Cognitive distortions

Cognitive distortions arising from negative core beliefs are something to be deeply analyzed on a daily basis, for the automatic thoughts crossing our minds!

Taking a step back and looking at what just happened in our mind is all it takes to stay present with ourself and really being true to our personality.

Measuring the possibility of our core beliefs to be even slightly incorrect based on the existing evidence shown by the people around us and other environmental factors is very critical!

Here’s to looking closely at our thoughts that sometimes make no sense in hindsight! Lol!

Have a great weekend!

Best,

Srivi

Cbt as I understand it

The premise of cognitive-behavior therapy(CBT) includes the reorganization of an individuals own statements and beliefs to develop a synchronization with his or her behavior.  A relationship exists between thoughts (or cognitions), emotions, and behaviors that create cause and effect in how the individual experiences events and situations.  Human nature, says that individuals have the potential for rational and irrational thinking. This irrational thinking is identified as the basic problem in mental disorders of depression and anxiety where CBT is employed.

The constant rewiring of thoughts using positive rational statements forms the basis of Cognitive behavioral therapy. Examples of rewiring irrational thoughts with positive statements:

Rewire “I’m bad” with “I’m enough”

Rewire “I cant do this” with “I can try this”

Rewire “I’m weak” with “I’m strong enough to go for a walk”

So on and So forth simple translations/rewiring.

Trying to see the goodness in everyday life, when everything seems so gloomy, due to the automatic negative thought script running, is the real deal of cognitive behavioral therapy, as I understand it.

Hope this helps people in actively engaging in the therapy tactics as it is critical for recovery for the client to full engage and involve themselves in this REWIRING process.

Happy thoughts!

Infertility and Mental Health

Infertility is perceived as a problem across virtually all cultures and societies and affects an estimated 10%-15% of couples of reproductive age. In recent years, the number of couples seeking treatment for infertility has dramatically increased due to factors such as postponement of childbearing in women, development of newer and more successful techniques for infertility treatment, and increasing awareness of available services. This increasing participation in fertility treatment has raised awareness and inspired investigation into the psychological ramifications of infertility. Consideration has been given to the association between psychiatric illness and infertility. Researchers have also looked into the psychological impact of infertility and of the prolonged exposure to intrusive infertility treatments on mood and well being. There is less information about effective psychiatric treatments for this population; however, there is some data to support the use of psychotherapeutic interventions.

Psychological Impact of Infertility

Parenthood is one of the major transitions in adult life for both men and women. The stress of the non-fulfillment of a wish for a child has been associated with emotional sequelae such as anger, depression, anxiety, marital problems, sexual dysfunction, and social isolation. Couples experience stigma, sense of loss, and diminished self-esteem in the setting of their infertility (Nachtigall 1992). In general, in infertile couples women show higher levels of distress than their male partners (Wright 1991; Greil 1988); however, men’s responses to infertility closely approximates the intensity of women’s responses when infertility is attributed to a male factor (Nachtigall 1992). Both men and women experience a sense of loss of identity and have pronounced feelings of defectiveness and incompetence.

Psychological Distress, Psychiatric Illness and Infertility: Cause or Effect?

Stress, depression and anxiety are described as common consequences of infertility. A number of studies have found that the incidence of depression in infertile couples presenting for infertility treatment is significantly higher than in fertile controls, with prevalence estimates of major depression in the range of 15%-54% (Domar 1992; Demyttenaere 1998; Parikh 2000; Lukse 1999; Chen 2004). Anxiety has also been shown to be significantly higher in infertile couples when compared to the general population, with 8%-28% of infertile couples reporting clinically significant anxiety (Anderson 2003; Chen 2004; Parikh 2000).

The causal role of psychological disturbances in the development of infertility is still a matter of debate. A study of 58 women from Lapane and colleagues reported a 2-fold increase in risk of infertility among women with a history of depressive symptoms; however, they were unable to control for other factors that may also influence fertility, including cigarette smoking, alcohol use, decreased libido and body mass index (Lapane 1995).

Proposed mechanisms through which depression could directly affect infertility involve the physiology of the depressed state such as elevated prolactin levels, disruption of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, and thyroid dysfunction. One study of 10 depressed and 13 normal women suggests that depression is associated with abnormal regulation of luteinizing hormone, a hormone that regulates ovulation (Meller 1997). Changes in immune function associated with stress and depression may also adversely affect reproductive function (Haimovici 1998). Further studies are needed to distinguish the direct effects of depression or anxiety from associated behaviors (e.g., low libido, smoking, alcohol use) that may interfere with reproductive success. Since stress is also associated with similar physiologic changes, this raises the possibility that a history of high levels of cumulative stress associated with recurrent depression or anxiety may also be a causative factor.

Psychological Distress and Infertility Treatment

While many couples presenting for infertility treatment have high levels of psychological distress associated with infertility, the process of assisted reproduction itself is also associated with increased levels of anxiety, depression and stress (Leiblum 1987). A growing number of research studies have examined the impact of infertility treatment at different stages, with most focusing on the impact of failed IVF trials. Hynes and colleagues assessed women at presentation for IVF and then following failure of IVF. They found that women presenting for IVF were more depressed, had lower self-esteem and were less confident than a control group of fertile women and, after a failed IVF cycle, experienced a further lowering of self-esteem and an increase in depression relative to pre-treatment levels (Hynes 1992). Comparisons between women undergoing repeated IVF cycles and first-time participants have also suggested that ongoing treatment may lead to an increase in depressive symptoms (Thiering 1993). The data, however, is still controversial since other studies have found minimal psychological disturbance induced by the infertility treatment process or IVF failure (Paulson 1988; Boivin 1996). In light of the discrepancy in results, there has been increasing interest in the factors that contribute to dropout from infertility treatment since this population is often not included or decline to participate in studies. Whereas cost or refusal of physicians to continue treatment have been cited as reasons for discontinuing treatment, recent research suggests that a significant number of dropouts are due to psychological factors (Domar 2004; Hammarberg 2001; Olivius 2004).

The outcome of infertility treatment may also be influenced by psychological factors. A number of studies have examined stress and mood state as predictors of outcome in assisted reproduction. The majority of these studies support the theory that distress is associated with lower pregnancy rates among women pursuing infertility treatment (Boivin 1995, Thiering 1993, Demytenaere 1998, Smeenk 2001, Sanders 1999).

Psychological Interventions

In light of data suggesting that psychological symptoms may interfere with fertility, success of infertility treatment, and the ability to tolerate ongoing treatment, interest in addressing these issues during infertility treatment has grown. Some interventions designed to alleviate the symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety in infertile women and men have been researched.

Several studies suggest that cognitive behavioral group psychotherapy and support groups decrease stress and mood symptoms, as well as increase fertility rates. In a study by Domar and colleagues of 52 infertile women, a 10-week group behavioral treatment program significantly reduced anxiety, depression and anger (Domar 1992). In a year-long follow-up study, Domar compared pregnancy rates of women undergoing assisted reproduction who were randomized to a group cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) designed to decrease depression and anxiety, a support group, or to no group treatment. Viable pregnancy rates were 55% for the cognitive behavioral group, 54% for the support group and 20% for the controls (Domar 2000). A study where the intervention group received couples counseling directed toward education and addressing stress throughout their IVF cycle and the control group received only routine medical care, the intervention patients had lower anxiety and depression scores, in addition to significantly higher pregnancy rates (Terzioglu 2001).

Although there have not been systematic studies in infertile women examining the impact of other types of psychotherapy, treatments that decrease psychiatric symptoms and stress in the general population will likely benefit this population.

While there is little data regarding the pharmacologic treatment of patients with infertility, pharmacotherapy remains an important option for women and men who develop depression in the context of infertility and its treatment. Many women avoid pharmacologic treatment for fear that medication may impact their fertility or may affect the outcome of their pregnancy; however, there are no data to suggest that commonly used antidepressants negatively affect fertility. Furthermore, data accumulated over the last decade suggest that certain antidepressants may be used safely during pregnancy.

Source:

 

The Disappointment of Antidepressants: You Really Need to Read This Study

Can depression be cured? Do antidepressants work? How to beat anxiety? Antidepressants have always been in the equation, but this study distresses.

Source: The Disappointment of Antidepressants: You Really Need to Read This Study

Divorce and Mindfulness Meditation to help

[Source]

Photo Credits

With divorce comes the inevitable jumble of emotions that you can’t seem to sort out. From the moment the topic of divorce is brought up, the emotions start raging. When you and your spouse start the process with a divorce lawyer – and all throughout the proceedings – everything will even become more tangled; and after everything’s said and done, those emotions will continue ebb and flow.

It may even seem that you can’t see yourself getting back up, much less being happy again.

You will keep analyzing, overthinking, and in all likelihood live a disrupted life that just doesn’t make sense to you. This will result in a feeling of being overwhelmed.

“I’m going to try anything to feel better.”

That’s a mindset that can go either way. You may find yourself going out every night to forget, and to tire yourself out so that when you come home, you just crash.

On the other hand, you may want to try this suggestion: look to meditation and mindfulness to deal with the aftermath of your divorce.

How exactly do you do this?

The essence of mindfulness is consciously choosing how to think and act. Consciously being the operative word.

In the context of divorce, here are some concrete steps to take.

1. Make a decision.

With all the emotional turmoil you are experiencing, how can you expect yourself to make a sensible decision? I’m telling you now, you will probably make a wrong turn or two, but one decision that will definitely be right is this: To take steps to see things from a different perspective, and believe that you WILL be better at some point.

That is a very broad statement, to be sure, but it is a start. Once you have made that decision to start sorting out your ragged emotional state, you can proceed to even more concrete actions that will ease the aftermath of divorce.

2. Start a meditation routine.

If you’ve got experience in meditation, then it should be a bit easier for you. You know how to calm yourself down and center yourself during those panicky moments when you feel overwhelmed.

If you’re new to meditation, start slowly.

First, begin your day by meditating. Don’t rush around to get things done. Instead, set aside a bit of time to gather your thoughts, calm yourself, and get ready for the day. Start in small increments – 5 minutes is enough.

Here is a good step-by-step guide for people who do not meditate.

Meditating doesn’t have to be limited to the start of the day. The chances are that you will feel those emotions rage in the middle of day, especially when you don’t expect it. When this happens, if you can find a quiet spot to meditate – even if only for 5-10 minutes – then do so.

3. Live by the day, even by the hour.

Sometimes, it’s by the minute. When my husband left me, often, I didn’t even know what I was going to eat for dinner – if I was going to eat at all. When I started to think about the next day, or anything further than that, I would get panic attacks so bad that I thought I would suffocate.

Then I realized that the only way to handle it was to take it slow. Just do what you can for the day. If that’s too much, do what you have to for the next hour. Once that’s done, go on to the next hour, and so on.

On bad days, that span of time could be by the minute!

My mantra back then was:

First do what you have to do,

then do what you are able to do.

Pretty soon, you’ll be doing what you want to do.

It wasn’t easy. It took a while. But being more aware of what I did each minute, each hour, and each day helped me get through the most difficult time of my life.

Remember: Meditation and mindfulness can ease the burden of a divorce or separation.

Using Mindfulness to Treat Anxiety Disorders

[Credits] : George Hoffman

An anxiety disorder is much more than being very nervous or edgy.

An anxious person will report an unreasonable exaggeration of threats, repetitive negative thinking, hyper-arousal, and a strong identification with fear. The fight-or-flight response kicks into overdrive.

Anxiety is also known for producing noticeable physical symptoms, such as rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, and digestive problems. In General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) the symptoms become so severe that normal daily functioning becomes impossible.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common treatment for anxiety disorders. Cognitive-behavioral therapy theorizes that in anxiety disorders, the patient overestimates the danger of disruptive events in his life, and underestimates his ability to cope. CBT attempts to replace maladaptive thinking by examining the patient’s distorted thinking and resetting the fight-or-flight response with more reasonable, accurate ones.

The anxious person and the therapist work to actively change thought patterns.

In contrast, instead of changing thoughts, mindfulness-based therapies (MBTs) seek to change the relationship between the anxious person and his or her thoughts.

In mindfulness-based therapy, the person focuses on the bodily sensations that arise when he or she is anxious. Instead of avoiding or withdrawing from these feelings, he or she remains present and fully experiences the symptoms of anxiety. Instead of avoiding distressing thoughts, he or she opens up to them in an effort to realize and acknowledge that they are not literally true.

Although it may seem counter-intuitive, fully realizing the experience of anxiety enables anxious people to release their over identification with negative thoughts. The person practices responding to disruptive thoughts, and letting these thoughts go.

By remaining present in the body, they learn that the anxiety they experience is merely a reaction to perceived threats. By positively responding to threatening events instead of being reactive they can overcome an erroneous fight-or-flight response.

At the University of Bergen in Norway, Vollestad, Nielsen, and Nielsen surveyed 19 studies of the effectiveness of MBTs on anxiety. They found that MBTs are associated with robust and substantial reductions of anxiety symptoms. MBTs proved as effective as CBT, and are generally less expensive.

The researchers also found that MBTs are successful in reducing symptoms ofdepression. This is especially important since major depressive disorder affects 20 to 40 percent of people with GAD and SAD.

The study finds the success of MBTs notable “given that these approaches put less emphasis on the removal of symptoms as such, and more emphasis on cultivating a different relationship to distressing thoughts, feelings, and behavioral impulses. It seems that this strategy paradoxically could lead to less distress.”

In other words, a way to reduce the symptoms of anxiety is to be fully, mindfully, anxious. As anxiety reveals itself to be a misperception, symptoms will dissipate.

Reference

Vollestad, Nielsen, and Nielsen (2011). Mindfulness and acceptance-based interventions for anxiety disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (Dublin, Ireland) – The Revolution in Psychotherapy – “thinking about thinking…”

Great Details on CBT in psychotherapy!

Veronica Walsh's CBT Blog Dublin, Ireland

Woman_writing_sofaMany of today’s mental health experts are recommending Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) as a first choice treatment for pretty much all emotional disorders – stress, depression, anxiety, anger management etc.– rather than medication, or spending years undergoing the old style Freudian ‘shrink’  psychiatry.

This blog is a free resource to help you to understand and apply the self-help components, by yourself, to yourself…

simplifyingcbt|
Why CBT?
It’s elegant and efficient.
If applied diligently by somebody who is capable of self-awareness and self-critique, it can be life changing. It is an evidence based positive psychology, and the only measured and proven psychotherapy in the world. And it’s fast (improvements show in few sessions, which means it’s cheaper for governments to provide as healthcare). Studies show that it’s effects stay with participants after treatment. Quite simply – it works.

CBT is different to the traditional ‘talking therapies’… instead, it is a

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20 Mindfulness Meditation Benefits

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Here are 20 beneficial reasons why you might want mindfulness meditation in your daily life:

1. It lowers stress — literally. Research published just last month in the journal Health Psychology shows that mindfulness is not only associated with feeling less stressed, it’s also linked with decreased levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

2. It lets us get to know our true selves. Mindfulness can help us see beyond those rose-colored glasses when we need to really objectively analyze ourselves. A study in the journal Psychological Science shows that mindfulness can help us conquer common “blind spots,” which can amplify or diminish our own flaws beyond reality.

3. It can make your grades better. Researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara, found that college students who were trained in mindfulness performed better on the verbal reasoning section of the GRE, and also experienced improvements in their working memory. “Our results suggest that cultivating mindfulness is an effective and efficient technique for improving cognitive function, with widereaching consequences,” the researchers wrote in the Psychological Science study.

4. It could help our troops. The U.S. Marine Corps is in the process of seeing how mindfulness meditation training can improve troops’ performance and ability to handle — and recover from — stress.

5. It could help people with arthritis better handle stress. A 2011 study in the journal Annals of Rheumatic Disease shows that even though mindfulness training may not help to lessen pain for people with rheumatoid arthritis, it could help to lower their stress and fatigue.

6. It changes the brain in a protective way. University of Oregon researchers found that integrative body-mind training — which is a meditation technique — can actually result in brain changes that may be protective against mental illness. The meditation practice was linked with increased signaling connections in the brain, something called axonal density, as well as increased protective tissue (myelin) around the axons in the anterior cingulate brain region.

7. It works as the brain’s “volume knob.” Ever wondered why mindfulness meditation can make you feel more focused and zen? It’s because it helps the brain to have better control over processing pain and emotions, specifically through the control of cortical alpha rhythms (which play a role in what senses our minds are attentive to), according to a study in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

8. It makes music sound better. Mindfulness meditation improves our focused engagement in music, helping us to truly enjoy and experience what we’re listening to, according to a study in the journal Psychology of Music.

9. It helps us even when we’re not actively practicing it. You don’t have to actually be meditating for it to still benefit your brain’s emotional processing. That’s the finding of a study in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, which shows that the amygdala brain region’s response to emotional stimuli is changed by meditation, and this effect occurs even when a person isn’t actively meditating.

10. It has four elements that help us in different ways. The health benefits of mindfulness can be boiled down to four elements, according to a Perspectives on Psychological Science study: body awareness, self-awareness, regulation of emotion and regulation of attention.

11. It could help your doctor be better at his/her job. Doctors, listen up: Mindfulness meditation could help you better care for your patients. Research from the University of Rochester Medical Center shows that doctors who are trained in mindfulness meditation are less judgmental, more self-aware and better listeners when it comes to interacting with patients.

12. It makes you a better person. Sure, we love all the things meditation does for us. But it could also benefit people we interact with, by making us more compassionate, according to a study in the journal Psychological Science. Researchers from Northeastern and Harvard universities found that meditation is linked with more virtuous, “do-good” behavior.

13. It could make going through cancer just a little less stressful. Research from the Jefferson-Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine shows that mindfulness coupled with art therapy can successfully decrease stress symptoms among women with breast cancer. And not only that, but imaging tests show that it is actually linked with brain changes related to stress, emotions and reward.

14. It could help the elderly feel less lonely. Loneliness among seniors can be dangerous, in that it’s known to raise risks for a number of health conditions. But researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, found that mindfulness meditation helped to decrease these feelings of loneliness among the elderly, andboost their health by reducing the expression of genes linked with inflammation.

15. It could make your health care bill a little lower. Not only will your health benefit from mindfulness meditation training, but your wallet might, too. Research in the American Journal of Health Promotion shows that practicing Transcendental Meditation is linked with lower yearly doctor costs, compared with people who don’t practice the meditation technique.

16. It comes in handy during cold season. Aside from practicing good hygiene, mindfulness meditation and exercise could lessen the nasty effects of colds. Researchers from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Health found that people who engage in the practices miss fewer days of work from acute respiratory infections, and also experience a shortened duration and severity of symptoms.

17. It lowers depression risk among pregnant women. As many as one in five pregnant women will experience depression, but those who are at especially high risk for depression may benefit from some mindfulness yoga. “Research on the impact of mindfulness yoga on pregnant women is limited but encouraging,” study researcher Dr. Maria Muzik, M.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan, said in a statement. “This study builds the foundation for further research on how yoga may lead to an empowered and positive feeling toward pregnancy.”

18. It also lowers depression risk among teens. Teaching teens how to practice mindfulness through school programs could help them experience less stress, anxiety and depression, according to a study from the University of Leuven.

19. It supports your weight-loss goals. Trying to shed a few pounds to get to a healthier weight? Mindfulness could be your best friend, according to a survey of psychologists conducted by Consumer Reports and the American Psychological Association. Mindfulness training was considered an “excellent” or “good” strategy for weight loss by seven out of 10 psychologists in the survey.

20. It helps you sleep better. A University of Utah study found that mindfulness training can not only help us better control our emotions and moods, but it can also help us sleep better at night. “People who reported higher levels of mindfulness described better control over their emotions and behaviors during the day. In addition, higher mindfulness was associated with lower activation at bedtime, which could have benefits for sleep quality and future ability to manage stress,” study researcher Holly Rau said in a statement.

Depression & Anxiety help via Mindfulness

 

Great Books to read for Depression & Anxiety help via Mindfulness

MindfulWayThroughDepression

 

MindfulWayThroughAnxiety

Good Luck!

Postpartum psychosis: mental illness after childbirth should not be taboo

Credits: By _Naomi_, November 1, 2012

blogger-naomi

Think of any advert you have seen recently portraying a new mum and her baby. I’m guessing the room in the background will be white with gleaming surfaces, a distinct lack of sicky muslins or half-drunk cups of tea, and most definitely mum will be back in her pre-pregnancy jeans. Mum and baby will smile and cuddle and laugh. I guess we all know that life won’t really look like an advert but a subtle expectation pervades; motherhood will make you rapturously happy.

Three days after my baby daughter was born, I was indeed rapturously happy. Surrounded by flowers, a swaddled bundle in my arms, I felt incredible. In fact, I was so happy and overwhelmed with love that I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t stop my mind and wrote endless notes about my gorgeous daughter and her special place in the world. Seven days later I would be admitted to a psychiatric ward, convinced that I had a mission from God to bring about the end of the world.

I was suffering from postpartum psychosis

I was suffering from postpartum psychosis (also known as puerperal psychosis). Although 1-2 in 1000 women experience this condition after childbirth, I had never heard of it and neither had my husband or family. You won’t find it mentioned in antenatal classes, or in baby books, or even in leaflets about postnatal depression – save perhaps a scant sentence. But when my husband googled it to find out more, he came across horror stories of child murder and suicide.

Stigma hits both ways for postpartum psychosis. Firstly, the reality of this illness is hidden from view in pregnancy. Midwives are taught very little about it and it just feels too terrible to mention to expectant mothers that they might become seriously ill. So we don’t talk about the early warning signs: sleeplessness, feeling very high and elated, or experiencing dramatic mood swings, talking or writing a lot, or developing unusual beliefs. And then the signs are missed and tragedies happen. Secondly, women with postpartum psychosis are portrayed as monsters on the internet with stories focusing on every salacious detail of the tragic death of a mother and child.

The reality is that many women, like me, go on to make a full recovery.

Even today, seven years from my episode of postpartum psychosis, it is difficult to find a media story focusing on the remarkable recovery that most women and families make. BBC Newsnight recently featured a 15-minute film on the condition, yet each story featured risk to a baby’s safety. The reality is that many women, like me, go on to make a full recovery.

Nowadays, as a mental health educator, I have the chance to tell my story to medical students and health professionals who will work with new mothers in the future. I hope that my message will be clear: severe mental illness after childbirth should not be a taboo. We need to talk about it so that we can recognise, treat quickly and prevent tragedy