Here’s To Happiness (Because Your Mental Wellness Matters)

Staying and feeling happy are essential in keeping every individual’s mental wellness active and healthy. It promotes better brain development that maintains the body’s overall function. However, people can’t be guided by feelings alone, so the action and attitude towards making a difference are helpful in keeping everything intact.


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Social Media, Mental Imbalance And You

Could It Be That Social Media’s Doing Our Mental Health Harm?




The first email was sent over four decades ago, and since then the internet has gripped the world and turned into one digital village. Researching doesn’t involve going through countless thick, hardbound books, thanks to Google. Friends overseas are just a few buttons away, thanks to social media. One doesn’t have to go from one shop to another to buy things, thanks to online shopping. It’s no wonder many health experts dubbed sitting as the new smoking because we can go on sitting all day in front of our computers!

But for all the good the internet has brought us, it also has a dark side. Social media, in particular, might be causing a mental imbalance in us that could be harmful to our mental health.

In America, current estimates are that a child between the ages of 8-18 uses media (tv, books, computers, mp3 players and video games) nearly eight hours a day, while extreme users spend up to 12 hours a day with media, every day of the week. — Adi Jaffe Ph.D.

Knowing the Numbers



Facebook tops the list of the most famous social media platforms last year with over 2 million active users worldwide. It feels good to see friends, relatives, even loved ones who are far from us in their recent pictures or connect to them even by just chatting about mundane things.

Nevertheless, psychologists argue that scrolling through our Facebook feeds (or even with any other social media platform) mindlessly isn’t good for mental health.


The Examples

  • A 2012 study coined the term facebook depression – a depressive disorder researchers observed among older adolescents who felt dejected and suffered from low self-esteem after browsing through their social media feeds for hours. Accordingly, this condition stems up in young people who think their online friends don’t accept them or that they don’t belong.
  • Recent research also investigated the connection between depressive symptoms of social media users and seeing the seemingly perfect lives of their online friends and found a significant link between the two.
  • Psychologists even made a psychological scale used to measure a person’s Facebook addiction called the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale (in honor of Cecilie Andraessen of the University of Bergen who spearheaded the work).
  • Aside from depression, many experts link excessive social media use to higher anxiety levels in users.

Over the past decade, a growing number of psychologists have started to see addiction to digital technologies as a form of behavioral addiction, similar to pathological gambling, and even to substance dependence addictions. — Utpal Dholakia Ph.D.

Explaining Social Media Fascination



Psychologists say that while reasons for social media use vary from one person to another, most of us log in to alleviate boredom or for self-distraction.

“Logging in serves as a positive reinforcement which is cemented more through the likes and comments we receive with every post we make,” says one psychology professor from Arizona. “It is but part of our instinct to repeat reinforced behaviors, so we keep coming back to social media even if we feel depressed or anxious because we feel we get acceptance there.It starts an ugly cycle that’s hard to stop like addiction to smoking and other stuff.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics, for their part, cautioned parents to monitor their kids’ social media presence and set limitations to avoid mental imbalance. Furthermore, they encourage parents to talk to their children about the potential harm they could encounter online like sexual predation that could lead to sexual abuse. Lastly, AAP stressed out the importance to respect social media sites’ specific minimum age for use like Facebook with its 18 years old and up age limitation.

The first step can feel like the most difficult one, but recovery from any type of addiction is absolutely possible for anyone willing to reach out for help. — Wendy Salazar, MFT

Dealing With The Whole Picture

The internet, in general, is one valuable tool if used wisely. One just has to exercise control over using it so as not to bring mental imbalance and suffer from it in the long run.


Is Alice In Wonderland Syndrome, Have You Heard Of It?

One of the leading causes of disability in the U.S. is the mental disorder.  It is estimated that one out of 5 adults is diagnosed with mental illness.   The depressive disorder is one of the most common psychiatric disorders, but there are many others you must be very familiar with such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder to name a few.  But how about Alice in Wonderland Syndrome, have you ever heard about it?

AIWS sufferers typically experience micropsia (a neurological condition that affects human visual perception in which objects are perceived to be smaller than they actually are and make people feel bigger than they are) or macropsia (a neurological condition that affects human visual perception in which objects are perceived to be larger than they actually are and makes people feel smaller than they actually are). — Mark Griffiths BSc, PhD, CPsychol, PGDipHE, FBPsS, FRSA

One of the Rarest and Unheard of Mental Disorder

Alice in Wonderland syndrome is one of the most fascinating and rarest mental disorder.  Yes, just like in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the patient experiences hallucinations and alteration in perception that he is either smaller or more significant than his surroundings.  Though Alice is just a figment of the imagination, the experiences are real for some people.


Awareness of being evaluated and caring deeply about the outcome is an important mindset for success, but when it backfires, it lays a foundation for feeling like a phony. — Ellen Hendriksen, Ph.D.

Symptoms and Association with Other Medical Conditions

Probably, also one reason why it’s called Alice in Wonderland syndrome is that it usually targets children.  There are multiple symptoms associated with AIWS.   Each symptom occurs discretely and will be experienced only for a duration of 5 to 20 minutes.


Mostly, children suffering from a juvenile migraine are reported to have attacks of Alice in Wonderland syndrome, presenting itself as impairment of time sense and alteration of body image.  It occurred in a visible state of mind without the influence of any drugs, seizures, or psychiatric illness.

Some adults who are typically suffering from a migraine, stress, epilepsy, head trauma, brain tumors, infections, Epstein-Barr virus infection can also be affected by Alice in Wonderland syndrome.   The migraine aura of flashing lights, seeing straight lines becoming wavy, unmoving things seems like moving are just some of the experiences described by the patients.   It is said that cough medicines can also be a trigger to have an episode of AIWS.  Alice in Wonderland syndrome may present itself as seeing objects smaller or bigger than usual, further away or nearer than they are.

While this can be fun and whimsical when a girl is a toddler, it can also set the tone for how she develops into a young woman, influencing her self-esteem, her dependence on others, how she takes care of herself, and how empowered she feels in her life. — Jennifer L. Hartstein Psy.D.


There is yet no verified treatment for AIWS, though lots of rest and diet changes are advised.   It is essential to make the patient comfortable when having an attack by treating the triggers, like, if the episode is caused by a migraine, the patient is given migraine prophylaxis to ease the symptoms.  Following that, diet gives enormous relief.

Doctors are not sure what’s the reason behind the unusual changes in perception.    They did a few studies and neuroimaging which showed damage at the level of the cerebral cortices.

In most cases, it starts when children are still very young, but goes away in time.



Though it was first defined in 1955 by a British psychiatrist, Dr. John Todd, AIWS is still not well known to this day and could be a misdiagnosis.  Though described as hallucinations and distortion in perception, a yet very little study is made regarding Alice in Wonderland Syndrome.

Its unpredictability, when talking about the diagnostic process, was because no universally accepted diagnostic criteria are yet available.

Help, I’m A Shopaholic!

Knowing More About OniomaniaOr Compulsive Buying Disorder


The Kath Kidston purse was only $5 that Karen just had to have it. After all, it was her payday. However, she rushed to the bank to deposit the rest of her money after her purchase.



“I have over a hundred purses at home. I know I don’t need this one,” she said holding up her recent buy, “But it being on sale is just hard to pass on.”

“I’m a compulsive buyer that’s why I have to deposit my money in the bank. One time, I spent all my pay on some things. My husband and I had a bitter spat about my spending habit that day,” she confessed.

Karen is just one of the 18 million American adults afflicted with oniomania or compulsive buying disorder. Suspecting someone you know and love suffers from this condition, too? It pays to know more about shopaholism.


The Stats

According to one study, compulsive buying disorder affects approximately 6% of the women’s population and 5.5% of the men’s in the US alone. But while it’s a dangerous disorder to be had, the American Psychiatric Association doesn’t recognize it as a mental malady on its own in the DSM-5.

Shopping can be a form of therapy for many of us. How do we know we’re bordering on addiction?



  • We spend most of our time thinking about shopping and most especially on events when we feel anxious, depressed, emotionally low or even emotionally high (as a way to reward ourselves). Simply put, we’ll ride on any occasion as an excuse to go on a spending spree.
  • We get anxious before we do the buying and feel happy, euphoric even, after the buy.
  • We feel guilty and ashamed later on for buying things we don’t need and might never even use.
  • We are in debt because of our shopping habits.
  • Our lives – works, relationships with others – are negatively affected by our being shopaholics.

In general, health experts see shopaholism as predominantly a women’s health disorder as, based on the numbers, about 90% of those affected are females. The prevalent age the condition starts to surface is between the late teens to the early 20s, about time an individual gets to have a credit card.

Often, people resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms because they are struggling with painful emotions and/or traumatic situations that have not been integrated. — Wendy Salazar, MFT

Shopaholism: Just One Side Of The Face


Shopping can be a form of therapy for many of us. How do we know we’re bordering on addiction?

  • We spend most of our time thinking about shopping and most especially on events when we feel anxious, depressed, emotionally low or even emotionally high (as a way to reward ourselves). Simply put, we’ll ride on any occasion as an excuse to go on a spending spree.
  • We get anxious before we do the buying and feel happy, euphoric even, after the buy.
  • We feel guilty and ashamed later on for buying things we don’t need and might never even use.
  • We are in debt because of our shopping habits.
  • Our lives – works, relationships with others – are negatively affected by our being shopaholics.

In general, health experts see shopaholism as predominantly a women’s health disorder as, based on the numbers, about 90% of those affected are females. The prevalent age the condition starts to surface is between the late teens to the early 20s, about time an individual gets to have a credit card.

…addiction is designed to reverse a deep sense of helplessness. It’s not just an impulse issue. —  Jeremy Frank, PhD, CAC

Shopaholism: Just One Side Of The Face

Why do people turn into shopaholics? While shopping addiction affects a person’s brain similar to how alcohol and drugs affect their users, psychologists don’t see it as a separate mental disorder always linking it with other psychological problems when diagnosed.

For one, it might be related to a person’s childhood history. If a child’s parents don’t have time for him and instead use material possessions to fill in that attention void, that child could grow up a compulsive buyer. Secondly, it could be that the compulsive buyer experienced financial and emotional deprivation and compulsive buying is his way of dealing with that feeling of never wanting again. Another thing is it could be the compulsive buyer’s way of dealing with his fears.

Most commonly, however, is oniomania’s association with alcoholism and eating disorders. Health professionals view it as an impulse control issue.

If shopaholism is left untreated, the sufferer will end up incurring a considerable amount of debt which, in turn, would bring about feelings of anxiety and depression.


More often than not, we end up talking less and less about shopping and spending and more and more about life experiences that offer up emotional reactions and feelings that tend to be difficult, if not impossible, to digest without some action, such as shopping, to move it along and far, far away. —  Angela R. Wurtzel, MA, MFT

Shopaholism Is Treatable!

Yes, this psychological condition is treatable through support groups much like other addictions, therapies the most common of which is cognitive behavioral therapy and, of course, support from families and friends. At one point, the recovering shopaholic might need to relinquish his finances to a family member to stop him from his overspending habits. This step alone needs someone he can trust to fit in the role.

Shopping can be fun and pleasurable. But it must be done only to buy the things that we need, not go on a purchasing spree just because the act itself is making us happy.

The 5 Vital Truths About Eating Disorders


Erasing The Stigma Associated With These Conditions


“What started as a simple diet plan triggered my eating disorder,” Macey confessed. The 24-year-old battled with anorexia for eight years. “Summer when I was 15, I decided to lose weight because I thought I was fat. It all went downhill from there.”

And as she was telling her story, this one part stood out: “My friends and parents didn’t know how to reach out to me. I was very resentful of everybody especially those who judged me, who told my parents it was just part of a teenage phase I was going through and that I’d outgrow it once I mature or live independently. It hurt hearing those comments.”

Sadly, most people view eating disorders – especially in teens – as “just another phase in a teenager’s turbulent life.”It is but proper to know more about these psychological maladies to erase the stigma linked with them and better help those who are suffering.


When it comes to eating disorders, the age-old question of nature versus nurture is answered simply: it’s a mixture of both. —  Deborah Klinger, MA, LMFT, CEDS

  1. Eating disorders can affect anyone regardless of their age, gender, even their body sizes.

While most of us may think eating maladies are a girl’s disease, it isn’t. Statistically, about 10% of the male population has been diagnosed with eating disorders. What’s more, this could be an underestimate as boys and men tend to underreport their symptoms. Additionally, bulimia nervosa is prevalent among Hispanics regardless of their economic statuses. Lastly, eating disorders can happen to anyone. You merely can’t tell a person is suffering from the condition just by looking at his physical appearance.


  1. Eating disorders can be deadly.

Anorexia comes in as the deadliest among all mental health disorders. Why is that?

  • Anorexics are six times more likely to die compared to those suffering from other mental maladies.
  • Anorexia sufferers are four times more at risk of death than those suffering from major depression.
  • 1 out of 5 deaths linked with anorexia is caused by suicide.

In addition to this, death rates are also high for other eating disorders such as bulimia.


  1. Due to genetics, an individual may be predisposed to have an eating disorder. However, genetics alone is not the reason why a person develops the psychological malady.

One study confirmed that genes have something to do with a person being at risk of having an eating disorder. Nevertheless, it shouldn’t be pointed out as the sole reason why one suffers from it.

Dieting is the most common reason why someone falls into the eating disorder trap. Rapid weight loss caused by dieting can serve as an eating disorder trigger for some people. Once they find companionship and comfort in their condition, it’s hard to break free from its clutches. Some eating disorder sufferers also admit to feeling their stress levels decrease if they restrict themselves or binge eat then go on an excessive self-purging session after.

We think a large part of what happens when you “lose control” or change your mind about your diet in the face of a tempting treat is that survival mechanisms in the reptilian brain have been mistakenly activated and misdirected towards the treat. — Glenn Livingston Ph.D.

Other eating disorders, such as ARFID (Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder), could stem out from a scary childhood experience such as a child experiencing severe food allergies or a choking incident that made him feel fear against certain kinds of food fares.


  1. Eating disorders are almost always in association with other psychological problems.

A person diagnosed with an eating disorder only is rare. In most cases, it’s usually connected with other mental maladies such as personality disorders, sexual abuse history, anxiety, depression, PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), and even substance addiction.





  1. Finally, yes, eating disorders can be treated.

The most significant myth about eating disorders is believing that it can’t be treated and the sufferer has to deal with it all his life. This belief is not true! The earlier the intervention, the bigger the chances sufferers have in healing, recovery and, ultimately, freedom from the condition.

If you’re a parent worried that your child might be suffering from an eating disorder, act on your instincts and seek professional help. The earlier the diagnosis is, the better.

People who identify as food addicts really identify as food addicts—not dieters—and the treatment for food addiction (abstinence from certain types of foods) is the exact opposite of the treatment for chronic dieting and binge-eating (reducing restrictive eating). — Alexis Conason Psy.D.

Food Addiction: Yes, It’s Real!

The 7 Facts You Need To Know


When we say addiction, we often think of substance or drug abuse, alcoholism, smoking, and the like. Unbelievably, there’s such a thing as getting addicted to food. And you, a loved one, a friend, or someone you know might be suffering from it.

For those who overindulge, food typically brings up early memories of comfort and is used to fill up an inner sense of emptiness. — Wendy Salazar, MFT



What Is Food Addiction?

Unlike drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes, we need food for survival. But like the first three, there are foods – usually the fatty, salty, and sugary ones – that can bring our brains to release an onslaught of feel-good hormones like dopamine. When this reward system is triggered, we experience a high as other addicts do. This serves as our prompts to seek our comfort foods the next time we feel high levels of stress or are emotionally strung.


How Can I Know It’s Addiction?

People with food addiction consume large amounts of their comfort foods regardless of feeling full. The need to do this is often an aftereffect of stress (whether that is emotional or physical) or a circumstance wherein they want to sense that rush of pleasure the foods bring. However, after feeling good because of excessive eating, the food addict feels ashamed, guilty, and most of all, physically ill. Like any other addiction, this good-to-awful-feeling cycle goes on a repeat.


The Other Food Addictive behaviors I Need To Watch Out For

  • You have obsessive food cravings and feel you can go to whatever specific lengths so that you can satisfy these desires.
  • You continually binge eat or overeat on a whim even if you’re already ill or has gotten sick because of it.
  • There were many instances when you’ve wanted to stop overeating but always fell on a relapse.
  • You lose control over how much you eat, how often you overeat and where you do it. The cravings just hit you everywhere,and you indulge it no matter how ashamed or embarrassed you feel.
  • You feel you need to eat more to be able to feel good more.
  • You eat alone to avoid other people noticing your eating problems.
  • Your eating problems have impacted your life – finances, personal relationships, work, and even your social goings – negatively.


The Stats On Food Addiction

A study done on adults of varying weights revealed that

  • 10% of those who fell in the underweight category suffer from food addiction.
  • 3% of those who have healthy weight showed symptoms of food addiction.
  • 14% of those in the overweight category were food addicts.
  • 1/3 of the obese group fell under the diagnostic criteria for food addiction.

The study concluded that weight is not an indication of this kind addiction. It further stated that observing behaviors should be given the priority when diagnosing food addiction.


Food Addiction: Addiction To Food Or Addiction To The Act Of Eating?

According to some experts, food addiction is a behavioral addiction, that is, the sufferer is addicted to the act of eating and not so much on the food he eats. However, other health professionals argue that certain foods are addictive as they tap into the brain’s reward system. The Yale Food Addiction Scale, the questionnaire doctors use to diagnose food addiction, even named the top food items that are closely associated with the problem. These are:

  • Ice cream
  • Chips
  • Pasta
  • Chocolate
  • White bread
  • Cookies
  • Candies
  • Fries



 There are EXTREMELY powerful economic-persuasion systems that are set up to get us to binge and overeat. These systems are so successful that almost 70% of the population in the United States are overweight and almost 40% are OBESE! — Glenn Livingston Ph.D.

Food Addiction’s Relation To Eating Disorders

Overeating compulsively followed by a feeling of self-loathing happens in some eating disorders. In some of these conditions, the want to purge the body out of the excessive food consumed also occurs.


Binge Eating Disorder is the most common food addiction characterized by eating compulsively and excessively in episodes to the point of physical discomfort and pain. These incidents, called binges, are often triggered by negative emotions and stress. Statistically, about 2% of the American male population and 3.5% of the female population suffer from it. Binge eating – compulsive eating is its other term – has been included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5).


Bulimia Nervosa is an eating disorder similar to binge eating. However, after each episode, the sufferer feels the need to purge himself of the excessive food he downed. Purging can take form in self-induced vomiting, using laxatives, excessive exercising, or following a stringent diet. While bulimics are less likely to be overweight and obese, the purges they do to their bodies are also dangerous to their health. For one, forced vomiting could bring about myriads of health complications such as malnutrition, dehydration, and even brain damage.

 So far it’s looking like whereas obese brains resemble those of people battling addiction, the brains of individuals with anorexia resemble those of people who – regardless of any simultaneous obsession with thinness and food avoidance – are highly sensitive to food reward. — Susan Carnell Ph.D.



Night Eating Syndrome is a kind of food addiction characterized by binge eating late at night. Sufferers consume large amounts of food at night but go through their daytimes eating little or no food at all.


Is Food Addiction Curable?

Yes, it is! Health professionals urged food addiction sufferers to seek help from their condition. Food addiction rarely occurs on its own, meaning; there might be a mental problem lying underneath it. By going to a professional for help, not only is the food addiction addressed, whatever psychological malady causing it will be taken care of, too.

Being Married To A Person With Mental Illness

Marriage life in itself is hard work. The fact that two individuals with different backgrounds, gender, interests, dislikes, point of views and opinions come together to build a life for themselves and possibly for their children. Imagine, the degree of difficulty living with a spouse with bipolar disorder. By definition, bipolar disorder also known as manic depression is a mental illness. It is categorized by periods of depression and periods of elevated mood. It causes shifts in an individual’s mood, energy, activity levels and ability to carry out day to day tasks. Mood range from episodes of elation and energized behavior to depressive and hopelessness periods.

The idea is that judging yourself for having negative emotions or trying to suppress them can backfire and actually intensify or prolong the negative mood. — Melanie Greenberg Ph.D.

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