Blog Articles and Resources
This video was found on youTube.com. It was published by the Office for Victims of a Crime on February 27, 2013. Keep in mind when watching this video that trauma is experienced by children differently than adults and that trauma can be big, obvious issues and less obvious experiences that are experienced traumatically by the child.
The following article was found on the National Institute for Mental Health website which is a government sponsored site. This site offers information and research opportunities to those interested in participating in trials related to treatment of mental health conditions.
Depression (major depressive disorder or clinical depression) is a common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. To be diagnosed with depression, the symptoms must be present for at least two weeks.
Some forms of depression are slightly different, or they may develop under unique circumstances, such as:
Signs and Symptoms
If you have been experiencing some of the following signs and symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks, you may be suffering from depression:
Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the U.S. Current research suggests that depression is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.
Depression can happen at any age, but often begins in adulthood. Depression is now recognized as occurring in children and adolescents, although it sometimes presents with more prominent irritability than low mood. Many chronic mood and anxiety disorders in adults begin as high levels of anxiety in children.
Depression, especially in midlife or older adults, can co-occur with other serious medical illnesses, such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and Parkinson’s disease. These conditions are often worse when depression is present. Sometimes medications taken for these physical illnesses may cause side effects that contribute to depression. A doctor experienced in treating these complicated illnesses can help work out the best treatment strategy.
Risk factors include:
Depression, even the most severe cases, can be treated. The earlier that treatment can begin, the more effective it is. Depression is usually treated with medications, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two. If these treatments do not reduce symptoms, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and other brain stimulation therapies may be options to explore.
Quick Tip: No two people are affected the same way by depression and there is no "one-size-fits-all" for treatment. It may take some trial and error to find the treatment that works best for you.
Antidepressants are medicines that treat depression. They may help improve the way your brain uses certain chemicals that control mood or stress. You may need to try several different antidepressant medicines before finding the one that improves your symptoms and has manageable side effects. A medication that has helped you or a close family member in the past will often be considered.
Antidepressants take time – usually 2 to 4 weeks – to work, and often, symptoms such as sleep, appetite, and concentration problems improve before mood lifts, so it is important to give medication a chance before reaching a conclusion about its effectiveness. If you begin taking antidepressants, do not stop taking them without the help of a doctor. Sometimes people taking antidepressants feel better and then stop taking the medication on their own, and the depression returns. When you and your doctor have decided it is time to stop the medication, usually after a course of 6 to 12 months, the doctor will help you slowly and safely decrease your dose. Stopping them abruptly can cause withdrawal symptoms.
Please Note: In some cases, children, teenagers, and young adults under 25 may experience an increase in suicidal thoughts or behavior when taking antidepressants, especially in the first few weeks after starting or when the dose is changed. This warning from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also says that patients of all ages taking antidepressants should be watched closely, especially during the first few weeks of treatment.
If you are considering taking an antidepressant and you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, talk to your doctor about any increased health risks to you or your unborn or nursing child.
To find the latest information about antidepressants, talk to your doctor and visit www.fda.gov .
You may have heard about an herbal medicine called St. John's wort. Although it is a top-selling botanical product, the FDA has not approved its use as an over-the-counter or prescription medicine for depression, and there are serious concerns about its safety (it should never be combined with a prescription antidepressant) and effectiveness. Do not use St. John’s wort before talking to your health care provider. Other natural products sold as dietary supplements, including omega-3 fatty acids and S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe), remain under study but have not yet been proven safe and effective for routine use. For more information on herbal and other complementary approaches and current research, please visit the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health website.
Several types of psychotherapy (also called “talk therapy” or, in a less specific form, counseling) can help people with depression. Examples of evidence-based approaches specific to the treatment of depression include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy (IPT), and problem-solving therapy. More information on psychotherapy is available on the NIMH website and in the NIMH publication Depression: What You Need to Know.
Brain Stimulation Therapies
If medications do not reduce the symptoms of depression, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may be an option to explore. Based on the latest research:
If you think you may have depression, start by making an appointment to see your doctor or health care provider. This could be your primary care practitioner or a health provider who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental health conditions. Visit the NIMH Find Help for Mental Illnesses if you are unsure of where to start.
Beyond Treatment: Things You Can Do
Here are other tips that may help you or a loved one during treatment for depression:
"Depression." NIMH RSS. National Institute of Mental Health, Mar. 2016. Web. 13 Apr. 2016.
This article comes from the PsychCentral.com website, which has numerous articles on coping with stress from professionals.
4 Tips To Change the Way You Deal with Stress
By Donna M. White, LMHC, CACP
Dr. James C. Dobson once said “there are very few certainties that touch us all in this mortal experience, but one of the absolutes is that we will experience hardship and stress at some point.” Stress may be inevitable, but how we handle it is our choice.
Stress is different for all individuals, so there is no “cookie cutter” solution to manage it. You may have to experiment to find what works best for you. Finding healthy, positive ways to deal with stress will add to your overall well-being.
When dealing with stressful situations, consider the four points below. They may aid in decreasing the amount of stress and changing the way you view it.
If the situation cannot be changed, such as an illness or the economy, accept it for what it is. Accepting does not mean giving up. By accepting the situation and finding ways you can cope with what cannot be changed, stress can be drastically reduced.
White, Donna M. "4 Tips To Change the Way You Deal with Stress." Psych Central. Psych Central, 2015. Web. 13 Apr. 2016.
This article comes from a site called psychcentral.com which has several quick resources on stress, what it can do to the body and different ways to cope with it. Stay tuned later this week for an article from this same site on stress management techniques.
The Impact of Stress
By Steve Bressert, Ph.D.
Stress often is accompanied by an array of physical reactions. These symptoms can be characteristic of other physical or mental disorders. A health care professional can rule out other causes after you have undergone a physical examination. Signs of stress can include the following:
Stress also has been linked to suppression of the immune system, increasing your chances of becoming ill or altering the course of an illness if you already have one. In particular, it has been implicated as playing a role in cancer and gastrointestinal, skin, neurologic and emotional disorders, and even the common cold. Some studies have shown that relaxing while listening to soothing music can improve immune system functioning and, we can assume, help with our long-term health.
Elevated blood pressure is another response to stress. Too much stress with little or no coping skills keeps the body “revved up.” Learning to relax can help lower your blood pressure. Elevated blood pressure always should be discussed with your family physician, who can help you sort out whether your elevated blood pressure is due to a medical or genetic condition or a reaction to uncontrolled stressors.
If you do not end up identifying a method to handle your stress then it eventually can lead to a heightened sense of dysfunction. This may result in increased anxiety or a sense of depression because you’re not mastering your world. Feeling depressed (for example, sad, pessimistic, hopeless or helpless) is a common reaction to stress. When these symptoms are temporary, they may simply be a reflection of life’s normal ups and downs. But if they persist for long periods of time, especially after the stressful situation has passed, you may have a problem that could benefit from professional help.
When stress and anxiety escalate without a means to cope with the stress, they often are linked to many troublesome psychological and physiological conditions. Oftentimes, psychological distress accompanies and/or produces these conditions, which include:
Bressert, Steve. "The Impact of Stress." Psych Central. Psych Central, 2015. Web. 13 Apr. 2016.
This article was found on the Psychology Today website. Psychology Today is an excellent resource to help find therapists near you and to find helpful articles that may address what you are experiencing as well.
Amy Morin What Mentally Strong People Don't Do
6 Bad Habits That Will Sabotage Your Success
Your thoughts not only affect your emotional state, but also influence your behavior. When you think positively, you'll likely feel better and perform better. When you think negatively, that despair will be reflected in how you feel and behave.
Everyone experiences unhelpful, unrealistic, and exaggeratedly negative thoughts at one time or another. Allowing cynicism to become a habit, however, will limit your potential. No matter how much talent or experience you possess, if you can't gain control of your mind, you'll never achieve great things, because you can't reach the next level unless you believe you're capable of accomplishing more.
That's why sport psychologists work with aspiring Olympians and other elite athletes to help them eradicate the negative self-talk that interferes with their ability to perform. But it's not just athletes who can benefit from changing their mindset: Learning to think productively can help you as well. Learning to recognize the thinking habits that rob you of mental strength is the first step in changing your mindset. Here are six bad mental habits that will sabotage your success.
1. Making excuses.
Blaming other people or external circumstances for your lack of achievement harms your performance. Saying things like, "My boss is holding me down," or "All this paperwork makes it impossible to do my job" will only keep you stuck.
Stop making excuses: Focus on all the things you can do rather than on what you can't. When you pay attention to the positive, you'll put more effort into your performance.
2. Catastrophizing the future.
Negative predictions easily turn into self-fulfilling prophecies. If you step up on a stage to deliver an important speech thinking, "I'm going to mess everything up," you'll be distracted—and that distraction may cause you to forget the words.
Stop catastrophizing: Unless you're creating productive plans to deal with potential worst-case scenarios, don't explore "what if?" questions. Predicting disastrous outcomes will cause a spike in anxiety that could cause you to choke.
3. Seeking approval.
Your attempts to gain approval from others could backfire. Trying to decipher how an interviewer is perceiving your answers, for example, could cause you to stumble over your words. Worse, thinking about the other person's response could cause you to tune out the conversation altogether.
Stop trying to gain approval: While it may sometimes be important to gauge your audience's reaction—like in the middle of a sales pitch—every second you spend seeking reassurance is a second you aren't focused on the task at hand. Keep the focus on doing your best and recognize that you can't control how other people respond.
4. Believing self-doubt.
Insecurity can kill your dreams. If you walk into an interview thinking, "I'll never get hired," your self-doubt will shine through and you'll be less likely to land the job. Rejection will only fuel your self-doubt and create a negative cycle that's hard to break.
Stop doubting yourself: Create a list of your skills, talents, and achievements. Read the list regularly and when you're plagued by self-doubt, remind yourself of all the reasons you're "good enough."
5. Putting yourself down.
It's impossible to perform well when you're telling yourself "You're stupid" or "You can't ever do anything right." Negative self-talk will discourage you from putting in your best effort and it will drag you down fast.
Stop the put-downs: Talk to yourself like a trusted friend. If you wouldn't use such harsh words with someone else, don't allow your inner critic to say them to you.
6. Second-guessing yourself.
While reflecting on past choices can be healthy, second-guessing each choice you've made make will impair your performance. Questioning whether you said the right thing, or second-guessing your choice in attire for a cocktail party, wastes a lot brain power.
Stop second-guessing yourself: Practice mindfulness so you can learn how to be fully present in the here-and-now.
Morin, Amy. "6 Bad Habits That Will Sabotage Your Success." Psychology Today. AMyMorinLCSW.com, 3 Mar. 2016. Web. 30 Mar. 2016.
I write articles based on my experience as a therapist or a training or conference attendee. Many of these articles are written by others who are experts in their field and I share their information as resources for others.