Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Toast To A Healthier Lifestyle

There are people who drink alcohol occasionally or socially, during special dinners or cocktails. Driking alcohol is not a healthy lifestyle, Others use it to steady their nerves before making that important speech or public appearance. Still others who are suffering from a sleep disorder take a generous amount of alcohol to get themselves that much needed rest and sleep.

Some studies suggest that moderate drinkers tend to live longer and are less likely to suffer heart stroke than those who either abstain or drink heavily. While it is true that moderate alcohol intake offers some benefits, such as longevity and a healthier life, too much alcohol consumption can offset all these potential benefits and lead to serious health conditions such as liver disease, heart attack, pancreatitis, brain atrophy, and miscarriages, among others. This conflicting information could confuse anyone. Indeed, for every benefit of alcohol consumption, there is a matching risk one must take into consideration.

The moderate alcohol drinking standard is about two drinks a day if you're a male under 65 years old, or one drink a day if you're over 65 regardless whether you're a male or female. One drink is equivalent to 12 ounces (oz) of beer, 5 oz. of wine, or 1.5 oz. of 80-proof distilled spirits. The older the person becomes, the slower the body's ability to break down alcohol. This is why adults become intoxicated faster, as well as more prone to alcohol's harmful side effects.

Certain health conditions can be made worse by drinking any amount of alcohol. Those who have history of hemorrhagic strokes, liver disease, pancreatic disease, and those with evidence of pre-cancerous stages in the esophagus, larynx, pharynx, or mouth must never take any alcohol. People with a family history of alcoholism are at higher risk of becoming alcoholics themselves. Most importantly, women must avoid alcoholic drinks at all cost during pregnancy. as this will put the unborn baby at risks.

Moreover, alcohol intake may interact with over-the-counter sleeping pills, antibiotics, antidepressants, pain relievers, diabetes medications, antihistamines, anticoagulants, anti-seizure medications, and beta blockers, among other many common prescription medications. That is why the Food and Drug Administration requires all over-the-counter pain relievers and fever reducers to carry a warning label advising those who consume three or more alcohol drinks a day to consult with their physicians first before taking the drug.
Drinking alcohol can help a person feel a little bit relaxed or anxious because alcohol is a depressant. It slows the function of the central nervous system and blocks some of the messages trying to get to the brain, affecting perception, emotion, movement, vision, and hearing. Too much alcohol will result in intoxication, making a person lose coordination and affect even his speech. It also slows down a person's reflexes and reactions, making driving a dangerous activity for someone who is intoxicated.

Some people may not realize it, but too much alcohol, like drug use, can develop into abuse, and even addiction, which may become a problem for them and those around them. Without you knowing it, you may have been influencing even the young people to use alcohol when they are not yet of age.

To drink or not to drink alcohol is a question only you and your physician can answer. Very few health care professionals would advise non-drinkers to drink alcohol for the sake of a healthier condition. However, if you are a moderate drinker and manage to maintain great health, there is no pressure to stop, but always remember to drink responsibly.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Male Suicide, Depression On The Increase

As the times get harder, people can become more desperate. This is particularly true during economic times, which can make a person's personal and private problems worse – or at least, seem worse. Thus, those who are already under the effects of a mood disorder like depression get worse, and those that do not, can often find themselves walking a very thin line. It is no wonder that, faced with such difficult circumstances, more and more men are expected to attempt suicide or live with prolonged episodes of one form of depression or another.

It is generally considered a bad idea to actually attempt suicide when a person feels suicidal. The mind is not up to solving problems properly when in a suicidal frame of mind, with the inability to move out of that mental state being difficult. Most people with depression or suicidal thoughts do not fully consider the risks involved in their attempts, and that those risks will usually fail to outweigh the benefits. It isn't just men who are prone to the dangers of this either, even though women have traditionally been much less likely to attempt suicide than men. Another thing to note is that even the most successful, who have lives with achievements worth celebration, can succumb to the unreasonable desire to perform self-termination.

The final act can be very confusing, and often leaves the survivors in a fragile emotional state. Sadness and despair are to be expected, as they have likely just lost a loved one. Some respond with disgust or distaste for the event, while others may feel angry. In most cases, experts believe news of a suicide also worries anyone who hears about it because, at any given time, any individual could be driven to such an act. The numbers backing that up are stomach-churning and frightening, but also hard to ignore. In 2005, nearly 26,000 men took their lives – four times larger than the number of women who did the same thing. Women were found to be three times more likely to attempt suicide than men, however.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Getting Help For Depression

Okay, so a person thinks he might be depressed. Or the people around him believe that he's having an episode of depression. That does not mean that the prospective patient should be left alone to rot with the disorder by himself. Depression can be hard to deal with and admitting to having it can be seen as a social stigma, but there are places a person can go to get help and not be judged as “weak.” People can find themselves uncertain about how to get help, but a few hours searching through the phone book or the Internet can help someone find the options they need.

One option that a person with depression can go to would be mental health specialists. Psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, and social workers all have some form of training in handling cases of depression. Each group of professionals might offer a different approach for dealing with the disorder, and not all people would find these approaches to be effective for them. Note that out of all these professionals, only psychiatrists are allowed to prescribe medication, though the others may have recommendations on what alternative treatments might help.

Some communities have mental health centers that can offer help. These centers will sometimes focus more on group counseling than other facilities. This approach is not for everyone, but it can do wonders to improve the disposition and reduce the symptoms of those who do not respond to other forms of therapy. Some experts in the field suggest that people in these centers should also seek help from other professionals, especially if the group approach is not going well for them.

State hospitals run outpatient clinics that cater to mental health conditions as well. Privately-owned hospitals also run similar facilities and programs. For college students or those living near colleges with their own hospitals, universities and anything with a medical school would likely have some form of mental health care facility.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Premature Births Possibly Tied To Depression

Being depressed is known to have numerous negative effects, ranging from insomnia to suicidal thoughts and behaviors. However, studies are starting to show more and more effects of depression that people would not necessarily expect. There have been studies linking it to heart disease indirectly, with behavioral changes that are detrimental to the heart being the cause. Now, another study has found data that indicates that being depressed can lead to a problem if a woman is pregnant: premature birth. Apparently, being depressed can increase the risk of premature birth.

The study, published online, used a survey and a test population of 791 women during the early stages of their pregnancies. The survey contained 20 questions, with score ranges from 0 to 60. The higher scores indicated worse or more frequent depressive symptoms, with lower numbers indicating less intense moments. The researchers then set out to eliminate factors such as miscarriages, previous pre-term births for the women involved, social and economic status, education level, and other variable factors. The research team came to find that among those who scored below 16, there was a smaller risk of having a premature delivery. Those who scored 22 or higher were at twice the risk or more.

Depression while pregnant is not an uncommon event, but many doctors tend to either treat it dismissively or underestimate the severity of the condition. Those who conducted the study are hoping that their data will help doctors realize that depression during pregnancy can be dangerous.

There are problems with handling depression during pregnancy. The safety of using antidepressant medications during pregnancy are largely unknown. While it can be assumed that they don't have an effect on physical development, there are no studies that have confirmed this, and there have been no studies analyzing the long-term effects of such medications on the children.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Choosing the Right Sleep Aid Drugs for Your Needs

Sleep aid drugs are not beneficial for people suffering from chronic insomnia. They are particularly helpful during instances when being able to sleep is disrupted by factors like stress or traveling. For insomniacs, the best way to take out the cause would be through altering their lifestyle. Should you experience trouble sleeping, seek medical help right away. Available
treatment for insomnia varies in accordance to the particular type a patient may be suffering from. And even if sleep aid drugs do not address the real problem of insomnia, it could help a sufferer to get some shut-eye.
The current formula for sleeping pills is not as potent as the one used in the past. However, it does not eliminate the risk for individuals suffering from specific medical conditions, especially those related to the liver and kidneys. There are many different types of sleeping pills specifically targeted to deal with specific issues troubling sleep.

Sleep Aid Drugs to Help Induce Sleep

These sleep remedies are primarily used to induce sleep. Usually taken for less than two weeks in a given period, they can cause side effects such as dizziness, facial swelling, sleepwalking/talking, allergic reactions, extended drowsiness, and headache.
These medications are not advisable to be taken by the elderly since they are more likely to experience nighttime falls and injury.
1.Eszopiclone (Lunesta)
not advisable for people with a history of drug or alcohol dependence, lung disease, depression, or any health condition affecting metabolism
2.Ramelteon (Rozerem)
should not be used by either pregnant or lactating women
not advisable for people suffering from respiratory or kidney ailments, sleep apnea, or depression
3.Triazolam (Halcion)
should not be used by either pregnant or lactating women
not advisable for people with a history of drug or alcohol dependence or respiratory illnesses
4.Zaleplon (Sonata)
should never be used by pregnant women and people with liver diseases
not advisable for people with a history of lung disease, depression, and those with liver or kidney disease
5.Zolpidem (Ambien)
should not be taken by people with a history of depression, liver or kidney disease, and/or respiratory ailments

Sleeping Aids That Help You Stay Asleep
These sleep remedies are primarily used to induce sleep. Usually taken for less than two weeks in a given period, they can cause side effects such as dizziness, facial swelling, sleep-driving/sleep-eating, allergic reactions, extended drowsiness, and headache.
Sleeping aids such as these are not to be taken by pregnant and/or lactating women. It is also not advisable for more aged adults since they are more likely to experience nighttime falls and injury.

1.Eszopiclone (Lunesta)- not advisable for people with a history of drug or alcohol dependence, lung disease, depression, or any health condition affecting metabolism

2.Zolpidem (Ambien)-should not be taken by people with a history of depression and liver or kidney disease.
3.Estazolam- not advisable for pregnant and/or lactating women, as well as older adults

4.Temazepam-should not be used by those with depression or has a history of it

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Anxiety Drugs: How Much Do You Know About Them?

Anxiety drugs refer to any drug that is specifically prescribed to alleviate symptoms of anxiety disorders. They can be prescribed as medication to excessive anxiety, tension, nervousness, and short-term control of social phobias. These medications serve as a preventative or controlling measure for calming and relaxing people. Although these medicines are often called as anti-anxiety drugs or agents, they can come under a number of generic names like alprazolam and hydrochloride buspirone. If you are thinking of getting a prescription for anti-anxiety drugs, you would do well to consult a doctor and learn a thing or two about anxiety drugs.

How Anxiety Drugs Can Help

Anti-anxiety agents or anxiety drugs are used to treat temporary bouts of specific phobias, as well as episodes of social phobia. They can be used to provide temporary relief or prevent attacks of significant anxiety symptoms. These symptoms may include any or all of the following depending on the extent of the phobia or anxiety disorder:

Unjustified and persistent fear of a situation. Often, people who suffer from anxiety disorders exhibit an unjustified and persistent fear of a situation that they themselves recognize as unnatural. This fear is often accompanied by resulting symptoms like palpitations, shortness of breath, and trembling.

Feeling of losing control. Most people suffering from anxiety disorders feel that they are losing control of the situation. Although their fear is often irrational, they have trouble getting a hold of themselves to stop the fear from controlling them.

Anxiety drugs are used to control or repress these two primary symptoms of anxiety disorders. They either target the nervous system to sedate the person or correct a chemical imbalance in the brain that causes the anxiety.

Possible Side Effects of Anxiety Drugs

Although anxiety drugs are effective in treating anxiety disorders, they can come with several minor side effects. Some of the most common side effects include temporary disorientation, sedateness, headaches, apathy, and slurred speech. As such, care should be taken when taking any kind of anxiety drug.

Prolonged use of anxiety drugs can also lead to substance abuse especially if the prescribed dosage is disregarded. This said, it is important to consult with a doctor before getting anxiety drugs so that he can prescribe the right dosage and explain the possible side effects. Most people avoid taking these anti-anxiety agents for fear of side effects or being branded as lunatics but they are just misinformed.

Taking anxiety drugs to treat and control anxiety attacks is a far more sensible route to take than letting these irrational fears override natural human instincts like socializing. It is better to be informed and take the necessary precaution than live life in fear of getting another anxiety attack which greatly reduces one’s quality of life.

If you are interested in using anxiety drugs, better inform your doctor first to ask if it is recommended for your particular condition. Using anxiety drugs without your doctor's approval can have some nasty results as discussed in a previous section.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Performance Anxiety and Erectile Dysfunction

While sex was primarily used as a means of reproduction during the earlier times, it has become a source of pleasure that deepens the intimacy shared by people. Far from being instinctive, modern-day sex has become a seemingly endless succession of seemingly acrobatic techniques and endless improvement methods. Although these techniques and methods have significantly improved the enjoyment of sex, they also gave rise to a new enemy – performance anxiety.

Performance anxiety pertains to excessive worrying about one's sexual performance. Although this type of anxiety has been diagnosed in both men and women, the former showed a higher percentage of susceptibility. This higher rate is often attributed to a variety of reasons ranging from social pressure to individual perceptions. While you can easily seek treatment for performance anxiety, this can come with a price. Anti-anxiety medications are costly but more than increased health care expenses, seeking anxiety treatment can mean a definite dip in your sexual prowess.

Erectile dysfunction or the inability to sustain an erection is often triggered by performance anxiety during sexual situations. ED, as this condition is more popularly known, affects almost 30 million Americans. If you are suffering from ED or performance anxiety, here are some tips that can help you get back where the action is:

1.Get checked for ED by your primary care doctor.

Aside from performance anxiety, there are other disorders or diseases which might cause this dip in your sexual prowess. Getting thoroughly checked by your doctor for physical symptoms and by a psychiatrist for performance anxiety is needed to confirm a diagnosis of ED as caused by performance anxiety and its treatments. Besides, if you do need prescription medications for your condition, you'll need a signed Rx from your doctor.

2.Continue with your performance anxiety treatment.

Stopping performance anxiety treatment for the sake of being able to get it up is not a wise decision. With your anxiety about your sexual performance, it is highly unlikely that you will have a partner who appreciate your efforts. The best recourse is to continue your anxiety treatment alongside with your ED therapy.

3.Discuss side effects of your treatments with both doctors.

Doctors are there not only to treat you or prescribe prescriptions. They are also there to assist you with any problem you encounter during treatment. If you are greatly concerned about your crashing libido, it may help to discuss it with your psychiatrist. It could be that the antidepressant you are using is not right for you. Similarly, you can also discuss your ED problems with your doctor. He may be able to prescribe a medication that can work well with your anxiety drugs.

Since you will be using two different types of medications, treatments for ED and performance anxiety can cost you a lot. Take advantage of the many online pharmacies where you can buy generic drugs online at reduced cost. As long as you stay away from pharmacies that do not require prescriptions and those that sell non-FDA-approved drugs, you should be safe. For extra precaution, look for a discount pharmacy online that is licensed by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) and accredited by the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites (VIPPS).

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

When Depression Meets Spirituality

It is no secret that the elderly suffer from a wide variety of maladies, with the mood disorder known as depression being one of them. Not everything that might work to alleviate depression in younger patients would work with the elderly, and not too many really consider therapy to be a practical option. However, there are still a few who would prefer to find some way to alleviate the symptoms and make their days more comfortable. Some turn to medication and others turn to family. Another viable option could be to embrace something that science normally is not associated with: spirituality.

Studies presented in the American Psychiatric Association's annual meeting showed that those who used religion-related coping strategies had fewer and less intense symptoms of depression than those who did not. It is quite difficult to ignore when both medical and psychiatric authorities have reported and recognized this event, but most do not take it as a sign that religion should be “prescribed” as a treatment for clinical depression. Just as it may help some patients, it could just as easily have no effects on others, or make their conditions even worse.

Attempts in medical literature to describe the benefits and effects of religion on depression have recorded mixed results. The studies often focused on the coping mechanisms, religious practices, and social support structures available with each major faith and how those factors affected the depressed. A comprehensive study in one instance found that there was no real change, while another reported a small improvement after a six month observation period. The results of numerous other studies have ranged somewhere between two possibilities: no improvement, and noticeable improvement.

There are also reports of depression actually becoming worse after a religious coping experience, though they did not seem to re-manifest when the patients were observed again after six months. Some groups have mentioned this as evidence that doctors should consider encouraging a reconnection with religion as a supplement to more conventional depression treatments.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Stress Relief Methods for Women on the Way

Living in a stress free society is like a gold fish living in a glass bowl of eternally clean water that no longer necessitates changes. In the fast paced times we have nowadays, the high demands of day-to-day living and the continuous strife for progress in the name of modernization and industrialization put a burden on all of us, heightening our stress and exhausting us much more than we would have been if we were living in the past. This reality also increases the negative effects of stress on our overall health and well-being. Not spared from this, are pregnant women.

Pregnancy can be a very stressful time despite the increased rest privileges and modern medications intended for improving the mothers' and the babies' health, which are provided these days for their care. Although studies have not concluded the negative effects that stress may have to the unborn child, extended subjection to it could have seriously negative implications. To avoid these risks that may endanger the well-being and life of your unborn child and yourself, try these effective stress relief measures.

As with any other circumstance, the first step in relieving stress would be to identify the cause. One effective suggestion is for you to keep a journal where you would jot down the things or situations that stresses you out on a daily basis. Observing the patterns and frequency of their occurrences would help you identify the source of your stress. More often than not, the cause is inconspicuous. Jotting it down would make everything visible for your analysis and study.

If the cause of your stress is your obligations, then the best way to deal with it is to learn how to prioritize. To do this, create a list of the things you do every day. The moment it is written on paper, you would be able to see the cause and eventually come up with a solution for it.
Should finances turn out as the main source of your stress, then the best way to address your worries about it would be to make some decisions and always stock up on your finances. The most effective measure would be to list down all of your expenditures even the smallest one. As soon as you have determined your expenses , create a budget and accommodate it. This will help you decide whether you just have to take a leave at work or stay home during your entire pregnancy.
No matter what the cause may be, there are several options available for you in relieving stress. You just have to find the best way that suits you and your situation. Most women find relief in having a confidante who would be willing to listen as they unburden themselves by talking about their worries.

If it is particularly difficult for you to find a confidante, then seek a counselor who can both listen and offer you good advice. Just a few sessions with him/her and you would see a remarkable difference. Talking to him/her helps you a lot in working out your feelings.
These proven stress relief methods have also been known to help pregnant women. Go and check them out for yourself: prenatal yoga, meditation or prayer, deep breathing exercises, massage, and getting substantial amounts of quality rest.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

About Anxiety Disorders

In our society nowadays, it is hard to detect people who are suffering from anxiety. Although it is considered as one of the most common mental health dilemmas, it is unusual to find sufferers voluntarily seeking psychiatric treatment. This is a result of the stigma most people attach to
anyone who seeks psychiatric therapy, counseling, or treatment. Common perception has it that people seeing shrinks are instantaneously classified as lunatics. What most of us are not aware of is that there is a multitude of emotional and mental disorders that could afflict any of us and it does not necessarily mean that we have totally lost our marbles and would readily run amok at the slightest provocation.

However, this stigma is so strong that the sufferers themselves are reluctant to consult psychiatrists who are the only ones capable of treating anxiety disorders for fear of being called crazy. Deliberate denial of their problem does not only hinder them from seeking medical attention, but it also encourages them to rely on self-medications, which is more disadvantageous to the point of being harmful to them. Thus, it comes as no surprise that majority of them are forced to live a self-imposed life of discomfort brought about by this stigma they themselves accept.

Below are the many different kinds of anxiety disorders. It is important that we become familiarized with them so as to avoid falling into the trap of attaching ourselves to this harmful stigma, which is basically a result of ignorance.

Panic Disorder
Although panic attacks are symptoms mainly identified with panic disorder, it does not automatically follow that if you experience them you automatically have the aforementioned ailment. Because panic attacks are terrifying, sometimes a person experiencing them is likely to think that he or she has heart disease. Basically panic attacks are identified through the following symptoms: palpitation, discomfort, breathing difficulty, fear of dying, tightening of the chest, choking, trembling, light-headedness, dizziness, distress in the abdominal area, hot flushes or chills, numbness or tingling, fear that you are going crazy, and feeling that you are beyond yourself.

People with phobias experience a very forceful fear associated with certain things or circumstances. During instances of exposure to the latter, the person involved is liable to be very uncomfortable.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
A person riddled with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is likely to experience any or both of the following syndromes:
Distressful ideas or images that occur frequently
A compulsion to do specific activities repeatedly; which elicits feelings of distress, anxiety, or dread.

General Anxiety Disorder
People encumbered with General Anxiety Disorder(GAD) often experiences many anxieties and has the inclination to worry more than other people.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
People who are either subjected to extremely traumatic events or has witnessed them are bound to come down with post-traumatic stress disorder. These circumstances are characterized by the following: feelings of helplessness, terror, and inability to move.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Handling Depression: A Six-Step Guide

When someone says that he or she is depressed, most people react by telling the person to just “snap out” of it. But, as current medical studies show, depression is not something one can just snap out of. Often coupled with a social anxiety disorder or rooted in emotional abuse, depression is a clinical condition often characterized by a variety of symptoms like extreme sadness, mood swings, and loss of interest in life. Fortunately, all is not lost even if you are diagnosed with depression. Here are six tips that can save you from depression:

1. Acknowledge your condition and seek professional medical help.
Acknowledgment is the first step towards treatment for depression. Once you have acknowledged that you do have the symptoms of someone experiencing depression, seek professional medical help. You can talk to a psychiatrist who can help you address your fears about seeking depression treatment.

2. Determine the cause of your depression.
Depression can be caused by a variety of factors and identifying its cause is winning half the battle. Causes can range from excessive stress and anxiety to phobia. Once you acknowledge the existence of your depression and have identified its cause with the help of your doctor, the two of you can work through a variety of options to cure your condition.

3. Take the prescribed medication under the strict guidance of your doctor.
More than just stabilizing your moods to control your depression, prescribed medicines by your doctor can help you get back on track. Similar to anti-anxiety medication, depression medication works by correcting the chemical imbalances in your body that trigger emotional overdrives.

4. Minimize stress and anxiety.
Feelings of despair and losing control can be exacerbated by stress and anxiety. As such, anti-depression drugs are best taken with stress management techniques. Some of the most popular techniques you can use to temper your depression include talking to a counselor, listening to soothing music, and living healthy.

5. Get educated and learn more about your condition.
Knowledge is power – and you certainly need as much power as you can get when you are depressed. Surf the 'Net, talk to health professionals, read journals, and learn about related conditions. You can ask your doctor about emotional abuse, social anxiety disorder, and even phobia. By being informed about your condition, you can be empowered in controlling it.

6. Join depression support groups or organizations.
Talking about how you feel about your depression and the steps you are taking to control it with other people who are in the same boat serves to purposes. First, you learn from their techniques and their experiences in dealing with depression. Second, all of you serve as inspiration to each other in taking control of your lives once again.

Do not let the stigma of seeking psychiatric help detain you from seeking treatment for your depression. It is far more unhealthy to wallow in self-pity and despair than to endure a few awkward questions from people who are there to help you. Take control of your life and do what is best for your health – seek treatment.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Things That Stress Us Out

There is no way for anyone who is alive and thrives in the modern world to ever avoid stress. As natural as breathing itself, stress prevails in most of the activities we do on a day-to-day basis. Although most of us have an innate ability to perform stress management on our own, there are certain situations that prove to be too much for us that handling them by ourselves could compound our stress further.

Stressful situations vary in accordance to their difficulty, which directly affect the amount of stress any of us could obtain should we undergo them. Hence, in dealing with stressful prevalent in these situations the best means would be to deal with the causes themselves. And the only way to deal with them is to stay away from them. Below are the three most stressful circumstances we should try to keep away from as much as we could lest we seek to punish ourselves.

Spreading ourselves too thin

Balancing too many activities at once may give us a short-lived high because we tend to derive satisfaction from the thought that we have what it takes to accomplish them despite difficulties. However, this sense of gratification can only persist during the first few stages where we are most likely to succeed. Halfway through everything, we can find ourselves exhausted and unnerved, for we have used up most of our energies without even accomplishing a single task. Furthermore, the thought that we have several tasks to complete and each one only half done would add to our stress, sapping what little energy is left in us. As a result, our speed and accuracy in tackling the tasks would nosedive; we would struggle to finish, praying and hoping that we would manage to complete at least one of them. All in all the stress that we have to deal with in the face of such a demanding situation could really burden us so much to the extent that we might not succeed in finishing any of the tasks we had undertaken.

Not doing what you can do today

One of the most typical causes of stress is procrastination. Delaying our responsibilities for a much later time would only multiply the amount of stress involved therein. A typical attitude borne of laziness and/or poor judgment, putting off what we must do today in order to do what we desire (usually something non-urgent or of less importance than the task at hand) would only drive us to the edge once we get around to doing them. Due to time constraint, the pressure accelerates to debilitating heights and the outcome: we are driven crazy because we have to expend maximum effort and energy into the long hours we have to put into completing these tasks, which would have been much simpler if only we did not delay doing them.

Having to deal with “crazy makers”

There are people who challenge us, and there are people who inspire us. But then again, like black and white, there is a unique breed of people who seems to have existed for the sheer purpose of destroying our life. These people are called”crazy makers.” As to why they are referred to as such, the term itself provides the explanation. And if we are at a loss as to what exactly these “crazy makers” do, well, they make life troublesome for us until we are on the verge of losing our minds. They criticize us and find fault in everything we do every chance they get. They give unsolicited advice and comments aimed at denigrating us. All the negativity they surround us with pulls us down and stresses us out. The only consolation we could derive from them is that they do not necessarily drive us crazy through a direct and nasty manner. But this barely does anything to decrease the effect their black remarks have on us. And since fighting them verbally or physically would only mean that we're stooping to their level(which makes us no different from them, really); then it would be best if we just do our best to detach from them and kick them out of our lives completely.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Just Depressed? Or Is It Depression?

There are many anti-depressant medicines online that offers. Feeling depressed every once in a while especially when we're going through a “not so nice” phase in our life is typical. Everybody feels this way sometimes, right? Usually, you would comfort yourself by thinking that it would soon go away on its own. After all, it's just another bad day. However, if that bad day lasts longer than it typically does, and as time wears on, you find yourself being dragged farther downwards, then maybe, just maybe, it's already depression.

But where do we draw the line between feeling depressed and suffering from depression? Most of the time people who are beleaguered by this seriousmood disorderare not even aware that they already have it. And by the time everyone realizes that maybe it could be something more serious than just being unhappy about something, it may be too late.

So before you even find yourself nearing the end of you rope, it is best if you seek psychiatric help right away. Give yourself another chance at life. For tips on how to find out if you could be suffering from depression or not, read carefully the indicators listed below.

You no longer find pleasure or enjoyment in the things and activities you know you love. And this includes sex. The interest and passion have withered away, and everything is just a wash of drab gray.

You are lethargic and always feeling exhausted. This remains true even if you hardly moved a muscle throughout the day.

You experience difficulty in recalling things, even those that you know you should have known all the time. All of a sudden you have become forgetful, when as far as you're concerned you have a fairly good memory.

It is hard for you to focus. You constantly find yourself getting distracted or losing your train of thought or concentration.

You don't sleep like you used to. There are times when you just can't sleep even if you're bone-tired from working all day. At times, you just awake in the middle of the night, and when you try to go back to sleep, you can't. But then again, there are also days wherein you still crave for a much-needed nap even when you've had more than 10 hours of sleep the night before. You don't really have to experience all of these funny changes in your sleep pattern. Having one or two of them is enough to alert you that there could be something wrong with your moods.

Your appetite has also made a 180 degree turn. So it's either you find yourself gaining weight or losing it. Either way, it could be indicative of depression.

Life is suddenly devoid of meaning; you feel like a worthless piece of scum drifting aimlessly, headed nowhere. This makes you contemplate on committing suicide.

You experience physical pains; which could include stomach pain, headache, and muscle pain. You can't tell why you have them, and they don't respond to the usual treatments. In medical language, these are referred to as somatic symptoms.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ways to Help Your Child Handle Separation Anxiety

Most of us have witnessed annoying scenes of little children bawling their lungs out in an effort to cling or for parentor caregiver to stay. As irritating as it could be to the surrounding adults especially to the ones involved, children at this stage are going through one of those usual but emotionally exasperating stages of learning how to gain their own independence. It is not easy for either party, but there are measures that we can undertake to help ready a child for instances of our absence and to reinforce his/her belief and confidence in our return or unfaltering support regardless of them.

When you leave, tell you're child about your departure and the reason for it and then turn away. Avoid repetitive or lengthy “goodbyes”, for it would only make him/her cling to you more. However, in informing him/her, make sure you do it in a way that he/she could understand it best. At all cost, do not attempt to leave without informing him/her, this would ruin your child's confidence in your reliability.

1. Maintain a tranquil and positive attitude. Possessing a strong sensitivity, babies and children would easily take notice of the slightest change in your behavior, expression, or gesture. Even if sh/she cries, remain steadfast. Their crying is only a means to convince you to stay with them. Turning back once they start fussing because of your absence, only strengthens their anxiousness. Thus, you should avoid it.

2. Make and maintain a simple “goodbye” procedure in the form of a friendly wave, blowing kisses, etc.

3. Familiarize him/her with new surroundings with your presence. If you have to leave a child with a relative for the very first time, let him bring a favorite object of his or yours to help him feel more at ease with the new environment.

4. As much as possible, have him/her stay in familiar surroundings. Instead of leaving him with a relative or anyone else, have the concerned person come over to your house.

5. Practice being away from him/her for short periods of time. You may gradually increase the amount of time as your child begins to become more tolerable of the situation. This will help reinforce his/her independence.

6. Should you wish to hire a caregiver, see to it that he/she stays from the time of your baby's infancy to his/her toddler years.

7. Because babies are more prone to feelings of anxiety when they are hungry or tired, schedule brief separations after their naps or feeding time.

8. Leaving your babies with a sitter for brief periods provided they respond to them well, helps get them acclimatized to the presence of different people.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What Is so Nutty About Using Coconuts?

Various skincare reviews have praised the benefits of coconut oil for its efficiency in improving the health and beauty of our skin and hair. Because of its small molecular structure, it is easily imbibed into the skin, making it soft and smooth. It also works very well as a hair conditioner, softening the hair and conditioning the scalp at the same time.

If there's one thing that you would remember about visiting tropical countries aside from its majestic beaches with white sand and pristine blue waters, are those tall trees whose trunks bend gracefully toward the direction of the wind. These trees that grow naturally in abundance, with or without human intervention, is none other than the coconut tree. Also known as the “tree of life,” the coconut tree is indeed one very useful tree, which can literally be of benefit to us, starting from its leaves down to its roots.

Introducing the Coconut

Coconuts have been used for both eating and medical purposes for the past 3,960 years. From the time it was first used up to the present, no adverse effects have been reported so far. Most communities in tropical countries found in South and Central America, the Indian subcontinent, Africa, and majority of Asia thrive on it as one of the major sources of sustenance; primarily used for its flesh, water, milk, and oil.
Its usefulness in all aspects relative to the mind, body, and spirit was so revered that it was even documented in Sanskrit in Ayurvedic medicine way back in 1,500BC. Aside from this, it was included among the writings of early European explorers, respectfully noting its importance in the lives of most communities located in the Pacific region. During World War II, it played an important role in the lives of allied soldiers, serving as a substitute for a saline drip. When the war ended, coconut oil eventually made its way to the American and British kitchens as a margarine or butter.

Beautifying Properties
Various skincare reviews have praised the benefits of the coconut oil for its wondrous effects in improving the health and beauty of our skin and hair. Because of its small molecular structure, it is easily imbibed into the skin, making it soft and smooth.

It is very effective in relieving dry, rough skin; it can also be used for alleviating certain skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema.
The antioxidant properties of the coconut oil make it ideal for skin care. Lotions constituted of coconut oil does not only improve the texture of the skin, but it also acts as a protection from the damaging effects of external elements. It stimulates healing and provides the skin with a healthier and younger look.

Virgin coconut oil, in particular, is known to fight free-radicals. It staves off the formation of harmful free-radicals, protecting the skin against them. It is especially beneficial in preventing the formation of liver spots and blemishes caused by exposure to the sun and aging. It begins to work the moment it is imbibed into the skin, permeating the cell structure and its connective tissues. Once this happens, it restricts the harmful effects of too much exposure to the sun.
The beautifying effects of the coconut oil also extends to our hair. It works very well as a hair conditioner, softening the hair and conditioning the scalp at the same time. When used before washing the hair, it has been proven to be more efficient in removing dandruff than an medicated dandruff shampoo.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Pain After Exercise: Tips to Avoid It

Have you ever felt sore after a vigorous round of exercising or trying out a new exercise program? Then you’ve had experience with DOMS or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Although commonly associated with the soreness you feel after overdoing some exercises, DOMS can also be triggered by increased intensity and pace of a physical activity. For example, if you are not used to walking for long periods but did it anyway, you are likely to experience DOMS in your leg muscles.

Characterized by muscle pain, tenderness, soreness, and gradually increasing discomfort that occurs between 24 and 48 hours after physical activity, DOMS can be a very uncomfortable condition. Some people also find it a probable excuse for not continuing with their exercise programs. Caused by the build up of lactic acid in the muscles, DOMS is a condition that can be easily managed and prevented. Here are some tips that can help you deal with DOMS and prevent it:

Wait it out. DOMS usually last from a couple of days to about a week. The soreness induced by DOMS will go away on its own. However, pain lasting for more than a week despite pain-relieving measures should be consulted with a doctor. If the pain is also severe and isolated in an specific area, get yourself checked by your doctor. You may have some broken bones or dislocated joints. Swelling and redness should also be reported.

Warm up and cool down. Warm up by doing stretches prior to doing any exercises. This helps to prime the muscle for more vigorous activities later. Stretches also help prepare your muscles by loosening them up and extending the range of their movements. Cooling down is also important after exercising to ease the build up of lactic acid in the muscles which can trigger muscle pain. Stretching, mild aerobics, deep breathing, and simple yoga are some of the most effective ways to relax the muscles.

Switch to light exercises. If DOMS is triggered by a new, high-impact exercise program, it is better to switch to light exercises until the pain subsides. DOMS usually lasts around two to five days after the activity but that is no reason to quit moving and exercising. Completely stopping any physical activity can induce a worse case of DOMS once you resume training. The best way to continue training without suffering from repeat bouts of DOMS is to gradually increase the intensity of the exercises – not stopping them entirely.

Indulge in massages. The soreness and tightness in DOMS-affected muscles can be alleviated with regular gentle massages. Gentle strokes relax the muscles and ease the tension that caused the muscle fibers to knot. These relaxation techniques can help speed up the release of the lactic acid from the muscles. Massages are also more effective if used in conjunction with heat and cold therapies.

Use NSAIDs. If you can’t bear the pain, you can benefit from using a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug to relieve it. Over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen usually work wonders for DOMS. You can get these medications at affordable prices from online pharmacies. Just be sure to consult your doctor or inform him about using the drug to ensure that it will not conflict with other medications you are using.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Ways to Relieve Tension in the Workplace

Don't have healthy lifestyle? More than stress, a lot of employees and business persons complain of suffering from tension in the workplace. Be it the kind of tension that is triggered psychologically or caused by physiological problems – it can still hamper productivity and dampen people's motivation to perform better. If you find yourself suffering from tension in the workplace, here are some tips to help you relieve it:

1. Stretch in the morning or before you go to work.

Psych yourself before going to work in the morning. Stretching and exercising before going to work can loosen up your muscles and flood your system with endorphins, the body's natural feel-good hormones. A lot of people tense their muscles out of habit unknowingly. Stretching and exercising can relieve muscle tension – whether self-inflicted or not - and prevent the build up of lactic acid in the fibers which can cause pain.

2. Practice stress reduction and relaxation techniques.

When you have deadlines put on top of other deadlines, escaping from stress and tension can be an impossible task. Stress triggers the release of the hormone cortisol which can make you anxious and prone to mood swings – a surefire way to increase your tension levels. As such, the better you keep stress at bay, the more your chances are at escaping the grips of tension. Practice stress reduction and relaxation techniques like deep breathing and meditation at regular intervals during the day to provide your body a means to release built-up stress. This way, you save yourself from stress and undue tension.

3. Brighten up your workspace.

Sometimes, tension is rooted in psychological factors like anxiety, mood swings, and depression. While medications and therapy sessions can help you overcome these psychological barriers, brightening up your workspace can provide you with an immediate boost that can help you through the day. Equip your workstation with pleasant things that can keep your energy up. Tack a comic strip in your cube or put a collection of funny pictures on your desk. Offices usually allow employees to design their cubicles – ask if you can bring your eclectic desk lamp or paper your cube walls with a nice design. These little changes can brighten up your workspace and keep stress and tension at bay.

4. Opt for a healthy lunch.

The morning rush to get things done can make you hungry, stressed, and tensed enough to eat a horse by lunch. However, resist the temptation to order a steak at your favorite lunch place. Red meats are known to promote stress – something you do not need in the middle of a workday. Instead, opt for a healthy lunch of salad, sandwich, or white meat. A light meal of fish and vegetables can fill you up and supply you with vitamins and minerals that can help you get through the workday without stressing. It's also a good idea to snack on fruit for an energy boost without risk of sugar rush.

5. Use breaks wisely.

Instead of gorging for the whole lunch hour, take a few minutes to walk around and stretch your muscles. This short burst of exercise can prevent the build up of tension in your muscles which can be painful. If you feel tired, you can use a few minutes of your lunch hour to take a short nap. You can also spend some part of your lunch to read non-work related books or talk with your colleagues about topics other than work.

If tension bugs you incessantly, you can talk to your doctor about using muscle relaxants or other medicines that can help you overcome it.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Saving Up for Anxiety Treatment Health

Anxiety disorders and the psychological problems they entail usually mean a fair amount of spending and expenses on medications, therapies, and counseling sessions. Not to put you off about seeking anxiety treatment but these can be quite costly given the skyrocketing costs of health care services and medications. The medicines alone are enough to empty your pockets sans the professional guidance of a doctor or psychiatrist. If you want to save up on anxiety treatment costs but are smart enough not to forgo quality and recommended care, here are some tips that can help you out:

1. Ask your doctor to switch your prescription from branded ones to generics.
Generic drugs are exactly like branded medications except for the fact that the latter is more popular commercially. Do not worry if your generic anxiety medicine looks different from its prescription counterpart; shapes and colors are just marketing ploys used by pharmaceutical firms to enhance brand recognition. By opting for generic drugs, you get the same therapeutic benefits of brand-name drugs sans the higher costs.

2. Subscribe to an online discount pharmacy.

A sure way to order generic anxiety drugs online is to sign up or subscribe to an online discount pharmacy. Discount pharmacies often sell medications, particularly generic ones at lower prices compared to most local and Internet drugstores. There are many online resources that can teach you how to choose a reliable discount pharmacy online so you can take advantage of it safely and effectively.

3. Check with your doctor or pharmacist about pill-splitting.

Pill-splitting is an effective and easy way to save on prescription medication. In the United States, it is usual for a pack of low-dosage pills to be in a similar price range with a higher dosage one give or take a few dollars. You can use a pill splitter to split the medicine in half to get the dosage that was originally prescribed. However, this will only work for regular pills and tablets. Pill-splitting may affect the efficacy of tablets and pills with special coating and a time-release action. If you can’t contact your doctor, you can ask a registered pharmacist from an online pharmacy.

4. Get your discount prescription drugs in bulk.

Regardless whether you choose to stay with brand-name medications or generic ones, you can still save a lot if you opt for bulk purchases. Since anxiety treatment is usually a long-term process, it can help you save a lot of money if you buy your medicines in bulk. Aside from saving on delivery costs and other fees, you can also take advantage of the discounts that come with larger purchases.

5. Check with your health insurance provider.

Review your health insurance policy for a list of in-network online pharmacies. You can get special policyholder discounts or have your insurance provider pay part of your medication expenses if you buy your anxiety medicines from an in-network pharmacy. If you cannot find the list or if it has some provisions that you do not understand, call up your insurance provider for more information.

Have a Healthy Lifestyle!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Preventing Over Eating

A lot of disorders related to stress and anxiety like depression often have the unfortunate side effect of causing people to overeat. Even people who do not suffer from these psychological disorders tend to overeat when they get stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed by situations and events. If you find yourself stuffing your face every time you are presented with a situation that overwhelms you, you may be suffering from emotional overeating and this can be the start of a vicious cycle.

A Vicious Cycle

People who suffer from psychological disorders like depression and anxiety are often plagued by low self-esteem and poor confidence. When they fall victim to emotional overeating, they pay no heed to what they put into their mouths – chips, sodas, chocolates, and candies are all fair game. These treats are terribly unhealthy with all the extra salt, fat, and sugar. Emotional overeating can cause people to gain weight and the excess pounds can farther damage their fragile psyches hence, fueling another round of this cycle.

How to Stop It

Of course, the most logical thing to do is to seek treatment from the underlying conditions that causes a person to overeat. However, treatment for these disorders can take a long time – meaning there are a lot of opportunities for emotional overeating to take over people's lives. If you find yourself eating because of nerves, anxiety, or stress, here are some tips that can help you manage your eating habits:

1. Learn to recognize real hunger from emotionally induced ones.

The best way to do this is by being rational. If you just ate a substantial snack or mean a few minutes or an hour ago and yet, you feel hungry, you are probably experiencing emotionally induced hunger. Give yourself a few minutes to allow the imaginary hunger to pass. This is especially the case when you are faced with a potentially stressful situation.

2. Know what triggers your cravings.

Stress triggers are often the same ones that signal your cravings to start. Knowing what triggers your cravings can help you manage them better. If you are unsure of your triggers, write down what you eat daily in relation to how you feel. Over time, you may see patterns emerge that reveal negative eating patterns and triggers to avoid.

3. Keep healthy food around.

There are times when cravings just cannot be controlled. In these cases, it is best to have healthy alternatives around. Instead of keeping chips and chocolates around, stock up on precut vegetables and fruits for easy snacking. Replace ice cream cartons with yogurt tubs and substitute water for sodas.

4. Exercise regularly.

Your mood is more manageable and your body can fight stress more effectively when it's fit and well-rested. Seeing as stress can trigger mood swings and the cravings that go with it, having a regular physical activity can help you overcome emotional overeating.

5. Get adequate rest.

Rest is as essential as exercise when it comes to keeping your weight at a healthy level. Getting adequate rest can help you manage your mood swings better, meaning you have more control over your overeating tendencies.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Emergency: Food Poisoning

Food poisoning, commonly referred to as food-borne disease, is a gastrointestinal disorder that is caused by eating contaminated food. Food contamination can be caused by a number of factors, parasites, bacteria, and fungi being the most common agents. If you think that you are safe from food poisoning and contamination because you freeze your food or heat them up well, you should have another think coming. Food can
be contaminated whether they are in your freezer or sitting quite comfortably in your storage cupboard. As such, it is better if you are equipped with the knowledge of how to handle food poisoning emergencies should they happen in your household.

1. Be aware of the symptoms of food poisoning.

Symptoms of food poisoning or food-borne disease vary in degrees depending on the severity of the contamination. Some of the most common and easily observed symptoms of food poisoning include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, which can start just hours after eating the contaminated food. Headaches, dizziness, and lack of muscle coordination are also apparent in more serious cases. Rashes, abdominal pain, and fever are also common occurrences. Watch out for these symptoms and apply the needed remedies fast.

2. Take note of the causes of food poisoning.

Food contamination can take place anywhere during the production process. It can happen at any point – growing, harvesting, processing, storing, shipping, or preparing. Cross-contamination — the transfer of harmful organisms from one surface to another — is often the cause. Narrowing down the possible causes of the contamination such as identifying the offending food item and the manner by which it was prepared can help in the treatment. Identifying possible causes can help isolate problem and narrow down treatment options.

3. Administer first aid that can reduce the symptoms.

With food poisoning, the best recourse is to just let the whole thing run its course. Diarrhea and vomiting happen because they are the bodies way of expelling harmful substances. However, this does not mean that they are comfortable and easy to deal with. Replenish lost body fluids by drinking water frequently. You might also try drinking clear soda, clear broths, or non-caffeinated sports drinks. Affected adults should try to drink at least eight to 16 glasses of liquid every day, taking small, frequent sips. A soft diet should help you during this time.

4. Avoid taking non-doctor ordered medications.

Depending on the severity of the case, a doctor may prescribe you to use some prescription drugs like antibiotics. This is especially true if the poisoning or contamination is caused by fungi or bacteria. However, avoid taking medications for diarrhea. These medications will inhibit the body's natural process of eliminating harmful toxins. If you feel that you need to take medications, consult your doctor about it first.

5. Get plenty of rest.

Food poisoning, including its symptoms, can take a lot out of anyone. Rest as much as you can as will undoubtedly feel weak especially for the first few days. Food poisoning usually lasts for about a week or two before you can feel quite recovered. If the weakness and symptoms persist, consult a doctor immediately.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Complications Arising from Depression

Depression can kill us. It starts out as a typical feeling of being “down”, not in the mood to do the usual things we used to like. Simply put, we are not in the mood for life. However, we all have ups and downs, don't we? There would always be those days when everything seems to be shrouded in gloominess. As such, we would just do well enough to get by through the day, knowing all too well that it would eventually come to an end. However, if that state of gloominess does not go away and we find ourselves getting sucked into the motions of sorrow, we should be wary. These are the depression alarm bells alerting us into action.

Facing the Facts

Although it is one of the most typical health conditions plaguing humanity in general, depression is something none of us should ever take lightly. It has nothing to do with a weak spirit or inferior personality. As simple as it may appear to us, snapping out of depression is never too easy. Depression as an illness is also called by these terms: major depression, major depressive disorder, and clinical depression. Formally, it is a psychological ailment that has serious effects on both our mind and body. Once we are diagnosed as medically depressed, we would be subjected to serious treatments. Among them is antidepressant use to alleviate our condition.

Normally, if we are feeling down, our friends or loved ones may advise us to simply change our way of thinking. It is a common misconception that depression is simply a state of mind, capable of being controlled anytime. However, since it is a certified ailment, it works the other way around. If we do not address depression, it controls us and we are helpless against it. As a chronic ailment, depression would necessitate a long-term treatment, as in the case of heart ailment and diabetes. Despite the fact that there are some individuals who experience only a singular episode of depression, most sufferers tend to have several episodes throughout their lives.
Complications Rising

Depression acts as a trigger, setting off other illnesses and negative conditions, most of which are life-threatening. At its peak, it can cause serious damage and pain.

If we do not seek medical help right away, it automatically plunges us into a vicious downward cycle of illness, dependency, and lastly, suicide. It is also liable to create a domino effect; affecting our personal lives, relationships, professions, health, and finances. These are the adverse effects and complications linked to depression:

At its worst, depression could prompt us to take our own life by committing suicide.
We can become addicted to alcohol or drugs or even both.
Our anxiety level shoots up dramatically.

We become more susceptible to suffering from cardiovascular conditions like heart disease.

We would encounter problems and conflicts in school and work due to it.

Relationship issues concerning our family, friends, and other loved ones are shaken by conflicts generated by this condition.

We would intentionally isolate ourselves from the rest of society.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Coping from Anxiety: Ways and Means

If you are suffering from bouts of anxiety attacks, you can seek professional help. While anxiety medications like buspar medication and counseling sessions can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and reduce the frequency of attacks, there are also ways on how people can manage their anxieties.

Recognizing Causes of Anxiety

The most logical thing to do in trying to treat anxiety – aside from seeking treatment, that is – is to find out what causes it. Worries, job pressures, and social demands can all snowball into one big pile of anxiety-inducing problems. Here are some tips on recognizing the causes of your anxiety:

Pay attention to the times you feel anxious.
Some studies show that certain times of the day and occasions can trigger anxiety. So the next time you start to feel anxious, take note of the time and place. Manage this anxiety trigger by making a list of what you have accomplished during the day. This way, you have a visual proof that you did your work and have been productive.

Take note of places you feel anxious in.
Places have a lot of effect on how you feel. Their influence can be so strong as to trigger an anxiety attack. For instance, places that evoke negative memories are likely to trigger anxiety episodes rather than those that remind you of happy events.

Reflect on events that make you feel anxious.
When you have time, reflect on situations and events that make you feel anxious. Driving, teaching, and a variety of other events can trigger anxiety attacks. You can manage events that trigger anxiety by taking a token with you that will remind you of good times.

Take time to listen to yourself.

While the anxiety feels real, people may not realize that it is unfounded. Identify the cause of your anxiety by talking to a tape recorder the next time you feel anxious. After recording and when you feel relaxed already, listen to yourself on tape. List all the worries the plague you then proceed to write the reasons they are not true to dispute them one by one. The next time you feel anxious, you can read the reasons you gave to dispel any excess anxiety.

Fighting Anxiety

The Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA) reports that a third of all health care expenses in the United States goes to the treatment of anxiety and anxiety-related disorders. If you are interested in seeking treatment, listed below are some tips you should not forget:

Seek professional help.

You can enlist the help of a psychologist or counselor to help you deal with your anxiety. A professional can also prescribe anti-anxiety medications that can help relieve your symptoms and reduce the frequency of attacks.

Be diligent about your therapy sessions and medications.

A lot of people complain that therapy session or medications do not work for them. But, many of them forget to examine a critical aspect – their attitude towards these treatments. If you want to maximize the benefits of these forms of treatment, be diligent in attending therapy sessions and in taking your medications.

Take care of your physical health.

Your current psychological state may be riddled with anxiety attacks but that is no reason to allow your body to be unhealthy. Take time for exercise and regular physical activity. Building your diet around anxiety-fighting foods can help supplement your medications.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Care For More No-Calorie Sweeteners?

Are you aware about you healthy lifestyle diet? Are we having shortage of no-calorie sweeteners? These products have been in the market for years. In fact, The FDA has approved five artificial ones, namely:

Aspartame: Brand names include NutraSweet and Equal.
Sucralose: Brand name is Splenda.

Saccharin: Brand names include Sweet'N Low, Sweet Twin, and Necta Sweet.
Acesulfame-K: Brand names include Sunett and Sweet One.
Neotame: Approved for use as an ingredient in a wide variety of foods including baked goods, soft drinks, chewing gum, jams, and syrups.

But brace yourself for the arrival of a new player in the field of sweeteners. Under the brand name Truvia, this new sweetener is derived from stevia, a shrub common to South America but also grown in Asia. It's been used for centuries as a sweetener in South America and Japan.

While stevia may not be new in those countries, FDA has considered it an unsafe food additive and has instructed its agents to seize the plant and food containing stevia imported into the country. However, the FDA allowed stevia as a dietary supplement, despite its predictably confusing results for consumers.

Truvia, on the other hand, is not settling for a supplement status. It is a new stevia product developed by Cargill and Coca-Cola and is set to debut later this year as a tabletop sweetener and ingredient in certain Coca-Cola products.

According to Ann Tucker, Cargill's communications director, Truvia differs from existing artificial sweeteners because it’s natural, and it's supported by extensive safety studies funded by Cargill and Coca-Cola. Based on these studies, Truvia didn’t affect blood pressure in healthy people or blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. Further tests in rats show no effects on reproduction, fertility, or other health problems.

The FDA said it will review Truvia’s case to be considered “generally recognized as safe,” which would pave the way for it to become the first stevia product allowed as a food additive in the U.S.

David Schardt, senior nutritionist at the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), is cautiously optimistic due to safety issues.
“We’ve always told consumers you're not going to drop dead if you use it to sweeten your tea,” Schardt said. “But there is concern about using it as a food additive, putting it into a lot of products that are sold to millions of people.”
Providing competition is Pepsi which is planning to put its own highly purified, zero-calorie, all-natural stevia sweetener in various new products after it’s approved by the FDA.

Another company in Seattle called Zevia is already marketing Zevia, a carbonated dietary supplement containing stevia. Zevia is touted as “the world’s only all natural sugar-free alternative to diet soda.” But Zevia remains a dietary supplement.
Since there are many blends of stevia available as dietary supplement, a spokesman from Cargill Health and Nutrition said they cannot comment on all the variations and only know that “we consistently offer a safe, pure, and consistent product.”

Schardt said Truvia’s research may not apply to other stevia products, which is based on a particular pure extract, and that it doesn’t necessarily apply to something else that’s not quite the same. “So that’s an issue that I guess FDA is going to have to address,” conclude Schardt.

Many consumers believe that stevia as a natural product should have been in the country in a purified, not crude form, a long time ago. But politics and big business stopped it until they could find a way to take a portion of it and patent it. That is why they keep the lid on importing poor plain stevia.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Healthy Body Of Water

Healthy water is very important in our body. Nowadays, you’ll see a lot of people carrying bottled water everywhere they go. That is why water has become the second most popular drink next to soft drinks. But recently, a new report has found that the benefits of drinking water may have been oversold. It seems that the old suggestion to drink eight glasses a day was nothing more than a guideline, and not based on scientific evidence.

Although we may not need eight glasses of water a day, there are plenty of reasons to drink it. Whether plain or in the form of other fluids or foods, drinking water is essential to your health. We lose fluids continuously, from skin evaporation, breathing, urine, and stool. These losses must be replaced daily for good health.

If the water intake does not equal the body’s output, it may lead to dehydration. Fluid losses are common in warmer climates, during strenuous exercise, in high altitudes, and in older adults, whose sense of thirst may not be as sharp.
Since the body is composed of about 60% water, the functions of these bodily fluids include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature. The brain triggers the body’s thirst mechanism when fluids are low.

It is common knowledge that dieters have been drinking lots of water as a weight loss strategy. This doesn’t mean that water has a special magical effect on weight loss, but substituting it for higher calorie beverages can certainly help.

Food appears larger when it has high water content. Its higher volume requires more chewing, and it is absorbed more slowly by the body, making you feel full. Water-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, oatmeal, and beans.
Cells that don’t maintain their balance of fluids and electrolytes shrivel, which can result in muscle fatigue. When muscle cells don't have adequate fluids, they don't work as well and performance can suffer.

It is important to drink enough fluids when exercising. Based on the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines for fluid intake before and during physical activity, people should drink about 17 ounces of fluid two hours before exercise. During exercise, they recommend that people start drinking fluids early, and drink them at regular intervals to replace fluids lost by sweating.

The skin contains plenty of water, and functions as a protective barrier to prevent excess fluid loss. But over -hydration will not erase wrinkles or fine lines.
Dehydration makes your skin look more dry and wrinkled, which can be improved with proper hydration. But once you are adequately hydrated, the kidneys take over and excrete excess fluids. To help “lock” moisture into your skin, use moisturizer. It creates a physical barrier to keep moisture in.

Body fluids transport waste products in and out of cells. The main toxin in the body is blood urea nitrogen, a water-soluble waste that is able to pass through the kidneys to be excreted in the urine.

Urine flows freely when you’re getting enough fluids. It is light in color and free of odor. When your body is not getting enough fluids, urine concentration, color, and odor increases because the kidneys trap extra fluid for bodily functions. Too little water consumption puts you at higher risk for kidney stones, especially in warm climates.

Adequate hydration also keeps things flowing along your gastrointestinal tract and prevents constipation. Lack of fluid make colon pulls water from stools to maintain hydration, resulting in constipation. Combined with fiber, the fluid pumps up the fiber and acts like a broom to keep your bowel functioning properly.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Health Insurance: Tips on Getting Your Own

The rising cost of health insurance today has led many people – employed and unemployed – into the ranks of the uninsured. The high premiums coupled with big deductions are almost always enough to make people rethink their need for insurance. Employers and insurance providers alike are also limiting the benefits of their health care plans due to the high costs.

But when it comes to crunch time, health insurance is really something you can hold on to. It is like a safety net that is ready to catch you in case you fall seriously ill or suffer from a chronic disease. Despite the high costs, getting health insurance is still one of the best decisions you can make – more so, if you are self-employed and have to take care of yourself on your own.

1. Apply for subsidized health care. Government-funded insurance can help your health care spending, particularly for prescription drugs, go down since part of it is shouldered by the government.

2. Stay within network. If you have to go for diagnostic tests or buy medicines, go for those that are part of your policy’s in-network for discounts and reduced costs.

3. Compare health insurance plans. Before you commit to any insurance plan, take the time to shop around and compare health plans from different providers. Look for one that suits your health needs and budget for better usability.

4. Maximize your parents’ health insurance plan. If you just graduated from college or vocational school, you have some time before you are required to fund your own insurance coverage. Find out how long you can depend on your parents’ health insurance instead of wasting money on your own policy too soon.

5. Determine the amount of coverage you need. If you are young and healthy, you probably do not need to invest on a major health insurance plan. However, if you have any preexisting condition or health problem, a comprehensive insurance with an extensive formulary is probably best.

6. Get incorporated. If you are self-employed or own a small business, it is helpful to get your venture incorporated. This way, you can be eligible for tax deductible employer and employee costs like health insurance.

7. Find out which health insurance option is best for you. There are many kinds of health insurance. To get the most out of your plan, you must determine whether you need disability insurance, life insurance, or long term care insurance. Thoroughly understanding and knowing how to work the conditions presented in your policy can help you make the most of its benefits.

8. Avail of discount medical cards. A discount medical card allows you to gain access to the medications you need without the exclusions, limitations, and tedious paperwork typically associated with health insurance.

9. Get a discount dental plan. If you signed up for a minor health insurance plan, it may not cover all the healthcare services you might need. A discount dental plan is a viable option if you intend to supplement your individual coverage.

10. Stick to high co-pays if you rarely get sick. If you rarely visit a doctor, arrange to have higher co-pays in your insurance plans. It pays better to have higher co-pays in exchange for lower premium. Alternatively, if you have a chronic disease or is suffering from a preexisting condition that requires frequent doctor visit, a plan with lower co-pays and higher premiums will work better for you in the long run.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Healthy Lifestyle: Tips on Achieving Work-Life Balance

The demands of life and career can be tough especially if you are juggling more roles and responsibilities. With so many demands on your time — from overtime to family obligations — it can feel difficult to strike this balance. The stress and anxiety that accompany these demands can be damaging to your relationships, health, and career. Achieve work-life balance for better health by following these tips:

1. Evaluate your priorities.

You do not need to be present at every single family affair or overtime meetings. The first step to achieving a work-life balance is to evaluate your priorities and the things and goals that are important to you. By identifying your priorities, you can judge other activities if they can help you reach your goals or not.

2. Keep a record of your activities.

Record a list of work-related and non-work-related activities. Do this for a week then sit down and decide which of these activities are directly connected to your goals, are necessary, and satisfying to you. Cut or delegate activities you don't enjoy and don't have time for. If you don't have the authority to make certain decisions, you can talk to your supervisor or boss about it.

3. Take advantage of your options.

Sometimes, the desire to appear as the over-responsible adult can cloud your judgment and put an extra load in your arms. Instead of picking up the slack for everyone in the office every time, find out if your employer offers flex hours, a compressed workweek, job-sharing or telecommuting for your role. The flexibility offered by these options can help you alleviate some of the stress work and life can bring without resorting to taking anxiety discount drugs.

4. Learn to compartmentalize.

Sure, in-job competition has the tendency to consume you and this, can wreck havoc in your personal relationships. Learn to compartmentalize by leaving work and all things relating to work at the office and concentrate on your family and personal life once you get home. It'll also help if you'll instruct your colleagues and family members to contact you at home and at the office, respectively, on in cases of emergency.

5. Manage your time.

Time management is essential if you are striving for work-life balance. Organize household tasks efficiently to maximize your efficiency. Doing one or two loads of laundry every day, rather than saving it all for your day off and running errands in batches are good places to start. You can also put up a weekly family calendar of important dates and a daily list of to-dos will help you avoid deadline panic. If your employer offers a course in time management, sign up for it to learn better tricks and techniques at dividing your time between work and personal life.

Despite these tips, one of the best things you can do to achieve work-life balance easily is to keep yourself healthy and at your peak. When you are healthy, you can do your job and tasks easily at work – leaving you with plenty of opportunities to enjoy your life and attend to personal relationships.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Monos, Polys, and Omegas of Nutrition

We are all aware that saturated fats, found chiefly in meat and high-fat dairy products, are not good for health. These fats are responsible for increased cholesterol levels and gummed up arteries. On the other hand, unsaturated fats that mostly come from plants and fish are essential to good health.

The issue about good fat/bad fat has become more cumbersome than nutritionists once thought. Health effects of good fats not only improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels but also reduce inflammation, making fats as one of the new functional foods.

Researchers at Maastricht University in the Netherlands found that cutting back on carbohydrates and consuming more polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats decreases the level of harmful LDL cholesterol and increases protective HDL cholesterol.
Recently, a study conducted by the Optimal Macronutrient Intake Trial for Heart Health (OmniHeart) revealed that a diet rich in unsaturated fats also lowers blood pressure and reduces overall heart disease risk.

Researches sometimes yield confusing results. In the Maastricht University study, it slightly favored polyunsaturated fats for improving the ratio of HDL (good cholesterol) to total cholesterol. However, the Trinity College in Dublin studied people with diabetes, who have a high risk of heart disease, and found that monounsaturated fats may offer more protection.

So which is which? Monounsaturated fats or polyunsaturated fats? Come to think of it, both types of fats are present in edible oils. If both are beneficial to health, why bother counting the grams of each? Instead, people should focus on the amount of saturated fats found in edible oil that debating between the monos and polys.

Check out this comparison:
• Olive oil – 73% monounsaturated fat, 11% polyunsaturated fat, and 14% saturated fat.
• Soybean oil – 24% mono, 61% poly, and 15% saturated fat.
• Canola oil – 62% monounsaturated, 32% polyunsaturated, and only 6% saturated fat.
Obviously, canola oil wins by having the lowest content of saturated fats among edible oils.

The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois found that substituting canola oil for other vegetable oils and canola oil-based margarine for other spreads could significantly lower saturated fat levels in the American diet.

In addition to that, canola oil is also a good source of omega-3 polyunsaturated fats, which may be especially crucial to good health.
Since studies of the Mediterranean diet suggest that olive oil, which has a very different fatty acid profile, also offers potent protection against heart disease, the issue is no longer about which oil is healthiest but a matter of encouraging people to use the ones they prefer.

And yet, it doesn’t end there. Did you know that polyunsaturated fats are even subdivided into omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids? The former are found in most plants while the latter are found predominantly in fish oils. Many researchers believe that the balance of these two fats may be the most critical measure of a healthy diet.

Today, modern western diet favors the omega-6s over omega-3s in a ratio of 9:1 up to a high of 40:1. While there is no standard for what the optimum balance should be, Floyd Chilton, PhD, director of the Bontanical Lipids Center at Wake Forest University said that there’s a good evidence that the diet of hunter-gatherers, and thus the diet our bodies evolved to eat, had a ratio of 2:1 omega-6s to omega-3s.
Omega-6s fatty acids regulate genes that spark inflammation increasingly being seen as the central process in heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and other chronic health problems.

Omega-3s, in contrast, tamp down inflammation and have been linked to many health benefits, including lowering triglyceride levels, guarding against dangerous irregular heart rhythms, and preventing plaque from breaking away from the lining of arteries.
Maybe achieving a balance of these omegas could help fight many of the chronic diseases that plague us nowadays.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Natural High of A Baby’s Smile - Healthy Lifestyle family fitness

"Smile though your heart is aching… smile even though it’s breaking… when there are clouds in the sky you’ll get by… if you smile through your fear and sorrow… smile and maybe tomorrow… you’ll see the sun come shining through for you…”

Can’t help but enjoy the trip down memory lane via this old song of Nat King Cole about the simplicity of life and how people often neglect the simpler things in life, getting too caught up in superficial things.

A smile is a facial expression that denotes pleasure, happiness, or amusement. Smile can decrease the pain and sorrow.And the magic of smile always succeeds in lifting up the spirits of the recipient. Talk about a girl smiling back at a persistent suitor, or a male celebrity smiling back at a starstruck fan. The recipient will definitely feel encouraged and appreciated. Had it been a frown instead of a smile, it will be a totally different picture and story altogether.

A recent study about the effect of smile focuses on the relationship between a mother and her child. Obviously, seeing the baby smile provides a natural high for the mom. But this study is beyond what is obvious. It proves that seeing the baby’s smile lights up the reward center in a mother’s brain. Understanding that reaction may help explain that special mother-child bond and determine why it sometimes goes wrong.

According to researcher Lane Strathearn, MBBS, FRACP, assistant professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, the relationship between mothers and infants is critical for child development. “For whatever reason, in some cases, that relationship doesn’t develop normally. Neglect and abuse can result, with devastating effects on a child’s development,” added Strathearn.

The study involved 28 first-time mothers who viewed images of their own child and other infants while hooked up to a functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner.

This machine provided information on the activation of different regions of the brains as the women viewed the images of the babies smiling or portraying neutral or sad emotions.

The research team found that when the mothers saw happy images of their own baby, activation increased in areas of the brain associated with reward and the neurotransmitter dopamine compared with seeing images of other babies.

Strathearn emphasized that these are the same areas that have been activated in other experiments associated with drug addiction. “It may be that seeing your own baby’s smiling face is like a ‘natural high,’” he noted.
While the mothers’ brains responded much more strongly to their own infants than to others, researchers found that the strength of such “natural-high” reaction depended on the baby’s facial expression.

Strathearn also stressed that the strongest activation was with smiling faces and that they were expecting a different reaction with sad faces. However, they found little difference in the reaction of the mothers’ brains to their own baby’s crying face compared to that of an unknown child.

Strathearn believes that understanding how a mother responds uniquely to her own infant, when smiling or crying, may be the first step in understanding the neural basis of mother-infant attachment.
It's definitely true that a smile is a “natural high,” and as the song goes, we'll find that life is still worthwhile if we just...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Preventing Summer Woes - Healthy Skin

Taking care of your skin health is not easy, especially when you are person who wants to go out all the time. It’s summertime! And for many people, especially kids, it’s a holiday season to be spent outdoors and heading toward the local pool, a lake or the beach. Living seems all fun and easy until you realize the havoc all that fun in the sun has wrought on your body, most specially, the skin.

Summer makes you sweat more so that the skin becomes less supple. In addition, saltwater and chlorine can have a drying effect on the skin. Not to mention sunburns and bug bites which can also sabotage healthy skin.

But the good news is, summer also brings an abundance of tasty and nutritious foods, including berries which are loaded with antioxidants, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers which are a good source of vitamin C, and protein-filled grilled fish and burgers. You can simply choose the right ones to add to your daily diet to help prevent or alleviate the following common hot-weather woes.

Antioxidants, vitamin C, and protein can help a lot in healing weathered skin. Keep dryness at bay by drinking lots of water, “the forgotten nutrient.” The American Dietetic Association recommends that women drink 92 ounces (8-10 cups) of water in the summer and men 125 ounces to prevent dehydration. Since calcium can also be lost through sweating, it’s a good idea to replace it by eating low-fat dairy products like skim milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese.

Along with summer comes yeast infections. Sitting around in wet bathing suit provides a perfect environment for yeast overgrowth. Cut back on sugary foods to make conditions less hospitable for yeast to take hold in the first place. However, once you’ve got an infection, be sure to eat lots of yogurt, the kind that contains live, active cultures.

Overexposure to sun, saltwater, and chlorine may cause parched hair. So be sure to eat lots of foods rich in vitamin B-5 (found in yogurt and California avocadoes), vitamin B-8 (in liver and cooked eggs), folic acid (in fortified cereals and beans), calcium (in milk and yogurt), and zinc (in meat and fish). These nutrients can help reduce hair loss and replace dull hair with shiny hair. So, go ahead and toss some burgers or shrimp kabobs on the grill, or make a three-bean salad or other protein-rich meal because hair consists of protein fibers called keratin, in addition to maintaining healthy skin.

Be careful not to play too much of beach volleyball or other outdoor exercise. Overexertion and dehydration may cause muscles cramps. Lack of fluid in the system leads to an electrolyte imbalance and causes muscles to cramp up. Sodium, calcium, and potassium are the main electrolytes lost through sweating during exercise and physical activities.

You may replenish these electrolytes with a sports drink that contains them and drink a lot of water. Potassium-rich foods include bananas, raisins, potatoes, and spinach.
While age-related macular degeneration is the most common cause of vision loss and blindness in people over the age of 55, the sun can aggravate the condition. This occurs when the central part of the retina (macula) becomes damaged.

Since the retina is actually made up of vitamin A, foods rich in this vitamin, along with beta-carotene, zinc, and Vitamins C and E, are beneficial to the eyes. Good sources are dark green vegetables like kale, chard, and mustard greens, plus bell peppers, carrots, and blueberries. Eat eggs for their high dose of lutein, an important antioxidant that also helps prevent eye damage. - health provider

Monday, October 6, 2008

Beware of Home Remedies

While some do-it-yourself health lifestyle techniques work just fine,others can spell real trouble.

There’s nothing wrong with home remedies like cornstarch and water on a bee sting, but cleansing your colon from the comfort of your home is certainly one for the “do not try this at home” warnings. Neither is removing wax from your ear by holding a lit candle inches from your head.

Health is wealth and should be handled with care. Don't be fooled by every home remedy you hear about and seek professional help from your health care provider when necessary.

The ear produces a waxy film that acts as a natural lubricant. It waterproofs the ear and has an acidic pH that helps in preventing infections. Wax build-ups may cause itching and impaired hearing that is why some people resort to ear candling. This so called easy at-home solution involves taking a candle-shaped beeswax cone, placing it in the ear, lighting it, and after the wick burns down, removing the cone along with ear wax and other impurities.

Who said that lighting a flame inches from your ear is easy? It’s actually dangerous and may lead to burns in the ear canal and on the eardrum. I’d rather that you stop playing with fire, and just use a tissue around your finger to wipe away excess wax from the outer part of the ear. Using cotton buds is acceptable but stays at the outer part of the ear and do not go deeper to avoid puncturing the eardrum.

Another nonsense home remedy is using whiskey for teething babies. It’s not unusual for parents to try anything to stop their child from non-stop hours of crying and wailing but alcohol should not be a part of the remedy at anytime.
Aside from the fact that whiskey has no real numbing effect on the gums of teething kids, they should not be consuming alcohol as well. Instead, try to chill a teething toy in the freezer and give it to your baby. It will have a cooling effect on the gum which will both soothe and numb it. A child old enough to have ice pop can be given a sugarless one but definitely with adult supervision.

For adults, whiskey won’t help a toothache or tenderness in the gum. Only dentists or pain relief drugs can take away the pain caused by a cavity deep in the tooth or a gum infection.

So-called home remedies for minor burns like toothpaste may provide a slight cooling effect. However, these are not sterile and may increase risk of infection.

Over-the-counter antibiotic burn ointment is still best for mild to moderate first-degree burns and second-degree burns limited to an area no larger than 3 inches in diameter. Gently apply it to the burned skin, and keep it covered for cleanliness. Ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help alleviate pain.

Some people say that since colons are filled with toxic waste matter, the solution is to flush them out with herbs, special diets, or laxatives. While colon is a waste receptacle, its function is to let fecal material pass out of the body, naturally.
However, if you try to cleanse your colon from the comforts of your home, it may disrupt your body's electrolyte balance, which can cause dehydration and salt depletion. It can even lead to malnutrition, anemia, and heart failure.
It is better to increase your fiber intake by eating more fruits and vegetable, or by adding a daily supplement to your diet.
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