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What Are Some Of The Common Men Mental Health Issues?

Culturally, men are known to remain in silence when they are suffering. More so due to social norms, upbringing, or even the role models presented to them in the early days of orientation. And for these and many more reasons, most of the men’s issues regarding mental health go unrecognized for a long time until it is late.

Depositphotos.com

@Depositphotos.com

From social dialogues we hear phrases like, ‘man up’, ‘accept and move on’, ‘pull up your socks’, meaning that the stressing issues should just be dismissed while in real sense they scotch from inside like acid. Mental health awareness is on the rise, but most men are not yet aware of the common issues that affect them.

 

 

Common Mental Health Issues Experienced By Men

Stress

Anyone can experience stressful situations that are relative from person to person. This is the feeling of being overwhelmed or pressure. In most cases, stress is experienced when there is an imbalance between what we are being asked to deliver and what we are capable of delivering or coping with these demands.

Stressful situations cause discomfort and distress can lead to the development of mental health issues in men such as depression and anxiety. Although stress in men is commonly associated with work life, it can originate from different life situations such as sporting life, family, or social fields.

When manageable, stress can be the drive to helping people to achieve and reach greater heights in life goals. This is the health stress. However, when it is too much to handle and we are unable to meet the expectations, or unable to deal with pressure and demands, then it becomes toxic.

Find out here different types of stresses:

 

Depression

This can be described as an intense feeling of sadness lasting for longer times than usual. It can last for weeks, months, or even years. Not only does it interfere with daily functioning but also physical health and general well-being.

Although depression can affect anyone of any age, older men are more prone to depression than women. Statistics also show that men are more likely to engage in unhealthy ways of fighting depression such as engaging in drugs and alcohol abuse, crimes self-harm behaviors, inflicting pain to others, and even suicidal.

Loneliness

The majority of us have been there, and now with the 2020 self-isolation thing, it makes us all have a rough idea of what loneliness can all be. But, only a few numbers do recognize the severity of isolation and loneliness can be. Loneliness commonly referred to as ‘social isolation’, contributes to a large portion of social illnesses such as substance abuse, violence, self-harm, and suicide.

Loneliness can happen when alone, with family or when surrounded by people; it is the primary feeling of sadness and lack of connection to the surrounding world (the feeling that you do not belong and no one understands you).

 

Anxiety

Although most people tend to normalize and dismiss anxiety as a feeling of being nervous and worried, it is a serious issue that affects your daily functioning. It can equate to a large impact on your physical and mental health.

Equip yourself on anxiety here:

What good news do we have for men’s mental health?

The good part is, most of the mental health issues affecting men are successfully treatable. The other thing is, there is plenty of information regarding these common issues that affect men daily that include different techniques and strategies to cope and recover.

Everyone goes through such situations from time to time; the only thing that can help is when you are aware of the red flags and taking a step of seeking help as early as possible. This can be the contact that you trust; – a close family member or a friend.

 

How do I Improve My Mental Health During The Hard Times? 

I sincerely understand. You feel weary and tired. I feel the same. We are all fed up.

With everything that is happening in the world, flooding our timelines leaving us with heaps of mixed feelings.

For the past few months, it has not been good news or nothing to wish to continue following.

Whatever you feel like doing that might make you feel better. Just do it!

Wait, I am not here to suggest or present a form of dictation for the activities that you should do to improve your mental health during the current times but on all occasions. The main goal here at Kwisepsychology.com is the promotion of mental health and reaching as many people as possible with a mission of helping you emerge in all situations stronger than before. Like for real. We are serious about this.

Let’s look at the approved tips and techniques to help you improve your mental health during these hard times.

1. Be Creative And Eager To Discover Your Artistic Side.

I have talked to several people both from our online platforms and offline. People who have had it rough in the past and emerged winners and stronger, what all these people have in common is that they credit to ‘creativity’ saving their lives.

For instance, Jack (not his real name) was losing his life to depression with 3 attempts to suicide, and self-harm habits at an early age of 23. With the help of the sister, he started medication, and in the process started painting. Now he is a full-time artist and selling his work all over the country. Despite seeking medication, he still believes painting has saved his life.

Artist enjoying his creation in progress, courtesy: depositphotos.com

The point is, when you put your mind in creating something, you focus on your creation and nothing else. It does not have to be the same case as Jacks’; you can create as a hobby, as a side hustle, or just paint to gift someone.

Express your feelings in art, may it be your grief, joy, sadness, anxiety, boredom, etc, just put it down. Remember as a creator, you are the only one who has the idea of what you want to create. Entertain yourself with it. Let every moment in your creation count.

2. Be In The Know. Stay Informed

Early this year I was trying my best to avoid the negativity and negative media coverage. Not kidding. It was my resolution for 2020! However, these times have proved this impossible. We are all left with no option other than sieve what to read and when to take the social media breaks.

Make sure you clearly understand what is happening from reliable sources. If it is regarding the pandemic, be in the know of how it is spread and the preventive measures, and the rules for both your country and the WHO. Educate yourself with what is going on during these times.

It is only from understanding a situation that you stand in a position to make a sound decision and critically challenge yourself. And asking yourself questions like, is it productive? How does this affect me or those around me? You also realize that issues cannot be solved without awareness of these problems. But with awareness, you get to make smart decisions pretty fast.

Also Read: How to attain emotional stability amid the pandemic

Take your time to understand your friends and colleagues at work that you have labeled, ‘anxious’, ‘bipolar’ among other names. Read more of mental health disorders from the internet and other reliable materials there are. It is only through understanding people’s issues that you stand in a position to being empathetic and helping them during these hard times. In the process, you also learn how to cope during difficult times.

3. Don’t Just Exercise For The Sake Of It. Exercise With A Purpose.

Almost everyone does or recommends exercise for physical fitness; general health, lifestyle disease prevention, etc, but here we overlook the benefits of exercise to your mental health. When I mention exercise, I don’t mean any other type of exercise but only the exercises that will get you hooked and engaged to the present moment.

Wide range of yoga helps reduce anxiety and depression, courtesy: depositphotos.com

Such exercises include yoga, sex, and aerobics. Sparing some time for, meditation is very healthy too and helps you improve your mental health.

When you want to attain mental stability through exercise, try staying true to your exercises. And do it solely for your mental health reasons. Do it for your spiritual growth.

4. What Does Mental Health Mean To Me?

Of course when you put this question in a group, you will find out it is such a basic topic. It is upon you as an individual to proactively focus on your mental and physical health, emotional and spiritual growth, and more so, your personal development.

Try to find self-motivation to wake up every morning to do the things you like and do best. I know it is not as easy as it sounds but, what if this is all the life we ever get? It’s a beautiful life. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy!

Depression And Suicide: Understanding Celebrity Suicides, Tackling Depression And Loneliness

Depression And Suicide: Understanding Celebrity Suicides, Tackling Depression And Loneliness

I have to open by acknowledging that 2020 has not been a ride in the park for anyone. And I understand everyone feels occupied and in a dilemma of what is to happen next. I know you feel that way. I feel the same. Now let us leave it here. Today we are going to talk about something else; depression, loneliness, and celebrity suicides.

In less than a month, suicide has robbed us of more than 10 young and promising celebrities. From sportsmen and sportswomen, TV personalities to actors and actresses. The most recent are marked by the demise of Actress Caroline Flack at the age of 40, pro-wrestler Hannah Kimura 22 who was found suspending at her room, Hollywood actor Gregory Tyree Boyce 30 found unresponsive with his girlfriend, Baskets Actor Hagen Mills, 30 just to mention but a few. The most recent is the case successful Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput, 34 who is described by many as ‘all smiles’ and always willing to help whenever one would reach to him.

Sushant Singh Rajput was found lifeless at his Mumbai home on June 14: gettyimages 

Sushant Singh Rajput, 34 was found lifeless at his Mumbai home on June 14: Gettyimages

While this has brought attention in the public eye to focus on mental health issues including depression, this has been happening and is no new sport. Mid last year a fashion designer and entrepreneur Kate Spade, and TV host and chef Anthony Bourdain also committed suicide. 

But Why Celebrity Suicide?

Well, suicide is not a new issue, and especially not in celebrity spheres. The suicide cases from celebrities hitting our timelines are not limited to the line of work. They range from politicians, CEOs, writers, musicians, actors, sports-persons, and designers.

The fact that people look up to these individuals as role models and as the crème-de-la-crème of the society in terms of wealth, lifestyle, skills, and fame; and yet they decide to take their own life need to be accessed. But I know you may still be asking yourself; why would they want to take their own life when they have everything anyone would wish for?

Why?

This is the question in the lips among the majority of people left behind by a suicide victim. However, the answer to this question may never make sense to everyone who proclaims to be a lover of life.

Hagen Mills shot himself at the age of 29 on May 21

Hagen Mills shot himself at the age of 29 on May 21: gettyimages

According to past research done on suicides, the reports suggest that the causes are not always mental health issues such as bipolar, schizophrenia, or depression. Even if there are still several cases of suicides that are related to these three conditions; depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia, it is not universal to the three conditions.

An individual with no underlying mental health issue is not always suicidal, in the same case a stressed or depressed individual is not always suicidal.  In most cases, suicides are associate with emotional pain regardless of the source of pain.

Celebrity Suicides

Human motivation needs are divided into five categories according to Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

The most basic is the physical needs and also known as the fundamental rights, followed by safety, affection, self-esteem need, and lastly self- actualization needs. Most of the recorded celebrity suicide deaths are from the most established celebrities. but wait, are they not happy with what they have accomplished?

What Defines Happiness?

Happiness does not come with wealth, fame, or all the accomplished material things that one may possess. The most important factor in a healthy life and mind would be relationships; which is the third category of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.  Research has shown marital healthy relationships have proved to ease physical pain. this translated strong relationships may lessen emotional pain that may lead to damaged such as self-harm and suicides.

Chronic Loneliness

Loneliness is strong as an addiction to alcohol and drugs. It is fatal. From the fatalities from suicide that I have been following lately, almost all the family and friends who talk about it mention loneliness as the main culprit.

Rob Shuter, who is the former publicist to Kate Spade in an interview at Extra TV said, “Kate was isolated and lonely. Toward the end of her life, she had a housekeeper, she had her assistant and her child, and I think that was pretty much it. Kate didn’t have many friends.”

Kate Spade found dead at her house at age 55 from suicide: gettyimages 

The loneliness phenomena do not shy away from color, gender, wealth, or the most famous. Most celebrities are known to have limited to no friends while others have come openly in public stating how alone they are in real life.

 

Suicide: The Anguish Of Loneliness

The records from WHO states that in every 40 seconds we lose a life to suicide on a global scale, which amounts to around 800,000 deaths annually. Sounds horrifying, right. And it is said that only 1% of these deaths hit our headlines and there is little to nothing that is done about this global ‘marvel’, which is among, the top 20 causes of death globally.

Everyone goes through these moments in life where you feel emotionally isolated, other times you feel the need to connect to people, the urge to be understood, a notion of solitude and even the despair to be surrounded by people. It is very normal to feel this way and nature has designed us to respond and react differently to these feelings. Some will call and facetime friends and family, others run to the countryside others engage in activities that will release adrenaline and somehow make them forget for a while, but for how long?

Caroline Flack, Actress and TV personality took her own life at 40 on Feb 18

Caroline Flack, Actress and TV personality took her own life at 40 on Feb 18

We all love to claim that, ‘no man is an island’ which is the revolutionary truth. But how many people in your contact list can you reach whenever you need to open up? How many can reach you when they need someone to talk to? When you possibly answer the two questions, then you will be in a position to differentiate between perceived isolation and objective isolation. And quickly understand that perceived isolation is loneliness. 

Loneliness itself is like hunger, or thirst, or jobless, we do not have the opposite of this, it is either you are hungry or not hungry, jobless or you have a job. With the pandemic now, that is making the sense of isolation come to reality making the situation even worse.

 

Mental Health Issues

All the above mentioned do not rule out mental health problems as one of the factors for suicidal thoughts and acts. In most cases, depression contributes to self-harm behaviors and suicidal thoughts. Others include chronic anxiety, schizophrenia, personality disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance use, etc are some other factors that could lead to self-harm and suicidal thoughts.

The most established celebrities are more prone to depression, chronic anxiety, and loneliness due to isolation and now, online trolls from the public.

6 Best Healthy Ways To Kill Boredom In Lock-Down and Quarantine

As social beings we are, being locked up in our homes is definitely an anxiety building block to most of us. As social interactions and physical interactions become limited to family and close friends, we often find ourselves overthinking and complicating things than they already are. Besides, loneliness is more common and especially if you are alone in lock down and the days and nights only gets tougher. We cannot ignore the boredom that accompanies the loneliness in both lock don and quarantine when you are alone or with your family.

However, it is wise to take a minute or two and reflect on how we really feel to be in a position to work on these feelings and improve to better. The team at kwisepsychology.com has gathered some activities that you can do alone or with your family to ease the boredom. Always remember the more you stay engaged, the more you will feel alive and hence less bored.

1. Move your body

Exercises benefits you both physically and psychologically, and there is a wide range of ways to exercise, whether alone or with family. You only have to pick your favorite.

Photo Credit NMG

Here are some of the fun work outs;

  • Search for Zumba sessions on YouTube. There is a variety of Zumba vloggers and videos in the internet and you will only have to pick the one you find interesting. Zumba is fun and enjoyable… you only feel a little tired later.
  • Take a belly dancing sessions from the internet. It will certainly make you feel good, boost your self-esteem and feel more desirable afterwards. Also, there is no shortage of belly dancing lessons from the internet.
  • Take morning runs or jogs this ensures that your day kicks off in an active mode. You can also take mid-day or evening walks away from the busy streets and appreciate it.
  • Search for yoga and meditation sessions from the internet and make it a routine. You can always put aside few minutes from your norm and practice yoga and meditation.

2. Learn to cook with your heart

Enjoy learning and trying new recipes and don’t be afraid to fail. You can enjoy this even when you are not a natural or a professional cuisine chef. The joy in this comes naturally more so when you love good food, who does not enjoy good foods anyway? Have you tried Mexican tortilla soup? Or waking up to the aroma of Kenyan samosa for breakfast?

You have been missing much in life, and it’s high time you try some of these fine dishes having crafted from the scratch.

3. Enroll for short online courses

There are different platforms that you can register or enroll to credible online courses that will improve your social skills, career, life skills or even basic technical skills such as designing or coding.

Some of these platforms offer free courses and all you have to give is your time and commitment to the, and within few days to weeks you have mastered a new skill. Learning a new skill is a healthy way of killing time and also enriching your skills, you can also pay a small fee to get a certificate thus enriching your resume.

4. Learn new languages

Do you want to tour the world without the need of a translator when the pandemic is over? Then all you need to do is search for an app and start learning a new language or register for an online class. Leaning a new language will not only help you kill your time, it will also add to the list of your skills and your resume. You can choose one or two of the UN languages.

5. Explore your artistic side

One of the famous quotes in art by Pablo Picasso claims “that every child is an artist, but the problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” Therefore you don’t need to be a professional artist to produce an original piece of art.

All you need is to devote your time to creating. Art allows us to find ourselves and lose yourself at the same time- thus it is not the final result that counts but the process of arriving to the final piece which has a therapeutic effect to your mind and helps in stress and boredom therapy.

When drawing, coloring or painting, you will express your feelings to the process which is the definition of therapy.

6. Save the world by fighting boredom

Your free time, your energy, skills and motivation is what the world needs during the crisis. The world need saving in many ways and your skills and ideas is exactly what the world needs.

You can save the universe in your way and remotely from your house. Some of the ways that one can save the world are;-

  • spread mental health awareness
  • sensitize people on social problems such as domestic violence, cyber bullying online
  • spread kindness, fight condemn immorality
  • educate other people on your best skills
  • take part in a volunteer program
  • start a support initiative etc.

How Do I Start A Conversation About Mental Health? The Best Way To Start A Mental Health Conversation

How Do I Start A Conversation About Mental Health? The Best Way To Start A Mental Health Conversation

There is no special training or a skill that is you need to start a conversation on mental health– and most often, just talking about it is the most important step you can make in efforts to understand where the other person stands with their mental health, offering them the requires support or treatment if need be.

Here are a few batons you can use for having meaningful conversations with those around you.

1. Let people know you are much willing to engage in conversations regarding mental health

Try to connect

Try to connect

The coolest and coolest way of doing this is opening up about yourself. Even if you have not had a mental health issue in your life, you have had some down moments or some forms of physical pain. Think about in the same way you were in physical pain or emotional stress. Allow the conversation to flow naturally, the same way you would engage with someone with physical pain.

You can also start the conversation like, “I have had struggles in my life. I opened up to someone and it helped me in a big way.”

 A casual example as the one above gives has a strong impact and assures the other person that you are a safe person to talk to and they can always reach you for help in the future when they are ready to open up.

2. What are some of the things to say to someone you suspect might be struggling?

If you suspect someone is suffering in silence, trust your guts. You can speak to them privately. You can start with a care expression and follow up with an observation.

You can let them know that you care and add that you have noticed some changes in recent days. Or let them know that you notice their lately frustration, or follow up on asking how they are doing.

You can also teach yourself to normalize mental health topics by asking them directly.

For instance, “is what that is happening at work stressing you out? I have noted that you barely have some off time these days”

Or

“I just wonder if you feel overawed by all that is happening in your family”

Statements like above basically shows that you get it, it is normal and much okay to be overwhelmed in response to life challenges.

3. You don’t have to give the perfect timing

Focus on Their Trust

Focus on Their Trust

In some cases, you may not be in a position to speak to someone immediately you notice the struggle. However, it is wise if you circle back some time soon. Again, it is not wise to wait for several days to pass.

Creating space at times is the safest thing to do. However, when you decide to talk to them, give a signal that you are free to have a conversation when the right time for them comes.

4. What happens if they hesitate?

In some cases, the other person might be worried or feel that sharing what they feel is a burden to others. It is good you give assurance for your support and care. Show them that you are ready to listen.

5. What if the person feels comfortable talking to someone else?

You can suspect that the person is free talking to someone else and not you. In this case, you can offer help to connect them to them.

You can also inquire from them if there is any change it makes when they talk to you and ask if there is a person they would feel comfortable talking to.

6. What do you do if they tell you they are having a really hard time?

First, give an assurance that it is much okay to talk and you are ready to listen.

Remind them that everyone goes through tough periods in their lives. You can say in your own words, “let me remind you that we all go through difficult situations and we come out of these situations. Because you are going through hard times does not mean you will always have it rough.”

After they know they can go through the dark places with you, ask for more details about the situation.

Depending on the situation, you can either recommend counseling sessions, or mental health professional.

7. How do you wind down the conversation?

memeworld

Conclude by reiterating about how glad you are for the chance to connect on deeper grounds in meaningful matters of life. Remind them that we all go through challenges in life from time to time and let them know that you are you will continue to be there to support them.

However, don’t stop there, follow up, and show care and support. This gives them the assurance that you are were and still is a “safe” person to speak to.

7 mental health challenges faced by single moms

7 Mental Health Challenges Single Moms Face & Tips To Cope With Them

7 mental health challenges faced by single moms

image courtesy: utep.edu

The number of single moms rises every hour day in day out where they keep their heads held high on occasion for their children. Regrettably, most single moms don’t seek for help and never buy the idea of them needing help.

 

In some single moms, stress does pile up and create mental health challenges. Some others struggling with depression and PSTD, and others self-medicating with unhealthy methods.

 

Kwisepsycology.com gathered the most common mental health challenges faced by single mothers daily and tips for coping with these challenges;

1. Unending Conflict With Your EX

Divorce or even separations are always tough to go through, but ongoing conflict with the father of your child erodes you as a single mom. Some of the challenges the single mothers from the Ex are; bullying, violation of the divorce agreements, manipulation, and conflict over child support.

2. Deprivation Of Sleep

Most single mothers never get enough sleep. Reason? Because the only time you can accomplish much is when your kids are asleep.

Doing the home cleaning, laundry, studies, among other responsibilities limits your rest time when you are a single mom. Lack of enough sleep often affects your ability to cope with other challenges.

3. Financial Insecurity

One of the repercussions of a loss of a partner or even divorce, most single moms frequently become more vulnerable economically. This is especially if you have an unstable income.

Unfortunately, minimum wages and work instability often put the majority of single mothers below the poverty line even when they have full time jobs.

Most of the single mothers end up settling in informal settlements and slums to feed their children. Economic hardships and poverty are highly linked to depression and anxiety cases.

4. Inadequate Self-Care

Not surprisingly, the majority of single mothers rarely take care of themselves neither do they find time for recharging. Reason? As a single mom, you have all your focus on your children and their well being. A ‘getaway’ is just dream for single moms and even finding time for exercise is close to impossible.

Self-care is one of the ways that we as human beings find joy and helps us cope with daily life challenges, unfortunately, most single moms put self-care as last in their to-do list, others it does not appear at all.

5. History Of Abuse

The incidents and cases of domestic violence have constantly increased in society. A noteworthy number of married women seeking support and others are leaving abusive relationships. Although this might be considered a bold move to make, they are carrying with the psychological trauma which may trigger mental stability in women. Domestic violence and sexual abuse is in fact the largest cause of PSTD among women.

6. Weak Support Networks

In most cases, when a woman becomes a single mom; whether by circumstances or choice, her close allies tend to drift away from her when she needs them most. While some friends may choose to pick sides, others feel awkward in relating to the newly single mom reality.

Disconnection from the community gives a single mom or any human being the feelings of hopelessness, empty, and alienation.

7. Stigmatization And Judgment By Society

The society is always quick to judge or stereotype single mothers. Unfortunately, these judgments come any time and from different corners; some from co-workers, your child’s teacher, another parent, neighbors, friends, and even some family members.

For single mothers experiencing the above mental challenges causing stress, here are five tips to help you cope with the situation;

1. Look for your tribe. Try as much as possible to connect with moms whom you share comparable challenges

2. Seek for help. All women, strong and independent need support systems and help now and then. No one is capable of doing it alone.

3. Networking. Build your strong support system of friends, acquaintances, and connections. These support groups can be from the chamas, merry go rounds, spiritual groups, online support groups, etc.

4. Put self-care in reach on your to-do list. You are a gem and you should take care of yourself. It does not have to be expensive, neither does it have to be time-consuming, although very important.

5. Seek professional help. When you feel or discover the pressure is too much or start to show signs of mental health disorders, it is high time to seek professional help.

 

Mental Health: Nine Frequently Asked Questions About Mental Disorders

As expected, as human beings we want to move from not knowing to ‘the knowing’. We want to move from not knowing how to cure a disease, to the knowledge of how to cure that disease and if possible how to prevent that disease from reaching us. We are always in an attempt to move from not knowing how to navigate oceans and why some things happen the way they do.

In contrast, mental health is one of the rarely or publicly discussed topics and with most of us either having very little to no information regarding the same. Among most African cultures, showing emotions and being vulnerable enough to seek help is in most cases seen as a sign of weakness and especially when it is from men.  This should not be the case, we need to talk about mental health more to get rid of the stigma.

Here is a list of the frequently asked questions on mental health and their answers;

1. What is mental illness?

Mental illness refers to the health conditions that disrupt a person’s emotions, thoughts, relationships and daily functions. They are closely associated with distress and diminished capacity to engage in ordinary activities of daily life. Mental health on the other hand refers to your emotional and psychological well being.

2. Is mental illness a genetic disorder?

Well, individuals with a family history of psychological disorders stand at a higher risk of developing particular mental health issues. This is because some of these conditions are a result of chemical and hormonal imbalances. However, there have been studies of  twins with the same genes which have shown that one twin experiencing mental health conditions and the other does not. Similarly, individuals with no genetic history of mental health disorders can develop new disorders due to their environment or lifestyle.

3. Can one have a mental health condition and not be aware they have it?

Yes, this is very possible. The highest percentage of people are not able to differentiate between mental health and daily life challenges; like stress from depression, work pressure, and burnout, etc. others live in denial.

4. Do psychological disorders occur in children, and if yes how is it detected?

Mental disorders can affect anyone in the society; old and young, gender, etc. in children, mental disorders manifest in a change of behavior, change in sleeping patterns, slow growth rate, poor or drop in school performance, aggressiveness, and isolating behaviors are some of the ways you can tell.

5. What is the difference between stress and depression?

Stress is most cases is short term and occurs when you are under mental, emotional or physical pressure. Depression on the other hand is a more serious mental condition that affects the way you think, feel and act; it causes feelings of sadness, withdrawal and lack of interest in activities that you previously enjoyed affecting the way you function at home, work or school.

6. Can one tell if they are suicidal or a friend is?

Although suicidal tendencies are not always visible, there are some of the habits and behaviors that either your friend may develop that are signs that you are posing harm either to yourself or others around you. If you are constantly thinking and talking about your death, giving away the most precious things that they own for no apparent reason or with no good intent, engaging in life-threatening behavior, feeling of withdrawal from life.

7. Is phobia in any way related to mental health, if yes, how?

Yes, in fact phobia is one of the most common forms of mental health disorders. Phobia in mental health is described as a type of anxiety disorder that is expressed by persistent and excessive fear of a situation or an object.

8. What should I do if someone I know appears to have symptoms of a mental disorder?

As far as this website cannot substitute for professional advice, we highly recommend for those with symptoms talking to their close family and friends and seeking a counsel of mental health professional.

If you happen to know someone with mental health problems or symptoms, don’t assume the issue will just resolve itself. Let them know, show them you care, and that there is treatment and that will help them heal.

9. What are some of the warning signs of mental illness?

Signs and symptoms of mental disorders vary depending on the severity, and type of the condition. Below are some of the common signs and symptoms;

In Young Children

  • Change or a drop in school performance despite strong efforts
  • Persistent nightmares
  • Frequent temper tantrums
  • Aggressiveness and/or disobedience behaviors
  •  Anxiety or excessive worrying
  • Hyperactivity
In Young Adults And Pre-Teens

  • Alcohol and substance abuse
  • Frequent outbursts of anger
  • Skipping school, defying authority, stealing and other uncalled habits
  • Change of eating and sleeping habits
  • Negative moods, withdrawal, and thoughts of death
Among Adults

  • Mood shifts
  • Hallucinations and delusions
  • Headaches, muscle pains, and unexplained physical problems
  • Increased inability to cope with normal daily life challenges
  • A drastic change in sleeping and eating habits or patterns
  • Irritability, anger and long-lasting sadness
  • Alcohol and substance abuse
  • Living in denial of obvious problems
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Social withdrawals
  • Excessive fear, worry or anxiety
parenting anxious child

Mental Health: Eight Techniques For Parenting Children With Chronic Anxiety

I have read several theories that try to explain why there has been a rise in anxiety disorder cases among children. Irrespective of their explanations, we cannot ignore that child anxiety is on the rise and making it worse; in recent years there have been more young children (as young as 5 to 7 years) with clinical levels of anxiety that are reported.

Nurturing chronically anxious children can be quite a delicate balancing act that causes the most careful and well-meaning parent to stagger. This results from their efforts to trying to protect and save their children from the unending onslaught of fear, and worries, and most parents are not left with a choice but to soothe. Luckily, with effective anxiety management strategies in place, you can always avoid falling into negative cycles.

KWise psychology have prepared the best working tips for parenting children with chronic anxiety;

1. Don’t Avoid The Details That Trigger Your Child’s Anxiety.

Ignoring or avoiding the things that trigger anxiety to your child may only be useful when you are looking for short term solutions for your child’s anxiety. While some of these can be useful here and there, but when your child is genuinely overwhelmed. When you do it more often making it a habit, you will end up authenticating and reinforcing the anxiety for your child. As a parent or a guardian, it is very important not to entertain attitudes of helplessness expressed by your child, and training the level of avoidance will do just that.

2. Mind The Message That Your Body May Be Sending.

For instance, if your child has had a bad experience with a situation or with something, it is not very clever that you as a parent to give an anxiety reaction the next time when your child is around; this will lead to your child responding negatively.

If you show the tension or anxiety signs in your body language, then you are affirming to your child that indeed there is something to fear. instead, take a deep breath; in and out, and give a relaxed attitude instead.

3. Validate Anxious Feelings But Don’t Affirm Them.

One of the largest mistakes that you can do to your anxious child is to reassure your child by dismissing their feelings by either calling them stupid, or making dismissal comments such as, “there is no single reason to be afraid of that” or “what is there to be afraid of?”. Instead try to be compassionate to your child by validating their feelings but not affirming to them (for instance you can respond to their feelings by saying, “its normal to be worried about that” or “when I was at your age I was scared of that too”).

Focus on listening, emphasizing, and assisting your child to understand the heights of anxiety, then come up with plausible ways to cope with the situation. give assurance to your child that you are there with him or her in helping out the situation, leaving them alone will only increase desperation and vulnerability and the issue may take longer or escalate to clinical levels.

4. Keep In Mind That Anxiety Cannot Be Eliminated, But It Can Be Managed.

I have concluded that moods and feelings of anxiety are more like the weather, it will be rainy or sunny in some days and cloudy or even calm in others, but you as a parent cannot change this. Similarly, stop placing unrealistic expectations to yourself upon when your child is gloomy by taking full responsibility. This will only increase your anxiety as a parent and transfer the same to your child.

Always have in mind that you are not in a position to protect your child from all the factors that trigger his or her anxiety. The best thing you can do is install tools for your child that will help him or her manage the anxiety healthily and functionally. In the process of learning how to use these tools, your child gains control and begin to naturally become less anxious.

5. Positively Affirm Your Child’s Efforts To Manage Anxiety.

Children look up to their parents or guardians. Similarly, they rely strongly on the encouragement and support from you as a parent. By showing your child that you fully appreciate the efforts they are making towards fighting fear and managing anxiety, you are giving them extra morale to help them keep tackling stressors. The more the child wins over his or her stressors, the more confident they become, and the weaker the fear and anxiety get.

6. Be Optimistic, But Be A Realist At The Same Time.

Dispute unrealistic reassurances in your mind of what ‘cannot’ happen to your child while it happens to other children (such as ‘all children will like him or her’ or ‘she will not fail the test’). Focus more on balance optimism; ‘every experience is a life lesson’, ‘how will he know if he does not try?’, ‘you will always have his back when he fails the test’, etc. the more realistic you are when handling your child, the less the pressure your child will put on themselves.

7. Reduce The Anticipation Periods.

Maybe you have faced fear before, and you are well aware that one of the most difficult parts of it is that period leading up to it. Both adults and children imagine the fear to be worse than it is, right before it hits. It is therefore advisable to reduce this period to your child whenever possible. This can be done by distracting them with something pleasant or a topic that they like. Avoid as much as possible discussing the situations hours before it actually happens.

8. Teach By Example.

As I stated earlier, children tend to emulate the parents or guardians, meaning your behavior has a significant impact difference to your child. By learning how to manage anxiety and stress healthily in your own life, you are capable of effectively modeling these tips to your child.

Show your children it is okay to get anxious at times, and you do get anxious as we all do, and that you have found ways to manage, work with it and you always come out more positive and empowered.

Addiction And Mental Health: Why Drugs And Substance Abuse Is Not The Answer To Your Mental Health

When you are going through hard times, the use of drugs and alcohol can be tempting as one of the ways to help you cope with your situation. Most of these drugs are addictive substances and you may not realize when addiction is knocking, especially when you have underlying mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. This makes the recovery even harder as they make the existing conditions worse. When you have both mental health issues and substance abuse, it is called dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder.

In normal circumstances, dealing with alcoholism or substance abuse is not an easy process, and it makes it more difficult when you are struggling with mental health problems. In dual diagnosis both the substance or alcohol addiction and mental health issue symptoms may get in the way directly affecting your inability to function normally;

  • maintaining stable relations with friends and family
  • maintaining a stable home and work-life
  • handle general life challenges
  • ability to function in school

If the condition goes untreated, the co-occurring disorders may affect each other making your situation worse; the mental health problem gets worse and the substance abuse increases. If you are already in it, you are not alone, co-occurring disorders are more than people realize, however it is good when you avoid the situation when you can. Below are reasons why substance use does not answer to your mental health;

1. Running away from your problem does not solve. Using alcohol and other addictive drugs to avoid your fears and problems is not the answer. Moreover you cannot keep on a run forever, circumstances will eventually force you to come back and clean your ‘house’. Do some justice and save yourself the heartaches and time by confronting your fears now rather than later. Avoid postponing what can be done today.

2. Co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis. This is a mental health disorder that results when one is diagnosed with both alcohol or substance addiction and mental health issues at the same time. Dual diagnosis mostly affects individuals with anxiety disorders, bipolar disorders, and depressions. However, it can occur in people with other mental disorders too. Alcohol and substance abuse makes mental health situations hard to treat and manage since both conditions affect each other.

3. Alcohol and substance abuse are bad for your health. People die every day from drugs and alcohol addictions; some are directly affected due to cases such as overdose while others are due to prolonged impacts on their health. Regardless of what you may have in your mind, drugs and substance abuse will only add more problems to your current mental situation.

4. You are only likely to make things worse and more difficult than they are. Drugs and alcohol abuse makes the situation more complicated. Stand out and learn how to cope with your mental health situation right away and with the right process.

5. You may not learn how to manage your mental issues or problems. When you deal with your mental stresses and fears while sober, there is a likelihood of improvement in every step you make. You are in a position to discovering your fears and answers to your anxiety while a sober person making sober decisions to help you manage in case the situation occurs in the future.

6. Talk to a former addict. If you are still convinced that drugs and substance abuse is the answer to your current mental condition, then it is good if you get to talk to someone who has been down the same lane and recovered. A sober addict may be the best option to give you a clear picture of their mental health and drug and substance or alcohol addiction.

7. Seeking professional help is the best option. It is good to have in mind that there are lots of professionals attending the same issues that you are facing at the moment, a lot of people in the same situation that you are in and there is nothing wrong in seeking assistance whenever in need. Seeking professional health when you are battling mental health conditions the most courageous and generous thing you can ever do to yourself and your loved ones as well. Talk to a counselor or a psychiatrist who will increase your chances of getting better.

Addiction And Mental Health: Co-Occurring Disorders And Dual Diagnosis

“mental illness and a substance disorder differ in severity when they occur together, though their severity may change after some time…” 

KWise Pychology

Dual diagnosis or Co-occurring disorder refers to a condition whereby an individual already has a co-existing mental illness and alcohol/drug use disorder. Although the term is commonly used in reference to the combination of mental illness and substance use, the co-occurring disorder can be used to refer to a combination of two or more mental disorders; for instance a mental illness and an intellectual disability. In the past the terms dual diagnosis and dual disorder were used in reference to the same condition.

In most cases, mental illness and a substance disorder differ in severity when they occur together, though their severity may change after some time. In comparison to the individuals with a single disorder (substance or psychological disorders), those with co-occurring disorders are more likely to experience severe mental and medical challenges, difficulties in managing and also longer periods of treatment.

co-occurring disorder causes isolation from friends and family

At times it can be difficult to diagnose co-occurring disorders where the symptoms of substance addiction may mask the symptoms of mental disorder and vice versa is true. And people with mental health disorders in most cases never address their issues with substance disorders as they don’t consider it relevant to their situation.

Causes

Substance use and mental health disorders result from several factors. However, some people are more likely to develop such disorders than others due to environmental and genetic factors.

Individuals with mental health disorders stand a higher chance of falling into substance use disorders than those who do not. This is mainly because most of them do not consider the use of alcohol and other addictive drugs as an issue relating to their condition. Others never realize they are having an issue with substance abuse and before it is late they are already addicted.

Roughly 40% of the individuals with mental illness or a substance use disorder have or will at some point in life abused drugs according to NACADA. This is higher at 50% according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Being exposed to other drugs or alcohol during childhood and adolescence affects brain development, making you more susceptible to addiction and other mental illnesses.

Conditions such as schizophrenia, antisocial personality disorders and bipolar disorders are highly associated with the use of alcohol that is likely to lead to an alcohol use disorder. On the other hand, alcohol use disorder may also lead to certain anxieties and depressive disorders. Other substance use disorder may also trigger the underlying symptoms of distinctive psychiatric conditions.

In cases of opioid use disorders, as well as depressive disorders, substance use disorders can cause the development of mental health challenges, worsen the pre-existing disorders or trigger the development of certain anxieties.

Symptoms

The emotional and physical signs and symptoms of co-occurring disorders vary depending on;

  1. the type of mental condition you possess
  2. your life circumstances 
  3. the type of substance you use

KWise Psychology has done some research and gathered for you possible signs and symptoms of co-occurring disorder;

  • Alcohol or drug dependency (feeling you have to take alcohol or drug to get the same effect)
  • Difficulties while budgeting funds
  • Motivation loss
  • Legal issues
  • Aggressiveness
  • Constant suicidal ideas
  • Isolating from others
  • Absconding duties and work, poor performance at work or school
  • Experiencing difficulties to focus
  • Instability in employment and housing
  • Treatment non-compliance
  • Experiencing episodes of drug-induced psychosis
  • Sexual defiance
  • Health and hygiene problems
  • Having a negative outlook on life
  • unexplained mood shifts

Both the symptoms of substance disorders and mental health are either similar or closely related. This makes it quite difficult to distinguish if you do not open up about substance abuse. Some health care centers offer screening to patients before developing plans to attend co-occurring disorders and treat them simultaneously.

Treatment

While having a mental health issue is quite an intense experience by itself, a combination with an alcohol and substance disorder can be extremely hard to crack on your own. If you or a person you love or close to you has a mental health disorder and at the same time is abusing drug or alcohol, it is very crucial to seek for professional help as soon as you can. Alcohol and substance abuse or disorders affects individual both physically and emotionally in a negative way thus worsening the existing symptoms and condition.