Friday, January 30, 2009

Mood disorders and how to cope

The various mood disorders like depresion,bipolar,dysphoria,etc., are causing major dificulties for people. It is like spending a lifetime with a weight on one's head, moving with feet tied, unable to do much productive work,looking at life with no power or wrong eye power.Mostly no one goes to doctors and even if diagnosed patients tend to take proper treatment. It is necessary to understand the importance of treatment and seeking the right help. When the time is given to treatment the results are quite encouraging. Even as the patient is in the middle ,he or she feels to enjoy the improved life changes which was not to be if treatment was not started.In order to lead more productive lives, here a re some suggestions;
  • Go ahead shop for doctors,good ones too.
  • Read maximum about the disorder but do not make the diagnosis yourself,you may be surprised by the diagnosis given by the expert.
  • Always start treatment under doctor's care, stick to appointments, never stop treatment on your own, report any symptoms that are new to the doctor.
  • Go for cognitive behavioural therapy,this will help you to learn skills,make resources and indulge in hobbies like painting to focus and improve your cognitive health.
  • In case of menstrual mood changes go ahead with treatment with SSRI's under doctor's care for short term. It helps.Help ateenager or adolescent understand his/her disorder.
  • Give support to others,it has been seen that nurturing fosters speeding up of healing.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

People with Courage and Conviction

Today I am writing about a person who impressed me with courage and conviction,so rare in people nowadays. He is Mr. Haroon Bashir, a patient with Parkinson's disease.he not only boldly faced the disease but also formed the Parkinson's Society for Pakistan.The aim of this society is to help and train not only patients with Parkinson's disease but also doctors and caregivers. Their information is available on the link website of Mr Haroon as I have posted on my blog. Anyone wanting understanding of this disease must see this and if in Pakistan should take membership.

parkinson's .......a new world: A different kinf presentation on speech therapy

parkinson's .......a new world: A different kinf presentation on speech therapy

parkinson's .......a new world: Med Rasagiline (Azilect) May Slow Parkinson’s | Psych Central News

parkinson's .......a new world: Med Rasagiline (Azilect) May Slow Parkinson’s Psych Central News

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Ray Of Hope

As I walk in my tuesday clinic for poor women,I see their dull eyes shine bright. Only on this day they wait for me to bring some medicines for them and their children. Cough medicines,something for their aching backs and knees,some blood pressure medicines. I have observed how important is tender loving care of a physician for his patients.They say love heals. I think it truly does! Selfless ,constant,day in and day out care and love, for God's sake and for your own sake. The role of a physician is primary as a healer and this uses medicines and TLC both.If in each action we encorporate a higher purpose then believe me things really work ,for faith is the best carer.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Care For Yourself First;Tips For Caregivers.

People who help their family,friends as caregivers for problems for example;Depression,personality disorders,parkinsonism,stroke,cancer,disabilities, may burn out themselves eventually. Thier role as a caregiver is affected and hinders their mental and physical aability to take care of the person they are looking after.
Here are some points to note:
  • If you feel sad,irritable or angry frequently,look for professional help from the psychiatrist,clinical psychologist,other support groups.
  • Get regular excercise,every day,even for shorter periods.
  • Take time out for the activity you enjoy like reading,listening to music,playing,or any other hobby.
  • If you dont have a hobby go out once a week to meet a friend,the movies,or along walk.
  • Recognise stress and take steps to manage it.(learn techniques for stress management including yoga,meditation etc.)
  • Learn time management;divide tasks you need to do;prioritize them according to urgency,taking time out for oneself everyday is also essential.
  • Also take care of your personal life like job,finances,other responsibilities.Remember looking good is part of the game.Unless you look your best the person you are looking after will not be happy,so take care of your hair,nails,dressing up and overall carry a cheerful expression.sulking and pouting will not help anyone.Smile and see yourself!
  • Do not ignore other important relationships,learn to give time and attention to them also.Keep your emotions in context.
  • Learn to acknowledge and understand your limitations.Do not try to give more than you canor you will face a burn out.Remember if you are well then only can you take care of someone else.Keep everything in perspective.
  • Learn to empower the person you are helping.For example if a person has Parkinson's disease,help him to learn to be independant,by giving him support and tools.Empowerment needs the tasks to be made simplee,achievable in sequences for example;
  • Divide tasks like eating food:getting plate, spoon out,putting food on table,putting food on plate,eating slowly and steadily,putting plates away etc.
  • Provide enough modifications and tools for the patients to achieve their objectives,simple things like plate guards,special spoons as in case of parkinson's.
  • Do not try to be perfect.Allow for mistakes.Better still,learn to laugh at mistakes.A good sense of humour can take you past the greatest of obstacles.
  • Respect the person's independance,self respect and personality.Do not become a mother,father or school marm.Learn to let others live with dignity.
  • Give the person taken care of some sense of achievement like looking after a pet or a plant. There is evidence that nurturing helps in cure.
  • Always give tasks which the person may achieve.Identify their abilities.You cannot ask a person with Parkinsonism to wash the car!
  • Always make sure that the person achieves his tasks by not taking too much risks.Give friendly and safe tools and objects.

in the end,it has to be emphasised that the object of the whole excercise of caregiving is almost spiritual,ethereal,but we as humans have to keep in mind our limitations in order to achieve this higher goal.Be proactive,be optimistic,have a good sense of humour.Keep smiling!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Understanding Depression;Coping and Caring For.

Depression affects a large number of young people in the world.It has to be recognised and treated as early as possible. Parents and care givers need to understand that this disorder can be treated effectively in upto 90% of patients.
Signs to watch for are:

  • Decreased interest in friends and activities(like going out to play,attending family get togethers,meeting friends and relatives.)
  • Difficulty in getting up on time to go to school or college.
  • Lack of interest in school or college activities.
  • Difficulty in concentrating on school/college work or in household tasks.Unkempt look(dishevelled hair,not brushing teeth,untidy dress code.)
  • Frequent complaints of tiredness and boredom.
  • Unexplained aches and pains.
  • Either insomnia or oversleeping.
  • Trouble getting along with others(may get into fights due to increased irritability.)
  • Hypersensitivity to rejection or failure.
  • Emotional outbursts such as weeping,anger,shouting.
  • Reckless behaviour as in driving a car, alcohol or drug abuse.
  • Self abuse or injury.
  • Suicidal talk or expression.
  • Social withdrawal.(this increases with level of depression.)
  • Fall in grades and achievements.

For general information depression is of different kinds like major,dysthymia,seasonal affective disorder,atypical.For the parent or care giver it is important that they recognise the symptoms and seek help.There are several criteria for coming to a diagnosis but they are recognised by trained health personnel. For example DSM IV TR for major depression in adolescents.

Causes and links have been not well defined but hereditary,disbalance of nuerotransmitters,such as serotonin,noreepinephrine and dopamine have been known to cause the symptoms.In children and adolescents a strong link between stressful life events and manifestation of depression seems likely.

Other conditions may co-exist like ADHD,eating disorders,personality disorders substance abuse,anxiety disorders ,oppositional defiant disorders etc.

These and other diseases may be only identified by the physicianIn our society it is considered a stigma to go to a mental health professional so the role of a general practitioner as the final carer is very important.He should refer patient for final diagnosis and treatment and then keep on treating the patient with cooperation.

The out look for treated patients is good. Learning to live with depression is a very long and tedious effort but if optimism is adopted then life can be good.Treatment is now very advanced and easily available but it has to be taken seriously and under good guidance.Never listen to sad anecdotal stories of failure .Always see the silver lining.The new health paradigm is adopting a healthy lifestyle,be it eating,treatment,excercise or therapy.