When it comes to mental illnesses, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure for sure. A mental disorder can quickly spiral out of control and destroy entire lives. Also many mental disorders are difficult or impossible to treat, which is why it is important to try and prevent mental disorders.
A WHO report states that it is possible to prevent mental disorders by addressing issues such as work, housing, childcare and education among others. There are a lot of things that may be out of our control, but there is much that we as individuals can also do to keep good mental health and keep disease at bay.
1. Keep good physical health
There is a lot of research that points to the negative impact of poor physical health on mental health. There is also a lot of evidence to show that exercise can keep mental illness at bay for longer and that eating healthy is good not only for the body but also for the mind.
2. Challenge your brain
If your job doesn’t challenge your mind or you are retired keep your mind active by doing crosswords, puzzles, playing chess, etc. Learn a new language, train in a new skill, pick up a challenging hobby; keep your mind engaged and keep alive your problem solving abilities.
3. Learn anger management
Anger can be corrosive to health and your relationships. So learn effective anger management strategies to negate the consequence of this corrosive emotion.
4. Control and lower stress
Stress is bad for health: it contributes to heart disease and hypertension and increases risk of stroke, obesity and diabetes. It doesn’t do very much for your wellbeing either, so prioritize, delegate and make the requisite changes in life to lower stress.
5. Nurture relationships
Research has shown us that those who are in stable, long term relationships live longer, healthier lives. So work on and nurture important relationships.
6. Take time out for fun and leisure
Take time out to do stuff that you enjoy. Travel, laugh, be with friends, play, and do all that makes you happy.
7. Work on self esteem
Poor self esteem is known to have a close association with poor mental health and is known to be associated with problems such as eating disorders, social withdrawal, and isolation and so on.
8. Think positive
Think positive and don’t take things too seriously. Looking at the glass as half full and not half empty is a matter of perspective. So look on the bright side of things and try not to let life get you down too much by focusing on the larger picture.
9. Sleep well
Sleep deprivation is another known risk factor that can negatively impact physical and mental health. So prioritize sleep and get that rest!
10. Remember there is no shame in getting help
If things seem overwhelming and you find yourself losing your grip, get help. There is no shame in speaking to a therapist; it is only in the interests of your health and the wellbeing of those around you.
Source: Self Help Zone
After suffering the deaths of two close friends in as many weeks, devastated supermodel Naomi Campbell plans to front a mental health campaign to prevent more tragedies.
Naomi, 48, set out her intentions on Twitter after learning of the suicide at 58 of her society beauty friend Lucy Birley last week. Naomi wrote: ‘What is going on? Why is it that all my friends who are on antidepressants are taking their lives? This must be addressed!’ She added the hashtags #PROTECTMENTALHEALTH and #LETSUNITE’.
More than 500 followers responded, with many noting her implication that anti-depression medication might be the root of the problem. One wrote: ‘They need to be protected. This is an epidemic.’
Sources in Naomi’s camp tell me she plans to get celebrity friends, including Kate Moss, involved in her campaign.
Earlier this month, Naomi’s model friend Annabelle Neilson died aged 49, from a heart attack in her Chelsea townhouse. She had battled with depression for years.
Like Lucy, who was Roxy Music singer Bryan Ferry’s wife for 21 years, Annabelle was part of a glamorous fashion set that counts Naomi’s best pal Kate as its queen. It also included designer Alexander McQueen and his mentor Isabella Blow, who both took their own lives.
After attending Annabelle’s funeral at St Paul’s Church in Knightsbridge with Kate, Naomi admitted to having been in ‘denial’ about the death of her friend. Mentioning the pet name she used for the socialite on social media for the first time since her death, the supermodel wrote: ‘Accepting you’re with the angels now Titi. Today we sent you off on to your next journey. You were a force in every way… Until we meet again you will remain in our hearts!! I love you.’
Last month Naomi paid tribute to celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain after he committed suicide.
A source said: ‘Naomi wants to do something to put a stop to all these premature and tragic deaths. She, like others in the industry, are wondering who will be next.’
Source: Dail Mail
More than a million people with ‘hidden disabilities’ such as autism will be offered Blue Badges in a massive extension of the free parking scheme.
Ministers said it was only fair that those with less visible disabilities – including mental illness – were offered the ‘lifeline’ of a permit, which allows holders to park as close as possible to their destination, for free in pay-and-display areas and for up to three hours on yellow lines.
But the plan, which could see the number of Blue Badges in England soar from the current 2.4million to nearly four million, has sparked fears of a shortage of disabled parking bays. There are also concerns about ‘badge fraud’.
Last year, The Mail on Sunday revealed how thousands of motorists caught fraudulently using disabled parking permits were being named and shamed by councils.
But Transport Minister Jesse Norman insisted it was right to make the biggest change to the scheme since it was created in 1970.
He said: ‘Blue badges are a lifeline for disabled people, giving them the freedom and confidence to get to work and visit friends independently.
‘These changes will ensure this scheme is extended to people with hidden disabilities so that they can enjoy the freedoms that many of us take for granted.’
Source: Daily Mail
Mariah Carey has discussed her experiences with bipolar disorder for the first time in an interview with US celebrity magazine People. The multimillion-selling singer said that she was first diagnosed with the disorder in 2001, when she was hospitalised for a physical and mental health breakdown: “I didn’t want to believe it.”
The singer, who is in her late 40s, said that it wasn’t until recently that she sought treatment following “the hardest couple of years I’ve been through”. In 2014, Carey separated from husband Nick Cannon, the rapper and TV host with whom she has twins, Moroccan and Monroe. In January 2016, she announced her engagement to Australian billionaire James Packer, but announced in October 2016 that the engagement had ended.
“Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me,” she told the magazine. “It was too heavy a burden to carry and I simply couldn’t do that any more. I sought and received treatment, I put positive people around me and I got back to doing what I love – writing songs and making music.”
Carey said that she was currently in “a really good place”, and hoped that talking about her experiences would help change perceptions of the disorder. “I’m hopeful we can get to a place where the stigma is lifted from people going through anything alone. It can be incredibly isolating. It does not have to define you and I refuse to allow it to define me or control me.”
Initially, Carey believed she was experiencing a severe sleep disorder. “But it wasn’t normal insomnia and I wasn’t lying awake counting sheep. I was working and working and working … I was irritable and in constant fear of letting people down. It turns out that I was experiencing a form of mania. Eventually I would just hit a wall. I guess my depressive episodes were characterised by having very low energy. I would feel so lonely and sad – even guilty that I wasn’t doing what I needed to be doing for my career.”
People reports that Carey is in therapy and taking medication for bipolar II disorder, which is characterised by episodes of hypomania and major depression and symptoms including insomnia, irritability and hyperactivity. A bipolar I disorder diagnosis requires the experience of at least one full manic episode.
Source: The Guardian
The five major types of anxiety disorders are:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized Anxiety Disorder, GAD, is an anxiety disorder characterized by chronic anxiety, exaggerated worry and tension, even when there is little or nothing to provoke it.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, OCD, is an anxiety disorder and is characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors (compulsions). Repetitive behaviors such as hand washing, counting, checking, or cleaning are often performed with the hope of preventing obsessive thoughts or making them go away. Performing these so-called “rituals,” however, provides only temporary relief, and not performing them markedly increases anxiety.
Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder and is characterized by unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear accompanied by physical symptoms that may include chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, or abdominal distress.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. Traumatic events that may trigger PTSD include violent personal assaults, natural or human-caused disasters, accidents, or military combat.
Social Phobia (or Social Anxiety Disorder)
Social Phobia, or Social Anxiety Disorder, is an anxiety disorder characterized by overwhelming anxiety and excessive self-consciousness in everyday social situations. Social phobia can be limited to only one type of situation – such as a fear of speaking in formal or informal situations, or eating or drinking in front of others – or, in its most severe form, may be so broad that a person experiences symptoms almost anytime they are around other people.
Source: National Institutes of Mental Health
- depression – feeling very low and lethargic
- mania – feeling very high and overactive (less severe mania is known as hypomania)
Symptoms of bipolar disorder depend on which mood you’re experiencing. Unlike simple mood swings, each extreme episode of bipolar disorder can last for several weeks (or even longer), and some people may not experience a “normal” mood very often.
You may initially be diagnosed with clinical depression before having a future manic episode (sometimes years later), after which you may be diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
During an episode of depression, you may have overwhelming feelings of worthlessness, which can potentially lead to thoughts of suicide.
If you’re feeling suicidal or having severe depressive symptoms, contact your GP, care co-ordinator or local mental health emergency services as soon as possible.
During a manic phase of bipolar disorder, you may feel very happy and have lots of energy, ambitious plans and ideas. You may spend large amounts of money on things you can’t afford and wouldn’t normally want.
Not feeling like eating or sleeping, talking quickly and becoming annoyed easily are also common characteristics of this phase.
You may feel very creative and view the manic phase of bipolar as a positive experience. However, you may also experience symptoms of psychosis, where you see or hear things that aren’t there or become convinced of things that aren’t true.
Living with bipolar disorder
The high and low phases of bipolar disorder are often so extreme that they interfere with everyday life.
However, there are several options for treating bipolar disorder that can make a difference. They aim to control the effects of an episode and help someone with bipolar disorder live life as normally as possible.
The following treatment options are available:
- medication to prevent episodes of mania, hypomania (less severe mania) and depression – these are known as mood stabilisers and are taken every day on a long-term basis
- medication to treat the main symptoms of depression and mania when they occur
- learning to recognise the triggers and signs of an episode of depression or mania
- psychological treatment – such as talking therapy, which can help you deal with depression, and provides advice about how to improve your relationships
- lifestyle advice – such as doing regular exercise, planning activities you enjoy that give you a sense of achievement, as well as advice on improving your diet and getting more sleep
It’s thought using a combination of different treatment methods is the best way to control bipolar disorder.
Help and advice for people with a long-term condition or their carers is also available from charities, support groups and associations.
This includes self-help and self-management advice, and learning to deal with the practical aspects of a long-term condition.
Bipolar disorder and pregnancy
Bipolar disorder, like all other mental health problems, can get worse during pregnancy. However, specialist help is available if you need it.
What causes bipolar disorder?
The exact cause of bipolar disorder is unknown, although it’s believed a number of things can trigger an episode. Extreme stress, overwhelming problems and life-changing events are thought to contribute, as well as genetic and chemical factors.
Bipolar disorder is fairly common and one in every 100 adults will be diagnosed with the condition at some point in their life.
Bipolar disorder can occur at any age, although it often develops between the ages of 15 and 19 and rarely develops after 40. Men and women from all backgrounds are equally likely to develop bipolar disorder.
The pattern of mood swings in bipolar disorder varies widely between people. For example, some people only have a couple of bipolar episodes in their lifetime and are stable in between, while others have many episodes.
Bipolar disorder and driving
If you have bipolar disorder, the condition may impair your driving. You must inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)about any medical condition that could affect your ability to drive.
The number of veterans and Armed Forces personnel seeking help for mental health problems has almost doubled over the past 10 years – and many are waiting too long to get NHS treatment. The warning has made in a report by MPs which calls on the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to do more to make sure former soldiers are not “falling through the gaps” in NHS care.
The House of Commons Defence Committee found particularly high levels of mental health issues among those who served in Afghanistan or Iraq. Official figures showed that overall, 3.1 per cent of serving personnel are diagnosed with mental health conditions, twice the proportion seen in 2008-09. But the committee said the number with conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression could be three times higher, at about 10 per cent, and some may not seek help because of stigma surrounding mental health.
Defence Committee member Ruth Smeeth MP said: “If they are already receiving support for mental health issues while serving, they must receive what they need as they move into NHS care. “Yet, clearly, some leavers are falling through the gaps and the MoD needs to do much better in working with health economies across the UK to stop this from happening.” The report found that “it is still taking too long for veterans to access treatment when they need it, and levels of care vary across the UK”. Deployment to combat in Iraq or Afghanistan “increased the likelihood” of mental health conditions. A 2014 study found PTSD levels of 6.9 per cent among regular troops and six per cent among reservists. Other groups more vulnerable to mental health problems included female personnel, those who leave the service early and those recruited below the age of 18. The report warns of veterans facing increased stigma because of “distorted” public perceptions.
The committee said it was “harmful” to think that most are damaged by their experience, saying the vast majority leave with no mental health problems. It said too much attention may be being paid to PTSD when conditions like depression are more common. The report raised concerns over the recording of veteran suicides. Evidence suggests the rate is no higher than among the general population, but the MoD should ensure that military service is recorded as part of inquests, said the MPs. Carol Smith, of the charity Combat Stress, said it had seen a 97 per cent increase in the number of veterans seeking help, particularly from those who served in Afghanistan and Iraq. A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “The MOD is working to raise awareness for mental health issues within the Armed Forces community. Our Defence People Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy is aimed at tackling the stigma around mental illness.” The Government faced calls for an urgent review into how the deaths of military veterans are recorded following a three-month investigation by The Yorkshire Post. It emerged that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) did not know if suicides among veterans had increased because it did not record the information. The investigation, launched to find out if suicides were increasing, identified 16 people who have taken their own lives since January. Seven are known to have served overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan, two were Special Forces and five were former Royal Marines. None of their deaths had been recorded as military suicides.
Source: The Yorkshire Post