Genetic Testing to Help Treat Mental Disorders

An individual’s response to medicine is written in our genetic makeup, which is why there is not at one-size-fits-all medication for mental disorders such as bipolar disorder, depression, ADHD, schizophrenia, among other mental health disorders. Genetic testing can help pinpoint which medications work best for individual patients.

When a psychiatrist can see the results of your report, he or she can understand why a person’s genetic makeup affects how certain drugs may react and personalize treatment choices for that individual. For example, with ADHD, the tests will show genes that may affect a patient’s response to certain antidepressant or antipsychotic medications. The report can predict the influence of genes on the drug as well as metabolism.

Our bodies contain numerous cytochrome P450 (officially abbreviated at CYP) enzymes that process medications. CYP is a large, diverse group of enzymes that can help predict drug metabolism and bioactivation. CYPs account for about 75% of the total metabolism of a drug.

The CYP2D6 genotype, for example, indicates that blood levels may be increased for a particular drug. Genotype is simply the genetic makeup of a cell or organism with specific reference to a specific characteristic. It tells the doctor how your body will metabolize a certain drug. The report indicates four categories: 1) poor metabolizer – little or no CYP2D6 function; 2) extensive metabolizer – normal CYP2D6 functioning; 3) intermediate – somewhere between poor and extensive; and 4) ultra-metabolizer – individuals with multiple CYP2D6 copies, or a duplication of the gene.

For an ADHD patient, known inhibitors by the CYP2D6 enzyme include Adderall, Vyvanse, Dexedrine, and Strattera. The report gives psychiatrists three categories of medications to prescribe: 1) those to use as directed; 2) those to use with caution; and 3) those to use with caution with more frequent monitoring. This list is then readily available to the doctor to utilize to prescribe medications they think will work best, and which ones to avoid for a particular patient.

For an ultra-metabolizer, for example, an antidepressant to use as directed is Wellbutrin. One to use with caution is Lexapro. And one to use with caution with frequent monitoring is Cymbalta. It does not mean that Cymbalta cannot be prescribed, but it gives the doctor more information on how the individual’s body will respond and that it should be monitored frequently.

Along with genotype, the report also includes phenotype information. Phenotypes result from the expression of the individual’s genes as well as environmental factors and the interaction between the two. For an ultra-metabolizer, where the CYP2D6 is duplicated, a higher dosage of certain medications may be needed, because increased metabolism cannot be accurately anticipated and frequent monitoring in needed.

The induction or inhibition of commonly prescribed mental health drugs may vary from patient to patient as well as the potential for drug interactions, and a genetic test report can help the doctor predict this for an individual patient and choose the most appropriate medications. A doctor can use genetic testing reports for individual patients as a guide tailored to the specific circumstances of each patient with genotype and phenotype information. Ultimately, it is the doctor’ choice to make medication and treatment decisions, but genetic testing is a useful tool to use on the basis of each patient’s results.

Diabetes – Ways To Deal With It

A person should have standard blood sugar levels to maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, the sugar level in a person’s body keeps fluctuating giving rise to various side effects. Normally people who are suffering from a high sugar level suffer from diabetes and people having a low sugar level suffer from weakness and low blood pressure. Thus, it is very important to maintain the right amount of sugar level. A person should keep a constant check on his blood sugar especially if he is suffering from diabetes. A person suffering from diabetes has to change his lifestyle and daily routine to a great extent so maintain his health. It can be really difficult to fight with this problem as the prevention part plays a very important role in this case. People suffering from this problem need to take continuous medicines in order to maintain their sugar level.

People normally find it really difficult to deal with these kinds of problems. However, they can be easily tackled with the help of some simple ways. There are many people who do not know that they can control diabetes by many natural ways. Normally the doctors prescribe oral pills or insulin shots to the patients. This type of treatment is also very necessary. However, you just need to alter your lifestyle a little to provide a greater effect of the medicines. You need to purchase a sugar meter and a blood sugar levels chart to keep a track of your condition and improvement.

It is important that you first consult your doctor before opting for any kind of plan or regime. Sometimes the doctors provide the patients with a specific plan which is supposed to be followed by them. Thus, you need to be careful as your plan might clash with the plan provided by the doctor. In this way you will be able to avoid any further complications and issues.

Exercising is the best way to control diabetes as it helps in lowering the blood-sugar levels. If you feel you can indulge in the regular exercising pattern and work out regularly then you can definitely do so. However, people suffering from diabetes usually deal with weakness and are unable to exercise. In this case they can opt for small programs and increase gradually. Walking is one of the best exercises for people suffering from diabetes. Exercising helps in getting your metabolic rate on track.

Diet plays a major role in keeping your health on track. You need to have a balanced diet without foods having a high sugar content. Thus, a lot of prevention needs to be practiced in this case. In addition to this you need to take regular tests and compare your results to see if your treatment and plan is going well. Do not forget to compare your results with the blood sugar levels chart. Thus, this was some essential information about diabetes and some of the natural ways to deal with it.

Lupus Butterfly Skin Rash – An Autoimmune Disease

The lupus skin rash, sometimes called the “butterfly rash” is associated with this serious autoimmune disease. Lupus was named after the wolf for its voracious ability to damage the body severely and quickly. In addition to the rash on face it can cause fatigue, mental illness, heart problems, skin problems, kidney disease, nervous system problems, fevers, hair loss, blood vessel problems, swelling and anemia.

Lupus strikes women at a much higher incidence than men. Over eighty five percent of the people in the United States with lupus, the skin rash is one of the few telltale signs of lupus. It is distinctive and easy to recognize whereas other symptoms can be often confused with heart disease, mental illness, and nervous system disorders. The lupus butterfly rash narrows at the bridge of the nose and spreads across the cheeks of the face. It is often red and can also be found on the upper body, shoulders and arms in some people. The rash is commonly very hard on the hand with flaky red spots that can bleed and pustule. It is not uncommon for lupus sufferers to pick at their hands around the nails due to the discomfort. It is best to try to control this temptation since these sore spots scab over and bleed fairly often. The rash on the shoulders tends to have similar issues with pus, bleeding and scabbing issues.

Many African-American women suffer from lupus – their numbers are disproportionately high compared to the national average. In auto immune disease the body attacks itself. Other autoimmune diseases include multiple sclerosis and psoriasis. Many are hoping that the drug Benlysta will be approved shortly as the trials with this have been very promising for lupus sufferers.

Easy Home Remedies For Clear Skin

There are few things more frustrating than blemished skin, so consider turning to these easy home remedies for clear skin instead of harsh and expensive skin care creams and washes.

Especially if you have sensitive skin, you will most likely find that over the counter and prescription skin care products are too strong and can potentially add to the problem with your skin.

Furthermore, a trip down any grocery store or drug store aisle will produce an overwhelming number of skin care products that can easily rack up a hefty bill. Instead, save your skin in addition to saving a few bucks by whipping up a quick and easy skin care remedy out of items that are probably already in your home.

* Clear Your Skin From Within *

Remember the old saying, you are what you eat?

Although the adage has been around for years, the advice is completely up to date. If you find yourself suffering from acne or other skin blemishes, take a look of your body from the inside out.

Your body notifies you when something is off balance, especially when you are lacking the proper nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. This notification can likely express itself in the appearance of blemishes.

Instead of slathering your skin with items from the beauty aisle, take a walk down the rest of the aisle in your grocery store in order to experience a regeneration of your skin.

Eating a well-rounded, healthy diet is incredibly important. Be sure to include lots of fresh fruit and vegetables in your diet, as the nutrients provided by these items are critical.

Furthermore, drink at least eight eight-ounce glasses of water each day to ensure that your skin remains well hydrated.

* Skip The Drug Store And Head To The Kitchen *

Read any label of skin care product available on the retail market and you may find your tummy rumbling. These skin care products are packed with edible ingredients, from oatmeal to honey to avocado to cucumber.

Instead of buying these expensive, heavily preserved creams, lotions, and potions, consider making the alternative mixtures yourself.

Look no further than your kitchen for many fantastic home remedies for clear skin.

When you see a zit pop up, avoid the urge to squeeze! Instead, dab a bit of lemon juice on a cotton swab and apply to the affected area.

The acid in the lemon juice will help extract any infection and your will avoid adding more bacteria to the mix by keeping your hands off your skin.

Since one of the main problems associated with skin blemishes is dead skin cells, exfoliation is critical. Instead of spending big bucks on fancy bottles and containers of exfoliants, grab a canister of old fashioned oatmeal.

Mix with water and scrub your skin clean. The gentleness of the oatmeal is perfect for even the most sensitive skin and the grainy consistency will remove any dead skin cells before they have a problem.

You probably use toothpaste with baking soda for whitening your teeth, so why not use the same product to clear up your skin?

Each night, wash your face with baking soda and water. This mixture is perfect for keeping your skin clean and dry. The basic property of the baking soda works to dry up the excess oils that typically cause skin blemishes.

If a pimple rears its ugly head then you should head immediately to your stove. Mix ground nutmeg with milk and boil.

After the concoction is completely cooled, apply to the affected area and let dry overnight. Wash the yummy mixture off your face in the morning and you will be surprised by the results!

Will Vinegar Cure Toe Nail Fungus?

Vinegar is a home remedy for toe nail fungus that has been around for a long time. The theory is that fungi that infect nails do not do well in an acid environment; therefore, a daily application of vinegar will make the toenail acidic, prevent fungal growth, and allow a new nail to grow in normally. Many people claim that this treatment for nail fungus infection has worked for them.

Various types of vinegar help cure toenail fungus, but ordinary white vinegar is all you’ll need. Gather together your white vinegar, a basin to soak your feet in, a towel to dry off with, and something to keep you busy for half an hour while you soak. Then add enough vinegar to the basin to completely cover your toenails and plunge your feet in. Remember these pointers to help vinegar cure toenail fungus: soak every day until the problem is gone (some people paint the vinegar on two or three times a day, or apply a vinegar-soaked bandage that can be worn all day), dry your feet very thoroughly after soaking, and refresh the vinegar in the basin regularly.

Like all fungal remedies, the vinegar cure for toe nail fungus takes time – it may take up to a year – but proponents of this method report that it does work as long as you soak or apply vinegar each and every day until the infection is gone. Apple cider vinegar for toenail fungus, taken internally, may speed things up as well.

If topical applications of vinegar help cure toenail fungus by acidifying the nail, apple cider vinegar for toenail fungus reportedly works from within, attacking the infection where it lies protected beneath the thick toenail. Two tablespoons three times a day is the recommended dose. Many people dislike the taste of apple cider vinegar, and add it to another beverage, such as fruit juice or a carbonated beverage. Keep in mind that acid drinks may damage tooth enamel over time, so rinse thoroughly or brush your teeth afterwards if you are taking apple cider vinegar for toenail fungus treatment.

When your toenails are restored to their former healthy appearance, and you are able to discontinue the vinegar soak, remember to take care of your feet to avoid a recurrence of toenail fungus infection. Keep your feet clean and dry and your toenails clipped short. If you used apple cider vinegar for toenail fungus, you might want to continue taking it: lore has it that it has other beneficial properties, and some apple cider vinegar a day might just keep fungus away.

Skin Allergy Definition, Causes and Symptoms

What is a skin allergy? A skin allergy is a reaction caused by a substance that comes in contact with the skin, thus a skin allergy. Some types of contact skin allergies are dermatitis, eczema and hives. Contact dermatitis develops when the skin comes in contact with something that a person is allergic to. A reaction to skin allergies may cause a redness or even swelling, stinging, burning or blisters and yes, itching.

Skin Allergies are one of the most prevalent causes of skin conditions. Generally, they are caused by an immune system which becomes hypersensitive after exposure to certain substances which it recognizes as harmful. As a result of this exposure, the body’s immune system releases huge amounts of antibodies to combat these “supposedly” harmful substances. The release of these immune cells may then cause an adverse reaction in other cells within the body.

The major symptom of skin allergy are hives, rashes, swelling, itching which may includes one or more physical signs like dry skin and it results in cracking of the skin. The hands, face, arms and neck are the common areas affected by skin allergies as are exposed usually every day.

Hives are red bumps or welts that form on the top layer of skin. Usually they will appear in a small area first, but they can then spread. You will find that the hives can appear on the face, arms, neck, or all over the body. The nature of hives is to be itchy. This means that food allergies cause itching skin in humans. Often the skin may appear itchy before the actual hives or reddened patches of skin will appear.

Common symptoms of allergies include redness and itchiness of the eyes, wheezing or other breathing problems, skin rashes or hives. Some people with severe allergies might even experience anaphylaxis or death in extreme exposure situations. There are many common allergies from which many people suffer. Animal dander (particularly from cats), pollen, dust mites and certain medications can all be causes of allergies. Some individuals are also allergic to certain foods or even whole food groups.

Something to keep in mind with the skin reaction as a result of food allergies is that irritating the area or becoming stressed over the issue can cause the skin reaction to be more pronounced. In other words if you become stressed you can actually psychologically induce hives. It is a reaction of too much chemical in your body as a result of stress. This means that for those with a food allergy they can cause the hives to become worse than they would normally be.

Eczema the most common skin problem is triggered by allergies. Similarly hives are caused by allergies. It is important to learn about allergies so that we can care for our skin. Most of us have different ideas about allergy. Some of us do not believe in allergy while some of us think that they suffer from allergy with every substance. Most of us are allergic to something. Most of these allergies are harmless but some like eczema can cause lot of distress and skin problems.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Most of us have heard the term Manic Depression in our lives. Now, it’s called Bipolar Disorder. But what is it really, and what is it like to live with it?

Bipolar Disorder is a mental illness. It’s a chemical disorder in the brain which causes severe mood swings in varying degrees from severe depression to wild mania. Currently, it is thought to affect approximately 2 million people in the United States, but that figure probably is way off as people continue to go undiagnosed for a variety of reasons.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder:

Depression

  • Feeling sad, anxious, or having an “empty” mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed, including sex
  • Decreased energy, fatigue, being “slowed down”, feeling exhausted or drained
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
  • Insomnia, waking up earlier than normal, or oversleeping
  • Appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight gain
  • Thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts
  • Restlessness, irritability
  • Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain

Mania

  • Abnormal or excessive elation, feeling as if one is on top of the world: invincible
  • Unusual irritability
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Grandiose notions
  • Increased talking
  • Racing thoughts
  • Increased sexual desire
  • Markedly increased energy
  • Poor judgement
  • Inappropriate social behavior

Living with Bipolar Disorder can be very difficult. Please note that I do not speak for every single person living with BP when I describe what some lives are like. Some people manage to live very normal, productive lives.

In a depression phase, it’s nearly impossible to get out of bed, or even wake up at all. If we do make it out of bed, we usually find ourselves on the couch, not able to do anything productive until we begin to cycle up into a manic phase. Our houses become messy, we are not able to focus on anything, we feel like we don’t care about anything, we often won’t shower for days or weeks, we don’t go anywhere. We lose our jobs, our homes, our friends, and sometimes our families. We are chronically suicidal and we do threaten and attempt suicide on a regular basis. It’s almost like having a chronic flu; the depression keeps us that down.

When we’re manic, that can bring an entirely different set of problems. While in a manic phase we can be extremely productive, we also are impulsive, reckless, irresponsible and dangerous. We drink too much, drive too fast and too recklessly, do drugs, gamble excessively and to the point where we lose everything. We are impulsive and sometimes cannot make the correct decisions. For some of us, anger comes with both phases and we are extremely dangerous.

It’s impossible for people to tell us to ‘snap out of it’ or ‘get over it’ or some such similar ‘advice’ because that simply does not work. Bipolar Disorder is an illness, just like cancer, just like any other illness, and it must be treated and accepted as any other illness. Mental illness is not anyone’s fault, it simply is and it’s difficult enough simply living with any mental illness without the added judgement and stigma society adds on.

Depression, You Can Turn It Around!

Depression takes a holiday! Depression is the simplest mental illness to to stop, to pause, to relieve, yet day after day, in hospitals all over the country, doctors still attempt to cure depression without making patients aware of the very relief that is available to them for free.Some cases of severe, deep-seated depression might need medication and long-term therapy, but some mild depression, ordinary sadnesses can be paused by having the person take action. Imagine if every depressed person knew and learned and remembered that a person cannot remain depressed if they are continuously taking action, then maybe thousands or millions of patients would begin taking action in their own lives. Society is so dependent on drugs and on healing that comes only from drugs and from surgery, that society is reluctant to hear what the truth is about depression and what might relieve depression. I am not saying that some people do not need drugs. But I am saying that in some cases where mild depression exists, that taking action, being active, being creative does relieve that depression, even if only temporary. One can keep taking that action which relieves the depression probably in the same manner one takes pills and prescriptions. Too many people take prescription drugs for depression and then take no action in their own lives. You cannot relieve depression by taking drugs and then taking no action. Being depressed requires you to be still, to lay dormant, to stay put in one place, to have no creativity, to have no desire to do anything in your life. Then there is a mild depression that is a situation where the person is active and remains active to fight their depression and for as long as the person is active in their life, the depression subsides, takes a back seat to everything else.

Get busy! Think about this in your own life. Whether you have ever been depressed or not, there have been times in your life when you simply have been too busy to be depressed. You just didn’t have time to be depressed or have time to know that you were or should be depressed. (Some people’s lives are filled with so much trauma and tragedy that it makes sense that they would be depressed. That would be anyone’s normal reaction. Yet, in some people’s lives, they are simply too busy to feel or act depressed. So, therefore, action of some type can and does ward off the outward signs of depression even if one is depressed inside (in their minds). There was this joke about Old Mother Hubbard who lived in a shoe. Someone saw all the children running all around and in and out of the house. It seemed like chaos. They asked her how come she had not had a nervous breakdown from all the work she had to do. She replied that she simply was too busy. And that is so true. Many of us are sad, sad as those who lay in bed all day and night, except that we are simply too busy to keep depression in our bodies. Take a clue from that fairy tale joke and get yourself busy right now.

You can be active and still be depressed! Then there are times when you are simply depressed and you try action and yet you stay depressed even while being active. Most people “quit’ there and go back to inaction. Yet, if you just keep at the action, keep being active, EVEN if you still feel depressed while being active, your activity will soon win out over the depression. The key is to be determined and continue to be active. Think about it. The most severely depressed individuals sit still or remain in bed all day and all night. If they could bring themselves to move, to take some steps, to get out of bed, to go for a walk, and if they could convince themselves to do this every day or a few times a day, eventually their action would win out over their inaction.

So what does it all mean? It means that if you find yourself being mildly depressed, the very best medicine for you at that exact moment would be to take action. Taking some good, positive action in your life will help you get back to yourself, as you were before you were depressed. So, how does one treat themselves to relieve their own depression when they are living alone or when they have no one counseling them? Is there any hope for solitary people who are depressed? What about those depressed people who are secluded and not in contact with any of their family? Where is the hope for them? Are you depressed? Are you sitting there at your computer, reading this article, knowing that you are feeling very depressed? Have you been that way for long? Where are the answers for you?

I am not a doctor, nurse or counselor, but I have some information that is relevant to depression. More than anything, I know one thing, that depression can not battle against action. Yes, that is right, action! If you are sitting in your chair there reading this article, and you feel depressed, take hope in the fact that you are not totally depressed. Otherwise, if you were, you would not be online, and you would not be reading this. The fact that you are reading this article, that you came to the computer shows that you are not totally depressed. A totally depressed person would not have got this far. So, congratulate yourself! You have conquered some of your depression by taking an action. You took the action of going online. More than that, you took many actions. You got up out of bed, walked to the computer or wheeled your wheelchair to the computer and you then began surfing the net. You found my article and you are here reading! That is awesome progress for a depressed person. Pat yourself on the back and know that you can do more and you can take more actions to combat the depression that you are feeling.

Feeling suicidal? Sometimes when you are depressed, you might have suicidal thoughts and feelings also. It makes sense. The pain of depression is so awful that some just want to be relieved of the pain and want that so bad that they begin thinking and feeling suicidal. Think different. Yes, I said think different. Put different thoughts in your head. Know and remind yourself that it is not life that you truly want to leave but it is the pain that you want to leave. So keep that in mind. If you are feeling suicidal, the best thing to do is to call a suicide hotline. Here are some numbers to call if you are feeling or thinking suicidal: 1.800.SUICIDE or 1.800.273.TALK or 1.800.784.2433 . Call any of those numbers if you have any suicidal thoughts, suicidal words, actions or feelings. If you have an immediate emergency, call the police or operator immediately.

What about minor depression? Now, suppose your depression is just a minor depression. Suppose you are just a little bit sad. How do you treat this if you already decide that you do not want to take anti-depressants? You can treat your depression with action. This can be a beginning treatment before you even have time to get to a doctor. Take action. (This is not a medical treatment of course, and if you need to see a doctor, then go see one. Make an appointment today. You might even find some walk-in clinics in your own neighborhood). Suppose you are sad because your bunny died. Yes that is real sadness over a real event. But the sadness over this loss does not have to turn your whole life around. You can fix your sadness and become a little happy by being active. Don’t just sit there, do something! Go read a book. There is a wonderful book called, “How to Survive the Loss of a Love”. I have read many books about loss and this particular book is one of the most effective and on-target book ever published. Near the end of this article I placed a link that brings you to this book. So, sometimes you can help rid yourself of depression or sadness by reading, other times by listening to music, or seeing a movie. Everything depends on you, on how you react to circumstances and to life in general.

Take action! So, all this talk about action and what kind of action are we speaking of? Action is movement. So any good, positive movement is a step in the right direction to beginning to fight your depression. Begin activities that force you to move. Take up bowling or go fly a kite in nice weather. These actions require movement of your body and they require some thought process about the activity. So therefore, while you are thinking of flying a kite or thinking of your bowling score, your spirits lift, even if temporarily. I hear what you are about to say, “HEY! I am depressed, too depressed to go fly a kite”. And my answer to that is that is exactly why you are depressed. You are depressed because you are sitting around doing nothing. You sit around using all your time and all your energy to think about your problems and then you get more depressed. Have you ever felt better thinking about your problems? No, and that is the truth. Now, thinking about solutions to problems, that is another story.

If you are mildly depressed, I suggest that you take action. Take some ordinary actions such as these:

  • Go to the library and find the self-help section. Find books by Wayne W. Dyer, Og Mandino. Look through the shelves in that section and find every book that is applicable to you and your life. Read the books right there at the library. Find the book called, The Greatest Miracle in the World by Og Mandino. Look at the book called, The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz, and remember to locate that book called, The New Earth by Eckhart Tolle.
  • Go to the bookstore, the one that has the headphones. Hang out in the music section and listen to all kinds of music. If you can afford to buy some music, then do so.
  • Call some friends or relatives and arrange a visit. Get outdoors.
  • See nature. Visit a park.
  • Check your local newspapers and find out where the festivals are and attend some.
  • Make plans. This is one of the best way to help yourself. Make plans. Making plans is probably one of the hardest things to do when you are depressed because that is exactly what you do not want to do. But do it anyway. Today, right now, make some good, productive, creative plans.
  • Connect with someone. If you do not want to call friends or relatives, call a support group or a hotline number.

Those are all good things to do on weekends (or during the week if you do not work or go to school). Now, during the week you might have appointments, school or work. Then do what your normal schedule demands that you do. IF you have a job, get up in the morning. I know this is tough when you are depressed. But if you need to, give yourself instructions -step by step- to get yourself out of the door and on the way to work.

Silly as that sounds, this kind of action is what helps depressed individuals move and take action. Tell yourself, “get out of bed”. This works if you live alone and have no one to remind you that you should get up in the morning. Be your own boss and remind yourself that you must get up in the morning.

Rising in the morning is a great accomplishment for a depressed individual. So do that. Have that as your first goal each and every day. Get up!

Know that your health and your future depend on you getting up in the morning. You want to stay independent and you want to enjoy the good things in life. You will not accomplish that by staying in bed all day and night. If you can’t seem to sleep at night. Reverse your schedule. Apply for an evening job and sleep in the daytime. Sometimes a change as simple as that can change your entire world around. Look at your life and ask yourself what it is that will help you be happier. When you have the answer to that question, try and take an action to improve your life by making yourself happier. Taking one step at at time in the direction of action can be the best medicine for you and your life.

If you have had a major tragedy, trauma or accident, you may need professional help, perhaps some counseling. Serve yourself best by going to a counselor who does not prescribe drugs. Any problem can be talked out. And tragedy and loss is not always cured, in fact, never has been cured by drugs. Tragedy is tragedy. All humans have emotions, and sometimes, we have pain from all the emotions that we feel at one time. Drugs are not necessarily the answer to all life’s problems. If you can manage it, seek a counselor who does not prescribe drugs. Try not to see a psychiatrist since a large part of their job is to prescribe drugs. (Yes, there are some individuals who might need prescriptions, but what I am saying is don’t begin on drugs. If you have had a tragedy, try and get through that and over that without using drugs). Give yourself time to heal. And that takes a long time. So be patient with yourself.

When you are sad, try and remember the things that used to make you happy and try to return to those things, places or events. Remember years ago when you were very happy, you used to love to go swimming? And now when you are sad you do not want to swim. Here is what you can do for yourself – go to the ocean or to the pool and watch the swimmers. See how that feels for you. Breathe in the ocean air. Just sit on the beach. You do not have to go in the water. Just watch the scenery for the first time. Then the next day, go there planning to put your feet in the water. Take small steps with everything you do. But take action. Try and remember all the things that made you happy in the past and try your best to take some actions in those directions. (Take only positive, constructive or creative actions, the actions that will not hurt you or others around you).

Take happiness!

  • Be around nature more than you are now. Even in the city, look for the birds and squirrels around you. Draw them or take pictures of them.
  • Take a one-day vacation somewhere out of state. You can travel a few hours and be in a completely new environment. That will be a refreshing vacation for you even if only for one day. You can take a trip by plane for under one hundred dollars from a particular state to another state. Or take a short Amtrak or car ride to a new environment.
  • See a Broadway play, by yourself or with someone. Or go to a movie. See a high school or elementary performance.
  • Build, create, knit or crochet something. Do something crafty. Check out Michaels craft stores and go wild for one day.
  • Help someone. Yes, you heard. Help someone. Helping someone else puts your own problems in perspective and many people gain as much as they help.

So, now your imagination is happening as it should happen. I’ll give you one more idea on how to have a little happiness if you are totally sad. Check out those beach adventure trips to Atlantic City. You can go to Atlantic City for under twenty-five dollars by bus and then when you arrive there, usually, the bus company will give you about fifteen or twenty-five dollars to spend at the casinos. If you have never done this, it will be a new experience for you. You can spend your money at the casino and then walk along the boardwalk.

These are just some ways to bring a little joy or a little creativity into your day, into your life at a time when you might be feeling sad. Check out the book called, The Feeling Good Book. (Search for it online). And finally here is the link to the book called, How to Survive the Loss of a Love” By Peter McWilliams. http://www.amazon.com/Survive-Loss-Love-Peter-McWilliams/dp/0931580439

The author of this article is not a doctor, nurse, medical professional or lawyer. I suggest that you do only what is appropriate for you to do and I suggest that you use only the suggestions that will be good for your own life and future. I write this article to share my ideas and suggestions about the subject of depression. The ideas and suggestions in this article are just that – ideas and suggestions. Each reader must make their own decisions and their own choices in life. So read cautiously, and only apply what is safely appropriate for you and your life. Whenever in doubt, consult with a professional or counselor.

Weird and Unusual Phobias

Weird phobias – do you ever wonder why people have weird phobias? We can all relate to a fear of the dark and to a fear of thunderstorms, even if we have since our childhood managed to overcome them. Most of us dislike spiders, and other creepy, crawly types of insect. Some people have a phobic reaction to moths, but there seems to be no phobia for butterflies which appear to be carefree and bright, likewise there do not seem to be any phobias about the rainbows which come with sun and light rain. Some have phobias about flowers but often it can be just certain types of flower which cause the phobia. Some phobias seem to focus on things dark or menacing, or uncomfortable to the touch.

Sometimes phobias centre upon objects which actually do have some capacity to be dangerous, such as a fear of sharks, or of flying. Most often the object of the phobia is quite innocent itself, such that other people find it weird that someone would have any reason to be frightened of it. Why, for example should anyone be frightened of books, or of rooms, or of things which are placed to right (or to the left) of them. Perhaps these types of phobia relate to our general fear of the unknown, or of finding something that you do not want to see or know about.

People often report an incident in life which they think might have been the cause of their phobic terror, something very traumatic, or some half remembered event from childhood. When a phobia can be referenced to a specific event, all that it usually means is that the person still has issues about the event which they have failed to process. There is a difference between something happening which merely reminds you of a prior event, and something happening which takes you right back into the traumatic event and makes you full of its fear.

Probably every object which people have a phobia about is really standing in the place of some other situation, with characteristics similar to the focus of the phobia. Take the example of a phobia about string, what is it about the appearance or qualities of string that makes you shake and tremble.

There are weird phobias such as a fear of baldness, chins, of seeing people’s knees, or of stooping down.

Many people, perhaps surprisingly, report a fear of clowns. Often this phobia is linked with a fear of ventriloquist dolls and puppets. These types of phobia may be connected to a fear of outside control. Some people have a fear of symmetry and repetitive patterns. Others may fear asymmetry which can be connected to obsessive compulsive disorders.

Much of the symbolism of phobias is repeated in our dreams. People trying to work through their phobias may be asked to journal their dreams. If similar themes to our phobias are appearing in our dreams, then some form of dream analysis can be helpful with interpretation. The key to resolving phobias is to talk very freely about them, thinking of everything that they mean to you, anything that they could represent. A fear of falling could be related to a deep seated fear of failure, a fear of heights to being alone and unsupported. In every case, a person will be able to suggest reasons for their phobia, and these will be the clues to underlying insecurities and fears. Very often people find it very re-assuring to know that other people suffer from weird phobias too. Sometimes people are very distressed or embarrassed about what their phobias are – it is good to know that a lot of otherwise normal people suffer from the same or similar fears. If you have a phobia, and particularly if it is spoiling your life, do not be shy to get some help. Having a weird phobia does not mean you are mad – it means that you probably just need some help to deal with untangling some emotional issues which are the basis for your anxiety.

Types Of Depression And Anxiety Disorders

An estimated 6 percent of Americans suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression, and an additional 14 percent experience a milder form of the disorder known as the winter blues. SAD strikes during the winter months and is associated with reduced exposure to sunlight. People with SAD suffer from irritability, apathy, carbohydrate craving and weight gain, increases in sleep time, and general sadness. Researchers believe that SAD is caused by a malfunction in the hypothalamus, the gland responsible for regulating responses to external stimuli. Stress may also playa role in SAD. Certain factors seem to put people at risk for SAD. Women are four times more likely to suffer from SAD than are men. Although SAD occurs in people of all ages, those between 20 and 40 appear to be most vulnerable. Certain families appear to be at risk. And people living in northern states in the United States are more at risk than are those living in southern states. During the winter, there are fewer hours of sunlight in northern regions than in southern areas. An estimated 10 percent of the population in northern states such as Maine, Minnesota, and Wisconsin experience SAD, whereas fewer than 2 percent of those living in southern states such as Florida and New Mexico suffer from the disorder.

There are some simple but effective therapies for SAD. The most beneficial appears to be light therapy, in which a patient is exposed to lamps that mimic sunlight. After being exposed to this lighting each day, 80 percent of patients experience relief from their symptoms within four days. Other forms of treatment for SAD are diet change(eating more foods high in complex carbohydrates), increased exercise, stress management techniques, sleep restriction(limiting the number of hours slept in a 24-hour period), psychotherapy, and antidepressants.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders

Approximately 5 million Americans suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorders. An obsessive-compulsive disorder(OCD) is an illness in which people have obsessive thoughts or perform habitual behaviors that they cannot control. People with obsessions have recurring ideas or thoughts that they cannot control. People with compulsions feel forced to engage in a repetitive behavior, almost as if the behavior controls them. Feeling an obsessive need for cleanliness and washing one’s hands 20 times before eating, counting to a certain number while using the toilet, and checking and rechecking all the light switches in the house before leaving or going to bed are examples of compulsive behaviors. OCD may be considered one type of depression.

Mild Insomnia – Cures and Prevention

Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by an inability to fall asleep or stay asleep. You may have insomnia if you are experiencing symptoms such as difficulty falling asleep at night, waking up at night and not being able to fall back asleep, waking up in the morning much earlier than usual, and feeling overly tired when waking up. Insomnia can be short term, or it can last for weeks or months. An insomnia cure for short-term or mild insomnia generally does not involve medication. Instead, an insomnia cure in this instance consists of developing good sleep habits.

Good sleep habits may be the only insomnia cure you need. Fortunately, there are many ways your sleeping habits can be improved.

First and foremost, make an effort to go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning. This will help stabilize your internal circadian biological clock, which regulates your periods of sleepiness and wakefulness over a 24-hour period.

Avoid central nervous system stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol, especially late in the day. It is important to remember that these stimulants can be accurately described as drugs that have effects similar to asthma drugs, cardiac stimulants, and diuretics. Any insomnia cure regimen will require you to eliminate or cut back on these substances as much as possible. While ingesting caffeine may be a popular means of staying awake, it is no substitute for sleep. If you cannot avoid these substances altogether, try to avoid them within 6-8 hours of going to bed.

In addition to being an excellent overall health booster, regular exercise is a good insomnia cure, as it makes it easier to fall asleep and will help you sleep more soundly. On the other hand, sporadic exercising or exercising right before bedtime will make it more difficult for you to fall asleep. The reason for this is that it makes you more alert and raises your body temperature. It takes approximately 6 hours for your body temperature to return to normal, and a cooler core body temperature is needed for sleep onset. Sleep experts recommend finishing your exercise at least three hours before you turn in for the night, and that the ideal time for exercise is the late afternoon.

A pleasurable insomnia cure is to establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine that helps you to wind down. While establishing a bedtime routine is often recommended for babies with colic, you never really outgrow the need for soothing and comforting activities that enable you to settle down for the night. Some of the things you may want to try include soaking in a hot bat, hot tub, or jacuzzi, reading a book, drinking a cup of hot herbal tea or milk, or listening to soft, soothing music. Keep the lights low, as bright lights signal to your body that it is time to be awake. In addition, avoid stressful or arousing activities before bedtime, such as paying bills, working, or engaging in competitive games.

Finally, no insomnia cure will have its intended effect if your bedroom is not conducive to sleep in the first place. Make sure your bedroom is cool, dark, quiet, and comfortable. You may want to consider investing in items such as blackout curtains, eye shades, ear plugs, white noise generators, or fans. You will also want to make sure your mattress is comfortable and supportive. The life span of good quality mattresses is generally 9 to 10 years, so if your mattress is old, you may consider investing in a new one.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to serve as medical advice. For medical advice, please consult your doctor.

Let Your Nails Tell You About Your General Health and Wellbeing

People often wonder why when you go in for a surgical procedure, the nurse requests that you have no nailpolish on any of your nails. This enables the anesthesiologist to see immediately of you are oxygen deprived if they turn blueish-grey. Our finger and toe nails are very effective windows to our general healthy and well-being and should be taken special note of.

NAIL GROWTH: Everyone experiences different speeds of nail growth. Our nails are like our hair growth – sometimes quick, other times slow. This speed depends on several factors. Nails often grow faster in summer than winter. Men’s nails tend to grow more quickly than women’s, except possibly during pregnancy and old age. Sometimes the nails on a person’s dominant hand (hand most used) grow faster. The growth rate of fingernails often also outpaces that of the toenails. On average, fingernails grow 2 to 3 millimeters in one month, and toenails grow 1 millimeter per month. Disease, hormone imbalance, and aging can all slow nail growth. If you notice a sudden or even gradual change in this rate and its not connected to your medical condition at the time – its best to consult your doctor.

COMMON NAIL DISORDERS: While uncommon in children and young people, nail disorders affect a large number of older and aging adults. As we age, our nails thicken and become more susceptible to fungal nail infections. Circulatory problems and use of medications, which also tend to increase as we age, raise the risk of developing an unusual nail condition.

Common nail conditions that should be taken special note of include:

WHITE SPOTS

Most often caused by mild trauma, such as catching one’s finger in a door. Small spots appear when the base of the nail is injured. These white spots are very common, and will eventually grow out, and is no cause for concern. But if you suddenly see a number of white spots and do not remember injuring your nail or the white spots do not seem to grow out, be sure to make an appointment to see a dermatologist. White spots also can indicate an infection or other medical condition.

SPLINTER HEMORRHAGES

Appearing as a red to reddish-brown fine, vertical line that resembles a splinter beneath the nail.This can happen when blood vessels in the nail bed are damaged. The most common cause is nail injury. Certain medications and medical conditions also can cause a splinter hemorrhage, so these should be examined by a dermatologist if you don’t have any recollection of injuring your nails.

INGROWN TOENAIL

This common nail disorder happens when the corner of the nail curves downward into the skin, causing discomfort and pain. The big toenails are particularly vulnerable. Improper nail trimming, tight shoes, or a poor stance can lead to this common nail problem. Ingrown nails may be painful and sometimes lead to infection. Proper treatment by a podiatrist or pedicurist can avoid problems.

DARK SPOTS OR STREAKS

If a dark spot or streak appears on any nail, and is not the result of an injury, it must be examined by a dermatologist. This could be melanoma, the most lethal form of skin cancer. Psoriasis can also affect the nails

While most minor nail injuries heal without treatment, severe nail disorders require medical care. The following nail problems should be reported to a dermatologist immediately:

  • Change in the color or shape of a nail – indicating a fungal growth under the nailbed
  • Swollen skin or pain around a nail
  • White or black line visible in a nail
  • Dents or ridges in a nail

The nails can reveal much about your overall health and many diseases and serious conditions can be detected by noting changes in your nails. The most common serious health conditions that the nails may be revealing could include:

Liver Diseases – White nails

Kidney Diseases – Half of nail is pink, half is white

Heart Conditions – Nail bed is red

Lung Diseases – Yellowing and thickening of the nail and slowed growth rate

Anemia – Pale nail beds

Diabetes – Yellowish nails, with a slight blush at the base

If you note any of these unusual changes in your nails, be sure to consult a specialist immediately!

NAIL CARE TIPS TO AVOID DISORDERS:

Many nail disorders result from poor nail care, so developing good nail habits can help. To keep your nails healthy, dermatologists recommend:

1. Keep nails clean and dry. This helps prevent bacteria and other infectious organisms from collecting under the nail.

2. Cut nails straight across, rounding them slightly with a nail file at the tips for greatest strength. Be sure to use clean sharp nail scissors, sterilized nail clippers or a good glass crystal nail file to make sure you are using bacteria-free equipment. Filing the nails into points weakens them.

3. Keep nails shaped and free of snags by filing with a “fine” textured glass crystal file.

4. Avoid biting fingernails, and never remove the cuticle.

5. Trim toenails regularly to keep them short. This minimizes trauma and injury.

6. Soak feet in warm salt water (one teaspoon of salt per pint of water) for five to 10 minutes when toenails are thick and difficult to cut, then apply urea or lactic acid cream. This softens the nails, making them easier to trim.

7. Avoid “digging-out” ingrown toenails, especially if they are already infected and sore. See a dermatologist or podiatrist for treatment.

8. Wear shoes that fit properly and alternate pairs.

9. Report any nail irregularities to your dermatologist. Nail changes, swelling, and pain could signal a serious problem.

10. Be especially vigilant of nail problems if you have diabetes or poor circulation. At the first sign of a problem, see a dermatologist.

Our nails have a myriad of uses… they protect and support the tissues in our fingers and toes. Having nails allows us to scratch an itch, pick a sore or scratch off a sticker! A simple look at the nails can warn a doctor of an underlying medical condition, such as heart disease or diabetes. An observant physician will always take a look at the condition of your nails during a physical examination.

Let your nails tell you how healthy you are at all times!

The Truth About Toenail Fungus

Nail fungus or Onchymosis is a nail fungal infection affecting the toenails or fingernails. But it usually occurs four times in the toenails rather than the fingernails. Early symptoms of the infection could usually go unnoticed and is not seen until the situation becomes worse. Toenail fungus is very rare at younger ages but the incidence rate increase over age. And also, around 40% Americans are said to be infected at the age of seventy.

This infection may be due to a certain fungus among several kinds of fungi known to mankind. They dwell in dark places as well as warm and moist environments. Most toenail fungus are due to dermatophyte fungi. Upon fungal proliferation, they consume the keratin of the nails. The keratin is the protein responsible for making he nails hard.

The following fungus symptoms may occur: nail discoloration to yellow, green, brown, black, or purple), inflammation, itching, presence of pus and small bumps, nail thickening, nail streaks or spots, nail splitting, and cracked or brittle nails. Toenail fungus is harder to heal in comparison to a fingernail fungus. This is because the toenail growth is very slow compared to the fingernails.

A toenail infection is usually due to a fungus entering inside nail or skin cuts and trauma. Constant exposure to moist environment like public showers can also lead to toenail fungus.

Those people with low immune system like diabetics are commonly prone to toenail fungus. Once the infection is already there, the tendency is that it may be very difficult to treat or cure because of the poor performance of their body’s immune system to fight against infection or foreign body.

Today, a variety of options and toenail fungus remedy are available in the market, online and at home such as topical creams or ointments, laser treatment, oral anti-fungal medications, surgical removal of the nail, natural products, home remedies like tea tree oil and apple cider vinegar, Vicks vaporub, etc.

But as a final note, always remember that prevention is much better than cure. Moreover, prevention is always the best cure. For the reason that the inside of the shoe is dark and sometimes moist and warm, it becomes the favorite dwelling places for fungi. Therefore, make sure to wear breathable and well fit shoes; avoid those that are tight. And for the socks you wear, replace them frequently to avoid moist from sweating feet which may cause a toenail fungus.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injury

When Do You Need An ACL Brace:

1. Post Injury- Just after you injure the Anterior Cruciate Ligament an ACL brace is vital to help relieve knee pain, provide needed support and protect the ligament and the rest of the joint from further damage as there is considerable time between the injury, the doctor’s evaluation, the MRI and the surgery.

2. Post Surgical- Whether you have a knee scope or an ACL graft, it’s important to stabilize the knee after surgery to allow proper healing, protection and if necessary to limit the amount of knee range of motion.

3. Post Healing- After you have had an ACL injury or surgery it’s important to protect your knee during heavy work loads or while participating in sporting events. It’s just not fun to go through it a second time!

ACL injuries are graded according to the following severity scale:

Grade I ACL Sprain (Mild ACL Sprain)

– The Injury- The ACL has only been stretched and there is no tear.

– Symptoms: mild pain, tenderness and swelling.

– Physical Effects: The knee feels stable and you are able to walk on it with little discomfort.

– ACL Brace Needed: A mild support brace that provides compression to mildly protect and help reduce swelling. View All Knee Braces

– Other helpful treatment:

Rest the knee as much as possible for 1-2 weeks and avoid strenuous sporting events or training activities.

Ice the knee for 10-15 minutes 2x/day using knee ice packs until the swelling and pain have dissipated.

Elevate: If swelling increases after activity or towards the end of the day, elevate your foot above heart level for 30 minutes.

Grade II ACL Sprain

– The Injury: The ACL has a slight tear.

– Symptoms usually include mild pain with moderate amounts of swelling about the knee.

– Physical Effects: The knee feels mildly unstable at times and may “give out” unexpectedly

– ACL Brace Needed: To protect the partial tear in the ACL it’ important to wear a brace that provides moderate support and that can help keep the knee from going past it’s normal range of motion because when your knee gives out, further ligament tearing may occur. View All Knee Braces

– Other helpful Grade II ACL treatment:

Resting the knee by utilizing crutches is beneficial until a doctor’s visit is possible, then follow weight bearing instructions by your physician.

Ice the knee for 10-15 minutes 2x/day using knee ice packs until the swelling and pain have dissipated.

Elevate: elevate your foot above heart level for 15-30 minutes 2-3 times per day or as the swelling level demands.

Topical Analgesics: Temporarily reduces pain and discomfort and can be very worthwhile in helping get through a painful knee episode.

Grade III sprain

– The Injury: The ACL has a complete tear and needs medical attention.

– Symptoms: Pain and swelling of varying degrees from mild to intense.

– Physical Effects: The knee feels unstable or gives out intermittently.

– ACL Brace Needed: A very supportive ACL brace is necessary for this injury to protect the other sensitive tissues in the knee such as the meniscus, joint surfaces and other ligaments. This brace should be able to limit range of motion of the knee or provide complete immobilization. View All Knee Braces

– Other helpful Grade III Knee Injury treatment:

Resting the knee with crutch use is mandatory until a doctor’s visit is possible, and then follow weight bearing/crutch use instructions by your physician.

Ice the knee 2x/day using knee ice packs until the swelling and pain have dissipated.

Elevate: elevate your foot above heart level for 15-30 minutes 2-3 times per day or as the swelling level demands.

Topical Analgesics: Temporarily reduces pain and discomfort and can be very worthwhile in helping get through a painful knee episode.

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is the “guard dog” of the femur, tibia, and meniscus. They relate to each other in the following way:

– The femur stands atop the tibia. The two long bones could not stand for long by themselves and most certainly could not allow for movement and weight- bearing.

– The padding between the tibia bone (the lower leg bone) and the femur bone (the thigh bone) is called the menisci. Its purpose is to absorb shock as well as to protect the bones from riding one upon the other.

– The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) helps keep the structure erect and vertical. It is much like a bungee cord or a very strong and thick rubber band that runs vertically, holding the bones and the padding (menisci) together. It provides balance, stability, and flexibility, allowing the body’s “dance of resiliency” to continue.

Knee Pain Tips

Ice Packs For Knee Pain- Ice Relieves Pain Better Than Heat!

Correctly icing the knee is very effective at relieving most acute injuries and it’s no different with knee pain. Whether it’s an acute knee injury or chronic knee pain, knee ice packs, knee ice wraps and knee ice coolers that circulate cold water to the painful area.

Ice helps reduce pain in two ways. First it helps reduce inflammation in the tissues which in itself reduces pain, however icing also helps “numb” the area and the brain does not feel the pain over the amount of sensory cold signals.

Icing Instructions: ice the knee as needed for severe pain, but not more than 20 minutes every hour unless instructed by your doctor. Remember to always protect

Compression For Knee Pain & Swelling

Compression knee braces help relieve knee pain and reduce knee swelling by helping prevent fluid build-up. Compression knee braces are usually very comfortable and can be worn daily as needed for pain or swelling.

The information, including opinions and recommendations, contained in this article is for general educational purposes only. Such information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. No one should act upon any information in this article without first seeking medical advice from a qualified medical physician with whom they have a confidential doctor/patient relationship.

Elevating the Knee

While standing inflammation and swelling tend to drain towards the feet, and if you have an injured knee, the swelling can increase when you are sitting, standing and walking. When you get your feet above the level of the heart the excess fluid can drain away from the injured area which helps to relieve pain.

Tight Jeans and Your Health

There are a number of truths and myths when it comes to tight jeans and your health. Myths are of course always very well spread amongst the general population. It’s one of those things where people think they know something because they have heard it somewhere before and continue to spread it but have no idea if it is true or not.

There are a number of definite things when it comes to tight jeans. They look cool, they make you feel good wearing it (most of the time) and people think that they are sexy. But then there is the other side of the coin. There are rumors of low sperm count and infertility as well as nerve damage.

I know one thing for certain. When I wear tight jeans they give me bruises on my hip bones. This is because for the jeans to be considered tight they have to be one size smaller than what you would actually wear. This is because over time the jeans get worn in and stretch a little bit and there is nothing worse than tight jeans that are a bit baggy around the bum area. So I suffer with a bruise on each hip bone for a few days after I wear them.

Now, as far as lowering sperm count or contributing to infertility, it is simply not true. The reasons people have for these claims is that the testes overheat. The testes are actually self regulating meaning that they keep to pretty much the same temperature all the time no matter what condition they are in. There have been experiments to conclude this where a male rock band had their sperm count before and after wearing tight jeans for 6 weeks straight. No change.

The new thing out and about is that they cause nerve damage. This may contribute to an existing condition in some people but it is not the cause of it. Either way, it is a good idea not to use very tight jeans all the time. Your region, for want of a better word, needs to breath and get some airflow going on around it.

So, for piece of mind and general health, it is always good to get your facts straight first and not let other people tell you rubbish. It is also a good idea not to wear tight clothing all the time so that your bits can breath. And it is also a good idea to keep up with the fashion and keep on wearing tight jeans.