Category Archives for Depression

Bipolar Disorder – Causes & Alternative Treatments

Mental illness is becoming more and more common among all ages. According to the World Health Organization, over 450 million suffer from mental illness worldwide. Suicide rates have increased by 60% in the last 45 years, with 90% having a diagnosable mental disorder. Anxiety disorders, depression and mood disorders like bipolar disorder have similarities, yet require different treatments. A person with depression often has some type of anxiety, while a person with anxiety often shows some symptoms of depression. Brain health plays an integral part in all types of mental disorders. Bipolar disorder in particular, is unique in comparison to anxiety and depression. Manic episodes of bipolar may include high energy, reduced need for sleep, and loss of touch with reality. Depressive episodes of bipolar may include low energy, decreased motivation, and loss of interest in daily activities. Treatment typically is lifelong, involving a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Lets look further at the causes and complexities of this disorder. bipolar disorder

Causes

Most researchers agree there are physical and environmental factors that contribute to bipolar disorder. While a person may have been born with a predisposition, for many a stressful life event or upbringing triggers the illness. Studies show a low or high level of a particular neurotransmitter such as serotonin, norepinephrine or dopamine is involved in mood disorders – affecting the overall balance of how these chemicals work together. Stress levels also play a role with increasing stress causing cortisol levels to rise. In turn, these high cortisol levels alter brain function and communication.

The Prechter Bipolar Research Program at the University of Michigan performed a study which found more people with bipolar disorder have a history of childhood trauma than those without the disorder. These traumas were associated with changes in self-control and attention. Childhood traumas such as emotional abuse or neglect has shown to affect mood, impulse control, cognitive function, and feelings of self-worth – all of which are associated with bipolar disorder. bipolar disorder

Higher levels of saturated fats also showed an association between certain levels of fat molecules in the blood and mood. Patients taking an antipsychotic showed less diversity of microbes in the gastrointestinal tract. Bad microbes in the gut can create gut inflammation, which may cause depression and other brain ailments and imbalances. It has been noted that those who have daily mood swings have food allergies or hypoglycemia. With brain health being so dependent on gut health, it is essential to provide the body with proper nutrients to provide greater harmony between mind and body. Lets look further at some alternative treatments to support mental health and overall brain health. bipolar disorder

Alternative Treatments

Dr. Drew Ramsey, author of “50 Shades of Kale,” says omega 3’s, vitamin D, B vitamins, zinc, iron, and magnesium all play a vital role in brain health. Ramsey notes that kale provides 134% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, 684% of vitamin K, 206% of vitamin A, and more. It is of utmost importance to eat nutrient rich foods to help support a healthy gut such as, cruciferous vegetables, bananas, beans, artichokes, blueberries, polenta, kimchee, saurkraut and tempeh. Slow digesting foods that are high in fiber such as beans, oats, brown rice, and other fruits and vegetables are all supportive to brain health. Folic acid, B12, and glutathione has shown to be deficient in manic depressive patients. Diet changes, supplementation, and alternative treatments can be used in conjunction with other therapies. Bipolar disorder can be successfully managed through a strong support system, psychotherapy, and lifestyle changes. It is always best to discuss any treatments with your health care provider. Consider further ways to support mental health.

Tips to Support Mental Health

  • Take care of your body – Eat nutrient dense meals, avoid excess alcohol, drink plenty of water, exercise, and get enough sleep.
  • Spend time with others who support you – People who have strong family or social connections are generally happier and healthier.
  • Learn coping skills – Take a walk in nature, journal, and practice self-care by spending time doing something you enjoy.
  • Quiet your mind – Mindfulness and relaxation techniques helps improve your state of mind and promotes a positive outlook on life.
  • Acupuncture – Symptoms of mood swings can be alleviated with acupuncture by helping to balance the energetic qi (chee) within various body systems and minimize the frequency and intensity of mood swings. Medical Wellness Associates offers acupuncture and other homeopathic therapies for a variety of conditions, helping to support balance between mind and body.
  • Aromatherapy – Essential oils promote balance between mind and body. Oils like lavender, bergamot, frankincense, jasmine, and many others can be used to uplift mood. Contact Makin Wellness for a custom blend to support emotional wellness!

If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety, depression, or other mood disturbances, contact Makin Wellness today for a free 15 minute consultation! Our services include a holistic approach of cognitive behavioral therapy, nutritional counseling, and life coaching.

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assited treatment and relationship counseling. bipolar disorder

Laura Stewart, BA Makin Wellness

Laura Stewart, BA Makin Wellness

Pros and Cons of Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana has shown benefits such as functional improvements in autism and severe pain conditions. Marijuana is an herb that has been used for thousands of years in traditional, ancient medicine such as malaria, rheumatism, gout, and absent-mindedness. Chinese medicine has used the plant for its medicinal value, versus the intoxicating properties we generally tend to associate it with. medical marijuana

Ayurvedic texts references to cannabis by one of its chief founders of Ayurveda, Dhanvantari. Cannabis is used medicinally only in very small quantities in Ayurvedic medicine. Ayurveda believes marijuana to be an addictive drug, advising it to be used in combination with other herbs, based on the toxic affect it may have on the mind and body. Herbs and plants, like any medicine, may be beneficial for some things, yet still presenting some negative side effects.

The endocannabinoid system is a delicate and complex system of the body, responsible for vital brain functions like appetite, mood, pain sensation, and memory. Endocannabinoids are the naturally occurring chemicals found in our nervous and immune systems. The endocannabinoids then act on various cells and attach to endocannabinoid receptors. While cannabis can work naturally with our endocannabinoid system, cannabanoid misuse can be harmful to our bodies and brain functions.

The Difference Between THC and CBD

Long-term use of cannabis with the active compound of THC has shown to affect the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is responsible for intellectual ability and decision making skills. THC is the psychoactive component found in marijuana known for creating the “high” feeling typically associated with its use. Immediate and long-term cognitive side-effects include, impaired thinking and reasoning, reduced ability to plan and organize, altered decision-making, and reduced control over impulses. Therefore it should be used with caution under the care of a doctor. CBD has the same chemical constituents as THC, but doesn’t produce the “high” feeling, making it a safer option for children since it doesn’t have the potential harmful cognitive effects of THC. CBD is used to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, reduce psychotic symptoms in Schizophrenia, and increase appetite while decreasing pain and nausea in cancer patients. Read more at: www.sepalika.com/living-well/pros-and-cons-of-medical-marijuana. medical marijuana

Benefits of Medical Marijuana

Medical ailments that have shown to respond well to medical marijuana include mood disorders, degenerative neurological disorders such as Dystonia, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and seizures. Medical marijuana also has the potential to ease pain associated with multiple sclerosis, assist in symptoms of autism, ease tremors in patients with Parkinson’s Disease, and aid with sleep issues. People with nausea from chemotherapy, chronic pain, or those depending on harmful pain-relieving opiods can also benefit a great deal from medical marijuana. medical marijuana

Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director of Drug Policy Alliance, notes, “New evidence now indicates that the proliferation of medical marijuana laws and dispensaries around the United States is strongly associated with fewer people dying from overdoses involving heroin and pharmaceutical opiods. the most likely reason is that people are finding marijuana more helpful than opiods in managing different types of pain. Doctors are recommended to us cannabis with caution in patients with a history of tobacco or other substance use, at increased risk for heart disease, or have a history of mood or anxiety disorders. Dr. Michael Dworkind recommends using no THC under the age of 24. CBD is a healthier alternative and has shown particularly beneficial in children with seizures. Dr. Dworkind believes it to be a myth that marijuana is a gateway drug, as it is much safer than other addictive drugs. The reason being, a person cannot die from overdose.

Medical marijuana is separated from the recreational use of it as there are not large amounts of THC. Different strains produce different effects and your doctor can decide with is best for your condition. It is safer since the dosage and kind of strain is regulated by the doctor and licensed producer. The doctor follows up every three months and makes any necessary modifications based on a risk/benefit questionnaire. Vaporizing is encouraged as a way of taking medical marijuana since it is a healthier option. Oils and edibles are also available. medical marijuana

More information about the pros and cons of medical marijuana can be found at medicalmarijuana.procon.org.

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assited treatment and relationship counseling .pittsburgh addiction

Women and Depression ~ Pittsburgh

Depression is a serious medical condition that can range from mild to severe and is associated with feelings of melancholy, loss of pleasure, low energy, difficulty concentrating, and suicidal thoughts. It is both a brain disorder and a state of mind. How though, can you tell if you’re just feeling sad, or if it’s something more? Depression is more than sad feelings once in a while. It’s when feeling “down” doesn’t go away after a few days, likely interfering with daily activities and interpersonal relationships. It can last weeks, months, or even years. Other signs and symptoms include aches and pains, headaches, cramps, digestive troubles, and difficulty sleeping. More than 19 million people experience depression each year, with the majority being women. Women and depression seem to go hand in hand since women are twice as likely as men to experience depression.  Why is this? Consider the following contributing factors. women and depression

Contributing Factors

There are psychological, genetic, social, and hormonal factors that can all play a part in depression in women. Women experience many hormonal changes throughout their lifetime which can effect mood (see previous post on “Women & Mental Health”). The many roles women take on can also contribute to an imbalance between the mind and body, causing increased stress levels, which may lead to depression if left unchecked.

Hormonal imbalance is usually associated with pregnancy and menopause, but can also be caused by toxins in the body. The foods we eat, the toxins we absorb, and overall stress levels affect body toxicity and hormone balance. Mental and physical health is affected by these toxins. Talking to your doctor or health care provider can rule out other factors, such as medications and medical conditions, like viruses and thyroid issues, that can cause the same symptoms as depression.

Social factors such as work related stress, family responsibilities, societal expectations, and increased rates of sexual abuse and poverty may also contribute to depression in women. Loss of a loved one, loss of  a job, financial struggles, and marital issues are other factors affecting emotional well-being. In the previous post it was mentioned that women are more likely to rehash events in their minds and discuss concerns with others, whereas men are less likely to openly talk about their problems as much. Revisiting negative emotions too often can be harmful due to excessive stress hormones being released. A build up of these hormones can become toxic to the body, both physically and psychologically.

Types of Depression

Women can experience different types of depression in relation to their individual circumstances. Major depression is a severe type of depression where a woman may experience difficulty enjoying things she used to, trouble performing daily tasks, and may have issues with engaging in normal social relationships. It may be accompanied with low self-esteem.

Postpartum depression (PPD) otherwise known as the “baby blues” is typically experienced after pregnancy. Due to a change in hormones and changing responsibilities, a woman may experience postpartum depression.

Persistent depressive disorder  (PDD) is a milder form of depression that extends for a longer period of time, usually lasting a couple years. It can cause difficulty functioning at home and with women being at higher risk for developing it. Brain chemicals like serotonin may be part of the cause as well persistent life stress.

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is a type of depression around the time of a woman’s menstrual cycle. A woman may experience severe mood swings, anxiety, and negative thoughts, which usually takes place a week before menstruation. women and depression

Prevention

Healthy family relationships and a strong support system through friends and community is of vital importance in prevention. Even women who are prone to depression can find increased resilience and positive coping skills with the proper amount of support and resources.

Eating a healthy diet and getting enough exercise is an absolute must. Taking a 20 minute walk outside can greatly help to improve mood. Please contact us if you are interested in support with lifestyle and diet changes for a free initial consultation with our Holistic Health Coach!

When offering emotional support to someone, it is important to not dismiss their feelings. Instead, show understanding and patience, and encourage them to seek the necessary help, reminding them that with time and treatment they can feel better!

If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of depression and would like professional support, please contact us for a free initial consultation today to begin your journey to healing with Pittsburgh’s best therapists!

About Makin Wellness :

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy and coaching centers located in Downtown , Pittsburgh and New Kensington, PA. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again. Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction and relationship counseling.

women and depression

 

 

 

Professional Women & Mental Health

Professional women hold more roles than meets the eye. Mother. Wife. Caretaker. Laundress. Cook. Housekeeper. Nurse. Car detailer. Teacher. Counselor. And the list goes on. Women wear many hats indeed. Whether a parent or not, women take on many tasks unrelated to work. Adding a part time or full time job to parenting will leave you feeling like a juggler in no time. It’s been said that, “A woman’s work is never done.” Work life balance can become a particular challenge for women. This is especially true if caring for children along with elderly parents. women

Women not only struggle to balance work and family life, they also have additional pressure to prove they’re as good as men in the workplace. According to theguardian.com, due to cultural and societal traditions and expectations, women may face discrimination and harassment. Women’s mental health and well-being may also be affected by lower income, lower status, insufficient benefits, or childcare concerns. While mental health is important for overall health in men and women, mental health conditions like anxiety and depression are shown to be higher in women than men.

A long day of work is physically and mentally draining for anyone. With the extra pressures women encounter, it’s no wonder they’re left feeling drained by the end of the day. There are other issues that are specific to women and their mental health. Things like physical changes and the way women process events compared to men are important when considering how their mental health is affected. women

Physical Changes

Women experience many physical changes throughout life, which has a large impact on their mental health. Hormonal changes, pregnancy, and menopause are all contributing factors that affect a woman’s mental health. The changes a woman’s body goes through may cause many discomforts. Pregnancy or other hormonal changes may cause things such as headaches, tiredness, mood swings, irritability, forgetfulness, or difficulty focusing. Fatigue and stress may increase these symptoms. Finding ways to balance hormones is key to minimizing these health concerns, as hormonal issues can affect physical and mental health.

Eating disorders are also shown to be common in young women due to societal pressures such as body image. This not only may cause a number of serious physical problems, but can also contribute to anxiety and depression.

The Way Women Process Emotions

Women have been shown to dwell on stressful events and remember details more vividly than men. This may be due to the fact that women’s limbic systems are larger than men’s. It makes sense that women are known to be more in touch with and expressive of emotions, since the limbic system is the center for emotional responsiveness, motivation, memory, formation and integration, and olfaction (sense of smell). It’s the limbic system that is responsible for emotional memory, causing us to connect a certain smell with a past memory.

The limbic system is closely connected to the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is responsible for planning complex cognitive behavior, personality expression, decision making, and moderating social behavior. This prefrontal-limbic connection is said to be strengthened by practicing mindfulness. These particular systems are of clinical relevance to a psychotherapist; therefore a professional counselor can be helpful in providing support through cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness practices.

Due to having a larger limbic system, women may spend more time discussing a stressful event in more detail, thinking about it longer, and quite possibly making it more difficult to let go of negative emotions due to revisiting emotional memories more than males. According to psychologytoday.com, females are said to “absorb more sensorial and emotive information than males.” Meaning, women sense information from all five senses of what is going on around them, while also retaining that information more than males.

What Can Be Done to Support Women’s Mental Health in the Workplace?

Managers and other leaders can take some of the pressure off by being open about the issue of mental health. Hence, creating a culture where it is acceptable to communicate openly about it and provide resources to find the needed help. Employees who feel comfortable talking about it are less likely to wait until they are in a mental health crisis.

Mental health should be as much of a priority as physical health, having it checked regularly. Corporate health programs help employees by assessing and finding resources to support mental health; thus benefitting both the organization and the well-being of employees. women

Tips to Minimize Anxiety and Stress to Restore Mind-Body Balance:

  • Share responsibilities – Whether at work or home, delegate some responsibility where you’re able to. It can help to lighten your load and ease some stress.
  • Make connections with like-minded, supportive individuals – Positive minded people help to relieve stress while making circumstances seem less challenging.
  • Tune in to and be true to yourself – Taking time to do the things you enjoy with friends and family can improve self-esteem, helping you to tune into yourself and be your best self.
  • Get enough sleep – Sleep is vital to performing at your best and is essential for mental health. It is best to wind down an hour before bedtime, turning of all electronics. Perhaps try reading a good book with a cup of chamomile tea. Lavender oil can also be used to promote restful sleep.
  • Eat a balanced diet – Avoid too much caffeine or sugar during the day and close to bedtime, as these can increase anxious feelings. Eating nutrient dense foods will keep your physical and mental health more in balance.
  • Get outdoors/Exercise – Making it a priority to get outside each day for 20-30 minutes. Take a short mid-day break or go for a walk. Sunlight provides vitamin D, supporting physical and mental health.

If you are having difficulty managing work-life balance and want to process the underlying reasons with a trustworthy professional, schedule a free initial consultation  with us to get connected with Pittsburgh’s best therapists!

About Makin Wellness :

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy and coaching centers located in Downtown , Pittsburgh and New Kensington, PA. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again. Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction and relationship counseling.

 

Chiropractic Care For Wellbeing

Overviewchiropractic care

An important part of pursuing and achieving wholeness and well-being is being in tune with your physical health, and chiropractic care is one way that many people use to seek physical healing. According to the Association of Chiropractic Colleges, Chiropractic is a health care discipline which emphasizes the body’s own restorative powers without the use of drugs or surgery.chiropractic care

It is common for people to turn to chiropractic care when experiencing neck and back pain, but many people are beginning to see this type of treatment as preventative instead of solely corrective. Going to see of Doctor of Chiropractic, particularly in the absence of pain, can help you stay more informed in the state that your body is in and find issues earlier than if you wait for symptoms of pain. chiropractic care

Benefits

There are many advantages to chiropractic care in addition to reduced back pain that you may not be aware of, such as improvements in digestion, blood pressure, energy, posture, and the functioning of your immune system. Other conditions that sometimes improve in response to chiropractic care include acid reflux, anxiety and depression, attention disorders, insomnia, stress, and restless leg syndrome.

What to Expect

Your first clinical exam, which may be preceded by an interview, will likely cover many of the same aspects as a general physical, such as your and your family’s medical history, and your pulse, blood pressure, and reflexes (Spine Health, 2013). Then, the doctor will assess your reflexes, range of motions, and muscles, as well as other tests specifically related to your concerns.

412 Performance Chiropractic

412 PC offers a variety of treatments, including Active Release Technique (ART), massage therapy, nutritional and enzyme therapy, and mechanical traction, which are all explained on their website. Their welcoming demeanor and holistic approach have led to physical and emotional improvements in their clients as they focus their efforts on helping you regain your health, prevent future issues, and improve your quality of life.

About Makin Wellness :

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy and coaching centers located in Downtown, Pittsburgh and New Kensington, PA. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again. Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction and relationship counseling .

chiropractic care

Depression in College Students ~ Pittsburgh

Depression in College Students

The prevalence of mental health concerns in college students has been steadily rising, with depression, suicide, eating disorders, and anxiety as the most common. According to the American Psychological Association (2013), about 33% of college students in the previous year had felt that depression inhibited their daily functioning, and there are so many potential reasons for this: the increase in pressure and responsibility, lack of adequate support, first-time separation from one’s family, and stress and anxiety concerning academic performance, finances, and what life will be like after college. Further, there are certain genetic, hormonal, and seasonal factors that may induce depressive symptoms or make a person more at risk for acquiring it. depression

Signs & Symptoms

There is no one-size-fits-all picture of what depression looks like. Just as any other mental health disorder, it varies by individual, but there are things you can look for, in yourselves and those around you, that may indicate that a person is struggling with depression. These symptoms typically affect the physical, emotional, and cognitive aspects of individuals who live with depression, as it is an all-encompassing disorder.

Generally, people with depression may experience feelings of hopelessness, guilt, irritability, and sadness, with decreased interest in the things they formerly enjoyed and diminished attention to their hygiene and appearance. Depression can lead to changes in appetite and weight as well and can interfere with the ability to sleep. Moreover, it can lead to the excessive use of things like gambling, the internet, alcohol, and other substances. In fact, individuals “with mood or anxiety disorders are about twice as likely to suffer also from a drug use disorder,” and are more likely to experience internet addiction than the general population (Katikalapudi et al., 2012; National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2008). Some of the most common cognitive symptoms of depression are forgetting things, difficulty concentrating, indecisiveness, and slower reaction time (Tartakovsky). depression

Any combination of these symptoms can pose problems for an individual’s daily functioning. Specifically, in college students, depression may lead to behaviors such as isolating themselves, skipping class, neglecting responsibilities, and binge-drinking.

Steps You Can Take

As a friend, colleague, or professor of a student that may be experiencing depression, it is important for you to be sensitive to and supportive of that individual. Recognize that the things they are going through are likely not in their control, and encourage them to reach out to a mental health professional. One of the worst things you can do is minimize what they are going through and criticize them for the effects it is having in their life.

If you, yourself feel that you are experiencing depressive symptoms, it is good to process what you are feeling with someone else, though it can be hard to talk about. It may be helpful to turn to a trusted friend, family member, or professor at first, but if your symptoms are impeding your ability to function, getting in contact with a counselor or therapist will be the most effective way to work through your emotions and develop healthy coping skills. depression

If you are suffering with depression, please schedule a free consultation today to get connected with Pittsburgh’s best therapists!

About Makin Wellness :

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy and coaching centers located in Downtown , Pittsburgh and New Kensington, PA. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again. Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction and relationship counseling . MStress Management Pittsburgh

Mindful Eating to Improve Mental Health

There are various sources of stress whether it be work related, relational issues, health concerns, or other daily worries. Things like exercise and time outside are encouraged as a way to positively affect our mood and reduce stress. When it comes to our eating habits, we often hear about particular foods linked to increased energy levels and improved physical health. What about mental health though? What does our mood have to do with our food? Surely, it’s unlikely to hear someone say, “My food is really stressing me out.” But it turns out, the old saying “you are what you eat” is ringing true in more ways than one. Consider further evidence of the link between food and its affects on mental health. Mindful eating

An expecting mother will carefully choose what she eats to ensure her developing baby is getting needed nutrients and “brain food” for the brain of her developing fetus. According to nutritionist Elizabeth Somer, “Antioxidants protect the baby’s brain tissue from damage” (S. Kuzemchak, 2018). Dark leafy greens, blueberries, and other dark colored fruits and vegetables provide the most antioxidants. Like a developing fetus, our brains need antioxidants for protection from free radicals – waste produced when the body uses oxygen, which can cause damage to the cells. Eating nutrient rich foods containing vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants nourishes the brain, while protecting it from damaging free radicals, or oxidative damage. Poor nutrition is taxing to the immune system putting one at risk for free radical damage, premature aging, among other health risks.Mindful eating

Think of when you let a cut up apple sit out. It becomes brown from oxidation. That is exactly what we don’t want to happen to our brains. Just as we fuel our vehicles to keep them properly running, we want to fuel our brains. Choosing high quality fuel will produce the best results. Speaking of apples and brains, eating “an apple a day” may actually help “keep the doctor away” since it contains powerful and beneficial antioxidants. A study at Cornell found apples to protect brain cells against oxidative stress, since they contain high levels of quercetin (G, Stemilt. 2016). It is recommended to eat the entire apple, including the skin, to reap all of the benefits. So why not try out the old saying and give your brain a boost by eating an apple a day!Mindful eating

In seeing the positive effects healthy eating has on our brains, naturally we have to question “how does food actually affect our mood?” Often times we are looking for a quick fix in this fast paced world when it comes to meal time. With fast food restaurants being readily available, it has become even easier to grab something to eat without really considering nutritional benefits. Our enteric nervous system (ENS) which directly controls our gastrointestinal system is said to be our “second brain,” with 95% of serotonin being produced in the intestinal tract. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep and appetite, mediate moods, and inhibit pain (E, Selhub, 2018). Since our GI tract is lined with a hundred million nerve cells, it makes sense that our digestive system guides our emotions. Researchers believe that serotonin (also called “the happiness hormone”) imbalance influences mood which may influence anxiety and depression. Production of neurotransmitters like serotonin is highly influenced by the good bacteria in our gut. Probiotics have been shown to be beneficial in this regard.

Finding ways to balance serotonin and other neurotransmitters like dopamine and oxytocin, is key to maintaining wellness and improving mental health. One essential way is to be mindful of what foods we’re eating since it directly effects the health of our GI tract, which is so closely linked to our emotions. The process our body goes through when breaking down foods and using them for fuel is a very extensive one. Thus, eating high quality foods is vital to getting the best quality of fuel for our bodies. Below are some tips to boost serotonin, which in turn reduces stress and improves overall well-being.Mindful eating

Tips for improving serotonin levels to improve mental health:Mindful eating

• Take good quality probiotics – Probiotics are the good bacteria found in the gut, which can increase serotonin levels. Dr. David Williams explains the     benefits of probiotics and the connection between gut health and mental health at drdavidwilliams.com. He is known as a pioneer in the field of           probiotics.
• Exercise – Exercise is known for releasing endorphins, but did you know taking a walk or exercising for just 20 minutes can boost serotonin levels? A     little fresh air and sunlight can do wonders.
• Practice Mindfulness – taking time to be present prevents anxious thoughts, allowing one to enjoy the moment and make more meaningful                  connections with others. This includes being mindful of what we’re eating, thinking, and saying.
• Positive affirmations – We are what we think. Positive thinking improves our overall state of mind, promoting harmony between the mind and body.    “I am” statements gives greater opportunity for positive outcomes through a more positive outlook and approach.
• Eat nutrient dense foods – Healthier (mindful) eating habits provides benefits to the brain, which effects our mood and mental health. High quality      foods will give you a higher quality of life, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Remember, don’t drink your calories with thinks like soda or other      drinks with high sugar content.
• Eliminate or reduce sugar intake – Too much sugar is taxing to the body. Try replacing sugary snacks with healthier options like fresh fruit or trail          mix.
• Get a massage – Massage is a perfect way to remove toxins, promote restful sleep, and relieve stress. Essential oils like lavender can be used to aid      in relaxation during massage, which has also been shown to increase serotonin levels. Treat yourself to a little relaxation. It just might do you a lot        of good!
• Get enough rest – Adequate sleep helps reduce stress and produce serotonin, which improves mood and helps control appetite (healthy eating +        restful sleep = improved serotonin levels and improved mental health!)

Practicing these tips can help bring your mind and body into greater balance, improving mental health and overall wellness. If you would like additional support please schedule a free consultation today to get connected with Pittsburgh’s best therapists & coaches!

About Makin Wellness :

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy and coaching centers located in Downtown , Pittsburgh and New Kensington, PA. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again. Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, relationship counseling & more . mindful eating

mindful eating Laura Stewart, BA Makin Wellness

Laura Stewart, B.A.

Sustaining Mental Health & Wellbeing in College

Sustaining Mental Health & Wellbeing in College

College can be a time of immense change and personal growth. There, you find your passions, get inspired, and figure out who you are and who you want to be. Conversely, it is a time of immense pressure as well. With college comes the advent of new challenges and responsibilities. Often, you are dealing with relationships, academics, finances, and careers on a level you have not yet experienced, which can be a lot to handle. These and other factors can contribute to feelings of anxiety, depression, self-doubt, and hopelessness in the college student. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, 75% of all mental health conditions begin by age 24, affecting an estimated 1 in 5 young adults. This makes college one of the most important times to be conscious of your mental state and build a foundation for healthy coping skills.Mental Health & Wellbeing in College

What You Can Do on Your Own

Incorporating your physical, mental, and emotional needs into your daily routine is crucial, and doing so with an individualized perspective is the most effective way. Especially when crafting your schedule, keep your needs and limitations in mind. Designate regular times for meals and breaks, and find recreational activities that bring you calmness and excitement to give yourself joy and relaxation throughout the week.Mental Health & Wellbeing in College

Further, healthy coping skills such as meditation and breathing exercises can be used at a moment’s notice to help you calm down in stressful situations, and creative outlets, like painting, cooking, and journaling, can help you through feelings of low mood. In addition, surround yourself with people you trust who understand the things you are going through. Having social support in college provides a buffer to the stress you may be facing.Mental Health & Wellbeing in College

Lastly, research has long supported ties between physical and mental health, so try not to neglect your body. Give yourself sufficient sleep, healthy food, and exercise to promote optimal functioning all-around. This will have positive effects for your physical health, emotional well-being, and academic performance as well.Mental Health & Wellbeing in College

University Resources

Though every college is different, it is likely that your institution provides resources to aid your transition and overall experience. These may take the form of traditional means like pamphlets, support groups, and mental health centers, but they may also include more contemporary ideas like hosting therapy dogs. It is important to familiarize yourself with what your specific institution has to offer so that in particularly challenging times, you know what your options are.Mental Health & Wellbeing in College

If you are feeling overwhelmed , please schedule a free consultation now to get connected with Pittsburgh’s best therapists!Mental Health & Wellbeing in College

About Makin Wellness :

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy and coaching centers located in Downtown , Pittsburgh and New Kensington, PA. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again. Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction and relationship counseling . MStress Management Pittsburgh

Sara Makin Makin Wellness

Sara Makin, M.S.Ed, LPC, NCC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Pittsburgh Therapy for Business Owners

Business owners face the same risk of substance abuse and mental illness as employees do… if not more.Therapy Business Owners

There are countless reasons why people decide to go in business for themselves… creating your own schedule, having creative control over a company and making a big impact are just a few reasons why individuals decide to start their own business.Therapy Business Owners

For those who aren’t business owners, it may appear to be a glamorous or even easy life. But the reality is, owning a business is much more stressful than what anyone could ever expect. Isolation, financial pressures, long hours and poor boundaries are all factors that can take a toll on your physical , mental and spiritual health. Major companies are starting to invest in mental healthcare and wellness in the work place and are beginning to provide options like EAPs for their staff… unfortunately these options and benefits are less likely to occur in smaller businesses and companies.Therapy Business Owners

Many entrepreneurs are overlooked in regards to mental health and addiction in the the workplace. Many business owners are left to cope with their immense amount of stress individually. There currently is no valid data on the mental health of business owners , so we do not know exactly what type of impact this has. From the experience we’ve had with helping business owners and executives here at Makin Wellness, we can say that many of our clients struggle with chronic stress, addiction, relationship difficulties and mental health concerns.

Another area of opportunity is that , even though small business and business owners are commonly looked as being part of one industry, this is not true. There is a wide diversity of entrepreneurs ranging from bloggers to doctors to contractors. As a result of this, the time, cost and other factors getting in the way of treatment are also varying.Therapy Business Owners

It is imperative for business owners to support each other and their own well being since their mental health doesn’t only impact their family lives, but also their employees and our community as a whole.

So what can a business owner do to help support their mental health? Getting involved in other entrepreneurial networks such as ME Group , local meetup groups and support networks can be helpful. Getting involved in your own therapy can be a confidential and safe place to work on yourself . At Makin Wellness, we provide premier therapy to many business owners and executives that are going through a rough time.  You are not losing your mind or “crazy”… you would not have come this far if you were!Therapy Business Owners

 

If you are a business owner looking for relief , please schedule a free consultation today to get connected with Pittsburgh’s best therapists!Therapy Business Owners

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About Makin Wellness: 

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy and coaching centers located in Downtown , Pittsburgh and New Kensington, PA. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again. Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction and relationship counseling .Therapy Business Owners

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Mental Health and Nutrition

As a grade school student, I used to compare my pack lunch with my classmates. They had gummy bears, M&Ms, Nutella sandwich and a fruit juice. If I’m lucky, I would have M&Ms, too. But on most days, I had an apple, rice, vegetables and a bottle of water. Just why I had vegetables and not Nutella I had never understood in those early days. All I knew was, I often wished I got the same stuff for lunch as my classmates did.Mental Health Nutrition Pittsburgh

Years later, I can only thank that my parents didn’t feed me too much sugar.

I have only started to understand why when I came of age and realized how too much sugar is toxic to the body and to one’s behavior. And now that I’m a therapist, I am totally against feeding people too much of it as it’s one of the biggest culprits of several behavioral problems seen in people, especially children. I’ve seen this myself in one of my youngest clients. Mental Health Nutrition Pittsburgh

Colby, he’s 10. He goes to a school for kids with special needs. He has autism.  Similar to  most  kids  with  autism, he  can be unpredictable at times. But it was during lunch breaks that he acted out and became a bit of a problem. This happened almost regularly. The teachers, his parents, they couldn’t explain how he’s particularly distracted and hyper during lunch and not at other times. A young boy sitting next to him wailed all of sudden as Colby squeezed all of his fruit juice onto the boy’s lunch box because Colby didn’t want anyone sitting close to him. He showed hostility and irritability. Sometimes, even throwing his food to other kids.Mental Health Nutrition Pittsburgh
I observed him closely. What could have triggered such reckless behavior?
I sought for traces of what could have happened before he went into wild tantrums. Nothing significant except when I caught what his lunch box was composed of. He had gummies, a pack of fruit juice and a sandwich. I inspected the sandwich. Peanut butter and jelly with white bread. I was dismayed.

To a child without a pre-existing condition like him, the effect of sugar may not be as instant as it was for him. Other kids would simply get into a hyper mode. But because of his autism coupled with large intake of sugary food, he was charged easily and his behavioral reaction manifested into violence.

I did an experiment. I told his parents to change what he normally ate for lunch. He started eating whole grain sandwiches, some fruits and water. Some may think packed fruit juices are good because they are made with fruits. Unless you haven’t heard of artificial flavoring and sweeteners, you  should  know that  these  packed  fruit  juices  are  loaded  with  sugar  and  other  unnatural ingredients. Why feed your children with them?

As Colby stayed away from sweets, some improvements were seen. He became more comfortable being surrounded by other kids while having lunch. He stopped throwing food to other kids. Just like me, he and his classmates compared what they got for lunch. When they found out they’ve got the same fruit, they enjoyed eating the fruit more.

Sugar is as addictive, if not more than, as cocaine. It’s highly toxic and present in most processed food. The food that went through a machine are not the ones our body needs especially for children whose mental and physical attributes are just developing. What our body needs are those grown from the earth. However, even those we believe are natural may not be ideal for our health if they’re a GMO or genetically modified organism. If you compare your lunch box today to your grandparents’, no doubt they’ve had more nutritious food than what we’re having today. As they say, the apple you’re eating today is less nutritious than the apple your grandparents had.

“But, Sara, what am I going to feed myself and family if some apples are not safe for them to eat?”

These days, more and more people are seeing the growing problem of sugar and GMOs. It is in most food you can find in the grocery store. But as more people are becoming aware of the problem, so are the stores that sell organic food. They are a bit more expensive, that is true. They, however, are not as expensive as hospital bills and medication; this is preventive health care.Mental Health Nutrition Pittsburgh

  • If you’ve been eating sugary stuff bought from the grocery store, stop immediately and switch to healthier options such as cooking something for them and adding a fruit instead. Stop drinking processed fruit juices from the grocery store.
  • Consider making your own fresh fruit and vegetable juices at home. They are concentrated nutrition that is easily digestible. Plus, they taste incredible!
  • As you switch to healthier options, you may still be inclined to buying non-organic food because the organic ones are more expensive and less available. It should be okay for as long as you put away the sugary stuff that are really just non-food. You can always soak your non-organic produce with water and apple cider vinegar to help remove any pesticide or waxy residue.
  • Slowly, as  you find cheaper  organic alternatives, get that into the  diet of your family including yourself as a parent so that your children understand that it is what the family eats so it is what he should also eat.
  • If growing your own edible plants is something you can do, then better do so. This way, you can be sure what your family is eating are authentically organic.
  • Finally, if adults can develop health and psychological problems due to having too much sugar in their diet and poor nutrition in general, imagine how the same will affect children whose body and mind are still developing. They’re not yet at the right age to choose what is right for them. Then you as adult should choose the “right” food that is beneficial to their development physically, spiritually and mentally. Mental Health Nutrition Pittsburgh

If you or a family member is struggling with their mental health, schedule a free consultation today to get connected with Pittsburgh’s best therapists!

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 About Makin WellnessFounded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy and coaching centers located in Downtown , Pittsburgh and New Kensington, PA. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again. Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction and relationship counseling . Mental Health Nutrition Pittsburgh

Sara Makin Makin Wellness

Sara Makin, M.S.Ed, LPC, NCC