Articles on mental

7 Steps You Can Take for Mental Well-Being

Akshata Bhat, Psychiatrist
Take care of yourselfAs simple as it may sound, the mere act of taking care of you is the first step to good mental health. Eat healthy, exercise and get adequate sleep every day. These are the building blocks to good physical health, which translate into mental well-being.Prioritize It is not possible to do everything. The constant effort to do so creates unrealistic expectations. It eventually results in disappointment. Life is too short to waste on unnecessary things, so figure out what your priorities are and focus on them.Invest in yourselfEnvision yourself as a company set up and funded by you. Whatever you invest, you will get the returns accordingly. Give yourself the best; whether it is moral support, top notch grooming or courses to equip you with skills in the field of your choice. Hold nothing back when it comes to you.Let it goHolding on to anything, be it anger, pain, jealousy, failing relationships, dead end jobs or toxic friends will only bring you unhappiness. Let it go. Cut the cord. Break the cycle. Letting go will make you receptive to newer and better opportunities in your life.Take a breakGetting caught up in the daily grind leave you with little time for yourself. Your mind and body need to recharge from time to time. Take time out for yourself everyday to do something you enjoy. ‘Me’ time will help you relax, and motivate you to meet your daily challenges.Be ridiculousLaughing helps to reduce stress and is an instant mood elevator. Having a good sense of humor helps you see the bright side in difficult situations. It makes you optimistic and hopeful. Humor is also a very attractive quality, and it will draw people towards you.Ask for helpOften people feel that asking for help is a sign of weakness; or that by doing so, it lowers your prestige. Thus, even in very tough times, we tend not to ask for help and try to handle everything by ourselves. The truth is that it takes immense courage to admit that you need help, and there is nothing wrong in asking for it.

Today Is Mental Health day.use Intuitions and 6th Sense.

Dr. Neelam Nath Bhatia, General Physician
There is No person with 100% correct mental /physical health. Every test carried out in blood has a range. A person is labeled diseased only if the limits exceed normal range or fall below the rangeThere are 3 types of personalities according to Ayurveda.Type A is like Air , Flighty ,always on the go , multitasking ,and result oriented. Type A need not be physically active all the time to achieve their goals. A racing mind is also associated with type A personality. Creative people ,leaders , intellectuals are Type A and the world is dependent on Type A types because They are the Leaders.Type B is like Water, flowy but slowly , working but without much strain on body or mind & We can call them Cool !Type C is like Earth , steady, accepting , not keen or adventerous ,dependent ,ready to please or get pleased.It is a colorful world consisting of all of the 3 types of people.Be Careful of manipulative people who can read the mind and trap the person , knowing well his/her vulnerabilities , exploit them and label the supposedly 'weak ' person as Mad.Remember the programme- Kamzor Kadi Kaun ? ( Who is the Weakest in the link ?)Bottled up Stress can make any normal human behave like Mad.Every Mental Illness does not require Medicines . A good counsellor can do a wonderful job.Who is a good counsellor? An MD doctor, An MA Psychology or an elder in the family or a close friend?It can be any of the above. I am sure one retains some of 6th sense / intuition to know about whom to confide without getting exploited More to get really Mad.Stay away from medicines for anxiety if possible.If none of the above is available as in our country Mental Disease is still a tag , unlike other physical diseases like heart and lung disease or the ones the person is borne with.Start writing a diary about positives and negatives that has happened in life so far. Write a page daily. It is like cleansing our souls. Give a pat to self for good job done daily and a slap for being bad and nasty.One has to maintain both Physical and Mental Health & we take care of physical health by going for a walk /exercising /eating the right food etc. Similarly Mental Health needs to be Protected by each one of us through our own ways.Know yourself before knowing others and analyse self before being Judgemental.Social isolation can increase the risk of both cardiac and mental illness and sometimes it can be a Deliberate attempt to Isolate Seniors of family for Selfish purposes. Do Not Yield in. Remain connected with like minded people and do contribute to society like volunteering,mentoring,joining a civic club or scheduling outings with friends.Medicines should be the last resort of cure of mental disease for a person of any age, a mother can read her child and analyse the demands,adult child of same mother can be able to read the mind of mother. Never mind if child is settled well far away.Dementia or forgetfulness are 1st stages of routine mental illnesses and these are preventable by just doing simple Self Analysis.

Mental illness, Time to Talk About It!

Dr. Anamay K. Bidwai, General Physician
Today is mental illness day.Incidences of mental illness are going up in India, a recent study shows that every fourth Indian might be having some symptom or might have had some symptoms like depression, anxiety, panic attacks, phobias etc.The reason for increase in the number of patients with mental illness is change in life style, increasing day to day stress, break down of joint family structure resulting in less moral support.Another reason is increasing awareness about mental illness, more and more people are coming out to get treated, more and more are being diagnosed, so those who were hiding their disease and suffering in silence are now getting treatment and enjoying better quality of life.Mental illness has been the taboo associated with it, time has come that we understand that brain too is an organ like any other organ like heart, liver or kidney.So if heart, liver, kidney can develop malfunction why not brain? Like other organs brain too might have some problem, like heart, liver, kidney diseases, even brain can be treated with medicines and other measures.There is nothing wrong if you have depression or anxiety, talk to your family members or close friends about it, see a psychiatrist, if you neglect your problem it will only increase with time.There was a time when any one who went to a psychiatrist was considered " pagal" or " mad", it is not so any more, we must remove the taboo created around mental illness and accept it as any other health issue.Many great people who had mental health issues like schizophrenia, dyslexia, autism, bipolar disorder, organic depression have gone on to win noble prizes, have made great inventions, gone to become heads of states, all this because they got treated in time, used their will power to come over the problem and made best use of their potential.If you suffer from loss of sleep, unexplained loss of weight, loss of apatite, urge to remain alone all time, loss of interest in work, loss of interest in sex, mood swings, anxiety of going to crowded places, lethargy, unwillingness to meet new people, you must see a doctor and seek advice.It is always very important to have a person with you during the steps of treatment, it may be your wife, mother, father, close friend or some one you trust. Today, lets resolve  not to treat mental illness as taboo, lets open up and understand that a person with mental illness can be treated, with treatment he/she can enjoy a good quality of life and contribute positively to family and community.

6 Ways to Maintain Your Everyday Mental Health

Dr. Mehak Nagpal, Psychiatrist
When we feel physically unwell, most of us visit the doctor. But many of even when we feel we are in the wrong frame of mind, have bad moods, feel sick of ourselves,etc. we simply get on with life, not really being aware of the effects our behaviour and thoughts might be having on our general sense of wellbeing. With that in mind, here are six steps aimed at keeping you in top psychological condition. These are the areas that are important for building self-confidence and living a life that is not thwarted by anxiety or low moods. Where to focus your efforts and to seek help if that doesn't work. Work on accepting your situation: Accept what you don't like in your life. That doesn't mean you can't try to change it, but acceptance helps everything feel far more bearable as you work towards a happier situation.Be nice to yourself: Every human deserves the same kindness, love and understanding, even you.Make the effort to stay fit: There exists a definite link between mind and body. Your ability to cope with life is improved by a nutritious diet and a regular exercise programme.Connect with others: Lonely people are at greater risk for immune and cardiovascular system disorders, and sleep is often more of a problem for people affected by loneliness. Making connections with new people as well as tending to family ties is extremely important.Take time out for yourself: Work out what truly interests you and make sure it is a genuine decision, not one forced by anyone else's desires or limitations.Stay organised so you have to worry less.

Mental Health Care for New Mothers

Ms. Pallavi Tomar, Psychologist
Arrival of a baby is supposed to be one of the happiest and joyous experiences in a mother’s life. However, some women may experience postpartum disorders following childbirth that may deeply affect their mental health and well-being, in turn also affecting the care of the baby. Having a baby is a significant life change and for many new mothers the lack of sleep and fatigue may take its toll on them. Many new mothers experience what is commonly known as ‘postpartum/ baby blues’. These are mood swings the new mother experiences as a result of hormonal fluctuations post childbirth. Postpartum blues are very common and may be experienced by majority of women. The onset of postpartum blues usually occurs a few days after delivery and should begin to subside as hormone levels stabilise in a weeks’ time. Simple ways in which postpartum blues can be managed:Ensuring a somewhat fixed schedule every day.Help from the partner or other family members. Making sure the new mother gets adequate rest and sleep. Diet must be adequately nutritious.Making sure the new parents get some time to themselves to relax and unwind. Spending time together is also important to reconnect and share feelings.Exercise is effective in uplifting mood. Easing back into some physical fitness routine would be immensely helpful.However, a few new mothers may develop more serious concerns such as peripartum and postpartum depression, anxiety or even psychosis. Hence, it is imperative for new mothers, their partners and care takers to also pay attention to their mental health and feelings of well-being. Peripartum refers to those mood symptoms that occur during pregnancy and postpartum are those that may develop in 4 weeks following delivery. If a person continues to experience mood swings or feelings of depression for more than two weeks post childbirth, the problem may be more serious and special attention must be paid. Signs and symptoms of Postpartum Depression and Anxiety to look out for:The symptoms of postpartum depression are the same as clinical depression, involving persistent low mood, decrease in interest, excessive fatigue and lethargy, crying spells, feeling helpless and inadequate, loss of appetite and sleep, increased irritability, anxiety and panic attacks, intense worry about the child or lack of concern. In rare cases, some women may also experience Postpartum Psychosis. A few signs and symptoms to look out for are:Postpartum psychosis involves presence of psychotic symptoms post childbirth. Women experiencing these symptoms may develop strange beliefs or ideas without any basis, they may hear or see things that are not really there (hallucinations), may become suspicious and paranoid and fear harm from others, they may experience rapid mood swings involving euphoric mood with overactivity to high irritability and anger, may feel disorganised, may have decreased need or inability to sleep. If you or a new mother you know are experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to get help. Both these conditions require intervention by a mental health specialist and hence the patient and their families/friends should seek help immediately. These conditions can be managed well with proper treatment and care.

No Health Without Mental Health - Clinical Case

Dr. Amitabha Mukerji, Psychiatrist
This is the story of a 33 year old woman who was brought into the emergency room by her husband who found her to be undergoing what he described as “another cycle of depression”. She was a mother of two children and a stock analyst. Her husband noted that for the last 10 days she had no sleep and was moved to tears easily. He had also noticed that she had been reacting negatively to almost anything with the slightest provocation. Such “dark” periods had been occurring ever since the husband had known her, but its frequency had increased to six episodes in the past year alone. Each time, a few weeks after taking medicines, the woman would appear better. But during such phases, she would also have a tendency to consume alcohol and sleeping pills which seemed to worsen her symptoms.Recently, the husband was surprised to find his wife taking decisions and committing acts which were not only potentially risky but also contradictory to the woman’s innate nature. She had been actively working on risky ventures while neglecting her children and responsibilities at work, as she thought that her endeavours would make them very rich.Since her college days, the woman had been having phases of sadness interspersed with recurrent spells of sleeplessness, hyper alertness and unusually rapid speech. This had started right after her alcoholic father, whom she was very close to, had committed suicide. Her paternal grand-mother was also known to have suffered from “nervous breakdowns”.In the past, she had consulted a psychiatrist when she experienced a low phase and tried anti-depressant medication, as well as psychotherapy, but the fluctuations in her mood were deteriorating. A part of this could be because the woman was irregular in her visits to the doctor and in following the treatment advice. She would only visit her doctor during the low phases but never during the times of sleeplessness, irritability and restlessness which allowed her doctor limited scope evaluation and a lack of holistic view.During evaluation in the emergency room, the woman’s mood was angry and she was restless. She declared she was fine and wanted to be excused so that she could go home and attend to urgent work. She mentioned that she had the special ability to make predictions regarding the stock market suggesting inflated self-esteem, typically seen during an excited phase. Although she admitted that she was not getting any sleep, she denied that it was a “problem”. Her speech was rapid, pressured and difficult to interrupt. She refused to cooperate for any psychological testing and insisted that the whole thing was a miscommunication. Does this case seem to require a more detailed evaluation?i) Have you seen this kind of person around you?ii) What you think about it? Is it a psychiatric problem which needs treatment?iii) Is it a normal variation of mood and behaviour?iv) Possible diagnosis?

Psychiatry and Mental Health Related Myths Busted !

Dr. Darpan Kaur, Psychiatrist
Psychiatry is a branch of medical science that deals with the treatment of psychiatric disorders. Psychiatrists are specialist medical doctors who deal with treatment of psychiatric disorders. Delirium, Dementia, Schizophrenia, Substance dependence, Bipolar Affective Disorder, Psychosis, Depression, Anxiety Disorders , Stress and Somatoform disorders, Personality disorders, Sleep disorders, Eating disorders, Sexual Dysfunctions, etc are classified under the DSM and ICD  classificatory systems in Psychiatric disorders. Despite modern advances in psychiatry globally and nationally in research and clinical care, there still exists lack of knowledge, misconceptions, stigma and discriminatory attitudes towards psychiatric disorders in the community. I have attempted to write this psycho-educative  perspective in form of myths and reality which I hope can be helpful in reducing stigma and creating awareness towards psychiatry and psychiatric disorders in the community.Myth 1: Only a mad person visits a psychiatrist!Reality: This is a common myth held in certain societies that only mad people visit psychiatrists. Although it is true that psychiatrists do treat patients with certain chronic psychiatric illness who can  appear emotionally, behaviorally and socially abnormal in society, however a lot of mental health has moved towards positive preventive mental health as well . Psychiatrists nowadays, cater towards all groups of patients such as children, adolescents, adults, elderly, etc. for mental health problems. Exam stress, financial stress, family stressors, relationship stressors are very common nowadays and can occur to anyone. Stress can lead to depression, stress disorders, anxiety disorders, addictions, etc. It may be a prejudiced and negative view to hold that only mad people visit a psychiatrist. Consequences of long standing untreated mental health problems could be even worse, if one ignores mental health issues and does not seek professional help at the right time from mental health care professionals just because of the stigma attached to it. Myth 2: Psychiatry is an old outdated forsaken branch of medicine dealing with crazy people all the time!Reality: Psychiatry has really advanced with Neuropsychiatry, Addiction Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Consultation Liasion Psychiatry, Geriatric Psychiatry etc. are emerging as sub and super specialty clinical care.  Medically sick patients such as those with Cardiac Illness, Hypertension, Diabetes, Thyroid Dysfunction, Vitamin Deficiencies, Tuberculosis, Bronchial Asthma, IBS, Cancers, HIV AIDS, Epilepsies, etc can have psychiatric disorders because of their medical illness.  There has been a broadened scope of mental health where today mental health plays an important role along with one’s physical and cosmetic health. It may be incorrect to hold a negative stereotypic attitude in today’s world towards psychiatry as a field and psychiatric disorders at large in the face of global and national advances in research and clinical care in mental health!Myth 3: ECT( Electroconvulsive therapy) is given to all psychiatric patients regardless of their disorder! Reality: This myth that the common man can sometimes have could be because of lack of awareness or hearsay stuff from his friends or relatives or an unfortunate unintentional  depiction of such stuff which he may have come across  from other sources of information. Psychiatric treatment has evolved globally and nationally. There exists proper guidelines and protocols for giving ECT . Psychopharmacology, Psychotherapy, Counselling, Occupation therapy and Rehabilitation are all modalities of care in mental health.  ECT is a modality of treatment which has its own specific indications, advantages and disadvantages. ECT is certainly not given to each and every patient who presents to a psychiatrist for treatment.  It is reserved for its specific indication when needed and clinical expertise as per school of training with proper protocol followed.Myth 4: All that Psychiatrists do is to put their patients to sleep with medications! Reality: Psychiatrist do a detailed history taking, clinical examination, and then plan some tests and assessments and make a clinical impression of the patients problem from a psychiatric and psychological perspective. Psychiatrists prescribe medications and also, do counseling and psychotherapy to patients and their families. The Psychiatrist uses his best knowledge to treat the disorder as well as take care of side effects. In today's generation, most people are working and a steady job forms an important part of everyone’s life, hence the psychiatrist will preferably choose medications that give less or no sedation Although it is true that for a lot of psychiatric conditions like Schizophrenia, delirium, substance withdrawal, depression, anxiety disorders problems in falling asleep (insomnia) can be a part of the disorder or a chief complaint and certain medications do cause excess sleep, it is untrue that all that psychiatrists do is to put all patients to sleep. Nowadays, there are so many advances in psychopharmacology, psychotherapy, counseling, all of which holistically work towards helping patients recover. However, when there is a serious psychiatric disorder, certain medicines may be given which can cause excess sleep to help the patient recover from the serious problem in the best way possible as per guidelines and expertiseMyth 5: All Psychiatric medications have to be taken life long for all psychiatric disorders!Reality:  Different psychiatric disorders have different course and duration of treatment as per guidelines. It is incorrect to consider that all psychiatric medications have to be given life long for all psychiatric disorders. It depends on the expertise, guidelines, type of disorder, severity, relapses and there are well formed guidelines on duration of treatment and tapering and stopping the medications for the psychiatric disorders for holistic care of the patients. Myth 6 : All Psychiatric patients are dangerous and harmful!Reality:  Kindly note that many patients with psychiatric disorders can be the nicest, respectful and kindest people on earth. Society may wrongly judge them as being weird and misfitted . People can sometimes unknowingly hold discriminatory negative attitudes towards all patients with psychiatric disorders, because of lack of awareness and negative attitudes and tend to change their mindset only much later when they themselves or someone in their families gets affected with some problem. Remember depression, stress disorder, OCD, anxiety disorder, psychosis, delirium, addictions can happen to anyone anytime! Although a certain group of patients with psychiatric disorders can have some dangerous behaviors, it is untrue to hold a prejudice that all patients with psychiatric disorders are dangerous. However with proper treatment consisting of psychopharmacology, psychotherapy, family therapy, rehabilitation, outcomes may be improved holistically!Myth 7: If  someone is facing a psychiatric or psychological problem, it is failure of their will power!Reality: It is sad that when  people blame a person suffering from a psychiatric disorder that it has happened to him only because of failure of his will power and that he was not strong enough, etc . There are many psychiatric disorders such as Schizophrenia, Bipolar Affective Disorder, Depression, Anxiety Disorders, OCD, etc which maybe due to chemical abnormality in their brain such as their neurotransmitter systems and there maybe absolutely no role of will power failure in that. It would be incorrect to blame the person for something which may not be totally in their control!Myth 8: If someone is facing a psychiatric problem, they and their family must feel ashamed and hide it and feel stigmatized about it!Reality: In certain societies, because of misconception, the stigma can be very high! It is our duty to keep fighting the stigma!  There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of if you or your family member suffer from a psychiatric disorder. Nowadays, there are many support groups available online consisting of patients and caregivers. Kindly do not let the stigma affect you!Myth 9: If your friend or relative  is having some psychiatric problem, one must avoid them and stay away from them!Reality: If you genuinely care for your friend, you must help your friend and be there for them always irrespective of them having a psychiatric problem or not. Infact, your friend or relative may need your support and care and friendship even more when he or she is depressed, anxious or fearful. You must help them recover better by including them in your conversations, valuing their opinions, emotions and thoughts and avoid judging them as they are also a part of the same world that you live in!Myth 10 : If your friend is having a psychiatric problem, its okay to make fun of them and crack jokes on them even when u know it is a problem.Reality: Its often sad that some people make fun of patients with psychiatric problems and make jokes on them and their behaviors. Certain psychiatric illness can have associated deficits and disabilities in their speech, social behavior, emotions, intellect, etc. Certain disorders can have certain disability in social life, educational and occupational life. It would be wrong to make fun of them as they too have their dignity! One must give them their deserved respect and dignity in our family and work towards rehabilitating them in society!

7 Do's & Dont's to Improve Your Mental Well-Being

Dr. Zia Nadeem, Psychiatrist
Almost daily we hear or read about the importance of maintaining our physical health. There is abundant advice available, concerning food, exercise and maintaining a healthy lifestyle etc. What we do not hear often are the values or virtues of maintaining our mental health.What is mental health and its well being? Mental health is a broad term that includes anything to do with our mind – the seat of behaviour, emotions, and thinking. Mental well being is simply when all the previously mentioned characteristics seated in the mind are working in tandem,or in harmony. It is also sometimes known as mental hygiene. When we behave well, when we think positively and when we experience and express good and positive emotions -  then it is our mental well being achieved. This also leads to having a fuller and more satisfying physical health, i.e. A Healthy Mind in A Healthy Body. So how do we then look after our emotions, behaviour and thinking? The following are some Do’s & Dont’s that will help us improve our mental well being. This list is not exhaustive, but by practising even some of the tips, our lives will become richer, happier and more satisfying.Do’s:Organize you life - start by organizing every single day. Remove clutter from your home, cupboards, tables, your work space and more importantly - your mind. You will find an amazing change within a few days.Identify your strengths as well as weaknesses - and break the journey towards your goal into several doable chunks, and take one step at a time.Accept and value yourself for what you are. Determine and live your personal values.Eat well, sleep well, exercise and look after your physical health. People don't challenge dead horses.Develop some interests or hobbies in life - at times loosen yourself and enjoy life. Its a beautiful gift that Almighty has given you, hence celebrate it.Take time out for meditation and prayer regularly. It helps you focus on your inner self.Practice GRATITUDE. It is the ultimate feeling. Dont’s:Don't remain idle. Make lots of friends, spend time with your family - both give you joy and help you keep mentally stable.Don't become complacent. Take risks, think out of the box.Don't fish for praise or compliments all the time. Your happiness should not depend on hollow words of praise.Don't hate anybody. This is the darkest of emotions, and the deadliest.Don't compare yourself with others. Remember, in the whole wide world, there is only one YOU.Don't get angry or upset easily. It takes the focus away from your goals.Don't blame yourself unnecessarily. Some people have the habit of blaming themselves for everything happening around them. How can you be responsible for floods, tsunami and typhoon?