Are Therapy Dolls and Fidget Blankets Good for Dementia Patients?

Are Therapy Dolls Good for Dementia Patients?

 

 

 

 

Therapeutic Baby Dolls for Alzheimer’s Patients

 

A helpful, non-drug way to calm and soothe seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia is to give them a soft, lifelike baby doll to cuddle. These therapy dolls can even be effective in calming older adults with severe agitation or other significant behavioral issues.

 

 

 

 

Why Use Therapy Dolls for Dementia?

 

Therapy dolls help seniors feel useful and needed and give them something positive to focus on. Similar to the effect of soft toys like stuffed animals, hugging something soft helps someone with dementia soothe themselves.

 

 

 

Another reason therapy dolls are helpful is that they bring back happy memories of early parenthood for both women and men.

 

 

 

Wonderful Video:  Baby Doll Interaction with Dementia

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having a child to care for can also ease feelings of isolation and sadness. After all, most of us have seen or experienced the way that interacting with real babies can quickly lift spirits and calm nerves.

Many older adults will enjoy rocking and cuddling their doll. Some even adopt the baby as their own and make caring for it part of their daily routine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tips for introducing doll therapy to your senior

 

The best approach is to casually introduce the doll to your senior and let them decide if they like it or not.

 

 

 

If they have no interest in the doll, don’t make an issue out of it. They may change their minds in the future so you could always give it another try in a few weeks or months.

 

A few tips:

 

  • Don’t act like the doll is a doll, refer to it as a baby and treat it like a real child.
  • Get a lifelike doll, but one that doesn’t cry – that could be upsetting.
  • Don’t force it, allow your senior to get to know the doll slowly.

 

 

 

 

Try it out, see how your older adult responds, and be flexible.

 

 

 

Fidget Products for Alzheimer’s

 

Seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia may show anxiety or agitation through fidgety hands.

Signs include pulling or rubbing at clothes or bedding, rubbing hands together, twisting fingers, wringing hands, and generally keeping hands in motion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sensory therapy or fidget toys are an effective way to reduce anxiety, calm nerves, and provide comfort.

 

 

These are simple touch-based activities that help someone with Alzheimer’s keep hands busy in safe, soothing ways.

 

 

Make A Fidget Box or Basket

 

It’s also easy to make your own fidget box or basket. Pull out the box when your older adult needs something to do and throw everything back into the box when they’re done.

Get a container and fill it with some inexpensive odds and ends you can find in your house, make quickly, or buy at the dollar store.

Gather things in a variety of colors and textures, like:

 

  • Things with zippers or velcro closures

 

 

 

 

  • Brightly colored plastic springs (like a Slinky)
  • A row of buttons sewn firmly onto a ribbon
  • A piece of soft fleece or faux fur
  • Old keys on a key ring 

 

Some seniors are comforted by keeping a familiar item with them, like a purse or wallet. Try filling an old purse or wallet with a few dollars, coins, play money, or faux credit cards so your older adult can rummage through whenever they like.

 

 

 

Are Dolls and Fidget Blankets Controversial?

 

You may have heard from caregivers who say their older adults are much calmer and happier now that they have their own baby doll. They’re relieved to have found a non-drug solution that eases their senior’s dementia symptoms.

Some people, however, are concerned that giving their older adult a doll or a “toy” would be demeaning or patronizing. But when someone has dementia, helping them feel safe and happy in their current reality is the top priority. That’s why we sometimes need to consider unconventional approaches like baby dolls, fidget blankets, and other simple activities and toys.

 

Another Idea:  Coloring Books For Seniors

 

Boredom in older adults can cause problems, including difficult behavior and depression. And, seniors who have moved in with relatives or into assisted living are more likely to be bored because their lives have changed so much.

 

 

Coloring may sound like a simple activity to ward off boredom, but a great coloring book and a set of coloring pencils can actually improve health!

A research study found that adults 65 or older who engaged in creative activities had better overall health, made fewer visits to the doctor, used less medication, and had fewer health problems. Wow!

It’s also an excellent mood booster and de-stresser – making it a perfect activity for caregivers too!

 

 

 

 

 

Coloring is great activity for seniors to explore their artistic side. These fine art coloring books are lots of fun, even for people who don’t enjoy painting or free-hand drawing.

They’ll get the joy of creating a beautiful work of art with no artistic skills required!

I found some inexpensive, non-childish coloring books seniors will love, with subjects which will interest many older adults.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colored pencils, crayons, or watercolor paint can be used on the high-quality paper. And don’t forget a good quality pencil sharpener!

The pages in adult coloring books are perforated so they’re easy to remove for display.

Also, the lines in the adult coloring books are gray, so they’ll basically disappear after the pictures are colored in, making it look even better.

Your senior will be proud to display their finished artwork.

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, the decision is entirely up to you since you know your older adult best.

 

If you think a therapy doll, a fidget blanket or activity, or coloring might help them feel better and enjoy life more, why not give it a try?

It’s an inexpensive “treatment” with no side effects.

No matter what the activity or toy, just remember that the goal is to engage your older adult in something fun and keep their hands happily occupied.

There’s no right or wrong way to do it and no specific goal to achieve – whatever feels good to them is perfect!

 

 

 

Thoughts, questions, tips?  Feel free to comment below.

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Keep a Dementia Patient Busy and Happy

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Coloring For Adults is a Healthy Hobby

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About Me

Create Your Own Blog

 

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Overcommitted and Burned Out

 

 

 

 

We in the ‘civilized’ Western world have way more to do than is doable.

 

Does the term “overcommitted” fit you?  If you are a caregiver, likely it does.  

 

You probably don’t have time to read this, but I am glad you are.

 

 

 

 

Defining and Studying Overcommitment

 

According to a German study , the term ‘overcommitted’ refers to people who are doing way too much. And more specifically, we also have a high need for approval for the things that we do.

 

We are talking about a type A behavior personality where a person has a lot of ambition, likes to control things, and needs approval too.

 

People who are overcommitted generally try to do much more than is humanly possible, and they use up their all energy in the process, to the point that they can get sick to the point of exhaustion and poor health. In some natural medicine circles, this will lead to what is called ‘adrenal fatigue’, a condition where the adrenal system is working sub optimally.

 

 

Why Overcommitment Is Not Good For You

 

Overcommitment has been shown to lead to a number of issues including:

 

  • depression
  • diabetes
  • sleep problems
  • inflammatory disease (like autoimmune illness) and
  • cardiovascular disease.

 

When you are temporarily overcommitted, and in an anxious state, your body tries to help you cope, by making many more stress hormones and also chemicals that can raise inflammation in your body. In the short term, these will help you muster the energy to cope with the stressor and get through.  It is like when you are running from a bear, you want those stress hormones to kick up your speed and make you stronger. And you want those inflammation molecules just in case there is a fight, so you can fight the infection from any injury that might happen.

 

Unfortunately, overcommitted people run hot like this all the time. They are always running from the “bear.”  In the long term, these stress hormones and inflammatory chemicals tend to start doing more damage than good: they beat up the brain, the linings of the blood vessels. They deposit fat in places they shouldn’t and there’s often poor blood sugar control. This is why so many diseases become more likely when we are overcommitted.

 

When you are chronically running from a bear, you will notice your resilience to stress starts to buckle too. Your sleep can be affected, and for women, hormonal issues start cropping up, including difficult periods with pain and emotional challenges, fertility issues and sufferable menopause symptoms too. For men, libido and sexual performance will go way down, fatigue takes over, and anxiety and depression can hit as well. For those genetically prone, they may end up with allergies, headaches, migraines, chronic fatigue, digestive problems, high blood pressure, or the opposite postural hypotension (a condition where blood pressure drops easily).

 

The German study from 2008 looked at 53 teachers (20 men and 22 women).  Teachers are a group notoriously known to overcommit despite the fact that they are given little appreciation.  They tested each person to find out who were over-committers, and who were not. What they found was the people who were demonstrated to be overcommitted in their lives had a tough time creating the stress response needed to keep up with the demands of life. Like in the case of adrenal fatigue, these people were running from the bear for so long, they couldn’t even make the hormones they needed to keep it up.

 

This makes these teachers and all of us over committers especially vulnerable to the burnout.

 

 

How To Protect Yourself and Heal from Overcommitment

 

Overcommitment syndrome as a very common underlying cause of illness. While most people can’t just completely stop their lives,there are a few ways to rethink and support your mind and body:

 

 

 

 

1 – Sleep a little more

Sleep is the best way to rejuvenate the body and the stress system. Trying to get to bed early (by 10 or 11 PM) goes a long way to lower inflammation and heal. Don’t exercise if you are not getting enough sleep, for you may deplete yourself more.

 

 

 

 

2 – Remember that ‘no’ is a sentence: it’s okay to say no sometimes.

 

Realize that you do not have to go to everything. You also don’t have to be the volunteer for that church or community project, because you feel guilty. You may not need to check all those emails or answer every facebook comment at night. You can also opt out of extra work – it won’t kill your career. It’s okay to let someone else do it;  delegate when you can.

 

 

 

 

 

3 – Meditation: even one minute twice a day will help shift your body from “I’m running from a bear” stress mode to “I can be in the present” mode.

 

 

This will open up your digestive tract and lower inflammation in the body, as well as allow your brain to repair from all the stress hormones. Overcommitters live in the future – visiting the present can help break the cycle.

 

 

 

 

 

e-factor-diet-cover

 

4 – Eat a High Energy Diet, and Lose Weight if Necessary

Being well-nourished and at a healthy weight will increase your resilience.  Read about the diet I recommend for weight loss and energy.

 

 

 

 

 

5 – Take some Supplements:

 

Supplements for general health and mood, as supported by research, are a high quality multivitamin/mineral supplement , a fish oil supplement  and a probiotic.  These can help gently support systems that are constantly under siege.

 

 

Recommended: MegaFood One Daily, Dr. Tobias Optimum Omega 3 Fish Oil and Naturewise Time Release Probiotics

 

 

 

 

6 – Find places for support: look towards friends, family, and other overcommiters to share the burden.

 

http://www.thelifeofsingleparents.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/bigstock-Priorities-List-65174149-704x454.jpg

 

 

7 – Prioritize: going along with #2, know that you can’t do everything… so sit down in a quiet place and pick what is most important and make that the focus.

 

 

 

8 – Adrenal Testing and Support: There’s a test called a saliva adrenal test or saliva stress test, and it can show function of your adrenal system.

There are correlations between non-optimal adrenal function (aka “adrenal fatigue”) associated with orthostatic hypotension, POTS Syndrome (postural orthostatic tachycardia), chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, as well as inflammatory issues like lupus and other autoimmune diseases. 

Once you have the information from this test, you can pick the right herbs and supplements as well as lifestyle choices to boost your adrenals. 

Recommended: Adrenal Home (Saliva) Stress Test from ZRT Laboratory

 

For some people, an adrenal supportive supplement can help gently nourish the adrenal glands when they are not responding as well as possible.
 

For adrenal help, use a combination that includes ashwanganda, B vitamins and mushrooms. There are many quality supplements out there for this purpose.

I like NutraBorn Optimal Adrenal Support.  Talk to your holistic doctor to learn which might be best for you.

Remember, supplements themselves do not fix the problem, but they can help support the body to avoid exhaustion.  When used with a proper regimen of sleep, lifestyle and dietary changes like mentioned above, you can gain your strength and vitality back.

 

 

 

You may also be interested in:

Natural Depression Remedies – What Works?

The Diet I Recommend for Fat Loss and Energy

Your Fibromyalgia Questions Answered

Type 2 Diabetes – What You Need to Know

Living With Angina From Coronary Heart Disease

Dealing With Caregiver Anxiety

Are You Programmed for General Anxiety Disorder?

Caregivers Need Sleep!

Cold Sores – Prevention and Treatment

About Me

Create Your Own Blog

 

Please help others by sharing this post. Share on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInDigg thisPin on Pinterest

Diabetes and Depression

 

 

Breaking the Diabetes-Depression Cycle

 

If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, there’s a surprising fact that you should be aware of: You may have an increased risk of depression, too.

 

The reason behind the link isn’t entirely clear, says Barry J. Jacobs, PsyD, a clinical psychologist with the Crozer-Keystone Health System in Springfield, Pennsylvania and the author of The Emotional Survival Guide for Caregivers

 

“Psychologically, living with diabetes — coping with its daily management and complications — can cause sadness and perhaps major depression,” Dr. Jacobs said.

 

A September 2015 review in the International Journal of Endocrinology suggested that chronic stress might lead to insulin resistance and eventually type 2 diabetes.  

 

There are other possible explanations, too: Managing diabetes and its complications can cause sadness and perhaps major depression, says Dr. Jacobs.

 

“It’s a cyclic disease,” adds Susan Ardilio, RD, a certified diabetes educator with Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Islip, New York.

 

For example, you may feel bad because you can’t eat what your friends without diabetes are eating. That can lead to social isolation, which makes you feel worse. And when that happens, you might overeat or indulge in unhealthy foods — behaviors that, Ardilio explains, can worsen your diabetes and lead to depression.

 

It’s not clear if diabetes causes depression or if depression can lead to diabetes, Jacobs says. But if you’re not taking good care of your health, one condition can impact the other.

 

If you’re depressed, you might not have the motivation to maintain control of your blood sugar levels or exercise regularly. And, in fact, depression may be linked to cardiovascular disease in people with diabetes, according to a study published in the April 2015 issue of Medical Hypotheses.

 

 

How to Keep Diabetes and Depression Under Control

 

If you suspect that you’re depressed, the first step is to tell your doctor, who can help you work toward a diagnosis. While symptoms like trouble sleeping or concentrating might stem from depression, they can also be side effects of a medication or indicate a problem with your blood sugar levels. If depression is diagnosed, your doctor may recommend talk therapy and antidepressant medication if needed, Jacobs says.

 

In the meantime, these three steps can help you manage diabetes and your emotional health:

 

Exercise regularly. It’s hard to stay active if you can’t motivate yourself to move. But once you get going, you’ll see benefits in your mood and blood sugar levels. In fact, researchers found that after exercising regularly for a year, people with type 2 diabetes saw reductions in inflammation and symptoms of depression, according to a study published in August 2015 in the International Journal of Endocrinology.

 

Join a diabetes support group. They’re protected environments where you can share information, understanding, and validation — which goes a long way toward preventing depression, Jacobs says. Plus, people who attend regular support group meetings take better care of their diabetes than those who don’t, according to a study in the December 2014 issue of The Journal of Nursing Research. Find a group online through the American Diabetes Association.

 

Maximize your meals. Not only will a healthy diet help you control your blood sugar levels, but it will also help you feel better about yourself emotionally, Ardilio says. This, in turn, can ward off negative feelings and lead to better overall health, she adds. Work with a registered dietitian or certified diabetes educator in your area on food selection and meal planning. Many insurance plans cover visits to these specialists.

 

Recommended: Reverse Diabetes Today – The Diabetes-Reversing Breakthrough

 

Through my research for this article, I ordered Reverse Diabetes Today , and found it to be currently the most scientific, clinically-proven program for reversing diabetes. 

This program covers all aspects of diabetes treatment, giving you a complete protocol that delivers proven results, and I know you will find it to be a valuable tool for escaping the downward spiral of diabetes-related complications.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recommended: If you feel that your depression is severe and persistent, I recommend Depression Help Fast 2nd Edition.  One of my family members used this system, and it helped immensely with relief and perspective.

Depression-Help-Fast-ebook-600

 

 

 

 

You may also be interested in:

Natural Help for Sadness and Depression

Guide to Blood Glucose Meters

Best Glucose Meters Reviewed

Diabetes Complications

Type 2 Diabetes Introduction

The Fat Loss Diet I Recommend

Magnesium A Great Help for Diabetics

Best Nutrition Drinks for Diabetics

Caring for Diabetic Feet

Cure Toenail Fungus Naturally in 4 Weeks

The Most Effective Stop Smoking Aids

Heartburn and Acid Reflux Help

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Compression Therapy for Seniors

Shoes and Slippers for Swollen Feet

Caregivers Need Sleep!

About Me

Create Your Own Blog

Please help others by sharing this post. Share on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInDigg thisPin on Pinterest

The Drunk Caregiver

 

For some, the burden of caregiving can seem unbearable – whether you’re caring for an elderly parent with Alzheimer’s or parenting a child with cerebral palsy. It is, without question, a challenging way to live: attending to your loved one’s personal hygiene, going back and forth to doctor’s appointments, preparing meals and ensuring he or she eats, and so on.

 


 

 

The stress is serious enough that it causes some caregivers to turn to alcohol or drugs in a desperate attempt to cope.  This can turn the tables on a caregiver – putting them in the position to need care in the form of alcohol or drug rehab.

 

 

The stress is serious enough that it causes some caregivers to turn to alcohol or drugs in a desperate attempt to cope.  This can turn the tables on a caregiver – putting them in the position to need care in the form of alcohol or drug rehab.

 

The Impact of Caregiving

 

Caring for the needs of another can be rewarding. Caregivers often feel that the responsibility adds meaning to their lives or peace of mind that they are strengthening their relationship with a loved one.

 

However, there are many downsides to taking on such a daunting task. For example, the responsibilities of caregiving often take a significant physical toll. It’s not uncommon for those who must constantly tend to the needs of others to suffer from headaches, insomnia and weight loss or gain.

 

They often begin to feel the physical strain that comes from helping a loved one use the restroom, washing their hair regularly, or lifting them in and out of a wheelchair. Perhaps you can relate – you may be dealing with similar issues or have even suffered injuries related to your role as a caregiver.

 

 

 

The physical effects are just part of the picture. There are emotional and financial costs to caregiving as well. Caregivers report high levels of depressive symptoms. Dementia caregivers have been found to be particularly vulnerable to higher rates of depression and stress, as well as lower rates of general well-being.

 

Overall, caregivers report a lower quality of life [3].  As a caregiver, you may struggle with anxiety or social isolation. You might be frustrated or angry that you’re the one who has to be responsible for a family member’s care.  Additionally, you may suffer financial strain if you lose time from work or need to take on additional expenses.

 

 

 

Feeling the burden of caregiving doesn’t necessarily end when an ill loved one is placed in long-term care. One study found that caregiver depression and anxiety did not decrease when a relative, especially a spouse, was moved to a care facility [4]. Your duty may have ended, but the emotional impact still lingers.

 

When the negative effects of caregiving are combined, they may actually increase mortality rates in those doing the caregiving.  For example, a study of individuals between the ages of 66 and 96 who cared for their spouses and who also reported caregiver strain found that their mortality risk was 63% higher than those in a non-caregiving control group [5].

 

Recommended: Free PDF Report – Why You Need to Stop Drinking … and how to get started TODAY!

 

 

 

Caregiving and Substance Abuse

 

 

The high stress of caregiving can make you vulnerable to substance abuse, which can lead to a serious problem that requires alcohol or drug rehab. As a caregiver, perhaps you began with a glass of wine every night to relax; now you drink until you pass out. Or maybe you’ve started dipping into your loved one’s pain medication.  Before you know it, you have an addiction that is interfering with every aspect of your life.

 

 

Whether it’s alcohol or drugs, an addiction puts your health at risk. It negatively affects your body in a variety of ways, including the potential for serious damage to your liver and other organs. Alcohol and drugs affect the brain as well, altering how you think and interfering with your ability to make good decisions – for yourself as well as for the person in your care.  You may also suffer financially, by lost income due to missed work days (for example, because you’re hungover) or from losing your job altogether.

 

Your substance abuse also puts the person in your care at risk. You’re less likely to be able to respond to his or her needs, including dispensing medications properly, caring for his or her personal hygiene, or calling for help if there is a medical emergency. In addition, studies have shown that caregivers who use are more likely to abuse the person in their care [6]. If you’re intoxicated or high, you may do something you’ll regret like strike the person in your care if he or she is uncooperative or fussy.

 

As you can see, if you’re using substances to cope as a caregiver, the potential risks and costs can be extremely high.  Not only are you putting yourself at risk for a variety of problems, you’re also endangering the person who’s been entrusted to your care.

 

Treatment for Caregiver Substance Abuse

 

You can’t adequately care for a loved one if you’re not healthy — and abusing substances is not a healthy way to cope with the stress. Substance abuse is a mental health condition that requires professional alcohol or drug rehab treatment. An addiction therapist or counselor will help you determine the type of treatment you need.  If you’re substance abuse issue is serious, you may need inpatient treatment. If you get help sooner than later, outpatient treatment may be sufficient.  But you won’t know until you have an assessment.

 

If you are the primary caregiver, you may need assistance finding a person or organization able to care for your loved one while you’re in treatment. A family member or close friend of the patient may be able to step into the caregiving role.  You may find that they were already aware of the substance abuse issue (or at least suspected it) and are more willing to help than you might expect. Don’t let pride get in the way of asking for help.

 

In situations where others cannot or will not step in to assume the caregiving role, reach out for assistance. Your addiction counselor or team may be able to provide some helpful resources. Also, consider contacting local agencies, such as social services, for recommendations for skilled daycare or other care options. It’s critical to check out every available option. Please don’t give up on treatment because it is a challenge to find care for your loved one.

 

Once you begin alcohol or drug rehab treatment, your job is to focus on getting yourself well. As you work toward your sobriety, talk to your treatment center team to determine if or when you can return to your caregiving role.

 

If you do return, it will be essential to continue to care for yourself by making lifestyle changes that support your recovery. To stay healthy and abstinent, you’ll need to take time every day to step away from your responsibilities and take care of yourself.  This might include things like taking a walk around the block, having coffee with a friend, or working on a project that relaxes you.

 

Finding support is another critical tool for long-term recovery -– especially for caregivers who often struggle with isolation. Consider joining a self-help group that can provide support and guidance for those living with an addiction. Regular meetings will allow you to connect with other addicts so you can learn and share experiences.

 

In addition to support for your addiction, it’s also important to find support in your role as a caregiver. Locate a local support group with members who are going through the same experiences as you. For example, you might find it beneficial to connect with similar caregivers, such as other mothers of kids with autism or spouses who care for partners with dementia.

 

Substance abuse hurts not only you, but also the person you’re caring for. Alcohol or drug rehab can help you overcome it. The journey may not be easy – in fact, you can expect some setbacks -but you will learn healthy coping strategies so you can get well and, if possible, continue in your role as caregiver. You and your loved one don’t deserve any less.

 

 

How Strong is Your Addiction?

 

Working out the extent of a problem is not simple. Countless drug users refuse treatment on the basis that they aren’t “really” addicts, and in the process they allow their use to spiral out of control.

 

Many people only seek treatment when they hit rock bottom, they might find themselves lying in a pool of their own vomit in a dive bar, losing their job, or utterly destroying their personal relationships before they realize they need help. The reason they let it get this far is because being honest with yourself about your problem isn’t easy.

 

 

Adopting the Right Mindset

 

The first thing you have to do if you want to truly understand the extent of your problem is to drop any pretenses you hold. Rationalizations for your use might have been growing and gaining power since you started using, and you need to forget these in order to make an accurate assessment.

 

Telling yourself that you only use to reward yourself after a tough day or that you’re only “experimenting” with drugs is a good way to completely ignore a problem. Discard any of these notions you’ve picked up along the way.

 

In order to really understand how serious your problem is, you have to temporarily ignore the emotional part of your mind. This is easier said than done, but receiving any form of criticism from anybody isn’t easy, so you have to ensure you won’t ditch a train of thought because of the potential consequences of it.

 

You might not want to realize that you have to use every single day, otherwise you get tense and irritable, but the weight of that knowledge pales in comparison to the damage you’ll do to yourself if you don’t acknowledge it. You essentially have to become a third party, observing and analyzing your own behavior through the microscope of rationality.

 

Recommended: Free PDF Report – Why You Need to Stop Drinking … and how to get started TODAY!

 

Thinking About Your Use

 

The simplest way to start appraising your problem is to think about your relationship with your drug of choice. Think about the pattern of your drug use. How often do you use on an ordinary day, and when do you use? Do you need to take drugs to feel “normal” for the day? How much do you spend per day on drugs? How about per week? Asking yourself searching questions like this starts to paint an important picture. Remember, you need to treat this information as if it’s coming from somebody else; don’t spare your feelings, just think about the information objectively and draw what conclusions you will.

 

One of the most important things to think about is the degree to which your life revolves around your drug use. Do you find yourself planning your day around taking drugs? Are you unable to stick to limits you’ve set yourself for the day? When you don’t use, do you experience withdrawal symptoms? If you find yourself getting irritable, having trouble sleeping or experiencing general flu-like symptoms, you might be going through withdrawal. Taking more drugs to alleviate these symptoms is also a clear indicator of a problem, as is taking drugs instead of participating in activities you used to enjoy.

 

 

Thinking About Your Life

 

The other major impact of drug use is the one it has on your life outside of drugs. You might find you’ve been dodging your responsibilities, calling in sick for work, or even neglecting your children as you’ve started to use more and more. Have you been having trouble with your relationships? Even if it doesn’t seem related to drugs, it’s important to think about. The psychological impact of drugs can have wide-ranging consequences, and it could be placing your relationships under strain indirectly.

 

 

Putting it All Together

 

The pieces of information you’ve been gathering should be starting to form a picture. You might be faced with somebody who takes drugs every day and at every opportunity, who takes days off work to dose up to oblivion and whose closest relationships are crumbling by the day. It might not be nice to admit things like this, but if you were presented this information about somebody you’d never met or a fictional character in a book, what conclusion would you come to? Is the person a casual or experimental user, or is he or she suffering from addiction?

 

Remember, you don’t have to be ashamed of your actions; it could happen to anybody and it might be the result of a genetic pre-disposition to addiction. Even if it isn’t, there is no shame in having made some mistakes in your life. We are all human, and as a result we are all flawed. No matter how hard you try to get along the right way in life, it’s easy to stray off the path. It takes wisdom to realize that you’re heading in the wrong direction, and it takes strength to turn yourself around and do things right.

 

The fact that you’re reading this means that you acknowledge that your drug use is negatively impacting your life, but thinking honestly about the full extent of the issue can help you realize how severe the problem is. If you don’t appreciate the impact that your addiction is having on your life, relapse is much more likely. Those little rationalizations and denials we use to protect our egos will mount up and convince you that starting to use again wouldn’t be that bad. Stay objective, and you’ll see why starting treatment is absolutely essential.

 

Recommended: Free PDF Report: Why You Need to Stop Drinking

… and how to get started TODAY!

why you need to stop drinking

 

You may also be interested in:

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Natural Depression Remedies – What Works?

The Fat Loss Diet I Recommend

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High Blood Pressure – Take Control

The Most Effective Stop Smoking Aids

Heartburn and Acid Reflux Help

Type 2 Diabetes – What You Need to Know

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Prevent Bed Sores

Coping With Incontinence

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Does Prevagen Actually Help Your Memory?

Does Prevagen Actually Help Your Memory?

 

 

 

At the age of about 40 our brain starts to fail sometimes, and naturally, many of us consumers start to look for something to support our brain health. Prevagen is a fairly new product in the market that has been advertising aggressively, and promises to improve a person’s memory within 90 days.

 

If you haven’t been able to recall where you have put your keys or a purse or names of your new acquaintances, the Prevagen ads may have piqued your interest.

 

The manufacturer of the product claims that it has been clinically tested, but let’s find out whether this supplement is really so effective.

 

 

 

Prevagen is manufactured by a relatively unknown US company, Quincy Bioscience, which claims that Prevagen promotes healthy functioning of brain,  a sharper mind, better memory and clearer thinking within 90 days. The Prevagen website is attractive, but fails to offer data on major questions such as the full list of ingredients of the supplement and its possible side effects.

 

The Prevagen website mentions that the supplement contains only one active ingredient – the apoaequorin protein.  Apoaequorin is said to improve cognitive function that is especially important for older adults.  The company does not state how much much apoaequorin is actually in the product.

 

According to the Prevagen website, it is believed that apoaequorin can improve the ability to recall information by enhancing calcium homeostasis (which is thought to become dysregulated in the early stages of dementia).  However, it is not known what dosage of apoaequorin could be effective (nor do we know how much of the substance is in Prevagen).  Studies in this area show only a loose association, and I can’t see how it can be assumed that apoaequorin would help if being taken prophylactically by the average person, especially since the effective dosage and product dosage are unknown.

 

One could hope that

 

  • if the apoaequorin protein regulates calcium homeostasis,
  • and if it is taken in the right dosage,
  • and if one is in the early stages of dementia, Apoaequorin could positively influence  people with mild impairment;

– but based on the theory of how apoaequorin works, it doesn’t look promising for the treatment of people suffering from mild dysfunction to frank dementia.

 

The manufacturer gives no information on possible side effects of Prevagen, which is concerning.

 

The manufacturer also claims that Prevagen is non-allergenic.  This is a bold supposition,  since a lot of people are allergic to seafood, and this product contains a protein derived from jellyfish.  The company claims that the product is safe and is well tolerated by the human body, but there is no proof to back up either the non-allergenic or safety claims.

 

In January, 2015, a class-action suit was launched against Quincy Bioscience (QB) LLC,  the manufacturer of Prevagen.

 

The company claims that the product works by re-supplying memory-related proteins that decline as people age.

 

 

The Lawsuit Charges:

 

 

• The product cannot work as advertised because its only purported active ingredient, apoaequorin (a protein), is completely destroyed by the digestive system and transformed into common amino acids no different than those derived from other common food products.

• The amount of amino acids Prevagen adds to the user’s intake are trivial in comparison to normal dietary intake.

• Claims that clinical tests demonstrate that Prevagen will improve memory and support healthy brain function, sharper mind, and clearer thinking are false. (Note: QB’s “clinical trials” were conducted in-house and did not have independent verification.)

• Studies touted in Prevagen’s marketing campaign “if they exist at all, are, on their face, so seriously flawed that they demonstrate nothing regarding Prevagen.”

 

 

 

Side Effects Reported, Then Ignored

 

 

In a warning letter, the FDA accused the company of not reporting to the government “adverse events like seizures, strokes, and worsening symptoms of multiple sclerosis that had been reported to your firm as being associated with the use of Prevagen products.” Reports about the supplement to the company have also included chest pain, tremors, fainting and other serious symptoms, the FDA says.

 

In fact, the company received more than 1,000 incidents and product complaints about Prevagen between May 2008 and December 1, 2011, and only investigated or reported two events, the letter says.

 

So, to recap my concerns:

 

  •   Prevagen isn’t FDA approved.
  • Unfortunately, the website concealed side effects that may occur as a result of the treatment. The supporting studies described on the website were very limited, and are not independently verified.
  • The evidence supporting the supplement is not quantitative and mostly anecdotal.
  • Claims that apoaequorin users experience  improved mental clarity and enhanced memory haven’t been confirmed by the FDA.

 

 

Based on my research I do not recommend that my readers purchase or use Prevagen, at least until further research is conducted on the active ingredient and the efficacy of the Prevagen formula.

 

 

 

 

In my research , I came across a product that I do recommend with confidence.

 

Building up cognitive reserve is a known factor in preventing or slowing the development of dementia, and I found a product which is particularly effective for doing just that.

 

To understand the importance of building up your cognitive reserve in the prevention or delaying of dementia, read my report Avoid or Slow Dementia by Building Up Cognitive Reserve.

 

 

My Recommendation: Genius Brain Power

 

Why Genius Brain Power Is Your Ultimate Self Mastery Tool Kit

The highly advanced entrainment technology used in the Genius Brain Power system is far more effective than offerings in much higher priced products, mainly because other companies use a very old type of Brainwave Entrainment that was discovered 150 years ago, called binaural beats.

Those less effective binaural beats send differently pitched frequencies into each ear to get your brain to “do math” and entrain to the difference between the two pitches.  Binaural beats were a great discovery, but many people don’t respond very well to this method of entrainment. 

 

Genius Brain Power uses a far superior, much more modern brainwave entrainment technology.

 

Brain Wave Entrainment Increases Intelligence

 

Utilizing computer generated, rhythmically pulsed beats (known as Isochronic beats), Genius Brain Power easily guides your brain into optimal frequencies for rocketing your IQ, deep relaxation, peak mental efficiency and much more…

The biggest of many advantages Genius Brain Power (GBP) has over binaural beats is that the brain doesn’t adapt to GBP’s rhythmic tones over time and ignore them, like it does with binaurals. This means GBP will continue to give you results for years, so you can keep improving your brain without having to buy more products.

Rhythmic frequencies are the basis of how the brain operates, so your brain is guaranteed to respond to Genius Brain Power’s pulsed brainwave rhythms. 

With these audible, computer generated pulsed tones, the brain is safely, gently and effectively guided to entrain to your most optimal brainwave frequencies.  These tones need to be audible, so you will hear them along with the music in the Genius Brain Power package.

 

Brainwave entrainment lights up your brain

The main thing you should remember here is that rhythm is one of the most basic functions in the human brain, so everyone’s brain responds to rhythm, including yours.

The brain’s natural response to “follow” or “entrain” to certain types of rhythms, coupled with my years of experience creating brainwave entrainment audio tracks has led to this breakthrough technology that I could only be  called “Genius Brain Power” because no other description really comes close.

 

 

You may also be interested in:

The MIND Diet for Fighting Dementia

First Signs of Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s, Elevated Cortisol and Your Genes

The #1 Alzheimer’s Care Tip

Preserving Alzheimer’s Patients’ Dignity

Stop Alzheimer’s Wandering

Amazon Echo Great Help for Dementia Patients

Dementia-Proof Cooking with Fire Avert

Should You Get a Medical Alert System?

Convincing Your Parent to Transition to Assisted Living

Preparing For Your Elderly Parent to Move In

Jitterbug Touch3 Smartphone Review

The Fat Loss Diet I Recommend

About Me and This Blog

Create Your Own Blog

 

 

Please help others by sharing this post. Share on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInDigg thisPin on Pinterest

Avoid or Slow Dementia by Building Cognitive Reserve

 

 

 

Nothing can cure or slow Alzheimer’s disease—but, what if there was a way to stave off its effects on a person’s memory and cognition?

 

 

 

 

 

Cognitive Reserve

 

Scientists have discovered a biological mechanism, called, ‘cognitive reserve,’ that allows the brain to retain its functionality despite the onset of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

The concept of a cognitive reserve arose from the observations of several independent research studies. Researchers found that certain seniors with normal, or minimally-impaired, mental functioning, actually had physical signs of pronounced Alzheimer’s disease in their brains. It was concluded that something was protecting these seniors from the effects memory-robbing disease.

Gary Small, M.D., professor of psychiatry and director of the UCLA Longevity Center, likens cognitive reserve to, “having an extra mental battery.” He says that a person with a high amount of cognitive reserve can compensate, somewhat, for the brain damage caused by disease and old age.

 

 

Hope for a damaged brain

 

As a person’s brain ages, several things begin to happen that can negatively impact their ability to think and remember, according to Small.

Brain cells begin to die, neurotransmitters don’t work as well as they did when the person was young, tissues shrink, and protein deposits begin to build-up, interfering with communication between cells (Alzheimer’s disease).

One by one, the biological ‘batteries’ powering a person’s thoughts and memories begin to wear out.

And, in the elderly, dementia is often irreversible.

There are instances where a senior may exhibit signs of mental impairment due to drug interactions or low levels of certain nutrients. These can sometimes be remedied by switching a prescription, or tweaking a diet. But, there is often very little that can be done for a senior who starts losing their memory due to ailments, like Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, or Lewy Body dementia.

This is why the concept of cognitive reserve is so promising—its protective effects are thought to be capable of being harnessed by anyone, no matter what the reason for their cognitive impairment.

 

 

Building up and tearing down

 

Collecting diplomas is one of the main ways a person can build solid base of cognitive reserve. According to Small—the amount of education a person has, particularly from the undergraduate level and up—helps fortify them against symptoms of memory loss and confusion.

 

 

The Alzheimer's Prevention Program: Keep Your Brain Healthy for the Rest of Your Life by [Small, Gary, Vorgan, Gigi]

 

But those who decided to forgo getting their master’s need not worry. Education is not the only way to fortify the brain against memory impairment.

Small says learning new things and doing mental exercises to help remember names and faces can also help beef up a person’s cognitive reserve. In his book, “The Alzheimer’s Prevention Program,” Small describes one such exercise: LOOK, SNAP, CONNECT.

Designed to help a person remember and associate names with faces, this exercise instructs people to concentrate on a new acquaintance’s name (LOOK), take a mental snapshot of their name and face (SNAP), and then synthesize the mental pictures to link the acquaintance’s name and face in their mind (CONNECT).

 

Sue Maxwell, M.S.W., director of Older Adult Services at Lee Memorial Health System, feels that simple lifestyle changes can also help a person’s mind become less susceptible to dementia. “Pretend you’re in a world where there are no paper and pencils—you have to remember things on your own,” she says.

Research has also linked being socially active to having a larger cognitive reserve.

There are certain things experts believe may hinder or deplete a person’s mental power cache.

Chronic stress and a sedentary lifestyle are proven brain-drainers. Scientific evidence indicates that stress may as much as double a person’s risk for developing Alzheimer’s.

 

 

A healthier brain at any age

 

When it comes to cultivating a healthy brain, “It’s never too late, and never too early to start,” Small says.

There are benefits to starting sooner, but evidence indicates that people can still enhance their brain functioning even when given a short period of time. According to Small, dramatic improvements in cognitive ability have been seen in people in their 60s, 70s, and 80s who adopt a program to stave off dementia.

Doctors even recommend that people who already have signs of cognitive impairment should try to stay as mentally active as possible.

 

 

Every little bit helps

 

What constitutes a mentally engaging activity will vary, depending on a person’s level of cognitive impairment.

Small says that any type of stimulation helps, and a caregiver may have to adjust an activity’s level of difficulty to fit a senior’s capability. For example, if your elderly loved one enjoys reading, but can no longer handle adult books due to their dementia, they may need to downgrade to a children’s book.

 

Here are a few examples of easily-modifiable activities that may be good for seniors with Alzheimer’s:

 

1. Stick to simple pleasures – Keeping things simple and straightforward is often the best course of action when coming up with activities for people with Alzheimer’s. Going to a local park to feed the birds and fish is an easy task that may be very fun for a person with Alzheimer’s.

 

 

You can also take turns reading a favorite book aloud. This can be an easy way to encourage a senior to exercise their mind while giving them the pleasure of reading a beloved book.

 

2. Listen to music – Research has shown that listening to music can help a person with Alzheimer’s remember events, people, and places from their past. Additionally, music can be a way to get a senior moving through dance or song.

 

 

3. Cook and clean – You can turn mundane, daily tasks into activities that a person with Alzheimer’s can help with. Even if they just help with measuring ingredients, having a senior help you cook a family recipe can be a fun way for both of you to spend some time together. An elderly loved one might also be able to help you do things around the house like dusting or folding laundry.

 

 

4. Work up a sweat – Exercise provides countess benefits to all seniors, regardless of whether or not they have Alzheimer’s. Workouts can consist of everything from talking a walk around the block to taking a yoga-for-seniors class.

 

5. Play a game – While you probably don’t want to start a game of Risk with your elderly loved one, it’s possible to make an entertaining, personal game out of things lying around the house. Sorting through old family photos is a good way to help an elderly loved one remember special events and people from their past. You can even turn a routine trip to the grocery store into a scavenger hunt where you and your loved one search for particular items on a list.

 

Recommended: Match the Shapes For Dementia and Alzheimer’s

 

  • Designed specifically for people with dementia – age appropriate, not childish. No mention of “dementia” or “Alzheimer’s” on the product or packaging
  • 36 brightly colored tiles draw people’s attention
  • Colored templates help the person be successful
  • Tested with people at various stages of dementia to ensure that it is well-suited, and enjoyed
  • Full instructions detail how to present the activity to ensure that the person feels a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment

 

 

6. Volunteer – Devoting time to helping other people can provide immense satisfaction to both you and your elderly loved one. Volunteering can involve something as simple as collecting things like school supplies, toys, canned goods, etc., and taking them to a local shelter or food bank. Seniors who can’t leave the house could help by sorting, wrapping, or taking inventory of collected goods.

 

These activities will require varying levels of patience on the part of the caregiver. A loved one with Alzheimer’s will not be able to perform tasks perfectly, if at all, and seniors are likely to get frustrated is an activity is too difficult. It will take constant trial and error to create and modify activities to meet an elder’s shifting capabilities.

The existence of cognitive reserve is not yet a well-researched concept and no one is sure of exactly how effective it is at warding off dementia in the elderly. Existing evidence suggests that having an extra cognitive stash is beneficial. But, the advantages can vary from person to person, and generally diminish as their dementia progresses.

Still, Maxwell says that there are proven things people can do to protect their aging brain.

The key, according to Small, is coming up with a plan and sticking to it.

A combination of a healthy brain diet (full of antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies and fish as well as nuts that contain omega-3 fats), exercise, stress management, and mental stimulation will help a caregiver and their elderly loved one preserve their cognitive capacity.

 

Recommended: Genius Brain Power

 

Why Genius Brain Power Is Your Ultimate Self Mastery Tool Kit

The highly advanced entrainment technology used in the Genius Brain Power system is far more effective than offerings in much higher priced products, mainly because other companies use a very old type of Brainwave Entrainment that was discovered 150 years ago, called binaural beats.

Those less effective binaural beats send differently pitched frequencies into each ear to get your brain to “do math” and entrain to the difference between the two pitches.  Binaural beats were a great discovery, but many people don’t respond very well to this method of entrainment. 

 

Genius Brain Power uses a far superior, much more modern brainwave entrainment technology.

 

Brain Wave Entrainment Increases Intelligence

 

Utilizing computer generated, rhythmically pulsed beats (known as Isochronic beats), Genius Brain Power easily guides your brain into optimal frequencies for rocketing your IQ, deep relaxation, peak mental efficiency and much more…

The biggest of many advantages Genius Brain Power (GBP) has over binaural beats is that the brain doesn’t adapt to GBP’s rhythmic tones over time and ignore them, like it does with binaurals. This means GBP will continue to give you results for years, so you can keep improving your brain without having to buy more products.

Rhythmic frequencies are the basis of how the brain operates, so your brain is guaranteed to respond to Genius Brain Power’s pulsed brainwave rhythms. 

With these audible, computer generated pulsed tones, the brain is safely, gently and effectively guided to entrain to your most optimal brainwave frequencies.  These tones need to be audible, so you will hear them along with the music in the Genius Brain Power package.

 

Brainwave entrainment lights up your brain

The main thing you should remember here is that rhythm is one of the most basic functions in the human brain, so everyone’s brain responds to rhythm, including yours.

The brain’s natural response to “follow” or “entrain” to certain types of rhythms, coupled with my years of experience creating brainwave entrainment audio tracks has led to this breakthrough technology that I could only be  called “Genius Brain Power” because no other description really comes close.

 

You may also be interested in:

The MIND Diet for Fighting Dementia

First Signs of Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s, Elevated Cortisol and Your Genes

The #1 Alzheimer’s Care Tip

Preserving Alzheimer’s Patients’ Dignity

Stop Alzheimer’s Wandering

Amazon Echo Great Help for Dementia Patients

Melatonin Helps Sundowning and Other Sleep Disorders

Dementia-Proof Cooking with Fire Avert

Should You Get a Medical Alert System?

Convincing Your Parent to Transition to Assisted Living

Preparing For Your Elderly Parent to Move In

Jitterbug Touch3 Smartphone Review

The Fat Loss Diet I Recommend

About Me and This Blog

Create Your Own Blog

 

Please help others by sharing this post. Share on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInDigg thisPin on Pinterest

Are You Programmed for Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

 

 

 

Up to 25% of American adults experience intense anxiety sometime in their lives. The prevalence of true anxiety disorders is much lower, although they are still the most common psychiatric conditions in the United States and affect more than 20 million Americans.

If you have developed General Anxiety Disorder (GAD), you may be wondering “why me”?

 

 

General Risk Factors for Anxiety Disorders

 

Gender. With the exception of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), women have twice the risk for most anxiety disorders as men. A number of factors may increase the reported risk in women, including cultural pressures to meet everyone else’s needs except their own, and fewer self-restrictions on reporting anxiety to doctors.

 

Age. In general, phobias, OCD and separation anxiety show up early in childhood, while social phobia and panic disorder are often diagnosed during the teen years. Studies suggest that 3 – 5% of children and adolescents have some anxiety disorder. Children and adolescents who have an anxiety disorder are at risk of later developing other anxiety disorders, depression, and substance abuse.

 

Personality Factors. Children’s personalities may indicate higher or lower risk for future anxiety disorders. For example, research suggests that extremely shy children and those likely to be the target of bullies are at higher risk for developing anxiety disorders later in life.

 

Children who cannot tolerate uncertainty tend to be worriers, a major predictor of generalized anxiety. In fact, such traits may be biologically based and due to a hypersensitive amygdala — the “fear center” in the brain.

 

Family History and Dynamics. Anxiety disorders tend to run in families. Genetic factors may play a role in some cases, but family dynamics and psychological influences are also often at work. Several studies show a strong correlation between a parent’s fears and those of the offspring. Although an inherited trait may be present, some researchers believe that many children can “learn” fears and phobias, just by observing a parent or loved one’s phobic or fearful reaction to an event.

 

Social Factors. Several studies have reported a significant increase in anxiety levels in children and college students in the past two decades compared to children in the 1950s. In several studies, anxiety was associated with a lack of social connections and a sense of a more threatening environment. It also appears that more socially alienated populations have higher levels of anxiety.

 

For example, a study of Mexican adults living in California reported that native-born Mexican Americans were three times more likely to have anxiety disorders (and even more likely to be depressed) as those who had recently immigrated to the U.S. The longer the immigrants lived in the U.S., the greater their risk for psychiatric problems. Traditional Mexican cultural and social ties seemed to protect recently arrived immigrants from mental illness.

 

Traumatic Events. Traumatic events may trigger anxiety disorders, especially in individuals who are susceptible to them because of psychological, genetic, or biochemical factors. The clearest example is post-traumatic stress disorder. Specific traumatic events in childhood, particularly those that threaten family integrity, such as spousal or child abuse, can also lead to other anxiety and emotional disorders. Some types of specific phobias, for instance of spiders or snakes, may be triggered and perpetuated after a single traumatic exposure.

 

Medical Conditions. Although no causal relationships have been established, certain medical conditions have been associated with increased risk of panic disorder. They include migraines, obstructive sleep apnea, mitral valve prolapse, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, and premenstrual syndrome.

 

You can listen to or download to an excellent free “Rapid Relief” audio from Panic Away here.

 

Specific Risk Factors for Generalized Anxiety (GAD)

 

GAD affects about 1 – 5% of Americans in the course of their lives and is more common in women than in men. It is the most common anxiety disorder among the elderly. GAD usually begins in childhood and often becomes a chronic ailment, particularly when left untreated. Depression commonly accompanies this anxiety disorder and depression in adolescence may be a strong predictor of GAD in adulthood.

 

 

Specific Risk Factors for Panic Disorder

 

Age and Panic Disorder. Studies indicate that the prevalence of panic disorder among adults is between 1.6 – 2% and is much higher in adolescence, 3.5 – 9%. Panic disorder usually first occurs either in late adolescence or in the mid-30s.

 

Gender and Panic Disorder. Women have about twice the risk for panic disorder as men. Panic attacks are very common after menopause. In one study, nearly 18% of older women reported panic attacks within a 6-month period, with over half of these attacks being full-blown. They tended to be associated with stressful life events and poor health. The effects of pregnancy on panic disorder appear to be mixed. It seems to improve the condition in some women and worsen it in others.

 

 

Specific Risk Factors for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

 

Obsessive-compulsive disorder occurs equally in men and women, and it affects about 2 – 3% of people over a lifespan. Most cases of OCD first develop in childhood or adolescence, although the disorder can occur throughout the life span.

 

 

Specific Risk Factors for Social Phobias

 

Social anxiety disorder is currently estimated to be the third most common psychiatric disorder in the U.S. Studies have reported a prevalence of 7 – 12% in Western nations.

 

Age and Phobias. The onset of social anxiety disorder is usually during the early teenage years.

 

Gender and Phobias. Women are more likely to develop social anxiety disorder than men, although equal numbers of men and women seek treatment for it. Most people seeking treatment have had symptoms for at least 10 years.

 

 

Specific Risk Factors for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

 

Traumatic events are the main risk factor for PTSD, but some people can go through such events and not experience PTSD. Studies estimate that 6 – 30% or more of trauma survivors develop PTSD, with children and young people being among those at the high end of the range. Women have the twice the risk of PTSD as men.

After the September 11 attack on the World Trade Towers, about 7.5% of New York City’s population reported PTSD within the month of the event, which declined to 0.6% at 6 months.

Researchers are trying to determine factors that might increase vulnerability to catastrophic events and put people at risk for develop PTSD.

 

Some studies report the following may be risk factors:

 

  • Pre-existing emotional disorder. People are at higher risk for PTSD if they have a history of an emotional disorder, particularly depression, before a traumatic event.
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • A family history of anxiety
  • A history of physical or sexual abuse, neglect, or abuse within the family
  • An early separation from parents
  • Lack of social support and poverty
  • Sleep disorders. Insomnia and excessive daytime sleepiness even within a month after a traumatic event are important predictors for the development of PTSD. One specific sleep disorder — sleep apnea — may even intensify symptoms of PTSD, including sleeplessness and nightmares. Sleep apnea occurs when tissues in the upper throat (or airway) collapse at intervals during sleep, thereby blocking the passage of air. Sleep apnea has also been associated with a risk for panic disorder.

 

 

Medication for GAD

 

Medication is useful for alleviating the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder and is often prescribed in conjunction with other therapies. Some types of anxiety drugs can be habit-forming and are usually prescribed on a short-term or as-needed basis.

Different anxiety disorders have different medication regimens. Some are preventive and some are designed to cure the problem.

Antidepressants, particularly the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), are widely used to treat and prevent a variety of anxiety disorders. Examples of SSRIs that are commonly used to treat chronic anxiety include Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, Paxil, and Lexapro.

The antidepressants Effexor and Cymbalta, which act on the brain chemicals serotonin and norephinephrine, and some of the tricyclic antidepressants, like Tofranil, may also help.

Finally, antihistamines (such as hydroxyzine) and beta-blockers (such as propranolol) can help mild cases of anxiety as well as performance anxiety, a type of social anxiety disorder. These medicines need to be taken daily whether you have anxiety on that particular day or not, as prescribed by your health care provider.

If you have acute anxiety (panic attack), you will likely need to take an anti-anxiety medicine as well. The most prominent of anti-anxiety drugs for the purpose of immediate relief are those known as benzodiazepines; among them are Ativan, Valium, Librium, Xanax, and Klonopin.

They have drawbacks: Benzodiazepines sometimes cause drowsiness, irritability, dizziness, memory and attention problems, and physical dependence. Nonetheless, in recent decades they have largely replaced barbiturates because they tend to be safer if taken in large doses.

Another anti-anxiety drug is Buspar. It has fewer side effects than the benzodiazepines and is not associated with dependence. Buspar, however, can have its own side effects and may not always be as effective when a person has taken benzodiazepines in the past.

Psychotherapy, with or without medication, is often considered a fundamental aspect of treatment for generalized anxiety disorder.

Several specific forms of psychotherapy have been described in research studies as helpful for alleviating the symptoms of GAD. Two — psychodynamic psychotherapy and supportive-expressive therapy — focus on anxiety as an outgrowth of feelings about important relationships. Another form of psychotherapy, called cognitive-behavioral therapy, involves learning behavioral relaxation techniques as well as restructuring patterns of thinking that foster anxiety.

Biofeedback is another helpful tool. In a series of sessions with a therapist, you watch your own brain-wave patterns on an electroencephalograph and gradually learns to control the waves. This teaches you to achieve a more relaxed state at will. Practitioners estimate that after about a dozen sessions, you will be able to exert control over mental activity without the help of the therapist or monitoring instrument.

 

 

Lifestyle Recommendations

 

You can listen to or download to an excellent free “Rapid Relief” audio from Panic Away here.

Daily exercise can be another helpful treatment for anxiety symptoms. If you find that exercise works for you, push yourself to go for brisk walks or undertake an active sport that you enjoy. Get your heart rate into the target range for your age for at least 30 minutes each time you exercise.

Since anxiety is often accompanied by shallow breathing, deep breathing exercises can also be helpful. Try the following form of yoga breathing:

  • Lie on your back in a comfortable place.
  • Breathe in slowly through your nose, using your diaphragm to suck air into your lungs while allowing your abdomen to expand. (Put your hand on your abdomen just below the navel to make sure the abdomen is being pushed up and out by the diaphragm.) After the abdomen is expanded, continue to inhale as deeply as possible.
  • When you breathe out, reverse the process: Contract the abdomen while exhaling slowly and completely.
  • Repeat several times.

Progressive relaxation is another helpful technique. It begins by tensing and then relaxing one part of the body, usually beginning with the toes. When this part of the body is relaxed, another part of the body is tensed and relaxed until the entire body is free of tension.

Relaxing visualization can also help. A therapist or meditation trainer suggests relaxing images for a person to hold in mind. Once the image is in place, the person imagines soothing sensations such as pleasant scents and sounds. Eventually people can learn to do this themselves when they anticipate — or find themselves in — stressful situations.

 

My Recommendation:

 

You can listen to an excellent free “Rapid Relief” audio from Panic Away here.

 

  • You can download the audio for free to take it with you wherever you tend to get anxious be it driving, flying, shopping or at work.
  • Learn how to overcome anxious feelings in seconds.
  • Feel immediate relief from anxiety and panic attacks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may also be interested in:

Caregivers Need Sleep!

The Drunk Caregiver

Natural Depression Remedies – What Works?

Overcommitted and Burned Out

About Me

Create Your Own Blog

 

Please help others by sharing this post. Share on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInDigg thisPin on Pinterest

Dealing With Caregiver Anxiety

 

 

When you work as a caregiver, your life is no longer your own. Your role is to help someone who is suffering through injury or illness try to be as comfortable as possible, responding to their every need and putting the focus entirely on them.

It’s no wonder that caregivingaking takes such a toll on a caretaker’s emotions. It takes a great deal of mental strength to handle not only caring for the patient (who may be someone you care about,) but also dealing with their own emotional struggles. It’s only human for that to cause a great deal of stress.

 

The Effects of Personal Giving on Stress and Anxiety

 

Caregiving is about giving of yourself – your time, your energy, and your emotions – to someone who is suffering. The emotional effects can be pronounced. One of the most common consequences is caretaker’s anxiety.

 

 

This anxiety may be due to any number of causes:

 

  • Lack of Self Care – Often it’s easy to get too caught up helping others, and not focusing on your own personal problems. Without your own coping strategies to help you recover from the day’s stresses, you may become prone to anxiety.
  • Concerns Over Ability – When you’re acting as a caregiver, the person’s health and wellness are in your hands. If you make any mistakes – or if the illness worsens on its own – you may experience stress that can lead to anxiety.
  • Verbal Abuse – Some caregivers suffer at the hands of the ones they’re caring for. Everyone being cared for is not kind and considerate. Some provide constant verbal abuse or express frustration and doubt constantly. That can take a toll on your emotional health.
  • Personal Mortality – Being a caregiver also causes people to reflect on their own mortality. As you watch someone fall deeper into a terminal illness, it’s not uncommon to experience fears of your own imagining what can occur in the future.

The above list represents just a small sample of the ways being a caregiver can affect your mental health. If you already have a mild to moderate anxiety problem, being a caregiver may exacerbate it considerably.

 

How to Cope with Caregiver Anxiety

 

Anything you can do to feel calm, happy, and relaxed is a worthwhile coping strategy, provided it is both mentally and physically healthy. If you have a strategy that works for you, explore it.

The following are useful places to start when you’re looking for coping strategies:

 

 

Therapy

 

There’s a war going on between the pharmaceutical drug industry and the herbal supplement industry about who creates the safest and most effective ways to address anxiety and other mental health issues. But therapy is 100% safe and provides as many benefits. It is a long term anxiety reduction solution. Never be afraid to ask for help.

Recommended:  you can download an excellent free “Rapid Relief” audio here.

 

 

Support Groups

 

Most cities have caregiver support groups you can join. Others are going through the same anxiety you’re going through and sharing in the same types of experiences. Surrounding yourself with people who know where you’re coming from can provide support, guidance, and coping strategies. This is a useful way to handle your own anxiety and may give you people beyond the support groups with whom to bond.

 

 

Spend Time With Friends

 

One of the issues many caregivers have is they are so mentally tired after caregiving that they cut themselves off from others. Unfortunately that is one of the worst things you can do. Social support you get from the people you care about is one of the most important and simple treatments available for anxiety. Force yourself to see those you care about. It will keep your mind off things like mortality and focused on important positive feelings and emotions.

 

 

Reduce Non-Caregiving Anxiety

 

In many ways, anxiety is an additive experience – if you have anxiety, and you experience more anxiety elsewhere, it is as though the anxiety has built upon itself, so you’re experiencing twice the anxiety you would normally. By combatting your non-caregiving anxiety (removing yourself from stressful friendships or relationships, employing daily relaxation techniques, etc.) you can reduce the caregiving anxiety.

 

Keeping Yourself Calm and Collected

 

Caregiving is clearly not just a type of labor. It is an emotional task that takes a great deal of energy. Yet to be a great caregiver, you also need to focus on your own mental health. The person you are caring for needs you to be happy, content, and on the top of your game. Find coping strategies that work for you and make sure that you’re treating your mental health with the importance it deserves.

About the Author: Ryan Rivera dealt with numerous anxiety issues of his own before recovering and enjoying a happy life with his friends and family. He provides information on anxiety related issues and treatments for anxiety.

 

Recommended: You can download an excellent free “Rapid Relief” audio here.

 

  • Take the ‘Rapid Relief’ audio with you wherever you tend to get anxious be it driving, flying, shopping or at work.
  • Learn how to overcome anxious feelings in seconds.
  • Feel immediate relief from anxiety and panic attacks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Help for Anxiety in the Elderly

 

 

As many as one quarter of all people experience anxiety to an unhealthy extent, and older people can be at particular risk.

Seniors may experience more troublesome anxiety than other age groups for several reasons: they experience more losses, suffer from more pain and chronic conditions, are often on multiple medications that might exacerbate anxiety, and have confounding ailments such as Alzheimer’s disease or depression.

 

 

We all experience anxiety from time to time, some of which is normal and even productive. However, when anxiety becomes disruptive and disabling to a person’s life, it’s considered to be an unhealthy psychiatric disorder.

Some experts suggest that in general anxiety is equally prevalent in all adult age groups but perhaps is less often reported by seniors, and not as accurately diagnosed and treated as in younger people. A large study published in theAmerican Journal of Psychiatry(1998, A. Beekman) found that 10 percent of adults 55 to 85 years of age had elderly anxiety disorders-the same prevalence as for other age groups.

 

Don’t Dismiss Excessive Worrying Out of Hand

 

Sally had mid-stage Alzheimer’s disease and was living alone in her own home, near her daughter June, who looked in on her frequently and helped manage the groceries, cooking, transportation, and such. Neither wanted to live with the other, and since Sally still had much intact long-term memory, she was able to manage quite well in her beloved home that she still knew so well.

The mother started complaining that the house next door had been invaded by aliens. Odd lights and noises disturbed her sleep and filled her with a feeling of dread. The daughter, familiar with the neighborhood, asked around, and sure enough, the family across the street had thought there was something odd going on. June contacted the police, who had also had some reports about the house. The police watched it more closely and eventually raided the house and closed down a methamphetamine lab.

Sally had been right! Indeed bad things were happening next door and once the house was closed down, her anxiety abated. So if your loved one seems unduly anxious, don’t be too quick to discount their fears as “all in their head.” Perhaps there is a real reason behind their anxiety.

Major Types of Elderly Anxiety Disorders in Older People

 

  • Acute Stress Disorder: Anxiety and behavioral disturbances that develop within the first month after exposure to an extreme trauma.
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Symptoms of acute stress disorder that persist for more than one month.
  • Panic Attacks: A sudden, unpredictable, intense, illogical fear and dread.
  • Social Anxiety: A preoccupation with how a person is viewed by others.
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): A pattern of excessive worrying over simple, everyday occurrences and events.
  • Phobias: Irrational fear of situations such as heights, or fear of objects, such as snakes.
  • Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD): A pattern of intrusive thoughts that assault the mind and produce extreme anxiety that can only be mitigated by an action, such as hand washing in a ritualistic way.

 

The latter two are perhaps less common in older people, because they can and often are successfully treated in youth or middle age. Few long-term studies track elderly anxiety disorders, so there is little information on how these problems vary with age.

It is important to recognize that anxiety disorders are not because of some moral weakness or lack of character, but a genuine biochemical disturbance. There also appears to be a genetic predisposition. A recent study of identical twins found that if one twin had a generalized anxiety disorder, there was a 50 percent chance that the other twin would as well.

 

Recommended:  you can download an excellent free “Rapid Relief” audio here.

 

Acute & Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

 

Rebecca’s mother screamed frantically when the aides in the nursing home tried to give her a shower. Regardless of how kind, gentle, or persuasive the caregiver was, she began yelling and sobbing hysterically when brought to the bright, white, shower room, where the aide attempted to remove her clothes.

The social worker spent an hour talking to the woman and determined that she had been raped in the high school gym shower room as a teenager. The staff changed the bathing routine to a quiet, homey room with a bath tub and soft lights and music. Bathing was no longer a battle.

Acute stress disorder develops within the first month after exposure to an extreme trauma. Symptoms include: repeatedly experiencing the trauma in images, thoughts, dreams, or flashbacks; extreme distress when exposed to cues that remind the person of the trauma; avoidance of reminders of the trauma; a numbing of emotions; and symptoms of agitation, arousal, insomnia, anger, irritability, and inability to concentrate.

When these symptoms persist for longer than a month, the anxiety is diagnosed as PTSD.

Often the elderly did not receive therapy for traumatic events such as rape, abuse, torture, or war. Until a trigger such as the shower situation or dementia-which can disinhibit protective behaviors-these older people have never expressed their emotional pain and horror.

The woman in the dementia care unit screaming may be a Holocaust survivor. The man who panics at the sight of the Asian face of his well-meaning caregiver may have been a prisoner of war. They may be re-experiencing horrifying events in their mind’s eye over and over again. Reasoning with people who have these issues is not effective. Nor is simply demanding that someone toughen up and “get over it.”

 

Panic Attacks

 

Margaret, a 74-year old widow, volunteered twice a week at a senior center a half-hour drive from her house, which she found very satisfying. It kept her in touch with friends, gave her a chance to contribute and feel productive, and she enjoyed the hot lunch in a social atmosphere.

 

One day, while crossing the bridge over a large river between her home and the senior center, she experienced a horrendous feeling of dread. Her heart pounded and her hands began to shake. She thought perhaps she was having a heart attack.

As soon as she got over the bridge she pulled over, sweating and weak. After a few moments, the feeling passed.

She drove herself to an urgent care clinic and the doctor there could find nothing wrong. She met with her primary care physician a few days later-he assured her that she was fine. The next week, driving over the high bridge, she didn’t experience another attack, but felt nervous and worried that it would happen again.

She tracked down the social worker at the senior center and described the experience. The social worker asked, “Do you think that it might have been a panic attack?” After discussing what comprised a panic attack, they agreed that one had occurred.

Margaret drove home, comforted by the diagnosis and the knowledge that not only might it never occur again, but if it did it would quickly pass. She never had another panic attack.

It is normal to feel panic at a terrifying event such as an earthquake or car crash. But people with a panic disorder may experience horrific terror with no discernable trigger or cause. For some minutes they experience intense and overpowering feelings of fear that leave the sufferers helpless. Physical symptoms may include fainting, dizziness, heart palpitations, sweating, and or difficulty breathing.

A panic attack can come once in a person’s lifetime or frequently. Attacks can begin at any age and are twice as common in women. There is a genetic pre-disposition. If one identical twin has this disorder, there is a more than 80 percent chance that the other will.

 

Here’s how to help someone who is having a panic attack:

  • Be calm and gentle
  • Go together to a safe, quiet place where he or she can sit or lie down
  • Help the person slow down breathing by slowly inhaling and exhaling together
  • Use imagery such as, “We are lying in the warm shade of a beautiful, tropical beach, listening to the gentle murmur of the waves”

 

Learning relaxation techniques through yoga, meditation, prayer, or bio-feedback can be very helpful in preventing future panic attacks.

 

Recommended:  you can download an excellent free “Rapid Relief” audio here.

 

 

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

 

GAD is common-as many as 5 percent of the population experiences this disorder during their lifetime. There appears to be a genetic component. If one identical twin is diagnosed with GAD, the chances are 50 percent that the other twin will too. However, in non-identical twins, the chance is only 15 percent.

People with GAD tend to be pessimists who expect the worse, and often interpret everyday mishaps as major disasters. Rather than seeing the glass as half full; it must be half empty. Simple setbacks such as a dented fender are exaggerated out of proportion and cause the person far more pain than such minor events would normally merit.

GAD is often a chronic condition, with negative events exacerbating the disease. Perhaps half the people with GAD are clinically depressed and there is a tendency to attempt to self-medicate with overuse of alcohol, over-the-counter and illegal drugs, and prescription medications. Most people with GAD know they shouldn’t worry so much, but are powerless to change their thinking.

Symptoms include tight muscles, back pain, or headaches for which a physician can find no biological cause. People with GAD often feel restless, on edge, and are easily startled. Chronic anxiety can cause the body to feel tired, exhausted, or fatigued, all of which are made worse by the insomnia associated with GAD.

Social Anxiety Disorder

 

Many of us feel uneasy meeting strangers or speaking in public. But people with social anxiety disorder are so terrified of social situations that they withdraw and refuse many social occasions. This problem may be exacerbated in older people because of hearing impairment, issues with incontinence, or embarrassment over using a walker or wheelchair.

Social anxiety occurs in perhaps 10 to 20 percent of the population and is the third most common psychiatric disorder, after substance abuse and depression. It can cause an increased spiral of isolation and inability to interact socially.

Treatment

 

All of these elderly anxiety disorders usually respond well to a combination of talk therapy and medication. While prescription drugs should be used with caution in the elderly, and often at lower doses, there are now some particularly effective medications that a physician can prescribe such as Paxil®, Prozac®, and Zoloft®.

Numerous studies have indicated that for a medication to be most effective, the patient should also be meeting on a regular basis with a skilled counselor, therapist, or social worker. Other treatments effective for some people include meditation, biofeedback, massage, and acupuncture. 

 

Recommended: You can download an excellent free “Rapid Relief” audio here.

 

  • Take the ‘Rapid Relief’ audio with you wherever you tend to get anxious be it driving, flying, shopping or at work.
  • Learn how to overcome anxious feelings in seconds.
  • Feel immediate relief from anxiety and panic attacks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may also be interested in:

Get the Right Testing for Dementia

Caregivers Can Help With Aphasia

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