Tag Archives: mental health

A better solution to depression than a walk in the park

Wendy Margolese (Picture courtesy of Wendy Margolese)
Wendy Margolese (Picture courtesy of Wendy Margolese)

Health writer Wendy Margolese of Ontario, Canada, writing in SIMCOE News, says, “I am not saying that nature isn’t a wonderful experience, but I’m circumspect of health solutions that end up making me dependent on a person, a place or a potion.”

She offers a way to go further/higher and includes a wonderful example in which a woman used that approach and found freedom from Postpartum depression.

If you’re struggling with depression, you might find these ideas helpful.

Read her article here:
A better solution to depression than a walk in the park

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PTSD: Hopeful new treatment approach that looks beyond physical symptoms

120-CR64QQ-Soldier-holding-rifleVeterans suffering from PTSD deserve effective help.

“The need for non-drug treatment options is a significant and urgent public health imperative,” says NCCIH Director Josephine Briggs, MD.

Urgent, because the need for cure is growing, and also because conventional drug treatments aren’t working over the long haul.

This excerpt comes from a thoughtful and helpful Arlington, Virginia Patch article by Richard Geiger, who follows the VA’s search for non-drug PTSD treatment of symptoms.

Geiger looks at how the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) are focusing treatment on individuality.

He also looks at lessons learned from the experience of Col. (Ret) Janet Horton, a Christian Science U.S. Army Chaplain, one of the first female chaplains ever called into active duty. She found it unproductive to try to work directly with symptoms at all. Instead, she focused on the individual’s untouched spiritual identity.

This really is a “must read”:  PTSD Treatment: Symptoms or Souls?

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Guest post: Thinking of suicide? Take your troubles to God.

120-FEDRWLR4R Teen on stepsMy colleague Valerie Minard, writing in Collingswood Patch in New Jersey, shared some helpful ideas when dealing with suicidal thoughts.

Excerpts:

“But what about the teens who suffer in silence or are not ready to turn to a teen suicide prevention group or trusted adult? I can’t answer for others but in my case, I found my connection to the Divine was a life saver during a time when I felt there was no one in whom to confide.”

“The ideas that saved me went along these lines…”

  • “These negative thoughts are not your thoughts. They are lies about your worth and purpose for existing, and you don’t need to listen to them. The ideas God gives you are good. Destructive thoughts are not good. The Bible says, “‘For I know what I have planned for you,’ says the LORD. ‘I have plans to prosper you, not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope.’””

For more ideas, read the entire article: Thinking of suicide? Take your troubles to God.

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When Unconditional Love Reaches a Soldier Suffering PTSD

(@Glowimages/Stock photo)
(@Glowimages/Stock photo)

There’s a reason they’re called man’s best friend.

If you’ve ever had a dog, then you already know something about dogs’ unconditional love. This warrants considering more deeply the divine source and nature of love and its healing power.

Linda Ross C.S. (Picture courtesy of Linda Ross)
Linda Ross C.S. (Picture courtesy of Linda Ross)

Health blogger Linda Ross in Connecticut shares a touching account on LinkedIn of a dog’s unconditional love reaching a soldier suffering with PTSD. It gives a glimpse into unconditional love’s ability to reach below the surface and melt away “difficult memories”. We might also consider how we all have a “divine friendship” with divine Love.

A touching article: Has unconditional love gone to the dogs?

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Lifting the Fog of Chronic Depression

A guest post written by John D. Clague, media and legislative spokesperson for Christian Science in Oregon.

(Photo:©Glowimages.com/Stock photo - model used for illustrative purposes only)
(Photo:©Glowimages.com/Stock photo – model used for illustrative purposes only)

I have a friend who suffers from SAD — seasonal affective disorder. The long periods of clouds and rain depress her so much that she feels she can no longer live in the northwest. She and her husband are actively looking to work and live in a sunny climate.

My friend is not alone in her depression. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 1 in 10 adults in the U.S. suffer from depression.

Moments of temporarily feeling blue are not uncommon for most people at some point in their life. Chronic depression, however, goes far beyond temporary bouts to a persistent state of sadness without a cause or as a response to an event beyond what would be considered normal.

But feelings of sadness aren’t all that’s at stake.

The CDC also reports that

“Depression is a mental illness that can be costly and debilitating to sufferers. Depression can adversely affect the course and outcome of common chronic conditions, such as arthritis, asthma, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Depression also can result in increased work absenteeism, short-term disability, and decreased productivity.”

Left untreated this relationship between depression and other chronic illnesses can have serious consequences.

Even though a common treatment is to prescribe antidepressant medications, what’s interesting is that research is showing that except for the most severe cases, the active ingredients in the pills isn’t what makes the patient feel better. Rather, it’s the placebo effect, a belief that the treatment will help, which improves their outlook.

Researchers such as Irving Kirsch, Associate Director of the Placebo Studies Program at the Harvard Medical School, are finding that a key reason placebos work is that the recipient’s relationship with the person caring for them, or administering the drug, is therapeutic in and of itself. It doesn’t matter which drug they are given, whether a placebo or a bona fide antidepressant. Randomized clinical trials studying placebos are showing this to be true.

If antidepressants work through the placebo effect, and therapeutic relationships are a key factor in the effectiveness of placebos, then perhaps there are other relationships that can effectively treat depression without the ritual of pill-taking.

Carmen is a nurse practitioner who found herself in a deep depressive mental state after her son enlisted in the Army and was deployed to Iraq. She describes her journey on her website Naturally-Holistic.net. She eventually worked her way out of the depression, and without apology she claims that: “No matter how you look at it, there is a relationship between depression and spirituality.”

She makes four important points about how she emerged from her depression that have a direct connection to my practice of spirituality. Two of them are making the choice to be happy, and finding gratitude in every situation. The other two points, however, center on relationships.

She tells us to nurture important relationships, especially with God and to find “…something to love about every situation-even when it was really hard. Choose Love EVERY time.”

Not surprisingly, Carmen’s experience is backed up by research.

According to Dale A. Mathews, M.D:

“Studies have shown that religious people are less likely to become depressed and anxious than their nonreligious counterparts. Frequent churchgoing was shown to be associated with lower levels of anxiety and depression

Whether people are religious in the sense of being church-goers or simply individuals who embrace a spiritual relationship with a higher power, this premise seems to hold up. For example:

“…people who practiced prayer or meditation to reduce moderate to severe anxiety showed marked improvement after three months”

Research is important in learning what’s effective in treating depression. But personal experience is just as important in understanding these dynamics as I found with Carmen’s story.

I have a daily practice of reading the Bible. It helps me to maintain a spiritually-based “therapeutic relationship” with a higher Being, or God, that keeps me grounded on a meaningful purpose in life. One passage in the New Testament that I’ve found helpful says:

“… I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.”

Depression is very real and serious for those who suffer from this condition. It’s encouraging to know that there are options that don’t carry negative side effects, and which aren’t based on the trickery behind placebos.

Perhaps nurturing a relationship, spiritually, with a higher Being is the therapy that will lift the fog and let the light shine.

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The Power of Love to Improve Mental Health

(©Glowimages/Stock photo)Mental health can be improved and maintained by treating the whole person and by helping the patient feel connected with – and loved by – others and the divine.

Treating the whole person

In 2007 Malkia Newman was appointed to the board of the Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority and she now chairs this board. Speaking at last month’s Public Services Committee meeting, she shared her insights from being the only person ever to be treated by the program and, then, to become its board chair. “Having received the treatment, having received the education, because education and treatment go hand in hand – you can’t just throw medicine at a problem, you have to treat the whole person.”

Continue reading The Power of Love to Improve Mental Health

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Mental health treatments that go beyond a drug-based approach

In a brief video, Eric Bashor in the Christian Science Press Room shares how some mental health treatments today go beyond a drug-based approach.

Bashor cites a Washington Post article by Tony Lobl entitled, World Alzheimer’s Day: The healing depths of togetherness. The article includes this guidance from Professor John Swinton of the University of Aberdeen: “…good dementia care has to do with enabling the persons to remain in relationship with God and with one another despite the ravages of the condition.”

If you can’t play the video below, you can view it by clicking here:
Health News Briefing: Trends in mental health treatments

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Prescribing self-help books to improve mental health

General Practitioners in England are now free to try a drug-free, thought-based approach – prescribing self-help books – to improve the mental health of their patients.

Hear more about this in a short Christian Science Press Room video by Eric Bashor.

If you can’t play the video below, you can view it by clicking here.

To read the article cited, click here.
To read the study cited, click here.

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IN THE NEWS Compassion and Caring in Health Care

(© Glow Images/Stock photo)

Highlighting the “care” in Health Care, this month two articles delved into the role of compassion, caring, and empathy – in short, love – in health care.

(1) Forget the Placebo Effect: It’s the ‘Care Effect’ That Matters

by Nathanael Johnson on Wired.com Jan. 18th.
Excerpts:

    • …the “care effect” — the idea that the opportunity for patients to feel heard and cared for can improve their health.
    • It was the empathetic exchange between practitioner and patient… that made the difference.
    • Many patients who really need empathy and advice are instead given drugs and surgery.

(2) Understanding and Compassion: Essential Ingredients to Mental Health Reform

by Paul Heroux, State Rep. from Massachusetts, on HuffPost Politics Jan. 2nd.
Excerpts:

    • …compassion and understanding are essential to reform and advocacy.
    • …people afflicted with mental illness and people suffering from mental illness are people first.
    • …we need to do our share… by not judging the afflicted, and perhaps most importantly, being compassionate towards those who are afflicted.

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” ― Leo Buscaglia

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Playing cards may benefit mental health

(Photo: © Glow Images, Models are used for illustrative purposes.)

GO FISH anyone?

New research suggests that playing cards may help preserve mental health.

A 12/13/2012 PRWEB article republished by the San Francisco Chronicle (SFGATE.com) states, “The Project for Natural Health Choices Inc. encourages playing cards and board games as these may actually contribute to a healthier brain according to new research conducted by Rush University Medical Center and the Illinois Institute of Technology. The research results, presented on November 25, 2012 at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, suggest that playing cards and board games can help fight brain aging.

Continue reading Playing cards may benefit mental health

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