What to Know About Antidepressant Withdrawal

Most people are aware that there will be a period of withdrawal when someone stops taking certain drugs, such as painkillers, or more serious substances like cocaine and heroin. However, some people don’t realize that there may be a possibility of antidepressant withdrawal when a person stops taking their prescribed medication. If this happens, does that mean that the person was addicted to the antidepressant?

 

If a person has taken antidepressants for a number of weeks, then there is a possibility of withdrawal if they abruptly stop taking the medication. These symptoms, called antidepressant discontinuation syndrome, can last for a couple of days up to a few weeks. Certain types of antidepressants are also more likely to cause a user to experience withdrawal symptoms.

 

The following symptoms may occur within one to two days after a person stops taking their antidepressants:

 

  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Muscle aches
  • Chills
  • Insomnia
  • Vivid dreams
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Electric shock sensations
  • Nausea

 

An individual may also often see a return in their depression symptoms after stopping their antidepressants cold turkey.

 

While withdrawal symptoms are common for someone who has stopped taking antidepressants, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they were addicted to the medication in the first place. Long-term chemical changes occur in the brain of an addict, characterized by very intense and uncontrollable cravings. These cravings can make it difficult to control the use of addictive substances. However, antidepressants do not cause these changes.

 

A doctor can help an individual minimize the risk of withdrawal from antidepressants. They will likely recommend a slow taper of the medication. As the person reduces the dosage of their antidepressant over the course of several weeks or more, their body begins to gradually adapt to not having the medication in its system.

 

Some doctors also prescribe different types of antidepressants or medications for short-term assistance. These will help the body adjust to the absence of the other medication. In the case of a patient switching from one brand of antidepressant to another, their doctor might simply start them off at the equivalent dose of their previous medication.

 

It can be hard to tell if the symptoms a person is feeling are returning depression symptoms or if they are withdrawal symptoms. Patients should always keep their doctor informed of their symptoms and feelings. If the depression returns, many doctors will recommend starting treatment again, either by prescribing the same antidepressant or offering a new brand.

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How to Declutter the Mind for Better Mental Health

Spring cleaning involves more than getting rid of unused property. The mind also has to be decluttered every once in a while. Otherwise, it’s difficult to mentally and physically function at an optimal level.

 

People who find themselves regularly suffering with anxiety or stress-related conditions should highly consider making some changes, including:

 

Trying something new.

Over time, people lose their natural desire to try new things. By going against the urge to avoid new experiences, it allows for more brain expansion and enhances overall wellness.

 

Getting some exercise.

Many people don’t know that exercising is just as important for brain health as it is for maintaining physical health. In fact, health experts suggest that regular exercise promotes brain growth and expands memory.

 

Best of all, this mental growth doesn’t require intense workouts. Something as simple as taking a walk or a bike ride can improve brain function. Aim for at least 30 minutes three times per week.

 

Don’t ignore circadian rhythms.

Stress can lead to trouble sleeping. When stress-related insomnia occurs, it interrupts the body’s natural sleep cycles, also known as circadian rhythms.

 

When circadian rhythms are off, it creates a downward spiral. Insomnia sufferers get very little sleep at night and subsequently don’t have enough fuel to properly handle their day-to-day tasks. In severe cases, fatigue can cause life-threatening conditions.

 

To avoid these harsh consequences and improve mental sharpness, take heed to these rhythms. Even if it means making an extra effort to fall asleep. Lavender aromatherapy, taking a warm bath, and even installing blackout curtains are major steps toward regulating circadian rhythms.

 

Make time to laugh.

How often do people under large amounts of stress take time to laugh? Laughter releases endorphins, which are the neurotransmitters responsible for alleviating pain and stress. Watching a funny movie or going to a comedy club are great ways to de-stress after a long day.

 

Life comes with many ups and downs, which can cause a roller coaster of emotions. When used on a regular basis, these mind-decluttering techniques improve mental and overall health. If stress and anxiety symptoms persist, speak to a healthcare professional immediately.

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The Importance of Self-Compassion

Whether a lack of compassion comes from a small failure or a major disappointment, people tend to be harder on themselves than other people. Over time, lack of compassion leads to further mental and emotional issues like anxiety, depression, and stress.

Therefore, people need to practice more self-compassion. Here is the list of self-compassion benefits and improvement techniques worth trying.

It’s a motivator.
People that criticize themselves usually talk themselves out of reaching their goals. Some people are harder on themselves due to years of being criticized as a child. By practicing self-compassion, it’s easier to accept flaws as motivation to improve rather than a reason to give up.

It improves overall health.
People often underestimate the impact of negativity on their health. Constant self-doubt triggers a person’s fight-or-flight response, which increases cortisol levels. Higher levels of cortisol, or the stress hormone, leads to serious illnesses. In severe cases, high levels of stress can be deadly.

With self-compassion, even difficult times don’t have such a negative impact on health. Actually, having compassion leads to adopting healthier coping mechanisms that would otherwise cause mental and emotional problems.

Ways to Practice Self-Compassion
Practicing self-compassion can be difficult at first. To become better at self-compassion, it’s best to do activities like:

Pretend to be a child.
People naturally treat children with compassion and love. Therefore, people should treat themselves with the compassion they’d show a child to change their perspective and better their chances of achieving their goals.

Write a letter.
Receiving encouraging letters from loved ones usually makes the recipient feel better. To get out of a funk, it’s a good idea to write a letter from a loved one’s perspective. Over time, people that write letters to themselves make self-compassion a habit.

Meditate
In difficult times, it’s a good idea to meditate. With closed eyes, taking deep breaths while thinking of positive mantras helps improve self-compassion.

While self-compassion doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a great way to live a healthier life. Eventually, these techniques help people learn their value, which allows them to form better relationships and overcome everyday setbacks.

Understanding Your Personality for Optimal Productivity

Flow or “the zone” is a state where a person’s physical and mental performance goes through the roof. A zone is also a place where people are absorbed in what they do, and time seems to fly. Flow is universal. People can train themselves to move into this space when certain conditions are met to make the state repeatable and reliable.Peoples’ personality contributes to their productivity. One cannot use another person’s system for productivity as personality varies from person to person. What works for one person for personal growth may not work for another. Organizations reach out to different personalities to increase productivity to find out the systems could not give them results.

Some personality traits that play an essential role in optimal productivity include a person’s risk tolerance, the openness to try new things, and whether one is introverted or extroverted. Personality traits are difficult to change as they are genetically coded.

Onboard processes for optimal performance

Curiosity, purpose, passion, mastery, and autonomy are intrinsic motivators that give room for peak performance. Curiosity, passion, and purpose are the basics of optimal performance, followed by autonomy, which is the desire to pursue purpose and passion. Mastery pushes people to become experts in what they do.

Proper alignment of intrinsic motivators takes time as it varies from person to person. While in the alignment process, people should focus on cultivating and amplifying their strengths and values to enhance their personality.

How to find one flow triggers

There are 22 flow triggers, and one needs to understand what works for them for optimal performance. Examples of flow triggers include deep embodiment and high consequences. Triggers change from time to time as people develop and strengthen their personalities.

Body and Brain Preparation for Peak Performance

Apart from focusing on triggers, people should check their physical and mental health for performance. They should ensure their energy levels are up and anxiety is in check. Eating healthy, having enough sleep, and exercising are some of the activities that enhance healthy living. Mindful meditation and performing breathwork exercises regulate emotions and lower anxiety. Take 20 to 40 minutes a day and engage in these exercises to improve overall health and flush out stress.

When people understand their personalities, work on their physical and mental health, they are assured optimal productivity in what they set to do.

Advice for Dealing with Depression

Depression affects people differently across the world. Talking to your loved ones and those around you help create awareness. There are tons of tips on how to deal with depression. Some of them work for other people while others don’t. Here are helpful pieces of advice that will help you manage the situation.

Jot Down Things that Make You Sad

For starters, you need to write down things that make you sad and moody. The best time to write them is when you are feeling much better. This way, you will know your triggers and manage them with sheer simplicity. For some people, spending time with people drains them. Virtual meetings also make some individuals gloomy after finishing them. You can go for counseling or take medication when you encounter such situations.

Buy a Plant

Another way of dealing with depression is buying a plant. You can order it online due to the pandemic that has curtailed movement. It’s no secret that greenery and nature make you feel calm and relaxed as well. Having a plant to nurture gives you the satisfaction of being part of something. Plus, when you see it, your moods change for the better. With the lockdown, you can have an outdoor vision inside your home or apartment.

Embrace the Feelings

Accepting that you are going through depression is a huge step. Please don’t ignore your feelings or fight them since they will overwhelm you. Instead, sleep or cry so that you can feel better later. Embrace what’s going on, and in due time you won’t feel too awful. Let yourself feel the whole process of managing depression. Take time off to lie down or be away from the social scene.

Inform Family or Housemates that You’re Struggling

Your family, loved ones, or housemates need to know that you are battling depression. Inform them that you aren’t annoyed with them, and you need some time alone sometimes. Tell them that they shouldn’t feel the need to take care of you when you feel down.

Follow Useful Social Media Accounts

Social media accounts like Instagram and Tik Tok have crucial advice to offer regarding depression. You can follow them to view jokes about depression to feel better. Look for uplifting stuff that boosts your mood at all times. 

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Breaking the Structural Stigma of Mental Health Issues

Mental health is a topic everyone speaks about on a daily basis. It’s all about self-esteem, intellectuality, and how one behaves socially. It affects how they see themselves. It’s a determination of how they:

  • Handle anxiety
  • Relate to others
  • Make choices

Mental health is essential for everyone in every phase of life.

Mental health stigma refers to a state where one is viewed negatively because of their different traits or characteristics. It’s a disadvantage as people perceive those negatively suffering from mental health. People make negative remarks directly or indirectly to those who suffer from mental health. The following are some ways of breaking the stigma.

1. Treatment

Many fear getting treatment because they don’t want to admit they need it and will be labeled as suffering from mental health. The therapy provides satisfaction by establishing the problem, which decreases symptoms that intervene with everyday life.

2. Letting Go of Self-Doubt and Humiliation

Admitting that you’re suffering from mental health is a way of reducing stigma. Many believe that the condition portrays weakness and they can control it without help. It’s best to seek treatment, expound more on mental health and interact with those who suffer from it. It helps in gaining self-confidence and stops them from judging negatively.

3. Be More Interactive

Those who suffer from mental health are usually introverts and don’t like to talk about their feelings. But they should be extroverts and reach out to family, friends, or any trusted person to talk about their feelings. This helps in getting support, understanding, and empathy.

4. Be Part of Support Groups

Support groups educate those suffering from mental health to society, family, and friends by having programs. It creates awareness of what they should do when one suffers from mental health.

Let people be aware that they can always reach out to talk about how they feel. Don’t be judgmental because it can lead to worse things like suicide. Always listen to and help those who suffer from mental health in any way possible. Let’s break the stigma of mental health, create awareness, educate more on mental health, and never take it for granted.

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The Impacts of Distance Learning on Mental Health

Spring Semester 2020 was the last time many students were physically inside of a classroom. With on-going spikes of the Covid-19 pandemic, many institutions have had to resort to unorthodox and sometimes drastic measures to ensure the safety of the students, staff, and community. Whether in-person or distance learning, both have had substantial effects on the mental health of those involved, and neither offers an ideal substitution of what was once normal.

In many locations, distance learning has been the only option offered as communities struggle to control climbing infection rates. With much focus on the virus, the importance of students’ mental well-being seems to hardly be a pressing topic. Increased academic workloads to compensate for in-person instruction have become a typical complaint among students coupled with fewer resources and quality hands-on instruction; specifically with math and science. In addition to the coursework, isolation has been another major issue with distance learning, specifically with secondary and college-aged students. Students at this age are developing much of their identity through social interaction. During this time, they learn to work in a societal unit and form peer bonds, all of which are hindered by the current lack of peer contact. As mentioned in an article by The Higher Education, Wellness and Mental Health in 2020 Online Learning, this can cause anxiety and depression. In some rare instances, even suicides have been attributed to the isolation of distance learning.

In-person learning comes with its own set of problems. Mask mandates, solitary seating, and plexiglass desk shields are hardly part of the typical school landscape. Back to back quarantines have contributed to the feelings of isolation coupled with instructional inconsistencies as students navigate in-person and distance learning. In addition to the academic toll, extracurricular activities have also been crippled due to frequent cancellations. Missed proms, graduations, and other milestones are leaving many students resentful and angry. All of these things can be detrimental to a developing adolescent mind and have also been linked to cases of anxiety, depression, and suicide.

The long-term effects of distance learning on mental health haven’t yet fully been observed, but like past adaptations that have shaped a generation, this will also be studied and discussed in future classrooms; perhaps even virtually.

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How Nature Impacts Mental Health

Scientific research shows that the environment can help relieve stress, which later impacts our lifestyle positively. What you are hearing, seeing, or experiencing at any moment has a significant impact on how your nervous systems, immune system, and endocrine works. An unappealing environment can cause one to feel sad, helpless, and anxious. Feeling anxious increases blood pressure, muscle tension, heartbeat and suppresses the immune system.

Regardless of one’s age, social status, or culture, we all find nature pleasing. According to a recent survey, numerous people retreat to a natural setting whenever they feel stressed.

Here are the benefits of nature on mental health.

Nature Restores

Research shows that many people’s mood improves after spending time in nature. The outside environment can change one’s mood from stressed, depressed, and anxious to more balanced and calmer. Spending time in nature is associated with psychological wellbeing, positive mood, vitality, and meaningfulness.

Frequently viewing nature scenes elevates our ability to be attentive. The reason behind this argument is because humans find nature interesting. Time in nature allows our minds to rejuvenate, refreshing us for new explorations.

Nature Soothes

Scientists have proven that nature assists humans in dealing with pain. It is argued that our minds are naturally programmed to find plants, water bodies, trees, and other natural elements attractive. Therefore, these natural elements distract us from discomfort, pain, and anxiety.

Nature Heals

It is proven that viewing nature scenes reduces stress, fear, and anger and elevates pleasant feelings. Spending time in nature enhances physical wellbeing as well as emotional wellbeing. In turn, it reduces heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension, and secretion of stress hormones. Research shows that even house plants can go a long way in reducing anxiety and stress.

Nature Connects

Nature can help us connect with other people. There is a large number of people who met each other when viewing nature scenes. In research conducted by the University of Illinois, people who lived in apartments with green spaces were found to care more about their neighbors, had a feeling of unity, and were more concerned about helping others than people who didn’t have trees and plants in their building. Additionally, natures equip people with the energy to deal with life demands.

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Global Mental Health Outlook Post-Covid

Earlier this year, the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a global pandemic. The virus continues to affect the economy and mental health services, especially in third world countries.

Covid-19 has instilled fear in people across the globe. They are afraid of contracting the virus, considering scientists haven’t discovered a vaccine yet. Moreover, people have to make changes to their way of living to reduce the spread of the virus.For instance, they can be laid off, work from home, home-school their children, and practice social distance. It is why people need to look after their mental health.

What Causes Poorer Mental Health

Anxiety causes poor mental health. How the government and media reacted to the news that Covid-19 is a global pandemic increased anxiety. World Health Organization revealed that millions of people had succumbed to the virus and that the elderly were more vulnerable to coronavirus.

People are also experiencing fearfulness, irritability, and sleep disorders. Not knowing the future of the pandemic affects mental health.

Due to the pandemic, people lost their jobs and, as a result, experienced indebtedness and acute poverty, which also causes poor mental health. As a result, many people are likely to suffer from mental illnesses or even commit suicide. According to a report, substance abuse and suicide contribute to the United States’ increased mortality rate.

The Covid-19 pandemic has negatively impacted global mental health. In most countries, people suffering from poor mental health can’t access proper mental health care.

How to Transform Global Mental Health

Luckily, there is a way to transform global mental health. The pandemic has created an opportunity for healthcare experts to shape mental health care. Here are three strategies that can help transform global mental health care systems.

Empower

This strategy uses various digital tools to ensure that healthcare providers learn how to deliver psychosocial therapies.

Champions

The strategy focuses on creating and training leaders who will improve mental health care.

Countdown

It evaluates how effective mental health care systems are and ensure that they are accountable. It identifies where mental health service is needed most.

From the above, it is evident why mental healthcare is important. Mental healthcare ensures social cohesiveness, economic productivity, and improved health.

How to Support Your Children’s Mental Health During the Pandemic

A majority of parents is capable of ensuring their children have good physical health. After all, physical health mainly involves giving your children nutritious meals, ensuring they exercise and maintaining their body cleanliness.

Mental health is not as straightforward as physical health is. This is because, in addition to the attention that physical health needs, mental health may need a higher degree of attention and the involvement of a professional. Just like adults, children have also suffered a great deal because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, their ability to come back to their normal selves depends on the help they get. The following are tips on how to support children’s mental health during the pandemic.

  1. Be a role model: As a parent or guardian, constantly talk to your child about your feelings, your fears, and insecurities and reveal how you cope with them. Do not express anger or anxiety during the conversation. This encourages the child to speak out about their issues too.
  2. Encourage their talents, hobbies, and skills: If your child has a hobby, support them through your finances and time where applicable. This gesture works to build the child’s self-confidence.
  3. Let the child know that everybody experiences pain, loss, anger, and fear and that he/she should accept these feelings because they are a part of life.
  4. A parent/guardian should give their children the opportunity to grow and develop. A child should be allowed to interact with friends and family freely. Through these interactions, the child is able to form a connection with someone whom they can talk to about private issues.
  5. Parents should not insist on physical punishment as a form of disciplining a child. Instead, think of discipline as a form of teaching where you lay your expectations. If the child surpasses your expectations, use rewards as a method of encouragement and if not, deny him/her some privileges.
  6. Take care of your child’s mental health just as you do their physical health. If you notice unusual behavior, talk to your child, and know what is bothering them. If you do not find a concrete solution, look for a professional’s advice.

To make their children tomorrow’s leaders, parents or guardians must make sure that the children are comfortable and enjoying their childhood. This includes supporting their children’s mental health at all times.