Over the past few months The Mental Health Foundation has been researching whether or not we are becoming a nation of angry people, and what support there is for those who feel that they cannot control this primal emotion.
Of the 2,000 people surveyed, almost a third said that they knew someone who struggled with anger, and in a similar Government survey more than three fifths said they felt people were getting angrier.
What is quite worrying is that there really is very little help being offered to people who suffer from anger management problems. Anger is seen to be a symptom of a condition such as anxiety or depression and not worthy of "condition" status in itself. As a result, people will not generally be referred to a mental health professional until their anger has actually caused them to commit an aggressive act.
Posted by: Uticopa in genes, anxiety on
Jun 03, 2011
I don't believe it - anxiety is in your genes!
It's what we've always thought. There's a gene to explain our anxiety attacks. Researchers have now found that certain variations in a mood-altering gene actively influence whether or not we take an anxious or sunny view of the world.
Psychologists from the University of Essex came up with the results after showing 97 volunteers pictures depicting positive and negative images. The participants were shown pairs of pictures selected from 20 pleasant, 20 unpleasant and 40 neutral ones in order to judge which ones grabbed their attention. Those with the longer version of the gene sought the positive images, such as sweets, while others were actually prone to staring at the negative (anxiety-inducing) pictures, like spiders.
The findings show that those of us with a long version of the gene tend to have a ‘sunny disposition', dwelling on positive aspects of life and deliberately downplaying the negatives. Conversely, those with a shorter version display definite anxiety tendencies, even when there is no obvious reason.
Posted by: Uticopa in Untagged on
Jun 02, 2011
A new series begins today on the subject of Depression. Find out all you need to know by following our exclusive articles, each tackling one aspect.
Much has been written in the media lately about the increasing incidence of depression – surely a sign of the stresses and strains of modern life. But, how do we know if we actually have it?
One of the biggest challenges facing mental health specialists in addressing depression is accurately diagnosing it in the first place. This is because depression can present vague and confusing symptoms so it is easy to see why a diagnosis can be missed. A depressed person might present a variety of non-specific physical and emotional symptoms and a doctor must be very thorough to determine a correct diagnosis of depression. In addition, the difficulty in accurate diagnosis is further compounded by the fact that many medical problems share the same symptoms of depression and in fact, some of these may directly be causing the depression.
Posted by: Uticopa in bullying, abuse on
Jun 01, 2011
Bullying can be a problem at any stage of your life. For the hapless victim it causes serious distress and can affect mental health for decades to come.
The mindsets of the people doing the bullying are often similar, whatever their ages. It's when the ancient ‘tribal' instinct of terrorising a perceived ‘enemy' comes into play. And who is the supposed enemy? It's anyone who is seen to be different in some way from the rest of the peer group. The instinct of the bully is to chastise and taunt the person seen to be ‘different' so that, by so doing, the bully is made to feel somehow more confident and ‘king' of his domain.
The bullying victim at school
In today's world of rush, rush, rush, there's often no time to say goodbye to a loved one when they die. Yet, our priorities must change. Dying is a part of life. It can't be avoided, however much we wish it, and must be accepted and dealt with.
Let's say it's been two years since your father died and your mom still won't go out socially or stop talking about wanting to join him. Similarly, perhaps you can't shake a sense of meaninglessness into your life as the anniversary approaches of the death of someone close to you. This is exactly what prolonged grief disorder is all about.
Prolonged Grief Disorder (PGD), previously called complicated grief, has now become a recognized mental disorder. Researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston developed and tested standard criteria for identifying the condition, based on the input of a team of experts in bereavement and mood/anxiety disorders. It is shortly to be included in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DMV-5), the psychiatric care bible for diagnosing problems. The research was done with widows and widowers but is also applicable to the general population.
Do these symptoms sound familiar to you? Fatigue. Insomnia. Loss of appetite. Aches and pains. Most of us with these symptoms usually assume we're suffering from an ailment that's physical. Sometimes we're right. But, how often do we realise that what is really wrong is depression?
Even in good times, there are millions of new cases of depression every year. Yet many of those people - more than a third, according to a recent report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration - never receive treatment. This is despite the fact that nowadays there are more ways than ever to get help.
One reason is simple confusion over what the illness feels like. The common idea that depression means ‘feeling sad' has a lot of truth to it. Other symptoms could be emotional numbness, a sense of worthlessness, hopelessness, even thoughts of suicide. But for many people, the experience is a bit more blurry - a series of changes affecting them not just emotionally but also physically and mentally.
Historically, British people have always ignored the effects of our poor, wet weather. The heavy rain has always been there, so most carry on regardless. However, as the world shifts towards global climate change, water-related problems are arguably the most imminent and most personal. As Britain's temperature rises and weather patterns become more extreme, will our health be compromised by a lack of clean water and diseases spread by polluted floodwater?
And what of our mental health? Will our stoic disregard for the weather turn to mental depression or worse?
Health professionals, until now noticeable only by their absence in the climate change debate, will become increasingly important in helping us to understand and adapt to problems and in promoting behavioural changes that might avert the greatest threats.
Posted by: Uticopa in postnatal depression on
May 05, 2011
When Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote that disturbing 19th-century novella called 'The Yellow Wallpaper', she could hardly have known that it would later become a classic of feminist fiction. Even less could she have realised that at its heart was a pioneering portrait of the trauma of postnatal depression.
As the book is being reissued by Virago this year, it is interesting to note that, unlike her heroine, the author herself managed to break free from the oppressive shackles of her mind.
But, what was it about Gilman's short story that so evoked the mental anguish of women a century ago? And, could vestiges of how men saw women in days gone by still linger on even today? She wrote the story in part to escape the mastery of male doctors and to become the mistress of her own destiny.
First of all, let's look at what led to Gilman conceiving the story in the first place. For many years the author suffered from a severe and continuous nervous breakdown tending to what was then termed melancholia. This led her to consult a noted specialist in nervous diseases. This ‘wise' man put her to bed and applied the rest cure, to which her still good physique responded so promptly that he concluded there was nothing much the matter with her at all. He therefore sent her home with solemn advice to live as domestic a life as far as possible, to ‘have but two hours' intellectual life a day', and ‘never to touch pen, brush or pencil again' as long as she lived. This was in 1887.
Posted by: Uticopa in mental health, addiction on
May 05, 2011
The Get Well Scheme was an experimental scheme run out of two centres in Northern Ireland that enabled GP's to refer patients to complimentary therapists with the NHS picking up the tab. The aim was to show that not only can those who have come to rely on long term prescription drug use to manage their conditions reduce their dependency through these therapies, but that the scheme could even save the NHS money.
The use of prescription drugs to manage conditions can be costly and result in countless further medical risks such as addiction, reliance and side effects (however small the risk factor is). The Get Well Scheme looked into the use of such therapies as acupuncture, homoeopathy, chiropractic, aromatherapy and reflexology. The recent BBC One documentary (shown in Northern Ireland) charted the progress of the scheme and showed some very positive stories of success.
The scheme was attempting to prove that the NHS should be offering its patients access to these alternatives to prescription drugs for their better health and for the benefit of the NHS budget.
In days gone by, mental ‘disturbances' were considered something you should ‘snap out of' - a mere emotional phase that you should grow out of, like adolescence. Decades later and mental illness is an actual, recorded disease, warranting much-needed medical intervention. Well, yes, but how do we know we actually have it - especially in those crucial, early stages?
Early diagnosis of Alzheimer's would be critical in order to stop and reverse cell death before it is too late. As we all know, once brains cells are dead there is no way to revive them. But, if you catch Alzheimer's Disease early enough you could slow it down and even reinvigorate the cells.
What we have always needed is a ‘Dr. Bones'-type machine from Star Trek that doctors can run down our apparently healthy bodies to pick up those tell-tale early signs.