Frequently Asked Questions About Breathing Therapy

Stress and panic attacks disrupt our breathing patterns. It happens because of the body’s fight-or-flight response. The trouble with anxiety comes when responses are invoked frequently with small triggers.

Deep breathing or breathing therapy is an excellent way to combat symptoms of anxiety and stress. 

When you feel your body heating up and your heart starting to race, it’s the best time to begin breathing exercises. All those symptoms are effects of the sympathetic nervous system’s increased activity. It’s a response to the fight-or-flight signal set off by your brain. 

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By taking deep breaths, the brain receives a signal that indicates there’s no immediate threat. Therefore, it relaxes and calms down the body.

Stabilizing the breathing helps in activating the parasympathetic nervous system, the counterpart to the sympathetic nervous system. It is in charge of stabilizing the body after a perceived danger has passed. 

The breath is a powerful tool to get the body moving or to calm it down. Many sports practice special breathing techniques. These include weightlifting, yoga, and martial arts, among others.

For sports, specialized breathing is mostly used to activate the body before intense activity. Like how stretching warms up the muscles, breathing helps signal the brain to change inactivity.

Meanwhile, therapy also makes use of breathing techniques. Regular breathing therapy can help regulate stress better. At the same time, this type of therapy can also be helpful for those with mental illnesses.

This simple technique helps manage their symptoms better. To know more about breathing therapy, here are some frequently asked questions.  

What is breathwork therapy?

Breathwork therapy is a type of therapy that utilizes breathing techniques and exercises. During breathwork therapy, the breathing pattern change is intentional, improving your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.

The majority of people who undergo the periodic breathing therapy report feeling more relaxed and energized after a session.

What is the 4 7 8 breathing technique?

The 4-7-8 breathing technique is a practice used for relaxation when you feel anxious or stressed physically or mentally. It helps regulate the cortisol hormone that controls the body’s fight or flight response. Here’s how you can apply the 4-7-8 breathing technique:

  1. Position yourself comfortably and close your eyes.
  2. Inhale through your nose to the count of four.
  3. Hold your breath to the count of seven.
  4. Breathe out through your nose to the count of eight.

Is deep breathing the same as meditation?

In essence, deep breathing is a type of meditation that utilizes different breathing techniques. This form of meditation can reduce stress and anxiety, promote good sleep, and sharpen cognitive skills.

Why is breathwork so important?

Breathwork is crucial because our body’s entire system, from our cognition to digestion, relies on oxygen. Besides providing cognitive clarity, it can also help the body function better physically.

Studies show that breathwork can improve the body’s immune response, sleep, stress, and metabolism.

What is the 7/11 breathing technique?

The 7/11 breathing technique is an exercise effective for reducing stress at the moment. Here, you inhale to the count of 7 and exhale to the count of 11. You can repeat this twice or thrice until you feel calmer and more relaxed.

If you regularly practice this technique, this technique may also help you feel more peaceful in general.

What is the correct way to breathe?

The correct breathing starts in the nose, moving to the stomach as the diaphragm undergoes contraction. As the stomach expands, it fills your lungs with oxygen.

This breathing method is highly efficient because it pulls down on your lungs and creates negative pressure in the chest. The process allows oxygen to flow into the lungs more smoothly.

Is deep breathing good for you?

Yes, deep breathing is right for your body. Practicing deep breathing can help lower the stress in your body. Breathing deeply also signals the brain and the body to calm down and relax, reducing stress symptoms gradually.

How many times a day should you do deep breathing exercises?

The duration and frequency of practicing deep breathing exercises may vary depending on a specific technique. However, the necessary stomach breathing exercise’s recommended course is around 5 to 10 minutes, at least thrice a day.

This technique is the most common and helps you breathe deeply from the diaphragm. It may be exhausting initially, but you can feel it becoming more natural gradually over time.

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What happens when you focus on your breathing?

Studies show the focusing on your breathing can activate brain regions connected to body awareness, attention, and emotion. Many research types have also shown that focusing on breathing to a set rhythm can regulate the nervous system and improve concentration.

Is Wim Hof Breathing meditation?

Yes, Wim Hof Breathing is a form of meditation that uses various meditation techniques to boost relaxation. Like most meditation exercises, it requires you to get into a comfortable position in an environment without distractions.

You will then start concentrating on your breathing once your mind has settled into a calm and relaxed state.

How do I know I am breathing normally?

The majority of people don’t usually think about how they breathe unless they feel out of breath. Hence, many people breathe incorrectly without knowing it.

Note that breathing typically means breathing through your nose and your diaphragm. Otherwise, you have a terrible breathing habit of breathing through your mouth or chest that causes tiredness and neck tightness.

Or, you may also be unconsciously holding your breath, which manifests through frequent sighing.

How long are deep breathing exercises?

Most deep breathing exercises only take several minutes, typically 3 to 10 minutes. You can get more incredible benefits when you practice the exercise for at least 10 minutes or more.

What are the benefits of breathing techniques?

Breathing techniques have many benefits for the body’s physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. It helps you relax and lower stress in your body as well as regulate the body’s systems.

This process decreases bodily symptoms of anxiety and distress, such as fast breathing, high blood pressure, and increased heart rate.

Breathing is an automatic bodily process. It continues even when we are asleep. Breathing is necessary to fuel our daily activities. Improper breathing can disrupt the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the body, worsening your stress levels.

If left uncontrolled, stress can manifest itself with unpleasant symptoms such as hyperventilation, increased heart rate, and fatigue. 

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Some people may see relaxation as laying on a couch with a good book or movie. Some may think it’s taking naps or walking the dog.

And although these activities can be relaxing, simply focusing on how you breathe can do wonders for your stress levels. When done correctly, it’s a simple, no-fuss way to relax your mind and body.

And this is the beauty of breathing therapy. While there are many types of therapies focused on attaining relaxation and happiness, breathing therapy is a widely accessible and inexpensive way to pull the brakes on your body’s fight response. 

To start breathing therapy, you can opt to have guided sessions with your therapist. During tense situations, stress may cause you to have emotional outbursts. In stressful situations, taking a step back to assess yourself and your surroundings is essential in making sensible decisions.

Knowing breathing techniques is an excellent way to combat stress as it’s happening too. Putting conscious thought into breathing and practicing breathing techniques to control stress is a way to regain balance and combat anxiety and anger symptoms. 

Mental Health 101: What Living Without Regrets Results To

Hamilton is honestly my most favorite musical of all time. It told the story of Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers of the United States who fought during the Revolutionary War. He had been called many names – an immigrant, orphan, soldier, scholar, banker, etc. – but what made the man interesting was that he lived with so many regrets in life.

Among the highly discussed ones was his one-year affair with Maria Reynolds, a married woman who initially asked for his legal help regarding her abusive husband. When she reconciled with the latter, their romance continued until the husband found out and extorted money from Alexander Hamilton so that the infidelity would remain a secret from his wife, Eliza.

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Alexander also regretted allowing his eldest son to go on a duel, which took place because the 19-year-old boy could not stay idle. At the same time, his father’s name was getting tarnished following the revelation of the affair. The other person pulled the trigger and ended up killing young Phillip, but Hamilton could not help but feel guilty about it.

On top of all that, he brought an incredible amount of pain and grief to Eliza. Before she could forgive Alexander for an extramarital affair, her beloved son died. They moved uptown to grieve, and the man felt lost because he could not turn back the time and revive Phillip to make his wife happy again.

I was a bit unclear about how Alexander Hamilton managed to bounce back from his losses, but he did before dying in a duel against Aaron Burr. Although many would say that he lived a full life, it was still filled with regrets, which could not have been good for his mental health.

Keep in mind that a life without regrets results to:

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An Untainted Mind

The primary reason why we feel regretful is that we have done something terrible and irreversible. In Hamilton’s case, it was infidelity, among others. He did not want Eliza to get wind of it, so he resorted to lying and offering monetary bribes to his mistress’s husband.

Though “thou shalt not lie” was not among the Ten Commandments, lying could easily be the eleventh. It taints your mind as you need to keep up with the lies to avoid getting caught. The longer you do that, the longer your list of sins becomes.

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An Optimistic Behavior

Alexander Hamilton was naturally an optimistic man. Though he was poor and orphaned, he studied every book he could get his hands on and became a lawyer. Even if he did not come from old money, he worked hard to give his family an incredible life. Alexander also spent days and nights creating the US Constitution and increasing the country’s credit score practically. However, his optimism took a dip when he went during the war, his friend John Laurens died, and George Washington stepped down from the presidency, among other things.

Now, Alexander could have regretted a lot of things because of those events. If he stayed in the military, his family could have been wealthy. He could not have saved his friend, but he could have fought beside him. As for Washington, Alexander could have stopped antagonizing Thomas Jefferson so that he would not have thought of running for president. Then, he might have lived with no regrets at all.

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A Happy Disposition

When the Hamiltons lived uptown following Phillip’s death, the accompanying songs depicted how Alexander and Eliza seemed to lose all the light in their hearts. They were together, but his wife refused to talk to him for a while, most likely blaming Alexander for their son’s passing. They both could not bear the quietude uptown, but the grief kept them there.

If only Alexander forced his eldest son to avoid confronting George Eacker, a lawyer who said lies about him in public. If only he did not give in to the temptation, his opponents would not have found dirt on him. Then, they would have lived happily as a family.

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Final Thoughts

Alexander Hamilton’s story was one that everyone should know about. He lived a full life, considering he went through hardships before becoming successful in whatever endeavor he put his mind to. His frenemy, Aaron Burr, even talked about how everything seemed to come easy for Alexander in the musical, while he never got to do that. That envy eventually made Aaron agree to go on a duel with Alexander and shoot him, which caused his death.

Despite that, Alexander Hamilton went through a lot of regretful situations throughout his entire life. He tried to make amends to his wife and remaining kids and even Thomas Jefferson (when he ended up supporting his presidency). In Aaron Burr’s case, the musical’s narration explained that Alexander intended to kill Aaron in the duel, but then his kids would not have anyone else.

The next time you hold a ten-dollar bill in your hands, remember Alexander Hamilton’s life and try to live without regrets. Good luck!

Identifying Warning Signs Of Mental Illness In The Family

 

 

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Many people think that mental health illnesses are not common, and they might happen, but to someone else, ‘not me.’ But evidence has proven them wrong, as mental health disorders are quite common and, in fact, prevalent. Over 40 million people in the United States are diagnosed with some type of mental illness yearly. Many families find it difficult to prepare themselves for learning that their loved one has a mental health condition. It can be emotionally and physically draining and can cause us to feel defenseless against the judgments and views of other people.

If you or someone you know are suffering from an emotional or mental illness, remember that help and hope are not far from your reach.

 

Mental Disorder 

A mental disorder is a brain-dependent condition that may affect one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. And because each of us is equipped with a brain, suffering from some type of mental health disorder at some point in our life is pretty much common.

For individuals who suffer from a mental illness, their brains are wired differently, wherein they are not able to normally feel, act, or think the way they want to. Some of them go through severe and unpredictable mood swings – they feel overwhelmingly sad one moment, and then they would feel fine the next minute. For others, they can’t think more clearly and cannot communicate appropriately with someone who is trying to converse with them, or they might be having weird thoughts about what kind of illness they have.

Technically, there are over 200 types of mental disorders, some of which are more common, like dementia, depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. Symptoms typically include personality and mood changes, social withdrawal, and emerging personal habits.

 

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Mental health disorders can be associated with extreme stress secondary to a specific situation or a series of situations. Like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, mental disorders are frequently emotional and psychological, and physical. Mental disorders may also be a result of genetic elements, chemical imbalances, a response to environmental stress, or a combination of all these. With proper attention and treatment, many mentally ill people eventually learn to deal with or are cured of their mental or emotional condition.

 

Identifying Warning Signs

It is particularly vital to be aware of the abrupt changes in behaviors and thoughts. Also, remember that the start of some of the signs listed below – and this means not just one change – implies that there is a problem that must be evaluated.

 

Adolescents and Adults

Warning signs may include long-term depression, extremely high and low emotions, disorganized thoughts, social withdrawal, intense sleeping and eating habit changes, bizarre thoughts, extreme worries and anxieties, hallucinations, suicidal ideations, substance abuse, and feelings of rage, among others.

 

Pre-Adolescents and Older Kids

Warning signs may include sleeping and eating habit changes, growing complaints of physical illnesses, drug or alcohol use, gradually unable to deal with responsibilities, disobedience to authorities such as vandalism or theft, long-term negative moods, and frequent anger outbursts, among others.

 

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Young Children

Warning signs may include poor grades, changes in eating or sleeping routines, extreme anxiety or stress, poor school performance, hyperactivity, and regular tantrums.

 

Coping with Mental Illness

 

Acknowledging Your Feelings

Amidst the various signs and symptoms and forms of mental disorders, many families who have loved with a mental illness have the same experiences. You may notice that you sometimes deny the signs because of fear of what others might think. Acknowledge that feelings like these are typical among families that are going through the same circumstances. Gain more knowledge about your loved one’s illness by reading and consulting a mental health provider. Finally, help others by sharing your story.

 

Building A Support System

If possible, find support from family and friends. If you don’t feel like talking about your situation with them, look for a support group in your area or online. These support groups offer opportunities for you and your family to communicate with others who are also experiencing similar forms of problems. They can help you, listen to you, and provide meaningful advice.

 

Seek Therapy

Therapy is essential for the individual who has mental illness as well as for his family. A mental health provider can make recommendations on how to deal with and better comprehend your family member’s mental disorder. When seeking a therapist, consult other professionals so that you will be able to make the right choice for your family. It will probably take time for you to be comfortable, but eventually, you will be thankful that you found the help you need.

 

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Make Time For You

It is not uncommon for someone with a mental disorder to have more attention than the rest of the family. When this is the case, other family members might feel bitter or neglected. Others may find it hard to do what they want to.

If you are a caregiver or guardian, you must find time to take care of yourself. Avoid long-term frustration or anger by taking time away from the situation. Relax and unwind. This way, you can clear your mind from the challenges and negativity surrounding the mental illness. Regularly doing this may help you bounce back from the stress and give you more patience and affection for helping your family member or loved one.

 

There is hope for regaining your normal life back. With emotional support and proper treatment, many who suffer from mental illness regain their productive and happy lives.

 

 

 

 

Why Being Alone During This Pandemic Is Mentally Okay

Unfortunately, solitude is often viewed by many as a negative thing. Some people look at it as a depiction of loneliness, emptiness, and isolation. Sometimes, people get labeled as antisocial or depressed if they choose to spend most of their time with themselves. But being alone during this pandemic is honestly not that bad at all. In fact, anyone can benefit in some alone time every once in a while. It doesn’t necessarily mean there is isolation or a lack of connection. Sometimes, it is a way to the point of realization and self-awareness.

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Yes, spending time alone may seem to be pointless, especially during this global health crisis. As far as everybody is concerned, people want to socialize. They want to feel comfortable having friends, family, and colleagues around so they can hang out and have conversations. So, why would you want to spend time all by yourself? Well, here are some of the few reasons why.

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Helps Recharge The Brain – It takes a lot of mental energy to deal with other people’s traits, personalities, and opinions. Any social interaction requires a lot of understanding, which is sometimes can be too exhausting. In some unfortunate instances, it can cause a negative influence on your way of thinking because it forces you to secure other people’s wants and needs. Thus, it can wear you down both emotionally and mentally. However, spending time alone ease that pressure by recharging, refocusing, and reprocessing from social interaction.

Allows Self-Awareness – Understandably, you can only become a great help for others if you know how to take care of yourself. When you don’t have to deal with anyone at a particular moment, you become more aware of the things you want. Yes, it sounds selfish. But the point of setting an alone time is to help yourself acknowledge your imperfections. It is an essential self- care. If you didn’t recognize your issues, you wouldn’t be able to show effective care and support for others.

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Promotes Gratitude – It is entirely reasonable to miss someone, especially if that person is no longer sharing bonding moments with you due to the social distancing protocol. But having some “alone time” and disconnecting from other people for a little while gives you a sense of gratitude. It helps you appreciate all the things around you. It allows you to become aware of the people’s roles and contributions to your life. It also gives you the chance to change your environment by giving you enough time to think about which of your life factors you should and should not let go of.

No Social Pressure – When you spend some time alone, you get to set up the right rules, you need to understand your desires and limitations better. There is no worrying about what other people would say because you are in charge of doing anything you like. There is no social pressure, and you get to enjoy being with yourself no matter what you do. There is no room for judgments and criticism because you don’t have to compromise or please anybody. You can enjoy indulging in your hobbies and interest. Being alone gives you the freedom to live your life to the fullest.

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Sets Up Overall Stability – Since you constantly adjust your reaction and personality every time you deal with other people, you must take a step back. By spending too much time with other people’s emotions, there is a tendency that you get to lose yours. Thus, when you spend more time alone, you get to be in touch with your overall balance.

So in this time of crisis, give yourself an alone time because that helps in an integral part of mental and emotional maturity.

 

Types of Psychotic Disorders

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Exploring what’s new in the field of psychiatry was one of the main topics at the 2019 Early Psychosis Conference. It highlighted the innovative and optimistic practices in treating psychosis. Researchers, clinicians, and healthcare professionals were honored and acknowledge during the event, some of which gave interesting and memorable speeches and shared experiences that many novice participants definitely learned a lot from. Program managers and other healthcare teams also discussed the types of psychotic disorders.

 

Psychotic Disorders

These are a range of mental health conditions that alter one’s sense of reality. These conditions make it difficult for a person to identify what’s real and what’s not. When you or someone you know suffers from one of these disorders, you might hear or see things that are not really there and believe in things that might not be true.

Experts can’t exactly pinpoint what causes psychotic disorders but they have only reached some theories. Trauma, stress, viruses, the structure of the brain, and some types of drug abuse may influence the development of psychotic conditions in some people. For others, they may have a family history of psychotic disorders.

Below are some of the most common and interesting types of psychotic disorders.

 

Schizophrenia. If you are diagnosed with this disorder, you will most likely suffer from hallucinations, meaning that you’ll sometimes be hearing voices or seeing things that may not be real. Delusions are also common. These are false viewpoints of things, people, and others. One of the most popular people who had Schizophrenia was John Nash, the award-winning mathematician whose life was portrayed in the movie A Beautiful Mind.

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Schizoaffective Disorder. It is a mixture of schizophrenia and mood disorder, moods such as depression or mania. If you are the bipolar type, you will be experiencing periods of mania – intense happiness and severe anxiety; If you are depressive, on the other hand, you are often sullen, feeling worthless and devastated with your life.

Substance-Induced Psychotic Disorder. When you begin taking specific medications that are quite strong and addictive, you will most likely develop this disorder. Some of the symptoms you might experience include delusions and hallucinations. Drugs and substances that have been found to have a strong connection with this disorder are alcohol, cocaine, amphetamines, marijuana, opioids, PCP, LSD, and sedatives, among others.

 

 

 

 

The Dreadfulness Of Being Alone During The Coronavirus Outbreak

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In respect to the excellent capability of our minds, one thing can still haunt us by nature. The idea of getting pressured by all sorts of disappointments and unfavorable circumstances makes us feel vulnerable and incompetent. That is especially when we have no one else by our side. As for this pandemic situation, we are bothered as to whether we fight for survival or just let things happen. We have lots of questions that we need answers to. Like, what if this unfortunate situation will not end? Will we be able to go back to the way it was before? If not, then we can expect to get stuck in a place of appalling loneliness.

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The Emotional And Mental Struggle

Perhaps some of us understand and love the idea of solitude. However, being alone for an extended period is not something an ordinary individual can handle. The more this pandemic encourages us to stay away from people and live by ourselves, the more mentally and emotionally abusive it becomes. Well, lucky for those people who can spend their days with family and friends. They can still manage to feed their social health with an ample amount of care, love, and appreciation. But how about those people who don’t have anyone with them? Do you entirely believe they are more than okay with the situation? I guess not.

Understandably, there is nothing much we can do about this pandemic situation. We all need to endure the days of emptiness if we don’t want to lose our minds. Yes, the whole process of surviving this global crisis causes a psychological catastrophe. Unfortunately, we are not in the position to wave the dangers away just like that. Some of us may have the strength to maintain a balanced emotional and mental status. But there are also those individuals who cannot seem to manage even the slightest feeling of sadness.

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A Weakening Fear And Worries

Being alone in this pandemic time is not something people should look forward to experiencing. It is not fun nor exciting. It is the opposite of every trailblazing moment one wishes to accomplish. There’s too much pressure in it that can crush hopes and perseverance. It does not support mental and emotional strength either. Instead, it promotes uncomfortability, devastation, and self-destruction.

If one can begin to observe during this time of the pandemic, they might find themselves thanking those people that surround them. That is because of the advantage of social relations that promotes wellness. However, for those individuals who struggle hard alone to survive in this situation, they might end up hating and blaming people for leaving them like that.

It is typically a lot worse to be on our own in an unfortunate and uncertain situation. The worries and fear we have for our lives make us unable to think correctly. If we get lucky, we can manage to live a day with limited smiles on our faces. But when things are worse, all we do is endure the pain and wish it to go away immediately.

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Takeaway

Some can’t understand the concept of the pain of being alone during this time. They think that because some are managing their lives better, they need not worry about anything anymore. That is the problem. Every time, when people see you as a reliable and independent individual, they never care. They automatically assume you are okay and that you do not need any help. Sadly, that is the opposite. Sometimes, those people who we think are capable of being alone are the ones that need help.

Schizophrenia: Living With The Illness

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The auditorium was filled with nurses, social workers, physicians, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals during the 2017 Schizophrenia Conference. They were there to listen, learn, and participate in the discussion of schizophrenia and the concurrent disorders that may accompany it. There were different speakers for different topics that were related to Schizophrenia – the condition itself, how it affects a person’s life, medication and treatment, and support for someone with the illness.

Below are some important details that were discussed and elaborated at the conference.

Living With The Illness

Schizophrenia is a long-standing and severe mental illness where an individual has difficulty knowing the difference between reality and illusion. It is debilitating in that it also affects the individual’s family members. People with the illness also usually have trouble taking care of themselves, so they mostly depend on family and significant others for help. Schizophrenia is confusing and frequently misunderstood, but it can be treated.

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, the best move to make is doing your part in managing your illness. Know more about relapse and its signs and find ways to deal with them. The sooner you’ll be able to handle them, the quicker and better your recovery. You also need to learn about coping mechanisms to be able to manage the worst symptoms. Usually, drug abuse accompanies schizophrenia, and it will be good for you to address these two problems hand in hand.

How Can Family Help?

When you have been treated and schizophrenia, you will finally be released out of the facility and to your family members. As for you, as a family member or significant other, you must learn how to deal with the illness. The doctor may also recommend that you talk to a therapist who can teach you some coping techniques.

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Self-help groups and other support networks are also available near you, or if not, you can search for them online. There, you will also discover that some people have similar problems that you have living with a schizophrenic loved one. You will feel less depressed and frustrated and more hopeful that things will get better.

 

 

 

Beat Anxiety With Your Hobby

Exams, skipping classes, job interviews, new projects, dates. These are just some of the things that make us feel anxious.  Almost all of us have experienced that sensation of momentary butterflies in our stomach.  But anxiety can be a grave problem, debilitating and crippling someone’s ability to function normally.

You feel like you’re repeating patterns that are not doing anything to help you, but are unsure how to “break free.” — Charles Rosen, LCSW

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Solution Focused Therapy Helps Battle Addiction

Alcohol and drugs obviously create altered states of mind, but overeating, gambling, or having a sex addiction do as well. — Wendy Salazar, MFT

There are a wide array of options of therapies drug rehabilitation offers.  Each person who has addiction has specific needs, and each case is unique and that different treatments are offered.

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My Lover Is An Impostor (Capgras Syndrome)

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Ever imagine how you would feel when one day your partner no longer recognizes you but instead telling you to get out of the house because you are just an impostor trying to copy everything his husband is.  And then later it will be other members of the family, could be the mom and dad, siblings, children, and even pets trying to deceive her.

Continue reading “My Lover Is An Impostor (Capgras Syndrome)”