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.
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