General Awareness!
Anxiety !

The relatively mild, brief anxiety caused by a stressful event anxiety disorders last at least 6 months and can get worse if they are not treated. Anxiety disorders commonly occur along with other mental or physical illnesses, including alcohol or substance abuse, which may mask anxiety symptoms or make them worse. In some cases, these other illnesses need to be treated before a person will respond to treatment for the anxiety disorder.

The following are some anxiety disorders:

Panic disorder

is characterized by repeated, unexpected panic attacks, as well as fear of experiencing another episode. Panic disorder may also be accompanied by agoraphobia, which is a fear of being in places where escape or help would be difficult in the event of a panic attack. If you have agoraphobia, you are likely to avoid public places such as shopping malls or confined spaces such as an airplane.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder

(OCD) is characterized by unwanted thoughts or behaviors that seem impossible to stop or control. If you have OCD, you may be troubled by obsessions, such as a recurring worry that you forgot to turn off the oven or that you might hurt someone. You may also suffer from uncontrollable compulsions, such as washing your hands over and over.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

is an extreme anxiety disorder that can occur in the aftermath of a traumatic or life-threatening event. PTSD can be thought of as a panic attack that rarely, if ever, lets up. Symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks or nightmares about what happened, hypervigilance, startling easily, withdrawing from others, and avoiding situations that remind you of the event.

Social anxiety disorder

If you have a debilitating fear of being seen negatively by others and humiliated in public, you may have social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia. Social anxiety disorder can be thought of as extreme shyness. In severe cases, social situations are avoided altogether. Performance anxiety (better known as stage fright) is the most common type of social phobia

Specific phobias,

is an unrealistic or exaggerated fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that in reality presents little to no danger. Common phobias include fear of animals such as snakes and spiders, fear of flying, and fear of heights. In the case of a severe phobia, you might go to extreme lengths to avoid the thing you fear. Unfortunately, avoidance only strengthens the phobia.

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

If constant worries and fears distract you from your day-to-day activities or you’re troubled by a persistent feeling that something bad is going to happen, you may be suffering from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). People with GAD are chronic worrywarts who feel anxious nearly all of the time, though the may not even know why. Anxiety related to GAD often shows up as physical symptoms like insomnia, stomach upset, restlessness, and fatigue.

Do your symptoms indicate an anxiety disorder?

If you identify with several of the following signs and symptoms, and they just won’t go away, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder.

Are you constantly tense, worried, or on edge?

Does your anxiety interfere with your work, school, or family responsibilities?

Are you plagued by fears that you know are irrational, but can’t shake?

Do you believe that something bad will happen if certain things aren’t done a certain way?

Do you avoid everyday situations or activities because they cause you anxiety?

Do you experience sudden, unexpected attacks of heart-pounding panic?

Do you feel like danger and catastrophe are around every corner?

Emotional symptoms of anxiety

In addition to the primary symptoms of irrational and excessive fear and worry, other common emotional symptoms of anxiety include:

Feelings of apprehension or dread

Trouble concentrating

Feeling tense and jumpy

Anticipating the worst

Irritability

Restlessness

Watching for signs of danger

Feeling like your mind’s gone blank

Physical symptoms of anxiety:

Common physical symptoms of anxiety include:

Pounding heart

Sweating

Stomach upset or dizziness

Frequent urination or diarrhea

Shortness of breath

Tremors and twitches

Muscle tension

Headaches

Fatigue

Insomnia

The bottom line is that if your lifestyle is unhealthy and stressful, you’re more likely to feel anxious whether or not you have an anxiety disorder. So if you feel like you worry too much, take some time to evaluate how well you’re caring for yourself.

Do you make time each day for relaxation and fun?

Are you getting the emotional support you need?

Are you taking care of your body?

Are you overloaded with responsibilities?

Do you ask for help when you need it?

Challenge negative thoughts

Create an anxiety worry period.

Accept uncertainty

Practice relaxation techniques.

Adopt healthy eating habits..

Reduce alcohol and nicotine.

Exercise regularly.

Get enough sleep.

Quit Smoking!
Good morning friends,

in India, about 900,000 Indians a year die from smoking-related diseases, that's nearly one in 10 of all deaths in India. Half of Indian males use tobacco and it is becoming more popular with younger people.

* Nearly 6 lakh people die from bidi-smoking evey year in India, according to the Caught in a Death Trap: A Study on Bidi Rollers of West Bengal and Gujarat study

1)active and passive smokers Seven basic types of smokers (By Russell) -If you understand why you smoke, you will have a better chance to adopt appropriate strategies to stop your smoking behavior. -According to motives for smoking smokers are: 1-sedative smokers: As comfort in the face of unpleasant feelings or to relieve tension .... 2-Stimulative smokers: To help thinking, increase concentration and overcome monotony . 3-psychsocial smokers: As crutch to increase their confidence. 4-Sensory smokers: Just satisfaction of feeling of a cigarette in mouth or fingers. 5-Indulgent smokers: Use it for actual pleasure of smoking or to heighten enjoyment of an already pleasurable moment . 6-Addictive smokers: To avoid the severe withdrawal symptoms of stopping . 7-Automatic smokers: smoking is injurious to health What does a cigarette contain? If you smoke cigarettes, have you ever thought of what's actually in them?

They contain around 4000 different chemicals, here's a short list of some of them. Cadmium - found in batteries Stearic Acid - candle wax Hexamine - BBQ lighter Toluene - industrial solvent Ammonia - Toilet Cleaner Paint Fuel Carbon monoxide - Odourless but toxic gas Arsenic - poison Methane - sewer gas Tar Nicotine Cigarettes burn at 700 degrees Celsius (1292 degrees Fahrenheit ) at the tip (when inhaled), this breaks down these substances to produce even more toxins. By ingesting these poisons into the body, many serious diseases can result,

Cancer

Mouth cancer: Rarer in cigarette smokers than cigar smokers (as most of the smoke goes all the way into the lungs) but still presents a higher than normal risk. Throat cancer: Cancerous cells in the throat, very painful Lung cancer: This affects cigarette smokers the most (not so much cigar smokers as they don't normally breathe it down into there lungs). Did you know that 90% of lung cancer cases are due to smoking, and that if you're a moderate smoker you're 20 times more likely to get it than a non smoker and 40 times more likely if you're a heavy smoker.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

COPD; conditions which cause blocked airflow and makes breathing more difficult. Happens to everyone eventually. But smoking dramatically speeds up the process. The most common types of COPD are, Emphysema: Contents of cigarettes stick to the air sacs and damage them, this then causes breathlessness. Chronic bronchitis: Chemicals in cigarettes cause inflaming of the lungs which make respiratory passages irritated and swollen. Also increases mucus production which damages the lungs.

Vascular disease

Blood circulation problems can result.

The three most common types of vascular disease are,

Cardiovascular disease (the heart): Blood flow to and from the heart is constricted by fatty deposits. This can lead to heart attacks.

Cerebrovascular disease (the brain): Blood flow to the brain is constricted. May result in strokes or paralysis.

Peripheral vascular disease (the legs): Blood cannot circulate through the legs properly. Can cause leg cramps, and in more serious cases lead to gangrene in the toes and feet which may then result in amputation.

You can see now the diseases caused by smoking cigarettes and just how serious they can be. If you're a smoker it may be a good idea to do something about it.

Other Conditions Caused by Smoking

• The chemicals present in tobacco damage the lining of the blood vessels and affect the levels of fats in the bloodstream. It increases the risk of atheroma, which is the main cause of heart diseases, strokes and aneurysms. • Smoking affects oral health. It can stain teeth and gums. Smoking can give rise to various health problems of the gums and teeth, such as swollen gums, loose teeth, and bad breath. • Smoking causes an acidic taste in the mouth. It can increase the risk of developing mouth ulcers. • Smoking can give rise to various sexual problems. People addicted to smoking are more likely to face fertility problems and sexual performance issues. • Smoking increases the risk of high blood pressure which is a risk factor for stroke and heart attacks. • Smoking worsens asthma by increasing the inflammation of the airways. • Smoking can cause early aging. Due to smoking, the blood supply to the skin is reduced. There is a decrease in the level of vitamin A. Hence, smokers have paler skin and more wrinkles. • Heavy smoking causes macular degeneration which results in gradual loss of eyesight. Smokers are also at a higher risk of cataract. • Some other conditions caused by smoking are chest infections, diabetic retinopathy, tuberculosis, multiple sclerosis and Crohn's disease. • There are even passive effects of smoking, which can be quite dangerous to the people who come in contact with the smoke. If babies and kids come in contact with smokers, they become more prone to asthma and infections of the ear, nose and chest. They are at an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome.

Why is Smoking Dangerous?

It is estimated that every minute about 7 people die due to tobacco use. According to researches, tobacco in a cigarette contains more than 400 toxic substances and 4,000 chemical compounds. Let us see how harmful smoking such substances can be. • The most hazardous substances in cigarettes are tar (which is a carcinogen), nicotine (which increases cholesterol levels in the body) and carbon monoxide (which decreases the amount of oxygen within the body). • Nicotine is the most addictive substance in tobacco. Smoking decreases the level of oxygen from reaching the tissues, giving rise to different health problems such as strokes, heart attacks or miscarriages. • It increases cholesterol levels in the blood, thus increasing the risk of heart attacks. • Smoking causes damage and constriction of blood vessels, leading to various diseases of blood vessels. • Smoking also causes chronic coughing, shortness of breath, premature aging, recurrent infections and reduced overall fitness. • Smoking-related deaths are mainly because of heart diseases, cancers and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder !

Obsessive-compulsive neurosis; OCD

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is an anxiety disorder in which people have unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, ideas, sensations (obsessions), or behaviors that make them feel driven to do something (compulsions).

Often the person carries out the behaviors to get rid of the obsessive thoughts, but this only provides temporary relief. Not performing the obsessive rituals can cause great anxiety.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

1. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is more common than was once thought. Most people who develop it show symptoms by age 30.

2. There are several theories about the cause of OCD, but none have been confirmed. Some reports have linked OCD to head injury and infections. Several studies have shown that there are brain abnormalities in patients with OCD, but more research is needed.

3. About 20% of people with OCD have tics, which suggests the condition may be related to Tourette syndrome. However, this link is not clear.

Symptoms

1. Obsessions or compulsions that are not due to medical illness or drug use 2. Obsessions or compulsions that cause major distress or interfere with everyday life 3. There are many types of obsessions and compulsions. Examples include: 4. Checking and rechecking actions (such as turning out the lights and locking the door) 5. Excessive counting 6. Excessive fear of germs 7. The compulsion to repeatedly wash the hands to ward off infection 8. The person usually recognizes that the behavior is excessive or unreasonable.

Signs and tests

1. Your own description of the behavior can help diagnose the disorder. A physical exam can rule out physical causes, and a psychiatric evaluation can rule out other mental disorders. 2. Questionnaires, such as the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (YBOCS), can help diagnose OCD and track the progress of treatment.

Treatment

OCD is treated using medications and therapy.

The first medication usually considered is a type of antidepressant called a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). These drugs include:

1. Citalopram (Celexa) 2. Fluoxetine (Prozac) 3. Fluvoxamine (Luvox) 4. Paroxetine (Paxil) 5. Sertraline (Zoloft)

If an SSRI does not work, the doctor may prescribe an older type of antidepressant called a tricyclic antidepressant. Clomipramine is a TCA, and is the oldest medication for OCD. It usually works better than SSRI antidepressants in treating the condition, but it can have unpleasant side effects, including:

1. Difficulty starting urination 2. Drop in blood pressure when rising from a seated position 3. Dry mouth 4. Sleepiness

In some cases, an SSRI and clomipramine may be combined. Other medications, such as low-dose atypical antipsychotics (including risperidone, quetiapine, olanzapine, or ziprasidone) have been shown to be helpful. Benzodiazepines may offer some relief from anxiety, but they are generally used only with the more reliable treatments.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to be the most effective type of psychotherapy for this disorder. The patient is exposed many times to a situation that triggers the obsessive thoughts, and learns gradually to tolerate the anxiety and resist the urge to perform the compulsion. Medication and CBT together are considered to be better than either treatment alone at reducing symptoms.

Psychotherapy can also be used to:

1. Provide effective ways of reducing stress 2. Reduce anxiety 3. Resolve inner conflicts 4. Expectations (prognosis)

OCD is a long-term (chronic) illness with periods of severe symptoms followed by times of improvement. However, a completely symptom-free period is unusual. Most people improve with treatment.

Complications

Long-term complications of OCD have to do with the type of obsessions or compulsions. For example, constant handwashing can cause skin breakdown. However, OCD does not usually progress into another disease.

Calling your health care provider

Call for an appointment with your health care provider if your symptoms interfere with daily life, work, or relationships.

Prevention

There is no known prevention for this disorder.

Phobia !

According to the American Psychiatric Association, a phobia is an irrational and excessive fear of an object or situation. In most cases, the phobia involves a sense of endangerment or a fear of harm. For example, those suffering from agoraphobia fear being trapped in an inescapable place or situation. Phobia is a psychiatric term used to describe fear of a specific situation i-e fear of height, fear of road travel etc, or an object i-e animals like snakes, spiders, lizards, medical situations like seeing blood or being injected.

It is in fact, a psychological disorder in which the patient feel himself in-secure against these objects and avoid them. There are hundreds of phobias that are categorized in a list for the ease of psychology students.

We are going to list and define some of them.

A phobia is an intense fear of something that, in reality, poses little or no actual danger. Common phobias and fears include closed-in places, heights, highway driving, flying insects, snakes, and needles. However, we can develop phobias of virtually anything. Most phobias develop in childhood, but they can also develop in adults.

If you have a phobia, you probably realize that your fear is unreasonable, yet you still can’t control your feelings. Just thinking about the feared object or situation may make you anxious. And when you’re actually exposed to the thing you fear, the terror is automatic and overwhelming.

The experience is so nerve-wracking that you may go to great lengths to avoid it — inconveniencing yourself or even changing your lifestyle. If you have claustrophobia, for example, you might turn down a lucrative job offer if you have to ride the elevator to get to the office. If you have a fear of heights, you might drive an extra twenty miles in order to avoid a tall bridge.

Understanding your phobia is the first step to overcoming it. It’s important to know that phobias are common. Having a phobia doesn’t mean you’re crazy! It also helps to know that phobias are highly treatable. You can overcome your anxiety and fear, no matter how out of control it feels.

Symptoms of Phobias

Phobic symptoms can occur through exposure to the fear object or situation, or sometimes simply thinking about the feared object can lead to a response. Common symptoms associated with phobias include:

Dizziness Breathlessness Nausea A sense of unreality

Fear of dying

In some cases, these symptoms can escalate into a full-scale anxiety attack. As a consequence of these symptoms, some individuals begin to isolate themselves, leading to severe difficulties in daily life. In other cases, the individual may seek out medical care due to a constant concern with imagined illnesses or imminent death.

Types of Phobias

There are three types of phobias:

Social phobias—fear of social situations.

Agoraphobia—fear of being trapped in an inescapable place or situation.Fear of attending social events or open spaces

Specific phobias—fear of a specific object (such as snakes).

There are four major types of specific phobias:

The natural environment—fear of lightening, water, storms, etc.

Animal—fear of snakes, rodents, spiders, etc.

Medical—fear of seeing blood, receiving injections, visiting a doctor, etc.

Situational—fear of bridges, leaving the home, driving, etc.

Astraphobia – fear of thunder and lightning

Cyberphobia – fear of Computers / Learning new technologies

Entomophobia – Fear of insects

Gephyrophobia – Fear of crossing bridges

Gynophobia – Fear of women

Glossophobia – Fear of speaking in public (Shyness or lack of confidence in fact)

Seismophobia – fear of earthquakes

Nosocomephobia – Fear of hospitals

Ophidiophobia or Snakophobia – Fear of snakes

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