What is Biofeedback Therapy? for Migraine and Chronic Pain etc.

I was never aware of this type of therapy so thought an interesting topic to include for information. It especially received my attention when it mentioned chronic pain such as migraine/headache treatment. 

Biofeedback therapy involves training patients to control physiological processes such as muscle tension, blood pressure, or heart rate.

These processes usually occur involuntarily, however, patients who receive help from a biofeedback therapist can learn how to completely manipulate them at will.

Biofeedback is typically used to treat chronic pain, urinary incontinence, high blood pressure, tension headache, and migraine headache.

The three most common types of biofeedback therapy are:

  • Thermal biofeedback – which measures skin temperature
  • Electromyography – measures muscle tension
  • Neurofeedback – measures brain wave activity

Biofeedback is particularly effective at treating conditions brought on by severe stress. When a person is stressed, their internal processes such as blood pressure can become irregular. Biofeedback therapy teaches these patients certain relaxation and mental exercises which can alleviate their symptoms.

Therapists can measure a patient’s performance by attaching electrodes to their skin and displaying the processes on a monitor. Eventually patients learn how to control these processes without the need to be monitored.

During a biofeedback session, electrodes will be attached to the patient’s skin, which sends information to a monitoring box. The biofeedback therapist reads the measurements and through trial and error singles out mental activities that help regulate the patient’s bodily processes.

Sessions are typically less than an hour long – most people will begin to see positive results after 8 sessions. However, some patients may need a as many as 50 sessions.

The remainder of this post @

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/265802.php

 

Study says: CBT Showing Significant Reduction in Chronic Pain

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is a helpful CBT intervention that improves outcomes in patients attending a rheumatology pain rehabilitation program

Summary:  Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, a form of cognitive behavioral therapy that focuses on psychological flexibility and behavior change, provided a significant reduction in self-reported depression and anxiety among patients participating in a pain rehabilitation program, new research has demonstrated.

This treatment also resulted in significant increases in self-efficacy, activity engagement and pain acceptance.

To assess the potential benefits of an 8-week programme of group Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in people with persistent pain, measures of pain acceptance and activity engagement were taken using the Chronic Pain Acceptance Questionnaire. Measures of psychological distress using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and self-efficacy were also taken at assessment, on the final day of the programme, and at the follow-up six-month review.

For those chronic pain patients with scores at all three-time points, there were statistically significant improvements in all parameters between baseline and at six months follow-up, including the change in mean score of depression, anxiety, self-efficacy, activity engagement and pain willingness (p<0.001).

“To further validate the role of ACT in the treatment of chronic pain, specifically in a rheumatology context, a randomized controlled clinical trial that includes measures of physical and social functioning within a Rheumatology service would be desirable,” said lead author Dr. Noirin Nealon Lennox from Ulster University in Northern Ireland.

ACT is a form of CBT that includes a specific therapeutic process referred to as “psychological flexibility.” ACT focuses on behaviour change consistent with patients’ core values rather than targeting symptom reduction alone. Evidence for this approach to the treatment of chronic pain has been mounting since the mid-2000’s. A previous systematic review had concluded that ACT is efficacious for enhancing physical function and decreasing distress among adults with chronic pain attending a pain rehabilitation programme.

In this study, patients were referred into the ACT programme by three consultant rheumatologists over a five-year period. Over one hundred patients’ outcome measures were available for a retrospective analysis.

Source: European League Against Rheumatism

Article source: ScienceDaily.com

 

PTSD ~ Are you highly sensitive?

Hypervigilance | Highly Sensitive

This describes me.  As a person with PTSD, I always feel “on guard”, and automatically scan a room if it’s a gathering with friends, a crowd of people or anywhere outside my home.  Perhaps it’s a trust issue or maybe I don’t ever feel completely comfortable. Does this describe you?

Study shows: Chronic Pain showing in adults with Anxiety or Depression

In a survey of adults with anxiety or a mood disorder like depression or bipolar disorder, about half reported experiencing chronic pain, according to researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. The findings are published online in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

“The dual burden of chronic physical conditions and mood and anxiety disorders is a significant and growing problem,” said Silvia Martins, MD, PhD, associate professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, and senior author.

The research examined survey data to analyze associations between DSM-IV-diagnosed mood and anxiety disorders and self-reported chronic physical conditions among 5,037 adults in São Paulo, Brazil. Participants were also interviewed in person.

Among individuals with a mood disorder, chronic pain was the most common, reported by 50 percent, followed by respiratory diseases at 33 percent, cardiovascular disease at 10 percent, arthritis reported by 9 percent, and diabetes by 7 percent.

Anxiety disorders were also common for those with chronic pain disorder at 45 percent, and respiratory at 30 percent, as well as arthritis and cardiovascular disease, each 11 percent.

Individuals with two or more chronic diseases had increased odds of a mood or anxiety disorder. Hypertension was associated with both disorders at 23 percent.

“These results shed new light on the public health impact of the dual burden of physical and mental illness,” said Dr. Martins. “Chronic disease coupled with a psychiatric disorder is a pressing issue that health providers should consider when designing preventive interventions and treatment services — especially the heavy mental health burden experienced by those with two or more chronic diseases.”

Article source: ScienceDaily.com

Image: cherished79.com

 

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Best ways to cope with Panic Attacks

image: pinterest.com consonantlyspeaking.com

A panic attack is a sudden rush of physical symptoms — like shortness of breath, muscle spasms, and nausea — coupled with uncontrollable anxiety and sometimes a sense of impending doom. Visits to the emergency room and desperate late-night phone calls to doctors often result, as do test results that often reveal nothing. If you’ve ever had a panic attack, you can probably empathize with the frustration and hopelessness of not knowing exactly what happened.

By educating yourself about panic attacks, you can begin to gain control of the problem. You don’t have to live in fear and uncertainty any longer. We’ll get you started on your journey toward well-being.

Accepting a panic attack for what it is can help to lessen its effect. To start feeling in control of your anxiety, make an appointment with your doctor and get a full physical exam. This will help you focus your approach, as you’ll find out for certain that you’re coping with panic attacks and not some other ailment. A clean bill of health can also help alleviate irrational fears of dying and doom, which can surface during a panic attack.

Also, your doctor can differentiate between occasional panic attacks and a more serious panic disorder, which may require professional treatment and possibly medication. Working with your doctor, you can also determine if you have a genetic susceptibility to panic attacks and if your episodes are triggered in part by other conditions, such as a thyroid disorder or lactose sensitivity.

Recognize the Symptoms of a Panic Attack

Familiarizing yourself with panic attack symptoms can help you feel more in control while one’s happening. Once you realize you’re experiencing a panic attack and not a heart attack, allergic reaction, or some other serious ailment, you can focus on techniques for calming yourself.

Being able to recognize it for what it is will help you decide what action to take to overcome it.

Although symptoms differ from person to person, and only a trained professional can provide a definite diagnosis, some common ones include:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Choking sensations and nausea
  • Shaking and sweating
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Chest pain and heartburn
  • Muscle spasms
  • Hot flashes or sudden chills
  • Tingling sensations in your extremities
  • A fear that you’re going crazy
  • A fear that you might die or be seriously ill

Source: Tips to Cope with a Panic Attack

 

Why is it so difficult to accept Compliments?

Make Someones Day!! PLEASE TAKE A COMPLIMENT Cos you or whoever you are giving to, deserves to be HAPPY! :D | By Lollybug Studio:

I’m notorious for that, receiving a compliment yet responding with something negative because I feel embarrassed receiving the compliment.

Example: I seldom run into any of my co-workers since I went on disability four years ago, and weight loss is noticeable. Several that I have chatted with have complimented me for losing weight and looking terrific, yet my response is “yes, but I have to lose so much more”. Everyone reacts with “Why?”.  Then I panic!

This article was in psychologytoday.com:

Most people like hearing praise but some people bristle when they hear compliments and others downright hate them. What is it that determines whether someone enjoys receiving compliments or whether they turn sour at the first hint of positive feedback?

Compliments and Self-Esteem

More often than not, how receptive we are to compliments is a reflection of our self-esteem and deep feelings of self-worth. Specifically, compliments can make people with low self-esteem feel uncomfortable because they contradict their own self-views.

People actively seek to verify their own perceptions of themselves, whether those are positive or negative. For example, in one study, college students with low self-esteem showed a stronger preference for keeping their current roommate if that roommate viewed them negatively than if their roommate saw them more positively.

In other words, receiving praise from others when we feel negative about ourselves elicits discomfort because it conflicts with our existing belief system. If we believe we’re truly undesirable, hearing compliments about how attractive we are will feel jarring and inauthentic.

If we believe we’re unintelligent, someone lavishing us with praise about how smart we are will feel more like a taunt than a compliment. And if we’re convinced we’re incapable of success, receiving praise about our how capable we are can feel like a set-up for future heartbreak and disappointment.

The Challenge of Complimenting Relationship Partners with Low Self-Esteem

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How to waste a day of vacation and get stuck with a Timeshare

One of my long-time readers on this blog noticed a post on my Niume.com blog and suggested I post it here for all to read.  

The 90-minute tour and presentation lasted for two monotonous hours, followed by tables set up with salesmen in cheap suits and people seated around the sales rep appearing confused.  They transported you by bus from your hotel in a group, therefore, there’s no choice but to linger around until others are leaving.

You’ve sat through pressured pitches for another two hours by 3 different sales reps (the last one was the harshest) and said you weren’t interested at least a dozen times. The stagnant warm air in the room was making you agitated, then suddenly they promised you extras and dropped their price and maintenance fees by $7,000.00. You just wanted to get out of there and it didn’t sound like a bad deal so you signed up for a timeshare and handed over your credit card.  You are also committed to doling out $500 per year for maintenance fees.

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A ‘NERVOUS BREAKDOWN’? what exactly is that?

WHAT IS A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN? WHAT CAUSES PEOPLE TO HAVE THEM?

When I was first diagnosed with depression my mother-in-law termed my illness as a “bad case of the nerves”.  I always shook my head at that one, and questioned, what does depression have to do with bad nerves; an incredibly old belief or judgment perhaps?

The term “nervous breakdown” is used by the public to characterize a wide range of mental illnesses. Nervous breakdown is not a medical term and doesn’t indicate a specific mental illness. Generally, the term describes a person who is severely and persistently emotionally distraught and unable to function at his or her normal level.

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PTSD and Narcissism ~ and that feeling of Emptiness

This article is wonderful explaining the huge impact emotional abuse and narcissism has on a child growing into adulthood.  It’s a bit longer than most of my postings yet well worth the read.

I experienced emptiness during my childhood as a daughter of a narcissistic mother who either ignored me most days or spewed vicious words of criticism and anger. I spent many hours in my bedroom reading, a huge relief from my mother outside my door.  Which was worse, being ignored or the vicious words?  Either way, I felt empty. 

Emptiness:   It’s not a disorder in and of itself, like anxiety or depression. Nor is it experienced by most people as a symptom that interferes with their lives. It’s more a generic feeling of discomfort, a lack of being filled up that may come and go. Some people feel it physically, as an ache or an empty space in their belly or chest. Others experience it more as an emotional numbness.

You may have a general sense that you’re missing something that everybody else has, or that you’re on the outside looking in. Something just isn’t right, but it’s hard to name. It makes you feel somehow set apart, disconnected as if you’re not enjoying life as you should.

People who don’t have it don’t understand. But people who feel it know:

In many ways, emptiness or numbness is worse than pain. Many people have told me that they would far prefer to feel anything to nothing. It’s very hard to acknowledge, make sense of, or put words to something that is absent. Emptiness seems like nothing to most people. And nothing is nothing, neither bad nor good, right?

But in the case of a human being’s internal experience, nothing is definitely something. “Empty” is actually a feeling in and of itself. And I have discovered that it is a feeling that can be very intense and powerful. In fact, it has the power to drive people to do extreme things to escape it.

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Do I want Group Therapy? Yikes!

funny

Most of my therapy has been individual, and I shied away from group therapy due to the fact that I was uncomfortable sharing my problems relating to depression and sexual abuse with a bunch of strangers.  To be honest, my biggest fear was losing it and looking like an idiot if I started bawling my eyes out!   However, I had no choice at the eating disorder program, it was 90% group and about 10% individual therapy.

I loathed it initially, others speaking out about themselves, revealing deep dark secrets that they had been holding onto, and slowly I became to trust them and I opened up.  In short, it was very helpful in my recovery, yet I have to say honestly, I still prefer one-on-one.  Give it a try though, it may suit you.

This article appeared in PsychCentral.com

Individual psychotherapy will always be the staple. It establishes the bond. It explores the ups and downs of that bond and probes the depths of the psychodynamic patterns of that bond and other bonds. It is the primary mode of understanding. It exists of and for itself and is not dependent on anything else. Group therapy is an adjunct to individual therapy.

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Panic Moments: Avoiding people

After years of depression and hospitalizations, I finally returned to the working world.

I worked for my company for six years, left unexpectedly due to “can’t function at this job any longer” depression, resulting in long-term disability over four years ago.

During those years of employment, it was never disclosed to anyone (including supervisors or managers) that I was struggling with a mental illness, namely depression. My reasons were largely due to trust issues and stigma. The lunch ladies weren’t honorable; a bunch of gossipers with loose lips who thrived on spreading news, so I imagined my secret escaping could impact a job loss in the future. Therefore, on my final working day, people questioned why.

Away from this company for those years, I’ve only run into about five colleagues, but then I’m somewhat of a recluse and luckily a quick ‘hello’, or ‘good-bye’ ensued. However, yesterday I was shopping for groceries, passed by my former manager in one of the aisles, but was uncertain if she spotted me or merely strolled by.

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PTSD common in ICU survivors

It never occurred to me that is could happen after an ICU hospital stay.

Image source: http://gentlemenslibrary.tumblr.com/ Operating Room @ Roosevelt Hospital, NY City, 1900

PTSD can drastically impact a person’s ability to communicate and connect with others, truly interrupting their lives and preventing experiences of joy,” says Joe Bienvenu, M.D., associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “This is why our findings are important and why it’s so critical that we continue to research ways to prevent PTSD.”

Similar research was done in years past, but there was much less data at that time. “We now have a larger data set to review and learn from,” says Ann Parker, a fellow in the Johns Hopkins Medicine Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. “These data could help us develop better prevention methods for ICU-induced PTSD.”

Through a systematic literature review, the research team looked at 40 studies of 36 unique patient cohorts with a total of more than 3,000 patients who survived a critical illness and ICU stay. The researchers excluded patients who had suffered a trauma, such as a car crash, or brain injury because those patients’ cognitive and psychological outcomes can be affected by the injury itself, rather than the critical illness/ICU stay. They found that the prevalence of PTSD in the studies ranged from 10 to 60 percent.

More on this article @

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150420144753.htm

 

 

EXPLAINING DISSOCIATIVE DISORDERS

DISSOCIATIVE DISORDERS: are so-called because they are marked by a dissociation from or interruption of a person’s fundamental aspects of waking consciousness (such as one’s personal identity, one’s personal history, etc.). Dissociative disorders come in many forms, the most famous of which is dissociative identity disorder (formerly known as multiple personality disorder). All of the dissociative disorders are thought to stem from trauma experienced by the individual with this disorder.  

The dissociative aspect is thought to be a coping mechanism — the person literally dissociates himself from a situation or experience too traumatic to integrate with his conscious self. Symptoms of these disorders, or even one or more of the disorders themselves, are also seen in a number of other mental illnesses, including post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

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Dissociative amnesia: This disorder is characterized by a blocking out of critical personal information, usually of a traumatic or stressful nature. Dissociative amnesia, unlike other types of amnesia, does not result from other medical trauma (e.g. a blow to the head). Continue reading

8 Things That Scare Clients Away From Therapy

Have you ever had a therapist? Do you know someone who does (or did)?  How long did it last?  If it ended, why did it end?

PsychCentral.com ~~  Sadly, for many clients, their therapy ended because they either lost interest, did not feel they were growing and learning, did not see any changes in their behaviors, thoughts, or emotions, and/or felt the therapist was not benefiting them in any way. Finding a good therapist who upholds ethical practices and who is able to provide clients with competent therapy is difficult. It is even more difficult to find a therapist who is naturally nurturing and caring.

It may take multiple rounds of therapy before a client is able to determine if the kind of therapy they are receiving is either good or bad. By the time a client notices that their therapy is useless, it is too late and much money, time, and energy has been spent. After a bad experience like this, many clients walk away from therapy and never turn back. This article will discuss 8 reasons for why clients refuse to return to therapy after bad experiences. The purpose of this article is to highlight some of the common challenges of therapy and when it is time to say you’ve had enough.

It is a real fact that some therapists and other mental health professionals are unable or unwilling to connect to clients and their problems. Connecting to clients is a job in and of itself. It can be psychologically and emotionally draining. But isn’t that what being a therapist or mental health professional is all about? If you would ask a college student why they are interested in the field of psychology they would most likely tell you they are interested because “I want to help people.” That’s a wonderful thing!

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7 Ways to Avoid Re-Traumatizing a Trauma Victim

I found this article somewhat helpful appearing in PsychCental.com.

Trauma is a complex phenomenon. Many of us have probably experienced an event that we struggle to not only forget, but emotionally cope with. If I were to ask you if you have ever experienced a traumatic event what would you say? Was it severe, moderate, or mild? Was it long-term or short-term? Were you able to easily get over it? Whatever the case may be, a traumatic experience must be an event that we find difficult to cope with over time. Sadly, many people who tend to lack knowledge about trauma fail to recognize that anything a trauma victim comes in contact with can re-traumatize them.

For example, I previously had a client who witnessed his mother slit her throat and commit suicide. Prior to this suicide, the mother had been playing hiding-go-seek outside with all 4 of her children. This child struggled with understanding why his mother would walk away during hiding-go-seek and kill herself. Now, at the age 10, he watches movies with his father that often include crime scenes, murder, and suicide which tends to trigger memories of his mother’s suicide. He is unable to sleep at night, relax, or put the past behind him. Yet, his father is unaware of the reality that he  is possibly re-traumatizing his own son with these movies.

This article will discuss 7 things we, who are close to trauma victims, should be mindful not to do. I will also give suggestions on what we should do instead.

It is sad to say but a large amount of individual, families and parents come to therapy with unrealistic expectations about the therapeutic process. I often have parents and families ask the following questions when they see me for the first time:

  • “How often will he/she see you?” This question is asked because the unrealistic expectation is that if the child/teen sees me more often throughout the week, progress will happen faster.
  • “Will you make him/her talk?” This question is asked because the unrealistic expectation is that I am someone who should make an individual talk about the “bad” things that have happened to them in order to stimulate great progress.
  • “Has she/he talk to you about what happened to them?” This question is also asked with the unrealistic expectation that an individual, who just met me and may be slow to warm up, will open up like a fountain and start talking. Many families often tell the child/teen “your therapist is not going to judge you so just open up.”
  • “Why isn’t he/she talking about what makes him/her so mad?” This question is asked with the unrealistic expectation that if the person talks about their past, they won’t be so angry anymore.

Remainder of this article @
http://blogs.psychcentral.com/caregivers/2015/06/7-ways-to-avoid-re-traumatizing-a-trauma-victim/

(repost)

 

The Mental Illness of Isaac Newton

This statue was shot outside the British Library in London, UK   Image Source:  Wikipedia

It is almost a platitude to acknowledge Isaac Newton as one of history’s greatest geniuses. In all likelihood, his intelligence level outstripped what contemporary IQ tests are even designed to measure. He articulated the law of gravitation, the three major laws of motion, made important discoveries in astronomy, optics and mathematics, making it possible to calculate distances, speeds, and weights. These discoveries laid the foundation for numerous important modern discoveries.

Nevertheless, Newton was not exactly what one would describe as mentally healthy. Exactly what was responsible for his mental suffering is controversial, but many speculate that he suffered from bipolar disorder. Beginning in early life, he was extremely reclusive and spent most of his childhood in solitude, building miniature mills, carts, and machines.

He was neurotic, arrogant, and in later life, prone to fits of explosive rage, which he discharged on family and friends. At one point, he threatened to kill his parents and burn their house down. He was particularly reactive when his work was criticized, which would be the occasion of fits of rage and withdrawal from the scientific community, refusing to speak with scientists who disagreed with him.

Indeed, he was highly introverted and rarely contributed to conversations at all. He befriended only one person at Cambridge and recorded struggles with anxiety, depression, self-loathing and suicidal ideation in his journals.

He would also have periods of intense remorse over his rage, during which time he would list the wrongdoings of which he had become guilty during these periods. With the exception of his niece, Catherine Barton, and the Swiss mathematician Fatio de Duillier, he does not seem to have developed meaningful or deep interpersonal relationships at all.

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Explain Hoarding Disorder & Symptoms

The main feature of hoarding disorder is a person’s irrational, persistent difficulty in discarding or parting with possessions — regardless of their actual value. This is a long-standing difficulty, not just something related to a one-time circumstance (such as having difficulty discarding property from something you inherited from a loved one).Discarding means that the person can’t seem to give away, throw away, recycle, or sell things they no longer need (or sometimes, even want).

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A ‘NERVOUS BREAKDOWN’? what exactly is that?

WHAT IS A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN? WHAT CAUSES PEOPLE TO HAVE THEM?

When I was first diagnosed with depression my mother-in-law termed my illness as a “bad case of the nerves”.  I always shook my head at that one, and questioned, what does depression have to do with bad nerves; an incredibly old belief or judgment perhaps?

The term “nervous breakdown” is used by the public to characterize a wide range of mental illnesses. Nervous breakdown is not a medical term and doesn’t indicate a specific mental illness. Generally, the term describes a person who is severely and persistently emotionally distraught and unable to function at his or her normal level.

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Depression may pass from mothers to daughters

Depression appears to be passed down from mothers to daughters, say researchers who have been looking at similarities in brain structures between generations. The research is published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Around 8% of Americans aged 12 years and over are affected by depression. It is commonly found in both mothers and daughters, previous human studies have reported.

Animal studies in the past have shown that when mothers are stressed during pregnancy, this is more likely to be reflected in the brain structure of daughters than of sons, specifically in the corticolimbic system.

The corticolimbic system is used to assess danger, and it is also where emotions are processed and regulated. It includes the hippocampus, amygdala, anterior cingulate cortex and ventromedial prefrontal cortex.

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Childhood Trauma Tied to Migraine Risk as Adult

Study found witnessing parental domestic violence produced most powerful association

(HealthDay News) — Experiencing a traumatic event during childhood may raise the risk for migraines as an adult, new Canadian research suggests.

“We found the more types of violence the individual had been exposed to during their childhood, the greater the odds of migraine,” study author Sarah Brennenstuhl, from the University of Toronto, said in a university news release.

“For those who reported all three types of adversities — [witnessing] parental domestic violence, childhood physical and sexual abuse — the odds of migraine were a little over three times higher for men and just under three times higher for women,” Brennenstuhl said.

The findings were reported online recently in the journal Headache. To reach their conclusions, researchers looked at data from a mental health survey involving nearly 23,000 men and women over the age of 18.

“The most surprising finding was the link between exposure to parental domestic violence and migraines,” study co-author Esme Fuller-Thomson, a professor and chair at University of Toronto’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, said in the news release.

Girls who had witnessed parental domestic violence grew up to be women with a 64 percent greater risk for migraines, compared with those with no such history. For men, the bump in risk amounted to 52 percent, the investigators found.

And the team noted this association held up even after taking into account a wide range of influential factors, such as age, race, a history of depression or anxiety, and any history of childhood physical and/or sexual abuse.

However, the study did not prove a cause-and-effect link between childhood trauma and migraine risk.

From HealthDay.com:
http://consumer.healthday.com/public-health-information-30/domestic-violence-news-207/childhood-trauma-may-up-risk-for-adult-migraines-700726.html

More information

Visit the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke for more on migraines.

SOURCE: University of Toronto, news release, June 24, 2015

NOCTURNAL PANIC ATTACKS: The Cause?

.image: about.com

Panic attacks can occur at any time of the day or night and can even awaken you from sleep.  However, nighttime (nocturnal) panic attacks are less common than daytime panic attacks.

Nocturnal panic attacks are characterized by an abrupt waking from sleep in a state of panic with no obvious trigger.  During a panic attack, you may experience sweating, rapid heart rate, trembling, shortness of breath and hyperventilating, flushing or chills, and a sense of impending doom.  These signs and symptoms often mimic those of a heart attack or other serious medical condition.  Although nocturnal panic attacks usually last less than 10 minutes, it may take much longer to calm down after such an episode.

Researchers aren’t sure what causes panic attacks.  Heredity, stress, and certain biochemical factors may play a role. Your chance of having panic attacks increases if you have a close family member who has had them.

Most people who have panic attacks at night also have them during the day.  Between 44 percent and 71 percent of people with panic disorder have had at least one episode of nocturnal panic.

It is important to have a complete physical examination to determine whether a medical condition other than panic attacks is the cause of your signs and symptoms.  This may include a sleep assessment to rule out an underlying sleep disorder.

Although nocturnal panic attacks can be extremely disconcerting, the good news is that there is effective treatment — including cognitive behavior therapy and anti-anxiety medications — that can alleviate or eliminate these episodes for most people.

Source of information:  MayoClinic.com

Tips ~ Coping with a Panic Attack

image: pinterest.com consonantlyspeaking.com

A panic attack is a sudden rush of physical symptoms — like shortness of breath, muscle spasms, and nausea — coupled with uncontrollable anxiety and sometimes a sense of impending doom. Visits to the emergency room and desperate late night phone calls to doctors often result, as do test results that often reveal nothing. If you’ve ever had a panic attack, you can probably empathize with the frustration and hopelessness of not knowing exactly what happened.

By educating yourself about panic attacks, you can begin to gain control of the problem. You don’t have to live in fear and uncertainty any longer. We’ll get you started on your journey toward well-being.

Accepting a panic attack for what it is can help to lessen its effect. To start feeling in control of your anxiety, make an appointment with your doctor and get a full physical exam. This will help you focus your approach, as you’ll find out for certain that you’re coping with panic attacks and not some other ailment. A clean bill of health can also help alleviate irrational fears of dying and doom, which can surface during a panic attack.

Also, your doctor can differentiate between occasional panic attacks and a more serious panic disorder, which may require professional treatment and possibly medication. Working with your doctor, you can also determine if you have a genetic susceptibility to panic attacks, and if your episodes are triggered in part by other conditions, such as a thyroid disorder or lactose sensitivity.

Recognize the Symptoms of a Panic Attack

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Child Sex Abuse Case Sheds Light on Warning Signs

This brief news article appeared today, forewarning once again the importance that parents be aware of adults who are in contact with their children.  Note to parents out there:  If your child is courageous enough to approach you, please validate and believe him/her.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A West Meade man is in jail accused of repeatedly molesting an 11-year-old boy.  Investigators say, 44-year-old Darrell Fisher was a “father-figure” to his victim and that is often how something like this starts.

Fisher was reportedly often at places where children were though he didn’t have any children of his own.

He coached for a club lacrosse team started by parents at JT Moore Middle School from 1998-2008. He was a boy scout leader at least from 2001 and he also started a military history group for young men.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “stranger danger” is rare. A child often knows his or her abuser.

The Center for Disease Control says, one in six boys are sexually abused before they’re 18. For girls, it’s one in four.

A few warning signs of child sexual abuse are if your children becomes withdrawn, self-destructive and/or shows poor school performance. Sometimes, though, there are not outward symptoms.

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What about the Funeral? ~ When Your Abuser or Estranged Relative Dies

Yes, what about the funeral.  Are you expected to attend, expected to pay for costs, feel guilty and makes excuses for not attending?  It’s a crappy time for everyone.

My narcissistic mother is not in the picture anymore, however, if she passed away how would the funeral be handled?  (I’ve already answered that, but will keep my answer private).

Searching high and low for a detailed answer, I came across this well-written article:


One of the biggest dilemmas faced by escapees from abusive families is what to do when our abuser or estranged relative dies. Should we make an appearance at the wake and funeral, or not? Should we go to the burial?  Should we send flowers? Should we offer our condolences- and if so, to whom?

To the very people who took our abuser’s side against us or shunned us from their family?  What kind of an act will we have to put on if people offer condolences to US?  How will we be able to pretend that the death of our abuser was a great loss, when we can’t even come up with one nice thing to say about him?

See the remainder of this article at:
http://www.luke173ministries.org/655609

(reposted with editing)

Doc, should I be on this many psych meds?

image: The 104 Homestead

I have the luxury of a blister pack now which is filled by the pharmacist for all of my medications.  It also provides me with a record of all medication prescribed, when to take them, dosages, repeats etc., and as I gaze at the list I shudder questioning “ should I be on this myriad of medications, and for how many years now?”  According to my psychiatrist, I should.

Maybe it’s time to reexamine just what I’m taking, but need to ensure there would be no huge regrets.  Previously, at my appointments, it was considered, yet over the years I’ve struggled with some very dark times and meds required adjusting. I’m coping better now, so perhaps time to reassess the meds and also my psychiatric diagnosis from 1994.

An article on PsychologyToday.com talks about this subject, written by Eugene Rubin, M.D., Ph.D.

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31 Honest Answers to ‘How Are You?’

I was hoping an article about this very subject would appear.  Whenever meeting someone for lunch, a colleague that I haven’t seen since 2011 or a gathering, I’m usually fumbling around for words.

This article appeared in The Mighty.com written by 

When someone asks, “How are you?” do you answer honestly?

This question is often thrown around as a casual greeting, so much so that we default to “I’m good!” or “I’m fine!” — even with our closest friends and family. And while we’re maybe less hesitant to open up about a stomach ache or that we’ve come down with the flu, our true emotional state can feel like a dirty secret — we don’t want to give it up.

So we asked our Mighty community — people who experience disability, disease, mental illness, parent children with special needs and more —  how they’re really doing. What we got was a collection of honest, inspiring and heartbreaking answers.

How are you? This lovely article continues @
http://themighty.com/2015/11/31-honest-answers-to-how-are-you/

Maternal Narcissism ~ Mom, I wish you could have said these words to me…

Recalling my childhood, my mother seldom had any positive or encouraging words for me, mainly heartless or cruel remarks, only criticizing me for one thing or another spewed from her mouth.  She was continually displeased, and only now recognizing that it would be impossible to accomplish ever pleasing this woman.

I was thinking the other day, what words would myself and perhaps others wish their narcissistic moms compassionately said to them.

Mom, if only you could have said:

  • I know you don’t lie, of course I believe you
  • Always come to me when you’re upset or angry, I love you
  • I’ll always believe in you, whatever your dreams are
  • Let’s just have a girl’s day out once in a while, your choice, whatever you want
  • You look so cute in those clothes
  • Don’t focus on body image, it’s what’s inside
  • You’re more important to me than anything
  • I’m so proud of you.
  • I love reading your stories/artwork/playing games
  • You smell so nice and clean
  • Don’t always spend time in your bedroom, we should spend more time together
  • Your feelings matter, you have a right to your opinion, I’m not always right and remember, we all make mistakes
  • You look like something is bothering you, want to talk about it?
  • Let me take care of you when you’re so sick, how about hot tea? Or I’ll sit beside you or we’ll lay in bed together
  • Sure, have your friends over anytime, they are always welcome
  • You’re so precious to me, having a daughter is a blessing
  • Anything you want to ask me, go right ahead
  • I love the way you laugh
  • I’m sorry, it’s my fault, not yours/my mistake sorry I made you feel bad
  • You are worthy, don’t let anyone make you feel that you are not
  • Someone is going to be a lucky man to have you as his wife.

Exposure Therapy ~ PTSD relief of Trauma & Depression

Exposure therapy isn’t just a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s also used to treat anxiety, depression, phobias, and more.

If you’ve experienced a traumatic, life-altering event, you might be surprised to learn that one treatment for such trauma — exposure therapy — involves repeatedly reliving the terrible event.

Sounds more harmful than helpful, right? But people who experience their fears over and over again — with the help of a therapist in exposure therapy — can actually learn to control those fears.

The technique is used to treat a growing list of health conditions that include anxiety, phobias, obsessive compulsive behaviors, long-standing grief, and even depression.

How Exposure Therapy Works

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Having Bipolar, does this make me a Genius?

New study claims to find genetic link between creativity and mental illness

Results imply creative people are 25% more likely to carry genes that raise risk of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. But others argue the evidence is flimsy

In a large study published, scientists in Iceland report that genetic factors that raise the risk of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are found more often in people in creative professions. Painters, musicians, writers and dancers were, on average, 25% more likely to carry the gene variants than professions the scientists judged to be less creative, among which were farmers, manual labourers and salespeople.

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What happened next when you told someone about your sexual abuse?

There has been a secret you’ve been concealing, that’s most likely eating you up inside, however, you now have mustered enough courage to tell someone you trust.   It’s rough, you’re just a kid.

Protection and trust have already been shattered by your abuser; you just couldn’t take it anymore, now it’s time to receive compassion, tenderness and told you were so courageous for coming forward and that person will be punished.

It may perhaps have been very positive for you, you were believed, acknowledged, obtained love, affection, sorrow and apologies for this ever happening; possibly counselling.  You went on to recover with perhaps some difficulty, but you received support. Continue reading

Schizotypal Personality Disorder

 

Schizotypal personality disorder is characterized by someone who has  great difficulty in establishing and maintaining close relationships with others. A person with schizotypal personality disorder may have extreme discomfort with such relationships, and therefore have less of a capacity for them. Someone with this disorder usually has cognitive or perceptual distortions as well as eccentricities in their everyday behavior.

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Do You Hate Receiving Compliments?

I’m notorious for that, receiving a compliment yet responding with something negative.

Example:  I seldom run into any of my co-workers since I went on disability four years ago, and weight loss is noticeable.  Several that I have chatted with have complimented me for losing weight and looking terrific, yet my response is “yes, but I have to lose so much more”.  Everyone reacts with “Why?”.

This article was in psychologytoday.com:

Most people like hearing praise but some people bristle when they hear compliments and others downright hate them. What is it that determines whether someone enjoys receiving compliments or whether they turn sour at the first hint of positive feedback?

Compliments and Self-Esteem Continue reading

In Child Sexual Abuse, Strangers Aren’t the Greatest Danger

Parents generally teach their children about “stranger danger” from an early age, telling them not to talk to, walk with or take gifts or candy from strangers.  But statistics show danger often lurks closer to home.  According to numbers provided by the National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse, the vast majority of children who are sexually abused are abused by someone they know — most often a family member, an adult the family trusts or, in some instances, another child.

Parents can help protect their children from sexual abuse by talking frankly to them about abuse, starting at a young age with age-appropriate information.

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PTSD common in ICU survivors

Image source: http://gentlemenslibrary.tumblr.com/ Operating Room @ Roosevelt Hospital, NY City, 1900

PTSD can drastically impact a person’s ability to communicate and connect with others, truly interrupting their lives and preventing experiences of joy,” says Joe Bienvenu, M.D., associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “This is why our findings are important and why it’s so critical that we continue to research ways to prevent PTSD.”

Similar research was done in years past, but there was much less data at that time. “We now have a larger data set to review and learn from,” says Ann Parker, a fellow in the Johns Hopkins Medicine Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. “These data could help us develop better prevention methods for ICU-induced PTSD.”

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AND YOU THINK YOUR HUG MAKES UP FOR SLAPPING ME ACROSS THE FACE?

Some things hugs can’t fix: Parental warmth does not remove anxiety that follows punishment

A loving mom can’t overcome the anxiety and aggression caused by corporal punishment, and her otherwise warm demeanor may make it worse, according to research led by Duke University that was recently published in the Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology.

 “If you believe that you can shake your children or slap them across the face and then smooth things over gradually by smothering them with love, you are mistaken,” wrote lead researcher Jennifer E. Lansford on the Child and Family Blog.  Lansford is a research professor at the Social Science Research Institute at Duke University.  “Being very warm with a child whom you hit in this manner rarely makes things better.  It can make a child more, not less, anxious.”

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