Sleep deficiency and health: risk of depression, decreased immunity

Modern life leaves its mark on most people and can negatively affect health. Constant stress, poor nutrition, inactivity – all this seriously affects the body. And if you add bad sleep, chronic lack of sleep or insomnia – the problem is exacerbated. The brain works in a multitasking mode throughout the day, simultaneously controlling all processes in the body, memorizing information, generating speech. If you do not give him proper rest, there is a decrease in working capacity, headache and depression. But not only does the brain suffer from lack of sleep, the body can also decrease immunity, form excess weight or increase pressure in response to persistent sleep problems. Why sleep is so important, why do you need to sleep every day? 

A third of life is in a dream: why?

As adults, people spend on average about a third of their lives in a dream. At least this amount of sleep is recommended by experts to preserve health. And accordingly, a third of the day is 8 hours, a standard recommendation on the duration of sleep in order to get enough sleep and maintain working capacity. But does everyone know why precisely such recommendations?

Despite the fact that sleep is one of the basic, vital functions of the body, and this is what all people, as well as animals with complex nervous systems, do, there are still a veil of mystery and a lot of myths around the mechanisms and theories of sleep. Scientists are still not quite sure why people sleep (and it is a third of the day), how exactly this mechanism developed. However, many hypotheses have been put forward today to explain why sleep is so important to health and how it affects the human brain and body function.  

Brain Function: The Effect of Sleep

Although the body goes into sleep, the brain does not turn off completely or sleep. However, during sleep, its mode of operation is significantly different from daytime. The analysis and “laying out in strips” of the information received per day, self-cleaning of metabolic products and “reboot” of the system: and a change of activity is also a vacation. Therefore, without enough sleep, the brain will not be able to function normally. Lack of sleep leads to problems with concentration, performance, cognition, memory, and brain productivity. However, when a person gets enough sleep, studies show that both children and adults improve memory and problem-solving skills.

Cardiovascular risk

The effect of constant lack of sleep on the health of the heart and the state of the vessels is known. People who sleep less than 7 hours a day are at a much greater risk of heart disease (such as stroke, coronary heart disease) than those who get from 7 to 8 hours of full sleep. In addition, people suffering from insomnia, naturally have a 15-20% higher blood pressure, which increases the risk of complications.

Depression, emotionality

It is proved that insomnia and depression are related. Often, sleep problems are considered the result of depression, although many researchers tend to believe an inverse relationship. Through years of research, scientists have identified several mental health problems, including depression, which were closely associated with inadequate sleep and sleep disturbances (insomnia, waking up at night, nightmares). One example of pathologies that negatively affect overall health and mood is sleep apnea, which is associated with poor sleep. In people with this syndrome, depression is much more common than in those who sleep normally. Overall, about 90% of people with depression are also experiencing sleep quality problems, including difficulty falling asleep, night awakenings, and shallow sleep.

Some researchers report that inadequate sleep reduces the ability to recognize other people’s important emotional signals, including happiness and anger. This factor can impede social interaction with other people, leading to communication problems and social isolation.

Inflammation and immunity

Against the background of chronic lack of sleep, the immune system suffers significantly . People who systematically lack sleep or suffer from insomnia are 30% more likely to have ARVI. One of the best things you can do to boost your immune system against colds or flu is to get enough sleep. In addition, the activity of immunity is important in the suppression of inflammation, including systemic. Systemic inflammation has been shown to play a crucial role in many serious health problems, ranging from heart disease to asthma, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and diabetes. Therefore, it is important to know that poor sleep can cause signs of inflammation and cell damage. One example is the relationship between poor sleep and inflammatory bowel disease, which has been demonstrated in a number of studies published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology and in the journal Gastroenterology & Hepatology. 

Physical performance and health

Inadequate sleep can affect health by decreasing physical activity. If a person is a lot in the fresh air, is engaged in daily activities or training, he definitely needs a dream to achieve the best results. For example, in a study in a group of older women, poor sleep was associated with great difficulty in performing daily activities, walking and with a decrease in grip strength. In addition, in people with sleep deficiency, overall health suffers. People who are usually active, such as those who are actively involved in various sports, also have better speed, recovery time. But if they sleep poorly, then the results are sharply reduced. This is especially noticeable in athletes in whom violations of the regime and sleep time reduce athletic performance.

Type 2 diabetes risk

If a person after 40 years sleeps less than six hours a night, then he has an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Poor sleep generally negatively affects blood glucose levels in the general population. Due to stress due to lack of sleep, mechanisms for increasing plasma glucose are activated, which predisposes to diabetes. This negatively affects health.

In addition, the weight changes. Studies have shown that insufficient sleep is associated with a 89 and 55% chance of obesity in children and adults. One reason for this relationship seems to be related to hormones. When a person does not get enough sleep, the work of appetite hormones is disrupted. For example, ghrelin appetite stimulant levels increase, while appetite suppressant leptin levels decrease. These reactions can lead to weight gain.

Social networks do not save from depression

Scientists from the University of Oregon believe that social contacts reduce the risk of depression, but this applies only to offline contacts, not social networking. 

It was previously shown that social exclusion negatively affects human health. And social support is a kind of buffer under the influence of stress factors that increase a person’s level of anxiety, increase his depressive state and emotional problems.

The study involved nearly 600 people who were formerly members of hostilities. None of them at the initial stage of the project had clinical depression, alcoholism and suicidal tendencies. Subjects were recruited via Facebook, but the results are applicable to other social networks.

Observations and polls showed that the frequency of contacts of subjects in social networks did not affect the risk of depression, post-traumatic disorder, alcoholism or suicidal tendency. These findings are consistent with the results of a 2015 study, which proved that only personal social contacts reduce the likelihood of depression, but neither telephone conversations, nor emails, nor paper ones have such an effect.

But another effect was discovered: people who more often communicated on social networks had more offline social contacts. So, of those who went to Facebook daily, at least 37% several times a day crossed with friends or family. Only 19% of those who did not use social networks every day arrived. These data refute the common myth that active users of social networks are less likely to communicate offline than those who are not their followers. Contacts in social networks do not replace offline communication.

Antibiotics: depression, weakness, and other side effects

Posted on August 31, 2019  in Uncategorized

Today, antibiotics, including those from the group of fluoroquinolones, are widely used in the treatment of various pathologies. But it has been repeatedly described that fluoroquinolones can cause rare, but very serious side effects that can be delayed and permanent. One of the most serious problems was the effect on the psyche with the provocation of depression and suicidal attempts, as well as the formation of tendon inflammation and muscle weakness. Another frequent and serious side effect of taking this type of antibiotic, scientists call a decrease in blood sugar, sometimes leading to life-threatening conditions.

Antibiotics in the treatment

Since the first antibiotics were discovered, a lot of time has passed, but the drugs have not lost their relevance today. Moreover, they are being improved, new drugs are being opened and introduced, several groups of antibiotics having different chemical structures and activity against pathogens have been identified. The drugs are used to suppress the activity of bacteria that provoke purulent-inflammatory processes of various localizations.

They treat respiratory, ENT pathologies, infections of the urinary system and skin, pathologies of the digestive system and much more. However, over many years of using antibiotics, not only positive, but also negative effects from their administration, complications from their treatment were revealed. In particular, the use of fluoroquinolones, widely prescribed in the treatment of respiratory, genitourinary infections and some others, is actively discussed.  

Depression and Mental Disorders

Not so long ago, data were published that antibiotics of the fluoroquinolone group can provoke depression and mental disorders in patients who have not previously had such problems. Moreover, a rather large number of suicidal attempts among patients previously treated with these drugs is described. Depression and mental disorders belong to the group of rare but serious side effects that can occur when taking this group of antibiotics.   

They are currently recognized in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration, but after several years of lawsuits from patients, the FDA has proposed a warning of potential risks in the drug annotation. Side effects in the form of depression can last months and years, or be permanent. Among the leading manifestations of mental disorders are described anxiety and panic attacks, as well as suicidal thoughts. Moreover, depression or mental disorders before treatment with fluoroquinolones in patients were not registered.  

Side effects: lowering blood sugar

So, in July this year, the FDA announced that it was necessary to update the information in the instructions for use of fluoroquinolones. Correction of data on side effects and complications, including the development of low blood sugar and side effects from mental health, is necessary. Specialists point out that this is especially important for diabetics, as low blood sugar can lead to serious problems, including coma, especially in older people and patients who take medications to control their blood sugar.

Thus, such comments will be important in the selection of therapy in people of advanced age, if their blood sugar fluctuates or hypoglycemia is frequent. The presence of indications will be one of the reasons for refusing to take fluoroquinolones in favor of safer antibiotic groups.

Movement disorders and tendon inflammation

This is not the first correction of side effects and complications during treatment with fluoroquinolones; in 2008, a remark was added that the risk of developing tendonitis (inflammation of the tendons) and movement discomfort may be increased .

Complaints regarding complications of the musculoskeletal system are controversial, many researchers believe that ligament inflammation can be triggered not by taking an antibiotic, but by the infections and their consequences against which it is used. At the same time, other scientists emphasize the connection between tendon inflammation and antibiotics because the infections treated with fluoroquinolones vary widely, while the side effects are very similar with respect to tendons. In addition, not all patients see a doctor and report similar side effects such as tendon inflammation, taking them for one of the symptoms of the disease or age-related features.

Rare syndrome complex: weakness, rash, neurological complications

In some patients, especially prone to depressive disorders while taking drugs, a special set of symptoms was described. First of all, severe muscle weakness, which did not allow to actively move and lead a familiar life. Due to weakness, patients are forced to travel only short distances. Against the background of weakness, pain in the tendons, joints and their swelling, problems of the peripheral nervous system, such as burning and tingling, are detected.

In addition, weakness was also a symptom of problems with the central nervous system, which were supplemented by blurred consciousness, decreased cognitive functions, and memory disorders. In addition, skin problems were identified due to its slight vulnerability, frequent itchy rashes, digestive disorders, vision, insomnia, palpitations.

Is everyone in danger?

Clinicians emphasize that fluoroquinolones are highly effective and can save lives and overcome severe infections that cannot be treated with other antibiotics. These drugs are extremely important for certain groups of people, for example, in kidney transplantation or urological pathologies.

But often, experts say, the risks of antibiotics are not fully assessed, since side effects can be associated with their combination with other types of drugs. Therefore, the risk of therapy should be weighed against the potential benefit.

For most patients, fluoroquinolones are safe and effective. For its part, the FDA has recommended that doctors use fluoroquinolones more rationally in recent years, especially when other 

Skin health, stress and depression: what is the connection?

Posted on August 27, 2019  in Uncategorized

For many, it may come as a surprise that there is a connection between the health of one’s own skin and the psyche, the brain. Some people suffer from redness and skin rashes when they are stressed, while others get red spots if they are worried. But in recent years, studies have shown that the mental and emotional state of a person can have a profound effect on the largest organ in the body. Stress, depression, anxiety and other psychological conditions can contribute to the development of many skin diseases such as acne, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, alopecia and vitiligo. 

The work of the skin, communication with the brain

The skin, as the largest organ on the body, and the central nervous system are closely intertwined, and actively influence each other. Therefore, it is not surprising that almost all skin diseases can be affected by changes in the nervous system. Especially pronounced marks on the skin can leave stress. Human skin, when the host is under stress, produces more sebum. These are fatty, thick secretions that can contribute to clogging of pores and exacerbation of acne. Stress can also provoke or exacerbate systemic inflammation in the body, which can aggravate the course of eczema (a chronic inflammatory skin disease). In addition, stress is known to provoke vesicular eruptions caused by the herpes simplex virus on the lips and skin around them. 

A study published in 2008 in the Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venerology & Leprology found that more than a quarter of the 50 patients with psoriasis – a chronic skin disease that causes thick scaly spots – experienced stressful life events such as unemployment, serious personal problems or death of loved ones. A 2012 study by dermatologists found that 45% of the 100 patients with psoriasis experience constant anxiety and anxiety.

Stress Problem in Dermatology

Many psychological conditions that affect the skin are provoked due to increased levels of stress and anxiety. Experts explain that when the body is not prone to anxiety and stress, hormone levels remain relatively balanced. But when the body is faced with psychological or physical stressful reactions, the “run or fight” program is activated in the body. The sympathetic nervous system then sends signals to the adrenal glands to increase the production of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol, which are the main stress hormones.

Under normal conditions, the parasympathetic nervous system helps restore body balance after the danger has passed. But when the body is faced with ongoing stress or anxiety, the body literally “drowns” in these stress hormones. As a result, the skin suffers from chemical reactions of the body to psychological stressors. Skin – the barrier of the human body from the destructive effects of the outside world – in such situations is almost unable to act like a shield.

The role of the skin in the health of the whole body

Skin serves as the main system of body protection, while maintaining the health and constancy of the internal environment. It provides the first level of protection against infection, not only as a physical barrier, but also as a place of work for white blood cells that begin to attack invading bacteria and viruses. A 2007 study at the University of California – San Francisco showed that mice exposed to psychological stress show a decrease in the expression of antimicrobial peptides in the skin, which makes them more susceptible to skin infections than mice that live under normal conditions. Thus, stress destructively affects the health of the skin and the body as a whole.  

Given that the skin is the most prominent organ, the emotional impact on skin diseases can be huge and devastating. And if the skin ceases to be a reliable shield from external influences, the health of the whole organism as a whole also gradually suffers.

The development of depression and treatment of skin pathologies

Social isolation and a sense of insecurity, the formation of depression only fuel the pathophysiology of skin lesions, often making them even harder. The problem becomes a vicious, perpetual cycle between the skin condition and the nervous system, both exerting a causal effect on each other. That is, depression exacerbates skin problems, and increased skin symptoms, in turn, aggravates the symptoms of depression.

It is important to consult a dermatologist at an early stage in order to begin treatment, alleviate the condition and learn to control chronic recurrent skin diseases. In parallel with this, a psychotherapist is needed, the task of which will be depression, which in latent form is often present in most patients.

Doctors often explain to patients that the condition of the skin is their main problem, which causes them stress and manifestations of depression. A visit to a psychologist or psychotherapist can help deal with stress so as not to aggravate the condition. Such visits can be an additional part of treatment, along with the use of drugs and skin care.

Treatment Plan: Redness, Rash, and Itching

To effectively eliminate any skin problems – rashes, redness, itching, or getting wet, an integrated approach is needed. These are dietary changes, the use of fewer light carbohydrates, an increase in the amount of pure water, complete protein, in combination with rational physical activity. In addition, to eliminate redness and skin irritation, drugs are used both externally and internally.

But the most important thing that patients can do is to change the prevailing focus of their thoughts, to get rid of the influence of stress. It is known that stress hormones suppress the immune system and activate inflammatory reactions, so redness and irritation of the skin can intensify. Often in the treatment of skin diseases include sedatives, and sometimes antidepressants, which work very well, giving pronounced improvements. And this also proves the role of stress in skin problems.

Depression and insomnia

Posted on August 23, 2019  in Uncategorized

Depression is a serious mental illness that adversely affects a person’s performance and quality of life. Contrary to popular myths and misconceptions, depression cannot be cured by hard physical labor, work, or sports. It is caused by a violation of biochemical processes in the human body. Looking at the patient, it is not always possible to determine that he is sick, because others may not notice changes in the psyche. One of the common symptoms of depression is insomnia.

The effect of depression on human life

Despite the widespread dissemination of information about depression and increased confidence in psychotherapists, many people still consider it a manifestation of laziness, natural pessimism, or an unwillingness to look at life positively. Some people think that “this was not before”, but this is not so. Many symptoms were ignored for a long time, and it was not accepted to seek psychotherapeutic help.  

Depression has a number of symptoms that others do not immediately notice. Her emotional manifestations include depressed mood, anxiety, guilt, fear for the life of loved ones, lack of interest in favorite things. A person with a depressive disorder is often subject to gloomy thoughts, including suicidal ones. He is constantly haunted by a sense of his own uselessness and meaninglessness of existence.

Depressive disorder also manifests itself in a number of physical symptoms, and can be masked by frequent colds, heart or stomach diseases. His frequent companion is also insomnia. From gloomy thoughts, a person can often wake up and feel the negative effects of lack of sleep.

Why is depression disturbing sleep?

Proper and healthy sleep is one of the main components of a healthy lifestyle. Even one sleepless night can seriously affect the performance and mental activity of a person. In depressive disorder, the level of stress hormones in the human body increases, which leads to insomnia and problems with falling asleep.  

Inability to fall asleep, frequent awakenings, and intermittent sleep are frequent companions of depressive disorder. The less a person sleeps, the worse his health during the day. As a result, irritability appears, a decrease in mental and physical activity, and an increase in blood pressure. When a person cannot fall asleep, gloomy thoughts haunt him, conflict and stressful situations scroll through his head, and nightmares dream. Chronic insomnia can lead to fear of falling asleep. And in the morning a person wakes up broken and tired.

The inability to recover at night leads to a number of unpleasant consequences. The first of these is overeating. The body needs to be restored, and a person is trying to get the missing energy from sweets or coffee. A person with a lack of sleep worsens his attention and ability to concentrate on work. Insufficient rest at night negatively affects the appearance of a person – circles under the eyes appear, the skin condition worsens. Sleep deprivation decreases immunity and increases the risk of colds and infectious diseases.  

The most effective way to treat depressive disorders is through psychotherapy. In addition to cognitive-behavioral therapy, it includes drug treatment and recommendations for revising the regimen of the day. People suffering from insomnia in a depressive disorder are advised to go to bed and get up at the same time, do not overeat at bedtime and refuse coffee and alcohol. To normalize falling asleep, it is necessary to maintain a comfortable temperature in the bedroom and refuse to use electronic devices about 30 minutes before bedtime.

Psychotherapy for depression and insomnia

For successful treatment of insomnia, it is necessary to treat the depressive disorder itself. In modern psychotherapy, a number of techniques are used to correct human behavior and normalize conditions for night rest. Among such techniques is stimulus control, in which the patient needs to go to bed only when he feels sleepy. Various methods of relaxation and meditation are widely used.

A full night’s rest also involves revising the rituals when falling asleep, for example, refusing to use a smartphone, computer or watching TV, drinking coffee, alcohol or tobacco, ensuring maximum convenience and comfort of a sleeping place. In severe forms of insomnia, a combination of behavioral therapy and drug treatment is possible.

Depressive disorder cannot be cured by willpower, a change of scenery, or physical labor. Numerous calls to smile, “shake oneself” and think positively do not affect the patient. In addition to pills, psychotherapy is an effective way to treat it. Most often, a combination of cognitive-behavioral and drug treatments is used to treat depressive disorders.

There are several types of treatments for depressive disorders. This is cognitive-behavioral, the purpose of which is to change the patient’s behavior patterns and internal settings that served as a trigger for the development of the disease, interpersonal, aimed at reviewing relationships and establishing new, more harmonious relationships with others, and psychodynamic, focused on resolving the patient’s internal conflicts, which also could become triggers for the development of a depressive state.

The attitude to psychotherapeutic treatment in society is gradually changing. People are less and less associating it with punitive treatment and less and less believe that medications can turn a person into a “vegetable”. The methods of “relaxation” with smoking and alcohol are not able to solve psychological problems, but only exacerbate them. Not everyone is ready to share their problems with relatives or friends, start the disease and do not attach importance to the symptoms of depressive disorder. And insomnia is one of the most serious symptoms of a person’s mental and physical distress. Therefore, psychotherapists take an integrated approach aimed at eliminating the root cause of the violation of the daily regimen and the occurrence of insomnia.

Boys’ mothers are more likely to suffer from postpartum depression

Posted on August 19, 2019  in Uncategorized

British scientists from the University of Kent found that mothers of boys are significantly more likely to suffer from postpartum depression. Another risk factor is complications during childbirth. 

Postpartum depression is known to affect at least one in ten women who give birth. Moreover, the risk of developing depression after childbirth is lower in young mothers with a diagnosed mental disorder. This is because they are already under the control of doctors and are receiving treatment.

The study involved nearly 300 young mothers. It turned out that complications during childbirth increase the likelihood of developing postpartum depression by 3 times, by 174% compared with conventional childbirth.

Another unexpected risk factor is the gender of the child. Boys’ mothers suffer from depression 71-79% more often than mothers of newborn girls.

Scientists believe that the cause of depression may be inflammation, which develops during pregnancy complications. It leads to swelling of the internal tissues caused by an increase in blood flow and an increase in the concentration of white blood cells. This changes the balance of chemical compounds in the mother’s brain.

Bearing a boy also increases the level of inflammation in the woman’s immune system and also leads to a change in the concentration of certain substances in her brain.

Pregnancy and depression: how to be treated?

Posted on August 15, 2019  in Uncategorized

Depressive disorders along with anxiety are some of the most common mental illnesses. Depression can affect anyone: an elderly person, a young man, or even a child. In a pregnant woman, this disease is also possible. Women in position always emphasize that you need to be careful with medicines, because they can adversely affect the child. Does this apply to antidepressants? Can I use them when pregnancy and depression coincided?

Are antidepressants and pregnancy possible?

Treatment for depression is usually associated with medications. However, fearing for the baby’s health, women avoid the use of drugs – they are recommended for patients only in emergency situations. Hence the answer to the question posed – yes, antidepressants can be used.

Depression is a serious illness that requires treatment. Refusal of therapy can lead to serious consequences: the risk of maintaining depressive disorders even after the birth of the child increases. This condition is dangerous: it can lead to improper development of the relationship between mother and child. There is a risk that a woman cannot take care of a newborn.

Depression can affect the course of pregnancy itself, especially with a high degree of severity and the absence of treatment. There is a risk of premature birth, low birth weight or other complications.

What to drink so as not to harm the baby?

There is no doubt that depression treatment is necessary. But there is another question – the danger of using antidepressants in bearing the fetus. None of the currently available drugs belongs to group A, whose use is absolutely safe for a pregnant woman.  

There are reports that some of the common antidepressants may increase the risk of various birth defects that the baby will receive. It is especially dangerous when drugs are taken in the first trimester.

Known drugs whose use is associated with an increased risk (paroxetine). However, there are cases when the appearance of disorders in children whose mothers used antidepressants was definitely less common (fluoxetine, sertraline). In general, we can say that it is always necessary to analyze the benefits for the woman’s psyche during depression and the potential risks that may arise from the use of medicines.

Help the psyche during pregnancy

Each disease during pregnancy should be considered individually. The treatment of a problem in a woman who suffered from depression before conception, and in a situation where the disorder appeared at the time of bearing the fetus, will be different.  

In the first case, a woman took antidepressants before she became pregnant. In this situation, an accurate assessment of the state of her psyche is required. Complete discontinuation of antidepressants is not recommended (especially when the patient has not recovered from depressive symptoms). You can reduce the dose of the drug taken by the pregnant woman, but such a decision is made when the patient’s mental state allows this.

Sometimes a change in course may consist in replacing one medicine with another, which is characterized by a lower tendency to cause disorders in the child. Here, however, it should be emphasized that changes in antidepressant therapy last for some time – this is not one day. Previously used drug should be gradually eliminated, and a new drug is administered with caution. Therapy should be carried out under the supervision of the attending physician.

When a mother’s condition is critical

Another decision on the treatment of depression is made if the disease appeared when the pregnancy began. Here, first of all, it is necessary to analyze whether a woman really needs pharmacological treatment. When depressive symptoms are of low intensity, initially attempts can be made to eliminate them on the basis of psychotherapy. If this does not help or the symptoms of the disease in a pregnant woman deteriorate significantly, antidepressant treatment is usually started.

It should be emphasized that there is no single concrete way to combat depression. The treatment plan for patients should be determined individually. However, it is always necessary to inform the gynecologist who monitors the pregnancy that antidepressants are being used. Their use can lead to withdrawal symptoms in the child. Its manifestations may include anxiety in the newborn or transient difficulties with feeding. These problems usually quickly disappear, but the medical staff involved in the young mother and baby should be aware of the possibility of their occurrence.

Alternative help methods

A pregnant woman cannot treat depression herself. The presence of the disease should be known to a specialist who deals with the health of the expectant mother. He will be able to draw up a suitable treatment plan, advise safe antidepressants and relieve the condition. If a pregnant woman calls for help in time, the baby will be born and grow up mentally and physically healthy, and the woman will get rid of the disorder.

If the doctor admits that the condition of the pregnant woman does not require medical intervention, then the following corrective support methods can advise her:

  • An alternative to pharmacological treatment for gestation is psychotherapy. This is the best and safest way for a pregnant woman when she feels depressed, upset.
  • Yoga and meditation. The ways that relax the “mind” remove the anxiety that many women experience when they become pregnant or in their later stages.
  • Classes of art therapy. Exercises where, with the help of visual means, you can better know yourself and calm a restless consciousness. It is better to practice them together with a specialist. This is done by psychotherapists and psychologists with relevant work experience. If the psyche of a woman is in a relatively safe condition and the expectant mother does not require medical support, then she can seek help from a specialist. Personal therapy for a pregnant woman, with the support of a psychologist, as well as a group of meetings of expectant mothers under the guidance of a therapist, is an excellent opportunity to improve your condition, physical well-being and make waiting for childbirth and a meeting with your child a pleasant, joyful pastime.  

Skin aging: the role of diet, night sleep and depression

Posted on August 11, 2019  in Uncategorized

Skin will not necessarily show signs of aging as you celebrate all new birthdays. The dynamics of aging of the skin of the body and face depend on internal factors, including genetic predisposition and general health. In addition, changes depend on external factors, such as excessive exposure to the sun, smoking, and even frequent use of straws for cocktails. A significant role in the aging process is played by diet and weight fluctuations, as well as night sleep, emotional state and depression. How do they affect?

Aging processes: what do they depend on?

About 30% of the manifestations of aging at a particular age are determined genetically – the rest is the influence of the environment. This means that a person has the ability to control how the skin looks over time. Patients do not always have to look at the passport age: the health and elasticity of their own skin can be tens of years younger than the actual age. It is important to circumvent or mitigate the influence of hidden factors that can accelerate the aging process of the skin. There are a number of factors that can accelerate the aging of the face and body, as well as ways to influence these causes, preventive measures.

Irrational diet, excess sweets

An irrationally selected diet, the consumption of a large number of processed or sugary foods can cause a sharp jump in blood sugar and insulin, which can cause mild chronic inflammation at the cellular level. This latent inflammation can, in turn, accelerate skin aging through a process called glycation.

In a nutshell, we’ll discuss how this works. Glucose (from carbohydrates and sugar itself) enters the bloodstream and joins protein molecules, including collagen (which forms the skin structure), forming new molecules called end products of glycation. They are believed to destroy collagen and elastin (the protein that gives the skin elasticity). Defects in the diet lead to the fact that collagen and elastin can become more “stiff” and less functional, which theoretically can lead to sagging skin, wrinkles and accelerated aging. 

How to help the skin?

To normalize the condition of the skin, it is important to review the components of your diet: reduce simple carbohydrates, which quickly turn into glucose, raising blood sugar, and instead choose a lot of whole grains, vegetables and fruits. In particular, you need to increase your diet’s intake of foods rich in antioxidants, such as berries, citrus fruits, kiwi, pineapple, papaya, red and green peppers, and broccoli, because antioxidants fight the signs and causes of skin aging. The same can be said about the use of skin care products with antioxidant ingredients such as vitamins C and E, resveratrol, green tea and grape seed. 

Night sleep on one side

Everyone knows that a good night’s sleep is important if a person wants to look better. While a person is sleeping, his body initiates the process of restoration of many different body tissues, including skin. Thus, without sufficiently deep sleep, in particular, the skin does not receive the full regeneration and restoration that it needs.

But if a person is constantly sleeping on one side of the face, then the skin of the face will age faster. This is similar to the process of wrinkling pants. If sleep all the time occurs on one side, in this case a person mechanically wrinkles the skin, deforming collagen and interfering with the blood circulation, which makes the folds permanent.

In addition to the fact that a person needs to devote a lot of time to sleep, you need to develop the habit of sleeping on your back, or at least alternately change your sleeping position.

Constant depression and depression

Negative emotions, stresses, fatigue, depression or depression can appear on the face, as well as in the nature and characteristics of behavior. This occurs for various reasons. For starters, when people are depressed, they can constantly strain certain facial muscles, grimace, or frown. These negative facial expressions appear to be “engraved” on the skin in the form of fine lines and wrinkles.  

Meanwhile, depression is associated with an increased level of cortisol, which can weaken, disrupt the structure of collagen and cause a decrease in the synthesis of growth hormone. Deficiency of this hormone prevents the skin’s ability to fully recover at night, during sleep. Moreover, when people are depressed, they often eat poorly, almost do not sleep, do not train, and do not care for their skin as they should. These are additional factors that trigger accelerated skin aging.

What to do to improve the appearance?

It is important to actively and urgently take steps to improve your mood, regularly exercise, attend a psychologist’s consultation, or talk with your doctor about whether the patient will benefit from taking antidepressants or if you need to choose another therapy. Interestingly, reducing or eliminating wrinkles through cosmetic procedures such as botulinum toxin therapy can improve symptoms of depression.

In March 2009, a study in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology found that when people were treated with facial wrinkles with Botox, facial paralysis did not allow them to transmit negative mood signals to the brain, which correlated with mood enhancement. The effects were not accidental: a study published in August 2014 in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry showed that in patients with severe depressive disorder who were given Botox injections in their forehead, symptoms of depression decreased by 42% after 12 weeks.

Of course, not all patients need to immediately go to the beautician to inject botulinum toxin and remove wrinkles in order to fight depression and slow down aging. A rational day regimen, a healthy diet and activity, and a positive mood are important. In addition, full face and body skin care, time for yourself is also a kind of antidepressant and a way to deal with stress.

Mother singing to her child: benefits, fighting depression

Posted on August 7, 2019  in Uncategorized

A mother who sings to her child is a very ordinary event, which many take for granted. Why this happens and what pushes mothers to such actions is unclear, it seems that this happens on a hunch, just a woman at one moment understands that the baby needs a lullaby. This practice can be traced in many cultures. But how does the song affect the baby, why does the mother seek to sing, regardless of her vocal abilities, what effect does this action have on the woman herself? Shannon de L’Etoile received answers to exciting questions and even found a cure for postpartum depression in her mother’s singing.

Mother singing

Lullabies, children’s songs, nursery rhymes are an integral part of many cultures, and according to some reports, they are passed down from generation to generation and have existed for thousands of years. Each culture and even family has its own songs, which the mother sings in her own way, but they are united by one thing – tonality.

Shannon de L’Etoile, professor of music therapy at the music school of the University of Miami Frost, Florida, USA, decided to study this issue, which was helped by scientists of different directions and specialties.

The previous ones proved the positive influence of music on the developing brain of a young child, but this direction remains a little-studied topic. Scientists were able to prove that the child has an innate ability to process music and sounds heard, and in a rather complicated way.  

It was also possible to prove that the mother’s singing and her repertoire has her own characteristics, and this distinguishes him radically from other types of singing. It is proved that the mother’s song has a high initial height, and in the future we can note the slip between the levels of height. The mother’s song also has stable vowel sounds, a diverse amplitude that the child and others hear. Moreover, each mother has her own tonality, aimed only at her baby, and this does not depend on vocal data, education and the presence of musical hearing in the mother.

Such an important song for a child

In a study, Shannon de L’Etoile compared mother singing to other types of interactions with a child. The doctor noted: the purpose of the study was to determine the reaction and characteristics of the child’s behavior in response to live singing, which was directed at him. It was planned to compare the results with the characteristics of the reaction to other types of interaction between mother and child: reading books, fairy tales, toys.

The main goal of the study was to clarify the meaning of singing directed at children, as well as to identify behavioral reactions in children in response to this action. Shannon de L’Etoile also explored the role of singing in the meaning of becoming a bond between mother and child.

To obtain the result, more than 70 infants and their behavior were studied in response to 6 types of mother-child interaction:

  • mother performs the selected song;
  • a stranger sings the same song;
  • mother sings a song she chooses on her own;
  • book reading;
  • game with a toy;
  • mother and baby listen to recorded music.

To hold a child’s attention, singing, reading a book or playing with a toy were also effective. And in many respects the success was due to the personal presence of the mother. But the live singing of the mother attracted the attention of the child more effectively than the recorded repertoire. In many ways, the kids perceived this recording as extraneous noise.

Subsequently, the study became somewhat more complicated. Shannon de L’Etoile and her team studied exactly the mother’s singing, or rather, the song itself: intonation, tonal content, decrease or increase in frequency, and performance sensitivity.

Studies have shown that with the attention of the child, the instincts of the mother were on high alert, there was no one else around the mother and child, the whole world narrowed to the two of them. Intuitively, with a decrease in concentration, the mother adjusted the height of the song, the pace to attract the attention of the baby. Such actions took place completely on an intuitive level.

Singing and postpartum depression

Dr. Shannon de L’Etoile examined the singing of mothers with a diagnosis of postpartum depression, the goal was to study the difference in tonality, emotional fullness and reaction of the child. The data showed that the sensitivity of singing in mothers with depression was reduced. 

Dr. Shannon de L’Etoile noted: maternal postpartum depression is the reason for the lack of sensitivity and emotional expression in singing. But the child also reacted to the mother’s singing, although his pace and amplitude did not change and did not depend on the baby’s behavior and his involvement in the action. We can say that the mother’s singing was robotic.  

In the course of further studies, it was possible to establish: singing with depression in the mother has a unique two-way interaction, the benefit for both the mother and the child is clearly visible. Children receive the stimulus that they need so much, which allows them to focus their attention and get rid of unpleasant sensations. Mother, in turn, is so distracted and gradually gets rid of the negative emotions associated with depression.

Myths and Facts About Depression

Posted on August 3, 2019  in Uncategorized

Today, depression is considered one of the most dangerous mental disorders. High stress levels, life in an atmosphere of constant tension, conflict and negative emotions are all risk factors for adverse psychosomatic conditions. Often depression leads not only to mental, but also to physical distress – a decrease in immunity, the development of heart and vascular diseases. But, despite the fact that it is officially recognized as a disease, many people still believe that the development of depression is a consequence of laziness and unwillingness to work on themselves.    

Depression is one of the most serious mental disorders.

Some people mistake the short-term bouts of sadness, longing, or despair for depression. It is necessary to distinguish those moments when something helped a person to distract from sad thoughts, for example, watching a movie or meeting with friends. With depression, this does not happen. Neither a change of scenery, nor a movie watching, nor a new experience helps.

If adverse symptoms such as gloomy thoughts, depressed mood, irritability, causeless tears persist for two weeks, then a person’s condition can cause serious concern. A mental disorder that is not noticed on time or ignored by loved ones can lead to sad consequences, up to suicide attempts.

Nevertheless, many still believe that depressive mental disorders do not seem to exist, or that they are easily “cured” by physical labor or memories of difficulties suffered by distant ancestors during wars or other upheavals. But such statements are not able to console a person. Instead, they exacerbate an already unfavorable mental state.

Myths and facts about depression and other mental disorders

The fact that a depressed state is not just “blues” or short-term sadness has begun to be talked about and written in the media over the past few years. Bloggers, artists and other famous people began to openly talk about how a person who is experiencing a depressive episode actually feels. But many still refuse to acknowledge this mental disorder.

There are many myths and misconceptions around depressive states. Some of them relate to medication and antidepressants. For example, many people believe that antidepressants can change a person’s personality, suppress the will and turn it into a “vegetable”. But in fact, they confuse antidepressants with potent tranquilizers, used several decades ago.

Stress from job loss, death of a loved one or divorce is not always a catalyst for a depressive episode. Sometimes such conditions also arise against the background of the person’s external well-being, which may look joyful and optimistic externally and not reduce life activity. It is believed that depressive episodes do not happen in adolescent life, but this is not true.

Each depressive episode is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. The goal of drug treatment is to restore this balance. Aggression, dissatisfaction with oneself or the surrounding life situation are a consequence, not a cause of a depressive state.

One of the most harmful misconceptions that can seriously ruin a relationship with a person in a depressed state is the assertion that it arises from a weakness in character. But physical illnesses like flu or diabetes do not occur due to weakness or laziness. The same applies to depressive episodes.

Stress can cause a depressive episode, but it is far from the only reason for its occurrence. An unfavorable mental state can develop against a background of reduced immunity, hormonal imbalance, or a deficiency of certain foods in the human diet. In some cases, positive emotions help to get out of a depressive state, but not cure it. 

Many people find it uncomfortable to be depressed with a person. But for the patient, it is the support of loved ones that is important and their willingness to help him, including of a therapeutic nature. The myth that a depressive episode can be treated with alcohol, smoking or drugs is one of the most dangerous. Any harmful means of stimulation can worsen the condition of the patient.

Treatment for Depression: Stress Prevention and More

The first step in the treatment of depressive conditions or other mental disorders is the selection of a qualified specialist. To begin with, you should consult a psychologist, who will then refer you to a therapist if necessary. He has the right to prescribe medication in accordance with the physical condition and wishes of the patient.

An equally important step will be to change the patient’s lifestyle. If before this the level of stressful situations was quite high, while improper diet and lack of physical activity were added, then it is necessary to introduce the main components of a healthy lifestyle into your life. The most basic of them is a large number of hours of sleep, because it is insufficient or poor quality sleep that can lead to adverse consequences for the psyche.

Exercise strengthens not only the body, but also the psyche. They help improve hormonal levels and the functioning of the nervous system. Therefore, psychotherapists often recommend a specific type of physical activity to their patients, such as dancing or yoga.

Any disease is easier to prevent than to cure. Few people think about the prevention of depressive conditions. Among the main preventive measures are observing the regimen of the day, proper nutrition and physical activity. It is also necessary to limit or exclude from everyday life factors contributing to the development of increased anxiety – negative news or reading disturbing information on social networks.

Measures such as hobbies, creativity, communication with people and working with negative emotions significantly reduce the likelihood of depressive disorders. For a person, the ability to properly relax and bring into life as many positive aspects as possible before stressful situations or the wrong lifestyle will seriously harm his psyche.