Category Archives: Mental Health

How Laughter Can Help Seniors With Alzheimer’s

Everyone loves to laugh. Laughing is our way of expressing an inner joy to the outside world. It can also be the key to slowing the cognitive decline by Alzheimer’s Disease. There is no known cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, but as strategies for combating it have evolved an incredible way to stave off its effects.

The human mind is capable of incredible feats and research shows increasing evidence of the mind affecting the health of the brain. Interactions associated with laughter, such as playful banter and joyfully stimulating conversation, have a myriad of benefits, including, lower stress and anxiety. Keeping the brain active throughout the latter stages of life is important to your senior loved one’s brain’s overall health, as it can lead to the production of new cells.

The confusion and memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s Disease can itself be debilitating, but can also have equally serious residual effects. Frustration caused by these symptoms can often time develop into anxiety or depression, which can cause the quality of life to decrease significantly. As laughter is usually a signifier of happiness, a healthy dose of it goes a long way in the fight against mood disorders. Consistent laughter helps to increase brain function by reducing stress levels considerably. The emotional stress caused by living with Alzheimer’s can affect the afflicted person and the people around him. The many stressors associated with Alzheimer’s Disease can often lead to erratic behavior, causing increased levels of tension with the people that care for them. Laughter becomes a positive agent, acting to quell these stressors.

Laughter has been so effective in fighting Alzheimer’s that techniques have been refined for efficiency, even taking up titles such as laughter wellness and humor therapy. Those suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease are in a constant struggle with themselves and being that the symptoms of Alzheimer’s can lead to equally devastating consequences. Laughter, at the very least, can offer a sense of respite to all parties affected, due to the natural healing power of this sort of positive energy. There are over 30 million people in the world who experience Alzheimer’s Disease, but by laughing as much as possible and maintaining a social life in golden years, the issues that seniors face can be greatly diminished. Laughter can be a preventer or a coping mechanism for those dealing with Alzheimer’s, so be sure to keep your loved one happy and create situations for them to laugh.

7 Ways to Diffuse Mental Health Stigma

Talking about mental health in a healthy way is something that societies across the globe have historically struggled with. However, with the increasing rate of mental disorders across the globe, it has become essential to bridge the difference between mental and physical health problems by understanding the risk factors and repercussions of mental disorders. It is time that people come together to dissipate the stigma associated with mental problems.

Those spared from the afflictions of a psychiatric illness may not comprehend the impact of their actions or the dangerous outlook perpetuated by them on referring someone as “schizophrenic,” “deranged” or “demented.” However, it does not change the fact that stigma and perceptions related to mental health problems quintessentially criminalizes people suffering from the problem.

Effective ways of fighting mental health stigma

When such false beliefs inflame stigmatizing attitudes, regardless of the form, they significantly affect the emotional and social life of individuals suffering from mental disorders. This not only lengthens their recovery process, but also prevents them from talking about their problems and seeking medical help. Therefore, it is crucial to fight mental stigma and here are some ways that can help change people’s outlook.

  • Refrain from making it a taboo: Talking openly about mental health problems creates a platform where people can honestly discuss their struggles with mental disorders. This provides an opportunity to convey to those suffering in silence that they are not alone and that help is available.
  • Stay informed and spread awareness: When someone misrepresents mental illnesses, most people prefer looking the other way or staying silent. However, to reduce the brunt of the stigma, it is important to express how such beliefs affect a person and the need to spread awareness.
  • Avoid using stigmatizing language: The human language is continually changing and evolving and so have the applications of words, such as “insane,” “nuts,” and “mental” when referred to someone with a mental illness. Unfortunately, portraying mental illnesses through adjectives labels the individual and does no good in improving the situation.
  • Treat mental and physical disorders equally: Just like physical diseases, mental illnesses are brain disorders that can develop in anybody. The need of the hour is to treat mental disorders like other chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, etc., to ensure effective treatment.
  • Choose not to be a victim: Stigmatization leads to discrimination and oppression of people with mental disorders. However, it is also possible to lead a life very different from the decadent view of mental disorders by simply honoring one’s choice to lead an empowered life by seeking treatment.
  • Need to alert media: The depiction of mental health issues by the media has so far been like a double-edged sword. Many a times, they’ve helped spread public awareness about mental health, yet at times they’ve also inaccurately portrayed mental illnesses. Therefore, it is important to alert media platforms about the ill effects of using stigmatizing language as both their media coverage and the consequences of wrongfully addressing mental health issues are far-reaching.
  • Talk about treatment and recovery: An uninformed and ignorant person may harbor apprehensions about mental health treatment. He or she may fear being judged as a weak person on visiting a psychiatrist or taking medications. When people who have recovered from their problems through medical interventions talk about their recovery, they have an opportunity to inform others. At the end, seeking treatment for mental disorders does not make a person weak. In fact, it represents his or her courage and will to get better.

Fight mental health stigmaMental health stigma can affect various aspects of one’s life. At its worst, it can lead to self-criticism wherein the person blames himself or herself for his or her condition. In such cases, stigmatization becomes an active ongoing risk factor for the disorder that prevents an individual from seeking the required help from others.

Can Schizophrenia Be Cured?

Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder that affects thoughts, emotions, and behaviors leading to decreased functionality and withdrawal from reality. People affected by schizophrenia usually experience symptoms between ages 16 and 30. People with schizophrenia have symptoms that are very disabling. Symptoms of schizophrenia are known as positive symptoms and negative symptoms.

Positive symptoms are characterized by hallucinations, delusions and thought disorders. Negative symptoms are characterized by apathy, absence of feelings, lack of motivation, poor executive functioning, reduced working memory and difficulty starting and ending activities.

Research shows that genetic and environmental factors may play a role in the development of schizophrenia. Environmental factors like viruses, food allergies, toxins as well as genetic susceptibilities may lead to a diagnosis of schizophrenia because they can damage the DNA repair system in the cells and damage the gut.

When the DNA repair system is damaged, free radicals accumulate. Free radicals are produced during normal cellular metabolism but when they accumulate in the cells due to DNA damage, they can lead to disease development.

Environmental factors implicated in the development of schizophrenia impair neurotransmitter production and this is a major factor in schizophrenia development.

Treatment

Conventional treatment involves using antipsychotic medication and cognitive therapy.

Currently, there is no cure for schizophrenia using those treatment methods but if they are combined with natural treatments, symptoms can be reduced significantly.

It is very important to check with your primary care doctor, psychiatrist and nutritionist before embarking on any diet to treat schizophrenia symptoms.

Diet
Eating a diet that consists of fresh leafy greens, vegetables, probiotic food, omega-3 fatty acids and organic animal protein can go a long way in providing the body great nutrition necessary for great health.

Raw Food
Raw food contains antioxidants that get rid of free radicals and help to repair the cells in the body. Antioxidants are also very important in treating schizophrenia and other mental disorders. Glutathione is the most powerful antioxidant in the body. It’s made up of amino acids cysteine, glycine and glutamic acid but cysteine is not made in the body. That means that glutathione cannot be formed without cysteine. The enzyme involved in the conversion of the above three amino acids into cysteine has been found to be deficient in some individuals with schizophrenia. You can get cysteine from your diet and its commonly found in garlic, onions, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, red peppers and eggs. It is best to cook animal products but egg yolks can be eaten raw. Try to buy organic produce as much as possible.

Probiotics
Multiple research studies have shown that there is a definite gut brain connection and that probiotics can improve mental health by healing the gut.

Food sensitivities and food allergies combined with genetic susceptibilities have also been implicated in schizophrenia. Removing the offending foods through an elimination diet can be very beneficial.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are very important for brain function and they are recommended for treating all mental disorders. They exist in three forms: alpha;-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

EPA and DHA can be obtained from algae and fish.

Exercise
Multiple studies have shown that regular exercise can improve mental and emotional disorders including anxiety, depression etc. It also helps to reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes mellitus and heart disease.

Diet, supplements, exercise and other lifestyle changes can be very beneficial for individuals with schizophrenia. Healing the gut and eating a well balanced nutrient-rich diet can go a long way in improving mental health disorders like schizophrenia to the point where symptoms are greatly reduced or even non-existent.