancestor who had a tendency of hibernation response.

Apart from this the presence of the amount of light and clouds in the atmosphere and environment also play a vital role in the development of SAD. It is more common in the Arctic region, Northern Finland etc. Lack of exposure to proper light influences the brain and body chemicals. If you are not exposed to proper light conditions then your circadian rhythm may also suffer, resulting in SAD.

Incidence Rate of SAD

Region Incidence
Arctic Region (e.g. Northern Finland) 9.5%
US Population 14.3%
Florida 1.4%

In a nutshell, light and weather conditions play a vital role in the incidence of SAD. Therefore, the treatment interventions of SAD are also based on this aspect.

Symptoms of SAD

Winter and Summer SAD have their own characteristic symptoms. Let me tell you some of the predominant symptoms of the same:

Symptoms of Summer SAD

  • Restlessness and Anxiety
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Changes in appetite, usually decreased appetite
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability and anger
  • Social withdrawal

Symptoms of Winter SAD

  • Feeling low, sad and dejected
  • Increased appetite
  • Changes in diet and sleep patterns
  • Social withdrawal
  • Need to stay isolated
  • Lack of energy
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Difficulty in concentration and attention
  • Difficulty in completing work
  • Emotional numbness

Management of SAD

The treatment and management procedures of SAD depend on the season one is affected on. If you are suffering from winter blues, then along with medications and therapy you will be given light exposure therapy too. If you are experiencing summer SAD, then the treatment processes include anti-depressants plus psychotherapy.

Best Wishes,

Sareeta

HIV/AIDS Effects on Mental Health: Depression and Anxiety

HIV AIDSWe live in a completely interdependent world which simply means we cannot escape each other. How we respond to AIDS depends, in part, on whether we understand this interdependence. It is not someone else’s problem. This is everybody’s problem.” – Bill Clinton

HIV/AIDS… What is the first thought that comes to your mind when you hear or come across this word? Is it fear, apprehension, stigma, discrimination, anxiety, depression, stress? Well, you may get mixed reactions and feelings when you hear this word. The repercussion of HIV is much more than the nomenclature itself. If you have ample knowledge or awareness about it then it is a good thing. But, if you do not know much about it then it may disturb you knowingly or in unknowing silent ways. Before getting into the mental health aspects of HIV/AIDS let me tell you quickly about its general information:

HIV/AIDS stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. It is caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV is the primary form of infection while AIDS is full blown HIV infection. It starts with influenza-type symptoms and then progresses into different opportunistic infections. People living with HIV/AIDS have to check on two things. One is the CD4 count while the other one is ART. Since HIV weakens the white blood cells, so the CD4 count is very much important. The less the CD4 count in blood, less will be the immune power of the infected person. If the CD4 count is very less, then the person will have to start the Anti-Retroviral Treatment or ART. Therefore, knowing about HIV/AIDS and how it can be managed is very important.

The whole incidence of HIV/AIDS; the physical, psychological and social effects of it and above all the stigma and discrimination attached to it are sometimes overwhelming to bear for the ones who are suffering from it. People living with HIV/AIDS come across many challenging situations that exert a lot of negative effect on their mental health too. Some of them are:

Depression

Depression is one of the common aftermaths when one comes to know that he/she is HIV positive. This brings in different symptoms like low moods, feelings of isolation, suicidal feelings, changes in sleep and diet patterns, lack of socialization and so on. Depression is very important to be dealt with in HIV/AIDS cases. Because if one does not come out of it, then it becomes very difficult for him/her to manage the symptoms of HIV.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Getting anxious over everything and any thing is the characteristic feature of GAD. Sometimes, people living with HIV/AIDS experience GAD symptoms too.

Death Anxiety

Despite of being tested HIV Positive; one of my clients (while I was working as a full time counselor for PLHIV in India) always did home-based HIV test till he breathed his last. Death anxiety is also one of the common issues that PLHIVs face right from the moment they are tested positive. This is quite obvious because who would want to die out of illness and drudgery?

Hallucinations and Delusions

Along with making the immune system weak and leading to various bodily opportunistic infections, HIV/AIDS also affect the brain chemistry and mechanism. That is why some people suffering from HIV/AIDS also experience hallucinations, delusions, clinical mental health ailments, etc.

Apart from the above mental health ailments that I have said, people living with HIV/AIDS have to deal with multitude of stressors and pressures, frustration and challenges on an everyday basis. This is due to their own personal thought patterns, the others who are related to them, their professional side, prejudice, social stigma and discrimination.

We respect your confidentiality and dignity.

Best Wishes,

Sareeta

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): The Clinical Perspective

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): The Clinical Perspective

“Our anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strengths.” 
― Charles H. Spurgeon

24/7 anxiety about anything and everything…in technical terms this is known as “Generalized Anxiety Disorder” (Acronym: GAD). There are times when you would feel anxious about certain event like an examination, a presentation, a blind date or an interview etc. These are common situations in which almost everyone tends to shiver with fear or apprehension. But, GAD is something more profound. People with GAD get anxious about anything and everything. They worry a lot about health, money relations, illness, death, profession…..virtually everything that life beholds.

When you would come across such people you would understand that they are too much worrisome and tend to apprehend worse than the worst. Living life with GAD is not easy. It is challenging from the one suffering from it as well as his/her care-takers. What makes it difficult is the high anxiety level that interferes in the daily life living or functioning of the individual.

Often GAD is misdiagnosed and misunderstood as an Anxiety Disorder. Therefore, it is very important to know and comprehend GAD from the clinical perspective. Let us look into some of the clinical signs and symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

Physical Symptoms:

•    Trembling
•    Tiredness or fatigue
•    Sleep disturbances (Insomnia)
•    Palpitations
•    Shortness of breathe
•    Numbness in hands and feet
•    Excessive sweating
•    Hot flushes , rashes and excessive perspiration
•    Body aches and muscle tension

Psychological Symptoms:

•    Excessive worry, irrational fear
•    Continuous negative apprehension about events and life situations
•    Restlessness
•    Agitation and fidgeting
•    Insomnia
•    Irritability
•    Difficulty in concentration
•    Mind going blank due to worry and tension

Surveys state that in a given year approximately 6.8 million American adults and 2 percent of European adults suffer from GAD. Not only this, gradually GAD is also spreading its ill-effects in many other parts of the globe. So, it is considered as one of the most prevalent mental health issue of the era. Do you know why and how GAD is caused? Well, there are several reasons for it. Some of them are:

•    Genetic predisposition or family history

•    Neurochemical disturbances in the brain

•    Excessive use of caffeine or dependence on caffeinated drinks

•    Long-term use of psycho-pharmacological drugs (especially benzodiazepines)

•    Situational factors like a job interview, prolonged sadness, stress and tension, etc

If you or someone related to you are experiencing the above mentioned symptoms, then you should immediately seek appropriate treatment. With regular and proper treatment GAD can be managed and rooted out up to a substantial level. Many treatment interventions are available for GAD treatment. Some of them are through use of medications, behavior therapy, commitment therapy, relaxation therapies and so on.

However, one of the best treatment interventions for GAD is Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). CBT treats your mind as well as your behaviour (physiological symptoms included). This is the reason why it is regarded as the most effective form of psychotherapy for CBT. It can be imparted by a Clinical Psychologist or a well-trained CBT Therapist. With the increase in popularity of Information Technology and given to the rush and commitments in everyone’s life…

Best Wishes,

Sareeta