Category Archives for Stress

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

Spa Treatments for Stress Reduction

Imagine yourself walking into an appointment. The atmosphere is peaceful and serene, as you’re warmly greeted and offered a small glass mason jar of strawberry infused water. While you quietly sip your water, the pleasant aroma of essential oils being diffused fills the air. A feeling of calm comes over you without a worry or care on your mind. This doesn’t sound like a visit to the doctor, does it? No. Instead, this is an appointment to receive a relaxing spa treatment. This describes a recent experience at a local spa right here in the Pittsburgh area.

Sage Organic Spa is a modern farmhouse boutique spa located in Upper St. Clair. The owner, Shannon Hindman, loves using all organic products, including therapeutic grade essential oils. She spends much of her time researching ingredients and finding the best products suited to her clients individual needs. Services offered include skincare, massage, body treatments, tinting and lash lifts, and waxing. They are the only spa in Pennsylvania to use the Indie beauty brands, Odacite and LILFOX. Whether you’re interested in a massage, facial, mud wrap, or other body treatment, feelings of renewal and rejuvenation are sure to follow.

Is the spa just a luxury though? You may be surprised to know the benefits go beyond just that of a relaxing atmosphere. Massage and other spa treatments have shown to support both physical and mental health, giving a feeling of overall well-being. Let’s take a closer look at the beneficial effects of spa treatments on the body and mind.

Popular spa treatments include massage, facials, and body wraps with massage being the most popular. According to mayoclinic.org, massage is a powerful tool for a wide range of medical conditions including, anxiety, headaches, fibromyalgia, digestive issues, sports injuries, stress related insomnia and temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ).

Massage improves blood circulation, sending oxygen and nutrients through the body and cells, stimulating the lymphatic system and ridding the body of excess toxins. Thus, lymph flow is increased as toxins are removed, in turn boosting immune function. Massage is excellent in reducing stress, pain, and muscle tension. Studies have also shown massage to improve sleep quality. spa treatments

Facials include massage around the neck, arms, hands, and feet. A facial helps to reduce puffiness and inflammation, promotes skin cell renewal, and reduce stress. Facials can also help reduce headaches by releasing tension from the head and neck. With the skin being the bodies largest organ, using organic products is an essential part of optimum skin health. Skincare products are absorbed into the skin and can get into our organs. The ingredients can either be helpful or harmful to our bodies. For clear, radiant skin, it is recommended to get facials four times a year as the seasons change, along with keeping a good skincare routine. This will help detoxify the skin from built up waste and bacteria, which is essential since the skin is the bodies first line of defense against environmental elements.

Mud wraps are another way to help detoxify the body. Indigenous people all around the world have been using clays and muds, for medicinal and aesthetic benefits as they have an abundance of vitamins and minerals. Mud wraps exfoliate and nourish the skin, help ease inflammation, flush out toxins through sweating, and relax and soothe the muscles. Anti-aging, skin toning, and cellulite reduction are some other noted benefits.

Hormones, pollution, stress, and other elements all impact our bodies and the health of our skin. Taking time to care for your skin and body will help reduce this stress. Regular spa treatments have shown a correlation with better sleep quality, fewer sick days, and an overall sense of well-being. Clearly, it is more than just a simple luxury. A little time at the spa is a perfect way to slow down and reflect, feel renewed, and support mind-body balance. Sage Organic Spa provides top notch services with knowledgeable, caring and professional staff who make you feel at ease and calm enough to fall asleep!

If you’re looking for further support with stress management, contact us today at Makin Wellness for your free initial consultation. Our therapists and coaches can aid you on your journey to wellness through a holistic approach with the use of essential oils as an effective way to reduce stress, improve sleep, and boost immunity. Cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness practices, and other techniques utilized in helping clients heal and become the best version of themselves.

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!

spa treatments

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)

Medical Marijuana for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

 

Although marijuana is still categorized as an illicit drug and its applications have been limited, people are now becoming more interested towards its medical benefits. While some states have allowed the use of medical marijuana to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), some states are still waiting for further research to give a more definite answer. New Mexico was the first state to add PTSD as a condition for the use of medical marijuana. A two-year study done with 80 patients from New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program has shown that medical marijuana is associated with alleviating symptoms in some patients according to the Clinician Administered Posttraumatic Scale for DSM-IV. More states are showing a more optimistic view towards medical marijuana. Last November, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo legislated use of medical marijuana for people with PTSD. He said on Veterans Day (A lot of veterans suffer from PTSD) that he will provide any treatment he can for people who are suffering from PTSD. Medical marijuana is now available in New York for other serious illnesses as well, such as HIV and cancer. Representative Sen. Irene Aguilar also said that “PTSD is one of those things we really don’t have great medical treatment for and often people are left on multiple medications with side effects.” medical marijuana

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/talking-about-trauma/201712/medical-marijuana-ptsd

https://news.medicalmarijuanainc.com/colorado-add-ptsd-medical-marijuana-program/

https://hightimes.com/health/cannabis-help-ptsd-patients/

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/cuomo-signs-medical-marijuana-ptsd-veterans-day-article-1.3626193

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02791072.2013.873843?needAccess=trueMore

 

A lot of veterans have supported the study of marijuana and legalization of medicinal cannabis. Elvis Alonzo, who served in the Marine Corps for three years and police department for thirteen years, suffered from severe mental breakdown. He believed that marijuana helped him calm down and sleep better. DeFino, a former soldier with severe injury, switched between different treatment options before he finally found medical marijuana. He said: “I’m able to live a healthy life, sick free, almost pain free and a quality of life to where I’m not thinking about killing myself all the time, it’s really nice to be able to have good medicine in your hands.” He is now growing cannabis at his home, which is approved under Colorado’s recreational marijuana laws. medical marijuana

https://news.medicalmarijuanainc.com/colorado-add-ptsd-medical-marijuana-program/

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/as-vets-demand-cannabis-for-ptsd-science-races-to-unlock-its-secrets/

 

Of this plant’s 120+ active compounds, researchers have generally focused on two of them, tetrahydrocannabinol (primary psychoactive ingredient) and cannabidiol (potential medical benefits). Tetrahydrocannabinol works by binding to specific receptors on brain cells which can ease pain, boost mood, and improve sleeping. Some scientists also believe that it can reduce anxiety by interacting with the amygdala, which is responsible for emotion regulation. A clinical trial performed in Canada demonstrated that Tetrahydrocannabinol lowered the intensity and frequency of nightmares in 30 people out of the 42 patients studied. However, other studies have shown that different doses produce difference effects. Usually, lower doses might be beneficial while higher doses might be harmful.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/as-vets-demand-cannabis-for-ptsd-science-races-to-unlock-its-secrets/

 

We still do not know too much about the other major focused ingredient cannabidiol. Marcel Bonn-Miller, a psychiatry and psychology professor from University of Pennsylvania thinks cannabidiol is more beneficial than Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) when it comes to treating PTSD. He also mentions that people tend to buy products with a high level of Tetrahydrocannabinol, which may actually worsen the symptoms in the long term.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/as-vets-demand-cannabis-for-ptsd-science-races-to-unlock-its-secrets/

 

Some veterans are putting their hope on medical marijuana. A 41-year-old veteran Blanchard from Louisiana described his life as follows: “I’d like to be able to just go and enjoy a meal with my family at a restaurant. I have difficulty with that with all the noises, all the movement. I get real anxious really quick.” He really wanted to try medical marijuana as some of his friends from other states considered it incredibly helpful. Louisiana is now making some progress with medical marijuana as well, and marijuana oil (the only thing Louisiana law approves) will become available to patients by the end of this year. medical marijuana

https://www.ktbs.com/news/arklatex-indepth/blanchard-veteran-eyes-medical-marijuana-to-ease-ptsd/article_92238d8c-848a-11e8-9fd3-13fe985ab851.html

 

DISPENSE Magazine seeks to enhance the conversation between patients and medical professionals about medical cannabis. Begining in Autumn 2018, the print magazine will be available in Pennsylvania medical cannabis dispensary lobbies and in the waiting rooms of cannabis-friendly physicians. In print, on podcasts, and at live events, DISPENSE delivers the latest news, medical information and research related to cannabis, Serving as the voice of the Medical Cannabis Society, it is a trusted source of factual and helpful medical news and information.

 

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)

 

Stress Management

We all have experienced stress in our lives. It not only affects us physically, for example, when we are stressed, we can feel an increased heart and breathing rate, but also psychologically—It can make us listless, disorganized and anxious.

 

So, what is stress?

 

Stanford University professor and Neuroendocrinologist,Robert Sapolsky, puts it this way: “a stressor is anything in the outside world that knocks you out of homeostatic balance.”

 

Different people handle stress differently, so different people define stress in a different way, as you can tell, the meaning of stress can be really subjective. https://healthypsych.com/stress-management-101/

 

A certain level of stress can be beneficial. It enhances our awareness and ensures that our body is readily prepared to face danger. “Fight or flight” is one of our body’s response to danger which basically means that our body is getting ready to either depart as quickly as possible or stay and fight. It is essential to survival and we all have this mechanism since we born. stress

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/145855.php/

 

Some amount of stress can also motivate us to achieve the goal we want. However, a lot of people now are not in a normal level of stress. According to American Psychology association, in 2015, in the U.S., average stress levels grew from 4.9 in 2016 to 5.1 on a 10-point stress scale. Additionally, there is a big jump in the number of people who have experienced “extreme stress”. 24% of people claim that they have suffered from “extreme stress” in 2014, while in 2013, this number was only 18%.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/stress-levels-in-the-u-s-continue-to-increase/

 

We all know that excessive amount of stress can affect our health negatively, but how exactly it is going to affect our body. Let us take a closer look through this diagram.

https://www.healthline.com/health/stress/effects-on-body#1

 

As you can tell, stress can affect nearly every part of our body ranging from central nervous systems to digestive systems. What makes it worse is that stress is everywhere in our lives: work, relationships, or even just when you are daydreaming. Therefore, it is crucial that we have some coping skills in mind so that when stressors come, we are able to manage it. stress

 

Here are some coping tips.

 

— Exercise. Exercise is the number one recommended coping mechanisms by health care professions. Even though it is understandable that when you are stressed, all you want to do is lying down and do nothing. Nevertheless, exercise is indeed a good stress releaser. When you exercise, your body will release a chemical called endorphin which kills pain and induces a positive feeling. And you do not have to engage in very intense exercise, small exercise like walking a dog can make a difference.

https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/other-related-conditions/stress/physical-activity-reduces-st

https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/exercise-depression

 

—Talk. When you are connecting with people, you feel like being understood and supported and this feeling will calm you down and make you feel relaxed. What’s more, you do not necessarily have to talk to someone you know or you do not even need to talk about the things that are bothering you. For example, you can sign up for a volunteer work, and the simple fact that you are making new friends and engaging in new conversation will make you feel much better. stress

 

—Adjust. Adjusting yourself to a way that makes you feel comfortable and in control. Starting to say “no” to things that will push you beyond your limit. Avoiding people and things that make you feel stressed. These are unnecessary stresses that can haunt you for a long time. Keep in mind that you are the one who needs to make sure that you are having a balanced lifestyle.

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/stress-management.htm

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 .

Contact us to schedule a free consultation and learn highly effective stress relieving techniques!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Xinyu Lu (Lydia)

 

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 .

 

 

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

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.

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