Marijuana

Hi all.
A lot has been happening on the issue of legalizing the use of Marijuana.
I am feeling compelled to provide you with information so you really understand what is behind this “innocent” drug.
Please read and judge by yourself.
Best to all.
Dr. Goldman

Marijuana
Marijuana is derived from the plant Cannabis sativa or hemp. Commonly called pot, grass, weed or other names, marijuana is a green, brown, or gray mixture of dried, shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers of the hemp plant that is usually smoked by users. Marijuana is addictive and there are more US teenage marijuana abusers in treatment with a primary diagnosis of marijuana dependence than for all other illicit drugs combined. Classified as a Schedule I drug under the Federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970, in the last 50 years there has been a steady rise in its use for recreational, religious or spiritual, and medicinal purposes. Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the world.
Marijuana has a chemical in it called tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC. Marijuana in all formsis mind-altering (psychoactive)—it alters our brain function. THC acts on cannabinoid receptors
found in areas of the brain involved in memory (the hippocampus), concentration (cerebral cortex),
perception (sensory portions of the cerebral cortex) and movement (the cerebellum, substantia nigra,
globus pallidus). When THC activates cannabinoid receptors, it interferes with the normal functioning of these brain areas. A lot of other chemicals are found in marijuana, too — about 400 of
them, some of which are carcinogenic.
Marijuana has psychoactive and physiological effects when consumed, usually by smoking or ingestion.
The minimum amount of THC required to have a perceptible psychoactive effect is about 10 micrograms
per kilogram of body weight. The state of intoxication due to cannabis consumption is colloquially knownas a “high,” the state where mental and physical facilities are noticeably altered. Users experience differenthighs, which may vary according to potency, dose, chemical composition, method of consumption and
setting.

Marijuana affects the lungs and bronchial passages of users in the same fashion as tobacco use.
Marijuana also affects the hormone levels of users. In adolescent pot users, regular use of the drug candelay the onset of puberty in young men and reduce sperm production. For women, regular use may disrupt normal monthly menstrual cycles and inhibit ovulation. When pregnant women use marijuana, they run the risk of having smaller babies with lower birth weights, who are more likely than other babies to develop health problems. Some studies also found indications of developmental delays in children exposed to marijuana before birth.
Second Article:
Marijuana is the most commonly abused drug in the United States. It is derived from the cannabis plant which has a main active chemical ingredient called delta – 9 – tetrahydrocannabinol or THC for short.
THC acts upon specific areas of the brain which leads to the “high” that users experience when
they smoke or ingest marijuana. Marijuana intoxication can cause distorted perceptions,
impaired coordination, difficulty with thinking and problem solving, and problems with learning
and memory.
Marijuana has become much more potent; the amount of THC in pot has increased more than 150%
since 1983. Marijuana can also be laced with other drugs. Sometimes unbeknownst to the user,
marijuana can be laced with heroin or cocaine or with insecticides and embalming fluid. High doses of
marijuana can produce an acute psychotic reaction in some individuals.
In terms of physical effects, marijuana has negative effects on the heart by increasing heart rate which can last for up to three hours. Marijuana smokers can have the same respiratory problems as tobacco smokers since smoking is the main method of use. Smoking marijuana puts the individual at
comparatively higher risk because marijuana has four times the tar, 3-5 times higher levels of carbon
monoxide and greater than 50% more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than cigarettes. In terms of damage to
the lungs, 3 or 4 joints cause as much lung damage as 20 cigarettes.
Long –term marijuana use can lead to addiction which affects the user’s ability to function in
their family, at work and school. Research clearly demonstrates that marijuana abuse has the
potential to cause problems in daily life and can impair the user’s ability to cope with social
interactions and occupational performance. While marijuana use has not been definitively linked
to mental illness, a number of studies have shown an association between chronic marijuana use
and increased rates of anxiety, depression and schizophrenia. Treatment for marijuana abuse may
indicate whether marijuana use causes mental problems, exacerbates them or if the use itself is an
attempt to self – medicate symptoms of a mental health condition already in existence.
researchers such as Jacques-Joseph Moreau have been working to explain how marijuana has
harmful affects on the functions of central nervous system and hinders the memory and
movement of the user’s brain. The focus of my web paper is how the chemicals in marijuana,
specifically cannabinoids and THC have an effect on the memory and emotions of a person’s
central nervous system.
Marijuana impinges on the central nervous system by attaching to brain’s neurons and
interfering with normal communication between the neurons. These nerves respond by altering
their initial behavior. For example, if a nerve is suppose to assist one in retrieving short-term memory,
cannabinoids receptors make them do the opposite. So if one has to remember what he did five minutes
ago, after smoking a high dose of marijuana, he has trouble. Marijuana plant contains 400 chemicals
and 60 of them are cannabinoids, which are psychoactive compounds that are produced inside the body
after cannabis is metabolized or is extorted from the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids is an active
ingredient of marijuana. The most psychoactive cannabinoids chemical in marijuana that has the
biggest impact on the brain is tetrahydrocannibol, or THC. THC is the main active ingredient in
marijuana because it affects the brain by binding to and activating specific receptors, known as
cannabinoid receptors. “These receptors control memory, thought, concentration, time and depth, and
coordinated movement. THC also affects the production, release or re-uptake (a regulating mechanism)
of various neurotransmitters.”(2) Neurotransmitters are chemical messenger molecules that carry
signals between neurons. Some of these affects are personality disturbances, depression and chronic
anxiety. Psychiatrists who treat schizophrenic patient advice them to not use this drug because
marijuana can trigger severe mental disturbances and cause a relapse.
When one’s memory is affected by high dose of marijuana, short-term memory is the first to be
triggered. Marijuana’s damage to short-term memory occurs because THC alters the way in which
information is processed by the hippocampus, a brain area responsible for memory formation. “One
region of the brain that contains a lot of THC receptors is the hippocampus, which processes
memory.”(3) Hippocampus is the part of the brain that is important for memory, learning, and the
integration of sensory experiences with emotions and motivation. It also converts information into
short-term memory. “Because it is a steroid, THC acts on the hippocampus and inhibits memory
retrieval.”(4) THC also alters the way in which sensory information is interpreted. “When THC attaches
to receptors in the hippocampus, it weakness the short-term memory,”(5) and damages the nerve cells
by creating structural changes to the hippocampus region of the brain. When a user has a high dose of
marijuana, new information does not register into their brain and this may be lost from memory and
they are not able to retrieve new information for more than a few minutes. There is also a decrease in the activity of nerve cells.
There are two types of memory behavior that is affected by marijuana, recognition memory and free
cells. Recognition memory is the ability to recognize correct words. Users can usually recognize words that they previous saw before smoking but claim to recognize words that they did not previously see before smoking. This mistake is known as memory intrusions. Memory intrusions are also the consequence of THC affecting the free cell of the brain. “Marijuana disrupts the ability to freely recall words from a list that has been presented to an intoxicated subject.”(6) For example, if a list of vocabulary words presented to the intoxicated subject and few minutes later, they have to recall the words that were on the list. The only words that they remember are the last group of words and not the words that are in the beginning of the list. This is an initiation that their memory storage has been affected. “The absence of an effect at short term delay times indicates that cannabinodis did not impair Plthe ability to perform the basic task, but instead produce a selective learning and/or memory deficit.”(7)
I did a study with two college students (Student A and Student B) who both smoke marijuana every
other week. This particular study was done an hour before, while and after they were under the
influence of the drug. Student A was watching television before she smoked marijuana, was asked
which advertisement was splayed before the show started and she got four out of five of her answers
correct. After this first section, she smoked a small dose of marijuana twice within an hour. Fifteen
minutes after she smoked her last blunt, she continued her regular activity of watching sitcoms. When a commercial would come on, I would ask her simple questions like what happened before the show
went to a commercial break. Her responses would be macro-answers about what was going on but
when I asked her what the main character was wearing, she did not remember. This was ironic because
the protagonist wore a bright yellow suit that my friend commenting on earlier when the show began
ten minutes ago. Her short-term memory is weakening because she was only able to remember big
picture information and not small picture. Though the results are interesting, I know that I would have had different response on someone else because it depends on how often the user smokes and if they have good memory prior to smoking weed.
Marijuana also impairs emotions. When smoking marijuana, the user may have uncontrollable
laughter one minute and paranoia the next. This instant change in emotions has to do with the
way that THC affects the brain’s limbic system. The limbic system is another region of the brain
that governs one’s behavior and emotions. It also “coordinates activities between the visceral
base-brain and the rest of the nervous system.”(8) I am now going to use Students B to describe
how emotions are affected by marijuana. Students B is an articulate and well spoken young woman
who has a troublesome relationship with her best friends which gets her upset and tense up. But after
she smoked one high dose weed, her body was relaxed however, she had trouble formulating her
thoughts clearly and would talk in pieces and was jubilant. It has been researched that a person needs to
have high dose of marijuana would be in the state of euphoria. High dose of marijuana is measured as
“15mg of THC can cause increased heart rate, gross motor disturbances, and can lead to panic
attacks.”(9) Thankfully, Student A did not experience any of these extreme examples.
College students usually smoke marijuana because they are stressed over schoolwork and feel that
marijuana can help them unwind. I have encountered marijuana smokers who are chilled and have no
worries in the world but after the effect of the drug wears off, they’re sometimes capable to tacking
their problem or at the original state that they were in before the drug. The effects of happiness that marijuana usually cause to the user is not a lasting effect because even though a user smokes weed to get away from the troubles of his/her own life, they still have to face these problems after the effects of the drug wears-off. In a survey with college student, an organization called, parents: the Anti-Drug interviewed college students and found that “compared to the light users, heavy marijuana users made more errors and had more difficulty sustaining attention.”(10) This was evident through my second experiment with Student B but not everyone who smoke high doses of marijuana experience the same affect.
The chemicals in marijuana bring cognitive impairment and troubles with learning for the user.
“Smoking [marijuana] causes some changes in the brain that are like those caused but cocaine, heroin,
and alcohol. Some researchers believe that has changes may put a person more at risk of becoming
addicted to other drugs such a cocaine and heroin.”(11) To prevent such harm, one must be cautious of
their actions. Those who do not do drugs do not risk harm. So please the next day you light up,
remember you that you central nervous system and brain will be at risk.

Please note: the articles is work of other researcher and were not written by Dr. Goldman

!

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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

If you went through a traumatic event and are having a hard time to go back to your normal life style prior to the event and are having a hard time to reconnect to the important people in your life in a manner you are used to, there is a strong possibility that you suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PSTD).

What is PTSD? PTSD is a disorder that may develop after someone goes through a traumatic event that was unpredictable. It can be an accident, natural disaster, unexpected death of a loved one, childhood abuse, medical procedure, domestic abuse, rape and the list goes on. The traumatic event leaves you feeling helpless. You may feel that your safety is threatened. Any overwhelming life experience can trigger PSTD. Some time PSTD develops not only by being the direct victim, but even for someone who witnessed it (such as emergency workers, law enforcement officers, etc.).

PTSD can happen to NORMAL people experiencing/witnessing ABNORMAL events. The trauma leading to PTSD is usually so overwhelming and frightening that it would upset anyone. When your sense of security and safety is compromised, it is NORMAL to feel crazy, numb or disconnected.

After trauma the body and mind are in shock. Some have difficulty to process it and cope which results in PTSD. In PTSD situations, people remain in psychological shock. Your memory of what happened to you and your feelings about it are disconnected. In order to resume your normal life again, it is important to face and feel your memories and emotions in a safe way.

Following trauma, it is very common to have dreams, feel numb and fearful. But for most people it’s short lived and they feel better every day. However, for people that develop PTSD, those feelings intensify and get worse over days, week, months or even years. While everyone experiences PTSD differently, there are three main types of symptoms:

1.Re-experiencing the traumatic event
•Intrusive, upsetting memories of the event
•Flashbacks (acting or feeling like the event is happening again)
•Nightmares either of the event or of other frightening again)
•Feelings of intense distress when reminded of the trauma
•Intense physical reactions to reminders of the event (e.g. pounding heart, rapid breathing, nausea, muscle tension, sweating)

2.PTSD symptoms of avoidance and emotional numbing
•Avoiding activities, places, thoughts, or feelings that remind you of the trauma
•Inability to remember important aspects of the trauma
•Loss of interest in activities and life in general
•Feeling detached from others and emotionally numb
•Sense of a limited future (you don’t expect to live a normal life span, get married, have a career)

3.PTSD symptoms of increased arousal
•Difficulty falling or staying asleep
•Irritability or outbursts of anger
•Difficulty concentrating
•Hyper-vigilance (on constant “red alert’)
•Feeling jumpy and easily started

Other common symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder
•Anger and irritability
•Guilt, shame, or self-blame
•Substance abuse
•Depression and hopelessness
•Suicidal thoughts and feelings
•Feeling alienated and alone
•Feelings of mistrust and betrayal
•Headaches, stomach problems, chest pain

Getting help for PTSD
If you suspect that you may be suffering from PTSD, it’s important to seek help – right away. The best way to overcome PTSD is with support of an experienced therapist or a doctor.

It is only natural that you want to avoid painful memories and feelings, but if you’ll try to push it away, it will only get worse over time. The process is much easier with the help of a support group or trained clinician. You can’t escape your emotions completely. They will surface whenever you let your guard down. Avoidance will eventually harm your relationships and ability to function and the quality of your life.

Medication can often be used. Most common are antidepressants (SSRI’s) which help to reduce physical symptoms. For medication evaluations, please consult your physician.

I offer state of the art treatment for PTSD, with Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) technique. I also give unconditional support and compassion. I also teach people with PTSD practical approaches to cope with symptoms that can be very intense and disturbing. I provide tools to help people to manage their anger and anxiety, improve their communication skills and how to use relaxation techniques. I use cognitive behavioral therapy to accomplish the above.

The Art of Relationships/Marriage

Have you ever wondered what does it take to be in a good, fulfilling, healthy marriage or any other committed relationship? Relationships are very complex and require constant work. Falling in love is not enough. Marital satisfaction is never completely constant, even in healthy relationships/marriage research shows that satisfaction in marriage or any type of relationships of couple-hood, whether same or opposite sex, declines in time. Satisfaction is at its highest during the “honeymoon” years. For some, it’s months. The drop in satisfaction begins as children are introduced to the marriage. Also, when each partner in the relationship develops realistic expectations of each other. Marital satisfaction is also affected by how often partners get into conflicts. In volatile marriages, partners are very expressive and are willing to take more conflicts, while in others, conflict-avoiding marriages partners don’t tolerate high level of conflicts. They accomplish it by minimizing clashes or down playing emotional reactions. This does not mean that one marriage is better then another. It’s just a different style.

Healthy marriages are characterized by healthy boundaries. In ultimate relationships, partners share with each other their thoughts, feelings and secrets that they are not sharing with other people.

Boundaries should be flexible. They need to bend but should never break. Healthy couples work together like a team. They will not let outside forces influence them against each other (such as parents, in-laws, friends or even children). They will not break the promise they made to one another and the confidence they have with each other. Healthy married/committed couples make their relationship a top priority.

According to Dr. Mark Dombech (5.16.06) “personality and temperament and goal compatibility is very important in determining whether a marriage will be strong”. Couples who are sharing similar values, goals, traditional sex role, economic background, family structure and religion also may have a better marriage.

Problem solving skills are a must in a good relationship. Problems start to occur when communication breaks and primal needs are not met (affection, acceptance, respect, sex, etc.). When a crisis happens, healthy couples will turn inward rather than away from each other. It is important that discussions about money, roles in the household, sex, parents, in-laws, religion and children will take place before starting a life together. Self help books or premarital counseling can be a good source for a good beginning in committed relationships.

Breakdowns in relationships will happen according to Dr. John Gottman when the “four horsemen of the apocalypse” enter the relationship. Those are: Contempt, Criticism, Stonewalling and Defensiveness. If you exercise any of those four in your relationship you are heading for trouble.

What should you do to stay in a strong relationship?

1.Be friends – you must be each other’s best friend. Be willing to go the extra mile for each other. Respect and honor one another.
2.Break the routine – make sure to continue and invest as much as you did during your courtship. Go on dates, surprise each other. Take time for the two of you without the rest of the family.
3.Communicate – make sure to let your partner know how they are doing. Appreciate one another. Be able to communicate your needs. Compliment and validate one another.
4.Develop solving-problem skills – tolerate each others faults. Add humor to your problem solving. Schedule set time to tell your partner what you need and listen to what he/she needs in order to fix a problem. Negotiate on agreement that will work for both. Neither one of you can walk away getting 100% of what you want. Always take the side of your partner before anybody else.
5.Finances – discuss money all the time! How much need to be spent and on what. Work out a budget that you both agree on. Money issues can put a serious strain on your relationship. Make sure you are on the same page. Plan your financial future.

6.Sex – learn to talk with each other about sex in a way that
will make you feel safe and heard. You want to get
intimately closer and not apart. Be direct when it comes
to your needs. Do it respectfully. Do not criticize your
partner! Lead him/her in a respectful way.

7.Create your marriage to be a peaceful place where you feel secure, safe, appreciated and loved.

If you hit a gridlock and can’t find your way out of a problem, reach for professional help.

Grieving the loss of a relationship? Divorce?

The end of a meaningful relationship and/or divorce can cause pain, confusion, depression and often time physical changes. Divorce/separation can cause much stress.

Everyone reacts differently to the death of a relationship. There are some common stages that people go through, although, they may not be in order. Those stages are very similar to those experiencing the death of a loved one. With any kind of grief, it is very common and very normal to move back and forth between stages. At times, it may seem very difficult. But you always want to keep in mind, that at the end of the road, there is hope and healing.

Emotional stages
The stages are:
Denial – you can’t believe it is happening to you! You refuse to accept the end of the relationship.

Shock – Feeling of panic, despair (over the end of the relationship). At times it may seem impossible to cope with these feelings and you may wonder how you will survive. Will you ever love again? Will the pain ever end?

Rollercoaster – You can’t stop moving back and forth from hope to despair. During this stage, you will try to understand and put meaning to what has happened. You think that if you only understand what happened, the pain will disappear and it will all make sense. You will wonder if you could do things differently you will think that you can’t control your thoughts. Depression in this stage is very common. You may cry a lot.

Bargaining – You may still hold hope that the relationship will survive. You will be willing to change everything about you and do everything differently if only your spouse will come back. However, it is very important that you remember that you can’t control the actions and desires of another person.

Letting go – At this point you will realize that the marriage/relationship is over. There is nothing you could have done to change this outcome. You will be more forgiving of your spouse faults and willing to take responsibility for your part in the breakdown of the relationship. Now you will begin to have a sense of freedom, relief and hope for the future.

Acceptance – Your obsessive thinking stops. The need to heal the relationship is over and you begin to have the sense that you can lead fulfilling life. You will look a head to the future, no longer the past. You will be open to new opportunities and discover that there is life after death/divorce/breakup. The future now looks brighter.

Tips for coping during time of grief:
1.Keep yourself physically fit. Physical activity helps produce neurotransmitters in the brain that regulates mood.
2.Give yourself permission to feel. Whether your feelings are negative or positive – this is where you are. Embrace it. What we do with our emotions greatly effect the quality of our life experience. Don’t assume revenge or the victim role. If you feel angry, find someone safe to vent your feelings to.
3.Don’t make hasty decisions. When you are so stressed, any decisions to take actions and/or change should not be made because the consequences may be devastating.
4.Do things that will nurture you physically and emotionally – Take on a hobby, read a good book, take a bubble bath, get a message, eat healthy, surround yourself with positive people that love and support you.
5.Change your expectations – Remember that no one has control over feelings and actions of another person. It is tempting to think that you had control, but you really didn’t. Let go of trying to control how your spouse feels or what actions s/he will take. Learn to accept whatever the outcome will be.
6.Be sure to have fun – Remember to love, laugh and play. Schedule activities that bring you pleasure. Maintain your circle of close friends and socialize. Do not isolate yourself.
7.Make sure to pay attention to your emotional needs – Find someone to talk to — a good friend or a therapist. A little talk therapy can go a long way when you feel emotionally overwhelmed.

Remember – there is life after this. The sun is shinning over there!

The Effects of Divorce on Children

Should we separate or stay together for the sake of the children? This is a question many couples in crises ask themselves. There are many factors to consider when trying to make that decision. Are the children aware of the parent’s conflict? Do they know their parent’s marriage is in trouble? Is the relationship too volatile?

Children that live in a turmoiled household grow up in fear. They develop depression, anxiety, and fear for their safety and the safety of their parents. Oftentimes the choice to dissolve a turbulent marriage and raise the children in a peaceful, one parent household may be much better than staying together. However, whatever the reason for divorce, it comes with a heavy price for the children. Divorce is an intense and stressful experience for children of all ages, from the very young to adults. Children suffer from a sense of vulnerability as the family falls apart. They feel grief, anger and strong powerlessness.

Infants cannot understand conflict but sense the parent’s energy and react to the stress. Infants may develop upset stomachs, vomiting, loss of appetite, and begin to cry more. Young children (typically those in preschool) may think they are the cause of the split. They may believe that if they “would have picked up their toys and listened to daddy, he wouldn’t have left.” They may show regression in developmental milestones and revert to infant behavior; bedwetting may resume. They may exhibit anger, depression, noncompliance, disobedience and aggressiveness. Sleep disturbance is also common.

School age children may respond with changes in their scholastic achievement. Students who were previously high achievers may begin to fail. They understand that they are in pain. They experience grief. They often struggle with the concept of divorce and secretly hope that their parents will get back together. They may have behavior problems in school. At home they find it difficult to be loyal to either parent. They feel intense anger and helplessness. The feelings of pain and powerlessness is overwhelming. Some children “adopt” the role of the departing parent, such as the “man of the household” or “the mother of the siblings”. The parentified child may see him or herself as the surrogate partner.

Adolescents are prone to react by withdrawing and are likely to experience acute depression and feelings of abandonment, loneliness, fear, anger and guilt. Children at this age understand the concept of divorce. Also at this age, taking on the role of the departed parent is more pronounced. Adolescents try to take charge. The stress of the divorce may interfere with a teen’s ability to cope with the changes in the family structure. They may also develop anxiety and fear about their own future relationships. Some develop violent behavior and being to act out. In extreme cases, the teen may have suicidal ideations. They may take sides and may judge their parents’ actions. Some may turn to drugs for self-medication, others may have run-ins with the law.

Relationships between parents after a divorce with their children may change. Parents who are experiencing grief and anguish as a result of the divorce may have diminished parenting skills. Although temporary, it is possible that these changes may become permanent if the custodial parent does not reclaim the relationship with the child. Thus, it is important to have clear boundaries of parenting (i.e., make it clear that parents do not take on the role as their child’s friend) and provide love.

Helping children to adjust to divorce
As painful as it is to discuss divorce with children, openness and truthfulness appropriate to the age level may restore the trust the child has with his or her parents. Make sure not to burden young children with too many details. Teens will want to know more. Make sure to let children of all ages know that it is not their fault, they could not do anything different to change the situation, both parents will always be their parents, and that they will always love them no matter what.

Minimizing conflict between parents after the divorce will contribute to better adjustment. Agreement and consistency between parents on discipline and education is important. Love, support and approval of both parents will contribute to the sense of well-being and self-worth. If parents have higher conflicts between each other and are not able to co-parent responding to the child’s symptoms, the disturbance will be much more noticeable.

Parents need to continue to be involved in their child’s life on a daily basis whether they are the custodial parent or not. Daily calls, interest in the child’s activities, progress in school, and so on may strengthen the child’s feelings of being loved regardless the separation from the parent and may ease up some of the pain. Keep the child’s routine uninterrupted. Try not to change school and social networks if possible. Have ongoing talks with your child about their feelings and their concerns about the divorce. Do not promise what you cannot keep.

If you feel stressed and hurt, reach out for help from family or friends to take over for a while. Make sure to take care of yourself, so you will be able to care for your children.

Show your children ways to cope with stress (i.e., exercise, eating nutritious food, spending time with friends, finding a hobby, etc). Validate your child’s feelings. Accept their anger and show understanding. Teach them to express hurt and anger without hurting themselves, others people, property, or animals. Provide your child with love, understanding and support.

Consult with professionals if you need more help with your child’s reaction to the divorce. Many churches provide support groups to families after divorce. Any option that can help to cope should be explored and welcomed.

Depression

Are you feeling “blue”? Do you cry a lot with no apparent reason? Did your appetite change? Feeling “blue” every now and then is a normal part of life. But when ‘feeling blue” becomes feelings of emptiness and despair that does not go away, it may be depression. Depression makes it tough to enjoy life as you did in the past. It effects relationships with family and friends. Hobbies and interests are not as it used to be. Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness are present

Depression has many faces. . It can be from mild to severe. We all go through ups and downs in our moods. Experiencing disappointments and set backs will make people sad. This kind of depression is situational and very normal. However, depression is much more then sadness. Some people describe it like living in a black hole, feeling empty and lifeless. They don’t feel sadness. They feel apathetic and have feelings of impending doom. Whatever the symptoms are, it engulfs their day-to-day life. The ability to work, enjoy a personal life, study and have fun is gone.

If you identify with several of the following symptoms and they won’t go away, you may be suffering from clinical depression:

• Your sleep pattern changed. You sleep too much or you can’t sleep at all.
• Tasks that you could do with ease previously are now difficult.
• You can’t concentrate.
• Your appetite changed. You eat too much or you lose your appetite.
• You have feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.
• You have negative thoughts and have a hard time controlling them.
• You have thoughts of ending the pain and that life is not with it. IF YOU EXPERIENCE THIS SEEK HELP IMMEDIATELY!

Risk factors of depression:
• Lack of social support
• Recent stressful life situation
• Loneliness
• Family history of depression
• Alcohol and drug abuse
• Under-employment and unemployment
• Marital or relationship problems
• Chronic pain/health problems
• Childhood abuse/trauma

The road to recovery ….
Research has shown that the most successful treatment is a combination of therapy and medication.. However, for lower grade depression, there are things you can do.

• Seek peer support, ask for help.
• Change your life style by:
-getting regular exercise
-getting regular sleep
-practicing relaxation techniques
-medication
-challenge your negative thinking
-cultivating supportive relationships
-seek professional help

Welcome to my Blog

Did you ever think that being in a relationship/marriage is going to be easy?

Did you think that the love and passion you felt when you first met would stay the same for the rest of your life?

If you thought so, you were not prepared for the relationship/marriage journey. Relationships require a lot of work. When partners take relationships for granted, this is when they start to drift apart from each other.

In healthy relationships, you need to continue and connect. You should know all about your partner to understand what makes him/her happy, sad, upset or indifferent. You need to prepare yourself that love “changes colors” as time goes by. It becomes deeper and more meaningful. If you can’t be friends, you can’t be lovers!

Here are some tools that may help you in your relationship journey:

• Edit yourself – avoid being critical. When expressing needs that are not met. Express how you feel without blaming.

• Don’t escalate an argument to a fight.

• Don’t use contempt when bringing up issues that need to be corrected.

• Don’t fight for “being right”. Fight for solutions and for happier relationships.

• Be a team on the same fence, not rivals.

• Accommodate each others needs even when you don’t agree 100%. Negotiate in what feels OK for both of you. Remember, negotiating means you give a little and you get a little.

• If an argument gets out of hand and neither can back down, agree to a “time out” period. Cool off for an hour or more and come back to revisit the problem when both of you are cool and collected.

•Concentrate on the qualities of your partner rather then the deficits. Remember, what made you fall in love and focus on the positives! This will always give you a better chance to a happier relationship.

If you know of someone who’s relationship hit “a snag”, feel free to forward this blog to them. Watch for the weekly topics I will be covering.