Covid -19 has lockdown the world due to its rapid spread. Let's make this home time productive by spending it with our family. It is a rare opportunity we get. Engage your kids in different activities and educate them about various things like the importance of cleanliness, healthy foods, oral hygiene, physical hygiene.
Practice oral hygiene along with your kids so that it becomes their routine.
In today’s times, depression has spread within the society like an epidemic. People with depression wake up feeling low, spend their day drowning in anxiety and end the day without any hopes for the future. Although the symptoms may be different, children are not safe from the clutches of depression either. It is more difficult for them to express their anxiety and helplessness due to their lack of understanding of the concept of depression.
Five percent of children suffer from depression worldwide. If not taken care of, the depression can spiral out of control and potentially ruin the prospects of the child as adults. If you start noticing your child slowly retreating into their own world or unable to control their emotions, you must evaluate if your child is suffering from depression and take steps to help them.
Signs of depression in children:
The role of parents in helping a child overcome depression is of primary importance. While occasional bouts of feeling low and cranky is a part of growing up, extended periods of certain signs are cause for concern. They include:
• Being aggressive, sad or unhappy most of the time
• Saying negative things about themselves
• Lack of energy and interest in games
• Anxiety, irritability, and fear of social situations
• Disrupted dietary patterns
• Self-harming tendencies
Coping with depression
• It is important to notice unnatural behaviour in children and talking to them about it in a patient, non-judgemental and understanding manner. If the child is unwilling to talk, respect their space and broach the subject later.
• Depression doesn’t indicate the parents are failing in their roles. The cause of depression can be anything from genetic vulnerability to physical health and the immediate environment. The best course of action is addressing the cause and helping the child overcome depression.
• Often it is best to seek the professional help of a therapist or counsellor the child trusts. Forms of therapy including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Interpersonal Psychotherapy can help the child through play therapy, family therapy, and peer therapy.
• Giving the child a conducive atmosphere at home and in school is crucial. You might want to explore the possibilities of bullies or other factors in school, especially if your child is making excuses to not attend school and has deteriorating grades.
• Invest more time in their daily activities and engage them in activities of their choice to relieve their stress and channel their anxiety better.
The average age of appearance of depression in a child is progressively falling lower. In the face of such times, the child needs the parents more than ever to feel safe. It is easy for parents to deny depression in their children as the other alternative is heart-breaking. However, early diagnosis and intervention help the child to combat depression more effectively. A combination of medication, therapy, and support of the family is the best way of helping a child deal with depression and become a happier and successful adult.
It is true that anxiety and depression are two of the most common mental health problems now. In reality, anxiety and depression are two separate states of emotion. If the person is suffering from an anxiety disorder, he/she may or may not suffer from depression. The opposite is also true. One suffering from depression may not have any symptoms of anxiety.
In fact, in about 50% of the cases, people with depression may suffer from anxiety and vice versa. Since anxiety disorder and depression are two different emotional states, proper diagnosis is the key to proper treatment.
To differentiate between the two, one needs to have a fair knowledge about the symptoms of each.
Symptoms of Depression
Some of the common symptoms of depression are:
General lack of interest even in activities that people normally enjoy.
Not having a good appetite.
Not being able to fall asleep.
Movements are getting slow.
A feeling of worthlessness or even guilt.
Difficulty in concentration.
Suicidal behaviour and thoughts.
If a person is experiencing five or more of the above symptoms for the last two weeks or more, he is probably a good case to be diagnosed as suffering from major depression.
Other Types of Depression:
If someone is experiencing only a few of the above symptoms, he too can be diagnosed with some kind of depression, but not major depression. The condition may be best diagnosed as Persistent Depressive Disorder, or simply as Depressive Disorder, due to some known or unknown condition.
In the case of women, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder is a possible diagnosis.
Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder:
Below are some of the common symptoms associated with Anxiety Disorder:
Extreme levels of worry
Being perennially restive
Getting tired easily
Difficulty in concentrating
Getting irritated easily
If someone is experiencing these symptoms for six months or more, he may get a diagnosis of anxiety disorder.
Other Anxiety Disorders:
Apart from a generalised anxiety disorder, there are other types of anxiety disorders as well. These include panic disorder, separation anxiety, various types of phobia, etc.
If people compare lists of symptoms for Major Depression and Generalized Anxiety Disorder, they can get a sneak peek into the proper state of emotional imbalance: anxiety or depression. Indeed, there are some overlapping symptoms like sleeping difficulties, difficulty in concentrating, irritability, fatigue etc., which are common to anxiety as well as depression. It is up to a trained and experienced psychologist to properly and thoroughly evaluate a person to establish whether the person is suffering from anxiety, or depression, or both.
Psychology can be defined as the scientific study of the human mind and its functions. But nowadays, one of its many types is gaining some ground known as Positive Psychology. Positive Psychology is the scientific study of what makes life most worth living. It focuses on positive events, positive influences and positive experiences of a person to uplift his emotions, state of mind and, ultimately, his life. It is a field that finds out how ordinary people can become happier and fulfilled.
Aims of Positive Psychology
To help a person to take the challenges and setbacks of life in a positive manner and even to use those adversities in one’s favour, hence, to make the most out of those hard times.
To encourage one to engage with other people.
To find fulfilment in productivity and creativity.
To look beyond oneself and help others to find lasting meaning and satisfaction.
Techniques from Positive Psychology to Boost one’s Happiness
1. Building Healthy Relationships with Other People
Having relationships and spending time with others is something that we cannot live without. These relationships bring happiness in our lives as they give us a space to speak of our emotions and our thoughts, positive or negative. Positive relationships encourage personal growth and add more meaning to one’s life.
2. Cultivating Gratitude
When our life improves in any sphere, we feel happy about it. However, that happiness does not last long because we always get used to the new changes and circumstances. This makes our happiness return to normal. This is why we should cultivate the feeling of gratitude in our lives. We should always be grateful for the things that we have now and the circumstances that we are living in.
3. Showing Kindness
By performing simple and random acts of kindness for other people can increase your happiness. Studies have shown that kindness releases feel-good hormones, eases anxiety and is good for your heart. Helping an elderly person with their groceries and giving a compliment to someone can make your day.
4. Challenging the Negativity
Fighting our brain’s pessimistic nature is not easy. The negative events in our lives affect our mood more than positive ones. Always look for good facts and turn them into your good experiences. Try to look for positive aspects of every experience. Do not regret the wrong decisions that you have made in your past. Move on from those mistakes and reflect on what you have done well.
Life coaching has become a popular method for solving daily life problems and enhancing personal lives. Here a counsellor or practitioner guides the clients to improve their lives by achieving personal and professional goals. The counselling sessions require the participation of both the counsellor and the client.
The clients will mention their objectives or life goals and the counsellor will provide them with the tools to obtain the goals. One of the most modern and popular life coaching techniques is Solutions focused coaching.
What is Solutions focused coaching?
This approach is a technique that includes Appreciative Inquiry, Positive Psychology and NLP. Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg developed the concept at the Brief Family Therapy Centre, Milwaukee.
The Solutions focused coaching approach is aimed at finding out solutions to the problems mentioned by you rather than pondering on the problems. The coach will not analyse the problems but instead focus on developing solutions by asking you a variety of questions.
This is because the approach is based on the fact that performing a root cause analysis of the problem will make you delve into your past. In the process, you might have to accept blame for your mistakes that might cause resistance and shame within you.
As a result, you might not be able to express yourself freely in front of the coach. Envisioning a solution to a particular problem will direct your energy towards a positive goal. It is based on the following principles –
Time spent on talking; thinking about the solution is better than talking about problems
Changes occur in small steps
You already have the resources to bring the change
You can work on the surface level. It is not always important to understand someone’s problem to find a solution
How does it work?
The following tools and techniques are used in Solutions focused coaching –
The miracle question
This special question helps you to focus on the solution to your problem. It might be unrealistic but you need not worry about that. For example, a miracle happens while you are asleep and solves your problem. You will be asked questions like what made you notice that the miracle actually happened.
Ask yourself other questions like, how would others notice this change. This helps you to step into someone else’s shoes and gain a different perspective on the solution.
In this step, the counsellor can ask questions like ‘when does the miracle happen?’ that leads to the solution. You might be asked to ponder on questions like ‘when does the problem not seem bad or complicated?’ These questions will help you to understand the steps that you can take to prevent the problem from getting worse.
You will gain a better insight into the actionable steps to take for solving the issue.
This is another way to tackle the problem. This method allows you to measure the present situation, and where you stand towards finding the solution. You can think about a scale of 1 to 10, and analyse where you are right now towards figuring out the solution. Here one is the worst condition and 10 is the best condition where you have found the solution to your problem.
This helps you to bridge the gap between the current situation and the ultimate solution.
Here an interview is taken considering a situation where the problem has been solved. You will be questioned about the steps you took to solve the problem. You will be engaged in questions like –
What was the last step towards the solution?
What was the step before this step?
What has been different or how has your life changed after you achieved your goal?
So if you are looking to change your life and need some practical steps, Solution-focused coaching will be a good option. It will help you boost your confidence, positivity and look at your problems from a fresh perspective.
Social media is one thing that we all are hooked to. Well, almost all of us. It is a millennial thing. 94% of teens across the world actively use social media. They probably spend hours chatting with their loved ones on Whatsapp and Messenger, scrolling through their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, or simply clicking pictures using Snapchat filters. Whatever be the platform, you simply cannot get enough of it!
Social Media Affects Mental Health: Fact or a Myth
You must have heard of the presumed consequences of social media on youngsters. They are drastic enough to compel you into switching off your Smartphone. Previous studies have indicated that the overuse of social media can be addictive to young people. Other studies have linked social media use with lack of sleep, low self-esteem, and poor mental growth – all of which contribute to depression, anxiety and stress. However, the latest studies have dispelled the notion that social media adversely affects one’s mental well-being and causes depression and anxiety.
The Actual Effects of Social Media on Mental Health
During the study, a group of participants were divided into two separate groups. One comprised of 594 adolescents from classes VI, VII and VIII, while the other consisted of 1132 students pursuing graduation. A team of researchers surveyed the younger group once a year, for two years. The older students were surveyed annually for six long years. The survey questions were mostly focused on – how much time they spent on social media on weekends and weekdays, and how much time they allotted on activities like exercising, watching TV, doing homework etc. The research team also looked at signs of depression. The tool for measuring depression symptoms in the older, undergraduate participants were different from the one used for measuring the signs in younger people. Next, the team analyzed the data based on sex and age. The findings revealed that social media does not cause depressive symptoms later in life. This held true in both the adolescent and undergraduate groups. In fact, you would be surprised to hear that higher depression symptoms in female adolescents predicted later use of social media. Therefore, in case you feel a little upset or depressed over anything, turn to social media – it will instantly lift your mood up.
How to Cope with the Fear of Social Media?
When people, mostly parents and the elderly, come across headlines like ‘Facebook Depression’, there is an inherent assumption that Facebook causes depression. That is not the case. The findings of the study above suggest that overuse of Facebook or any social media platform for that matter has nothing to do with depression or poor mental health.
To reduce the fear of social media, we suggest you spend some time interacting with people, looking at cute and funny pet videos, following people who you feel inspire you and bring out the best in you. Also, follow the sites/pages that feature motivational quotes – start your day on a positive note!
Don’t Overdo It
Whether social media is a boon or a bane depends on how you make the most of it. Your individual personality plays a role in determining how social media impacts mental health. For example – a person might misuse social media to threat or commit a crime, while others may simply use it to keep in touch with family and friends. Spending a few hours on social media daily is not a bad thing and it does not necessarily contribute to psychological disorders like depression. However, you must remember not to turn it into a habit because overexposure to social media may cause ADHD, paranoia, or impulsive disorder.
Guilt is a feeling of worry or unhappiness that you have because you have done something wrong or, you have let yourself or others down by failing to meet a particular standard. This standard may be self-imposed or set by others. In the overall scheme of emotions, guilt is generally categorized as a negative one.
Guilt can be healthy or unhealthy. If the guilt is proportionate or rational, it can be called healthy. Still, it is a negative feeling. You may experience healthy guilt when you cause a problem or hurt someone, when you could have avoided that. The guilt is telling you to make amends and to make changes in your behaviour.
Unhealthy guilt, on the other hand, is disproportionate, irrational or misplaced. This is where you feel guilty even when you did not cause any problem or hurt someone. You have no control over the situation. Imagine you just got a promotion at the same time when your friend suffers a serious career setback.
Managing Healthy Guilt
1. Accept and Apologize
If you have caused problems for someone and are feeling guilty about it, say sorry straight away, and make an unconditional apology. Do not justify your actions or shift the blame to others.
2. Apologize as soon as possible
Delaying to apologize can make your guilt worse and can lead to anxiety. Find a way to make the situation right and do it as soon as possible.
3. Make the Necessary Changes in your Behavior
It is important to take the initiative and address the problem in your behaviour so that you do not repeat the same mistakes again.
4. Move on
The sooner you put the guilt behind you, the sooner you can focus on your present activities and work more productively.
Managing Unhealthy Guilt
1. Be Realistic
You have to understand that you cannot control everything happening around you. You are only responsible for your own actions. So, always be realistic about what you can control and what you cannot.
2. Share your Feelings
Talk to other people about what you are going through and try to seek their point of view and opinion. This can be helpful because others will make you realize that you are not the person to be blamed. Receiving positive and true feedback from others can really make you feel good.
3. Set your Standards Realistically
You may feel guilty because you are not able to reach the standards that you have set for yourself. You are constantly feeling guilty that you have not done well enough. During this process, you completely overlook what you really have accomplished.
What Is Adjustment Disorder
Adjustment disorders are considered to be a group of conditions which usually occur when a person experiences difficulty in coping with the stressful life events. These usually include relationship issues, job issues or the demise of a loved one. The incapacity to adjust to stressful events leads to psychological and sometimes physical symptoms.
Symptoms of Adjustment Disorder
Types of Adjustment Disorder
There are 6 adjustment disorders and each one of them is associated with different symptoms:
1) Adjustment disorder with depressed mood: People diagnosed with this suffer from feelings of hopelessness and sadness and are often related with crying. Also, a person might not enjoy the activities which he earlier enjoyed.
2) Adjustment disorder with anxiety: Symptoms of this are anxiety along with being anxious, overwhelmed, and worried. People with this show less concentration and poor memory. When diagnosed in children it is usually due to the separation anxiety from loved ones and parents.
3) Adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depressed mood: In this both anxiety and depression is experienced.
4) Adjustment disorder with disturbance of conduct: The symptoms of this disorder are more of the involvement of the behavioral issues like starting a quarrel, reckless driving, destructing property and stealing. Teens suffering from this might become absent from school.
5) Adjustment disorder with mixed disturbance of emotions and conduct: The symptoms of anxiety, depression, and behavioral issues are observed.
6) Adjustment disorder unspecified: The people who are diagnosed with this type of disorder usually display symptoms those are not associated with other disorders. They exhibit more of physical symptoms and problems with family and friends or at school and workplace.
Treatment of Adjustment Disorder:
If diagnosed with an adjustment disorder, a person can definitely benefit from treatment. This is usually treated with therapy or medicines or a combination of both.
- Therapy is the first choice. A health counselor or a psychologist can give counseling and if there is a need for medication then you might be referred to a psychiatrist.
- Medication like nonbenzodiazepine anxiolytic, SSRI or SNRI and benzodiazepines might be prescribed for reducing the symptoms of anxiety.
Grief is a complex emotion that may give you side effects like guilt and make you struggle as you try to get through your everyday life. It is usually caused by some loss in life which may have to do with relationships, work or any other reason like a chronic physical ailment or disability. Complicated grief disorder is a condition where the extreme level of grief impairs a person and how he or she behaves in his or her daily life. It can have a debilitating effect and make a person helpless when it comes to dealing with everyday functions. It may continue for more than six months after the loss, and may even lead to depression and anxiety, among other complications.
Let us cast a glance at how this may be dealt with.
Anxiety is one of those things that almost every individual faces at some point of time in his/her life. You can be anxious about many things. Sometimes, however, these can lead to a more complex set of problems called ‘phobias; where a person develops anxiety towards a seemingly benign object/situation. For example, a person would be uncomfortable in water, and develop a phobia of swimming, or a person can be allergic to insects and get a phobia/fear of insects.
Anxiety can lead to an emotional pain - a pain where there are no physical attributes. Having an anxiety disorder can hamper a person from performing his/her regular activities. Let us have an in-depth look into anxiety disorders, and their possible management.
Sometimes, there may be no underlying cause of anxiety. Sometimes, the environment or the incidents a person experiences in his lifetime, can precipitate anxiety disorders. There are several symptoms of anxiety, and some of them can include mood swings, confusion, decreased self-esteem, fatigue, weakness, and general fear of one's surroundings, lack of concentration, and a general feeling of helplessness. The person's sleep pattern gets disturbed, and as a result, insomnia sets in. He/she might be unable to perform the activities that they were able to earlier. Anxiety sometimes causes the blood pressure to shoot up, and can result in heart-related complications. In severe cases, anxiety can lead to depression and complete helplessness, and this can result in suicidal tendencies.
Anxiety is one of the most common mental health problems that individuals face today. Our changing lifestyle too has contributed a great deal towards it. Modern day urban living is highly stressed with long working hours, unhealthy diet, and frequent smoking and drinking, all of which can trigger anxiety disorders.
Anxiety management is not a single step process, and it involves layers of planning. The primary part of the treatment involves the evaluation of the patient first. The underlying cause of the anxiety has to be addressed first and evaluated. The trauma related to that particular cause has to be analyzed, and only then can the physical treatment start. The psychiatrist can help only if the person who is suffering is more open to treatment. Medication certainly works, and anti-depressants, as advised by the physician, should be initiated. Sometimes, a change of job or the environment can help a great deal in minimizing anxiety levels. Friends and family members should also pitch in, offering the support the individual needs.