8 Signs that You May Have a Mental Disorder

As a society, we don’t talk enough about the issue of mental disorders. In many cases, we treat them as secret problems when really they are no different than physical disorders. As a result, it is important to be aware of any signs that you may have a mental disorder and to receive the treatment necessary for you to get better. Remember: everyone deserves to receive the help they need to maintain their physical and mental wellbeing.

  1. Suicidal Thoughts

This is one of the strongest warning signs of a mental illness. However, if you are not suffering from any of the other symptoms, it is still important to seek help if you are having suicidal thoughts, as these could potentially manifest into action.

  1. Withdrawal

If you begin to find yourself withdrawing from others (even those you care most about) and/or from activities that used to matter to you, this could be a strong sign of a mental illness. Many individuals feel they cannot connect with others and start to isolate themselves, which can make it hard for them to recover.

  1. Illogical Thinking

If you find yourself constantly thinking things that do not make sense, things that scare you, or things that are not logical, this could also be a sign of a mental disorder. Many people start to think they see hidden meanings in what others say or do or use magical reasoning the way a child might. These are strong signs something isn’t right with your ability to reason with what is happening around you.

  1. Mood Changes

One minute, you may be feeling extremely happy, and the next, extremely sad. Anger and apathy can also be included in these mood swings, especially if you suddenly switch from one to the other with little to no cause. We all feel shaky from time to time, but if you find yourself dealing with mood swings often, it may be time to seek help.

  1. Appetite or Sleep Changes

Have you found it is suddenly hard to sleep or that you are sleeping far too much? Are you eating much more or less than you used to? These can also be signs of a developing mental illness.

  1. Sensitivity

Have you often found yourself avoiding situations that could be volatile? Have you also noticed an increase in your sensitivity to sights, sounds, smells, etc.? Any type of sensitivity, if extreme enough, could potentially be a sign of a mental disorder as well.

  1. Hallucinations

Hallucinations are a strong indicator of a mental disorder. They can be visual, auditory, or tactile.

  1. Difficulty Thinking

If you often find your thinking to be fuzzy, to the point where you cannot focus on your work or concentrate, this could be a sign of a disorder. Many people also have problems with memory or logical thought processes.

While none of these symptoms alone are definite indicators of a mental disorder, several of these can clearly define one’s need for treatment. No matter what, it is best to seek help if you are struggling with symptoms that make it difficult to live your daily life.

What Are the Best Post-Workout Snacks?

Working out feels good. It gets your body and mind in a better place, and obviously, it’s healthy and can help you lose weight. But you should never underestimate the importance of the post-workout snack. Without it, you could become lethargic, and if you eat the wrong one, it could blow your whole workout. Here are some of the best options for your snackage once you’re finished with your daily exercises.

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Protein Shakes

We know, it’s been done. But there are some great options for protein shakes you’ve never tried, many of which are as delicious as they are healthy. Here are 13 recipe options for protein shakes that are quick and easy to make. But as long as you’ve got some Greek yogurt, some protein powder, and some complimenting fruits, you can pretty much experiment with whatever recipe best suits you.

There’s a reason why protein shakes are pretty much considered the best, after-workout snack. They give you energy and help you recover from your workout. So go ahead, fire up the blender.

Rice Cakes With Peanut Butter and Fruit

If you’re tired of the liquid diet, we’ve got another option for you. Rice cakes will give you a little bit of bulk with very few calories. In order to get the protein and energy you need, it’s a good idea to give it a little slather of peanut butter. Adding banana or another kind of delicious fruit will give you some natural sugars and a burst of flavor. If you’re not a fan of rice cakes, whole wheat English muffins can stand in.

Tuna or Turkey Sandwich

These are meats that will be healthy for you to eat after your workout. Make sure to put them on whole wheat bread and, instead of reaching for a bag of chips, go with apple slices.

Hummus

Hummus is a great, protein rich, after-workout snack for those of you who want something dippable. You can pair it with pita chips or pita bread, both of which are a lot healthier than a bag of potato chips and a container of dip.

Yogurt

Yogurt is a great option as well because it keeps your body healthy and you can add anything to it. For example, granola can be a good option if you’re looking for something crunchy. If you want something sweet, try adding fresh berries to the mix. Want something a little more out there? Try yogurt, red peppers, and orange slices.

Trail Mix

Making your own trail mix can allow you to decide what will go into it. This means less butter, salt, and other ingredients your body doesn’t need. Simple trail mix can be achieved by using dry, roasted nuts, dried fruit, and some sunflower seeds for a perfect combination of different flavors and textures.

Fruit and Cheese

Many people like to get a dose of fiber and a dose of dairy after their workouts, which is a great combination. Fruit like apple slices and low-calorie cheese (like a string cheese you can find at the grocery store) are perfect.

I Know I Should Drink Water But Why: The Health Benefits of Staying Hydrated

Practically everyone knows drinking water is where it’s at, and we all pretty much know we don’t do nearly enough of it. But why is drinking enough water so important and what can it actually do for your health? Well, as it turns out, a lot.

Here are the top seven health benefits of drinking the recommended amount of water every day (about 8 8-ounce glasses or whatever your body needs).

  1. Weight Loss

Most people know that drinking a lot of water can actually help you lose weight, but many people don’t know why. Water can actually remove the by-products of the fatty foods you eat to an extent. It can also reduce your amount of hunger (because it fills up your stomach) and it can minimize the amount you will eat (because your hunger level will decrease). One of the best ways to promote weight loss is to drink lots of water every day.

  1. Energy Boost

Instead of reaching for another cup of coffee or—even worse—an energy drink, why not try getting yourself a glass of water instead? Drinking water can actually make your brain more alert and give you energy, in large part because your brain and your body are mostly made up of water. After drinking water, you will feel more energized, and you may even feel less tired if you didn’t sleep well the night before.

  1. Stronger Immunity

When you drink enough water, you will begin to see the effects over time in the number of sick days you won’t have to use. Drinking water can actually make you less likely to catch a cold. In addition, drinking water can help your body fight other types of diseases, cancers, and issues like heart attack.

  1. Healthier Skin

Drinking water helps to keep your skin healthy and glowing. Making sure you’re properly hydrated can also potentially decrease the sight of wrinkles and other issues that can also be attributed to dry skin instead of just age.

  1. No More Toxins

Okay, your body is always likely to have some sort of toxins in it, but drinking lots of water can help your kidneys flush them out more easily. If you are properly hydrated, your kidneys will work better and be able to get rid of the toxins your body doesn’t want or need, allowing it to be healthier and function better.

  1. Regularity

If you’ve noticed your body hasn’t been regular as of late, try to drink more water. This will help your body digest its food more easily and decrease the likelihood of constipation.

  1. Pain Relief

Do you suffer from headaches or migraines regularly? Drinking water can be a great way to treat this issue naturally rather than with medication. While it can sometimes be necessary to reach for a pain reliever, you should also make sure to stay well hydrated the next time you experience a headache, as this could also help minimize the issue.

The Cheapest Foods that Are Also Healthy

We’ve all heard (and possibly used the excuse): “I can’t eat healthy because healthy foods are so expensive.” Well, there are, in fact, healthy food options that are as inexpensive as $2 and even $1 at the supermarket. Here are the healthiest foods you can get on the cheap.

Frozen Vegetables and Fruits

Yes, fresh produce is expensive, but you can get frozen fruit and veggies (which has all the same great nutrients) for much less. Most stores put their frozen produce packs on sale often, and you can also save them and keep them longer than fresh produce. It’s a good idea to keep an eye out for a sale, but most of the time, supermarket brand vegetables can be bought for $1 or $2. Now that’s cheap!

Brown Rice

Brown rice is so much healthier than the other alternatives such as white or yellow rice, and it is also incredibly inexpensive. You can get brown rice for only 18 cents per serving (or $1.75 for a 1-pound bag), according to WebMD.

Oats

You can use dry oats on your cereal or to make granola. You can also crumble them on top of some yogurt to get a crunch to your morning meal. Oats can usually be bought for about $4 per 30 servings, so you will be able to eat them for a long time after buying them.

Canned Tuna

Almost always on sale, canned tuna is fairly inexpensive even when it’s not priced down. You can get a can for about $2, and make two servings out of it: one to put on a salad at lunch or one to mix with avocado for a healthy dinner. This is actually a great way to get the nutrients you need that come from many different types of fish in a much cheaper way than buying it fresh.

Beans

Pinto beans, black beans, and even refried beans can be bought in cans for under $1 in many cases. These can be used to replace the meats you might not be able to afford (or might not want to eat because of their high fat content) while providing you with the protein you wouldn’t get otherwise.

Eggs

According to Greatest, eggs are a perfect option when you’re looking for a cheap and healthy meal. They usually cost fewer than 40 cents each and can be used in many different ways. They are also a great source of good fat as well as protein and can be prepared for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Cottage Cheese

Actually a much cheaper and healthier choice than most dairy options, cottage cheese can be purchased for only about $1 a cup. This can help you make a light and healthy snack that also falls under the dairy category (not an easy feat!).

Popcorn

Believe it or not, store-brand popcorn that doesn’t contain lots of butter and salt is a healthy and inexpensive snack option. Usually, it only costs about $1 per pound, and you can keep snacking for a week.

5 of the Heart-Healthiest Exercises

If you’re trying to keep your heart healthy, you probably want to know which exercises are best for your ticker and which you might want to lay off of. Well, here are 5 of the heart-healthiest exercises you can do (and the ones you might want to avoid).

  1. Walking Briskly

When you want to make sure you’re keeping your heart healthy, especially if it’s after a surgery or a scare, it’s best to start out slow. Walking is one of the best exercises you can do to keep your heart rate up and to stay fit. In many cases, it’s even safer and healthier to walk quickly than to run or jog, so take a 30-minute power walk around your neighborhood to keep your heart feeling good.

  1. Stretching

Stretching is a great, heart-healthy exercise you can do every day. You can do your own stretches or participate in a group exercise like yoga. Stretching should never hurt and is something you can do gently to increase your flexibility and keep your heart rate up. You can stretch before or after walking or participating in another exercise in order to get the full benefits of this type of workout.

  1. Non-impact Sports

Sports that get your whole body moving but don’t require you to bang into other people are great for your heart. Swimming and skiing are two wonderful, weather-dependent sports, but there are plenty of different options you can get involved in. If you want to join a league, do that, but if you’d rather work out on your own, that’s fine too. You will also gain another benefit from participating in one of these sports: the rush of pride you will feel when you beat your best time or create a new personal record.

  1. Weight Training

Lifting weights can really help you keep your heart healthy and your body moving. Start with weights you can easily handle and work your way up as you continue to work out. When you do your reps, your heart rate will increase, and then when you take a break between sets, you will allow it to settle back to a normal pace.

  1. Core Strengthening

When you focus on exercising your core, it’s great for your heart as well. Whether you choose to do pilates or just crank out some sit-ups, strengthening your core will make you more likely to be active and less likely to experience issues like shortness of breath when you have to deal with your daily activities like cleaning or walking up the stairs.

Don’t Do What’s Bad for Your Heart…

If you start trying to push yourself to do an exercise you haven’t trained for, you could experience severe problems and put your heart in a dangerous condition. Remember, always build yourself up when exercising and never push yourself too hard. It takes time and patience to get to a point where you can go harder, and you never want to put yourself in a position where you have to do more than your body is capable of.

Study Finds Link Between Common Societal Behavior and Extreme Plastic Surgery

A recent study was able to find a definitive link between bullying and the extreme desire for plastic surgery in both those who are bullied and those who bully.

According to a study published in April of 2017 by the University of Warwick, bullies and victims of bullying are more likely to desire plastic surgery in an extreme way than individuals who are not affected at all by this common societal behavior. These findings resulted from researchers surveying nearly 2,800 adolescents aged 11 to 16 and studying their involvement in bullying as well as their desire for plastic surgery.

About the Study

In the study, 11.5 percent of those who were victims of this behavior reported an “extreme” desire for cosmetic surgery while 3.4 percent of those who bullied others were found to have this same intense desire. In addition, of those who had both bullied and been victims themselves, 8.8 percent had this aspiration. And only 1 percent of those who had never been affected by bullying displayed an intense wish for this type of surgery.

The study also found the reason a certain individual might want surgery could vary. Those who had been bullied hoped that it would help them with their low self-esteem and even with issues like depression and anxiety while those who had bullied others hoped to increase their status and enhance their appearance.

As a result of the study, more issues have come to light that remind doctors how important it is to screen patients for their reasoning behind their desire to get plastic surgery. Someone doing so for the wrong reasons (for example, to self-treat their depression or self-esteem issues or to become superior to others) may need to receive other suggestions, such as therapy.

How the Study Helps You

It’s good to be aware. When you know what to look for, you can avoid the pitfalls that usually come along with societal behavior, such as low self-esteem that can lead to extreme plastic surgery. Many people do not realize the impact that society has on them, and that is the biggest problem with people going overboard with changes to their appearance.

If you’re finding yourself feeling down on yourself and you’ve felt this way for a while, it’s time to examine the real reasons you feel this way. Is it because you really have something that needs to be corrected because you don’t feel comfortable with it, or is it more about what others around you are thinking and saying that is swaying your own thoughts about yourself? This question is an important one to consider, especially if you’re seeking plastic surgery.

Many plastic surgeons will refer you to a counselor if they suspect your reasons for wanting surgery are because of what you’ve been hearing around you. Counseling can help you feel good about yourself, so you don’t feel as though you need to drastically change your appearance. It doesn’t mean you won’t want to change your appearance, but you’ll want less of a change than what you would have wanted.

Extreme plastic surgery is dangerous, and that’s why it’s important that you consider why you want it. Taking a time out to discover the reasons behind your motivation for changing what you look like can make a big difference in how you see yourself.

Actually, research has found that people are less satisfied with plastic surgery when their reasons for it lie outside in society. That’s why most plastic surgeons don’t have a problem referring people to counselors. They want their patients to be happy with the results, and if they aren’t, they fear that their reputation may be at risk.

Think about it before you make a decision.

6 Habits of Highly Healthy People

We all know how important it is to be healthy, but many of us don’t really know how to do it or what habits can actually make us healthier people. Below are 6 habits of the healthiest individuals and why you should be practicing them too.

 

  1. Getting 7 to 8 Hours of Sleep Every Night

 

Sleep is perhaps one of the most important activities we engage in. If you’re not getting enough sleep, it can affect you in more ways than you would ever believe, including in your mind and body. So if you’re going to start somewhere, start here. Tonight, make sure you get at least 7 hours of sleep and then keep this up every night after.

 

  1. Physical Activity

 

Yes, yes, you’ve heard this before, but try to remember that the reason you hear about it so much is because it’s true! Regular physical activity helps you stay healthy, motivated, and focused, not to mention that it keeps your weight down. In addition, you will actually feel more energetic if you are getting regular exercise (and when you’re sleeping enough in addition, you’ll see how much more energy you can have day to day).

 

  1. Eat Healthy Foods Rather than Supplements

 

Supplements are great. They can allow us to get the nutrients we need while on the go. However, actually eating healthy foods that give you these same nutrients is better for you. Eat fruits and veggies rather than taking a vitamin C tablet. And make sure get plenty of iron in your diet rather than taking iron supplements.

 

  1. Eat at Home as Much as Possible

 

Everyone loves going out to eat, but the more you can eat at home, the healthier you will be. People who cook at home more often than not are actually proven to live longer than those who don’t. When you cook for yourself, you know exactly what’s going into your food. You can control the ingredients, the portions, everything. Plus, you’ll know how fresh the food you’re eating is because you just made it!

 

  1. Go to Regular Wellness Checkups

 

Many people avoid the doctor like the plague (which might actually cause you to catch it! Just kidding). But it is important to see your doctor at least once a year for a wellness exam. This way, any serious issues can be addressed, and if you aren’t experiencing any problems, you’ll feel reassured, making you feel better on the inside as well as on the out.

 

  1. Be Mindful

 

Mindful meditation is an extremely helpful practice that many healthy people enjoy. But mindfulness isn’t just important when you’re meditating. Eating mindfully can help ensure that you only eat when you’re hungry, and being mindful in your relationships will help you recognize when someone’s worth your time (and when someone’s not). Being mindful of your daily needs, feelings, and experiences will help you live happily and healthily, and both these qualities will improve the other.

The Healthiest Teas You Could Be Drinking Right Now

Sorry, coffee drinkers. Tea might actually be the perfect beverage. It is absolutely delicious when hot and when cold, and many teas have a number of incredible health benefits that can be extremely helpful to your entire body. Here are some of the healthiest teas you should be drinking on the regular.

Green Tea

Everyone pretty much already knows about the health benefits of green tea, but it is still worth mentioning. Green tea is loaded with antioxidants (something you probably already knew), but the type of antioxidants you’ll find in the beverage is called catechins. One of the subgroups in cetechins, EGCG, may potentially be able to help prevent cancer and heart disease, according to a recent study.

White Tea

Now, here’s something you may not know. White tea has the same antioxidants that green tea contains, except there are more of them in the former. White tea can also help lower your risk of cardiovascular problems and high cholesterol, which makes it a great secondary option if you’re getting tired of the taste of green tea. In addition, white tea has been said to help promote weight loss in those who drink it often.

Oolong Tea

Oolong tea is another, lesser-known variety of tea that can be extremely beneficial for your health. Women who drink oolong tea have a much lower risk of developing certain cancers, specifically ovarian cancer; studies have shown that drinking 2 cups of tea daily, including oolong tea, seems to cut the risk of ovarian cancer by about half. Diabetics can also drink oolong tea to help reduce their blood sugar.

Herbal Teas

Herbal teas, like ginger, ginseng, Echinacea, hibiscus, and rooibos, are made from herbs, seeds, or fruits and steeped in water. These are actually extremely healthy for those who drink them regularly, as they can help facilitate weight loss, decrease issues with insomnia, and boost your immune system.

Hibiscus tea has actually been found to lower blood pressure in those who have chronically high levels of such, and chamomile tea can be helpful to those who are already suffering from cancer and diabetes to mildly slow the process of these diseases. Echinacea was once thought to be the cure for the common cold, but while it is decidedly less effective than this, it can actually be helpful when brewed as a tea for those suffering from constipation. Those with rheumatoid arthritis can also benefit from drinking Echinacea tea regularly.

Black Tea

We know; black tea is full of caffeine, so you may be wondering why it’s even on this list. However, studies have shown that black tea can actually decrease your risk of stroke by 21 percent, and drinking black tea regularly can also lower your risk of diabetes, high cholesterol, Parkinson’s disease, and kidney stones. In addition, research has shown that black tea may be helpful for preventing atherosclerosis, or the hardening of the arteries, especially in women. So go ahead, have another cup.

 

 

Understanding and Recognizing Depression­­––And Finding Help

If you are a woman––or, let’s face it, a person who cares about women at all––it’s important to be able to understand and recognize the signs of a depressive disorder and to be able to find help for yourself or someone you care about when these signs become serious.

Women Are More Affected by Depression in General

According to a study published in the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience in 2015, “The prevalence of major depression is higher in women than in men.” In 2010, the disorder was found in 5.5 percent of women and 3.2 percent of men respectively. But that’s not all. The National Institute on Mental Health states there are certain types of depression that are considered unique to women. These can include

  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), a condition that causes serious, debilitating symptoms before and around the time of a woman’s period
  • Perinatal or postpartum depression, a condition that causes pregnant women or women who have just given birth to experience severe mood swings, feelings of unworthiness, and fatigue
  • Perimenopausal depression, a condition that causes women who are going through menopause to experience depression, anxiety, irritability, and other severe emotional symptoms that are, in fact, not normal and potentially dangerous

Because depression is so prevalent in the female population and because 12 percent of women in the United States will experience depression at some point in their lives, according to Health Line, it is necessary for us to understand this disorder as well as to be able to recognize it.

Recognizing the Symptoms of Depression

Though there are many reasons why a depressive syndrome may occur, it is possible for you to be able to recognize depression in yourself or someone you love, even if you don’t know the cause of it.

If you or someone you love has been…

  • Experiencing sad, empty, and anxious feelings that persist and will not go away
  • Acting or feeling irritable often
  • Feeling or expressing more hopelessness or pessimistic thoughts than usual
  • Experiencing thoughts of suicide, death, or a desire to die
  • Exhibiting a decrease in energy or an increase in fatigue
  • Exhibiting altered sleeping patterns like sleeping too much or not enough
  • Restless and unable to sit or lie still for a period of time
  • Losing interest in things that used to matter to them like hobbies, school, work, etc.
  • Exhibiting appetite changes and/or weight loss
  • Complaining of cramps, aches and pains, or headaches constantly that medicine does not seem to fix for which no cause can be found

 

then there is a strong likelihood that some type of depressive disorder could be the culprit. Once you begin to understand and look for the signs and symptoms of depression, you can easily see when yourself or someone you love is experiencing issues with this very common disorder.

How Can I Find Help?

It isn’t easy to admit that you are struggling with depression and that help from a professional will be necessary, but if you have accepted this fact, you are already much closer to getting better. You can find help by using Healthfinder.gov to locate professionals who will be able to guide you through your recovery and create a treatment plan that will allow you to gradually start to feel like your old self again.

Remember: depression isn’t just something you can shake off. It isn’t like a bad mood that can be fixed with a pep talk or tough love. It is a real disease that requires real treatment, and once you seek it, you will be able to see a genuine difference in your life.

Stopping the Epidemic of Teenage Suicide

Death at any age is always hard to take, but the unexpected death of a teenager is always labeled tragic.  So, what then is a label that is suitable for a young person feeling so hopeless and alone they feel there is no other choice but the one to end their life? Anyone close to a victim of hopelessness is left behind with the sickening wonder of what they could have done to change the horrible outcome. Suicide is preventable and there are steps we can take to be informed and to take action to help the teens in our life who are troubled and feeling hopeless with the thought they have nowhere to turn—before the unspeakable happens.

Cyberbullying Victim Speaks from the Grave

From the time when the word of the death of Port Coquitlam bullying victim, Amanda Todd, got out to the public—people were outraged, saddened and sickened by the fact that bullying and her repeated attempts to get away from the abuse failed miserably; resulting in the young girl taking her own life.  Amanda repeatedly tried to get help and tragically she did not get the peace she so deserved. The number of deaths related to bullying and cyberbullying have shockingly skyrocketed with the advancement of technology.

The Cold Truth about Teen Suicide

It is rare for children to commit suicide; the numbers go up a great deal during adolescence years. According to the latest from the CDC, the second leading cause of death for ages ten to 24 is suicide.  Another all-too common method of teen overdose is from pharmaceuticals and medications. Whether they are non-prescription, prescription, or over-the-counter; meds should always be closely monitored in your home. Be aware of any medications that your teen may receive from friends as well. Educate your children about the dangers of taking meds. Boys and girls have different methods of suicide and while girls attempt suicide and think about it more often, boys are more prone to go through with their suicide plan.

Teenage Worry and Depression is Real

Sometimes as people age they tend to forget what it was like being a teenager. Fighting to be accepted as part of the group by their peers, trying to live up to standards people have set for them and all the while showing how they can be responsible young adults are just a few of the obstacles teenagers are trying to overcome. Mental health problems also contributes to thoughts of suicide while depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety disorders also cause teens to be at higher risk of suicidal thoughts than their peers. These are just some of the reasons to stay alert and keep an eye out for the warning signs of depression or suicide that any teenager around you exhibits.

Learn the Warning Signs of Suicide

Warning signs are definitely something to be get familiar with recognizing, and don’t put it off. Learn all the signs today. Signs include talking about suicide, talk of hopelessness and worthlessness or making statements like they won’t be around much longer. If they start to isolate themselves and drop out of normal activities, talk and seem fascinated by death or start participating in a lot of risk taking activities; take the immediate hint to step in and open the lines of communication with your teen. Help is needed right away for any person that gives beloved personal belongings away to friends and family. If they seem to not want to talk to you or don’t feel comfortable then bring in a counselor or neutral person to help. It is very important to get help immediately in dealing with someone who is thinking of suicide.

Don’t Think—Call Right Now for Help

If you have a friend that you think needs help or someone to talk to or you have questions about your own child then please call your healthcare provider right away or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 now. If you are a teen, you can text for help with the word “Teen” to the number 839863 (6-9pm PST), email, chat or start a discussion with other teenagers at the Teen Line.  Don’t think about it if you suspect something is wrong, just make the call or send the text now. If you are considering suicide yourself, please take a deep breath and call the hotline number to speak with a person who is compassionate, non-judgmental and here for you right now because ending your life is never the answer; no matter how big, bad or hopeless a problem is in life.