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Taking Resonsibility for Our Actions and Our Lives

Having Bipolar disorder I used to think I didnt’ have to take responsibility for certain actions that I take. I have since learned that I am the only one responsible for my actions no matter what the case. It was hard for me to admit when I was wrong and wound up have several people upset with me. I never realized that I caused some of the problems. I know better today. Everybody has to take responsibility for their own actions and I learned the hard way that I have to take care of myself.

Bipolar disorder can massively contribute to many negative actions. A person with bipolar might be excessively angry, sexually promiscuous, paranoid, withdrawn, forgetful or a myriad of other things distinctly caused by their bipolar disorder. And any one of these things can become a problem with others or with life in general.

But the truth is, whether your actions were bipolar motivated or not, it’s important that you take responsibility for them and not just say, “Oh, it’s not my fault. I have bipolar.”I think too often we skirt around the issue of consequences and I personally find it difficult to determine if someone is truly at fault for their actions when they are suffering from a mental health crisis.

Patricia M Nees
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Sleeping Tiger

In the jungle of the mind, sleeping tiger’s deep inside.

Addictions at rest, no longer hide.

Careful what your head is saying,

Your heart knows best, keep on praying.

Sleeping tiger, deep inside

Keeping quiet, full of pride.

Rearing it’s ugly head at me

Keeps me alert; I’m scared you see.

Reaching out in painful times

Can’t be done with tiger eyes

Watching every move I make

My head starts plotting, it’s too late.

I’ve done the hurtful thing, I know

But tiger won and stole the show.

I’m exhausted now and in much pain

Sleeping tiger’s awake again.

Help me please to quiet it down.

Reaching out, gaining ground.

A slip I say, I’m not a quitter

Batter up! Another hitter.

I’ll win the game, at least for now,

Tiger sitting looking on.

Go to sleep, and sleep forever.

I can’t go through one more endeavor.

When I wrote this subject is mainly on Bulimia. It’s basically for any addiction you may be struggling with.

Alcoholism and Abuse

(On describing a man abusive to his family) ….men like that never change. They just wait.

One of the first things I heard in Al-anon was that I didn’t have to accept unacceptable behavior. I need not tolerate violence or abuse and I that I have choices. I chose not to accept any unacceptable behavior not even from my self. I berated myself until I realized that I deserve to be treated with kindness. It wasn’t easy to do after having lived with alcoholism nearly my entire life.

Alcohol allows the abuser to justify his abusive behavior as a result of the alcohol. While an abuser’s use of alcohol may have an effect on the severity of the abuse or the ease with which the abuser can justify his actions, an abuser does not become violent “because” drinking causes him to lose control of his temper.

Alcohol influences your behavior in many ways. The most obvious way is that it changes your reaction to your immediate environment. Heavy drinking is dangerous, especially when you are in an unfamiliar area. Alcohol leads to myopia (short-sightedness) which means your focus and attention to obvious cues and information hinders severely.

Overall, alcohol influences your behavior. Most of us have had moments intoxicated that we look back on in confusion. Moments like these are not always easy to accept, especially if we put ourselves in a jeopardizing situation.

Many times, the frustration and stress can be caused by your own actions and choices. By adjusting your approach and your attitude toward the problem, you can place it in a different perspective so that it no longer dominates your thoughts and your life. In some ways, knowing that you can change your approach and attitude is empowering. You no longer need to continue doing some of the things you do in your dance with a person with an addiction.

Here are six ways heavy drinking affects your capacity to make sound decisions:

  • Empty Promises

Alcohol can cause you to make false commitments. This is because people focus on the desirability of a goal rather than the work required attaining that goal. Therefore, you might make empty goals and commitments at the moment. However, once sober, you fail to follow through on your promises. Consistently committing to things while intoxicated is not a great way of gaining trust with those around you.

  • Self-awareness

When intoxicated, a person loses their ability to monitor their behavior successfully. Eventually, the attitude changes from being aware and responsible to “who cares?” However, being aware of yourself and your behavior is important. While you might not care at the moment, you will care when the alcohol wears off.

  • Anxiety Relief

Alcohol relieves stress and anxiety. Often, people state they are drinking to “take the edge off.” However, did you know that alcohol can make anxiety worse? That’s right. Although the ethanol in alcohol can temporarily reduce anxiety, it does not cure it. In fact, anxiety and alcohol use can worsen drinking behavior and make anxiety worse. It’s a bad cycle. Don’t do it!

  • Overeating

Heavy drinking triggers overeating. If you have ever driven past a pizzeria downtown around 2 a.m., you know this is the case. Alcohol impairs a person’s ability to control or regulate their food intake. Even the most chronic dieters tend to overeat after a few drinks. Alcohol already is loaded with calories and eating junk food on top of it is a major no-no for weight loss. Cutting out the alcohol will help in your weight loss goals and make you feel healthier overall.

  • Aggressiveness

For some people, alcohol can make them very aggressive and angry towards others. We all know these people. They are usually seen getting into some altercation at a bar or yelling angrily over something relatively insignificant. Alcohol itself does not necessarily cause aggression. It increases the amount of aggression a person feels when provoked. Therefore, when a person feels challenged; rather than ignore that behavior, they respond in an aggressive manner. They are limited in their ability to have restraint.

  • Impulsive Behavior

Ever made a bad decision intoxicated? Yeah, me too.
Alcohol in high doses limits our capacity to inhibit impulsive behaviors. When a person is intoxicated, they respond only to what will provide them with immediate pleasure. They do not analyze the risk of that behavior because alcohol limits our inhibitions. We feel free and reckless when intoxicated like there are no consequences. However, as we all know, every action has a consequence, regardless of how drunk you were when it happened.

And for every action there is a reaction. Dealing with an abusive alcoholic unfortunately is something that many friends and family members of someone with a drinking problem must deal with. An abusive alcoholic does not always have to be abusive to be considered an abusive alcoholic.

Some may only be abusive when they are drunk, others may only be abusive when going through alcohol withdrawal. Often times it is unpredictable when someone with an alcohol abuse problem will or will not be abusive.It is not confirmed if alcoholism is the reason for the abusive behavior, or if it merely agitates what would already be an abusive relationship. Some may believe that it is onlyabusive men that are a threat. However, women are just as possible to be abusive alcoholics.

10 Things to Stop Doing If You Love an Alcoholic

  • Blaming yourself
  • Taking it personally
  • Trying to control it
  • Trying to cure it
  • Covering it up
  • Accepting unacceptable behavior
  • Having unreasonable expectations
  • Living in the past
  • Enabling
  • Putting off getting help
  • Seek out an Al-anon group

The History of Bipolar Disorder

Our understanding of bipolar disorder has most certainly evolved over the years. Huge advances in education and treatment have been made in just the past century alone. Today, medication and therapy help many people with bipolar disorder manage their symptoms and cope with their condition. It gives hope to those who suffer and hope to those caring for someone with bipolar disorder. Still, there’s a lot of work to be done because many others aren’t getting the treatment they need to lead better quality lives. Research is ongoing to help us understand even more about this confusing chronic condition. The more we learn about bipolar disorder, the more people may be able to receive the care they need.

Bipolar disorder is one of the most highly investigated neurological disorders. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that it affects nearly 4.5% of adults in the United States. Of these, nearly 83 percent have “severe” cases of the disorder. Unfortunately, due to social stigma, funding issues, and a lack of education, less than 40 % of people with bipolar disorder receive what the NIMH calls “minimally adequate treatment.” These statistics might surprise you, given the centuries of research that have been conducted on this and similar mental health conditions.

People have been trying to decode the causes of bipolar disorder and determine the best treatments for it since ancient times. Read on to learn about the history of bipolar disorder, which is perhaps as complex as the condition itself.

Aretaeus of Cappadocia began the process of detailing symptoms in the medical field as early as the 1st century in Greece. His notes on the link between mania and depression went largely unnoticed for many centuries.

The ancient Greeks and Romans were responsible for the terms “mania” and “melancholia,” which are now the modern day “manic” and “depressive.”They even discovered that using lithium salts in baths calmed manic people and lifted the spirits of depressed people. Today, lithium is a common treatment for people with bipolar disorder. I for one, have been taking with great success for the past 15 years. The only noticable side effect is weight gain and that can be managed. I do tend to overheat if in the sun too long or working out in the heat. The main thing is to drink plenty of water so you don’t get over heated.

The Greek philosopher Aristotle not only acknowledged melancholy as a condition, but cited it as the inspiration for the great artists of his time.

It was common during this time for people across the globe to be executed for having bipolar disorder and other mental conditions. As the study of medicine advanced, strict religious dogma stated that these people were possessed by demons and should therefore be put to death.

Years passed and little new information was discovered about bipolar disorder until the 19th century.

The 19th century: Falret’s findings

French psychiatrist Jean-Pierre Falret published an article in 1851 describing what he called “la folie circulaire,” which translates to circular insanity. The article details people switching through severe depression and manic excitement, and is considered to be the first documented diagnosis of bipolar disorder. In addition to making the first diagnosis, Falret also noted the genetic connection in bipolar disorder, something medical professionals still support to this day.

The Twentieth Century

The history of bipolar disorder changed with Emil Kraepelin, a German psychiatrist who broke away from Sigmund Freud’s theory that society and the suppression of desires played a large role in mental illness. Kraepelin recognized biological causes of mental illnesses. He’s believed to be the first person to seriously study mental illness.

Kraepelin’s “Manic Depressive Insanity and Paranoia” in 1921 detailed the difference between manic-depressive and praecox, which is now known as schizophrenia. His classification of mental disorders remains the basis used by professional associations today. A professional classification system for mental disorders has its earliest roots in the 1950s from German psychiatrist Karl Leonhard and others. This system was important to better understand and treat these conditions.

The term “bipolar” means “two poles,” signifying the polar opposites of mania and depression. The term first appeared in the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in its third revision in 1980.

It was that revision that did away with the term mania to avoid calling patients “maniacs.” Now in its fifth version (DSM-5), the DSM is considered the leading manual for mental health professionals. It contains diagnostic and treatment guidelines that help doctors manage the care of many people with bipolar disorder today.

That was one reason I avoided telling anyone in the beginning because of the stigma. Crazy people, unstable, etc.

The concept of spectrum was developed to target specific difficulties with more precise medications. Stahl lists the four major mood disorders as follows:

  • manic episode
  • major depressive episode
  • hypomanic episode
  • mixed episode

Bipolar disorder today

Our understanding of bipolar disorder has certainly evolved since ancient times. Great advances in education and treatment have been made in just the past century alone.

Today, medication and therapy help many people with bipolar disorder manage their symptoms and cope with their condition. Still, there’s a lot of work to be done because many others aren’t getting the treatment they need to lead better quality lives.

Fortunately, research is ongoing to help us understand even more about this confusing chronic condition. The more we learn about bipolar disorder, the more people may be able to receive the care they need.

Bipolar Disorder Bipolar Disorder (BP), also known as manic depressive illness is said to affect approximately 1-3% of the population. Males as well as females seem to be equally affected. It is not known specifically what causes the BP, however biological, genetic and environmental factors appear to have an influence on this disorder that is not curable at this time. However it can be treatable primarily by medications, therapy, electro convulsive therapy, exercise, staying with a routine and avoiding stress as well as other factors. If untreated, the suicide rate is high at 20%. “The particular combinations and severity of symptoms vary among people with bipolar disorder. Some people experience very severe manic episodes, during which they may feel “out of control,” have major impairment in functioning, and suffer psychotic symptoms. Other people have milder hypomanic episodes, characterized by low-level, non-psychotic symptoms of mania such as increased energy, euphoria, irritability, and intrusiveness, that may cause little impairment in functioning but are noticeable to others. Some people suffer severe, incapacitating depressions, with or without psychosis, that prevent them from working, going to school, or interacting with family or friends. Others experience more moderate depressive episodes, which may feel just as painful but impair functioning to a lesser degree. Inpatient hospitalization is often necessary to treat severe episodes of mania and depression.”
NIMH

You’ve Got The Tools, Now Dig Your Way Out

It’s a lonely place down the rabbit hole. I’m referring to depression. I never know how I get to this place but eventually after a long manic phase this is where I wind up. For me, I don’t see the warning signs. I’m busy as heck during my manic phase and can’t seem to find enough to do. Then one day all of the sudden my enthusiasm has left, my desire to do anything has left and my physical energy has been depleted.

I don’t stay down as long as I used to as long as I stay in contact with other people. When I isolate, which isn’t uncommon, I lose touch and I begin to feel despair and abandoned with little hope. It’s been a long and lonely road for me but I do have tools to work with. The phone, the Internet, friends, and listed below are some other tools I use to get out of this funk.

Some of my favorite tools are slogans of AA and Alanon:

  • Easy Does It
  • First things first
  • How important is it
  • Just for today
  • Keep an open mind
  • Keep it simple
  • Let go and let God
  • Let it begin with me
  • Listen and learn
  • Live and let live
  • One day at a time
  • Think
  • This too shall pass
  • Progress not perfection
  • Gratitude changes your attitude
  • Keep coming back
  • Take what you like and leave the rest

Self-Help Books

Self-help books are meant to help you cope with situations that you are not prepared to or can’t cope with. These books let you analyze your most inner self to discover what is going wrong, and where things are not working. I used the books that I had acquired while attending Alanon meetings for greater than 16 years. I learned how to take care of myself without sacrificing my serenity.

Medication

Medication tends to be the first thing depressed people reach for. Though they can provide you with a temporary relief, they are not guaranteed to cure the underlying problem as with any mental disorder. There are many other causes of depression including inflammation, disturbance of stress hormones in the body, nutritional deficiencies, and immune system malfunctioning. Medication can be a live saver at times though. It should never be ruled out as ineffective or unresponsive. I depend on medication to see each day through. There is nothing to be ashamed of and you shouldn’t fear you doctor. You need to trust in you physician and if you don’t then find a match. Find someone who fits. This is a live long illness and it’s best to invest your life into someone you trust. I’ve had several doctors due to relocating and have been seeing my currant doctor for over 15 years. I trust her and that is vital to any working relationship.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is one of the better methods that can help you climb out of a major depression. It is also effective for nearly all types of depression and anxiety disorders. The treatment involves cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (IPT), where a therapist monitors the various mood swings and behavior of a patient, and then works on them by talking to the patient. CBT involves one-on-one sessions with a therapist once or twice a week. The idea behind IPT is to examine the relationship between the interactions between people and the development of an individual’s psychiatric symptoms. It involves one-on-one discussions with a therapist to find out ways to improve those relationships for improving mood.

Relax

If you really want to know how to pull yourself out of a major depression, remember this important step: relax yourself as much as possible. Relaxation is just as important in treating depression as those anti-depressants you’re taking. Take a nap, listen to soothing music, visit a spa or just go for a massage. Look around for things that can be relaxing, grab a hot cup of a relaxing tea, Valerian or chamomile. These teas contain L-theanine, an amino acid which helps with the release of the serotonin, a chemical compound responsible for your relaxed state of mind.

Indulge Yourself in a Hobby

Avoid Bad Habits and Adopt Healthy Ones

Eat Healthy, Relaxing Foods

Meditate

Exercise Regularly

Cultivate Healthy, Supportive Relationships

Depression can be debilitating and is very different from just feeling unhappy. Usually, there is a reason for unhappiness such as being rejected or not getting the job you wanted. Depression is a pervasive feeling. It’s almost as if you are in a black tunnel with no light. Hope disappears and the things you used to find enjoyable become a chore. Even winning the lottery would not snap someone out of depression and it is never a good idea to tell someone who is depressed to sort themselves out and pull themselves together. Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple, but there are ways to alleviate the symptoms of depression.

Practice Awareness

A depressed mind tends to mull over all that is wrong and worries unnecessarily about all the negative possibilities that may emerge in the future. Focus on the present moment and try not to dwell on the past of future events that aren’t real. An acronym for that is FEAR. Or Future Events Appearing Real. Either way it’s important to focus on the present time. Focus on touch, taste, sight, sound and smell leaving less time for needless worry.

Depressed people tend to see the world in a negative way. When things go wrong they blame themselves and when things go right, they put it down to luck. Depression reinforces self doubt along with feelings of worthlessness. Monitor your inner negative talk and make allowances for this type of thinking by reminding yourself that your thinking is that of a depressed person, not a healthy functioning person. Don’t take your thoughts seriously when you are feeling this way.

Regular exercise has benefits for helping to overcome depression. Exercise releases endorphins which improve natural immunity as well as improved mood. Regular exercise offers other health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure, protecting against heart disease, cancer and boosting self-esteem. Experts advise getting half an hour to an hour of moderate exercise, such as brisk walking at least three to four times per week.

Depression can make you want to hide away from the world and disappear. It’s okay to take some time out but give yourself a time limit and then do something productive to improve your mood. Depression can be well managed and there can be a wonderful life beyond depression. Hang in there and keep the faith.

Listen to music especially upbeat music. An upbeat tune can change an atmosphere instantly and create a more positive spirit. Listening to upbeat music alters brain chemistry and can improve your mood.

A journal can be a wonderful tool. Use it to write down fears and worries. Sometimes, having an outlet in this way can be soothing and ease you. Writing it down allows you to look at your life from a different perspective. Another good way to use a journal is to write several things that you are grateful for. Do this every day. It forces you to think more positively and can help to remind you that things are never that bad. In a gratitude journal, you can write about anything that happened in the day that made you feel appreciative. A kindness someone did, a call or visit from a friend, etc. Make the changes you want to see in yourself and picture a better healthier you.

It’s Not What You Say It’s How You Say It

I have been curious about “what not to say” and “what to say” to someone with a mental illness. I have Bipolar 1. I know what I don’t like to hear and I’m not alone

1. “Everyone has something.” 

2. “You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors.”

3. “You always look for an excuse.”

4. “How are you managing?” (And other loaded questions).

5 “Be nice.”

6. “Calm down.”

7. “I’m not very happy with you right now.”

8. “Why can’t you just be happy?”

9. “You have every reason to be happy.”

10. “What happened now?”

11. “Why?”

12. “Why can’t you have one day where you feel good?”

13. “You’ve been like this for so long.”

14. “Maybe you need to change your medications.”

15. “Maybe your medications aren’t working anymore.”

16. “You should discuss this with your doctor.”

17. “What does your doctor have to say about this?”

18. “What did your doctor say?”

19. “You should exercise.”

20. “I’ll motivate you.”

21. “Don’t be lazy.”

22. “Everyone has stress.”

23. “Stop making excuses.”

24. “You’re making yourself anxious.”

25. “Stop anticipating.”

26. “You’re making yourself nervous.”

27. “Why can’t you make a decision?”

28. “So-and-so said it would be nice to see you.”

29. “Don’t worry about it.”

30. “Everything’s going to be okay.”

Most of these sound pretty reasonable to someone without an mental illness. But to those of us who do, some seem pretty harsh as if we always have control of our thoughts and feelings. I honestly don’t have control because my brain doesn’t always work right or interpret things the way a person without an illness would.

I am not a doctor I just know how these types of phrases affect me. I feel less than at times. People telling me how I should feel or act has no business in my life. If you can’t accept me for who I am I don’t need you. I beat myself up enough. I don’t need to be made to feel inadequate. I can do that on my own as well.

The struggles are real. Who wants to lay in bed for four days at a time because of something someone else said to me that was offensive. I’d like to fight back but I would only be hurting myself in the process. So I retreat for a short time to evaluate the situation and decide if I need to take an action.

 Most of the time the answer is no I don’t. I don’t like conflict and try to avoid it at all cost. We are very sensitive people and of course not everyone understands that. Sometimes we are called babies or insecure and that’s just not the case. I can’t wish or will my illness away. I have to learn to deal with it just as others need to learn how to deal with it. You can’t just put up a wall and walk away. That’s not dealing with the situation. That’s pretending it doesn’t exist.

Breaking Ties

Bipolar disorder is a psychiatric condition which can cause several changes in a person’s mood. People who are suffering from bipolar disorder fall in two categories — high moods (mania) and extremely low moods (hypomania).

During the manic phase, people lose their common sense to judge anything, while they completely withdraw from everything and everyone when in a hypomanic state. These changes in mood can seriously affect relationships since it contributes to how they interact with others.

If you are suffering from bipolar disorder, you may feel nervous whenever you are starting a new relationship.

It’s not easy making friends with having Bipolar 1. It’s even harder to recognize the friends you need to let go of. Pushing people away is typical behavior of people like me. Getting close and opening up my life to someone who doesn’t understand Bipolar disorder is a recipe for hurt feelings and sometimes depression. I’m good for awhile then something happens with a relationship and then I make a downward spiral when things don’t work out. I’m vulnerable like any other with this illness. At times I am just too trusting and feel if I’m going to have a decent life then I need to put forth effort and many times when I do, I wind up feeling even more alone than before. I don’t know how many more chances I can give. How much more hurt and rejection can or am I willing to take.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder refers to the opposite ends of the emotional spectrum. A person may be depressed for a long period of time and show low energy, anxiety, and emptiness. When his energy is high, he may experience racing thoughts and feelings of power that can last for several days or months.

Depression

Depression is deeper than sadness. If you have this condition, you may feel helpless, hopeless, and worthless. You may loss interest in things you used to enjoy. You’ll experience changes in appetite, sleep problems, and even suicidal thoughts or actions.

When it comes to friendships people are not always going to accept you, for whatever reason, possible due to the stigma mental illness posesses.

Having Bipolar can be a tough thing for others to accept. They have this preconceived notion that we are somewhat crazy and perhaps to extent, we are. But not in the way they think.

It takes a special kind of person to take the time to understand us. I wish it wasn’t so complicated for people to understand us – or at least try. But until we can try to erase stigma this will continue to happen. And this is why I blog. I want people to know what Bipolar is and isn’t. In some of my earlier blogs I may have gone into depth a little more. I am focusing here on the rejection we get when someone we care about dumps us because of the unknown in our illness.

Rejection sensitivity is a psychological condition that causes a person to feel oversensitive to rejection or perceived rejection in relationships and social interactions. An individual with rejection sensitivity may perceive an unintentional snub or even being made to wait as deliberate rejection and feel severe, painful anxiety and perhaps even anger as a result.

A study found that in people with severe bipolar depression, increased pain sensations – particularly headaches and chest pain – actually occurred much more often in depressed patients who were also experiencing high levels of rejection sensitivity as part of their depressive episode.

When someone is depressed, a common symptom is perceiving that other people don’t like them or are rejecting them. Based on this study, it seems that specific pathways in the brain relate to depression and to these distorted perceptions about other people. Furthermore, when these pathways are disrupted they overlap into pain circuits, triggering physical discomfort, also a common symptom of depression.

What I found most interesting was the premise of an article – that depression, pain, the idea of pain and depression sharing similar wiring, I wasn’t familiar with the notion that rejection sensitivity was part of that brain loop.

Percieved rejection is when I take things to seriosly because to me it is. And it’s a struggle for on a daily basis. The saying “honesty is the best policy” is not always true. Sensitive people like myself need a softer approach to conflict. I’m not saying everyone need this, but I do.

I have always been too sensitive for my own good. If you hurt me bad enough down the rabbit hole I go. I’ve been working and trying to be tough in dealing with life’s pleasures disappointments. When I refer to life I mean people who have come across life path. I remain guarded. Learning to let go and not give that person any more amunition to use against me.

That’s just how it is. People do that to each other all the time. I have been victim to the cruelty of others on many occaision. Be prepared my Bipolar friends. Life’s a shit storm some days. Be strong in your beliefs. Be strong in you. The people that are meant to be in your life will stand by you and love you throughout the darkest times.

What Are Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders are psychological conditions with both emotional and physical symptoms. The disorders include anorexia nervosa (voluntary starvation), bulimia nervosa (binge-eating followed by purging), binge-eating disorder (binge-eating without purging), and unspecified eating disorders (disordered eating that does not fit into another category). Eating disorders occur frequently—but not exclusively—in affluent cultures. A disproportionate number of those diagnosed are young women in their teens and 20s, but anyone, including young men and older adults, can develop an eating disorder at any age. Among the most baffling of conditions, eating disorders take on a life of their own so that eating, or not eating, becomes the focus of everyday existence.

I was 20 years old when my eating disorder began. I didn’t have a clue as to what I was getting into. I had been losing weight the proper healthy way. One of my sisters came over to visit and commented on my weightloss. She said “what are you doing throwing up?” I had no idea what she was referring to and so she explained about bulimia. I had never heard of it before then and thought what a great way to loose weight. She was doing it herself and put the idea in my head and so it all began. I managed to throw up almost everything I ate and got very skinny the unhealthy way. I was down to a size three at one point. I was 5’4” and weighed 108 lbs.

My husband and I were trying to have children and it never occured to me that what I was doing was harming our chances to start a family. I had lost 4 pregnancies before I finally got pregnant and had proper treatment and was able to carry a child to term. This took us seven years of heartache and a great doctor.

I thought I was ok but over the years it took over me. It becomes an addiction to binge and purge. There is nothing safe about this method of weight loss. It is very unhealthy and damaging to your teeth and overall health.

Eating disorders are relatively common occurrences in wealthy, industrialized countries, affecting up to 2 percent of women and approximately 0.8 percent of men. They are characterized by a persistent disturbance of eating patterns that leads to poor physical and/or psychological health.

Eating is an activity essential to survival, and the body has many built-in mechanisms that regulate appetite and eating. Eating patterns are normally influenced by many factors, environmental as well as biological, and cultural too. The causes of eating disorders are multiply influenced and complex.

Disordered eating patterns can be caused by feelings of distress or concern about body shape or weight, and they harm normal body composition and function. A person with an eating disorder may have started out just eating smaller or larger amounts of food than usual, but at some point, the urge to eat less or more can spiral out of control and the maladaptive patterns of eating take on a life of their own.

Given the complexity of eating disorders, considerable scientific research has been conducted in an effort to understand them, yet the biological, behavioral, and social underpinnings of the illnesses remain elusive. Eating disorders frequently develop during adolescence or early adulthood, but onset during childhood or later in adulthood is not unknown. Many adolescents are able to hide disordered eating behaviors from their family for months or years.

Treatment is never simple for these conditions. They often create multiple medical problems and can even be acutely life-threatening, requiring hospitalization and forced nourishment. It can take a multidisciplinary team of health professionals, including a psychotherapist, a medical doctor, and a specialized dietitian or nutritionist to bring about full recovery in someone with an eating disorder.

Anorexia

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder marked by an extreme obsession with weight loss or exercise. It is especially prevalent among young to middle-aged women and, increasingly, among young men, but it can affect anyone at any age.

Characterized by a distorted sense of body image and extreme voluntary starvation or over exercising, and closely associated with perfectionism and depression, it is the most deadly psychiatric disorder. The most common behavioral signs of anorexia include extreme dieting, obsessive food rituals, and secretive and antisocial behavior.

Anorexia is highly resistant to treatment and is often accompanied by anxiety and depression. Treatment may include cognitive behavioral therapy, medication, nutrition education and mangagement, and family-based therapies, all of which may take place at specialized eating-disorder centers. If the condition becomes life-threatening, the only recourse may be hospitalization with forced feeding, which may create ethical and legal dilemmas for all caregivers involved. 

Bulimia

The eating disorder known as bulimia nervosa is marked by frequent cycles of binge-eating excessive amounts of food in one sitting and then purging the food, usually by self-induced vomiting but sometimes by the use of laxatives or diuretics or nonpurging compensatory behaviors, such as fasting or overexercising. The disorder typically begins during adolescence and it can be difficult to identify because those with bulimia are often secretive about their eating and purging habits. 

Although many people with bulimia are overweight, they generally have an intense fear of weight gain and often suffer anxiety, depression, and poor self-esteem. Some signs of bulimia include unusual eating behaviors, constant weight fluctuation, frequent use of the bathroom, and avoidance of social events. Treatment usually includes cognitive-behavioral or other forms of psychotherapy, antidepressant medication, and nutrition counseling.

 Binge Eating

Binge-eating disorder is marked by recurrent episodes of extreme overeating not accompanied by compensatory behavior; as a result, those with the disorder are usually overweight to obese. People with this disorder tend to eat much more rapidly than normal and don’t stop until feeling uncomfortably full. They may consume large amounts of food even when they’re not hungry. They often eat alone because of shame or embarrassment over their eating behaviors. To be considered a disorder, these behaviors must occur at least two days a week for six months or more.

Living With Anxiety

For me living with anxiety on a daily basis is taxing. I worry about almost everything. From the time I get up in the morning I already have a mental list of things to do and problems to solve. The big problem is that most of these things are not mine to solve or they will just work out themselves without my interference if I practice patience. One thing I started doing when I awake is to thank God for everything.

I recently planted a memorial garden in my yard. As I sit and enjoy the work that I put into it and the beauty that came from that hard work I thank God for giving me the desire and strength to complete it. One day it rained so hard and I was thankful that the newly planted flowers got a good dose of water to start with. My garden has brought me peace when I feel anxious and along with the peace came birds and butterflies galore. I am thankful to have the capacity to appreciate what nature brings. I just have to pay attention and be calm. It’s hard to feel anxious when love and appreciation are in your heart.

There’s nothing easy or fun about anxiety. Many think about anxiety as just a feeling of nervousness or being on edge constantly. This simply isn’t the case.

What are the different types of anxiety?

5 Different Types of Anxiety (and How to Treat Them)

  •  Generalized Anxiety.

Generalized anxiety (often referred to as GAD) is a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand, it’s the most commonly recognized anxiety disorder in the world.

Those who experience GAD are likely to worry about everything instead of one phobia. You may feel like you’re on edge all the time for no good reason.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the best ways to combat GAD. And, regular exercise, and in some instances, medication, GAD is entirely manageable.

  •  Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

It’s about an obsessive desire to keep things in an orderly fashion, count things, or think about a particular topic. It’s more than just a pervasive sense of dread. Those with OCD often have ‘rituals’ or sayings or activities that they perform on a regular basis. Failure to adhere to their traditions can result in extreme distress.

OCD is a bit harder to get a handle on, as patients are often reluctant to give up their rituals. Like GAD or any of the types of anxiety on this list, therapy has been shown to be extremely effective. Typically, those with OCD know that their fears aren’t “rational” but they just can’t seem to stop. The aid of a mental health professional can be a tremendous benefit. He or she will work with the patient using what’s known as Exposure and Response Treatment. This type of treatment exposes the patient to his or her fears in small, controlled doses. Medicines like SSRIs have also been shown to help minimize symptoms of OCD.

  • Social Anxiety Disorder.

Aside from GAD, social anxiety disorder is the most prevalent type of anxiety on this list. Social anxiety involves more than just a fear of public speaking, however. And while it’s not as extreme as agoraphobia, it still affects social behaviors. You may find yourself too nervous to interact with someone, even if you know that person well. You may also experience feelings of claustrophobia when you’re in the middle of a crowd. You may expect it by now, but CBT is a great resource for those suffering from social anxiety disorder. Much of the therapy will involve visualization. For instance, let’s say someone has a deep fear of looking stupid at a party. The therapist will talk them through a scenario where they’re at a party. Perhaps they have to make a speech or propose a toast. In this scenario, the therapist would have the patient visualize the speech going awry. By exposing the patient to their fear, the therapist will give the patient a better understanding of the reality of the situation.

  •  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

PTSD is one of the more extreme types of anxiety on this list. Unlike most of the other anxiety disorders on this list, PTSD is notoriously hard to diagnose. While we associate PTSD with soldiers and wartime, you don’t have to see combat to experience PTSD. In fact, anyone who has experienced severe emotional trauma is at risk. If you’re experiencing PTSD, you likely relive your trauma in nightmares of flashbacks. You may find yourself acting strangely or snapping at others for no good reason. What makes PTSD such a tough disorder to conquer is that it manifests physically as well as mentally. Accordingly, a physician may work in tandem with your psychologist or psychiatrist. PTSD treatment is generally focused on determining what “triggers” a reaction from the patient. The recovery process isn’t fun, but it’s certainly worthwhile.

  • Agoraphobia.

Agoraphobics may feel an intense fear of not being able to escape a situation. Accordingly, many agoraphobics may rarely leave their home. They may feel that their neighbors or friends are “out to get them” or have a vendetta against them. Agoraphobics tend to make camp in their home and stay there, leaving as little as possible. When they do leave, they may experience many of the same symptoms of GAD and PTSD such as panic attacks and claustrophobic feelings. So how can one treat agoraphobia if they can’t leave their home? Believe it or not, modern technology can help tremendously. Someone suffering from this anxiety can hop onto an app or even an on-line support group for help. There are platforms that let a doctor interact with a patient in much the same way they would in a physical office. Make no mistake, there’s still hope.

If your doctor doesn’t find any medical reason for how you’re feeling, she may send you to a psychiatrist, psychologist, or another mental health specialist. Those doctors will ask you questions and use tools and testing to find out if you may have an anxiety disorder.

Your doctor will consider how long and how intense your symptoms are when diagnosing you. She’ll also check to see if the symptoms keep you from carrying out your normal activities.

Treatments

Most people with the condition try one or more of these therapies:

  • Medication: Many antidepressants can work for anxiety disorders. They include Lexapro and fluoxetine (Prozac). Certain anticonvulsant medicines (typically taken for epilepsy) and low-dose anti-psychotic drugs can be added to help make other treatments work better. Anxiolytics are also drugs that help lower anxiety. Examples are alprazolam (Xanax) and clonazepam (Klonopin). They’re prescribed for social or generalized anxiety disorder as well as for panic attacks.
  • Psychotherapy: This is a type of counseling that addresses the emotional response to mental illness. A mental health specialist helps you by talking about how to understand and deal with your anxiety disorder.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: This is a certain type of psychotherapy that teaches you how to recognize and change thought patterns and behaviors that trigger deep anxiety or panic.
  • Cut down on foods and drinks that have caffeine, such as coffee, tea, cola, energy drinks, and chocolate. Caffeine is a mood-altering drug, and it may make symptoms of anxiety disorse worse.
  • Eat right, exercise, and get better sleep. Brisk aerobic exercises like jogging and biking help release brain chemicals that cut stress and improve your mood.
  • Sleep problems and anxiety disorder often go hand in hand. Make getting good rest a priority. Follow a relaxing bedtime routine. Talk to your doctor if you still have trouble sleeping.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist before taking any over-the-counter meds or herbal remedies. Many contain chemicals that can make anxiety symptoms worse.

Ten most common symptoms of Anxiety Disorder

  • Accelerated heartbeat
  • Profuse sweating
  • Unsteadiness or dizziness
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Abdominal discomfort or nausea
  • Chest pain
  • Numbness in extremities
  • Sensation of imminent death
  • Detachment from one’s body
  • Fear of going crazy
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