Is Following A Religion A Sign Of Mental Illness?

During the hardest time in your life, who or what do you gain strength from to get over it?

Some may say that they turn to their family or friends. After all, it feels calming to talk to your loved ones regarding your issues and possibly receive any advice from them. When these people return to their respective homes and lives, however, other problematic individuals find peace and solace from religious faith.

When people think of their mortality, most don’t want to be alone as they make that transition to the other side. That’s when someone might turn to spirituality and/or religion for support. — Kalila Borghini, LCSW

Source: pexels.com

In this article, we won’t discuss whether there’s indeed a God or not. Instead, we’ll answer the question: “Is following a religion a sign of mental illness?”

Read on to know more.

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Facts About Child Mental Health That You Shouldn’t Ignore

 

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A parent’s love for his or her child goes beyond what’s understandable for people who don’t have kids yet. The former will go to great lengths to make sure that the offspring receives all the nurturing he or she requires to thrive on this planet. And in case the child faces a problem, the parents feel hurt as well and may want to keep them away from danger as much as possible.

For this reason, it should no longer surprise you if someone whose kid suffers from a psychiatric disorder gets upset over a false assumption you probably made about their child’s condition. They all have too much to bear on their shoulders even without outsiders thinking they know a lot.

To avoid becoming burdensome to people, therefore, you should learn some facts about child mental health today.

Fact #1: Psychiatric Diseases Are Real

A brain disorder rarely has a physical manifestation, but it doesn’t mean that the mental issue isn’t there. Science can tell you that a lot of the irregular symptoms you may notice in one kid – not the others – may point toward a more severe condition.

The first question to ask when a child is not behaving is whether the child’s body and brain are experiencing safety. If not, the top priority is to figure out what to do to help the child feel safe. — Dona Matthews Ph.D.

Fact #2: The Illness Isn’t Just An Act

It’s wrong also to assume that the signals a child shows are merely a part of a fraud that he or she created. Though the youngsters may be smart, they can’t have perfect acting skills that early to keep on seeming depressed or unable to comprehend others’ words.

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Fact #3: Kids Of All Races Can Acquire A Mental Disease

Ethnicity has nothing to do with the probability of a child gaining some psychological illness. At most, the ailment is already in their genes since their conception.

Social media has amplified feelings of loneliness for many young people. Before social media, if someone was left out of a party, get together, or other social function, they might hear about it, but they would never see what they were actually missing out on. — Amy Quinn, MA, MS, LMFT

Fact #4: The Disorder Didn’t Develop Due To Parenting Issues

If you’re considering that the psychiatric condition of the troubled kid is the result of the parents’ inability to guide him or her in life, then you’re gravely mistaken. Childrearing problems may just influence the little ones’ behavior but not their neurological operation.

Fact #5: Outgrowing An Illness May Be Impossible

As sad as it sounds, the odds of a kid outperforming autism, bipolar, or paranoia are slim. Once the indications appear, the mental disease may stay with the child for life. Being trained to function as a regular youngster can only do so much for the patient as well.

Fact #6: Alternative Treatment Options Are Available

When the doctor suggests a medication to treat the disorder, it is a parent’s right to not agree with the idea. There’s still no absolute cure for most psychiatric illness; that’s why the drugs may not be as effective as you think. There are different forms of therapy for children that you may look into instead that don’t have mood-altering side effects.

Source: merakilane.com

It is important to convey your love and support. Try to be open to what your child has to say and refrain from dismissing their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. — Shainna Ali Ph.D., LMHC

To sum things up, a child can struggle with his or her mental health regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity. How the parents brought them up isn’t a contributing factor as well because even a well-loved kid can acquire a psychiatric disease.

If you want to be of assistance to them, you may start by memorizing the facts above, thank you very much.

Helpful Habits The You Need To Practice To Grow Your Positive Mindset

Suffering has long been romanticized in literature, art, and folklore as transformative and empowering. — Susanne Babbel MFT, PhD

The power of positivity is often underestimated. A positive outlook can permeate into all facets of your life from work, relationships, and personal health. Often, we just need some reminding to look on the brighter side of things to get us back on track – the following are some helpful reminders to keep in mind.

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Busting Myths That Revolve Around Autism

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Saying that dealing with autism is difficult isn’t enough to describe what a patient goes through on a regular basis. First, there’s the rollercoaster of emotions that get triggered when sights or noises overwhelm their senses. At times, the person experiences the opposite of that, which makes others think their head is in the cloud.

Many parents begin to feel upset and overwhelmed by the burden of not being able to be there to help their child. The feeling of urgency and the need to get to their children to help them through the meltdown is often all these parents can think of. — Bridgette Montgomery, LCSW

Of course, a day cannot pass without the stigma surrounding autism shows itself. The problem is that the non-autistic individuals often have a robust perception of what it’s like to have this condition before they get to meet one who has it. Thus, they either embarrass the patient or make a fool out of themselves for not knowing much about autism.

Source: koriathome.com

To prevent the latter possibilities, find out the truth behind the myths about autistic people.

  1. They Have A Mental Disease

Autism isn’t and will never be a mental illness. What constitutes the said term is a disorder that a person develops after an incident happens in their life. The former condition, on the other hand, is something that the patient is born with.

  1. They Can’t Empathize With Anyone

Empathy isn’t lacking in an autistic individual. There are moments, however, that they can’t display it the same way that regular people do.

Each child is unique genetically, environmentally, and in every other way, with thousands of interacting variables creating a complex and particular human being. One size can never fit all when it comes to knowing how to respond to, and what to expect from, a challenging young human being. — Dona Matthews Ph.D.

  1. They Are Uncontrollable

Having the condition doesn’t guarantee that the patient will be violent. It’s possible that any outburst stems from emotional disturbance or sensory overkill, but they are still not crazy.

Source: sciencenordic.com
  1. They Prefer To Be Friendless

Autistic folks do have friends. The thing is, it may take longer for them to find one they can trust than the others. Nonetheless, it doesn’t mean that they’re incapable of maintaining a friendship.

  1. They Are Anti-Social

Albeit autistic individuals are indeed not the type who will greet strangers in a gathering and try to befriend them, they still have a social life. Only, it can be restricted to a select few.

When a person doesn’t make eye contact and gives no indication they’ve heard you, we may assume they don’t understand or aren’t paying attention. That isn’t necessarily accurate. — Janeen Herskovitz, MA, LMHC

  1. They Are Dumb

The brain function of an individual with autism may be different from the rest, but it doesn’t entail that he or she is incapable of learning. There are even instances when someone with this condition turns out to be smarter than regular folks.

  1. They Are Forever Single

All bets are off the table when it comes to love. An autistic person can find his or her life partner too. They just need to work hard for it; yet, who doesn’t do that these days?

  1. They Got It From Vaccines

A couple of decades ago, such a belief came about when Dr. Andrew Wakefield published research, stating that the vaccination that toddlers receive for measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) causes autism. In truth, that claim has plenty of loopholes, and the drug is still beneficial for kids.

  1. They Can Outgrow The Condition

It will honestly be amazing if this myth becomes a reality because it can give hope to the patients and their families. Sadly, however, studies reveal that no one ever succeeded in beating the ailment.

  1. They Have A Single Type Of Autism

The word ‘autism’ only acts as an umbrella for various forms of disorders. There are high- and low-functioning types and their symptoms are diverse, so it’s erroneous to assume that all autistic individuals belong to just one category.

How To Climb Out Of Hopelessness

There are points in life where you may be feeling hopeless. Nothing is working out for you, you’re in some slump, or some plans have gone awry – things like this can make us lose sight of hope and send us on a spiral towards despair.

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Fortunately, there are ways to climb out of the hole you find yourselves in. Hope springs eternal, and some methods can help you reset and get back on track. Read on to learn how.

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Posttraumatic Stress Disorder In Our Veterans

[Heroes Of The War]

Some of us will experience a traumatic event at some point in our lives, and this very circumstance may change how we view ourselves, the people around us, and even the world.  How long its effect on us will last depends on many factors. Some may be able to cope fast while others much longer.

Source: skills4life.com.au

Concealed War Trauma – Shell Shock Or Combat Stress

It is the term the military use for posttraumatic disorder.

English physician Charles Myers first documented “shell shock” in 1915, conceiving that symptoms are due to physical injury and the repeated exposure to concussive blasts caused brain trauma.  But his theory was proven not entirely accurate because some veterans who have the same kind of experience never showed any symptoms and others who didn’t have exposure to concussive blasts returned with signs.

Many provided nonphysical explanations on this happening for its pervasiveness.   And because of the upsurge of soldiers with similar symptoms during World War II, clinician Abram Kardiner shed light by concluding that these symptoms are from psychological injury.

Only people who have experienced a trauma know how it feels; it’s a unique experience and very difficult to erase from the mind, lasting for years with great emotional intensity. — Ana Nogales, Ph.D.

Heroes Coming Home With PTSD

We may view our soldiers as tough heroes, but even they have this posttraumatic stress disorder, and sometimes the effect on them is even much worse.  Veterans that are returning from their military service most often are having a hard time fine-tuning to their new lives outside of the military camp.

The US Department of Veterans Affairs disclosed that approximately 13.8% of veterans who came home from Iraq and Afghanistan suffered from PTSD.

Source: radioorasje.com

Symptoms In Our Veterans

Signs may not be seen immediately and may occur after a month or a year, but you may notice them feeling a little uncanny, constantly restless or feeling on edge, emotionally numb, and disconnected.   They may quiver in fear resulting them to becoming over-vigilant and untrusting to some people.   Some may seem alarmed and panicky even with the slightest sensory trigger.  They often have nightmares, and would frequently demand to be left alone.

Anger is hard on you mentally and physically, and can lead to impulsive choices you regret, such as violence. If you find it hard to keep your rage in check, you need to reevaluate your methods for dealing with stress. — Samantha Rodman Ph.D.

PTSD To Committing Suicide

When suffering from PTSD, the person’s nervous system (body and mind) gets stuck in shock brought about by the war.

The nervous system has reflexive means of responding to stressful situations.

  • Fight or flight. It is the automaticity to defend themselves to survive danger in a combat situation.  It’s when the heart beats faster, causing a rise in blood pressure, tightening of the muscles, and increased strength and reaction speed. Once the danger is over and the situation has calmed down, the body also cools down, lowering heart rate and blood pressure, drawing back down to its normal state.
  • Immobilization/PTSD. It is when they find themselves stuck, unable to move on from experience, even after the danger has passed.  It is brought about by suffering too much stress.  They no longer have the ability to get their natural state of balance back.

Veterans suffering from PTSD have a high propensity to committing suicide due to the distressing thoughts and guilt associated with war.  Suicide is not always due to character defect, or they have become crazy, but because they have poor control of their impulses since they’ve become trapped in the memories of combat.

Source: columbia.edu

Treatments For PTSD

There is a variety of therapies for PTSD.

  1. CBT – focusing on the memory of the traumatic event, learning skills and understanding of your thoughts and feelings.
  2. Psychopharmaceuticals – use of medications called SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and SNRIs (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors), which are also antidepressants.
  3. Mindfulness therapy – helps the person pay attention and be more aware of the present experiences.
  4. EMDR therapy (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) – focuses on sounds and hand movements as the person talks about the trauma.
  5. Hypnotherapy – helps identify the trigger for the person to be more in control on how to react to the triggers.
  6. Creative therapy – art therapies create a safe space as the person process his traumatic experience. It is his channel for words that are hard to verbalize.
  7. Treatments using low doses of Ecstasy

Be patient and go with what works. Jor-El Caraballo, LMHC

Studies have shown that patient’s high probability of improvement relies on when they are given the freedom to choose their mode of treatment.

New methods are being developed to treat PTSD, especially for our veterans to guard their well-being far better.

Debunking Misconceptions About Psychologists

Although there had been an increase in campaigns and conversations on mental health, there are still a whole lot of misconceptions, myths, misunderstandings, and stereotypes in availing the services of a psychologist. These things are what hinders these individuals in seeking professional help. To fix these ongoing stigma, we have decided to determine and debunk these common misconceptions.

Psychologists Listen While You Sit On A Couch And Rant

In the past, most psychologists prefer to adopt a practice called psychoanalysis. It is the Freudian method of talking therapy, where the client tends to lay on the couch while recollecting their memories, and the therapist listens and takes note of the problems. From here, the experts base their interpretations on the unconscious processes of the mind.

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In the modern day, however, most psychologists opt to practice a more conversational approach wherein the session focuses on both the present problems and future outcomes instead of dwelling on the past. The therapist and client are equal in this strategy, which will require more active involvement from both sides.

Psychologists Do Not Have Mental Health Issues Or Life Problems

Although psychologists spend more or less six years in mastering the behavior of the human mind, it does not mean that they are already masters of life. In reality, they still consider themselves ordinary people who also face the typical challenges of life. They still experience some blind spots despite learning all of these evidence-based concepts and theories.

There are even times wherein they forget to take care of their mental health since they are busy trying to help others fix theirs. Believe it or not, they are also still a work-in-progress just like anybody else!

When most people hear the term psychologist, their immediate impression is that of a mental health professional who provides psychotherapy. Of course, this impression is not incorrect; rather, it is incomplete. — Dillon Browne Ph.D.

Psychologists Are Experts Who Can Solve Problems In One Session

It is not true! Psychologists only consider themselves as the main facilitators of the sessions. The outcome of these sessions depends on the effort of both the patient and the psychologist. In reality, psychologists only construct the road, but the clients are the ones in-charge to drive through this road and reach their destinations. In other words, they are just there to guide you to make the changes you opt to experience in your life.

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Some clients even treat their sessions, just like a grocery shopping time. They bring a long list of issues to address, and they are expecting to solve everything in only one seating. It should not be the case.

First, it is not scientifically possible to tackle multiple issues in a session. It takes time to process even just one problem. Second, psychologists are not wizards who can magically make your problems disappear. It will require trust development, rapport building, and extensive understanding from both sides to be able to comprehend the client’s issues fully.

Some cultural groups tend to express distress physically, such as in sleep problems. Then the psychologist focuses on physical problems before working on other issues, such as emotional problems. — Gordon C. Nagayama Hall, Ph.D.

Psychologists Can Always Provide A Clear Diagnosis To Their Patients

Although psychologists are trained to have a precise diagnosis of mental health issues, it does not mean that they should always provide one. Sometimes, it will take them a while to be able to figure out what’s wrong, so they opt to push back their diagnosis. At other times, some clients don’t even meet the criteria for a specific diagnosis, so psychologists do not proclaim anything.

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Yes, they may chat with you about their hunches and ideas, and they might even give you recommendations on how to move forward, but this does not mean that they are diagnosing you with something mental-health related.

Some people who work under the label of “psychologist” are primarily therapists. While others who work under this label are primarily behavioral scientists. — Glenn Geher Ph.D.

All Psychologists Can Help You

Remember, not all psychologists can help you. Be open to the possibility that sometimes psychologists and clients do not click. If you feel uncomfortable with your current psychologist, do not hesitate to open this up to them, and start looking for another one. It might be disappointing and frustrating for people who are expecting so much from their sessions, but this is the reality of it.

The best road to recovery is to find a psychologist you can gel with, whom you trust, and who you are comfortable with. It will ensure that you are maximizing your therapy experience by opening up quickly to your psychologist.

More misconceptions are lurking in the air, but these are five of the most common ones. We hope that this post helped debunk some of the myths that have been bothering your mind. So, if you need someone to help you address your problems and get your life back on track, take a brave step and set an appointment with a psychologist. Rest assured that it will be worth your time and effort.

Myths On Child Behavioral Health

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All of us, even those not gifted with empathic qualities, are sure to melt when we see a child suffering from leukemia. We shed tears when talking to a mom whose daughter is debilitated with pain from chemotherapy. But a child suffering from the misfortunes of a psychiatric or behavioral health problem is vaguely seen on the outside. A lot of kids and teenagers who are emotionally hurt keep the pain to themselves. Others show their feelings in unpleasant or violent ways. And mostly because of stigma – shame, lack of knowledge, humiliation, and misconception about psychiatric problems – most of these children never get medical care.

Nearly one in five children is affected with an emotional or behavioral disorder. You may recognize that something is not right, but what it is or what to do remains a mystery.  — Susan Newman Ph.D.

People who are concerned about these problems (like you and me) need to discredit some myths about child behavioral health. This is crucial in getting help and understanding for more children because they deserve it.

The Myths

Myth #1. Bad parenting causes psychiatric disorders.

A child’s school and home atmosphere and his bond with his parents can aggravate a psychiatric disorder; these factors do not primarily result in the psychiatric disorder itself. Depression, anxiety, and autism are believed to have been caused by biological factors. And although parenting is not to blame, parents do play a vital role in supporting and caring for their children to hasten their recovery.

Myth #2. Children diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder are marred for life.

A child’s potential for a budding future and a fulfilled life can be at risk when he is diagnosed with a debilitating psychiatric disorder. However, if his pains and struggles are acknowledged and treated earlier, then he will have a better opportunity of managing the symptoms and growing up into a healthy and resilient adult.

Myth #3. Children develop psychiatric problems because they are weak and scared of many things.

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It’s not easy to distinguish the symptoms of your child’s psychiatric problem – his offensive behavior, hyperactivity, or severe anxiety, for instance – from his character. But a psychiatric disorder is a disease, like diabetes or neutropenia, and not the child’s personality. Parents and other family members should not assume that children already have built-in tools to help them overcome the challenges in their lives. However, they can indeed recover better and faster with the guidance and support of parents and significant others.

It would be silly to tell someone to just “buckle down” and “get over” cancer. The same applies to mental illness. — David Susman, Ph.D.

Myth #4. Any form of therapy for kids is useless.

Today, psychiatric disorders in children are not treated with just conventional talk therapy. Current treatment programs that have been studied and proven to be effective utilize cognitive behavioral therapy, which is geared towards eliminating a child’s negative thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that have caused him severe disabilities and issues. Many studies have shown that interventions started earlier, specifically at the time when the first symptoms appear, are more successful.

Myth #5. Children can cope with their psychiatric disorder if they are strong-willed.

Psychiatric disorders are not merely anxieties or mood swings. The anxiety is so strong, and the stress is severe, and this may affect almost all, if not all, aspects of their life. Children do not have sufficient skills and enough experiences to manage an illness as serious as clinical depression or ADHD. His healthcare team must create a proper treatment plan, which typically includes some form of behavioral therapy and learning ways to achieve happiness.

Myth #6. Most children are given too many medications.

People who are obliged to speak in public have complained about using prescription medicines in treating their children, which is the reason why many think that psychiatrists give medications to all their patients suffering from a psychiatric disorder. However, efficient and compassionate psychiatrists decide wisely before they begin a child on a treatment program that would include medication usually in conjunction with cognitive therapies. Psychiatric disorders are serious illnesses that need serious consideration as well.

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Myth #7. Children outgrow their behavioral health problems.

Children have a lesser likelihood of outgrowing their psychiatric problems. Rather, they are more likely to grow into or develop incapacitating symptoms. Most often, when a child’s behavioral problems are not treated during childhood, these problems become more complicated and hard to treat in adulthood. Screening young individuals for behavioral problems before they turn 14 is very important. At the same time, initial interventions can be introduced slowly while their brains are most responsive to modifications and treatment plans.

If you are still having problems managing your child’s behavior or your child has recently become more fearful, angry, or aggressive, meeting with a psychotherapist may be helpful in order to explore the underlying reasons for the behaviors and to get your child back on track. — Wendy Salazar, MFT