The subjectivity related to the field of mental health has a lot to do with the many different versions of a particular mental illness. Someone with MDD may by suffering from a decreased appetite and sleep, while another person with atypical depression may be experiencing an increased appetite and sleep. Mental illness may affect everyone differently even if the diagnosis is the same. That’s why we cannot assume that we understand what everyone is going through. . .
For children and adolescents, staying at home may not be so bad; they get to play more video games, read more books or indulge in whatever activity they always craved when they used to be in school. But I’m sure some adolescents are also feeling depressed as they cannot gather in their social cliques as frequently as they used to. There’s no doubt that social distancing is increasing the rate of depression worldwide.
As countries begin easing out lockdown, we are entering a world of new normal. If you think your life is going to be just like it used to be before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country, you are probably mistaken. The researchers are trying hard to develop a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine as quickly as possible. But meanwhile, we need to be extra careful and be mentally, emotionally, and physically prepared to manage life amid coronavirus scare. This definitely entails drastic changes in our daily routines and habits, and at the same it requires some constant and continued efforts on our part as well. Here are a few things that we have to keep in mind as we now enter the post-lockdown phase. But before that let’s first remind ourselves that the purpose of lockdown, among other things, was to raise public-awareness about how grave the COVID-19 situation is. Therefore, even after the lockdown gets over, we cannot let our guard down just yet because the virus is still around.
Frequent reminders: As the lockdown ends, we are going back to our jobs and businesses. So we are now bound to spend more time outside our house, working, commuting, etc. As the activities become regular and part of our daily routine, complacency may set in leading to carelessness in following the health guidelines in all seriousness. We may no longer wash our hands as frequently as before or may overlook wearing mask or observing personal distancing while talking to our co-worker. This could increase our chances of exposure to the virus. Therefore, what we need is constant reminders. Placing sticky notes on your computer at work-place for reminding you of staying safe by wearing face-mask, gloves, or using sanitizer, can be of great help in this regard. Make sure that these reminders are conspicuous enough to grab your attention.
The office-management should place such reminders at various places in the office, such as on every table of the office canteen, inside and outside common restroom, at the entry and at each employee’s desk. You can also set wallpaper on your phone and computer to remind you of following the preventive measures set by the health department.
Herd-Behavior: Once you go out to work after lockdown, you are at risk of falling prey to a behavioural pitfall called herd-behavior, which could be more dangerous if you are surrounded by people who are a bit easy-going. Herd behaviour is a phenomenon where an individual’s thoughts and behaviors get aligned to what majority of the group thinks or behaves. Being aware of this phenomenon will help you stick to your beliefs and actions and maintain healthy behavior. Challenging herd behavior will require recognition of the phenomenon and being ready to stand out.
A new normal: Post-lockdown, you are going to enter a world of new normal where you have to greet your colleagues and seniors at work-place from a distance and without a handshake; you have to stop touching your face to avoid infection; and you have to limit socializing with your family and friends. All of these are easier said than done because these are habits that we have acquired over a long period of time and making a change in them requires a constant effort. However, until there is any cure for corona, we have no other way but to accustom ourselves to this new normal. During this phase, we might also have to add an activity or two, to our daily routine, such as taking a second bath as we come back home from office, before joining our family members. Remember all this will take time to become part of our daily repertoire, so a few slip-ups are bound to happen, which could add embarrassment to the self or bring quick judgement from others. Don’t let it affect you and cause anxiety. Remember! a habit takes on an average two months to form. So don’t let a few goof-ups derail you or demoralize you.
Don’t get offended: We also need to be more accepting of our friends and relatives who turn down our offer of a quick meet-up in order to maintain social distance. Don’t criticize them for being overly cautious. Remember! when your friend or a family member chooses to maintain distance from you, it is not just for his or her own safety, rather it shows the concern for your safety as much. So, next time when your office colleague wishes to sit on a table at some distance from yours for lunch, don’t get offended; rather appreciate and respect his wish to maintain social distancing. Don’t let this temporary phase affect your permanent and long-term relationships with your colleagues, friends, and family members.
Beware of the Health-Belief Model of Perceived Susceptibility: You also need to be aware of the health-belief model that prevents people from following a healthy lifestyle or giving up a risky health behavior (smoking, drinking, etc) even though a competing evidence is present, as they believe that they somehow are not at risk or it cannot happen to them. The same goes for coronavirus situation too. Therefore, don’t let this belief set in that you probably will not get COVID-19. You will have to constantly challenge this belief and remind yourself of this belief model.
Follow the Health-Belief Model of Perceived Severity: There is another health-belief model of perceived severity which suggests that individuals who perceive a given health problem as serious are more likely to engage in behaviors that prevent health problems from taking place. Accordingly, if you keep considering coronavirus a serious health condition, you will probably engage in behaviors that prevent it from occurring.
Don’t panic, take responsibility instead: Now that the lockdown is gradually being lifted in various parts of the world, the responsibility of fighting this pandemic lies with you. At present, you are the controller of the behavioral choices you make and it is up to you whether you choose to follow the government advisories or not. This is the time to show your real self. Take this responsibility with full determination and don’t panic. Believe that you have every control over the situation as long as you follow the guidelines. Having a sense of control will prevent undue worry, stress, and anxiety. Remember! post-lockdown, the control lies with you.
Don’t neglect: As we fight this deadly pandemic, we might be neglecting some other health conditions that warrant our equal attention. Psychological impact of COVID 19 alone requires a great deal of attention and need to be addressed as soon as possible. Anxiety, panic attacks, depression, risk of self-harm, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are some of the common outcomes of any natural disaster, COVID-19 being no exception. Some of you might have postponed your regular visit to your physician at the cost of your physical well-being. Whatever may be the case, it is imperative that you seek professional help to deal with your psychological or physical issues in order to ensure that your mental and physical health doesn’t suffer amid this COVID -19 crisis.
Those of you who have watched Joaquin Phoenix’s Oscar-winning performance in Joker, would agree that one of the most striking traits of Arthur Fleck’s character is his uncontrollable laughter. Although the movie never names the specific conditions Fleck is diagnosed with, his fits of laughter are likely based on a real disorder called pseudobulbar affect.
Pseudobulbar affect (PBA) or emotional incontinence is a condition characterized by episodes of uncontrollable laughing or crying or some other emotional displays. PBA may occur in people with neurologic disorder such as multiple sclerosis or brain injuries, or stroke. As the involuntary outbursts can last from seconds to several minutes at a time, PBA can feel extremely alienating for the person living with it. Patients may find themselves crying or laughing uncontrollably at something that is only moderately sad or funny, respectively. These laughing or crying periods not only land the patients up in uncomfortable situations, but are also exhausting and painful too. Severe symptoms of PBA can lead to embarrassment, social isolation, anxiety, and depression. The condition can be quite disruptive to the patient’s life but fortunately, it is treatable. As with any sharp shift in mood, the most important thing to do is consult a professional as soon as possible.
You’d be surprised how many people suffer from depression. People who you would never expect to experience depressive symptoms, may have been suffering for years. Depression is not always how we envision: someone who appears sad, disheveled, does not talk much and appears tearful all the time. Being open about depression is something that we should all be doing.
Coffee is seemingly beloved by everyone. Over half of American adults drink the brew every day, and hundreds of millions of cups are drank every day in the USA alone. Whether you make coffee using coffee makers like these or. . . [. . .]
Sadness In The Shadows
Depression is like an invisible dark cloud that hovers in the stratosphere, looming all around us and ready to attack when in our weakest states of mind. The invisibility of depression can be observed through the actions of those affected: avolition, abulia, apathy, anhedonia and more. Sadness in the shadows is much more common than you would think.
We all experience sadness at some point or other in our lives. Pondering on the sad thoughts and feelings again and again, can keep people from overcoming sadness. For those who are suffering from depression or are going through an emotionally tough phase, it becomes all the more difficult to stop feeling the way they are. Sometimes, such individuals feel frustrated at why they can’t just stop feeling sad or why can’t they just snap out of their sadness. Another difficulty they face is that other people around them believe the former have control over such emotions, not realizing that a depressed or sad person doesn’t enjoy being sad or unhappy and that he himself too wants to feel good but is somehow unable to do so. It is, therefore, important for all of us to understand that emotions don’t work as simply as we expect them to; and so, you can’t just put a stop to the emotion of sadness altogether. However, what you can surely do is to pause the feelings of sadness, anxiety, guilt, anger, or feelings of being worthless for some time. Here are a few ways that can help you overcome sadness and make you feel better; these may be considered components of your first-aid kit:
1. Distract: A significant characteristic of depression is rumination. A person who is feeling sad or depressed often ruminates on negative thoughts which, in turn, increases the feelings of sadness. To get rid of the habit of ruminating, you should try to distract yourself by watching TV, reading, listening to music or anything that you find enjoyable. The idea is to keep your mind occupied.
2. Use mantra: You can design your mantra which you can recite whenever negative thoughts come to your mind. This can be a serenity prayer, an inspiring quote, or you can just simply repeat saying OM or one.
3. Physical exercise: There is ample research to prove that exercising helps uplift mood. Exercise makes your body release feel-good hormones called endorphins which help lower feelings of sadness and depression. So when you feel sad or down, go out for a walk or hit the gym.
4. Practice gratitude: Research has shown that being grateful helps increase happiness. So whenever you encounter negative thoughts, focus on the things you are grateful for. Concentrate on what you have rather than what you don’t.
5. Write down your feelings: You can make a pact with yourself that every time a negative thought comes to your mind, instead of ruminating over it you will write them down in a journal and close the book. Give outlet to your feelings without overthinking.
6. Let things take their own course: Sometimes, when you try to control things, they take control over you. So rather than trying to control each and everything, free yourself and let things take their own course. Take things as they come and as they are.
7. Read biographies: Reading biographies of inspiring people will help you learn better coping skills and will help you realize that hardships and difficulties are part of life. What matters is how you perceive and approach them. Taking hardships and difficulties as challenges will definitely change your outlook towards them and will help you deal with your situation properly.
8. Challenge your thoughts: Whenever negative thoughts creep in to your mind, challenge them. Don’t surrender to negative feelings; confront such feelings instead. You will find that most of your thoughts don’t even have any base and are just creation of your mind and imagination.
Chances are the first thing that comes to most people’s minds when they think about depression is depressed mood, right? But while depressed mood is often a major part of depressive illnesses, sometimes it plays a minor role and other times it’s not present at all. The symptoms of depression are (must have one of […]
A new study, published in the journal Psychological Medicine, has revealed that smokers may be at greater risk of developing depression and schizophrenia. The study conducted by a team of scientists from the UK’s University of Bristol has re-emphasized that smoking can adversely affect mental health.
Instead of focusing on whether the smokers had a genetic predisposition to depression or schizophrenia, the scientists used genetic data to observe cause-and-effect relationships with smoking. Robyn Wootton, the study’s lead author, said in a statement, “Individuals with mental illness are often overlooked in our efforts to reduce smoking prevalence, leading to health inequalities. Our work shows that we should be making every effort to prevent smoking initiation and encourage smoking cessation because of the consequences to mental health as well as physical health.”
Data from 462,690 people of European ancestry was examined for this study using an approach known as Mendelian randomization. The latter involves identifying genetic variations associated with a trait, such as depression or schizophrenia, and then testing for those variations against an exposure, such as smoking, in a group of subjects. This enables scientists to examine whether this relationship is causal or not.
The scientists concluded that whereas smoking increased the risk of depression and schizophrenia, individuals with depression and schizophrenia are also more liable to smoke. The authors, however, noted that the association was weaker in those with schizophrenia. The team further found that smoking also increases the risk of bipolar disorder, in another Mendelian randomization study published in September 2019. The scientists recommended that psychiatric hospitals be made smoke-free to prevent harmful effects on mental health.
On the other hand, a retired consultant psychiatrist and honorary professor at University College London and Queen Mary University of London, David Curtis, although not involved in the study, interprets its results differently to the authors.
Curtis says he doesn’t think it’s plausible that smoking acts directly on the brain to increase schizophrenia risk, and the results likely show the effect of mothers’ smoking when they were pregnant—a risk factor for schizophrenia. “So what we are likely seeing is that the mothers of people with schizophrenia were at a higher genetic risk of smoking, smoked during pregnancy and thereby increased the risk of schizophrenia developing in their children,” Curtis said in a statement. “And of course they would then also pass on an increased genetic risk of smoking to those children, which is what this study is picking up,” he added.
According to a Lancet Psychiatry Commission report published in July 2019, people with mental illness die up to 20 years earlier than the general population. Another study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry in January 2018 found that the use of either marijuana or cigarettes is related to a greater risk of psychotic-like experiences in teenagers. Psychosis is a mental condition characterized by a disconnection from reality causing hallucinations or delusions.
You might be thinking it is easy to spot signs of depression in people, but that is not the case at all. In fact, there are lots of different types of depression…
In trying to cope with the debilitating symptoms of depression, people often turn to vitamins, supplements, herbs, or home remedies first. And it’s no wonder — such efforts to alleviate symptoms are often far less expensive and easier to obtain. For some, it may be a part of their rationalization that their depression “isn’t all […]
For many years, Psychology, following in the footsteps of Medicine, was preoccupied with the alleviation of suffering. A worthy objective, but the treatments were focused on how to reduce depression or anxiety, not how to increase happiness. Does not feeling bad equate to the same thing as feeling good? If someone is no longer feeling […]
1. Grief comes and goes, but depression is unremitting.
—Kay Redfield Jamison
2. Depression is a prison where you are both the suffering prisoner and the cruel jailer.
3. Depression is frustrating. It’s knowing there’s so much to be grateful for and happy about and to enjoy, but you just can’t get there.
4. Depression begins with disappointment. When disappointment festers in our soul, it leads to discouragement.
5. Depression is rage spread thin.
6. If depression is creeping up and must be faced, learn something about the nature of the beast: You may escape without a mauling.
—R. W. Shepherd
7. Negative thinking patterns can be immensely deceptive and persuasive, and change is rarely easy. But with patience and persistence, I believe that nearly all individuals suffering from depression can improve and experience a sense of joy and self-esteem once again.
—David D. Burns
People with depression experience symptoms that affect their mood, cognitive function and physical health. Depression is a serious disorder marked by disturbances in mood, cognition, physiology and social functioning. People can experience deep sadness and feelings of hopelessness, sorrow, emptiness and despair. These core features of depression have expanded to include an inability to […]