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Tag Archives: depression

Self-Esteem’s Role in Mental Health

Self Esteem 1A growing body of evidence suggests that self-esteem is in some way connected to anxiety and depression. But the nature of the relationship amongst the three has not been entirely clear. Like the chicken and egg syndrome, it is not known whether poor self-esteem is a risk factor contributing to anxiety and depression, or rather if these illnesses themselves cause a person to develop low self-esteem.

Researcher Julia Friederike Sowislo of  Switzerland’s University of Basel sought to better understand the complex relationship that self-esteem has with anxiety and depression. She examined a total of 95 studies on the topics of anxiety and depression to learn more.

What Sowislo uncovered was that self-esteem had a very different link to depression than it did to anxiety. Research showed that low self-esteem had a much more pronounced effect on depression than vice versa. However, when it came to analysis of how self-esteem and anxiety interacted, there was an equal relationship. Poor self-esteem was just as likely to produce heightened levels of anxiety as elevated anxiety was to result in low self-esteem.

According to Sowislo, there are several explanations for why bad self-esteem increases the risk for depression. Those with poor self-esteem, for instance, may have a tendency to constantly focus on the negative. Another possibility is that individuals experiencing low self-esteem may become depressed because of an unmet need for reassurance. Sowislo also says that depression can raise the potential for low self-esteem as depressed individuals tend to look for negative feedback, a factor contributing to one’s outlook.

According to a recent article, the results of the study underscore the importance of confronting issues of self-esteem when helping individuals with depression. Depression and anxiety are common mental illnesses that are treated with a high rate of success. With help from mental health professionals at Family Guidance Center, those living with these mental health problems can get the help they need to live a full and meaningful life.

How to Address the Co-Occurrence of Flu and Mental Illness

16311410_mThis year’s flu strain has been particularly severe, even being declared an epidemic by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While getting the flu can be troublesome for anyone, such an illness can present additional hardships for those also living with issues affecting mental health, especially if they are unprepared.

A PsychCentral article offers a few tips for those who are experiencing both ailments.

The flu can lead to vomiting and diarrhea, so it’s important to try and stay hydrated by consuming plenty of liquids. This may be challenging if you’re having trouble keeping food down or don’t have much of an appetite. However, many psychiatric prescriptions are designed to be taken with food. Ingesting them on an empty stomach may up the risk of unwanted side-effects or could render a medication ineffective altogether. An inability to eat or drink should immediately be addressed with your doctor.

If your doctor issues a prescription for an infection resulting from the flu, be sure to inform him or her of any psychiatric medications you are taking as there could be harmful interactions, especially between MAO inhibitors and antibiotics. It’s also a good idea to touch base with your psychiatrist if you have any concerns.

Being sick can take a physical and mental toll on anyone, let alone those living with mental health disorders. Since the illness can last a week or more, it can be helpful to make close friends and family aware that you have the flu. That way, they can check on you should you need anything. Case managers, therapists, and even neighbors may also be good sources of help.

In the event of an emergency, call 911 or a member of your inner circle for assistance. It’s always better to err on the side of caution to avert serious consequences. The flu can be serious;  contact Family Guidance Center if your symptoms related to mental illness become more severe as you are battling the flu, or if you need help managing your treatment strategy for mental illness during a bout with seasonal illness.




NFL Aims at Protecting the Physical and Mental Health of Its Players

Mental Health 7In an effort to address the serious physical and mental concerns raised by its current and former players, the NFL Life Line alerts players and their families regarding the symptoms of mental health disorders, signals of crisis, and how to obtain professional help. Announcement of NFL Total Wellness comes on the heels of a slew of lawsuits for brain injuries and the recent suicide of NFL linebacker, Junior Seau.

Ken Stabler, who played quarterback for the Raiders, was listed as the first plaintiff in a federal lawsuit citing 73 cases of injury sustained by over 2,400 former NFL players who are now suing the organization for failing to protect and inform them regarding dangers of the sport. The NFL veterans argue that the NFL could have done more to shield them from trauma caused by repeated head impact, among other statements.

Seau, one of 13 known NFL suicides over the past 25 years, shot himself last May, just two-and-a-half years after retirement. His family sent brain tissue to the National Institutes of Health for further examination.

A Huffington Post article reports a similar instance occurring in February 2011, when Dave Duerson, safety for the Chicago Bears, also shot himself. In his suicide note, Duerson requested that his brain be analyzed for trauma.

The symptoms of a mental health disorder can be present for months or years, and are often misdiagnosed. They can include  fatigue, inability to sleep, anxiousness, lack of concentration, irritability, body aches or depression. These symptoms can be masked by other health problems and may escalate to crisis levels without the knowledge of friends of family members.  Family Guidance Center has as team of mental health professionals that can help identify and diagnose mental health problems, and lead individuals toward a treatment plan that addresses the emotional, social, physical aspects of mental illness. Contact Family Guidance Center today if you need help.

Fathers’ Prenatal Health Impacts Future Mental Health of Children

Children Mental Health 3Typically when a woman gets pregnant, the focus immediately shifts to her health as it relates to the health of her baby. It’s known that the physical and mental well-being of the mother weighs heavily on development during the prenatal stage and beyond. However, new Norwegian research has uncovered that the mental health of the father during the period of gestation may be just as important.

Researchers examined 32,000 children to determine the effects of fathers’ prenatal mental health on the mental health of their growing children. Results suggest that a father’s mental well-being may be a risk factor in determining future mental health problems in his offspring.

The survey unveiled a relationship between the mental health of the expectant fathers and the onset of mental health issues in their children. Even after adjusting for other influencing factors including the father’s age, use of substances such as alcohol and tobacco, physical problems, and the mother’s overall mental health, researchers still found a connection.

Weeks 17 and 18 were of particular concern. It was fathers who rated high for depression, anxiety, or mental distress during this time who had children that exhibited behavioral and emotional problems later at 3 years old. These children showed signs of anxiety and had difficulty getting along well with others.

James Paulson, associate psychology professor at Old Dominion University in Virginia who researches family depression says that depression in expectant fathers takes a similar toll as postpartum depression in woman. According to news presented by USA Today, over the last 10 years research has uncovered that postpartum depression in fathers presents similar risks to growing children as maternal postpartum depression.

Study results suggest that parents and doctors need not only pay attention to the mental health of the mother during pregnancy but also that of the father. Paulson stresses the importance of early detection and treatment in minimizing negative health impacts on children. Family Guidance Center, a community mental health center, offers mental health assessments during business hours daily. The team at Family Guidance Center can help you or a family member identify signs and symptoms of mental health problems early-on, as well as a treatment strategy, to maintain a healthy future.

Food Shortages Related to Mental Health Problems in Teens

Children Mental Health 2Each day children in the U.S. go hungry, and it is compromising their well being. Having one’s basic needs met is not only important for the development of physical health, but also mental health, especially for those who are young.

A new study, which was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, sought to determine if fear of going hungry was related to the past-year presence of mental disorders in teens. Analysis of data for nearly 6,500 adolescents was gathered from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A). Teens in the survey ranged from age 13 to 17. For purposes of the study, food insecurity was determined as not being able to access enough food to prevent going hungry.

Even after investigators took into account factors such as poverty and other socio-economic issues, they uncovered that even slight increases in food insecurity significantly increased one’s chances of having a past-year mental health problem such as anxiety, depression, or addiction. For each single increase in standard deviation, there was a 14 percent rise in the chance of having a mental health disorder.

This is particularly concerning because over one in five families in the U.S. cope with some form of food insecurity as reported in a Psych Central article. Per the research, food insecurity was a better predictor of mental health disorders in teens than even the parents’ education level or income.

Study authors believe the results suggest that, in addition to poverty, not having enough food to satisfy hunger further elevates the risk of mental health problems in adolescents. The findings of the study emphasize the importance of creating more programs aimed at addressing food shortages amongst children and teens.

The struggle to meet basic needs can be tough for many families, but is even tougher when mental health problems like substance abuse, depression, or anxiety are present. The Family Guidance Center has resources that can guide you through the process of assessment, diagnosis and treatment. If you or someone you know is struggling with these issues, contact the Family Guidance Center for ways we can help.