Meditation for mor than just you.. #depression

Now I know that depression has affected a lot more than just me…

Meditation is not only about taking time for yourself, it is also for the people around you.

I’ll let you dwell on this gem from the guys at headspace.com without guidance…

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A Time for ‘Me-Time’ #depression

Today’s little insight rings so true to me…

‘Me-time’ is with us wherever we go. The only thing that gets in the way of ‘me-time’ is wanting to be some place else.

More wise words from the guys at Headspace.com. As a busy fidget-arse I have to work really hard to stop being ‘productive’.

If it isn’t the daily grind of work occupying my mind … it is all the other creative or energetic things I am wanting to do that occupy my thoughts. All those ideas that get my toes twitching. My bottom feels uncomfortable being still. I have a need, a real need, to get up. It is as if I have been indoctrinated to be active all the walking day. When my being stops, coming to rest it feels wrong.

‘A time to stand (or sit) and stare’ rings so true in today’s hectic lives. We are told that ‘productivity’ is best. This can be true. At what cost to the individual though?

I have to force myself to sit. To become still and not lose sight of the here and now!

When was the last time you truly sat, stood or lay still, wide awake, and stilled your beating heart. Letting your mind drift.

From these moments my sweetest thoughts and ideas issue forth…

Knowing my own mind – fighting #depression

A fascinating concept this one… imagine the depths and possibilities! A true voyage of amazing discovery.

To know the mind of another his interesting… but to know one’s own mind, is nothing short of life changing.

The folks at headspace.com really know how to challenge our perceptions.

Do you know your own mind?

I’m very much still on the lower slopes of my adventure!

Meditation beginnings – fighting #depression

Over the past four years I have found meditation and mindfulness to be a real and useful weapon in my fight against depression.

So for those of you who are unsure …

Beginning meditation is like looking into a mirror. Maybe we like what we see, maybe we don’t. Either way, no use in arguing with the reflection.

Very much my experience so far.

It is hard to look at ourselves objectively and fairly. Probably impossibly hard.

What we can do though is take what we discover and work with it.

As the folks at headspace.com above hint at. Meditation is an aid on our own personal journey.

It helps us keep things real and hopefully objective.

Finding OR Creating #depression

Life isn’t about finding yourself.

Life is about creating yourself.

George Bernard Shaw

Dangerous Dreamers #Depression

All men dream, but not equally.

Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity:

But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.

T. E. Lawrence

Scientists discover brain mechanism to prevent unwanted thoughts

Scientists have developed a mechanism to prevent individuals from remembering traumatic events.

The mechanism could be used to develop treatments for people suffering from disorders such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorders.

The research, which was carried out by academics at the University of Cambridge, involved studying the mechanism in the brain used to retrieve unwanted thoughts.

Professor Michael Anderson, a researcher who worked on the study explained that as humans “our ability to control our thoughts is fundamental to our wellbeing.”

He said that when this ability “breaks down” we can develop “psychiatric diseases” these can include “intrusive memories, images, hallucinations, ruminations, and pathological and persistent worries.”

The way that thought recall works is that a region in the front of our brain called the prefrontal cortex acts as a regulator between other brain regions.

As part of the study the researchers used a ‘Think/No-think’ procedure to assess the brain process used that allows the prefrontal cortex to control our thoughts.

During the Think/No-think task, participants were shown a series of words and told to associate them with another series of totally unrelated words – an example being moss/north.

In the next stage of the task, participants were asked to recall words when they saw a green cue and supress it if the cue was red.

By using an MRI scan, researchers were able to determine what parts of the brain were used in order to inhibit thoughts.

Scientists discovered that a chemical in the neuro transmitters in the brain known as GABA allow messages to pass between cells.

Scientists revealed that GABA concentrations within the key area of the brain involved in memory known as the hippocampus, predicts people’s ability to block memories.

Professor Anderson explained: “What’s exciting about this is that now we’re getting very specific.

“Before, we could only say ‘this part of the brain acts on that part’, but now we can say which neurotransmitters are likely important – and as a result, infer the role of inhibitory neurons – in enabling us to stop unwanted thoughts.

“Where previous research has focused on the prefrontal cortex – the command centre – we’ve shown that this is an incomplete picture.

“Inhibiting unwanted thoughts is as much about the cells within the hippocampus – the ‘boots on the ground’ that receive commands from the prefrontal cortex.”

Studies have shown that people who have PTSD, anxiety and chronic depression have higher levels of activity in the hippocampus.

Professor Anderson said that so far in their research “most of the focus has been on improving functioning of the prefrontal cortex.”

However she said that the latest study “suggests that if you could improve GABA activity within the hippocampus, this may help people to stop unwanted and intrusive thoughts.”

Therefore discoveries found in the latest research could be used to help treat individuals suffering from psychiatric diseases.

A psychiatrist explains how seeing problems in the brain makes stigma disappear

As a psychiatrist, I find that one of the hardest parts of my job is telling parents and their children that they are not to blame for their illness.

Children with emotional and behavioral problems continue to suffer considerable stigma. Many in the medical community refer to them as “diagnostic and therapeutic orphans.”

Unfortunately, for many, access to high-quality mental health care remains elusive.

An accurate diagnosis is the best way to tell whether or not someone will respond well to treatment, though that can be far more complicated than it sounds.

I have written three textbooks about using medication in children and adolescents with emotional and behavioral problems. I know that this is never a decision to take lightly.

But there’s reason for hope. While not medically able to diagnose any psychiatric condition, dramatic advances in brain imaging, genetics and other technologies are helping us objectively identify mental illness.

Knowing the signs of sadness

All of us experience occasional sadness and anxiety, but persistent problems may be a sign of a deeper issue. Ongoing issues with sleeping, eating, weight, school and pathologic self-doubt may be signs of depression, anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Separating out normal behavior from problematic behavior can be challenging. Emotional and behavior problems can also vary with age. For example, depression in pre-adolescent children occurs equally in boys and girls. During adolescence, however, depression rates increase much more dramatically in girls than in boys.

It can be very hard for people to accept that they – or their family member – are not to blame for their mental illness. That’s partly because there are no current objective markers of psychiatric illness, making it difficult to pin down. Imagine diagnosing and treating cancer based on history alone. Inconceivable! But that is exactly what mental health professionals do every day. This can make it harder for parents and their children to accept that they don’t have control over the situation.

Fortunately, there are now excellent online tools that can help parents and their children screen for common mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, panic disorder and more.

Most important of all is making sure your child is assessed by a licensed mental health professional experienced in diagnosing and treating children. This is particularly important when medications that affect the child’s brain are being considered.

Seeing the problem

Thanks to recent developments in genetics, neuroimaging and the science of mental health, it’s becoming easier to characterize patients. New technologies may also make it easier to predict who is more likely to respond to a particular treatment or experience side effects from medication.

Our laboratory has used brain MRI studies to help unlock the underlying anatomy, chemistry and physiology underlying OCD. This repetitive, ritualistic illness – while sometimes used among laypeople to describe someone who is uptight – is actually a serious and often devastating behavioral illness that can paralyze children and their families.

Through sophisticated, high-field brain imaging techniques – such as fMRI and magnetic resonance spectroscopy – that have become available recently, we can actually measure the child brain to see malfunctioning areas.

We have found, for example, that children 8 to 19 years old with OCD never get the “all clear signal” from a part of the brain called the anterior cingulate cortex. This signal is essential to feeling safe and secure. That’s why, for example, people with OCD may continue checking that the door is locked or repeatedly wash their hands. They have striking brain abnormalities that appear to normalize with effective treatment.

We have also begun a pilot study with a pair of identical twins. One has OCD and the other does not. We found brain abnormalities in the affected twin, but not in the unaffected twin. Further study is clearly warranted, but the results fit the pattern we have found in larger studies of children with OCD before and after treatment as compared to children without OCD.

Exciting brain MRI and genetic findings are also being reported in childhood depression, non-OCD anxiety, bipolar disorder, ADHD and schizophrenia, among others.

Meanwhile, the field of psychiatry continues to grow. For example, new techniques may soon be able to identify children at increased genetic risk for psychiatric illnesses such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

New, more sophisticated brain imaging and genetics technology actually allows doctors and scientists to see what is going on in a child’s brain and genes. For example, by using MRI, our laboratory discovered that the brain chemical glutamate, which serves as the brain’s “light switch,” plays a critical role in childhood OCD.

What a scan means

When I show families their child’s MRI brain scans, they often tell me they are relieved and reassured to “be able to see it.”

Children with mental illness continue to face enormous stigma. Often when they are hospitalized, families are frightened that others may find out. They may hesitate to let schools, employers or coaches know about a child’s mental illness. They often fear that other parents will not want to let their children spend too much time with a child who has been labeled mentally ill. Terms like “psycho” or “going mental” remain part of our everyday language.

The example I like to give is epilepsy. Epilepsy once had all the stigma that mental illness today has. In the Middle Ages, one was considered to be possessed by the devil. Then, more advanced thinking said that people with epilepsy were crazy. Who else would shake all over their body or urinate and defecate on themselves but a crazy person? Many patients with epilepsy were locked in lunatic asylums.

Then in 1924, psychiatrist Hans Berger discovered something called the electroencephalogram (EEG). This showed that epilepsy was caused by electrical abnormalities in the brain. The specific location of these abnormalities dictated not only the diagnosis but the appropriate treatment.

That is the goal of modern biological psychiatry: to unlock the mysteries of the brain’s chemistry, physiology and structure. This can help better diagnose and precisely treat childhood onset mental illness. Knowledge heals, informs and defeats ignorance and stigma every time.

By David Rosenberg, Professor, Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Wayne State University

Read the full article here: A psychiatrist explains how seeing problems in the brain makes stigma disappear – PsyPost

Did you know it was World Mental Health Day on the 10th October?

Slipped past me!

Did you know it was happening?

What did you do to mark the day?

 

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