Archive for March, 2013

Living With Someone Who Is Depressed

March 28, 2013

Depression is the most prevalent mental illness, affecting as many as one in four women and one in 10 men at some point in their lives. For the person experiencing depression, performing simple, daily routines can be difficult.

But the difficulty is shared by those close to that person as well. The National Foundation for Depressive Illness offers these helpful suggestions for those living with a depressed person.

Learn about the illness. It will be easier to live with someone who is depressed if you understand how the condition may affect the afflicted person. Because depression affects so many people, a number of books and articles have been written on the subject, and several Internet sites offer insight into the disease. Check with your local library, or type “depression” into your favorite search engine.

Assess your own needs. Putting your own needs on hold could lead to feeling resentful. That’s why it’s important to focus on your own needs equally and to make time to do things you enjoy. Making time for yourself will leave you feeling refreshed, which can make you a better caregiver.

Separate your feelings for your loved one from your feelings towards the disease. The depressed person is still the same loving and capable person you’ve always known, only s/he is struggling with a disease. Respecting your loved one and remembering his/her strengths is one of the best ways to let him/her know that you care.

Be supportive and consistent. Depressed people need patience, understanding, encouragement and assistance. By offering these and a stable environment, you’re helping your loved one recover, and that’s important to getting your own life back to normal.

Ask for help when it’s needed. To learn more, contact Soundside Wellness Consultants.

Can Adults Have ADHD?

March 19, 2013

While we hear about many children being diagnosed with ADHD, many adults who have the disorder don’t know it. They may feel that it is impossible to get organized, stick to a job, or remember and keep appointments. Daily tasks such as getting up in the morning, preparing to leave the house for work, arriving at work on time, and being productive on the job can be especially challenging for adults with ADHD.

These adults may have a history of failure at school, problems at work, or difficult or failed relationships. Many have had multiple traffic accidents. Like teens, adults with ADHD may seem restless and may try to do several things at once, most of them unsuccessfully. They also tend to prefer “quick fixes” rather thank taking the steps needed to achieve greater rewards.

Like children, adults who suspect they have ADHD should be evaluated by a licensed mental health professional. But the professional may need to consider a wider range of symptoms when assessing adults for ADHD because their symptoms tend to be more varied and possible not as clear-cut as symptoms seen in children.

To be diagnosed with the condition, an adult must have ADHD symptoms that began in childhood and continued through adulthood. Health professionals use certain rating scales to determine if an adult meets the diagnostic criteria for ADHD. The mental health professional also will look at the person’s history of childhood behavior and school experiences. The person will also undergo a physical exam and various psychological tests.

For some adults, a diagnosis of ADHD can bring a sense of relief. Adults who have had the disorder since childhood, but who have not been diagnosed, may have developed negative feelings about themselves over the years. Receiving a diagnosis allows them to understand the reasons for their problems, and treatment will allow them to deal with their problems more effectively.

Much like children with the disorder, adults with ADHD are treated with medication, psychotherapy, education, or a combination of treatments.

For Better Living

March 14, 2013

You’re Not Getting Older, You’re Getting Better

While the aging process may bring about physical aches and pains, a person’s psychological health actually improves with age. That’s the conclusion of a study conducted at the University of California at Berkeley. Researchers tracked the same group of people for 50 years, assessing their psychological health about every 10 years. They found that productivity, the quality of interpersonal relationships and the ability to behave compassionately toward others all improve with age. Even teenagers who had problems during adolescence (all subjects were first interviewed at 14) showed signs of improvement across their lifespans, suggesting that aging really isn’t about getting older, but getter better. (American Psychological Association)

Expressing Your Feelings

Expressing feelings isn’t easy. Many of us were taught as children to hide our feelings or to not express them. We carry this lesson into adulthood, and when someone says or does something to upset us, we say nothing because we grew up believing it’s a greater offense to make another person uncomfortable than it is to be outspoken about our feelings. If you find it hard to express your feelings, try these steps. First, tune in to what your body is saying to you. If you’re feeling uncomfortable or upset, decide what made you feel that way. Was it something someone said or did – or didn’t say or do? Next, decide what you are feeling. Are you feeling unappreciated or angry? Now that you’ve got a nameĀ for the feeling, think of the way you can express yourself and pick one. For example, if you’re feeling unappreciated, you come right out and say it: “I feel unappreciated when you (etc., etc.).” You could also write about it and mail the offending person your letter. Always choose a safe, nonthreatening way to express yourself. You can accomplish much more being assertive than being aggressive.

Don’t Skip That Vacation!

Think a vacation may cost you your job or limit your chance at a promotion? It’s not uncommon for career-minded people to think so. But it’s dangerous not to take time away. Stress management experts offer three reasons. First vacations are times of rejuvenation and renewal. Not to take advantage of them only increases stress. Also, passing on a vacation because you think you’ll lose your job is a sign of cynical hostility, a personality trait that’s a known contributor to heart disease. Someone who feels that cynical about a job probably feels cynical about other things, and that’s dangerous. As a final reason, one stress management expert found that most supervisors don’t know their employees’ vacation patterns. That should be reason enough to go out and enjoy the time off.

Tips for Reducing or Controlling Stress

March 5, 2013

Getting to work on time… paying your bills… keeping on top of your household chores… it can all add up to a lot of stress. Sure, many of us realize that we have an abnormal amount of stress in our lives, but how do we deal with it and move on? Here are some tips to get you started down the path of tranquility.

As you read the following suggestions, remember that success will not come from a – effort, nor will it come overnight. It will take determination, persistence and time. Some suggestions may help immediately, but if your stress is chronic, it may require more attention and/or lifestyle changes. Determine YOUR tolerance level for stress and try to live within these limits. Learn to accept or change stressful and tense situations whenever possible.

Be realistic. If you feel overwhelmed by some activities (yours and/or your family’s), learn to say NO! Eliminate an activity that is not absolutely necessary. You may be taking on more responsibility than you can or should handle. If you meet resistance, give reasons why you’re making the changes. Be willing to listen to others’ suggestions and be ready to compromise.

Shed the “superman/superwoman” urge. No one is perfect so don’t expect perfection from yourself or others. Ask yourself, “What really needs to be done?” “How much can I do?” “Is the deadline realistic?” “What adjustments can I make?” Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it.

Meditate. Just 10 to 20 minutes of quiet reflection may bring relief from chronic stress as well as increase your tolerance to it. Use the time to listen to music, relax and try to think of pleasant things or nothing.

Visualize. Use your imagination and picture how you can manage a stressful situation more successfully. Whether it’s a business presentation or moving to a new place, many people feel visual rehearsals boost self-confidence and enable them to take a more positive approach to a difficult task.

Take one thing at a time. For people under tension or stress, an ordinary workload can sometimes seem unbearable. The best way to cope with this feeling of being overwhelmed is to take one task at a time. Pick one urgent task and work on it. Once you accomplish that task, choose the next one. The positive feeling of “checking off” tasks is very satisfying. It will motivate you to keep going.

Exercise. Regular exercise is a popular way to relieve stress. Twenty to 30 minutes of physical activity benefits both the body and the mind.

Hobbies. Take a break from your worries by doing something you enjoy. Whether it’s gardening or painting, schedule time to indulge your interest.

Healthy lifestyle. Good nutrition makes a difference. Limit intake of caffeine and alcohol (alcohol actually disturbs regular sleep patterns), get adequate rest, exercise and balance work and play.

Share your feelings. A conversation with a friend lets you know that you are not the only one having a bad day, caring for a sick child or working in a busy office. Stay in touch with friends and family. Let them provide love, support and guidance. Don’t try to cope alone.

Give in occasionally. Be flexible! If you find you’re meeting constant opposition in either your personal or professional life, rethink your position or strategy. Arguing only intensifies stressful feelings. If you know you are right, stand your ground, but do so calmly and rationally. Make allowances for others’ opinions and be prepared to compromise. If you are willing to give in, others may meet you halfway. Not only will you reduce your stress, you may find better solutions to your problems.

Go easy with criticism. You may expect too much of yourself and others. Try not to feel frustrated, let down, disappointed or even “trapped” when another person does not measure up. The “other person” may be a wife, a husband, or a child whom you are trying to change to suit yourself. Remember, everyone is unique, and has his or her own virtues, shortcomings, and right to develop as an individual.

Where and when to seek help. Help may be as close as a friend or spouse. But if you think you or someone you know may be under more stress than just dealing with a passing difficulty, it may be helpful to talk with a doctor, spiritual adviser, or a psychological health care professional.