Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Tips to Build Resiliency


Resiliency is the ability to spring back from and successfully adapt to adversity.

Resilient people are often flexible in their thinking, endure difficulty with a realistic outlook and use the experience in self- empowering ways.

Experts are not all in ageement about how much of resilience is genetic. So the thought is that resilience can be learned.

Below are tips from the APA Help Center 


1. Make Connections. Good relationships with close family members, friends or others are important. Accepting help and support from those who care about you and will listen to you strengthens resilience. Some people find that being active in civic groups, faith-based organizations or other local groups provides social support and can help with reclaiming hope. Assisting others in their time of need also can benefit the helper.

2. Avoid Seeing Crises as Insurmountable Problems. You can't change the fact that highly stressful events happen, but you can change how you interpret and respond to these events. Try looking beyond the present to how future circumstances may be a little better. Note any subtle ways in which you might already feel somewhat better as you deal with difficult situations.

3. Accept That Change Is a Part of Living. Certain goals may no longer be attainable as a result of adverse situations. Accepting circumstances that cannot be changed can help you focus on circumstances that you can alter.

4. Move Toward Your Goals. Develop some realistic goals. Do something regularly — even if it seems like a small accomplishment — that enables you to move toward your goals. Instead of focusing on tasks that seem unachievable, ask yourself, "What's one thing I know I can accomplish today that helps me move in the direction I want to go?"

5. Take Decisive Actions. Act on adverse situations as much as you can. Take decisive actions, rather than detaching completely from problems and stresses and wishing they would just go away.

6. Look for Opportunities for Self-Discovery. People often learn something about themselves and may find that they have grown in some respect as a result of their struggle with loss. Many people who have experienced tragedies and hardship have reported better relationships, a greater sense of personal strength even while feeling vulnerable, an increased sense of self-worth, a more developed spirituality and a heightened appreciation for life.

7. Nurture a Positive View of Yourself. Developing confidence in your ability to solve problems and trusting your instincts helps build resilience.

8. Keep Things in Perspective. Even when facing very painful events, try to consider the stressful situation in a broader context and keep a long-term perspective. Avoid blowing the event out of proportion.

9. Maintain a Hopeful Outlook. An optimistic outlook enables you to expect that good things will happen in your life. Try visualizing what you want, rather than worrying about what you fear.

10. Take Care of Yourself. Pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Engage in activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Exercise regularly. Taking care of yourself helps to keep your mind and body primed to deal with situations that require resilience.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

March 1st is International Non-Suicidal Self-Injury Awareness Day



Non-Suicidal Self-injury (NSSI) – is any deliberate, non suicidal behavior that inflicts physical harm on one's body to relieve emotional distress.

People who engage in
 NSSI usually do not involve a conscious intent to die by suicide, though many believe that people who harm themselves are suicidal. There are also numerous myths that surround NSSI, which create a stigma for those struggling with kind of coping behavior. 

Individuals who use NSSI are often trying to:

* Distract emotional pain
* End feelings of numbness
* Calm overwhelming feelings
* Maintaining control
* Self-punish
* Express thoughts that cannot be put into words
* Express feelings for which there are no words

Who engages in Non-Suicidal Self-Injury?

There is no simple portrait of a person who intentionally self-injures. This behavior is not limited by gender, race, education, age, sexual orientation, socio-economics, or religion. However, there are some commonly seen factors:

* NSSI  more commonly occurs in adolescent females.

Alexithymia is often a characteristic of those who struggle with NSSI.

* Many self-injurers have a history of physical, emotional or sexual abuse.

* Many self-injurers have co-existing problems like depression, substance abuse, obsessive-compulsive disorder or eating disorders.

* Self-injures tend to have been raised in families that discouraged expression of anger, and tend to lack skills to express their emotions.


What are the types of self-injury?

* Cutting
* Burning
* Picking at skin
* Interfereing with wound healing
* Hair-pulling
* Hitting
* Scratching
* Pinching
* Biting
* Embedding

Treatment 

NSSI is often misunderstood, and those seek medical or mental health treatment frequently report being treated badly by emergency room doctors and nurses, counselors, police officers and even mental health professionals.

Finding professionals who specialize in working with Non-Suicidal Self-Injury is IMPERATIVE. With proper treatment, new ways of coping will be learned and slowly the cycle of hurting will end.


Resources

If you need help and are not sure where to turn?
Call the S.A.F.E. Alternatives information line at (800) 366-8288 for referrals and support for non-suicidal self-injury. 

In the middle of a crisis?
If you’re feeling suicidal and need help right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the U.S. at (800) 273-8255

Thursday, February 16, 2017

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week


February 26th - March 4th is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week in the United States.

Eating disorders result from an interplay of genetic, social and psychological factors. Some of the most common symptoms involve self-critical beliefs, negative feelings about one's body weight, conflictual thoughts about food, and eating habits that disrupt normal body functioning.

Eating Disorders can range from mild, moderate to severe - and interfere with daily life activities. 

Types of Eating Disorders 

Anorexia Nervosa - Essentially self-starvation, this disorder involves a refusal to maintain a minimally normal body weight. In severe cases, anorexia can be life-threatening Bulimia Nervosa ~ This involves repeated episodes of binge eating, followed by ways of trying to purge the food from the body or prevent expected weight gain. People can have this condition and be of normal weight. 

Binge-Eating Disorder -This is characterized by frequent episodes of overeating without purging. 

Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS) - A range of other disordered eating patterns don’t fit into the other types of eating disorders. These eating patterns are still serious, and intervention and attention are necessary.

Eating disorders can affect functioning in every system of the body, especially the heart and kidneys, and may cause lasting damage and even death. Because of the urgency of the risks associated with eating disorders, getting high-quality eating disorder treatment early on is the best way to combat the mental and physical consequences of these devastating mental illnesses. Left unattended, eating disorders can lead to serious health problems or even death. For more information, go to the International Association of Eating Disorders. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Why Consistency Matters in Your Mental Health Plan


As a psychologist who specializes in working with adults and children,  I’d tell you the most important issue in psychotherapy is how you approach your treatment. In clinical terms this is called treatment adherence, but it can also be known as consistency.

Treatment adherence, the state of your acceptance and follow-through with treatment recommended by your healthcare professional, is critical to recovery. But it's even more important to maintain well-being.

Consistency doesn’t just mean going to psychotherapy. Or taking your medication. Consistency means making every psychotherapy appointment. Being on time for sessions, and making sure you don’t skip treatment because you want to go to the beach or just don’t feel like talking. Consistency means taking your medication every day at the same time, with the same dose. Consistency means making sure you get refills in time so there’s no break or gap in your medication regime. Consistency means you aim to eat well, sleep well and exercise. 

The single biggest issue I see as doctor treating depression is non-adherence - how children and adults become too casual in their commitment to treatment. For many, once they begin to feel a bit better, they stop coming to sessions, or decide not to take medication anymore. The problem here is that while their symptoms have improved, the mood disorder is not at a management level. And as such, relapse occurs

The best way to think about being consistent with your treatment plan begins with aiming for managing your ILLNESS, not managing your SYMPTOMS. When you manage your symptoms, you are only taking care of the surface issues. Managing your illness takes more commitment, but it's so worth it.


Sunday, January 01, 2017

Tips to Help Your New Year's Resolutions





It's that time of year again. When millions make resolutions as the new year begins. If you want to be successful with your goals, the American Psychological Association offers tips that will keep your eye on the prize.


  1. Start small: Make resolutions that you think you can keep. If, for example, your aim is to exercise more frequently, schedule three or four days a week at the gym instead of seven. If you would like to eat healthier, try replacing dessert with something else you enjoy, like fruit or yogurt, instead of seeing your diet as a form of punishment. 
  2. Change one behavior at a time: Unhealthy behaviors develop over the course of time. Thus, replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones requires time. Don’t get overwhelmed and think that you have to reassess everything in your life. Instead, work toward changing one thing at a time. 
  3. Talk about it: Share your experiences with family and friends. Consider joining a support group to reach your goals, such as a workout class at your gym or a group of coworkers quitting smoking. Having someone to share your struggles and successes with makes your journey to a healthier lifestyle that much easier and less intimidating. 
  4. Don’t beat yourself up: Perfection is unattainable. Remember that minor missteps when reaching your goals are completely normal and OK. Don’t give up completely because you ate a brownie and broke your diet, or skipped the gym for a week because you were busy. Everyone has ups and downs; resolve to recover from your mistakes and get back on track. 
  5. Ask for support: Accepting help from those who care about you and will listen strengthens your resilience and ability to manage stress caused by your resolution.