Category Archives for Healthy relationships

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

Trauma-Informed Care

Imagine that you are a counselor, and one day a patient comes to you complaining that he always has nightmares. However, when he is telling you about his stories, he seems to be pretty calm which makes you wonder if he is making these up or not. Then you take a look at his medical record and find that he had an abusive family when he was young. In this way, his calm may be a way to avoid past trauma or just simply to protect his inner feelings (camouflage). You would not know this if you do not understand his past trauma. Therefore, it is significant for counselors to understand patient’ background to gain a better understanding of their behavior. trauma

 

Trauma is nothing rare. It is estimated that 70% of the US population has experienced some forms of trauma once in their lives. Different people may have different understandings or definitions of trauma. Usually trauma poses severe physical or psychological threats to the person. It can even be life threatening. Some people may go on to develop the disorder which we call Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. Some common types of trauma are: rape, life threatening incidents, etc.

http://www.ptsdunited.org/ptsd-statistics-2/

https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=mRtpAgAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA62&dq=trauma+informed+care&ots=EhwzXMPrEO&sig=bkHgFc8TC8JxX6XwyPKKei4uwnw#v=onepage&q=trauma%20informed%20care&f=false

 

It is important to understand that when people have trauma experiences, especially in childhood, they may not react the same way as we expect. Therefore, it is important for health professionals to learn about trauma-informed care to better understand patients’ needs. Trauma-informed care is essentially saying when counselors meet new clients, they need to learn about his or her history, especially past trauma so that they will better understand his or her behavior and will then use appropriate coping techniques. According to “Shelter from the Storm: Trauma-Informed Care in Homelessness Services Settings”, trauma informed care refers “generally to a philosophical/ cultural stance that integrates awareness and understanding of trauma, there is no consensus on a definition that clearly explains the nature of TIC.” trauma

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/modern-day-slavery/201707/trauma-informed-care-and-why-it-matters

http://www.traumacenter.org/products/pdf_files/shelter_from_storm.pdf

 

A lot of trauma has a root in childhood experiences. The Adverse Childhood Experiences (According to Psychology today, it measures “associations between childhood trauma, stress, and maltreatment and health and well-being later in life”) scores were found to be highly correlated with a lot of aspects affecting well-being like work performance, emotion control, health and risky behaviors. A higher score is also significantly linked to a person’s health in later life, including heart diseases, cancer etc. Trauma experiences can affect every day functioning, sensation and cognition as well. However, different people may have different copying reactions to specific situation, so when assessing a patient overall well-being, we cannot just compare it to other people’s reaction as trauma is usually biologically based (Some people are more fragile than others).

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/modern-day-slavery/201707/trauma-informed-care-and-why-it-matters

 

Right now, coping strategies for trauma are still poorly understood. In order to understand a person as a whole, we need to understand these victims, otherwise we may interpret their behaviors wrongly. Past trauma affects us not only physically, but also emotionally and psychologically. Thus, we need to put more efforts into educating people about trauma-informed care to avoid re-victimization and to best help the patient. Research has also pointed out that education is “the first and most important step in making services more trauma informed”.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/modern-day-slavery/201707/trauma-informed-care-and-why-it-matters

https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/wcdvs-lessons.pdf

https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=mRtpAgAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA62&dq=trauma+informed+care&ots=EhwzXMPrEO&sig=bkHgFc8TC8JxX6XwyPKKei4uwnw#v=onepage&q=trauma%20informed%20care&f=false trauma

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. Schedule your free consultation with Pittsburgh’s best therapists and coaches to begin your wellness journey today!

Xinyu Lu (Lydia)

How to Communicate Effectively in Relationships

Communication is essential in a relationship because it can either hinder the relationship or make the relationship stronger. However, most people actually do not know how to communicate effectively. A lot of people confuse communication for chatting or just simply getting ideas across. In fact, communication in relationships is about connecting, letting your significant other know that you care, forming a stronger bond and fulfilling each others physical and psychological needs. (https://www.tonyrobbins.com/ultimate-relationship-guide/key-communication-relationships/) communication

Before talking about tips on how to build a satisfying relationship between you and your partner, let’s first take a look at what unhealthy communication looks like: full of negative thoughts and difficult emotion; bad listening skills; lack of understanding of what is going on in your partner’s life. And these poor communication skills can lead to break down of intimacy and trust. It usually happens when all the passion between each other has gone away and you start to pick at their mistakes, which you likely already know. Some harmful communication also happens when you expect your partner to change and they are hoping the same as well. However, these are all better than zero communication. Silence kills whatever relationships it wants, because how can you know what your partner is thinking about when you are not even trying to talk to him or her? https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/communication-in-relationships/#improve communication

 

So, how can you foster healthy communication in your relationship? Here is some advice: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-couch/201501/6-surprising-ways-communicate-better-your-partner

 

➜ Let your partner know that you care about what he or she has to say, which means that you have to put your whole mind into the conversation and listen actively. Listening actively is more than listening with concentration, it actually means interacting and clarifying without acting rude or judgemental.

 

➜ Make sure both sides get a chance to talk. You want to make sure you are not the one who dominates the conversation. Trying to find a balance between talking and listening can ensure a healthy relationship.

 

➜ Share some common memories. Study has showed that couples actually feel closer to each other when they are talking about their common experiences. So, talk about some pleasant or lovey moments you have with you partner and enjoy that moment.

 

➜Give your partner more appreciation, value, and love. Tell them they look pretty and compliment some nice little things they have done for you. Who does not like being respected and praised? But do not overdo it, otherwise you may lose trust from your partner and be labeled as a hypocrite.

https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/communication-in-relationships/#improve

 

➜ Pay attention to your pitch and volume. High pitch sounds anxious and immature and loud volume may scare your partner away, especially in an argument. So, next time, try to talk calmly and be mindful of your pitch and volume.

https://www.tonyrobbins.com/ultimate-relationship-guide/key-communication-relationships/ communication

 

➜ Touch. A study conducted by Alberto Gallace and Charles Spence (2010) have found that touching can make people feel being loved and wanted and bring more positive outcomes. That is to say, while communicating with your partner, having some physical contact can sometimes ease the argument and send positive signals.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-the-name-love/201405/why-lovers-touch-is-so-powerful

 

Finally, let me end this with a quote from Shannon L. Alder: “When you give yourself permission to communicate what matters to you in every situation you will have peace despite rejection or disapproval. Putting a voice to your soul helps you to let go of the negative energy of fear and regret.”

communication

Xinyu (Lydia) Lu

Women With Addiction

Women tend to be thought of as less likely than men to develop addiction. The gender gap is closing though, with statistics showing 4.5 million women having issues with substance abuse, 3.5 million misusing prescription drugs, and 3.1 million regularly using illicit drugs. According to the CDC, women are more likely to have chronic pain and be prescribed painkillers at higher doses, becoming more dependent than men. Why is there an increase in addiction in women? Consider some of the triggers.addiction

Triggers

Triggers of addiction in women include chronic inflammatory pain like fibromyalgia, stress, exposure to trauma, interpersonal violence, low self-esteem, and social pressures. Women are at high risk for developing PTSD due to traumatic life events, such as sexual abuse and physical attacks, and unfortunately may turn to drugs in seeking relief from this emotional trauma.

Previous blog posts on depression and mental health noted the way women process emotions differently, partly due to brain chemistry. Women are more likely than men to revisit negative emotions and replay events in their mind. In efforts to manage intolerable emotions, women may try to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. Consider another factor related to addiction in women and the important role of hormones. addiction

Hormonal Influence

Hormone imbalance affects motivation, energy, and stress levels. According to drugabuse.com, a study done at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai showed higher estrogen intensifies the brains dopamine reward pathway, creating increased pleasurable feelings. When a woman has higher estrogen and takes a drug, more enjoyment is experienced. Thus, the high is associated with greater enjoyment.

Progesterone – the hormone that prepares the body for pregnancy and regulates the monthly menstrual cycle – has shown to lower drug seeking behaviors. When progesterone levels fall estrogen becomes the dominant hormone, making a woman more susceptible to drug abuse. Researchers noted when people struggling with addiction are given progesterone, the hormone plays a therapeutic role in reducing smoking and cocaine use. addiction

Oxytocin, otherwise known as the “love hormone” is a powerful hormone known to promote maternal and stress reducing behaviors. Oxytocin is released as a nursing mother bonds with her baby and during intercourse. It has also been shown to be released during hugging, helping to decrease stress hormones. In healthy relationships, oxytocin promotes bonding and trust. Therefore, in efforts to recover from addiction, healthy loving relationships are essential. Studies suggest oxytocin therapy may be helpful in reducing drug-seeking behavior and preventing relapse.

Social Pressures

Women are encouraged to be maternal, professional, in control, feminine, and conform to idealized beauty standards. Influences of social media, with terms like “mommy needs wine” or “mommy juice” is celebrated as a way to cope with the stress of motherhood.

Instead of turning to alcohol for relief, choosing nutritious meals, making time for exercise, and spending quality time with loved ones will boost mental health, help to balance hormones, and improve overall wellness. The comparison trap social media presents is dangerous for anyone battling addiction. In seeking to find ways to cope, it is vital for women to feel loved through a positive support system.

Steps to Recovery

Acknowledgement – Recognizing and acknowledging there is a problem is the first important step to recovery.

Consideration – Considering the impact addiction has on your life, friends, and family is necessary in taking action.

Exploring Recovery Options – Consulting with friends and family can help provide needed support to move in the direction best suited to your individual needs.

Early Recovery – Learning coping skills and making changes are essential in this stage. Having a support group and other resources will help prevent relapse.

Long-term Recovery – In this stage of recovery, addicts have overcome a great deal. It is important to keep in mind that it takes a continuous life long effort to guard against relapse. Keeping a strong support system and being alert to triggers is paramount. It is a journey that requires a total transformation of mind, body, and spirit.

addiction

If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, please contact us to schedule a free initial consultation and get connected with Pittsburgh’s best therapists. We can help you find the resources and support you need in your journey to recovery!

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 .