Latest News: Childhood Trauma Can Lead to Schizophrenia

Latest News: Childhood Trauma Can Lead to Schizophrenia

The researchers from the University of Liverpool teamed with Netherland’s Maastricht University to study the effects of childhood trauma to schizophrenia. Results from their study have been published stating that the children who have experienced severe trauma are three times more likely to develop schizophrenia and other mental health problems when they get older.

The Mayo clinic have published some very useful information in an article on their website which should also be looked at and read in order to improve your knowledge about schizophrenia.

Progress has been achieved by the team in recent years. For so long, the studies have only focused on the biological factors of schizophrenia. But because of this extensive research, the life experiences of the patient are also being tackled.

The Liverpool and Netherlands team analyzed data from almost 30 years of studies. They focused on three types of studies:

  1. Studies that deal with the development of children who have dealt with adversities

  2. Studies from randomly selected participants

  3. Researches that interview psychotic patients about their childhood experiences

All of the three researches have shown conclusive results: children aged below 16 years who have experienced severe trauma are three times more likely to develop some mental problems, like schizophrenia, when they get older.

Aside from this, the team has also found out that different types of traumatic experience have also yield different psychotic symptoms. For example, they have associated hallucinations with childhood sexual abuse while paranoia is associated with children who have been raised in an orphanage.

Professor Richard Bentall of University of Liverpool’s Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, is acknowledging the fact that there is still a long way to go if we are to fully understand the mechanism of the brain and how it functions. Understanding the different mental illnesses, like schizophrenia, still needs further look.

However, the findings of the recent study can help them greatly to understand the development of schizophrenia to people who have not born with it in the first place. It points them to look for the experiences of the patients as well.

Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is considered to be a very serious mental disorder that is associated with the perception of distorted reality. Understanding of the disease is still very immature and is believed to be the most disabling among all the mental illnesses known to man.

A type of psychosis, schizophrenia is a person who just can’t tell the difference between his imagined perceptions to the real thing. Most often and quite understandably, schizophrenic patients have a hard time to function normally in a society. Often, their psychotic episodes are surprising, shocking and even dangerous to others and to him as well.

It is also a general term because schizophrenia has different types that are basically categorized by symptoms. Some of the most known types of the mental disease are:

  • Paranoid schizophrenics who are associated with delusions

  • Disorganized type of schizophrenia renders patients to be confused, incoherent and hardly understandable

  • Catatonics are physically immobile and oblivious to his environment. They can also do one movement repeatedly. Patients suffering from this kind of schizophrenia are in risk of developing malnutrition, exhaustion or injury that is self-inflicted

  • Undifferentiated types are schizophrenics that can neither be described with the characteristics of the three previously mentioned types.

For more information on schizophrenia in children please check out the brilliant information that you can find over on the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry website.

 http://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/Facts_for_Families_Pages/Schizophrenia_In_Children_49.aspx

 

Read More

Dealing with Mental Health – A Traditional Approach

Dealing with Mental Health – A Traditional Approach

With advances in technology and medicine today you would think that we’d have come up with a way to treat and cure most ailments. It might be true that we are very capable of treating many physical conditions which affect the human body but we are very much in the dark when it comes to psychological conditions which adversely effect us.

Problems in Society

As we have “developed” our ways of living have changed dramatically but our bodies have not had a chance to keep up with this constantly changing environment. Our minds are still in the same place they were thousands of years ago but now we have to deal with multi-tasking, reading emails, checking our phones, sitting at a desk all day, going to the gym, cooking, eating and finally sleeping.

With all the technology that we have things are supposed to be getting easier and more manageable but instead they are getting more complex, stressful and with more things to check. We are constantly switched on and stimulated by machines, computers and phones. The work email is now read at home last thing before bed and first thing in the morning before we’ve even got out of bed.

It’s these stresses which are not acute like we are used to dealing with, such as an attack from an animal or trying to swim across a raging river, but they are constant. This leaves the body in a constant state of stress, raising cortisol levels and releasing hormones which prepare the body for the fight or flight response to situations.

Dealing with Stress

The most common ways to deal with modern day stresses are to exercise or meditate. It’s believed that these are very beneficial for the body and the mind, releasing endorphins which help to calm, repair and sooth both body and mind. Have a watch of this video to learn the most fatal factors in dealing with stress:

http://vimeo.com/85525634

The Traditional Approach

Many experiences have positive impacts on our stress levels, helping to balance out our minds. Achieving goals we set out for ourselves, for example, will help you feel a sense of accomplishment. Small challenges such as making it to the gym 4 times per week are great goals to start with, but also having a much larger goal which the smaller goals build up to will amplify the effectiveness of the stress reliever. A great example is that of a challenge such as climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa which a guy named Lee Baines did for charity or running the London Marathon.

It’s these more outdoor focused, return to nature type of challenges which many believe help us to reconnect with ourselves and the World around us when most of the time we are living in a truly surreal, computerised and fake World. Not only do they help us in this way but they are great ways to raise money for charities, meet new people and see different parts of the World that we would never otherwise see and experience.

Perhaps it’s time that we started looking back in history to the lack of psychological afflictions that people suffered in order to help us with the future and making our lives more wholesome and natural. The added benefit is that we will appreciate the natural beauty of the World in which we live and hopefully start to take a little more responsibility for our actions on planet Earth in order to help preserve it for future generations.

Read More

Complementary and Alternative Medicines for Anxiety & Sleep Problems

Complementary and Alternative Medicines for Anxiety & Sleep Problems

Complementary and alternative medicines are medications or ways of treatment that are considered to be out of the norm of modern medicine. They can either be taken from herbs or plants; or using the therapeutic characteristics of foods; or they can be ingested as vitamin or mineral supplements.

There are plenty of known complementary and alternative medicines for mental health problems. However, just like in any other alternative medications, there are very little formal studies which can show that they are truly effective against such diseases like depression, anxiety and sleep problems. For an more in-depth look at anxiety issues, please check out the Wikipedia information, as we will not be discussing the finer details relating to anxiety in this post because it warrants a large post of its own.

Fortunately, complementary and alternative medicines have been used for quite a long time now. This has led to some observations and recommendations for the use of these medications. However, it is still best to talk to your physician if you decide to take such therapy.

As stated, two of the mental illnesses that are being managed by complementary and alternative medicines are anxiety and sleep disorders. Listed below are the most commonly used complementary and alternative medicines.

  1. Valerian

Valerian, like most of the plants listed here, works on the gamma-amino-butyric acid. This GABA is a brain chemical that has been found to be associated with anxiety and any other mental health diseases. Caution should be practiced however because some variants of Valerian can cause liver problems if taken abusively. Read more about Valerian, here.

  1. Passion Flower

Passion flower has been known all along to treat anxiety. Studies have shown that there are instances when it can be as effective as a tranquiliser. The usage should be monitored because there are reports of toxicity even with minimal dosages. Find out more details about passion flower.

  1. German Chamomile

This flower is one of the plants that act on GABA. It is a mild sedative and has been traditionally used to manage upset stomachs. Its actions can be used for mild anxiety as well.

Chamomile

Chamomile is very therapeutic

  1. Hops

Dried hops if mixed with Valerian can be a good sleep inducer.

  1. Oats

Oats, as a complementary and alternative medicine, have been used my people to manage their cholesterol levels and to treat mild stomach problems. It was also used for people with anxiety and malaise. However, little is known with its action and drug interactions.

  1. Starflower

The oil extracted from starflower or borage is used for rheumatoid arthritis, PMS and as a mild sedative. However, there are some reported instances when excessive dosages can lead to cancer, liver problems and increased epileptic fits

  1. Lemon Balm

As a tea and extract, lemon balm has many usages. It can be for anxiety, sleep problems, pain (especially for PMS) and it can even calm the patients with dementia.

  1. Lavender

Lavender

Lavender used for its medicinal qualities

Lavender is one of the most commonly used sedatives that have mild effects on patients. It can be used as oil in aromatherapy and can induce sleep once inhaled.

  1. Bach flower remedies

Very little is known with the actions of Bach flowers. However, it has been used for anxiety, trauma and as a sedative for panic attacks.

  1. Melatonin

Unlike the previous mentioned complementary and alternative medicines, melatonin doesn’t come from plants. It is a hormone produced by the pineal gland. It can regulate the human body clock and is often prescribed to patients over 55 years of age. Melatonin information can be found by looking at this informative website.

I’d recommend having a quick watch of this YouTube video to help you out with dealing with anxiety.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ArtxNt606U

Read More

Traditional and Alternative Medicines for Dementia

Traditional and Alternative Medicines for Dementia

Dementia is a general term used for a condition that is characterized by a decline in the ability of the brain to function normally. This decline can interfere with the daily activities of the patient involved.

There are different types of dementia. The most common types are vascular dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. These different types have also different characteristics and symptoms, however, if taken generally, all can be basically described with the following onsets of symptoms:

Impairment of at least two of the following core mental functions

  • Ability to remember important incidences, day to day activities, people and other basic memories

  • Ability to communicate clearly and cohesively

  • Ability to pay attention and focus on a single important task

  • Ability to logically understand matters and to reasonably give any judgments

  • Ability to visually perceive things and images

Basically speaking, people who are affected by dementia have several memory lapses. They may even forget little and basic things like wallet, meals and schedules.

It has also been observed that most often, dementia affects a person mildly at first and it will progress to a worsening condition as the time goes.

Traditional Treatment of Dementia

For advanced dementia or for those cases with already progressive symptoms, there is little hope or cure to stop the disease. There are, however, some medications that you can give in order to dementia patients improve the symptoms or to slow the disease’s advancement. Here are some of the medications that are commonly used for each symptom:

Memory Loss

  • There are at least two types of medications that have been approved by the US FDA in controlling memory loss that is associated with dementia – cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine.

Behavioural Changes

  • There are actually no drugs that have been approved by the US FDA to specifically treat or control behavioural changes of patients with dementia. However, patients can use ethical antidepressants to improve one’s mood, Anxiolytics for the dementia patient’s anxiety and restlessness, and lastly, antipsychotic medications for the hallucinations.

Sleep Changes

  • Tricyclic antidepressants

  • Benzodiazepines

  • Sleeping pills

  • Atypical and classical anti-psychotics

Herbal Treatments

The herbs and plants given below are considered and known to be cognitive enhancers which can help the patient with dementia to improve his or her concentration. They are as follows:

  • Ginkgo

The extract of its seeds and leaves are used in order to improve a dementia patient’s cognitive function. Nobody knows the accurate mechanism of action of ginkgo but it is believed to act as an antioxidant that prevents any damages of the cell. It is also believed to increase the blood flow or the chemical transmitters inside the dementia patient’s brain

  • Ginseng

Similar to ginkgo, ginseng is believed to also improve the brain’s function to understand with coherence.

  • Hydergine

This plant is actually a fungus that thrives on rye. It has been observed to improve the memory functions of a patient affected with dementia.

  • Sage

The oil from sage can be used for aromatherapy to let the mind focus and concentrate. It has also been used for the treatment of depression and anxiety, two factors that characterized dementia.

  • Vitamin E

Vitamin E or alpha-tocopherol is a vitamin abundant in plant oils, nuts and vegetables. The anti-oxidant properties of vitamin E is said to prevent cells from getting damaged.

For more information about dementia you can look at this website.

Read More

Alternative Mental Health Treatments

Alternative Mental Health Treatments

Today, it is a fact that mental health illnesses are steadily on the rise. One of the reasons for this is because many people still do not know the symptoms of a mental health illness. In fact, doctors and psychotherapists have said that the everyday problems of stress, anxiety, fatigue, and insomnia can become determinants for mental health sicknesses. The problem is that people are accustomed to believe that these problems are completely natural to this hectic and fast paced world.

Don’t be Careless

Nowadays, people take the status of their mental health for granted, and the results of this carelessness can be devastating. What’s more the traditional treatments used to combat mental health illnesses are becoming less and less effective. This is why many people afflicted with mental health illnesses are looking for alternative solutions to help treat their mental problems. Some patients are combining traditional treatments with complementary alternative medicines, while others are only using alternative methods. In the end, research and testimony have shown that alternative medicine is a viable and effective cure to mental illness.

Harmony of Treatments

Some of the most popular and effective alternative mental health treatments have come by way of the East. Not only does Eastern medicine appear more attractive than their Western counterparts, but the foundation of Eastern medicine is comprised of the harmony between man and nature. Simply put, Eastern medicine is usually all-natural. Eastern therapies such as acupuncture and yoga have proven to be a great way to help patients relax from their hectic, day to day lives. In fact, relaxation will clear the mind from any stress and fatigue, and thereby it helps remove the determinants of mental health illness. Exercises like yoga strengthen the coordination between mind and body so that the body will become healthier and the mind will stay more active and focused.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Another alternative treatment for mental health illness is the therapeutic type. Evolving from psychoanalytic sessions, the restorative treatment of expressive therapy involves groups of patients shouting out their innermost thoughts and fears. These sessions are usually fiery and explosive, but according to the patients there is a catharsis when one undergoes expressive therapy. It is this catharsis, this release of repressed feelings and emotions, which enables the patient to move on from their mental health illness and begin healing. There are times when these expressive therapy sessions get out of hand. However, if one is willing to put up with all the anger and rage that goes on in these sessions, then this risky alternative treatment may be the way to go.

You are what you heat -sala

You are What you Eat

The last alternative treatment is the simplest. “You are what you eat”, people say, and this is also true for mental health treatments. Nowadays, there are healthy diets and nutrition plans that are created for the sole purpose of improving the mental health of a person. These diets are usually preventive solutions, but there are other diets which are designed to combat mental sickness. For example, most of these diets are sugar-free, because scientists say that sugar can upend one’s mental balance. All of these alternative mental health treatments are viable. One only needs to take the risk to see if it works.

Read More

Hello and Welcome to Soteria Network

Hello,

Welcome to our site www.soterianetwork.org. We have created this site, as mental health professionals, to give support, advice, information and news to those who are both directly and indirectly affected by all kinds of mental health issues.

Mental health issues do not just affect the individual; they also impact the family unit as a while and many friends, where the stresses of dealing with mental health problems causes distress to all those involved.

We hope that all of those who have to deal with mental health issues on a day-to-day basis can benefit from the information that we provide on this site.

If you should wish to contact us, please do so on the contact us page and drop us an email.

Regards,

Soteria Network Team

Read More

Categories