12 Surprising Ways to Improve Your Focus When You Have ADHD – life insurance program


It’s frustrating, isn’t it? You have trouble filtering information. You constantly feel scattered. You can’t seem to manage and plan your time effectively — to the point that you’re constantly late, forgetful, and unable to meet engagements or deadlines.

In today’s fast-pace world, society demands that you’d be on point, meticulous, or productive. Anything but that, you’re put into a box of broken dolls. So naturally, you believe that you’re stupid, that you’re powerless, and that you’re unable to change your life’s course.

Your anger rumbles and you can’t help but wondering: how can others can get things done or move forward so effortlessly? Are you missing that special chip in your brain that allows you to stay focused?

You’ve been lead to believe that if you’re not highly efficient, you’re unlike the norm — you have a disease called “attention deficit” (ADHD). And it’s confusing because ADHD is not an attention deficit. It’s rather a deficit in the ability to control your degree of attention, of impulsivity, and of hyperactivity.

What you need is clever and somewhat unconventional strategies to put in practice. This way, you can manage and improve your focus.

So let’s dive in.

1. Throw out your paper planner

Normally, keeping a paper calendar or planner is a great way to write things down like appointments, reminders, birthdays, your kids’ countless activities…

There’s just one problem, though… You need to remember to look at it!

Sure, you might think that you have a great memory. You do for certain things. But your memory works best when you associate newly received information with a strong emotion or a sensory experience (sound, image, odor). Otherwise, for someone like you, remembering things easily can be difficult — as new ideas constantly race in your head at a thousand miles an hour.

So setting electronic and physical triggers work best. Synchronize your electronic calendars or reminder apps and place reminder objects in strategic places.

2. Stop listing it all

You might believe you need to write down everything that needs to be done in order to remember them. But that’s the last thing you should do. Why? Because people like you can write or rewrite a ridiculous amount of lists. (I know I have.)

The problem is not the list in itself; it’s the implementation. It doesn’t take any effort to write down all the things you should do. But it does take effort to act upon them (even the quicker tasks). Because as soon as a shiny object presents itself, you can easily look the other way.

So only list things that require more than 5 minutes to do and do the ones that can be taken care of in lesser time right away. Seriously! This way, your list will be lighter.

3. Postpone certain tasks

Isn’t postponing tasks a bad thing? It is if you keep postponing them repeatedly. And that’s called procrastination — which I’m not telling you to do. No way Jose. Procrastination is your worst enemy.

What I’m saying is that certain tasks require a lot more time to get done. To know whether some of them require immediate attention or not, you’ll need to assess the tasks. Decide if they fit your context, your availability, your level of energy, and your priorities first.

Here’s another trick. You can postpone certain tasks if:

1) You don’t have uncomfortable feelings, like boredom, guilt, tension, indecisiveness, etc.
2) You don’t say “I’ll do it later” without knowing exactly when.

Write them down on a list (remember: they have to take more than 5 min to do), then review it once or twice a week to get them done.

4. Don’t get stuck in details

Being detailed-oriented is generally a good thing. But you need to watch out. You can focus so much on certain details that you can lose yourself in them and lose track of time. And the next thing you know, you didn’t accomplish all the other things you wanted to spend time on.

People like you are sometimes perfectionists. So the best thing to do is to set a timer, an alarm clock, or what have you, when doing all your tasks. Leave out certain details and come back to them at a later time. Or, delegate them if they’re time-wasters.

Anyway, what does perfection look like? Move on to the next thing. You’ll be much more likely to reach all your goals this way.

5. Forget about decluttering first

It’s always nice to start fresh in a clean, neat environment. This should help improve organization and focus. It’s understandable.

How could you ever get anything done or churn out your best ideas in a cluttered space? But be aware that cleaning your space can be a double-edged sword.

If your space is a big mess, decluttering your space becomes a project in itself. And such a project can last a very long time before accomplishing the first task.

So if time is a constraint, you need to divide your projects into mini-projects and clean your space during times you’re not doing anything important.

6. Don’t take notes to a tee

Nobody will argue that taking notes while someone is speaking allows you to remember things later. But in my experience, I’ve found that I still lose bits and pieces of the conversation. And sometimes, I lose the most important information because I’m too busy taking notes. If that’s your case, I suggest doing this instead.

Record long talks with a dictation app. (If you’re a having a private conversation, make sure it stays private.) Listening to the recordings adds another task to your schedule, but trust me, you won’t regret it.

You can try to pay attention as much as you can and if you wander off, it’s okay. You’ll have your recordings to refer to and will remember things twice as much because of the repetition.

7. Ignore your incoming messages

Of course, the more you can respond to your messages quickly, the more you can keep things rolling. And especially nowadays, with all the technological progress we’ve gone through. Technological progress like voice mails, emails, and text messages mean people expect and sometimes demand immediate answers.

But the world doesn’t stop if you don’t respond right away. You don’t have to be a slave to always having to be available for phone messages or emails. Doing so can distract you and derail you from taking care of your most important tasks.

If you’re prone to distraction, rather than reading and responding to these incessant incoming signals as they come, allocate specific times to respond to people.

8. Break the silence

Most people would say to limit other distractions or work in a quiet place in order to focus better. It’s even highly recommended to turn off or get away from any disturbing sound. The constant signaling of electronic devices (like mentioned earlier) or chatter from other people standing near you can be of putting.

But some people find that dead silence can be even more distracting and, to the contrary, background noise can help drive away distractions. When you’re studying or working, you can turn on your ceiling fan, a white noise machine or music on low volume (more about this later). This gives a constant noise and doesn’t call for your attention.

9. Embrace your least favorite task

If you have trouble getting things done, some people would say to start with the thing you love doing first to get things going. Although, it’s a great starter, it’s also a great killer. Because you leave the things you hate doing the most for last and when it comes to accomplishing it, you can find it even harder to do so.

So when you plan out your day, tackle the things you’re least passionate about first. Tackle all the things that seem tedious or boring to you. Get rid of them once and for all.

Once completed, your focus will improve when working on the other tasks since they’ll be more enjoyable.

10. Schedule time to be idle

Wait a minute. Idleness is the complete opposite of productivity, right? Not if you’re strategic. If you’re easily distracted or impulsive, you can become even more so under stress. And boredom can also ruin your productivity.

That’s why it’s important to take breaks. That’s why, it’s important to give yourself time to regroup. So make it important to detach yourself from your work and schedule time to relax, be it just deep breathing, meditation or visualization.

You can also move around. Getting up to walk around and stretching may be all you need. These things will help you get into a very focused state and help you make well-considered decisions when it comes to your priorities and actions.

11. Talk to yourself out loud

I’ll admit that people might think you’re completely loco if you talk to yourself, akin to the ones who have conversations with themselves in the subway. It’s far better to do it in closed doors. But it’s even better to do it purposefully.

When you put objects in places, voice where you put them. Or when someone says something, paraphrase the conversation. In the first case, this will help you register where you’ve placed your items and lower the risk of losing them. In the second case, this will help you digest the conversation and ensure you understand the other person in order to formulate a response.

12. Continue fidgeting

Restlessness is a sign of hyperactivity or more fundamentally, impatience — whether you can’t stand still in one place or you cut people off when they speak all the time. But if you learn to occupy that urge to fidget, it can come to your advantage.

In fact, you can enhance your focus and improve your productivity in your primary tasks when engaging in mindless secondary tasks. I’m not talking about wriggling in your seat erratically and unconsciously. I’m talking about pacing your movements intentionally. I’m talking about using a “focused distraction.”

For instance, leave your desk to take a walk and listen to ambient music. Use a fidget toy that has interesting shapes and textures — such as pens or pencils, stones, Nerf balls, etc. Or, sit on a large exercise ball by your desk.

How to Be Successful

Paying attention can sometimes be a challenge. Especially in a world in constant movement where you need to conform and be compatible with a stiff lifestyle that isn’t yours, especially the workplace.

You don’t suffer from a lack of intelligence, strength, or talent. Your brain just works differently. You have the same abilities and potential as others. So don’t let that impede your professional or personal success.

Stop being a space cadet. Stop being ineffective. Stop being negligent.

Use the tricks above to boost your productivity. Attack your day in a whole different way and make your countless ideas come true.

Because you are an innovative thinker. You are a visionary. You are a creative genius.

It’s time to show your creative prowess and be a force to be reckoned with.


Source: lifehack.org

4 WARNING Signs of Depression You Need to Be Aware of


Who hasn’t felt a lonely or sad at times? We all have days when we feel down, blah, or overwhelmed with life, and we may even go through periods when we have a really tough case of the blues. If we take a closer look, however, there’s often an identifiable cause behind those feelings; a loss, an emotional or physical blow of some kind.

Grief over the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, the loss of a job, a financial setback, or some other type of extreme hardship may cause us to feel a bit hopeless and miserable temporarily. Having those feelings doesn’t necessarily mean we’re depressed—it might just be our normal and understandable reaction to life’s hardships.

So how do we know if we, or someone we care about, are suffering from depression rather than just ordinary sadness? It’s not always easy to tell the difference. The short, quick answer is that sadness is a temporary emotion, usually with a recognizable cause, while depression lasts for longer periods of time; sometimes forever, and often for no discernible reason. Perhaps the most important indicator of depression is that it interferes with the ability to lead a normal life.

Recognizing depression can be extremely difficult, and the quick definition oversimplifies a very complex problem. There are many signs of this condition that you may have not considered, and to make it even harder, the signs and symptoms vary greatly from person to person, as does the severity. Worse, it’s harder to notice the signs when you are in the midst of depression already, which is why other people often notice before the depressed individual does.

The warning signs are there, but knowing what to look for makes it much more likely that you will spot them sooner.

What to Look For: Signs That You or Someone You Care About May Be Depressed

If you notice several of these symptoms lasting for more than two weeks, seek help. Even one of these symptoms that just won’t go away is a flag to speak to a professional.

Mood changes

What to look for:

  • Persistent agitation
  • The inability to relax
  • Lashing out at others
  • Unexplained irritability
  • General persistent sadness
  • Frequent crying with no reason
  • Mood swings
  • Constant frustration
  • Disproportionate anger
  • Short-temperedness
  • Aggression

Negative attitude

What to look for:

  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Everything seems to be going wrong
  • Constant negativity
  • Inability to see the positive side
  • “Why bother” thoughts
  • Feeling worthless
  • Persistent guilt or shame
  • Extreme self-criticism or self-blame

Changes in activity or energy level

What to look for:

  • Persistent fatigue
  • Continual low energy levels or sluggishness
  • General feeling of moving in slow motion
  • Stop exercising even though you enjoy it
  • Tire easily
  • Restlessness
  • Constant pacing or fidgeting

Loss of interest

What to look for:

  • Loss of interest in hobbies
  • General detachment
  • Disinterest or avoidance of communicating or spending time with loved ones
  • No longer enjoy things that used to bring pleasure
  • Refusal to go out or decline social invitations
  • Feelings of emptiness
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Changes in sexual activity or interest

Brain fog

What to look for:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Inability to remember details, names, numbers
  • Fuzzy thinking
  • Hard time making decisions
  • Find easy tasks difficult
  • Forgetting appointments
  • Can’t seem to focus
  • Have to reread sentences or pages

Sleep disturbances

What to look for:

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Constant waking at night
  • Sleeping longer than usual
  • Frequent naps
  • Pattern of going to bed earlier or staying up later than normal

Changes in Appetite

What to look for:

  • Loss of interest in eating
  • Consistently missing meals
  • Persistent emotionally triggered eating
  • Bulimia and anorexia are often symptoms of depression

Physical symptoms

What to look for:

  • Persistent aches and pains that won’t go away with treatment
  • Chronic unexplained stress
  • Increased self-medication

Reckless behavior

What to look for:

  • Binge drinking
  • Drug use
  • Reckless driving or speeding
  • Taking unnecessary risks
  • Taking too much medication
  • Risky sexual behavior

Thoughts of dying

What to look for:

  • Preoccupation with death
  • Thoughts such as “Things would be better off without me.” “I don’t think I can make it through another day.” “It would be better if I had never been born.”
  • Sudden desire to get affairs in order
  • Thinking about ways to kill yourself

If left untreated, depression can worsen, causing the gradual destruction of life, and not getting treatment can be life-threatening. The inability to recognize the signs of depression is often the biggest danger, but once you become aware of the signs, you need to find help. There’s nothing weak about needing help to feel better, and it’s not unreasonable to want to be happy. Proper diagnosis and treatment is the only way to combat depression—it won’t go away on its own. Watch for the signs in yourself and in those you care about, and don’t let depression go untreated.


Source: lifehack.org

After 15 Years Of Menopause, Mom Gives Birth!

When Allison Noyce was just 20 years old, she stopped getting her period regularly. Then, doctors gave her a devastating diagnosis — she had experienced early menopause. Noyce was told that she would never have children. About 15 years later, she went for a bike ride. She felt a sharp pain in her stomach. She had been feeling this pain for quite some time now, but after the ride, she knew something was wrong. Noyce felt like there was a lump in her tummy. She just knew it was cancer.

Noyce saw a doctor who believed the lump was a large cyst, but after a scan, the news was even more shocking. Doctors told she and her husband, Richard, that she was eight months pregnant. Because Noyce couldn’t have children, the couple never used contraceptives.

“We were overcome with emotion when the woman doing an ultrasound said I was eight months pregnant. Relief that it wasn’t cancer and sheer joy that we were having a baby,” Noyce told DailyMail.

A mere 12 days later, Noyce gave birth to Sophie, a healthy baby girl. The couple appeared on the talk show This Morning where little Sophie became a bit fussy. The parents did not care one bit. Clearly, they don’t take it for granted at all that they have the privilege of being parents, even when their baby girl throws a fit on TV!

Image Credit: Facebook

Source: Littlethings.com

15 SHOCKING SYMPTOMS that Could Mean You Are HIV Positive

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15 SHOCKING SYMPTOMS that Could Mean You Are HIV Positive

Within a month or two of HIV entering the body, 40% to 90% of people experience flu- like symptoms known as acute retroviral syndrome (ARS).

But sometimes HIV symptoms don’t appear for years, sometimes even a decade, after infection.

“In the early stages of HIV infection, the most common symptoms are none,” says Michael Horberg, MD, director of HIV/AIDS for Kaiser Permanente, in Oakland, Calif. One in five people in the United States with HIV doesn’t know they have it, which is why it’s so important to get tested, especially if you have unprotected sex with more than one partner or use intravenous drugs.

Here are some signs that you may be HIV-positive.


One of the first signs of ARS can be a mild fever, up to about 102 degrees F. The fever, if it occurs at all, is often accompanied by other usually mild symptoms, such as fatigue, swollen lymph glands, and a sore throat.

“At this point the virus is moving into the blood stream and starting to replicate in large numbers,” says Carlos Malvestutto, MD, instructor of infectious diseases and immunology in the department of medicine at NYU School of Medicine in New York City. “As that happens, there is an inflammatory reaction by the immune system.”


The inflammatory response generated by your besieged immune system also can cause you to feel tired and lethargic. Fatigue can be both an early and later sign of HIV. Ron, 54, a public relations executive in the Midwest, started to worry about his health when he suddenly got winded just walking. “Everything I did, I got out of breath,” he says. “Before that I had been walking three miles a day.” Ron had tested HIV positive 25 years before feeling so tired; fatigue during acute, or newly contracted, HIV might not be so obvious.

Achy Muscles & Joint Pain

ARS is often mistaken for the flu, mononucleosis, or another viral infection, even syphilis or hepatitis. That’s not surprising: Many of the symptoms are the same, including pain in the joints and muscles and swollen lymph glands. Lymph nodes are part of your body’s immune system and tend to get inflamed when there’s an infection. Many of them are located in your armpit, groin, and neck.

Sore Throat & Headache

As with other symptoms, sore throat and headache can often be recognized as ARS only in context, Dr. Horberg says. If you’ve engaged recently in high-risk behavior, an HIV test is a good idea. Get tested for your own sake and for others: HIV is most infectious in the earliest stage. Keep in mind that the body hasn’t produced antibodies to HIV yet so an antibody test may not pick it up. (It can take a few weeks to a few monthsfor HIV antibodies to show in a blood test). Investigate other test options such as one that detects viral RNA, typically within nine days of infection.

Skin Rashes

Skin rashes can occur early or late in the course of HIV/AIDS. For Ron, this was another sign that he might not have run-of-the-mill allergies or a cold. ”They were like boils, with some itchy pink areas on my arms,” Ron says. The rashes can also appear on the trunk of the body. “If [the rashes] aren’t easily explained or easily treated, you should think about having an HIV test,” Dr. Horberg says.

Nausea, Vomiting & Diarrhea

Anywhere from 30% to 60% of people have short-term nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea in the early stages of HIV, Dr. Malvestutto says. These symptoms can also appear as a result of antiretroviral therapy and later in the infection, usually as the result of an opportunistic infection. ”Diarrhea that is unremitting and not responding at all to usual therapy might be an indication,” Dr. Horberg says. Or symptoms may be caused by an organism not usually seen in people with healthy immune systems, he adds.

Once called “AIDS wasting,” weight loss is a sign of more advanced illness and could be due in part to severe diarrhea. ”If you’re already losing weight, that means the immune system is usually fairly depleted,” Dr. Malvestutto says. “This is the patient who has lost a lot of weight even if they continue to eat as much as possible. This is late presentation. We still see a lot of these.” It has become less common, however, thanks to antiretroviral therapy.

A person is considered to have wasting syndrome if they lose 10% or more of their body weight and have had diarrhea or weakness and fever for more than 30 days, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Dry Cough

Have a bad cough that Benadryl, antibiotics, and inhalers don’t seem to fix? This symptom—an “insidious cough that could be going on for weeks that doesn’t seem to resolve,” Dr. Malvestutto says—is typical in very ill HIV patients.

Night Sweats

About half of people get night sweats during the early stages of HIV infection, Dr. Malvestutto says. These can be even more common later in infection and aren’t related to exercise or the temperature of the room. Similar to the hot flashes that menopausal women suffer, they’re also hard to dismiss, given that they soak your bedclothes and sheets.


Nail Changes

Another sign of late HIV infection are nail changes, such as clubbing (thickening and curving of the nails), splitting of the nails, or discoloration (black or brown lines going either vertically or horizontally). Often this is due to a fungal infection, such as candida. “Patients with depleted immune systems will be more susceptible to fungal infections,” Dr. Malvestutto says.

Yeast Infections

Another fungal infection that’s common in later stages is thrush, a mouth infection caused by Candida, a type of yeast. ”It’s a very common fungus and the one that causes yeast infections in women,” Dr. Malvestutto says. “They tend to appear in the mouth or esophagus, making it difficult to swallow.” Ron woke up one day to find white patches on his tongue. He had thrush. For him, “It was not bothersome other than I didn’t like having it.” The infection was hard to get rid of, but finally cleared up after Ron started taking drugs to combat HIV.

Confusion or Difficulty Concentrating

Cognitive problems could be a sign of HIV-related dementia, which usually occurs late in the course of the disease. In addition to confusion and difficulty concentrating, AIDS-related dementia might also involve memory problems and behavioral issues such as anger or irritability. It may even include motor changes: becoming clumsy, lack of coordination, and problems with tasks requiring fine motor skills such as writing by hand.

Cold Sores or Gen’ital Herpes


Cold sores (oral herpes) and gen’ital herpes can be a sign of both ARS and late-stage HIV infection. Having herpes can also be a risk factor for contracting HIV. This is because gen’ital herpes can cause ulcers that make it easier for HIV to enter the body during se’x. And people who have HIV tend to have more severe herpes outbreaks more often because HIV weakens the immune system.

Tingling & Weakness

Late HIV can also cause numbness and tingling in the hands and feet. This is called peripheral neuropathy, which also occurs in people with uncontrolled diabetes. ”This is when the nerves are actually damaged,” Dr. Malvestutto says. These symptoms can be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers and antiseizure medicines such as Neurontin (gabapentin).

Me’nstrual Irregularities

Advanced HIV disease appears toincrease the risk of having men’strual irregularities, such as fewer and lighter periods. These changes, however, probably have more to do with the weight loss and poor health of women with late-stage infection rather than the infection itself. Infection with HIV also has been associated with earlier age of menopause (47 to 48 years for infected women compared to 49 to 51 years for uninfected women).

source: 3jamaica.com

3 Ways to Tell If Someone is Bipolar

Bipolar Disorder, formerly known as manic depression, is a disorder of the brain that results in shifts in mood, activity, energy, and day-to-day functionality. Although nearly 6 million American adults have bipolar disorder, like many mental illnesses, it is often misunderstood. In popular culture, people may say someone is “bipolar” if s/he demonstrates any sort of mood swings, but the diagnostic criteria for bipolar disorder is far more rigorous. There are actually several types of bipolar disorder. While each type of bipolar disorder is serious, they’re also treatable, usually through a combination of prescription medication and psychotherapy.If you think that someone you know has bipolar disorder, read on to find out how to support your loved one.


Learning About Bipolar Disorder

  1. Image titled Tell if Someone Is Bipolar Step 1
    Look for unusually intense “mood episodes.” A mood episode represents a significant, even drastic, change from a person’s typical mood. In popular language, these may be called “mood swings.” People who suffer from bipolar disorder may switch rapidly between mood episodes, or they may switch between episodes less frequently.[3]

    • There are two basic types of mood episode: extremely elevated, or manicepisodes, and extremely depressed, or depressive episodes. The person may also experience mixed episodes, in which symptoms of mania and depression occur at the same time.[4]
    • A person with bipolar disorder may experience periods of “normal” mood in between these mood episodes.[5]
  2. Image titled Tell if Someone Is Bipolar Step 2
    Educate yourself about the multiple types of bipolar disorder. There are four basic types of bipolar disorder that are regularly diagnosed: Bipolar I, Bipolar II, Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, and Cyclothymia. The type of bipolar disorder a person is diagnosed with is determined by its severity and duration, as well as how quickly the mood episodes cycle.[6] A trained mental health professional must diagnose bipolar disorder; you cannot do it yourself and should not attempt to do so.

    • Bipolar I Disorder involves manic or mixed episodes that last for at least seven days. The person may also have severe manic episodes that put him/her in enough danger to require immediate medical attention. Depressive episodes also occur, usually lasting at least two weeks.[7]
    • Bipolar II Disorder involves milder mood episodes. Hypomania is a milder manic state, in which the person feels very “on,” is extremely productive, and appears to function well. Untreated, this type of manic state may develop into severe mania.[8]The depressive episodes in Bipolar II are also usually milder than the depressive episodes in Bipolar I.
    • Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (BP-NOS) is a diagnosis made when symptoms of bipolar disorder are present but don’t meet the rigid diagnostic criteria of the DSM-5 (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). These symptoms are still not typical for the person’s “normal” or baseline range.
    • Cyclothymic disorder or cyclothymia is a mild form of bipolar disorder. Periods of hypomania alternate with shorter, milder episodes of depression. This must persist for at least 2 years to meet diagnostic criteria.[9][10]
    • A person with bipolar disorder may also experience “rapid cycling,” in which s/he experiences 4 or more mood episodes within a 12-month period. Rapid cycling appears to affect slightly more women than men, and it can come and go.[11][12]
  3. Image titled Tell if Someone Is Bipolar Step 3
    Know how to recognize a manic episode. How a manic episode manifests may vary from person to person. However, it will represent a dramatically more elevated or “revved up” mood from the person’s “normal” or baseline emotional state. Some symptoms of mania include:[13][14][15]

    • Feelings of extreme joy, happiness, or excitement. A person having a manic episode may feel so “buzzed” or happy that even bad news cannot damage his/her mood. This feeling of extreme happiness persists even without apparent causes.
    • Overconfidence, feelings of invulnerability, delusions of grandeur. A person having a manic episode may have an overinflated ego or higher sense of self-esteem than is typical for him/her. S/he may believe she can accomplish more than is feasible, as though absolutely nothing can get in his/her way. S/he may imagine that s/he has special connections to figures of importance or supernatural phenomena.
    • Increased, sudden irritability and anger. A person having a manic episode may snap at others, even without provocation. S/he is likely to be more “touchy” or easily angered than is usual in her/his “typical” mood.
    • Hyperactivity. The person may take on multiple projects at once, or schedule more things to do in a day than reasonably can be accomplished. S/he may choose to do activities, even seemingly purposeless ones, instead of sleeping or eating.
    • Increased talkativeness, scattered speech, racing thoughts. The person having a manic episode will often have difficulty collecting his/her thoughts, even though s/he is extremely talkative. S/he may jump very quickly from one thought or activity to another.
    • Feeling jittery or agitated. The person may feel agitated or restless. S/he may be easily distracted.
    • Sudden increase in risky behavior. The person may do things that are unusual for his/her normal baseline and pose a risk, such as having unsafe sex, going on shopping sprees, or gambling. Risky physical activities such as speeding or undertaking extreme sports or athletic feats — especially ones the person is not adequately prepared for — may also occur.
    • Decreased sleeping habits. The person may sleep very little, yet claim to feel rested. S/he may experience insomnia or simply feel like s/he doesn’t need to sleep.
  4. Image titled Tell if Someone Is Bipolar Step 4
    Know how to recognize a depressive episode. If a manic episode makes a person with bipolar disorder feel like s/he’s “on top of the world,” a depressive episode is the feeling of being crushed at the bottom of it. The symptoms may vary between people, but there are some common symptoms to look out for:[16][17]

    • Intense feelings of sadness or despair. Like the feelings of happiness or excitement in the manic episodes, these feelings may not appear to have a cause. The person may feel hopeless or worthless, even if you make attempts to cheer her/him up.
    • Anhedonia. This is a fancy way of saying that the person no longer shows interest or enjoyment in things s/he used to enjoy doing. Sex drive may also be lower.
    • Fatigue. It’s common for people suffering from major depression to feel tired all the time. S/he may also complain of feeling sore or achy.
    • Sleep pattern disrupted. With depression, a person’s “normal” sleep habits are disrupted in some way. Some people sleep too much while others may sleep too little. Either way, their sleep habits are markedly different from what is “normal” for them.
    • Appetite changes. People with depression may experience weight loss or weight gain. They may overeat or not eat enough. This varies depending on the person and represents a change from what is “normal” for him/her.
    • Trouble concentrating. Depression can make it difficult to focus or make even small decisions. A person may feel nearly paralyzed when s/he’s experiencing a depressive episode.
    • Suicidal thoughts or actions. Don’t assume that any expressions of suicidal thoughts or intentions are “just for attention.” Suicide is a very real risk for people with bipolar disorder. Call 911 or emergency services immediately if your loved one expresses suicidal thoughts or intents.
  5. Image titled Tell if Someone Is Bipolar Step 5
    Read all you can about the disorder. You’ve taken an excellent first step by looking up this article. The more you know about bipolar disorder, the better you’ll be able to support your loved one. Below are a few resources you may consider:[18][19]

    • The National Institute of Mental Health is an excellent place to start for information on bipolar disorder, its symptoms and possible causes, treatment options, and how to live with the illness.[20]
    • The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance offers resources for individuals suffering from bipolar disorder and their loved ones.[21]
    • Marya Hornbacher’s memoir Madness: A Bipolar Life talks about the author’s lifelong struggle with bipolar disorder. Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison’s memoir An Unquiet Mind talks about the author’s life as a scientist who also has bipolar disorder. While each person’s experience is unique to them, these books may help you to understand what your loved one is going through.
    • Bipolar Disorder: A Guide for Patients and Families, by Dr. Frank Mondimore, can be a good resource for how to care for your loved one (and yourself).
    • The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide, by Dr. David J.Miklowitz, is geared toward helping people with bipolar disorder, and their loved ones manage the illness.
    • The Depression Workbook: A Guide for Living with Depression and Manic Depression, by Mary Ellen Copeland and Matthew McKay, is geared toward helping people diagnosed with bipolar disorder maintain mood stability with various self-help exercises.
  6. Image titled Tell if Someone Is Bipolar Step 6
    Reject some common myths about mental illness. Mental illness is commonly stigmatized as something “wrong” with the person. It may be viewed as something s/he could just “snap out of” if s/he “tried hard enough” or “thought more positively.”[22] The fact is, these ideas are simply not true. Bipolar disorder is the result of complex interacting factors including genetics, brain structure, chemical imbalances in the body, and sociocultural pressures.[23] A person with bipolar disorder can’t just “stop” having the disorder. However, bipolar disorder is also treatable.[24]

    • Consider how you would speak to someone who had a different sort of illness, such as cancer. Would you ask that person, “Have you ever tried just not having cancer?” Telling someone with bipolar disorder to just “try harder” is equally incorrect.[25]
    • There’s a common misconception that bipolar is rare. In fact, about 6 million American adults suffer from some type of bipolar disorder.[26] Even famous individuals such as Stephen Fry, Carrie Fisher, and Jean-Claude Van Damme have been open about being diagnosed with bipolar disorder.[27][28]
    • Another common myth is that manic or depressive mood episodes are “normal” or even a good thing. While it’s true that everyone has their good days and bad days, bipolar disorder causes shifts in mood that are far more extreme and damaging than the typical “mood swings” or “off days.” They cause significant dysfunction in the person’s daily life.[29]
    • A common mistake is to confuse schizophrenia with bipolar disorder. They are not at all the same illness, although they have a few symptoms (such as depression) in common. Bipolar disorder is characterized principally by the shift between intense mood episodes. Schizophrenia generally causes symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, and disorganized speech, which do not often appear in bipolar disorder.[30]
    • Many people believe that people with bipolar disorder or depression are dangerous to others. The news media is particularly bad about promoting this idea. In reality, research shows that people with bipolar disorder don’t commit any more violent acts than people without the disorder. People with bipolar disorder may be more likely to consider or attempt suicide, however.[31]



Talking With Your Loved One

  1. Image titled Tell if Someone Is Bipolar Step 7
    Avoid hurtful language. Some people may jokingly say they’re “a little bipolar” or “schizo” when describing themselves, even if they have not been diagnosed with a mental illness. In addition to being inaccurate, this type of language trivializes the experience of people who have bipolar disorder. Be respectful when discussing mental illness.[32]

    • It’s important to remember that people are more than the sum of their illness. Don’t use totalizing phrases such as “I think you’re bipolar.” Instead, say something like, “I think you may have bipolar disorder.”[33]
    • Referring to someone “as” their illness reduces them to one element about them. This promotes the stigma that all too often still surrounds mental illness, even if you don’t mean it that way.
    • Trying to comfort the other person by saying “I’m a little bipolar too” or “I know how you feel” can do more damage than good. These things may make the other person feel as though you aren’t taking their illness seriously.
  2. Image titled Tell if Someone Is Bipolar Step 8
    Talk about your concerns with your loved one. You might be worried about talking to your loved one for fear of upsetting him/her. It’s actually very helpful and important for you to talk with your loved one about your concerns. Not talking about mental illness promotes the unfair stigma around it and may encourage people with a disorder to wrongly believe that they are “bad” or “worthless” or should feel ashamed of their illness. When approaching your loved one, be open and honest, and show compassion.[34]

    • Reassure the person that s/he isn’t alone. Bipolar disorder can make a person feel very isolated. Tell your loved one that you are here for her/him and want to support him/her in any way you can.
    • Acknowledge that your loved one’s illness is real. Trying to minimize your loved one’s symptoms won’t make her/him feel better. Instead of trying to tell the person that the illness is “no big deal,” acknowledge that the condition is serious but treatable. For example: “I know that you have a real illness and that it causes you to feel and do things that aren’t like you. We can find help together.”
    • Convey your love and acceptance to the person. Particularly while in a depressive episode, the person may believe that s/he is worthless or ruined. Counter these negative beliefs by expressing your love and acceptance of the person. For example: “I love you, and you are important to me. I care about you, and that’s why I want to help you.”
  3. Image titled Tell if Someone Is Bipolar Step 9
    Use “I” statements to convey your feelings. When talking with another person, it’s crucial that you not seem as though you’re attacking or judging your loved one. People with mental illness may feel as though the world is against them. It’s important to show that you’re on your loved one’s side.

    • For example, say things such as “I care about you and am worried about some things I’ve seen.”
    • There are some statements that come across as defensive. You should avoid these. For example, avoid saying things like “I’m just trying to help” or “You just need to listen to me.”
  4. Image titled Tell if Someone Is Bipolar Step 10
    Avoid threats and blame. You may be concerned about your loved one’s health, and feel willing to make sure they get help “by any means necessary.” However, you should never use exaggerations, threats, “guilt trips,” or accusations to convince the other person to seek help. These will only encourage the other person to believe that you see something “wrong” with them.[35]

    • Avoid statements such as “You’re worrying me” or “Your behavior is odd.” These sound accusative and may shut the other person down.
    • Statements that attempt to play on the other person’s sense of guilt are also not helpful. For example, don’t try to use your relationship as leverage to get the other person to seek help by saying something like, “If you really loved me you would get help” or “Think about what you’re doing to our family.” People with bipolar disorder often struggle with feelings of shame and worthlessness, and statements like these will only make that worse.
    • Avoid threats. You cannot force the other person to do what you want. Saying things like “If you don’t get help I’m leaving you” or “I won’t pay for your car anymore if you don’t get help” will only stress the other person out, and the stress may trigger a severe mood episode.
  5. Image titled Tell if Someone Is Bipolar Step 11
    Frame the discussion as a concern about health. Some people may be reluctant to acknowledge that they have an issue. When a bipolar person is experiencing a manic episode, s/he is often feeling so “high” that it’s hard to admit that there’s any problem. When a person is experiencing a depressive episode, s/he may feel like she has a problem but not be able to see any hope for treatment.[36] You can frame your concerns as medical concerns, which may help.

    • For example, you can reiterate the idea that bipolar disorder is an illness just like diabetes or cancer. Just as you would encourage the other person to seek treatment for cancer, you want him/her to seek treatment for this disorder.
    • If the other person is still reluctant to acknowledge there’s an issue, you can consider suggesting s/he visit a doctor for a symptom that you’ve noticed, rather than for a “disorder.” For example, you may find that suggesting the other person see a doctor for insomnia or fatigue may be helpful in getting him/her to seek help.
  6. Image titled Tell if Someone Is Bipolar Step 12
    Encourage the other person to share his/her feelings and experiences with you.It’s easy for a conversation to express your concern to turn into you preaching at your loved one. To avoid this, invite your loved one to tell you about what s/he is thinking and feeling. Remember: while you may be affected by this person’s disorder, it isn’t about you.[37]

    • For example, once you’ve shared your concerns with the person, say something like, “Would you like to share what you’re thinking right now?” or “Now that you’ve heard what I wanted to say, what do you think?”
    • Don’t assume you know how the other person feels. It can be easy to say something like “I know how you feel” as reassurance, but in reality, this can sound dismissive. Instead, say something that acknowledges the other person’s feelings without claiming them as your own: “I can see why that would make you feel sad.”
    • If your loved one is resistant to the idea of acknowledging that they have a problem, don’t argue about it. You can encourage your loved one to seek treatment, but you can’t make it happen.
  7. Image titled Tell if Someone Is Bipolar Step 13
    Don’t dismiss your loved one’s thoughts and feelings as “not real” or not worth considering. Even if a feeling of worthlessness is caused by a depressive episode, it feels very real to the person experiencing it. Outright dismissing a person’s feelings will encourage him/her not to tell you about them in the future. Instead, validate the person’s feelings and challenge negative ideas at the same time.

    • For example, if your loved one expresses the idea that nobody loves him/her and s/he’s a “bad” person, you could say something like this: “I know you feel that way, and I’m so sorry that you’re experiencing those feelings. I want you to know that I love you, and I think you are a kind, caring person.”
  8. Image titled Tell if Someone Is Bipolar Step 14
    Encourage your loved one to take a screening test. Mania and depression are both hallmarks of bipolar disorder. The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance’s website offers free, confidential online screening tests for mania and depression.[38]

    • Taking a confidential test in the privacy of one’s own home may be a lower-stress way for the person to understand the need for treatment.
  9. Image titled Tell if Someone Is Bipolar Step 15
    Emphasize the need for professional help. Bipolar disorder is a very serious illness. Untreated, even mild forms of the disorder can get worse. Encourage your loved one to seek treatment immediately.[39]

    • Visiting a general practitioner is often the first step.[40] A physician can determine whether the person should be referred to a psychiatrist or other mental health professional.
    • A mental health professional will usually offer psychotherapy as part of a treatment plan. There is a wide range of mental health professionals who offer therapy, including psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, licensed clinical social workers, and licensed professional counselors. Ask your doctor or hospital to recommend some in your area.[41]
    • If it’s determined that medication is necessary, your loved one may see a physician, a psychiatrist, a psychologist who’s licensed to prescribe medicine or a psychiatric nurse to receive prescriptions. LCSWs and LPCs can offer therapy but cannot prescribe medicine[42]



Supporting Your Loved One

  1. Image titled Tell if Someone Is Bipolar Step 16
    Understand that bipolar disorder is a lifelong illness. A combination of medication and therapy can greatly benefit your loved one. With treatment, many people with bipolar disorder experience significant improvement in their function and mood. However, there is no “cure” for bipolar disorder, and symptoms can recur throughout one’s life. Stay patient with your loved one.[43]
  2. Image titled Tell if Someone Is Bipolar Step 17
    Ask how you can help. Particularly during depressive episodes, the world may feel overwhelming to a person with bipolar disorder. Ask the other person what would be helpful to them. You can even offer specific suggestions if you have a sense of what is most affecting your loved one.[44]

    • For example, you could say something like, “It seems like you’ve been feeling very stressed lately. Would it be helpful if I babysat your kids and gave you an evening of ‘me time’?”
    • If the person has been experiencing major depression, offer a pleasant distraction. Don’t treat the person as fragile and unapproachable just because s/he has an illness. If you notice that your loved one has been struggling with depressive symptoms (mentioned elsewhere in this article), don’t make a big deal of it. Just say something like, “I noticed you seem to be feeling down this week. Would you like to go to the movies with me?”
  3. Image titled Tell if Someone Is Bipolar Step 18
    Keep track of symptoms. Keeping track of your loved one’s symptoms can help in several ways. First, it can help you and your loved one learn warning signs of a mood episode. It can provide helpful information for a physician or mental health professional. It can also help you learn potential triggers for manic or depressive episodes.[45][46]

    • Warning signs of mania include: sleeping less, feeling “high” or excitable, increased irritability, restlessness, and an increase in the person’s activity level.
    • Warning signs of depression include: fatigue, disturbed sleeping patterns (sleeping more or less), difficulty focusing or concentration, lack of interest in things the person usually enjoys, social withdrawal, and changes in appetite.
    • The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance has a personal calendar for tracking symptoms. It may be helpful to you and your loved one.[47]
    • Common triggers for mood episodes include stress, substance abuse, and sleep deprivation.[48]
  4. Image titled Tell if Someone Is Bipolar Step 19
    Ask whether your loved one has taken her/his medication. Some people may benefit from a gentle reminder, particularly if they are experiencing a manic episode in which they may become fitful or forgetful. The person may also believe they are feeling better and so stop taking the medication. Help your loved one stay on track, but don’t sound accusative.[49][50]

    • For example, a gentle statement such as “Have you taken your medication today?” is fine.
    • If your loved one says s/he’s feeling better, you may find it helpful to remind him/her about the benefits of medication: “I’m glad to hear you’re feeling better. I think part of that is that your medication is working. It’s not a good idea to stop taking it if it’s working for you, right?”
    • It can take several weeks for medications to begin working, so have patience if your loved one’s symptoms don’t seem to be improving.[51]
  5. Image titled Tell if Someone Is Bipolar Step 20
    Encourage the other person to stay healthy. In addition to regularly taking prescribed medication and seeing a therapist, staying physically healthy can help reduce symptoms of bipolar disorder.[52] People with bipolar disorder are at a higher risk of obesity.[53] Encourage your loved one to eat well, get regular, moderate exercise, and keep a good sleep schedule.

    • People with bipolar disorder often report unhealthy eating habits, including not eating regular meals or eating unhealthy food.[54] Encourage your loved one to eat a balanced diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates such as beans and whole grains, and lean meats and fish.[55]
      • Consuming omega-3 fatty acids may help protect against bipolar symptoms. Some studies suggest that omega-3s, especially those found in coldwater fish, help decrease depression. Fish such as salmon and tuna, and vegetarian foods such as walnuts and flaxseed, are good sources of omega-3s.[56]
      • Encourage your loved one to avoid too much caffeine. Caffeine may trigger unwanted symptoms in people with bipolar disorder.[57]
    • Encourage your loved one to avoid alcohol. People with bipolar disorder are five times more likely to abuse alcohol and other substances than those without a disorder. Alcohol is a depressant and can trigger a major depressive episode. It can also interfere with the effects of some prescription medications.[58]
    • Regular moderate exercise, especially aerobic exercise, may help improve mood and overall functioning in people with bipolar disorder.[59][60][61] It’s important to encourage your loved one to exercise regularly; people with bipolar disorder often report poor exercise habits.[62]
  6. Image titled Tell if Someone Is Bipolar Step 21
    Care for yourself, too. Friends and families of people with bipolar disorder need to make sure that they take care of themselves, too. You can’t support your loved one if you’re exhausted or stressed out.

    • Studies have even shown that if a loved one is stressed out, the person with bipolar disorder may have more difficulty sticking to the treatment plan. Caring for yourself directly helps your loved one, too.[63]
    • A support group may help you learn to cope with your loved one’s illness. The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance offers an online support group[64] and local peer support groups.[65] The National Alliance on Mental Illness also has a variety of programs.[66]
    • Make sure that you get enough sleep, eat well, and get regular exercise. Keeping these healthy habits may also encourage your loved ones to stay healthy too.[67]
    • Take actions to reduce your stress. Know your limits, and ask others for help when you need it. You may find that activities such as meditation or yoga are helpful in reducing feelings of anxiety.
  7. Image titled Tell if Someone Is Bipolar Step 22
    Watch for suicidal thoughts or actions. Suicide is a very real risk for people with bipolar disorder. People with bipolar disorder are more likely to consider or attempt suicide than people with major depression. If your loved one makes references to suicide, even casually, seek immediate help. Don’t promise to keep these thoughts or actions secret.[68][69]

    • If the person is in immediate danger of harm, call 911 or emergency services.[70]
    • Suggest that your loved one call a suicide hotline such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255).[71]
    • Reassure your loved one that you love him/her and that you believe her/his life has meaning, even if it may not seem that way to the person right now.
    • Don’t tell your loved one not to feel a certain way. The feelings are real, and s/he can’t change them. Instead, focus on actions that the person can control. For example: “I can tell this is hard for you, and I’m glad you’re talking to me about it. Keep talking. I’m here for you.”

    Source: Wikihow.com

Breathing issues in Rett stem from distinct neural circuits

Each of the various breathing difficulties seen in people with Rett syndrome arises from a distinct circuit in the brainstem, a new mouse study suggests1.

Rett syndrome is an autism-related disorder that primarily affects girls. The syndrome appears in children by 18 months, when their development dramatically regresses. They lose speech and use of their hands, for example.

In addition to communication problems and repetitive behaviors, individuals with the syndrome develop breathing problems. They breathe rapidly, hold their breath and fail to regulate their breathing rate in response to drops in oxygen. These issues can cause people with the syndrome to develop an irregular heart rate or faint.

The brainstem, the way station between the brain and spinal cord, regulates breathing. The new study found that separate circuits in the brainstem govern breath holding, rapid breathing and adapting to low oxygen levels.

The results, which appeared in May in The Journal of Neuroscience, add to others tracing the critical circuits in the brain and body that give rise to different features of Rett.

A better understanding of the neural basis of breathing in Rett might point the way to therapies, says lead researcher Jeffrey Neul, professor of neurosciences and pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego.

“We may be able to identify particular cell types and particular circuits and maybe provide insight into drug targeting or other methods to improve breathing in people with Rett syndrome,” Neul says.

Bad breaths:

Mice with a mutation in the Rett syndrome gene MeCP2 show the same sort of breathing behaviors as people with the syndrome do. Neul and his colleagues selectively restored expression of MeCP2 to certain brainstem regions in these mice, including the lower pons, medulla and part of the spinal cord. They then placed the mice in a chamber to record how often the mice breathed and how often they held their breath.

Mice with MeCP2 restored in these brainstem regions respond normally to low oxygen levels — that is, they immediately breathe more rapidly. This finding is consistent with that from a 2011 study by the same team2. But in their new work, the researchers found that this adaptive response disappears by the time the mice reach 35 weeks old.

Restoring MeCP2 also stops the mice from holding their breath. The mice still breathe unusually rapidly, however.

The researchers then tried restoring the gene to only the lower brainstem, which houses a relay center for sensory signals about oxygen as well as cells that drive rhythmic breathing. This approach does not reduce any of the breathing abnormalities in the mice.

The findings suggest that the circuit governing breath holding resides in the lower pons and medulla, but additional brainstem areas, such as the upper pons, control the other breathing behaviors.

“All the neurons are working in unison,” says Lucas Pozzo-Miller, professor of neurobiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, who was not involved in the study. “Losing MeCP2 in each [population] gives rise to specific irregular patterns.”

Respiratory repair:

The study also clarified another feature of Rett syndrome: sudden death.

Restoring MeCP2 expression to the lower brainstem of mice with a mutation in the gene triples their life span, extending it to more than a year from about 4 months. Many experts attribute the sudden death that can occur in people with Rett syndrome to breathing problems, but the fact that mice can live longer despite serious breathing difficulties calls this connection into question, Pozzo-Miller says.

Heart rate fluctuations and other cardiac problems associated with the syndrome are other possible causes of sudden death.

Breathing patterns in the mice are not stable. When they are 20 to 26 weeks old, the mutant mice with MeCP2 restored in the lower brainstem show temporary improvement: They breathe steadily and hold their breath less.

“But it can’t keep it going,” Neul says. “Ultimately, that system starts to fall apart.” Tracing the remodeling of this circuit over time may provide clues to the regression seen in Rett syndrome, he says.

Treating the regression in breathing may require drugs that target several faults in brainstem circuitry, Pozzo-Miller says. “There is not going to be a single silver bullet.”

  1. Huang T.W. et al. J. Neurosci. 36, 5572-5586 (2016) PubMd
  2. Ward C.S. et al. J. Neurosci. 31, 10359-10370 (2011) PubMd

Source: Spectrumnews.org

How Food Affects Trichotillomania

This is a sponsored article written by Tasneem Abrahams. Tasneem is an occupational therapist, with a lot of experience treating BFRB disorders such as trichotillomania. She also frequently writes about BFRBs.

How Food Affects Trichotillomania

Hair pulling disorder or Trichotillomania is an obsessive compulsive disorder characterized by the compulsive urge to pull out one’s own hair. Food and emotions can be linked, for instance compulsive eaters associate food with comfort, some eat as a reward and others celebrate with food. If we consider the eating of food to be more than just nourishment or compulsion, then what you eat may influence your emotions and hair pulling.


What causes Trichotillomania?

Stress and your genes might play a part in your propensity towards compulsive behaviors. People who have other obsessive compulsive disorders may be more likely to develop a behavior like Trichotillomania. The experts think the urge to pull happens because the brain’s chemical signals (neurotransmitters) don’t function optimally. A more interesting find about the disorder is the link between diet and mental health. A change in diet could be a treatment option to help reduce hair pulling or stop it entirely. Increased hair pulling has been found to correlate with low mood. Therefore refined sugars that cause the body to “crash” soon after eating, resulting in a “slump” in the energy levels and mood, should be strictly avoided.


Create a balance

What you put into your body directly affects your brain function and mood. A direct link between hair pulling and any specific foods cannot be made. However, the correct amounts of nutrients can help the body and brain to function optimally. A balanced diet will, ideally, provide you with all your nutrients in the form of healthy carbohydrates, protein rich foods, plenty of fruit and vegetables, dairy and healthy fats, with minimal levels of sugar, salt or fats. Fruits and vegetables are our main natural source of vitamins and minerals and consuming the recommended daily amount of these feel good foods is closely linked to mental well being.


“But is it gluten-free?”

There is some truth in the gluten free fad. Glutamate is an amino acid which occurs naturally in many foods such as wheat and dairy. An excess of glutamate contributes to problems in mood and increased anxiety. The reason for going gluten-free is due to the overabundance of free glutamate in processed and pre-packaged foods. It is absorbed very quickly by the body. Slow-burning or low GI (glycemic index) healthy carbohydrates contain a complex carbohydrate called inositol, which is a natural mood enhancer. Decreasing consumption of processed foods may lower glutamate absorption which can decrease low mood or anxiety and therefore, the urge to pull.


Your hormones are out of whack

Hormones affect many important bodily functions such as mood, energy regulation and sleep patterns. A hormonal imbalance could be to blame for your hair pulling. The modern diet of high vegetable oils and processed food can be directly linked to depression and hormonal imbalances.  Yet the body needs those fats and cholesterol as the building blocks of hormones. You can naturally balance your hormones by eating foods high in Omega-3 fats such as fresh water fish and avocados.


One treatment does not fit all Trichotillomania sufferers. A change in diet as a treatment option or tool to help naturally alleviate stress of pulling triggers might be the answer for you. There are no miracle foods or need to eliminate entire food groups, the key is balance. In order for your body to function optimally, what you feed it should be fresh and preservative free.


Source: Supersana.com

“Finding Dory”: 7 Takeaways About ADHD, Working Memory and Parenting

Photo of Finding Dory

Finding Dory, the long-awaited sequel to Finding Nemo, opens in theaters nationwide on June 17. The main character is Dory, a fish with short-term memory loss.

The movie has a lot for parents to chew on. Here are my seven biggest takeaways for families with learning and attention issues in general and for ADHD and working memoryissues in particular.

1. Many kids will relate to Dory’s memory issues.

Short-term memory loss is a rare condition. It’s also much more extreme than ADHD and executive functioning issues. Yet Dory’s struggles will still feel very familiar to kids with attention issues.

She’s easily distracted. She’s impulsive. She has trouble with multi-step directions. “My thoughts,” Dory murmurs at one point, “they leave my head.”

That line is likely to resonate with a lot of kids. One key difference between them and Dory: Many kids with working memory or attention issues have very good memory otherwise.

2. Dory’s mom is the kind of parent I aspire to be.

In the flashbacks in Finding Dory, Jenny is endlessly patient. She helps Dory practice strategies like rhyming, singing songs and role-playing. Jenny is realistic but positive.

“Not everything in life is easy,” she says to Dory. It’s a tough conversation that ends with her child feeling confident. Dory says: “There’s always another way.”

My only quibble with Jenny is in a scene that hints she’s trying to hide her fears about Dory’s future from Dory. Dory overhears her mom talking about this. In my experience kids always pick up on these concerns—no matter how hard parents try to hide them. That’s why I recommend talking openly and working through these concerns with your child, rather than pretending you don’t have concerns.

3. Nemo’s dad is the kind of parent I too often am.

Marlin is Nemo’s dad. He gets frustrated and snaps at people. He does this with Nemo and with Dory, who he considers part of his family. He’s overprotective and underestimates Dory’s ability to do things on her own.

In a heated moment, Marlin says something hurtful to Dory. And for a kid with memory issues, she remembers the mean thing he said all too well.

But Marlin isn’t portrayed as the villain in Finding Dory. He’s more like a mirror. Some parents (like me) may see too much of themselves in him. The good news is he comes around in the end.

4. The movie emphasizes Dory’s strengths as well as her difficulties.

Dory talks a lot about her strengths and weaknesses—and sometimes in the same breath! After Hank the octopus says he lost one of his tentacles, Dory quickly does the math and says he should be called a septapus. She adds: “I may not be good at remembering things, but I can count!” And she obviously has an excellent vocabulary and grasp of concepts to create a word like septapus.

Dory recognizes she has many strengths, not just simple math and vocabulary. Two of her biggest strengths are perseverance and problem solving. Some of the characters even find themselves repeating: “What would Dory do?”

5. The movie tries too hard to embrace Dory’s impulsivity.

Praising Dory’s out-of-the box (out-of-the-tank?) thinking is one thing. But fully embracing her often risky, impulsive actions to the point of encouraging others to model them is another. Toward the end of the movie Dory says to Hank: “The best things in life happen by chance.” I’m not so sure about that.

What felt truer to me is a comment Dory’s dad makes early in the film. As he races after his impulsive child, he begs: “Can’t we take a moment to come up with a plan?” It’s one of the many times in Finding Dory I could picture millions of parents nodding their heads. Yes, we’ve felt that way too.

6. What about Becky and Gerald?

Finding Dory is incredibly sympathetic to Dory. It feels like a punch to the gut when characters react negatively to her. And the range of reactions by minor characters will give parents lots to discuss with their kids. There are other characters whose strengths and weaknesses come through loud and clear, too. Destiny, the nearsighted whale shark, is a great example.

But there are a couple characters whose differences seem mostly just for laughs. The movie doesn’t spend much time with Becky the bird or Gerald the sea lion. But their scenes can also lead to teachable moments: Why did Marlin doubt Becky’s abilities? Why did Nemo have confidence in Becky? How can the other sea lions be better friends to Gerald?

7. Dory has great social skills.

Despite her memory issues, Dory makes friends easily. And she’s always concerned for others even if she can’t remember why. Hank, Destiny, Nemo and Marlin have all been won over by Dory. They’re rooting for her. So was I. And you will be too.

Early on in Finding Dory her parents worry about her ability to make friends. (I’m picturing millions of parents nodding their heads at that too.) But social skills, like everything else, can be taught and practiced. I loved the scene where Dory’s parents help her practice telling other kids she has memory issues.

There’s so much to love about this movie. And it reminded me in some ways of mission to help the 1 in 5 kids with learning and attention issues. With the right strategies, kids can thrive in school and in life—or, in Dory’s case, out in the ocean.

For more on the film, check out Finding Dory: The Connection to Learning and Attention Issues, a video conversation I had with my colleagues on Facebook Live.

Any opinions, views, information and other content contained in blogs on Understood.org are the sole responsibility of the writer of the blog, and do not necessarily reflect the views, values, opinions or beliefs of, and are not endorsed by, Understood.

Source: Understood.org

20 Things You Should Never Say To Someone With Depression

Living with depression is exhausting and constantly a battle. What most people who don’t struggle with it seem to forget is that depression isn’t a condition that magically goes away. Even though when people ask you if you’re alright they mean well, chances are they don’t understand that depression is something that is unique to everyone.

Depression is a lot like a fingerprint – no one else will ever have your specific type. Most of all, sometimes people who struggle with sadness are like an exposed nerve, the smallest things can make them feel like they’re making the opposite of progress.

As good intentioned as your questions and comments can be at times, there’s always a chance that they can be taken the wrong way. Between feeling intense anxiety and overwhelming sadness, when it’s coupled with the general public’s lack of understanding of it can be an even more maddening experience.

In order to quell any potential altercations with someone you love who’s going through a difficult time I’ve compiled 21 things you should probably never say to someone living with depression.

See Also: 20 Truths About Depression For Anyone Who Doesn’t Understand It

1. “Maybe should go see a therapist.”

2. “Just think positively.”

3. “You just have to stay busy.”

4. “You know, you can choose to be happy.”

5. “Maybe you should go on vacation to clear your mind.”

6. “Are you sure you shouldn’t be taking meds?”

7. “Is it just like being sad…for a while?

8. “Do you rarely leave the house?”

9. “Are you sure you’re not just have a bad week? Maybe it is a phase”

10. “Stop wallowing!”

11. “You need to go out tonight and have fun.”

12. “Lets go out and get shit-faced! That will cheer you up.”

13. “You’re not going to kill yourself, right?”

14. “But you’re always so happy!”

15. “You have X, Y, and Z–what do you have to feel sad about?”

16. “Get over it already! It has been months.”

17. “You’re being really selfish. A lot of people care about you and you can’t even see that.”

18. “I miss who you used to be.”

19. “There are people out there who have it a lot worse than you do, remember that.”

20. “You need to learn to love yourself before someone else can learn to love you.”

Although the above seems like a lot, talking to someone with depression doesn’t need to feel overwhelming. The most people need with depression is the knowledge that you’re there for them with open arms, willing to listen whenever they’re ready.

Kris Kristofferson’s ‘Dementia’ Was Lyme Disease

Kris Kristofferson

After long suspecting Alzheimer’s, doctors did a test

For years, songwriter and actor Kris Kristofferson was told he was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or some other type of dementia. His memory was getting progressively worse.

But Kristofferson, 79, has revealed that he was misdiagnosed — he actually has Lyme disease, according to a June 6 story in Rolling Stone. A positive test result confirmed the hunch earlier this year, the magazine said.

“He was taking all these medications for things he doesn’t have, and they all have side effects,” his wife, Lisa, told Rolling Stone. After three weeks of Lyme treatment, there are still some down days, but on other days he seems normal, she said. “All of a sudden he was back.”

Lasting Effects Possible

Lyme disease is caused by an infected blacklegged tick, also known as a deer tick. If left untreated, it can eventually cause a host of debilitating symptoms, including severe headaches, one or more rashes, stiff neck, severe joint pain and swelling, heart palpitations, facial paralysis, dizziness, nerve pain and memory loss, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Many of these patients say that medical officials pay little attention to their persisting symptoms.

— Michael Specter, The New Yorker

Other cognitive problems that can occur after months or even years include, according to the Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases Research Center of Columbia University Medical Center:

  • problems remembering names or words
  • slowed thinking
  • “brain fog”
  • difficulty following conversations.

“My brain is so destroyed. To me it’s amazing I can still get up and go to the show,” Kristofferson told the Las Vegas Review-Journal last fall. “But I can remember all the songs.”

The tiny arachnids are found in the northeastern, mid-Atlantic, north-central and Pacific Coast areas of the United States, the CDC says.

The disease may reveal itself within 30 days in a characteristic “bull’s-eye” rash, but some people never get a rash. And since most bites come from the immature form of the tick, which is about the size of a poppy seed, the incursion can easily go unnoticed.

About 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year, according to the CDC, and the government has recognized it as a “major health threat.”

Ongoing Controversy

The medical establishment has been at odds for years, however, with critics who believe that Lyme is vastly under-diagnosed and under-treated. There is fierce disagreement about how reliable testing methods are and even what to call a lasting illness.

“The term ‘chronic Lyme disease’ (CLD) has been used to describe people with different illnesses,” the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases says on its website. “While the term is sometimes used to describe illness in patients with Lyme disease, in many occasions it has been used to describe symptoms in people who have no evidence of a current or past infection with [the Lyme bacterium].

“Because of the confusion in how the term CLD is employed, experts in this field do not support its use,” the agency says.

That angers those who say conventional doctors ignored their complaints.

“Many of these patients say that medical officials pay little attention to their persisting symptoms, and that Lyme disease is anything but easy to treat or to cure,” wrote Michael Specter in a 2013 article in The New Yorker magazine.

Complicating the matter is the fact that the same ticks that carry Lyme disease may pass along other harmful bacteria, as well. (Cases of babesiosis, for example, have been found in people also infected with Lyme.)

Early Signs and Symptoms

These are usually seen between three and 30 days after a tick bite, the CDC says:

  • Fever and chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, swollen lymph nodes
  • Rash known as erythema migrans (EM)

Later Signs and Symptoms

These may be experienced weeks or months after the bite, the CDC says:

  • Severe headaches
  • Neck stiffness
  • Additional rashes on other parts of the body
  • Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, often in the knees
  • Facial or Bell’s palsy
  • Muscle and joint pain that comes and goes
  • Heart palpitations or an irregular heartbeat (Lyme carditis)
  • Dizziness or shortness of breath
  • Nerve pain
  • Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet
  • Problems with short-term memory

Prevention Is Key

To keep from getting infected by ticks, take the following precautions: Avoid wooded areas with a lot of brush, high grass and leaf litter; stick to the center of trails; use bug repellent with DEET (20 to 30 percent) on exposed skin and clothes; use repellants with 0.5 percent permethrin on clothing (some clothing comes pre-treated).

Remember that pets can bring ticks inside, so make sure they are protected, too. Ask your veterinarian for advice. And carefully inspect yourself for ticks after hiking, camping or being in the backyard if it’s close to a wooded area.


Source: Nextavenue.org