Archives for January, 2012
Depression can be a factor in the treatment of an array of different health problems. It has an impact on the treatment of heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Depression may not be the cause of these diseases, but it often co-occurs with them and can influence whether patients follow through on treatment recommendations. Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction training can help breast cancer survivors in their struggle with depression. The number of women who survive breast cancer has increased in recent years. However, side-effects of breast cancer treatment, including sleep problems and depression, can disrupt people’s lives and interfere with their treatment. According to a study conducted by Mary Jane Massie (2004), depression may impact as many as 50% of women with breast cancer. In a recent study at the University of Missouri Jane Armer and other researchers found that breast cancer survivors’ health improved after they completed mindfulness-based stress reduction training that incorporates meditation, yoga and physical awareness.
Changing problem behaviors requires that you understand and investigate what is happening when the behavior occurs. When you discuss problems in therapy, it’s critical to know if you are sad when you have the urge to self-injure or feeling threatened when you take a drink. Information about how you think and feel when you are most vulnerable is essential to the therapy process. Most often behaviors such as self-destructiveness, aggression, substance use problems and other impulse behaviors happen at times of high stress and intense emotions. And stress and emotion both have a significant impact on memory. They interfere our ability to accurately remember events and skew what we do remember. Diary cards, in DBT, are central to investigating and understanding problems that are being targeted in individual therapy. They are completed during the course of the week--as emotions, events and problematic behaviors occur—with the intent of improving memory. If targeted behaviors have occurred, they are discussed in therapy. If patterns emerge, they are investigated in therapy.
What does your to-do list look like? Is it filled with household chores and work obligations? Is much of your time spent taking care of the needs of others—children, a partner, elderly parents? Are you someone who says ‘yes’ to helping out with the PTO fundraiser, putting together that extra presentation at work or organizing the family get together? These are all valuable things to do and many of them may be essential to the people that you care about in your life. Some may bring you pleasure and satisfaction, while others are chores that suck away precious time and leave you off of your own list of things to do. Women are especially prone to putting everyone else’s needs before their own, but with today’s pressures, men often find themselves in the same predicament-- caring for others, while neglecting themselves. In the midst of daily demands it’s easy to lose ourselves.
It’s the time of year where many think about making changes, renewing efforts to improve our lives and resolving to feel better this year. It’s also a time of reflection. Reflecting on the past year, where we’ve been, what obstacles we’ve overcome and which we still struggle with. As I considered the past year, I looked back over posts I had written and found 5 that captured some of the struggles and strategies people identified with and found helpful. In Can What You Eat Impact How You Feel? I discuss a review of over 160 studies that suggested that diet and nutrition impact mental health. These studies found that principles of eating, such as eating a wide variety of colorful vegetables, can have a positive impact on your mental well-being. They also found that deficiencies in our diets, such as a deficiency in vitamin D (a widespread problem in the US) can impact mental health.