Thursday, May 31, 2007

World No Tobacco Day

World No Tobacco Day is observed around the world every year on May 31. The member states of the World Health Organization created World No Tobacco Day in 1987. It draws global attention to the tobacco epidemic and to the preventable death and disease it causes. It aims to reduce the 3.5 million yearly deaths from tobacco related health problems.


  • In 1987, the World Health Assembly passed Resolution WHA40.38, calling for April 7, 1988 to be "a world no-smoking day."

  • In 1988, Resolution WHA42.10 was passed, calling for the celebration of World No Tobacco Day, every year on 31 May.

The health effects of tobacco smoking refer to direct tobacco smoking as well as the inhalation of environmental or secondhand tobacco smoke. The WHO in the 2002 World Health Report estimates that in developed countries, 26% of male deaths and 9% of female deaths can be attributed to smoking. Similarly, the United States' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes tobacco use as "the single most important preventable risk to human health in developed countries and an important cause of premature death worldwide".

Incidence of impotence is approximately 85 percent higher in male smokers compared to non-smokers, and it is a key cause of erectile dysfunction (ED). Smoking causes impotence because it promotes arterial narrowing. Tobacco related illnesses kill 440,000 USA citizens per year, about 1,205 per day, making it the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. A person's increased risk of contracting disease is directly proportional to the length of time that a person continues to smoke as well as the amount smoked. However, if someone stops smoking, then these chances gradually decrease as the damage to their body is repaired.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

About Sleep (II part)

Why sleep is good for you and skimping on it isn't

Does it really matter if you get enough sleep? Absolutely! Not only does the quantity of your sleep matter, but the quality of your sleep is important as well. People whose sleep is interrupted a lot or is cut short might not get enough of certain stages of sleep. In other words, how well rested you are and how well you function the next day depend on your total sleep time an dhow much of the various stages of sleep you get each night.

Performance: We need sleep to think clearly, react quickly, and create memories. Inf act, the pathways in the brain that help us learn and remember are very active when we sleep. Studies show that people who are taught mentally challenging tasks do better after a good night's sleep. Other research suggests that sleep is needed for creative problem solving.
Skimping on sleep has a price. Cutting back by even 1 hour can make it tough to focus the next day and can slow your response time. Studies also find that when you lack sleep, you are more likely to make bad decisions and take more risks. This can result in lower performance on the job or in school and a greater risk for a car crash.

Mood: Sleep also affects mood. Insufficient sleep can make you irritable and is linked to poor behavior and trouble with relationships, especially among children and teens. People who chronically lack sleep are also more likely to become depressed.

Health: Sleep is also important for good health. Studies show that not getting enough sleep or getting poor quality sleep on a regular basis increases the risk of having high blood pressure, heart disease, and other medical conditions.

In addition, during sleep, your body produces valuable hormones. Deep sleep triggers more release of growth hormone, which fuels growth in children, and helps build muscle mass and repair cells and tissues in children and adults. Another type of hormone that increases during sleep works to fight various infections. This might explain why a good night's sleep helps keep you from getting sick—and helps you recover when you do get sick.
Hormones released during sleep also affect how the body uses energy. Studies find that the less people sleep, the more likely they are to be
overweight or obese, to develop diabetes, and to prefer eating foods that are high in calories and carbohydrates.

It's about time

How sleepy you are depends largely on how well you've been sleeping and how much sleep you've been getting. Another key factor is your internal "biological clock"—a tiny bundle of cells in your brain that responds to light signals through your eyes and promotes wakefulness. Because of the timing of the biological clock and other bodily processes, you naturally feel drowsy between midnight and 7 a.m. and again in the midafternoon between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Night shift workers often find themselves drowsy at work. They also have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep during the day, when their schedules require them to sleep. Being sleepy puts them at risk for injuries on the road and at work. Night shift workers are also more likely to have conditions such as heart disease, digestive disorders, and infertility, as well as emotional problems. All of these problems may be related, at least in part, to their chronic lack of sleep.

Adapting to a new sleep and wake times can also be hard for travelers crossing time zones, resulting in what's known as
jet lag. Jet lag can lead to daytime sleepiness, trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night, poor concentration, and irritability.The good news is that by using appropriately timed cues, most people can change their biological clock, but only by 1–2 hours per day at best. Therefore, it can take several days to adjust to a new time zone (or different work schedule). If you'll be moving across time zones, you might want to begin adapting to the new time zone a few days before leaving. Or, if you are traveling for just a few days, you might want to stick with your original sleep schedule and not try to adjust to the new time zone.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

What is sleep?

About Sleep

Introduction to sleep
When you're in a rush to meet work, school, family, or household responsibilities, do you cut back on your sleep? Like many people, you might think that sleep is merely a "down time" when the brain shuts off and the body rests. Think again.

What is sleep?
Sleep was long considered just a uniform block of time when you are not awake. Thanks to sleep studies done over the past several decades, it is now known that sleep has distinctive stages that cycle throughout the night. Your brain stays active throughout sleep, but different things happen during each stage. For instance, certain stages of sleep are indeed for us to feel well rested and energetic the next day, and other stages help us learn or make memories.
In brief, a number of vital tasks carried out during sleep help maintain good health and enable people to function at their best. On the other hand, not getting enough sleep can be dangerous—for example, you are more likely to be in a car crash if you drive when you are drowsy.

How much sleep is enough?
Sleep needs vary from person to person, and they change throughout the lifecycle. Most adults need 7–8 hours of sleep each night. Newborns, on the other hand, sleep between 16 and 18 hours a day, and children in preschool sleep between 10 and 12 hours a day. School–aged children and
teens need at least 9 hours of sleep a night.
Some people believe that adults need less sleep as they get older. But there is no evidence to show that older people can get by with less sleep than younger people. As people age, however, they often get less sleep or they tend to spend less time in the deep, restful stages of sleep. Older people are also more easily awakened.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Treatment for GAD

If no physical illness is found, you may be referred to a psychiatrist or psychologist, mental health professionals who are specially trained to diagnose and treat mental illnesses. Treatment for GAD most often includes a combination of medication and cognitive-behavioral therapy.
  • Medication: Medicines are available to treat GAD and may be especially helpful for people whose anxiety is interfering with daily functioning. The medications most often used to treat GAD are from a class of drugs called benzodiazepines. These medications are sometimes referred to as "tranquilizers," because they leave you feeling calm and relaxed. They work by decreasing the physical symptoms of GAD, such as muscle tension and restlessness. Common benzodiazepines include Xanax, Librium, Valium and Ativan. Another medicine, BuSpar, also may be used to treat chronic anxiety. BuSpar works by affecting the activity of certain neurotransmitters, including serotonin. Unlike the benzodiazepines, BuSpar does not cause sedation (sleepiness) or lead to dependency. Antidepressants, such as Paxil and Effexor, are also being used to treat GAD
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy: People suffering from anxiety disorders often participate in this type of therapy, in which you learn to recognize and change thought patterns and behaviors that lead to troublesome feelings. This type of therapy helps limit distorted thinking by looking at worries more realistically.

In addition, relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and biofeedback, may help to control the muscle tension that often accompanies GAD.

Are There Complications of Treatment?

Dependency on anti-anxiety medications (benzodiazepines) is a potential complication of treatment. Other side effects of medications include sleepiness and sexual problems.

What Is the Outlook for People With Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

Although many people with GAD cannot be cured, most people gain substantial relief from their symptoms with treatment.

Can Generalized Anxiety Disorder Be Prevented?

Anxiety disorders cannot be prevented. However, there are some things that you can do to control or lessen symptoms, including:

  • Stop or reduce your consumption of products that contain caffeine, such as coffee, tea, cola and chocolate.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist before taking any over-the-counter medicines or herbal remedies.
  • Many contain chemicals that can increase anxiety symptoms.
  • Exercise daily and eat a healthy, balanced diet.
  • Seek counseling and support after a traumatic or disturbing experience.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The cause of GAD

What Causes Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

The exact cause of GAD is not fully known, but a number of factors -- including genetics, brain chemistry and environmental stresses -- appear to contribute to its development.

  • Genetics: Some research suggests that family history plays a part in increasing the likelihood that a person will develop GAD. This means that the tendency to develop GAD may be passed on in families.
  • Brain chemistry: GAD has been associated with abnormal levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters are special chemical messengers that help move information from nerve cell to nerve cell. If the neurotransmitters are out of balance, messages cannot get through the brain properly. This can alter the way the brain reacts in certain situations, leading to anxiety.
  • Environmental factors: Trauma and stressful events, such as abuse, the death of a loved one, divorce, changing jobs or schools, may lead to GAD. GAD also may become worse during periods of stress. The use of and withdrawal from addictive substances, including alcohol, caffeine and nicotine, can also worsen anxiety.

How Common Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

About 4 million adult Americans suffer from GAD during the course of a year. It most often begins in childhood or adolescence, but can begin in adulthood. It is more common in women than in men.

How Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder Diagnosed?

If symptoms are present, the doctor will begin an evaluation by asking questions about your medical history and performing a physical examination. Although there are no laboratory tests to specifically diagnose anxiety disorders, the doctor may use various tests to look for physical illness as the cause of the symptoms.

The doctor bases his or her diagnosis of GAD on reports of the intensity and duration of symptoms -- including any problems with functioning caused by the symptoms. The doctor then determines if the symptoms and degree of dysfunction indicate a specific anxiety disorder. GAD is diagnosed if symptoms are present for more days than not during a period of at least six months. The symptoms also must interfere with daily living, such as causing you to miss work or school.
©1996-2007 MedicineNet, Inc.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

GAD is characterized by excessive, exaggerated anxiety and worry about everyday life events. People with GAD tend to always expect disaster and can't stop worrying about health, money, family, work or school. In people with GAD, the worry often is unrealistic or out of proportion for the situation. Daily life becomes a constant state of worry, fear and dread. Eventually, the anxiety so dominates the person's thinking that it interferes with daily functioning, including work, school, social activities and relationships.

GAD affects the way a person thinks, but the anxiety can lead to physical symptoms, as well. Symptoms of GAD include:
  • Excessive, ongoing worry and tension
  • An unrealistic view of problems
  • Restlessness or a feeling of being "edgy"
  • Irritability Muscle tension
  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Nausea
  • The need to go to the bathroom frequently
  • Tiredness
  • Trouble falling or staying asleep
  • Trembling
  • Being easily startled

In addition, people with GAD often have other anxiety disorders (such as

panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and phobias), suffer from depression, and/or abuse drugs or alcohol.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Anxiety Attack Statistics

Anxiety Attack Statistics

Prevalence of Anxiety disorder: approximately 2.4 million Americans (NIMH)

Prevalence Rate: approx 1 in 113 or 0.88% or 2.4 million people in USA

Incidence (annual) of Panic disorder: 1.7% of US adults annually (NIMH)

Incidence Rate: approx 1 in 58 or 1.70% or 4.6 million people in USA

Incidence extrapolations for USA for Anxiety disorder:
4,624,000 per year, 385,333 per month, 88,923 per week, 12,668 per day, 527 per hour, 8 per minute, 0 per second.

Lifetime risk for Panic disorder: 3 million Americans (NIMH); 1.6% adults (USSG)
Prevalence of Anxiety disorder: Anxiety disorder strikes between 3 and 6 million Americans, and is twice as common in women as in men.
Incidence of Panic disorder: About 1.7% of the adult U.S. population ages18 to 54 - approximately 2.4 million Americans - has anxiety panic disorder in a given year.
Prevalence of Anxiety disorder discussion: Approximately 2.4 million American adultsages 18 to 54, or about 1.7 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have anxiety disorder.

In the United States, 1.6 percent of the adult population, or more than 3 million people, will have anxiety panic disorder at some time in their lives.

Prevalence statistics about Anxiety Panic disorder: The following statistics relate to the prevalence of Anxiety Panic disorder:
  • 3 million American adults (NIMH)
  • 1.7% of the adult U.S. population ages 18 to 54 (NIMH)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Seafood Allergy and Reactions to RCM

Myth Persists on Seafood Allergy, Contrast Link

An old medical myth—that patients who are allergic to seafood are at risk of adverse reactions to radiologic contrast media (RCM) —persists even among cardiologists, despite having been thoroughly debunked, Dr. Andrew D. Beaty reported at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.

In a survey of 231 specialists at six academic medical centers, 69% of the physicians admitted asking patients about seafood allergy before radiologic procedures using contrast media. Of those surveyed, 37% of the physicians admitted withholding contrast media or premedicating seafood-allergic patients with corticosteroids or antihistamines before the procedure.

Many studies over the past 30 years have failed to find any special relationship between seafood allergy and adverse reactions to radiologic contrast media (RCM). According to some, atopic patients in general may have a fourfold to fivefold increased risk of adverse events in response to RCM. However, the baseline rate of these events is so low that even if these studies were to be confirmed in larger populations, less than 1% of atopic patients would be affected.

About 10 million procedures using RCM are conducted every year in the United States. Life-threatening reactions occur in about 0.2% of patients receiving high-osmolarity contrast media and 0.04% of those getting low-osmolarity contrast media.

The origin of the seafood allergy myth is unknown. But Dr. Beaty, of St. Louis University, has traced it at least as far as a 1975 paper in the American Journal of Roentgenology that stated that 15% of patients who experienced adverse reactions to RCM reported having seafood allergy (Am. J. Roentgenol. Radium Ther. Nucl. Med. 1975;124:145–52). The authors of that study hypothesized that the iodine in seafood cross-reacted with the iodine in RCM. They never verified those patient reports, however, and similar percentages of patients with adverse reactions in their study reported allergies to other common foods such as milk and eggs.

Since then, it has been determined that seafood allergy is mediated by immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies to proteins in meat, with iodine playing no role. Furthermore, IgE does not mediate severe RCM reactions. The combination of these two findings effectively discounts the hypothesis of iodine cross-reactivity.

For his study, Dr. Beaty and his colleagues mailed anonymous questionnaires to 231 faculty members at six prominent academic medical centers in the Midwest. Of the individuals queried, 49% responded.
The survey consisted of eight brief questions, but only two of them related to seafood allergy and RCM. The other six were intended as distractors.

The first seafood-related question was, “Do you or someone on your behalf inquire about a history of seafood or shellfish allergy prior to administration of contrast media?” Sixty-five percent of the radiologists and 89% of the cardiologists answered, “Yes.”

The second question was, “Would you withhold RCM administration or recommend pretreatment with corticosteroids and/or antihistamines based on a history of seafood or shellfish allergy?” Thirty-five percent of the radiologists and 50% of the cardiologists answered, “Yes.”

While 69% of the total respondents said that they would ask patients about seafood allergy, only 37% said that they would change management based on that information. That suggests that about 32% would ask the question even if the answer would not affect patient management.

Merely asking that question may serve to perpetuate the myth among patients, Dr. Beaty said. He pointed to a separate study indicating that 65% of patients with seafood allergy had either read or been told by their physician to avoid RCM, and 92% believed that iodine in seafood was responsible for their allergy (Allergy Asthma Proc. 2005;26:468–9).

Several physicians in the audience rose to describe their experiences with this medical myth. One described a radiologic technician who received an official reprimand for failing to ask a patient about seafood allergy. Another physician said that at his institution no allergic patients were allowed to receive RCM unless they were premedicated.

A third physician said that at his institution, the computer system automatically categorized every patient with a seafood allergy as being sensitive to RCM, and every patient who was sensitive to RCM as having a seafood allergy. That has now been changed, but patients who were seen before the change will have that erroneous information persist in their records until someone changes it manually.
Cardiology News, Volume 5, Issue 4, Page 19 (April 2007)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Bipolar disorder and dissociation:Lethal Combination

Bipolar Affective Disorder and Dissociation: A Potentially Lethal Combination

Tanya L. Hanstock
The Nexus Unit, Newcastle, Australia, The Bipolar Program, Newcastle, Australia

In isolation, bipolar disorder and dissociation can place adolescents at risk of self-harm or suicide. However, when these are combined, they place an adolescent at serious risk of self-harming behavior or suicide completion.
It appears from the scarcity in the literature to be rare for adolescents to have the combination of bipolar disorder and dissociation.
This article outlines the case of an older adolescent girl with a comorbid combination.
This case study highlights how the comorbidity of bipolar disorder and dissociation increases a patient's lethality risk and how both disorders may contribute to the volatile destabilization of the other.
Risk management strategies are proposed in relation to the assessment of risk and preparedness for discharge from inpatient facilities.

Keywords: adolescents • bipolar disorder • children • comorbidity • dissociation

Clinical Case Studies, Vol. 6, No. 2, 131-142 (2007)
© 2007 SAGE Publications

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Patients' Perceptions: Effects of Religiosity

Effects of Religiosity on Patients' Perceptions of Do-Not-Resuscitate Status

Maria A. Sullivan, M.D., PH.D., Philip R. Muskin, M.D., Shara J. Feldman, B.A., and Elizabeth Haase, M.D.

From New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York City; and the Consultation-Liaison Service, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia Presbyterian Campus of the New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

Forty-eight oncology inpatients participated in a survey designed to characterize their understanding of and beliefs about do-not-resuscitate (DNR) decisions and to identify dimensions of religiosity associated with moral beliefs about DNR decisions.
Seventy-five percent of the patients believed they understood the meaning of "DNR," but only 32% were able to provide an accurate definition.
Seventeen percent believed that DNR decisions are morally wrong, and 23% believed that they are equivalent to suicide.
Those who lacked an accurate understanding of DNR status were significantly more likely to perceive them as morally wrong.
Gender, but not religious denomination, was significantly related to patients' attitudes about the morality of DNR decisions.
The belief that DNR decisions are morally wrong was predicted by certain religious practices, including near-daily meditation, near-daily thinking about God, and the current practice of meditation, and by endorsement of the statement, "My faith sometimes restricts my action."

Psychosomatics 45:119-128, April 2004
© 2004 The Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Panic attacks: Treatment

What is the treatment for panic attacks?

Thanks to research, there are a variety of treatments available, including several effective medications, and specific forms of psychotherapy. In terms of medications, specific members of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) and the benzodiazepine families of medications are approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat panic disorder. Examples of such medications include sertraline (Zoloft) and paroxetine (Paxil) from the SSRI group and clonazepam (Klonopin) from the benzodiazepine group. Medications from the beta blocker family (for example, propranolol) are sometimes used to treat the physical symptoms associated with a panic attack. Before SSRIs became available, medications from the group known as the tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) were often used to address panic disorder. However, SSRIs have been proven to be safer and better tolerated therefore, TCAs are used much less often. When used in the appropriate person with close monitoring, these medications can be quite effective as part of treatment for panic disorder. However, as anything that is ingested carries risk of side effects, it is important to work closely with the prescribing doctor to decide whether medication treatment is an appropriate intervention and if so, which medication should be administered. The person being treated should be closely monitored for the possibility of side effects that can vary from minor to severe and in some cases even be life-threatening.

The psychotherapy component of treatment for panic disorders is equally as important as medication treatment. In fact, research shows that the combination of medication and psychotherapy treatment for panic disorder is more effective than either intervention alone. To address anxiety, cognitive behavioral therapy is widely accepted as an effective form of psychotherapy. That form of therapy seeks to help those with panic disorder identify and decrease the irrational thoughts and behaviors that reinforce panic symptoms. Behavioral techniques that are often used to decrease anxiety include relaxation techniques and gradually increasing exposure to situations that may have previously increased anxiety in the individual.

Often, a combination of psychotherapy and medications produces good results. Improvement is usually noticed in a fairly short period of time, about two to three months. Thus, appropriate treatment for panic disorder can prevent panic attacks or at least substantially reduce their severity and frequency, bringing significant relief to 70 to 90% of people with panic disorder.

There are also things that people with panic disorder can do to help make treatment more effective. Since substances like caffeine, alcogol, and illicit drugs can worsen panic attacks, those things should be avoided. It may be worth engaging in aerobic exercise and stress-management techniques like deep breathing and yoga, as those activities have been found to help decrease the frequency and severity of panic attacks.

In addition, people with panic disorder may need treatment for other emotional problems. Depression
has often been associated with panic disorder, as have alcohol and drug abuse. Recent research also suggests that suicide attempts are more frequent in people with panic disorder. Fortunately, these problems associated with panic disorder can be overcome effectively, just like panic disorder itself.
Tragically, many people with panic attacks do not seek or receive treatment.

What happens if panic attacks are not treated?
Panic attacks tend to continue for months or years. While it typically begins in young adulthood, in some people the symptoms may arise earlier or later in life. If left untreated, it may worsen to the point where the person's life is seriously affected by panic attacks and by attempts to avoid or conceal them. In fact, many people have had problems with friends and family or lost jobs while struggling to cope with panic attacks. There may be periods of spontaneous improvement in the attacks, but it does not usually go away unless the person receives treatments designed specifically to help people with panic attacks.
National Institute of Mental Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Monday, May 14, 2007

Panic attack symptoms

What are the most common panic attack symptoms?

First of all, the word 'symptoms' is used by doctors to describe the effects of illness... ANXIETY IS NOT AN ILLNESS... it's a behavioural condition. However, anxiety does produce some pretty scary SENSATIONS.
I tell you this because I need you to understand that all the feelings, thoughts and sensations you experience are products of the anxious nerve signals your brain produces, not the signs of illness! Symptoms of panic attacks are unpleasant to say the least BUT they are completely normal and harmless (if inappropriate).
For ease, I will, however, carry on using the word symptom, to describe these sensations.
Not everyone experiences the same panic attack symptoms; we are all different biologically and therefore react differently to each other as a response to the same or similar stimuli.
The following list identifies the most common symptoms of panic attacks. Experiencing four or less of these panic attack symptoms identifies what is called a limited symptom attack.

Common symptoms of panic attacks
· Rapid heart beat, pounding heart or palpitations
· Sweating
· Shaking visibly or inside
· Choking sensations or lump in throat
· Smothering or shortness of breath sensations
· Chest pain or discomfort
· Nausea, bloating, indigestion or abdominal discomfort
· Dizziness or unsteadiness
· Feeling light-headed
· Derealisation (feeling unreal or dreamy)
· Depersonalisation (feeling outside yourself or like you don't exist)
· Fear of losing control or going crazy
· Paresthesias (numbness or tingling sensations) in face, extremities or body
· Chills or hot flushes
· Skin losing colour
· Blushing or skin blotches
· Urgently needing to urinate or defecate

Experiencing different or more panic attack symptoms than are listed above does not mean that your condition is worse or different, or that you are suffering from another un-diagnosed condition. Diagnosis of anxiety disorders is very accurate so chances are you ARE suffering from an anxiety disorder. Some people have anxiety disorder but never suffer from panic attack symptoms.
To find out more about how the Linden method can help you overcome your panic attack symptoms please

How are panic attack symptoms caused?
Panic attack symptoms are caused by a number of biological changes that occur during times of stress and anxiety. The human body is very resilient, even in times of anxiety we are strong, although we may not feel it. It's also very true that some people might be scared that their heart will stop, or give up, through the constant racing, thumping or chest pain, this is simply not true, again these are very common symptoms of panic attacks.
No one has ever come to any harm as a result of anxiety or panic attacks! Consider how hard athletes have to work in order to give their hearts the kind of workout your heart receives through anxiety; athletes hearts do not give up, do they? The heart is a muscle, raising the heart rate exercises it, making it fitter. You wouldn't worry if your heart raced after running for the bus, so why worry about it when it happens during anxiety.
The downside of these panic attack symptoms is that your body will feel tired and shaky after they subside. You may feel as if you have run a marathon yourself. Feeling tired or achy is a necessary side effect, if you are aware that it may happen, when it does, you will know what it is and it won't scare you as much!
Most anxious people complain of aching muscles and general fatigue, these are very common symptoms of panic attacks and anxiety. Muscle tension can cause pain or sensations of tightness anywhere in the body; most common in anxiety are pains in the chest, neck and shoulders. Tension in these places can be distressing; the tension in your chest may cause shortness of breath or rib pain, and it may make your chest or breasts tender or numb. Pains in the muscular tissues of the neck and back can cause the blood vessels and nerves to become restricted; this can cause headaches or migraine but can also cause the head to feel tender or painful.
It is possible for your face or scalp to feel numb or dead, this can affect sensations around your eye, in your cheek, face and jaw and can even affect the sensations in your mouth. This is caused by muscular tension causing restriction around the nerves and blood vessels in my neck. When I first experienced this, I was very scared as are many of my clients. AGAIN, another symptom of panic attacks and anxiety which causes the sufferer unnecessary worry but is completely harmless. Massaging the neck releases much of the tension and thus relieves the sensations; this works for most people.
This tension can cause feelings of numbness in the arms (usually the left), and also the legs. Don't be alarmed if this happens to you.
You must understand that the nervous system is found in every inch of your body. There are nerve endings literally everywhere, around every organ, muscle and over every square millimetre of your skin so the symptoms of panic attacks and anxiety can be experienced anywhere! Tension can be responsible for many of the sensations experienced during anxiety.
Symptoms of panic attacks are EXACTLY what the name suggests, a symptom of the disorder not of another condition. These symptoms should be ignored, they have no importance or relevance to you, or your life.
Do not allow these unpleasant panic attack symptoms and sensations to get the better of you, after all that is all they are. The nerves tell the brain what it should be feeling under certain conditions and the brain responds. If tired and anxious nerve signals become confused, the brain may interpret the feeling of ice against the skin as burning, or the eyes might send a confused signal to the brain that makes you see a smooth surface ripple like water. Perceived sensations never have and never can, hurt any one. All symptoms of panic attacks and anxiety are caused by confused bodily sensations and nerve impulses, you may feel like the end is in sight, but it most certainly is not.

Can panic attack symptoms harm me?
No! Panic attacks symptoms have never harmed anyone. Although they feel horrific and scary, panic attack symptoms are harmless and are simply exaggerated experiences of normal bodily sensations and reactions. Of all the people that I have spoken to about their own panic attack symptoms, none, including myself, ever came to any harm during the, literally thousands, of panic attacks we experienced.

Do I have to put up with panic attack symptoms?
No, you do not. Panic attacks are, like all anxiety disorders, caused by an imbalance in the organ responsible for the anxiety response called the Amygdala. This organ acts like an anxiety switch. Normally, the switch is in the OFF position and only gets activated when it's appropriate to feel anxious. In anxiety disorders this switch gets stuck in the ON's that simple!
So, if an anxiety disorder is to be eliminated completely, it is this imbalanced anxious response which needs to be addressed directly. The Linden Method does exactly that!

What is the solution to panic attack symptoms?
There are no other programs of recovery for anxiety sufferers that resemble this method but past program members consider it to be THE conclusive treatment for anxiety disorders such as: Panic disorder, Phobias, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Generalised Anxiety Disorder.
With tens of thousands of Linden Method users, the method is the most effective drug free treatment available. The method is psychologist and medically endorsed and very easy, fast and permanent.
The Linden Method is also equally effective for treating panic attacks in children and senior people too. I have children as young as seven years and a gentleman of 87 using the method currently. Some sufferers think that my method is a means of managing panic attack symptoms, it's not, it's a way of eradicating them from your life completely. Panic attack symptoms whilst pregnant are also very common and the Linden Method will show you that these can be effectively reduced and eliminated too.
Anxiety and panic attacks are simply accentuated versions of natural reactions, remember, they CAN NOT harm you in any way. I will show you how panic anxiety attacks, phobias and all your fearful sensations and emotions can be calmed and erased. Whether you suffer from anxiety panic attacks or phobias, you can and will be symptom free again... that's a promise.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

What are panic attacks?

What are panic attacks?

Panic attacks may be symptoms of an anxiety disorder. These attacks are a serious health problem in this country. At least 1.7% of adult Americans, or about 3 million people, will have panic attacks at some time in their lives. The symptom is strikingly different from other types of anxiety in that panic attacks are so very sudden and often unexpected, appear to be unprovoked, and are often disabling.
Panic attacks can occur at any time, even during sleep. An attack generally peaks within 10 minutes, but some symptoms may last much longer.
Once someone has had a panic attack, for example, while driving, shopping in a crowded store, or riding in an elevator, he or she may develop irrational fears, called phobias
, about these situations and begin to avoid them. Eventually, the pattern of avoidance and level of anxiety about another attack may reach the point where the individual with panic disorder may be unable to drive or even step out of the house. At this stage, the person is said to have panic disorder with agoraphobia. Thus, panic disorder can have as serious an impact on a person's daily life as other major illnesses, unless the individual receives effective treatment.

Are panic attacks serious?
Yes, panic attacks are real, potentially quite emotionally disabling, but they can be controlled with specific treatments. Because of the disturbing symptoms that accompany panic attacks, they may be mistaken for heart disease or some other life-threatening medical illness. People frequently go to hospital emergency rooms when they are having a panic attack, and extensive medical tests may be performed to rule out these other conditions.
Medical personnel generally attempt to reassure the panic attack patient that he or she is not in great danger. But these efforts at reassurance can sometimes add to the patient's difficulties: If the doctors use expressions such as "nothing serious," "all in your head," or "nothing to worry about," this may give the incorrect impression that there is no real problem and that treatment is not possible or necessary. The point is that while panic attacks can certainly be serious, it is not organ-threatening.

What causes panic attacks?
According to one theory of panic disorder, the body's normal "alarm system," the set of mental and physical mechanisms that allows a person to respond to a threat, tends to be triggered unnecessarily, when there is no danger. Scientists don't know exactly why this happens, or why some people are more susceptible to the problem than others. Panic disorder has been found to run in families, and this may mean that inheritance (genes) plays a strong role in determining who will get it. However, many people who have no family history of the disorder develop it. Often, the first attacks are triggered by physical illnesses, a major life stress, or perhaps medications that increase activity in the part of the brain involved in fear reactions.

National Institute of Mental Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Monday, May 07, 2007

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Twenty to fifty percent of women between the ages of 30 to 40 with regular menstrual cycles experience premenstrual syndrome (PMS) as a regular physiological occurrence every month. In more severe cases, affecting three to five percent of menstruating women, this syndrome is labeled as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) . Patients with severe PMDD are at risk for developing postpartum depression. Furthermore, women successfully treated with antidepressants often show breakthrough symptoms of depression in the premenstrual phase of their menstrual cycle. All that is needed is a small increase in the dosage of the antidepressant premenstrually.

PMDD Symptoms
Women with PMDD complain of irritability, anger, tension, marked depressed mood, and mood lability (crying spells for no reason, verbal outbursts, or tantrums ) to such a severity that quality of life is seriously compromised. In addition to these symptoms, some women complain of lethargy, sleep disturbance, limited concentration and a host of physical symptoms such as breast tenderness, headaches, joint and muscle pain, bloating and weight gain.
The primary symptoms that distinguish premenstrual dysphoric disorder from other mood disorders (i.e.,
major depression) or menstrual conditions is the onset and duration of PMDD symptoms -- with symptoms appearing during the week or so before and disappearing within a few days after the onset of menses -- and the level by which these symptoms disrupt daily living tasks. (This diminished level of functioning is generally in great contrast with the same woman's interactions and abilities at other times during the month.)The symptoms of PMDD may resemble other conditions or medical problems, such as a thyroid condition, depression, or an anxiety disorder. Consult a physician for diagnosis.

What Causes PMDD
Although the exact cause of PMDD is not known, several theories have been proposed. One theory states that women who experience PMDD may have abnormal reactions to normal hormone changes that occur with each menstrual cycle. This may include the fluctuation of estrogen and progesterone levels that normally occur with menstruation causing a serotonin deficiency, in some women (Serotonin is a substance found naturally in the brain and intestines that acts as a vessel-narrowing substance, or vasoconstrictor). Additional research is necessary.

How is Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder Diagnosed?
Aside from a complete medical history and physical and pelvic examination, diagnostic procedures for PMDD are currently very limited. Your physician may consider recommending a psychiatric evaluation to, more or less, provide a differential diagnosis (to rule out other possible conditions). In addition, he/she may ask that you keep a journal or diary of your symptoms for several months, to better assess the timing, severity, onset, and duration of symptoms. In general, in order for a PMDD diagnosis to be made, the following symptoms must be present:
· over the course of a year, during most menstrual cycles, five or more of the following symptoms must be present:
- depressed mood
- anger or irritability
- difficulty in concentrating
- lack of interest in activities once enjoyed
- moodiness
- increased appetite
- insomnia or hypersomnia
- feeling overwhelmed or out of control
- other physical symptoms
· symptoms that disturb social, occupational, or physical functioning
· symptoms that are not related to, or exaggerated by, another medical condition

What is the Difference Between PMS and PMDD?
The physical symptom list is identical for PMS and PMDD; while the emotional symptoms are similar, they are significantly more serious with PMDD. In PMDD, the criteria focus on the mood rather than the physical symptoms. With PMS, sadness or mild depression is not uncommon. With PMDD, however, significant depression and hopelessness may occur; in extreme cases, women may feel like killing themselves or others. Attributing suicidal or homicidal feelings to “it’s just PMS” is inappropriate; these feelings must be taken as seriously as they are in anyone else and should be promptly brought to the attention of mental health professionals.
Women who have a history of depression are at increased risk for PMDD. Similarly, women who have had PMDD are at increased risk for
depression after menopause. In simplest terms, the difference between PMS and PMDD can be likened to the difference between a mild headache and a migraine.

PMDD Treatment
Treatment for PMS depends on the severity of the symptoms. For mild cases, treatment recommendations include diet modifications such as high carbohydrate meals and reducing salt, caffeine and alcohol, as well as a variety of methods for stress reduction and relaxation such as exercise, counselling and stress/behaviour management strategies.
For severe PMDD, treatment is more aggressive, often requiring pharmacological intervention in addition to nonpharmacological treatments. The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor class of antidepressants are effective in the treatment of PMDD. Fluoxetine (Prozac - Serafem) has been widely studied and found to be effective in reducing symptoms of tension, irritability and dysphoria. These results have been replicated with sertraline (Zoloft) and paroxetine (Paxil). Use of the SSRIs is positive as well in that side effects, such as nausea, diarrhea, headache, and insomnia, to name a few, are minimal and reportedly tolerable by the majority of women.
For some women, even more drastic measures must be taken to ameliorate the symptoms of PMDD. For these women, hormonal therapies are necessary that work by suppressing the menstrual cycle. Effective hormonal therapies include gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists, estradiol and danazol. With respect to the GnRH agonists, women may not be able to continue with this form of therapy in that side effects are similar to symptoms of menopause. This, then, can increase the occurrence or severity of osteoporosis. With estradiol treatment, women must be concurrently treated with progestogen to prevent endometrial hyperplasia. Danazol is effective, however, that has quite a severe adverse effect profile due to its androgenic and anti-estrogen properties. In addition, danazol treatment affects menstrual cycle length. Thus, the side effect profile of hormonal therapies makes them less tolerable in the treatment of PMDD.
For some women, the severity of symptoms increase over time and last until menopause (when menses ceases). For this reason, a woman may require treatment for an extended period of time, and may require several reevaluations to adjust medication dosages throughout the course of treatment.

Overcoming Stigma
In the 1999 consensus paper published in the Journal of Women's Health and Gender-Based Medicine, a 14-member panel of health care experts concluded that PMDD is a distinct clinical entity and that specifically evaluated and approved medications are needed to treat this disorder. They agreed that strong data exist to support the use of
SSRIs in treating PMDD.
Women, however, do face barriers to diagnosis and treatment. There is often a stigma attached to any condition that is associated with the menstrual cycle. Many women who do not seek treatment for the mood and physical symptoms of PMDD accept their symptoms as an inevitable consequence of the menstrual cycle which cannot be addressed.
Some women view seeking treatment for PMDD as a sign of weakness. Additionally, physicians aren’t traditionally trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of PMDD—symptoms are often dismissed as just a “part of being a woman.” Therefore, help is often neither sought nor offered.If you find that your doctor is unfamiliar with PMDD, print this information and bring it with you to your visit. An alternative is to get a second opinion from another OB-GYN or psychiatrist.