Thursday, February 19, 2009

STDs On The Rise Again

For many years, sexually transmitted diseases were noted to be on the decline. However, recent surveys conducted by the federal government have shown that this is no longer the case. After years of decline, sexually transmitted conditions are once again on the rise, with the condition chlamydia not only increasing, but also setting a new record.

This particular disease, which often does not display any sort of symptoms, is a condition that can result in women becoming infertile. The increase of better, more accurate screening methods is being attributed to the increase. According to the gathered data, 1.1 million cases of the condition were reported in 2007 – the highest number ever reported, as noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Syphilis, which has never numbered more than a few thousand, also rose modestly recently. Gonorrhea cases were not reported to have increased. It should be noted that, unlike chlamydia and gonorrhea, syphilis can be lethal if left untreated.

Chlamydia, while better known for the effects if could have women, also has the ability to infect men. This was noted as being a partial reason for the federal recommendations that testing be conducted for women over the age of 25 that were sexually active. The focus on this screening is believed to have partially contributed to the sudden increase in numbers, based on theories put forth by officials from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. The logic has been summarized as “the more tests you do, the more cases you'll find.”

The percentage of women with the condition has risen by double digits between 2003 and 2007, according to the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Meanwhile, the latest case numbers for chlamydia have resulted in an estimated number of 370 cases per 100,000 people in 2007, an increase of about 7.5% from the year before.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Foods That Help With Psychological Disorders

Anxiety and depression are among some of the most common psychological disorders in the United States, maybe even the entire world.

In general, foods rich in the many B vitamins can help with one's mental and physical health. Here are some of them:

Thaimin or vitamin B1

Low thiamin levels in the system can cause restless nerves and irritability, both are symptoms manifested by panic and anxiety disorder sufferers. Eating thiamin-rich foods like tuna, sunflower seeds, and yellow corn can help anxiety sufferers by giving an extra boost of energy, better coordination of the nerves and muscles, and by supporting proper heart function.

Niacin or vitamin B3

Insufficient vitamin B3 in the body has been thought to be connected to clinical depression and anxiety disorders because it helps supports the brain's message relaying system. Eating niacin-rich foods like chicken, salmon, and mushrooms can help keep the brain's neurotransmition system in proper working order, not to mention help in converting fat, proteins, and carbohydrates into usable energy.

Vitamin B6

Depression is a mental disorder characterized by a low serotonin level in the brain. Vitamin B6 is said to be able to ward off such feelings. Vitamin B6 is a key component to converting tryptophyan, an essential amino acid, into serotonin. By eating vitamin B6-rich foods like bell peppers and bananas, you can be sure that your body produces enough serotonin to keep the sad feelings away.

Vitamin B12
Some studies say that psychological conditions are caused by brain cell degradation. It has also been linked to vitamin B12 deficiency. Eating vitamin B12-rich foods like scallops and snappers, you provide your body with the vitamin it needs to ensure proper development of neurons, thereby avoiding depression and anxiety attacks.

B-vitamin rich foods are not the one food items that can help you combat psychological disorders. To find out more and to better understand how these foods work, it is best to speak to a doctor or a dietitian about it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Weight Loss Betting Odds

Almost everything that could possibly motivate someone into losing weight has been tried. The health benefits, the prospect of making weight loss fun, and even the sexual benefits of being in better shape have all been used. Frankly, not all of them have been successful, and most of them don't really work for very long. People by nature will avoid working out and exercising if they can, no matter what benefits they may get out of the fact. Well, some people have asked the question that many believe should have been asked much earlier. Why not give people money to lose weight?

No, it should not, theoretically, be as simple as just giving them a certain amount to get them to lose a certain number of pounds. Some have suggested making it a game or competition of sorts. The idea is relatively simple. Offer someone a wager of a small amount to motivate them to lose a certain amount of pounds within a given time constraint. Once that is accomplished, wager a larger amount for them to accomplish a larger amount of weight lost. Theoretically, a person can keep doing this until the person doing the weight loss has reached their target weight. Also theoretically, they might be able to keep that weight off with constant wagers against their ability to do so.

Money could become an incredible motivator given the current global economic conditions. Money is something that people would need to keep things going, and it'd arguably not that much of a sacrifice to shed a few pounds for a little extra cash. There is also the feel of competition, where the person is being challenged into shedding excess weight. That challenge, particularly for those who like to be challenged and don't take hits to their ego very well, would be the main motivator. The money involved would just be very nice icing on the cake.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Experiencing the Physical Symptoms of Depression

Many depressed individuals don't know that they are depressed because they are not aware of the physical symptoms of depression. Even doctors may miss out on these symptoms as well.

Physical symptoms of depression are not just in your head or imagined. They can make your body experience real changes.

Somehow, there is a connection between depression and an imbalance of certain chemicals in the brain. They play a vital role in how a person feels pain. According to experts, depression can make you feel pain differently than other people.

The physical symptoms of depression include:

Headache - This condition is common in depressed people. Those who already had migraine headaches may experience worse episodes when depressed.

Back pain - Just like a headache, individuals suffering from back pain may experience more pain when depressed.

Muscle aches and joint pain - Depression can make any kind of chronic pain worse.

Chest pain - While it can be a sign of serious heart conditions, chest pain is also linked to depression.

Digestive problems - Depression can give a person diarrhea or chronic constipation.

Fatigue - Depressed people may feel tired even after a long sleep that they find it hard to get up from bed.

Sleeping problems - Depression ruins a person sleep-wake cycle, causing different sleeping problems.

Appetite and weight problems - While losing appetite and weight are the usual manifestations of depression, others may find themselves craving for certain foods like carbohydrates, thus increasing in weight.

Dizziness or lightheadedness.

The physical symptoms of depression can be treated as a person goes through therapy or medication. Anti anxiety medications can treat insomnia while antidepressants can help with chronic pain. However, depressed people must not assume that the physical symptoms will just disappear on their own. It is necessary for the patient to inform the doctor about the physical symptoms for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Worries and Urges of People with OCD

Many of us have little superstitions and rituals which help us to become productive and produce positive results. However, when these 'rituals' are taken to extremes and begin to affect normal daily function, it becomes a problem.

When you start feeling that something will really go wrong simply because you are not wearing your favorite lucky shirt; that you would feel the need to wear it almost every chance you feel like something will go wrong if you don't; that even if it's already in the laundry bin, you would prefer to wear it over fresh clothes because if you don't things might go really bad. Or when your mother has to return home even if she's already outside the door just to check if the flat iron was unplugged when she already did 3 times earlier, it could be Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, or OCD.

OCD is a mental health condition that creates a strong sense of uncertainty, doubt, anxiety, or fear in a person's mind and triggers rituals like re-checking and re-doing. Although sometimes, everyone may feel anxious, fearful, or worried, these normal emotions and reactions help people protect themselves, stay safe, and solve problems. These feelings usually don't last long and don't come too often.

In the case of people with OCD, these feelings are taken to extremes as if the brain does not recognize what's dangerous from what's not. There is a constant and lingering stream of fear, doubt or anxiety in the person's mind, instead of keeping normal worry under control.
OCD is a type of anxiety disorder characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts, known as obsessions, and repetitive behaviors, also called compulsions or 'rituals'.
People with OCD are pre-occupied with persistent thoughts that bring fear or worry about something that might happen. These negative thoughts and images are usually hard to shake off.

They have strong urges to perform these rituals or repetitive behaviors such as handwashing, counting, checking, or cleaning with the hope of preventing or getting rid of obsessive negative thoughts.

The obsessions and compulsions are sometimes related to each other. A person who worries (obsession) about germs and about getting sick could have the urges (compulsions) to wash hands or clean things often and repeatedly. They are too cautious to touch anything due to fear of germs.

There are times when the compulsions or the 'rituals' doesn't have anything to do with the obsessions or fear. For example, if things on the desk are not arranged properly, something bad will happen to a loved one. The oddity of the rituals and fear are so obvious that many people try to keep their OCD to themselves.

When people with OCD perform a compulsion or 'ritual', they feel a sense of relief. Unfortunately, performing these so-called 'rituals' only provides temporary relief, but significantly increases the anxiety or the obsession. Resisting compulsion can be extremely difficult.

There is a strong evidence that OCD can be hereditary. Like any other illness, having OCD is not a person's fault. The good news is, it can be treated with the help from a Psychologist or Psychiatrist. There is nothing to be embarrassed about getting therapy treatments and counseling from a psychologist or psychiatrist.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Parental Genes In Conflict Leads To Mental Disorders?

In medical science, sometimes, a radical, creative approach is needed to find answers to old questions. For example, nobody is entirely sure about what causes mental disorders such as autism and schizophrenia, and there is even less information on how these things work on a biochemical level. This is the case with a recent theory regarding what causes people to have the aforementioned mental disorders, as well as narrow down factors that could make some people more likely to develop them than others.

The radical new theory was derived from the realization that mutations in a person's genetic code can result in changes in behavior. It is believed that genetic links might be responsible for increased risk factors of various mental conditions. Depression, bi-polar disorder, and various other mood and mental disorders have all been found to have some sort of genetic mutation linked to them, and it is quite possible that genetics is also linked to schizophrenia, autism, and dementia. However, the theory is not quite as simple as that.

The idea, according to the people that formulated it, can be rather straightforward. The theory put forth states that there is an evolutionary “tug of war” going on between genetic data from the father's sperm and the mother's egg that is tipping the brain development of the fetus. Theoretically, relative mental stability comes about when a balance is achieved between the two. When the genetic bias is pulled strongly towards the father's genetic contribution, the developing brain is pulled towards the autistic spectrum. This is shown in a fascination with objects, patterns, and systems, but at the expense of social skills. The opposite, a bias towards the mother's genes, moves the brain into the psychotic area. This causes a hypersensitivity to mood, emotions, and an increased risk of developing mood-related disorders and schizophrenia later on in life.

In simple terms, autism and schizophrenia, according to the theory, are products of a conflict between the genetic data of the parents. This, theoretically, could affect things like psychiatric and developmental disorder risk factors. The theory, if proven accurate or plausible, could lead to an entirely new avenue of research.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Getting In Tune With Your Spiritual Well-Being

Very few people are atuned with their spiritual health which has a significant effect in the over-all wellness of the mind and body. Spirituality is unique to each individual. It can be equated with traditional religions such as Christianity, Hinduism, or Buddhism. It could also mean as growing in your personal relationships with others, or simply being at peace with nature.

Those who are not in touch with their spiritual needs usually experience deep sadness, depression, intense anger, fear, anxiety, and grief. These negative feelings can create the environment for emotional, physical, and mental health dysfunction. People who suffer from repeated physical and emotional abuse carries a wounded and broken heart tormented by life's difficulties and pains. They do not realize that their heavy-heartedness may influence their well-being. Denial of the depth of distress will only aggravate the situation and may lead to serious heart conditions and illnesses.

Recent studies have shown the connection between depression and anxiety, and the development of heart diseases. They are considered risk factors equal to high cholesterol and diabetes. According to research, patients going through depression are twice as likely to die from the complications of a heart attack, compared with people who don't have depression. Some experts even suggest that depression and anxiety should be classified as new risk factors for the development of heart disease.

People who are alone and friendless tend to be more sickly, with greater chances of developing heart disease and a shorter life expectancy, than those blessed with a wide circle of friends, relationships, and support. There seems to be a direct connection between illness and lack of love as documented in research studies conducted by Dean Ornish, M.D., a respected cardiologist from the University of California in San Francisco.

A few years ago, scientists have discovered that inflammation of the coronary arteries plays a role in the arteries becoming clogged with cholesterol. Two of the most successful heart medications, beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors, work at the hormonal level, reducing the influence of adrenaline released when we are upset, nervous, or experiencing stress and fear. These drugs have been nothing short of miraculous, reducing incidence of death by 30 percent.

However, there are many patients who do not respond well to drugs alone because of emotional as well as physical ailments. This is where alternative healing, such as meditation, prayer, or psychotheraphy, comes in.

Sufism, or Practicing Remembrance, is an ancient spiritual practice that originated in Islam, and best known in the West through the poetry of Rumi. Sufism focuses its many practical and effective methods of healing on the heart with a simple but miraculous way of opening a person to the healing rays of love.

Spiritual wellness is discovering a sense of meaning in your life, and living out the reason and purpose of your existence.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sleep Disorder Test

Sleep and insomnia are known to be intrinsically linked to one another. Insomnia is widely seen as a possible side effect of depression, with the mood disorder disrupting sleep because of the emotional turmoil it causes. Insomnia has also been found to potentially cause depression if left untreated, with the chemical levels in the body being altered by the lack of sleep. In other words, one has a reputation for leading to the other, and some mental health professionals even find it hard to determine which of the two came first without the patient having a clear idea of it.

There is a school of thought among mental health professionals that contends that insomnia may simply be a side effect of depression, rather than a problem in itself. Waking up early in the morning and being unable to return to a restful state is one of the hallmarks of severe cases of depression, and it is also one of the three major forms of insomnia. Many patients who are depressed also have difficulty falling asleep, even with the general lethargy that the mood disorder causes. This, too, ties in well with the known forms that insomnia can take.

There is also an opposing school of thought that believes insomnia is a separate condition from depression. This is a plausible idea, as there are some cases of people who have insomnia that do not have depression, or did not have it initially. Left untreated, most cases of insomnia eventually develop the mood disorder as a side effect, though some patients were found to develop a generalized anxiety disorder instead. Some studies show that a patient can have insomnia independently of depression for a period as long as five weeks, though it also found that the sleep disorder intensified the symptoms of the mood disorder.
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