Posts Tagged mental health

[WEB PAGE] Neurotransmitters: What they are, functions, and psychology

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[BLOG POST] A Stylish Weighted Blanket – The Gravity Blanket

 

A study conducted by the Occupational Therapy in Mental Health journal revealed that 63% of subjects using a wieghted blanket reported lower anxiety and 78% preferred the weighted blanket as a calming modality than other options provided.

Weighted blankets have been found to provide comfort for many people, including people with anxiety, autism, ADHD, sensory processing disorder, PTSD, and insomnia. The comfort comes from the power of “deep touch pressure stimulation” that has been shown to increase serotonin and melatonin. These hormones are responsible for the feelings associated with relaxation, while decreasing cortisol, the hormone responsible for stress.

What’s special about The Gravity Blanket?

Although there are many weighted blanket options out there, Gravity makes a point to go beyond functionality and put additional focus on the look and feel of the blanket. Their products look more like luxury lifestyle pieces than therapy items. Their website offers a small selection of items; each with the simple and sleek design that they have come to be known for.

Gravity also has a partnership with the sleep and meditation app, Calm. The two wellness brands teamed up for a limited availability offer known as The Dream Package. The package combines a Calm-branded Gravity Blanket and a year’s subscription to the Calm app.

To learn more about The Gravity Blanket, look at the other products they offer, or compare to the Harkla Blanket that we’ve previously blogged about, you can find their website at gravityblankets.com.

via A Stylish Weighted Blanket – The Gravity Blanket – Assistive Technology Blog

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[WEB SITE] AI helps identify patients in need of advanced care for depression

Depression is a worldwide health predicament, affecting more than 300 million adults. It is considered the leading cause of disability and contributor to the overall global burden of disease. Detecting people in need of advanced depression care is crucial.

Now, a team of researchers at the Regenstrief Institute found a way to help clinicians detect and identify patients in need of advanced care for depression. The new method, which uses machine learning or artificial intelligence (AI), can help reduce the number of people who experience depressive symptoms that could potentially lead to suicide.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that close to 800,000 people die due to suicide each year, making it the leading cause of death among people between the ages of 15 and 29 years old.

Major depression is one of the most common mental illness worldwide. In the United States, an estimated 17.3 million adults had at least one major depressive episode, accounting to about 7.1 percent of all adults in the country.

Image Credit: Zapp2Photo / Shutterstock

Image Credit: Zapp2Photo / Shutterstock

Predicting patients who need treatment

The study, which was published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, unveils a new way to determine patients who might need advanced care for depression. The decision model can predict who might need more treatment than what the primary care provider can offer.

Since some forms of depression are far more severe and need advanced care by certified medical health providers, knowing who is at risk is essential. But identifying these patients is very challenging. In line with this, the researchers formulated a method that scrutinizes a comprehensive range of patient-level diagnostic, behavioral, and demographic data, including past clinic visit history from a statewide health information.

Using the data, health care providers can now build a technique on properly predicting patients in need of advanced care. The machine learning algorithm combined both behavioral and clinical data from the statewide health information exchange, called the Indiana Network for Patient Care.

“Our goal was to build reproducible models that fit into clinical workflows,” Dr. Suranga N. Kasthurirathne, a research scientist at Regenstrief Institute, and study author said.

“This algorithm is unique because it provides actionable information to clinicians, helping them to identify which patients may be more at risk for adverse events from depression,” he added.

The researchers used the new model to train random forest decision models that can predict if there’s a need for advanced care among the overall patient population and those at higher risk of depression-related adverse events.

It’s important to consider making models that can fit different patient populations. This way, the health care provider has the option to choose the best screening approach he or she needs.

“We demonstrated the ability to predict the need for advanced care for depression across various patient populations with considerable predictive performance. These efforts can easily be integrated into existing hospital workflows,” the investigators wrote in the paper.

Identifying patients in need of advanced care is important

With the high number of people who have depression, one of the most important things to do is determine who are at a higher risk of potential adverse effects, including suicide.

Depression has different types, depending on the level of risk involved. For instance, people with mild depression forms may not need assistance and can recover faster. On the other hand, those who have severe depression may require advanced care aside from what primary care providers can offer.

They may need to undergo treatment such as medications and therapies to improve their condition. Hence, the new method can act like a preventive measure to reduce the incidence of adverse events related to the condition such as suicide.

More importantly, training health care teams to successfully identify patients with severe depression can help resolve the problem. With the proper application of the novel technique, many people with depression can be treated accordingly, reducing serious complications.

Depression signs and symptoms

Health care providers need to properly identify patients with depression. The common signs and symptoms of depression include feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, loss of interest in daily activities, sleep changes, irritability, anger, appetite changes, weight changes, self-loathing, loss of energy, problems in concentrating, reckless behavior, memory problems, and unexplained pains and aches.


Journal reference:

Suranga N Kasthurirathne, Paul G Biondich, Shaun J Grannis, Saptarshi Purkayastha, Joshua R Vest, Josette F Jones. (2019). Identification of Patients in Need of Advanced Care for Depression Using Data Extracted From a Statewide Health Information Exchange: A Machine Learning Approach. Journal of Medical Internet Research. https://www.jmir.org/2019/7/e13809/


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[WEB PAGE] Chemical imbalance in the brain: Myths and facts

Everything you need to know about chemical imbalances in the brain

Last reviewed 

A chemical imbalance in the brain occurs when a person has either too little or too much of certain neurotransmitters.

Neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers that pass information between nerve cells. Examples of neurotransmitters include serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.

People sometimes call serotonin and dopamine the “happy hormones” because of the roles that they play in regulating mood and emotions.

A popular hypothesis is that mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety, develop as a result of chemical imbalances in the brain.

While this theory may hold some truth, it runs the risk of oversimplifying mental illnesses. In reality, mood disorders and mental health illnesses are highly complex conditions that affect 46.6 million adults living in the United States alone.

In this article, we discuss conditions with links to chemical imbalances in the brain, myths surrounding this theory, possible treatment options, and when to see a doctor.

Myths

a man looking sad because he is experiencing a Chemical imbalance in the brain

Many factors may contribute to a person’s risk of mental illness.

Although chemical imbalances in the brain seem to have an association with mood disorders and mental health conditions, researchers have not proven that chemical imbalances are the initial cause of these conditions.

Other factors that contribute to mental health conditions include:

  • genetics and family history
  • life experiences, such as a history of physical, psychological, or emotional abuse
  • having a history of alcohol or illicit drug use
  • taking certain medications
  • psychosocial factors, such as external circumstances that lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness

While some studies have identified links between distinct chemical imbalances and specific mental health conditions, researchers do not know how people develop chemical imbalances in the first place.

Current biological testing also cannot reliably verify a mental health condition. Doctors do not, therefore, diagnose mental health conditions by testing for chemical imbalances in the brain. Instead, they make a diagnosis based on a person’s symptoms and the findings of a physical examination.

What conditions are linked to chemical imbalances?

Research has linked chemical imbalances to some mental health conditions, including:

Depression

Depression, also called clinical depression, is a mood disorder that affects many aspects of a person’s life, from their thoughts and feelings to their sleeping and eating habits.

Although some research links chemical imbalances in the brain to depression symptoms, scientists argue that this is not the whole picture.

For example, researchers point out that if depression were solely due to chemical imbalances, treatments that target neurotransmitters, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), should work faster.

The symptoms of depression vary widely among individuals, but they can include:

  • persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, anxiety, or apathy
  • persistent feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or pessimism
  • loss of interest in formerly enjoyable activities or hobbies
  • difficulty concentrating, making decisions, or remembering things
  • irritability
  • restlessness or hyperactivity
  • insomnia or sleeping too much
  • changes in appetite and weight
  • physical aches, cramps, or digestive problems
  • thoughts of suicide

It is possible to develop depression at any age, but symptoms usually begin when a person is in their teenage years or early 20s and 30s. Women are more likely than men to experience depression.

Many different types of depression exist. These include:

The dramatic hormonal changes that take place after giving birth are among the factors that can increase a woman’s risk of developing postpartum depression. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 10–15% of women experience postpartum depression.

Bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that causes alternating periods of mania and depression. These periods can last anywhere from a few days to a few years.

Mania refers to a state of having abnormally high energy. A person experiencing a manic episode may exhibit the following characteristics:

  • feeling elated or euphoric
  • having unusually high levels of energy
  • participating in several activities at once
  • leaving tasks unfinished
  • talking extremely fast
  • being agitated or irritable
  • frequently coming into conflict with others
  • engaging in risky behavior, such as gambling or drinking excessive quantities of alcohol
  • a tendency to experience physical injuries

Severe episodes of mania or depression can cause psychotic symptoms, such as delusions and hallucinations.

People who have bipolar disorder can experience distinct changes in their mood and energy levels. They may have an increased risk of substance abuse and a higher incidence of certain medical conditions, such as:

The exact cause of bipolar disorder remains unknown. Researchers believe that changes in the dopamine receptors — resulting in altered dopamine levels in the brain — may contribute to the symptoms of bipolar disorder.

Anxiety

pensive woman

A person with an anxiety disorder may experience excessive worry.

However, people who have an anxiety disorder often experience persistent anxiety or excessive worry that worsens in response to stressful situations.

According to the authors of a 2015 review article, evidence from neuroscience research suggests that the gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurotransmitter may play a crucial role in anxiety disorders.

The GABA neurotransmitter reduces neuronal activity in the amygdala, which is the part of the brain that stores and processes emotional information.

GABA is not the only neurotransmitter that anxiety disorders involve. Other neurotransmitters that may contribute to these disorders include:

  • serotonin
  • endocannabinoids
  • oxytocin
  • corticotropin-releasing hormone
  • opioid peptides
  • neuropeptide Y

Treatment

Doctors can prescribe a class of medications called psychotropics to rebalance the concentration of particular neurochemicals in the brain.

Doctors use these medications to treat a range of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.

Examples of psychotropics include:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as fluoxetine (Prozac), citalopram (Celexa), and sertraline (Zoloft).
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), including venlafaxine (Effexor XR), duloxetine (Cymbalta), and desvenlafaxine (Pristiq).
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), such as amitriptyline (Elavil), desipramine (Norpramin), and nortriptyline (Pamelor).
  • Benzodiazepines, including clonazepam (Klonopin) and lorazepam (Ativan).

According to 2017 researchantidepressants improved symptoms in an estimated 40–60% of individuals with moderate-to-severe depression within 6–8 weeks.

While some people experience reduced symptoms within a few weeks, it can sometimes take months for others to feel the effects.

Different psychotropics have varying side effects. People can discuss the benefits and risks of these medications with their doctor.

The side effects of psychotropic medications can include:

Suicide prevention

  • If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:
  • Call 911 or the local emergency number.
  • Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
  • Remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects.
  • Listen to the person without judgment.
  • If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255.

When to see a doctor

man talking to doctor in her office both smiling

If a person experiences anxiety and mood changes every day for longer than 2 weeks, they should consider speaking to their doctor.

These symptoms should not cause alarm if they are mild and resolve within a few days.

However, people may wish to consider speaking with a doctor or trained mental health professional if they experience emotional, cognitive, or physical symptoms every day for more than 2 weeks.

Summary

Mental health is complex and multifaceted, and numerous factors can affect a person’s mental well-being.

Although chemical imbalances in the brain may not directly cause mental health disorders, medications that influence the concentration of neurotransmitters can sometimes provide symptom relief.

People who experience signs and symptoms of a mental health problem for more than 2 weeks may wish to speak to a doctor.

 

via Chemical imbalance in the brain: Myths and facts

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[BLOG POST] Mental Health Resource Library – Live Well with Sharon Martin

Protected: Mental Health Resource Library

resource library

Welcome to my library of free tip sheets, printables, worksheets, and more! Feel free to download any or all of them and use them for your personal development.
These documents are for educational purposes and not designed to diagnose or treat any psychological or mental health problems.

Codependency & Relationships

Family Roles in an Alcoholic Family

Know Yourself Better

Self-Care

cheap or free self care ideas

Perfectionism

overcome perfectionism
Perfectionism Quiz

Anxiety & Stress

6 strategies to conquer overthinking
Guided Visualization to reduce anxiety

Other

codependency books

Holidays

via Mental Health Resource Library – Live Well with Sharon Martin

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[WEB SITE] Parenting After Brain Injury

Parenting After Brain Injury

Parenting is a challenging life role for all people, yet one of the most valued roles within society. Brain Injury frequently occurs at a life stage where people are yet to complete their parenting responsibilities. For people with acquired brain injury (ABI), facing cognitive, physical, communication, behavioural and psychological challenges, parenting can present complex challenges. In addition, persons with ABI often face societal and environmental barriers. These fact sheets have been developed to assist parents with an ABI and their partners to improve their knowledge and skills to meet the ongoing challenges of parenting. family walking together
little girl finger painting boy doing his homework two little girls arguing

Encouraging your
Developing Child

Setting Routines

Managing Behaviour

Other Useful Parenting Website Links and Resources

Parenting Fact Sheet References and Acknowledgements
Return to Support for Families

Contact ABIOS
abios@health.qld.gov.au

Last updated: 20 March 2017

via Parenting After Brain Injury | Queensland Health

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[REHABDATA] 20 apps for student success – National Rehabilitation Information Center

NARIC Accession Number: O21594.  What’s this? Download article in Full Text .
Author(s): O’Sullivan, Paige.
Project Number: 90RT5021 (formerly H133B130014).
Publication Year: 2017.
Number of Pages: 5.
Abstract: This list identifies software applications (apps) that may be helpful in key areas in which students with and without mental health conditions may need additional support. Some of these apps are only for use on desktops, while most are available on iPhones or Android products.
Descriptor Terms: ACCOMMODATION, ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY, COMPUTER APPLICATIONS, COMPUTER-ASSISTED INSTRUCTION, HEALTH PROMOTION, MENTAL HEALTH, PSYCHIATRIC DISABILITIES, STUDENTS, TELECOMMUNICATIONS.

Can this document be ordered through NARIC’s document delivery service*?: Y.
Get this Document: http://tucollaborative.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/20-Apps-for-Student-Success.pdf.

Citation: O’Sullivan, Paige. (2017). 20 apps for student success. Retrieved 4/19/2019, from REHABDATA database.via Articles, Books, Reports, & Multimedia: Search REHABDATA | National Rehabilitation Information Center

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[WEB SITE] OCD: Brain mechanism explains symptoms

A large review of existing neuroscientific studies unravels the brain circuits and mechanisms that underpin obsessive-compulsive disorder. The researchers hope that the new findings will make existing therapies more effective, “or guide new treatments.”
doctors looking at brain scans

New research analyzes the brain scans of almost 500 people to unravel the brain mechanisms in OCD.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition that affects more than 2 million adults in the United States.

People with OCD often experience recurring, anxiety-inducing thoughts or urges — known as obsessions — or compulsive behaviors that they cannot control.

Whether it is repeatedly checking if the door is locked or switching lights on and off, OCD symptoms are uncontrollable and can severely interfere with a person’s quality of life.

Treatments for OCD include medication, psychotherapy, and deep brain stimulation. However, not everyone responds to treatment.

In fact, reference studies have found that only 50 percent of people with OCD get better with treatment, and just 10 percent recover fully.

This treatment ineffectiveness is partly down to the fact that medical professionals still do not fully understand the neurological roots of the condition. A new study, however, aims to fill this gap in research.

Scientists led by Luke Norman, Ph.D., a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan (U-M) in Ann Arbor, corroborated and analyzed large amounts of data from existing studies on the neurological underpinnings of OCD.

The scientists published their meta-analysis in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

Studying the brain circuitry in OCD

Norman and colleagues analyzed studies that scanned the brains of hundreds of people with OCD, as well as examining the brain images of people without the condition.

“By combining data from 10 studies, and nearly 500 patients and healthy volunteers, we could see how brain circuits long hypothesized to be crucial to OCD are indeed involved in the disorder,” explains the study’s lead author.

Specifically, the researchers zeroed in on a brain circuit called the “cingulo-opercular network.” This network involves several brain regions that are interconnected by neuronal pathways in the center of the brain.

Studies have previously associated the cingulo-opercular network with “tonic alertness” or “vigilance.” In other words, areas in this brain circuit are “on the lookout” for potential errors and can call off an action to avoid an undesirable outcome.

Most of the functional MRI studies included by Norman and colleagues in their review had volunteers respond to errors while inside the brain scanner.

An analysis of data from the various studies revealed a salient pattern: Compared with people who did not have OCD, those with the condition displayed significantly more activity in brain areas associated with recognizing an error, but less activity in the brain regions that could stop an action.

Study co-author Dr. Kate Fitzgerald of U-M’s Department of Psychiatry explains the findings, saying “We know that [people with OCD] often have insight into their behaviors, and can detect that they’re doing something that doesn’t need to be done.”

She adds, “But these results show that the error signal probably isn’t reaching the brain network that needs to be engaged in order for them to stop doing it.”

The researcher continues using an analogy.

It’s like their foot is on the brake telling them to stop, but the brake isn’t attached to the part of the wheel that can actually stop them.”

Dr. Kate Fitzgerald

“This analysis sets the stage for therapy targets in OCD because it shows that error processing and inhibitory control are both important processes that are altered in people with the condition,” says Fitzgerald.

Findings may boost existing treatments

The researcher also explains how the findings may enhance current treatments for OCD, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

“In [CBT] sessions for OCD, we work to help patients identify, confront, and resist their compulsions, to increase communication between the ‘brake’ and the wheels, until the wheels actually stop. But it only works in about half of patients.”

“Through findings like these, we hope we can make CBT more effective, or guide new treatments,” Dr. Fitzgerald adds. The team is currently recruiting participants for a clinical trial of CBT for OCD.

In addition to CBT, Dr. Fitzgerald also hopes that the results will enhance a therapy known as “repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation” (rTMS).

“If we know how brain regions interact together to start and stop OCD symptoms, then we know where to target rTMS,” she says. “This is not some deep dark problem of behavior,” Dr. Fitzgerald continues.

OCD is a medical problem, and not anyone’s fault. With brain imaging, we can study it just like heart specialists study EKGs of their patients — and we can use that information to improve care and the lives of people with OCD.”

Dr. Kate Fitzgerald

via OCD: Brain mechanism explains symptoms

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[WEB SITE] Mental Health is Important. What You Can Do as a Physiotherapist

 

I understand that mental health is an important topic, but what can I do as a physiotherapist?

As health care professionals we are dedicated to improving a person’s well-being. As physiotherapists, we are comfortable within the realm of physical signs and symptoms, while sometimes neglecting the intimate connection between the physical and mental bodily spheres. It is undeniable that the two are mutually influenced, but how proficient are we as clinicians in recognizing and addressing this importance within a clinical setting?

Do you know what outcome measures are available to you for quantifying suspected mental health disturbances? Are you confident with who you should be referring your patients to, for the appropriate type of care? How equipped do you feel as a physiotherapist, with addressing a suspected underlying mental health imbalance with your patient? If you felt uncertain with any of your answers to these questions, you are certainly not alone.

October 10th is World Mental Health Day, which is the perfect opportunity for you to become more familiar with your role as a physiotherapist within a multi-disciplinary team, addressing this complex and often stigmatized subject.

Physiopedia and its content crew have been working diligently within the past month to promote mental health awareness and offer practical resources to physiotherapists.

Physiopedia has helpful pages on specific mental health disorders such as alcoholismattention deficit disordersbipolar disorderchronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder (to name a few).  There are also several pages outlining the challenges and considerations when addressing a specific population such as the elite athlete, an individual affected by  a generalized anxiety disorderamputees, or a homeless population, for example.

Physiopedia is dedicated to helping physiotherapists feeling more confident and competent with their roles as health care providers when confronted with mental health factors. As such, Physiopedia offers supportive resources for identifying red flags, how to self-identify clinical burnout symptoms, and offer guidelines for clinically friendly mental health outcome measures. There are also online courses offered to members addressing Clinical Reflective Frameworks and mindfulness.

Lastly, there are numerous clinically applicable pages highlighting the benefits of exercise and physical activity with respect to promoting a strong mental and physical life balance. Notwithstanding that we all recognize the importance of movement for health, I encourage you all to take a look at the following pages as a reminder of the specific benefits for sound mental health:

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Physiopedia team for their efforts in bringing mental health to the forefront of our practice this month. This is an impressive collection of resources that will only continue to grow over time. If you would like to contribute to this specialized topic, consider becoming a Physiopedia volunteer. If there are important topics or issues you would like to see on Physiopedia, feel free to let me know and contact me.

~Calm mind, calm body~

 

via Mental Health is Important. What You Can Do as a Physiotherapist – Physiospot – Physiotherapy and Physical Therapy in the Spotlight

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[Abstract] Employment stability in the first 5 years after moderate to severe traumatic brain injury

Abstract

Objective

To characterize employment stability and identify predictive factors of employment stability in working-age individuals after moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) that may be clinically addressed.

Design

Longitudinal observational study of an inception cohort from the Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems National Database (TBIMS-NDB) using data at years 1, 2, and 5 post-TBI.

Setting

Inpatient rehabilitation centers with telephone follow-up.

Participants

Individuals enrolled in the TBIMS-NDB since 2001, aged 18 to 59, with employment data at two or more follow-up interviews at years 1, 2, and 5 (N=5,683).

Interventions

Not applicable.

Main Outcome Measure

Employment stability, categorized using post-TBI employment data as no paid employment (53.25%), stably (27.20%), delayed (10.24%), or unstably (9.31%) employed.

Results

Multinomial regression analyses identified predictive factors of employment stability, including younger age, white race, less severe injuries, pre-injury employment, higher annual earnings, male sex, higher education, transportation independence post-injury, and no anxiety or depression at 1-year post-TBI.

Conclusions

Employment stability serves as an important measure of productivity post-TBI. Psychosocial, clinical, environmental, and demographic factors predict employment stability post-TBI. Notable predictors include transportation independence as well as presence of anxiety and depression at year 1 post-TBI as potentially modifiable intervention targets.

via Employment stability in the first 5 years after moderate to severe traumatic brain injury – Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

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