Warning Signs of Mental Illness and Where to Turn

Mental illness is very common in the United States today. The National Mental Health Institute states that about 26.2% of the population in the United States, or about 57.7 million people, has some kind of mental illness. About 6% of the population has severe mental illness. Mental illness is the major disabling factor in the United States today for adults from 18 to 44 years of age.

“Mental health problems” actually strike everyone at some point in his or her life. Whether it’s an acute but temporary episode of depression caused by the death of a loved one and eases on its own and without professional intervention, over time or the more lasting clinical depression that needs professional intervention and treatment.

“Mental illness” is defined as a disease that causes detrimental changes in behavior and thought that interfere with an individual’s life. Unlike acute episodes of stress or depression brought on by life events (but which nonetheless can themselves benefit from intervention such as a temporary course of medication or work with a therapist, if distressing enough), these changes are prolonged and interfere with an individual’s normal functioning.

Before mental illness is diagnosed, physical problems that may cause symptoms should be ruled out and treated, such as an under- or overactive thyroid. Once any physical causes are ruled out, though, mental illness should be considered a possibility and appropriate treatment sought if any of the following symptoms occur in adults:

  • Thinking becomes disorganized and not clear
  • There is prolonged depression or sadness present (can either be related to a precipitating event such as the death of a loved one or come “out of the blue”)
  • The person exhibits periods of extreme or worsening depression, followed by periods of increasing and extreme excitability, euphoria, energy and/or engages in impulsive behavior such as excessive and inappropriate spending
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Excessive anger out of proportion to the situation at hand
  • Excessive worrying or being overly anxious or fearful
  • Inability to handle normal daily tasks or to function “as usual”
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Denial that there’s any problem when confronted
  • Physical illnesses or complaints with no medical basis
  • Abuse of drugs, alcohol or other mood-altering substances

In children, symptoms can include:
  • A drop in grades or other uncharacteristic changes in school performance
  • Poor grades even when effort is applied
  • Expressing anxiety or worry, such as a refusal to go to bed or unwillingness to go to school
  • Having frequent nightmares
  • Frequently disobeying or showing anger or aggression
  • Having temper tantrums past the appropriate age (i.e., school age)

For adolescents, symptoms can include:
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Inability to handle “everyday” problems or perform daily activities
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Physical illnesses or complaints with no medical basis
  • Engaging in truancy, theft or vandalism or “excessively” defying authority beyond normal teenaged rebellion
  • Obsession with gaining weight
  • Protracted moodiness or depressive behavior, perhaps with changes in eating or sleeping and/or with thoughts of death or suicide
  • Excessive anger out of proportion to the situation at hand

There is help if you or someone you love is suffering from any of the above symptoms and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. The National Alliance on Mental Illness has resources to assist you in finding help local to you.

Visit http://www.nimh.nih.gov/healthinformation/gettinghelp.cfm for more information, and/or http://mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/databases , offered by the federal government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, to find help in your area.

Disasters, Trauma & Your Mental Health

Disasters and trauma are an unfortunate part of life. Every person is affected differently by a trauma, but none the less, disasters ultimately will have some sort of impact on just about everyone. Different factors determine how a disaster or trauma will affect one’s mental health. Broaching the subject of “mental health” still carries a stigma for some, but there is nothing to be embarrassed about. Realizing what normal feelings and reactions may result from a trauma is the first step in determining if one needs professional help.

What exactly constitutes a “disaster” or a “trauma”? That truly depends on the person. However, the following is a list of such known occurrences:

  • Various accidents
  • Physical, emotional or sexual abuse
  • Neglect
  • War experience
  • Alcoholism
  • Illness, surgery or disability
  • The death of a family member of friend
  • A natural disaster

Obviously, this list is in no way conclusive, but meant as a help for someone experiencing intense emotions due to a traumatic experience.

After someone experiences a traumatic event or disaster, they may feel a whole host of emotions. Most will feel some level of anxiety, grief and/or anger. Other normal experiences after such events include shock, inability to focus, difficulty making decisions, loss of appetite of overeating, crying, headaches and difficulty sleeping. These responses are normal and some are to be expected. Over time, these negative emotions should lessen.

But for some, these emotions and disturbances don’t lessen over time. The following list is a brief example of warning signs that you may need to contact your health provider and seek professional medical help to alleviate your distress.

These signs include:
  • Continued nightmares and thoughts about the event
  • Inability to stop thinking and ruminating about what happened
  • Continual avoidance of thoughts, feelings or conversations that remind you of the event
  • Inappropriate avoidance of places or people that remind you of the event
  • Fearful of the future
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Easily startled or “jumpy”
  • Overly concerned about safety
  • Having intense feelings of guilt, worthless or hopeless
  • Not enjoying activities you once enjoyed
  • Any thoughts of death or suicide

When these feelings are so intense that they affect your daily ability to function, that also is a strong indicator that professional help is in order. Even if the trauma occurred years ago, you may have never fully overcome it. Professional health providers can help diagnose potential underlying problems or prescribe medication that can significantly improve your daily life.

It may even be the case that you have been diagnosed with anxiety, depression or even phobias without realizing that trauma is the cause. It has recently become accepted to look at traumas and disasters as serious causes of mental illness. If your current diagnosis and treatment are not delivering the results that you want, make an appointment with your health provider. Don’t give up on your treatment. Life events occur and can cause great pain and significant emotional disturbances, but these events need not dictate your life. Give yourself time to heal, but do seek professional treatment if your symptoms are significantly disturbing your daily life.

Frozen Shrimp Plus Angel Hair Pasta Makes Easy Diet-friendly Meal

Negative Calorie Foods

Negative calorie foods are those that need more calories to metabolize than the calories they have. For example, if you eat an apple, which has about 65 calories, your body spends about 100 calories in digestion. That is, the body loses about 35 calories in the process and results in weight loss to that extent. Therefore, the apple you have eaten is a negative calorie food. Normally, when you eat any food, your body burns anywhere between 150 and 250 calories, on an average, for its digestion. So if the food you eat has more than 250 calories, say 350 calories, then your gain in weight is equivalent to 100 calories, which represent the excess calories contained in the food eaten over the calories used up in the digestion of that food. Negative calorie foods result in net loss in terms of calories for the body and, naturally, cause weight loss.

Can I lose weight with negative calorie foods alone?
Based on this theory, negative calorie foods have gained immense popularity as means of losing weight quite effectively. However, considerable controversy surrounds the theory. Negative calorie diets attract criticism because of several factors that go against them. There are people who overeat negative calorie foods under the mistaken notion that they will not gain any weight, but instead, they can lose their excess weight faster that way. There is another wrong notion that negative calorie diets work for weight loss, without any physical exercise being included in the weight-loss program. There is no conclusive evidence based on scientific studies that negative calorie foods work the way they are believed to work. Negative calorie foods are only vegetables and fruits, so it is rather difficult to depend exclusively on them, even if you are a vegetarian.

On the other hand, supporters of negative calorie diets say that they are the only diets that work in fact for weight loss, while the other diets never work. You can always add other foods like fish or lean meat to a negative calorie diet containing fruits and vegetables, and they will not fail.

Starvation diets are, they say, a myth, as starvation or skipping meals will only slow down the metabolism in the body, which holds on to its stored fat in times of food deprivation, but will not result in weight loss in the long run. Fat-free and low-fat diets also do not work; speeding up metabolism is the only way for losing weight. There is no end, however, to the criticism directed against one diet or the other.

Almost all negative calorie foods contain antioxidants. They are also full of vitamins and minerals. Most of them possess properties beneficial for preventing diseases and promoting good health.

One can list more than a hundred negative calorie foods that really help you to lose weight. You must incorporate a lot of physical exercise in the negative calorie diets for them to work much better.

Like most others, you may be in search of a wonder weight loss program, which is easy and quick, which works painlessly, which is safe without side effects, which does not put you through unpleasant and strenuous physical activity, which does not deprive you of your favorite dishes and so on, but negative calorie foods do not meet all your conditions.

How Honey Can Help You Stay Young

Honey is a great antioxidant. Studies conducted on the beneficial properties of honey have established that it protects the skin from the harmful effects of UV rays. Honey also helps in the rejuvenation of the skin. Free radicals resulting from the metabolism in your body when oxidized are responsible, along with other things, for ageing. Being a natural and superb antioxidant, honey fights the free radicals and decelerates ageing. You can either consume honey or apply it topically to reap its many benefits.

Honey has a high sugar content, moderately high acidity and therefore low pH and low protein quantity. Add to these its antioxidant property and the presence of Hydrogen Peroxide in it, and you have a wonderful anti-bacterial and anti-microbial agent in honey.

To stay, feel and look young, you should have to maintain your face, your skin and your hair. They must have a good and young appearance. Honey will help you do this extremely well. You may not have either the time or the mood to spend a lot of money to go to a spa but that’s okay because honey provides you with an easy and effective alternative.

Honey in history

Legend has it that even since the times of Cleopatra, honey has been used for enhancing and maintaining one’s youthful looks and beauty. As you grow in age or when affected by exposure to unfavorable environmental factors, your skin tends to lose its elasticity, softness and supple character. Honey is a good natural product with excellent properties for restoring these very qualities to the skin. It has the capability of retaining and maintaining the moisture in the skin. Honey inhibits scaling and smoothes the wrinkles on the skin. Because of this, the skin looks naturally young.

Uses for honey

Mixed with some other things, honey can work as a facial mask, a hair conditioner and a skin clarifier. To make dry skin smooth, apply a mixture containing four tablespoons of honey and three tablespoons of milk. After about ten minutes, rinse the skin for a smoother look. Mashed apple mixed with five tablespoons of honey is good for tightening your skin. These mixtures can be topically applied anywhere, face, neck, arms or anywhere you need a healthy skin boost.

Of course, you can use also honey alone. Apply it directly on your skin when it is rough, scaly or dry. Leave it in place for a few minutes and then wash it off to find revitalized skin.

Home facial
A recipe for a home facial consists of two egg whites and about three to four tablespoons of honey. You can make a paste out of these with the help of a little flour. Liberal application of the paste on your face and washing it off with lukewarm water after ten minutes or so will leave your face look squeaky clean.

Honey can be used as a hair conditioner too. Combine ½ cup of honey with ¼ cup of olive oil and add a few drops of the oil of rosemary. Apply this to your hair and hair roots. Leave it for about 30 minutes and then rinse well. You may also use a good shampoo to wash your hair. You will be left with excellently conditioned hair.

How Eating More Often Can Help You Eat Less

Instead of eating three big meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner, at approximate intervals of four to six or seven hours, it is always better to eat four to six smaller meals at shorter intervals, say of two to three hours. You may wonder why eating more often contributes actually to eating less or to weight loss.

Lighten the load

Your digestive system works more efficiently on a lighter load. You overeat, overload the digestive system, and see what happens. It slows down considerably. In addition, if you overload the system frequently, it may result in indigestion, which in turn might lead to other health problems. In other words, your metabolism will work favorably for your weight problem when you eat less more often.

Your energy levels drop when the intervals between meals are too long. If you wish to work continuously at peak energy levels keep supplying the digestive system with small amounts of nutritious food every three hours or so.

Starvation or eating too little too infrequently is not at all a solution to your weight problem. Your body holds on to its fat content in that case. If you eat smaller meals of the right type (food that contains proteins, carbohydrates and even a little fat) more frequently, your body burns more fat or more calories than it takes in, resulting in a net loss. It may seem to be the impossible, but it is true.

Steady does it

When your blood sugar levels increase, you have less craving for food. Eating frequent small meals keeps the sugar levels constantly at a high level and you actually eat less ultimately. Low blood sugar levels are accompanied by hunger and you rush to nearest vending machine for that soft drink or lemonade laden with high-fructose corn syrup or other sugar which are turned right to fat, just adding to your weight.

Heavy and infrequent meals make you inactive and lethargic. You might have had the experience of feeling like resting after a heavy meal. You have to be as active as possible during the entire day for weight loss. For this, small meals will be very helpful, as you won’t ever feel stuffed.

Being busy throughout the day, you may not pay enough attention to eating for long hours. In that case, you will feel the calorie-deficiency, and are likely to feel tired. Stress levels also might rise. When you finally get time for food, you have a great tendency to binge. You might not care much for your diet at that time.

Healthy eating in small quantities more frequently will help lower LDL cholesterol, according to some scientific studies. Remember physical activity and exercise will only add to the beneficial effect of small meals on the bad cholesterol levels.

You will certainly get used to eating less and eating more often, if you make eating more frequently a habit. Perhaps you will then have to make a conscious effort at finding more about nutrition and the various foods you would eat in small quantities for good health. Allotting more time for more frequent meals becomes necessary and that itself gives you an opportunity to focus on important weight and health issues that many people do not make the time for.

How to Cope with Failure and Frustration

Failure is defeat and the opposite of success. Everyday, we are likely to experience failures of various degrees, some very insignificant but some others major. We constantly attempt to do or achieve something as part of our daily lives. We are happy and elated when we succeed, but depressed and downcast when we fail. Most of us may be able to somehow cope with the day-to-day minor failures rather easily at least with a little patience and effort. We may tend to forget them quite easily. However, they can hurt and we may need reinforcements to help overcome and cope with these failures and frustrations.

When some major devastating failure strikes you, you have to deal with the experience. A feeling of incompetence may wash over you. You lose your self-confidence. Your self-esteem plunges to an unfathomable low. Life suddenly loses its verve and enthusiasm. You feel weak and helpless, as your situation appears very hopeless. You may think that your very survival is worthless. Some people get so depressed due to their failure that they may go to the extent of giving up their lives.

Therefore, you have to learn to cope with failures, whether small or big. One of the things you can do in this regard is to anticipate failure as a possible outcome, notwithstanding your best efforts for success. Realize that failures are an unpleasant fact. Be prepared to accept them, without being overwhelmed by them in a negative way. While you do your best for success, you should remember that in a world of competition, your best efforts may fall short in rewarding you with the desired outcome.

Learn to look at them as occasions that provide an opportunity for improvement and analysis. Remember, they can really work for your future success, if you care to learn the lessons they teach. Treat failures as passing phases of your life, maybe essential phases that help you in modifying your subsequent actions that might lead you on to a more satisfying and successful path later on.

One must realize that any learning situation is fraught with frequent and even repeated failures, which unfortunately result in creating a sense of frustration. Children have to be made aware of the fact that failures are only an indication that they have attempted to exceed themselves in the process of their learning and that they are sure signs that they are indeed learning properly. This way the effects of frustration due to repeated failures will not be damaging. They will then take failures in their stride.

Accept responsibility for your failure. Searching for a scapegoat and blaming an external factor or another person for your failure will not reduce your pain in any way. It only betrays a weakness of the mind and a lack of appreciation of the limits of your own abilities. If you accept that nobody else need be blamed for your failure, you can actually strive better in future and even taste success because of your heightened effort.

Learn to cope with failure with the same sense of humility that should mark your success. Sometimes, you may need external support to help you deal with your failures and frustrations. Seek it. Learn to face failures with courage and without wilting under the stress of frustration that they cause.