A mental health disorder characterised by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life.
It’s natural to feel down sometimes, but if that low mood lingers day after day, it could signal depression.Depression is not a sign of weakness or a negative personality. It is a major publichealth problem and a treatable medical condition.
Depression—also called “clinical depression” or a “depressive disorder”—is a mood disorder that causes distressing symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working.
What are the signs and symptoms of depression?
Sadness is only one small part of depression and some people with depression may not feel sadness at all. Different people have different symptoms. Some symptoms of depression include:
Fatigue and decreased energy
Insomnia, especially early-morning waking
Excessive sleep or difficulty in sleep
Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even
Depression can make other health problems feel worse, particularly chronic pain. Key
brain chemicals influence both mood and pain.
Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies or activities
recurring thoughts of death or suicide.
Restlessness or irritability
Changes in appetite or weight are another hallmark of depression.
Some patients develop increased appetite, while others lose their appetite altogether.
Depressed people may experience serious weight loss or weight gain.
Impact on day life
Without treatment, the physical and emotional turmoil brought on by depression can derail careers, hobbies, and relationships. People with depression often find it difficult to concentrate and make decisions. They turn away from previously enjoyable activities, including sex. In severe cases, depression can become life-threatening.
Suicide Warning Signs
People who are depressed are more likely to attempt suicide. Warning signs include talking about death or suicide, threatening to hurt people, or engaging in aggressive or risky behavior. Anyone who appears suicidal should be taken very seriously. Do not hesitate to call any of the suicide hotlines.
Depression: Who’s at Risk?
Anyone can become depressed, but many experts believe genetics play a role. Having a parent or sibling with depression increases your risk of developing the disorder. Women are twice as likely as men to become depressed.
Types of depression
Major depression—having symptoms of depression most of the day, nearly every day for at least 2 weeks that interfere with your ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy life.
Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia)—having symptoms of depression that last for at least 2 years.
Seasonal Depression: It is a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons, typically starting in the late fall and early winter and going away during the spring and summer.
Psychotic Depression: This type of depression occurs when a person has severe depression plus some form of psychosis, such as having disturbing false fixed beliefs (delusions) or hearing or seeing upsetting things that others cannot hear or see (hallucinations).
Postpartum Depression: Women with perinatal depression experience full-blown major depression during pregnancy or after delivery (postpartum depression).
Causes of Depression
Depression does not have a single cause. It can be triggered by a life crisis, physical illness or something else but it can also occur spontaneously. Scientists believe several factors can contribute to depression:
Unhealthy Food Habits and/or Incorrect Lifestyle
Stressful Family, Work or Social conditions
Sudden change in situations or a shocking incident
Chronic illness or injury
Trauma : When people experience trauma at an early age, it can cause long-term changes in how their brains respond to fear and stress. These changes may lead to depression.
Genetics: Hormonal. changes, Mood disorders, such as depression, tend to run in families.
Life circumstances. Marital status, relationship changes,losing a loved one, financial standing and where a person lives influence whether a person develops depression.
Brain changes: Imaging studies have shown that the frontal lobe of the brain becomes less active when a person is depressed. Depression is also associated with changes in how the pituitary gland and hypothalamus respond to hormone stimulation.
Other medical conditions. People who have a history of sleep disturbances, medical illness, chronic pain, anxiety and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are more likely to develop depression. Some medical syndromes (like hypothyroidism) can mimic depressive disorder. Some medications can also cause symptoms of depression.
Drug and alcohol abuse: Approximately 30% of people with substance abuse problems also have depression. This requires coordinated treatment for both conditions, as alcohol can worsen symptoms.
Depression can occur along with other serious illnesses, such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Depression can make these conditions worse and vice versa.
Treatments for depression
Talk Therapy for Depression : Studies suggest different types of talk therapy can fight mild to moderate depression.
Cognitive behavioral therapy: It aims to change thoughts and behaviors that contribute to depression.
Interpersonal therapy : It identifies how your relationships impact your mood.
Psychodynamic psycho therapy:It helps people understand how their behavior and mood are affected by unresolved issues and unconscious feelings. Some patients find a few months of therapy are all they need, while others continue long term.
Medication for depression
Exercise for Depression
Pets for depression
The Role of Social Support
Light Therapy (Phototherapy):It involves sitting in front of a specially designed light box that provides either a bright or dim light for a prescribed amount of time each day.
Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS): VNS is like a pacemaker for the brain. The surgically implanted device sends electrical pulses to the brain through the vagus nerve in the neck. These pulses are believed to ease depression by affecting mood areas of the brain.
Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT): This treatment uses electric charges to create a controlled seizure.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation: This treatment aims electromagnetic pulses at the skull. It stimulates a tiny electrical current in a part of the brain linked to depression.
Acupressure is derived from a Latin word acus : ‘needle’ and pressure.It is an alternative medicine technique similar in principle to acupuncture.
It is based on the concept of life energy which flows through “meridians” in the body. In treatment, physical pressure is applied to points with the aim of clearing blockages in these meridians. Pressure may be applied by hand, by elbow, or with various devices.
The points are commonly called “acupuncture points,” “pressure points,” “acupoints” or “acupressure points.”
Traditional Chinese medical theory describes special acupoints or acupressure points, that lie along meridians, or channels, in your body. These are the same energy meridians and acupoints as those targeted with acupuncture. It is believed that through these invisible channels flows vital energy or a life force called qi (ch’i). It is also believed that these 12 major meridians connect specific organs or networks of organs, organizing a system of communication throughout your body. The meridians begin at your fingertips, connect to your brain, and then connect to an organ associated with a certain meridian.
According to this theory, when one of these meridians is blocked or out of balance, illness can occur. Acupressure and acupuncture are among the types of TCM that are thought to help restore balance.
Acupressure techniques: Pressing and reducing points
There are two ways that acupressure points are manipulated: pressing (reinforcing) and reducing them. Most are probably familiar with the first, but not with the second method.
Pressing points: Usually the fingers are used to press, but fingers may be a bit too thick, so you’d have to press quite long and firmly. Ideal would be something 3 to 4 mm thick, like a (preferably used) pencil eraser that’s on the other side of a pencil. Some points can be pressed using a fingernail. Pressing points for less than half a second can already have a distinguishable effect. To get a full effect however, pressure should be applied for at least half a minute, but preferably longer. One to two minutes should do.
Reducing: To reduce a point, turn a finger over it in counter-clockwise direction, also for one to two minutes.
We spoke little about acupressure in previous and now we continue.Acupressure points, like reflexology points in the soles of the feet, are described as areas of the skin where meridians or channels terminate from connections to various parts of the body.
These meridians provide a circulation system for electrical energy throughout the body and can be thought of as a communications network. Simply, they can be used to direct the body’s nervous system to release muscular tension and assist the flow of blood to injured parts.
It is thought that negative magnetic energy plays a major role in this process within the body and the use of negative magnetic stimulus externally can be most effective.
What is Magnet Therapy?
When acupoints are used with Magnets, it is called as ‘Magnet therapy’.In Magnet therapy, very small magnets are placed on acupoints which help in restoring the bioenergetic balance.They are sometimes attached by placing them underneath an elastic bandage, or taping them into position using medical tape made of a comfortable fabric.
As a result of such effects, magnet therapy can function as an antibiotic, eliminating many microbes, viruses, bacteria, and fungi, including strains which may be resistant to pharmaceutical antibiotics or other drugs.
Recently, it has also been discovered that the cells of the brain themselves contain a substance called magnetite. Magnetite is a naturally occurring crystalline material with weak magnetic properties, and which receives its charge from the Earth’s magnetic field. As a result of these mechanics, applying a therapeutic magnet to the head stimulates production of the hormone melatonin, thereby improving the quality of sleep, balancing the person’s sleep cycle, and otherwise facilitating relaxation and altered states of consciousness.
Ways to use acupressure
The Applications of Using Acupressure include relieving pain, balancing body energy, and maintaining good health.
Acupressure’s healing touch reduces muscular tension, increases circulation, and enables deep relaxation.
Hypnotherapy is a form of complementary therapy that utilises the power of positive suggestion to bring about subconscious change to our thoughts, feelings and behaviour.
How does it work?
Hypnosis is thought to work by altering our state of consciousness in such a way that the analytical left-hand side of the brain is turned off, while the non-analytical right-hand side is made more alert. The conscious control of the mind is inhibited, and the subconscious mind awoken. Since the subconscious mind is a deeper-seated, more instinctive force than the conscious mind, this is the part which has to change for the patient’s behaviour and physical state to alter.
Hypnotherapy is a talking therapy involving hypnosis which focuses a clients imagination and subconscious to help bring about positive changes to their thoughts, feelings or behaviour. Together the hypnotherapist and client will decide on the desired changes to work on prior to the hypnosis occurring.
Hypnotherapy is the use of different types of therapy in hypnosis, along with the mind’s own natural abilities, to resolve issues, relieve emotional burdens and achieve personal goals. It is a safe, effective process and involves the client and therapist working together to bring about positive changes in how they think, feel and act.
Hypnotherapy is a kind of psychotherapy. Hypnotherapy aims to re-programme patterns of behaviour within the mind, enabling irrational fears, phobias, negative thoughts and suppressed emotions to be overcome. As the body is released from conscious control during the relaxed trance-like state of hypnosis, breathing becomes slower and deeper, the pulse rate drops and the metabolic rate falls.
Unlike counselling, psychotherapy or psychology which may involve looking at a number of issues in a conscious way, hypnotherapy often focuses on a singular issue and works with the unconscious. However this doesn’t mean you risk losing control or that you can be manipulated to do or think things you don’t want to. At all times when being hypnotised the client actually should remain in control and although very relaxed, should be able to talk or get up and leave the room if they want to.
Contrary to popular belief, hypnosis is not a state of deep sleep. It does involve the induction of a trance-like condition, but when in it, the patient is actually in an enhanced state of awareness, concentrating entirely on the hypnotist’s voice. In this state, the conscious mind is suppressed and the subconscious mind is revealed.The therapist is able to suggest ideas, concepts and lifestyle adaptations to the patient, the seeds of which become firmly planted.
This method of hypnosis is not meant to cure or directly change a patient’s behavior. It’s meant to locate a cause and treat it through psychotherapy
Why Hire a Hypnotherapist?
Hypnosis could prove to be a valuable weapon in fighting a multitude of psychological, physical, or behavioral issues.
Hypnotherapy, while thought of by some as something non-scientific, is a regulated, legitimate form of therapy that can both explore and use a person’s subconscious to better help them through psychotherapy, and also act as a method of therapy that helps relieve a person of symptoms and problems they are afflicted with. Hypnotherapy has proven to be extremely effective in cases with patients suffering from pain and addiction.
Hypnosis can also help a patient to develop a deeper understanding of self. Whether a victim of past trauma, or someone struggling with depression who doesn’t quite understand the cause, hypnosis might just be the answer you’ve been looking for.
What issues is Hypnotherapy suitable for treating?
Fears and Phobias ( flying, public speaking etc.)
Anxiety disorders, Panic Attacks
Insomnia and Sleeplessness
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Habitual Behaviour (smoking, stammering,snoring,teeth grinding, sleepwalking, nail biting,bed wetting)
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Types of Hypnotherapy
· Traditional/suggestion hypnotherapy
· Analytical hypnotherapy/hypnoanalysis
· Solution focused hypnotherapy
· Clinical hypnotherapy
· Cognitive/behavioural hypnotherapy
· Hypnotherapy and NLP(Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP))
Relief from anxiety and stress is now only a yoga technique away!
Stress, fear, anxiety – if we start counting all those instances in life when we experienced these emotions, we may just lose count! Anxiety about the result of a Board exam or the reaction of our parents to the report card; nervousness about the first date or a job interview – we all would have lived through these moments.
7 Yoga Tips to Overcome Anxiety disorder:
1. Do YogaAsanas and relieve your stress of mind
Our mind is like a pendulum; swinging from past to future, regret and anger to anxiety and fear, happiness to sorrow. It is ‘Yoga asana’ that enables us to maintain equanimity. Yoga asana is not a mere workout or exercise!
2. Breathe right with pranayamas to relieve anxiety
Taking your attention to the breath can help free the mind of the unnecessary clutter of thoughts that breed anxiety.
Try the following breathing practices:
Kapal Bhati Pranayama (Skull-Shining Breathing Technique)
Meditation can be an excellent technique to relax a distracted mind, give you a sense of calm and peace, and also observe with daily practice how your mind works to keep you involved in small, petty things around. It can also help you not worry too much or get anxious of the unknown future.
4. Apply yoga philosophy in your life; stay happy and enjoy every moment
Knowing and applying the ancient yoga knowledge in daily life, which talks about some simple yet profound principles (yamas and niyamas) of yoga, can be the secret to happy and healthy living. For instance, the Santosha principle (niyama) teaches the value of contentment. The Aprigraha principle can help us overcome greediness or the desire to keep possessing more, which can be a reason for stress and anxiety.
5. Pray, keep faith and smile!
Prayer is the best form of reassurance and support to keep you anxiety-free. Developing habits of daily prayer, chanting or singing bhajans (devotional songs) fill you with positive energy and also help still the mind. They also instill a sense of deep faith that all happens for the best and that there is a higher divine power that takes care. Moreover, make a conscious effort to smile more and more. It will instill confidence, calmness and positivity instantaneously. Try it out right now!
6. Think about what you can do for others
When we constantly remain stuck in ‘me and mine’, it makes room for stress and anxiety. We keep worrying about what will happen to us. Rather, shift your attention to how you can be of some use to others around you. Energizing yourself with some service activity can give you deep satisfaction and immense joy.
7. Keep positive company around you
When you spend more time with positive-minded people, you are influenced by similar thoughts, which reflects in your overall attitude to life. Only a positive mind can breed joy, peace and relaxation.
We spoke a little about anxiety disorder and how to approach it during our last post. Anxiety disorder is a recognized mental disorder, in spite of the fact that it is affecting a huge section of the population. Some of the symptoms common to anxiety disorder are: restlessness, fatigue, muscle tension, sleep abnormalities, panic, shortness of breath, sweaty/numb/cold palms and feet, nausea, dizziness, irritability, etc. This constant worry and fear can make our normal day today activities difficult and limit our sense of independence. Therefore, it is important to take actions to deal with these issues at the earliest.
Some general categories into which anxiety disorders have been classified are:General Anxiety Disorders (GAD):
People with GAD experience exaggerated and excessive fear and worry about an imagined circumstance. They end up expecting the worst, even though there is no reason to, during normal day to day situations. Anticipating disasters relating to money, health, relationships, etc becomes something they have to live with on a daily basis.
Panic Disorders & Agoraphobia:
Panic disorders are different from anxiety disorders in that it is not a constant worry but a situational fear, where the person suffering is gripped by intense terror, triggered in a particular situation. The situations would depend from person to person. In these situations, the affected people show bodily symptoms of trembling, shaking, confusion, dizziness, nausea, breathing problems. During these panic attacks, the patient might even need medical attention or hospitalization.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):
As the name suggests, this type of disorder develops after a person has experienced a traumatic event sometime in the near or distant past. The trauma could have been a physical or emotional abuse, a situation of physical or emotional violence, threat to one’s life, victims of crime or sexual assault, “survivor’s guilt”, bullying. Symptoms include flashbacks to the traumatic event, sleep troubles, depression, intense guilt, a loss of interest in activities that they used to enjoy, respiratory problems, etc.
Social Anxiety Disorder:
This is the fear of engaging and interacting with people in a social setting. That may be at work, with family members or colleagues, or even with friends. People afflicted with this are shy, withdrawn and nervous. They are likely to feel intense feelings of embarrassment, self-consciousness in front of other people, nausea, etc. Typical fears include being made fun of, being teased or criticized, fear of speaking in front of a group of people, fear of being judged by other people, fear of rejection, etc. ‘Social phobias’ are also sometimes connected to performance issues.
These are severe symptoms of anxiety triggered by a very specific situation or stimuli. The stimuli can be a thing, an animal, a location or something similar. Examples are fear of heights, small confined places, needles, injection, etc.
These are some of the more common categories of anxiety disorder. If someone is suffering from one or more of these disorders, their treatment would need to be tailored accordingly, after adequately exploring the causes of these symptoms.
The word ‘chakra’ is derived from the sanskrit word meaning ‘wheel’. Literally translated from the Hindi it means ‘Wheel of spinning Energy’. A chakra is like a whirling, vortex-like, powerhouse of energy. Within our bodies, you have seven of these major energy centres and many more minor ones.
Chakra 1 the Base (or Root Chakra)
Its colour is red and it is located at the perineum, base of your spine. It is the Chakra closest to the earth. Its function is concerned with earthly grounding and physical survival. This Chakra is associated with your legs, feet, bones, large intestine and adrenal glands. It controls your fight or flight response. Blockage may manifest as paranoia, fear, procrastination and defensiveness.
Chakra 2 – The Sacral (or Navel Chakra)
Its colour is orange and it is located between the base of your spine and your navel. It is associated with your lower abdomen, kidneys, bladder, circulatory system and your reproductive organs and glands. It is concerned with emotion. This chakra represents desire, pleasure, sexuality, procreation and creativity. Blockage may manifest as emotional problems, compulsive or obsessive behaviour and sexual guilt.
Chakra 3 – The Solar Plexus
Its colour is yellow and it is located a few inches above the navel in the solar plexus area. This chakra is concerned with your digestive system, muscles, pancreas and adrenals. It is the seat of your emotional life. Feelings of personal power, laughter, joy and anger are associated with this centre. Your sensitivity, ambition and ability to achieve are stored here. Blockage may manifest as anger, frustration, lack of direction or a sense of victimisation.
Chakra 4 – The Heart
Its colour is green and it is located within your heart. It is the centre of love, compassion, harmony and peace. The Asians say that this is the house of the soul. This Chakra is Associate with your lungs, heart, arms hands and thymus gland. We fall in love through our heart Chakra, then that feeling of unconditional love moves to the emotional centre commonly known as the solar plexus. After that it moves into the sexual centre or Base Chakra where strong feelings of attraction can be released.
Chakra 5. The Throat
Its colour is blue or turquoise and it is located within the throat. It is the Chakra of communication, creativity, self-expression and judgement. It is associated with your Neck, shoulders, arms, hands, thyroid and parathyroid glands. It is concerned with the senses of inner and outer hearing, the synthesising of ideas, healing, transformation and purification. Blockage can show up as creative blocks, dishonesty or general problems in communicating ones needs to others.
Chakra 6 – The Third Eye (or Brow Chakra)
Its colour is Indigo (a combination of red and blue). It is located at the centre of your forehead at eye level or slightly above. This Chakra is used to question the spiritual nature of our life. It is the Chakra of question, perception and knowing. It is concerned with inner vision, intuition and wisdom. Your dreams for this life and recollections of other lifetimes are held in this Chakra. Blockage may manifest as problems like lack of foresight, mental rigidity, ‘selective’ memory and depression.
Chakra 7 – The Crown
Its colour is violet and it is located at the top of your head. It is associated with the cerebral cortex, central nervous system and the pituitary gland. It is concerned with information, understanding, acceptance and bliss. It is said to be your own place of connection to God, the Chakra of Divine purpose and personal destiny. Blockage can manifest as psychological problems.
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