Category "Mental Health"

20Jun

Here’s why you might ‘black out’ when you’re anxious – National

by BBG Hub

It happens to the best of us.

During a job interview or a first date, you’re so nervous it’s hard to think. And afterwards, when someone asks you how it went, you genuinely can’t remember.

It might feel like you’re losing your memory, but according to Dr. Ira Fischler, this “blackout” is probably not a loss at all. It’s more likely that you didn’t even make the memory in the first place.


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Fischler is an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Florida who specializes in cognition, learning and memory.

“When memories for specific emotionally-laden events appear to be lost, it’s most often because our attention during the event was not on the interaction itself,” he told Global News.

Instead, it’s common for a person to focus on how they are presenting themselves or on their internal emotional state during the interaction — especially during stress-inducing moments.

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This would explain why some people struggle to recall the questions asked during a job interview, for example.

They’re instead focused on how they’re presenting to the employer in the moment.

According to Fischler, this lapse in memory — commonly called “weapon focus” in the eyewitness memory field — can be a major issue for criminal cases.

“If you’re being robbed, you may be focused on the gun (or the danger you’re in) rather than the dress or face of the perpetrator,” he said.


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“In these cases, the critical info you’re trying to recall was never ‘stored’ in the first place.”

Many people can probably relate to meeting someone new and immediately forgetting their name. Fischler says that is a perfect example of “weapon focus.”

“We’re not paying attention to [the name] and [we] are unlikely to give it that little bit of rehearsal that will make it memorable later,” he said, which explains why the name is “forgotten” within seconds.

How the brain works

“Our brain starts acting certain ways as a result of trauma and anxiety,” said Laura Bloom.

She works as a psychotherapist who specializes in anxiety and neuro-psycho education.

When we’re in a situation that causes nervousness or anxiety, a “fight or flight” reaction is triggered, which sends certain hormones out into the body.

It can cause several side effects, like feeling “light-headed and dizzy,” and it can affect “the way our brain remembers situations that we’ve been in,” said Bloom.

WATCH BELOW: Lifelong skills to overcome & manage anxiety





She thinks of the hippocampus (the part of the brain responsible for memory) as the brain’s library and each memory as a card with all the information about what happened on it.

“When we have something [scary] happen, the experience of trauma [means] that our brain doesn’t necessarily keep all of the details properly,” she said.

Strong feelings of anxiety can cause the information to be saved incorrectly, which can in turn feel like a blank space in your memory.


READ MORE:
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However, there’s still a debate among psychologists about whether your brain “represses” the memory or if there wasn’t any memory created in the first place.

“Research in animals and humans suggests that on balance, heightened emotion or arousal will tend to improve — rather than impair — recall of the event,” Fischler said.

“This can occur both because of increased attention to the experience (a cognitive level effect) and the release of certain ‘stress’ hormones… that appear to enhance the ‘consolidation’ of memories.”

WATCH BELOW: How learning new things as an adult can change brain chemistry





“Consolidation” as the transformation of an event from a short-term to a more stable, long-term memory, says Fischler.

Memory loss is real, but in this situation, it’s more likely that you can’t remember something because there was a problem with how you experienced the event — such as with “weapon focus.”

Other ways your body could respond to anxiety

According to Jim Folk, founder and president of Anxietycentre.com based in Calgary, our bodies’ sympathetic nervous systems respond to the stressful thoughts or moods we may have, including anger, worry or fear.

“Rapid heart rate is one of the common ones because stimulus gets the heart going,” he said.


READ MORE:
Urges to pee and other ways our bodies react to anxiety

“People can experience skipped beats when the heart is sort of jolted by the stress response.”

Demian Brown, a Toronto-based psychotherapist and registered clinical social worker, previously told Global News twitching in the face and body is a common symptom of anxiety.

“When you’re under stress, physiological things start to happen to the body,” Brown said. “Your adrenaline and noradrenaline levels increase as if your body is preparing for some kind of danger.”

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Brown added this type of response increases your muscle tone and prepares your body for what is perceived to come its way.

An urge to pee, sweating, throat tightening, diarrhea and constipation are just some of the side effects stress can have on the body, though it will vary from person to person.

How to deal

If it seems like you constantly suffer from “blackouts,” it could be that you’re putting yourself in too many stressful situations.

This can have long-term impacts on your brain health.

A recent study by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute determined a clear link between high levels of cortisol, a hormone released during periods of stress, and memory loss.


READ MORE:
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Researchers surveyed more than 2,000 people with no signs of dementia and gave them various psychological exams to measure cognitive ability.

“Higher levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, seem to predict brain function, brain size and performance on cognitive tests,” said study author Dr. Sudha Seshadri in an interview with CNN.

“We found memory loss and brain shrinkage in relatively young people long before any symptoms could be seen,” he added.

WATCH BELOW: Maisie Williams says fame is ‘not worth it’ and hurt her mental health





When confronting anxiety, Bloom says her motto is “rewire your mood, rewire your life.”

For her, it’s crucial that you replace the fight or flight response with a calmer, healthier approach to situations that aren’t actually life-threatening.

The first step to doing that is understanding what triggers your fight or flight response.

“First, we’ll work to identify those beliefs and coping strategies [the patient] grew up with or which have had influence throughout their lives. Why are they feeling that way? What’s it coming from?” she said.


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Experiencing withdrawal: What it’s like to stop taking antidepressants

Bloom also recommends working with a psychologist or psychotherapist to learn calming techniques.

“Doing things like deep breathing really helps to calm your nervous system down after those fight or flight reactions,” she said.

She says deep breathing, or breathing from your diaphragm, can slow down your system and by extension, your panicked reaction.

Laughter, grounding statements and visualization are other techniques which can also slow down the fight or flight response.

The goal is to “activate the logical brain instead of the fear-driven brain,” said Bloom. “That way, your brain’s not acting for you… [and] you can figure things out logically.”

— With files from Laura Hensley & Arti Patel

[email protected]

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.




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31May

Experiencing withdrawal: What it’s like to stop taking antidepressants – National

by BBG Hub

When Elizabeth tried to get off her antidepressants for good, she says she felt like she was in a fog.

The 29-year-old educator, who asked Global News to only use her first name, said she had six days of “serious side effects” after she stopped taking paroxetine, an antidepressant often used to also treat anxiety.

“I had nausea, headaches, felt sick and like something was ‘off,’” she said. “[I felt] lethargic and had no energy, no motivation and struggled with sleeping.”

READ MORE: ‘I couldn’t believe it’ — why disability claims for mental health are often a struggle

She had been on the medication for about two years, and had attempted to go off twice before, but the withdrawal symptoms were just too much.

This time, she did more research online to see what other people experienced so she was aware of what may happen.

“I prepared myself for what I expected to be a long journey,” she said. “I talked to my family and warned them of the side effects and that I would need extra support and encouragement during the withdrawal time.”

It took Elizabeth a couple of weeks before the pain subsided, and she slowly gained her energy back.

WATCH BELOW: How cooking helps ease symptoms of anxiety and depression





“After about a week, I started to notice that I was feeling a bit more like myself, and by week two, I felt like I had beat the ‘fog,’” she said. “[My doctor] didn’t really explain any side effects, or how [the medication] would affect me.”

How many people are on antidepressants

Elizabeth is not alone in her experience.

Canada is among the top counties with the highest rates of antidepressant use in the world, according to 2017 data by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Based on government data from 2011 — the most recent available — antidepressants were the most prescribed drug for men 25 to 44, and the top drug prescribed to women aged 25 to 79.

(A 2014 study out of the University of Calgary found that antidepressant use in the country may now be stabilizing.)

READ MORE: ‘Depression isn’t like a broken bone’: Steps to overcome this common mental illness

In the U.S., antidepressant use has almost doubled since 2010, and more than tripled since 2000, according to data analyzed by the New York Times.

And as antidepressant use has increased in recent years, so have conversations around the withdrawal.

On Thursday, the U.K.’s Royal College of Psychiatrists released a new report warning of possible side effects of antidepressants, urging health-care providers to better monitor patients who use the drugs.

The report said there should be more awareness around side effects of the medications, highlighting the fact that some people may experience “long-lasting withdrawal symptoms on and after stopping antidepressants.”

READ MORE: More children and teens are having suicidal thoughts, but experts can’t pinpoint why

The authors recommend patients be tapered off the drugs under doctor supervision, and that researchers should “develop clear evidence-based and pharmacologically-informed recommendations to help guide gradual withdrawal from antidepressant use.”

The report echoes sentiments of what many antidepressant users have been saying for years.

In a recent op-ed in the Guardian, writer Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett described how when coming off the drugs, she experienced “panic attacks, dizziness, headaches, irrational fury, dramatic mood swings, suicidal thoughts and exhaustion.”

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“Luckily, I have a doctor in my family, who, after my ill-judged initial attempt to go cold turkey ended in hospital, recommended that I take it slowly by cutting my pills in half and reducing down to every other day, then every three days and so on,” she wrote.

“I am now drug-free and fine, but it was no picnic: not for me, and not for the people I love, who had to be around me.”

Antidepressant side effects

For some people, withdrawal symptoms are so debilitating they seek comfort through mental health support groups. On Facebook, there are public and private groups where members discuss their experiences coming off antidepressants, as well as how they feel on the drugs.

On these forums, many people describe symptoms ranging from changes in weight, irritability, nightmares and changes in sex drives. Others seek the counsel of other users because they say their doctors did not inform them of adverse side effects.

READ MORE: Ketamine for depression divides experts: ‘I’ve seen these drugs come and go’

Dr. Donna Stewart, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto and a senior scientist at Toronto General Hospital Research Institute, said there are two main types of popular antidepressants that are commonly prescribed for depression and anxiety disorders: selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRIs).

These antidepressants treat depression by increasing the number of certain brain chemicals, like serotonin, which carries messages between brain cells.

Popular SSRIs include Prozac (known generically as fluoxetine), Paxil (paroxetine), Zoloft (sertraline) and Lexapro (escitalopram).

SNRIs include venlafaxine (Effexor), duloxetine (Cymbalta), levomilnacipran (Fetzima) and desvenlafaxine (Pristiq), the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) outlines.

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When coming off these drugs, Stewart says common side effects can include dizziness, abnormal sensations, digestive symptoms, flu-like symptoms, depression, anxiety, sweating and poor sleep.

She also says people may experience what they describe as a “brain zap,” which feels like an electric shock of sorts. “Brain shocks frighten people,” she added.

While withdrawal can be alarming, Stewart says that many people experience minimal or no side effects when coming off their medication.

But for others, the withdrawal symptoms can be so alarming that they go back on the medications or stop trying to go off them altogether. This happened to Elizabeth the first few times she tried to get off her meds.

READ MORE: 8 signs your child may be going through depression

“The first time I attempted to go off, I had dropped my dosage by half for a week, and then the next week, I tried going every other day. Unfortunately, once I was off, I started experiencing anxiety again and decided to go back on probably two weeks after,” she said.

“The second time, probably a few months later, I decided to go cold turkey and I lasted three days before I needed to go back on.”

Stewart says it’s important for patients to know the difference between withdrawal symptoms and signs of their depression or anxiety. A recent study published in medical journal The Lancet found that if withdrawal symptoms are mistaken for recurrence of a mental health issue, like depression, it can lead to “long-term unnecessary medication.”

Withdrawal symptoms typically begin within days of stopping medication and last several days to weeks, Stewart says. “They are less common if the med withdrawal is tapered,” she explained.

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Withdrawal also often includes symptoms that you normally don’t experience with your anxiety or depression, like flu-like symptoms or “brain zaps.”

A symptom of a mental health condition, on the other hand, can come on weeks or months after stopping the medication.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of your mental health condition again, or are unsure of your symptoms, it’s important to talk to your doctor, Stewart says.

What antidepressants should be used for

According to the World Health Organization, 4.4 per cent of the world’s population suffers from depression.

CAMH defines clinical depression as a “complex mood disorder caused by various factors, including genetic predisposition, personality, stress and brain chemistry.” It can range in severity, and affect people at different points in their lives.

For people with mild depression, Stewart says that antidepressants should not be first-line treatment; psychotherapy and environmental changes should be explored first.

Part of the reason why so many Canadians are on antidepressants is because there’s not enough publicly funded mental health services, Stewart said. For people with mild depression, “a good government-sponsored psychotherapy program” would be helpful, she said.

Instead, many patients are prescribed drugs for symptoms that may be manageable through therapy.

READ MORE: ‘I hated myself’: Maisie Williams says fame harmed her mental health

But when it comes to moderate to severe depression, antidepressants can be incredibly helpful and often a necessary part of treatment.

CAMH says that most people who use antidepressants need to take them for at least a year.

For patients with moderate to severe depression, Stewart says they may need to be on antidepressants for two years or longer, depending on their condition and how many depressive episodes they have. (It’s important to note that everyone’s treatment plan is unique to them.)

Stewart also points out that antidepressants are often used to treat anxiety disorders as well, and can be helpful in managing conditions like panic disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder.

How to go off antidepressants

If you’re on antidepressants and want to get off them, Stewart says it’s important you talk to your health-care provider. They should be able to inform you on how to lower your dose, tapering you off the medication safely.

It can be very dangerous to stop taking prescription medication on your own, or go “cold turkey.” Apart from withdrawal symptoms, people should be educated on possible mental health concerns.

READ MORE: Men suffer from eating disorders, too — so why do we ignore them?

Stewart says there’s still a lot of stigma around mental health conditions, making it hard for some people to seek help. She says it’s important for anyone suffering from anxiety or depression to speak to a health-care professional.

Elizabeth says while she is off antidepressants today, the medication helped her when she needed it.

“I have never considered using [antidepressants] again, but I am thankful for the freedom they gave me,” she said.

“[They helped] me learn about myself and learn how to cope with change and stressful situations while having assistance from the medication.”

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.

The Canadian Association for Suicide PreventionDepression Hurts and Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868  all offer ways of getting help if you, or someone you know, may be suffering from mental health issues.

[email protected]

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.




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26May

‘I never want to forget them’: Memorial tattoos help people cope with loss, grief – National

by BBG Hub

The passing of a loved one can be utterly devastating. Grief is all-encompassing, and for some, it never really goes away.

Tattoos present a unique way to cope with the grief.

“Memorial tattoos help continue bonds with the deceased,” said Deborah Davidson.

She works as a professor of sociology at York University, and she’s the creator of The Tattoo Project.

READ MORE: More names to be added to singer’s tattoo tribute to suicidal youth

“Tattoos can be understood as a form of public storytelling,” said Davidson. “Stories help us make sense and meaning out of things that happened to us.”

When placed in a spot where other people can see it — as most are — a memorial tattoo is often an intentional conversation-starter.

“People fear their loved one will be forgotten… not by themselves, but by others,” Davidson said.

“[Tattoos] open that dialogue so you can talk about what your tattoo means and remember the person you lost that way.”

READ MORE: How to talk to your kids about the death of a loved one

Some memorial tattoos have a beginning and an end date, making it obvious that it represents a life that has come to an end. However, in Davidson’s experience, most memorial tattoos are more inconspicuous.

“The stories associated with lots of these tattoos are not sad stories. People want to remember their loved ones and have happy memories of them,” she said.

The permanence of body tattoos can also have a comforting quality for someone dealing with tragic loss.

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“They’re permanent, so their loved one and their story and their memory will be with you forever,” said Davidson.  “[Tattoos] help incorporate loss into the lives of the bereaved in meaningful ways.”

In a lot of cases, grief is also a permanent fixture in the life of the bereaved.

“There are no five stages of grief,” Davidson said. “A main complaint of people that are grieving is that they’re expected to get over it [after] a certain amount of time, but it doesn’t work that way.”

Eunice Gorman, a professor at King’s University College, agrees. She’s an expert in grief and bereavement.

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“[Grief] affects everybody differently. Most people will manage to kind of bungle their way through grief… but we know that some people really struggle.”

That’s why some people turn to tattoos as a coping mechanism, of which there are many.

“Coping mechanisms are as unique as the people who are grieving,” said Gorman.

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Some people will go to support groups, some will read, some will exercise. Whatever a person chooses, coping mechanisms are crucial to surviving after loss.

“People often get tattoos because it’s a remembrance for other people… It’s a way to link them to the person that they loved,” she said. “For other people, it’s kind of a touchstone. They can look at it or they can touch it and they can be brought back to remembering them.”

Courtesy: Alyssa Davies

Alyssa Davies from Calgary, Alta.

“My grandpa hadn’t been doing well and was in the hospital for months. During that time, my grandma was so focused on my grandpa getting well that she didn’t take care of herself and ended up unexpectedly passing away first. My grandpa then passed away a few months later… It was a tough year for our family — particularly my mom.

“My grandpa was an avid gardener and had won many gardening awards in Calgary in his retirement. My grandma and I shared a love for poetry and passed along a book of poems by Robert Frost. I got the butterflies to commemorate my grandpa’s love for gardening and as a nod to my grandma, as Robert Frost’s first published poem was My Butterfly.

“I like to think that whenever a butterfly is near or flying by that it’s either of them saying hello — which probably sounds crazy, but it makes me feel good.

“These tattoos were a great way to commemorate two people who had a massive impact on my life when I was younger. I think tattoos are a form of artwork, and for those of us who aren’t as creative with a pen and paper, artwork that allows us to see the people we’ll always love come to life again.

“I got a lot of tattoos when I was younger that I certainly regret now, but this isn’t one of them. It’s so 2000s and it’s faded and it’s the ‘basic’ butterfly tattoo that a million girls probably have but it still makes me smile and it still brings me joy every single time I look at it… Sometimes we forget memories and people, but I never want to forget them.”

Courtesy: Rob Marshall

Rob Marshall from Toronto, Ont. 

“I got my first tattoo in 2016, five months after my mom passed away following her two-year battle with ALS. While she was sick, I stumbled across this picture online, teared up, and made it my phone background. Something in the way the mother lion was embracing her child — almost enveloping it — made me think of my mom.

“My mom is the reason for all the kindest, most loving parts of myself. She was a constant source of light and love. So to see her suffer as her ALS progressed was the most difficult emotional experience I’ve ever been through. For over a year, this picture on my phone helped me ground my thoughts.

“When my mind fixated on the terrible images of her fading health and suffering, this image was a shortcut to think of everything she meant to me instead.

“I’d look at it and think of her smile, her hugs, the way she’d snort when she laughed hard enough (and immediately turn red in embarrassment), the way she loved without question, without pause, and with her whole heart. After she passed, I decided to get that comforting image tattooed on my forearm as a way to remember her, and to keep those positive thoughts and feelings at the ready.

“It’s there when I miss her, when I think of those difficult times when she was sick, when I’m having a good day that I wish I could share with her. I carry her with me everywhere, every day, just as I carry those best parts of myself that she instilled in me.”

Courtesy: Kathy Kenzora

Kathy Kenzora from Mississauga, Ont.

“I have a ‘dad’ banner tattoo on the inside of my right wrist… I got it in June 2018 in honour of my dad, Bob Kenzora, who died on March 30, 2018. He died following a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. He was 77 years old.

“My dad had a ‘mother’ banner tattoo on his left forearm that he got in his 20s while working as a lumberjack in British Columbia. To me, it was always a symbol of his strength and his sense of humour. He used to joke that he got it so that his mom wouldn’t be mad at him when he came back to Ontario.

“After he died, the nurses at the hospital gave us some time to say our final goodbyes. It felt impossible to leave him there.

“Before I could go, I felt like I needed another way to remember him, so I took a picture of the tattoo on his arm and promised myself I would get one just like it.

“My dad was my hero and my idol. My tattoo gives me so much joy because it feels like a piece of him will be with me always. I love my tattoo and I know my dad would have loved it too.”

[email protected]

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.




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16May

‘I hated myself’: Maisie Williams says fame harmed her mental health – National

by BBG Hub

Game of Thrones actor Maisie Williams is speaking out about the dark side of fame, revealing how being in the spotlight negatively impacted her mental health.

While appearing on the podcast Happy Place, 22-year-old Williams opened up about how she “hated” herself for parts of her life and let negative criticism affect her. The British actor, who was only 13 when she joined the GOT cast as Arya Stark, said it’s been hard growing up on camera and pretending to always be happy.

READ MORE: ‘Game of Thrones’ actor Conleth Hill ‘frustrated’ by last few seasons

“I went through a huge period of my life where I’d tell myself every day that I hated myself,” Williams told podcast host Fearne Cotton.

“It got to the point where I’d be in a conversation with my friends and my mind would be running and running and running and thinking about all the stupid things I’ve said in my life and all the people who’ve looked at me a certain way.”

Williams said that while she’s gotten better at squashing that self-criticism, the pressures of being a young celebrity can be incredibly challenging.

“This is why people go insane; I get it now,” she said.

WATCH: Fans of ‘Game of Thrones’ create petition to remake Season 8





Williams, who is close friends with her GOT co-star Sophie Turner, also revealed she experiences anxiety. She said that by talking about her problems with her friends and family, she’s learned how common it is.

Earlier this year, Turner also opened up on Dr. Phil’s podcast, Phil in the Blanks, about her own experiences dealing with depression. Turner said that the negative attention she received from viewers was hard for her and that “social media scrutiny” really affected her.

“It was just a lot of weight comments, or I would have spotty skin because I was a teenager — and that’s normal — and I used to get a lot of comments about my skin and my weight and how I wasn’t a good actress,” Turner said.

READ MORE: Sophie Turner, ‘Game of Thrones’ star, dealt with serious depression while filming

Like Turner, Williams has been targeted on social media, too. While on the podcast, she said there was a period of time where she was becoming overwhelmed by online criticism.

“It got to me a lot because there’s just a constant feed in your back pocket of what people think of you,” she said. “It gets to a point where you’re almost craving something negative so you can sit in a hole of sadness, and it’s really bizarre the way it starts to consume you.”

Now that GOT is nearly over — the show’s finale is May 19 — Williams is looking to have a quieter life away from the series’ fame.

“Honestly, I want a normal life with people that I love and people I know are true and care about me,” she said.

“I don’t want any of this crazy, crazy world because it’s not worth it.”

[email protected]

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.




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25Apr

Rejection hurts — here’s how to deal with it – National

by BBG Hub

No one likes being rejected, but when it happens the sting is a real, painful, emotional response.

“When we’re talking about the term rejection, what we’re really referring to is feelings of shame, sadness or grief that we feel when we’re not accepted by others,” said Dr. Joti Samra, a registered psychologist and founder of B.C.-based company My Workplace Health.

“Like all of our negative emotional states, we developed them from an evolutionary standpoint and they all serve a function. Rejection… is an evolutionary alert that we could be at risk of being ostracized from the community or tribe that we belong to.”

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In other words, it’s a perfectly normal reaction to feel terrible when someone turns you down. But that doesn’t mean rejection is always easy — or fun — to deal with.

“We have strong, evolutionary ingrained emotions, and a trigger can lead to this kind of intense reaction,” Samra said. “When we think about how to best respond to rejection, one is to get perspective and understand, ‘I’m having an intense emotional reaction.’”

How to deal with rejection

While it’s important to be aware of our emotions, it’s not always easy to stay calm right after getting fired or dumped. In fact, when we feel rejected, one of our first inclinations is to turn inward and shut people out, says Demian Brown, a Toronto-based psychotherapist and registered clinical social worker.

READ MORE: ‘What am I doing with my life?’: How to cope after a layoff

This tendency to be alone can only make the feelings of rejection worse, he says, and is actually the opposite of what you should be doing. You need support from others in order to best bounce back from rejection.

“Being part of a social system — whether it’s a romantic relationship, close friendship or a job — meets the fundamental human need for affiliation,” Brown explained. “Talk to friends, family, and ideally, a therapist who is objective and neutral in the situation.”

Spending time around people who support you and are not rejecting you can help mitigate feelings of insecurity and shame. It can also help challenge your negative self-talk, and remind you that you are not a failure simply because you’re going through a hard time.

WATCH BELOW: Here are the 3 warning signs of a burnout





Further, being around others also normalizes your experience, Brown said.

“Don’t hesitate to ask those close to you.. to share their own history of losses to find out how they coped with it,” he said. “Group therapy can be especially effective at normalizing these situations since rejection is a universally experienced human phenomenon.”

Don’t overreact

Even if everyone goes through rejection at some point or another, it can still cause us to act like the world is ending. “When we’re under high stress and experiencing negative emotions, what we do is catastrophize; we make mountains out of molehills,” Samra said.

“If somebody breaks up with us, we may think, ‘Oh my goodness I’m going to die alone.’ Well, that’s a catastrophic thought and it’s going to amplify that feeling of rejection.”

Samra said that not only does catastrophizing feel terrible, it also makes us overestimate the probability of negative things happening. Instead of going down this negative path, Samra says we should try to reframe our thoughts and think of our rejection more objectively.

READ MORE: ‘My stomach was in knots’: How to tell if you’re being bullied at work

“Instead if we were to say, ‘OK I’ve been dumped 10 times before the sky is not going to fall down. This probably isn’t a match for me’… we can change the way that we view rejection,” she explained.

Try not to take rejection personally

The ability to see rejection more objectively also makes it less personal. Most of the time, rejection means a situation is simply not a fit. Other times, rejection is just part of the realities of an industry, like sales or acting.

“I have been a model for the last four years and how many rejections I’ve had really hit [me],” said Scott McGlynn, a U.K.-based influencer and activist. “I [would] think, ‘Am I ugly? What’s wrong with me?’ [and] took it personally, of course.”

WATCH BELOW: Dating apps may be harming your mental health





Brown points out that even though rejection can make us feel terrible about ourselves, it’s important to remember that things in life are often out of our control. Reminding ourselves of this fact can change our outlook of a situation.

This is a mindset that 31-year-old McGlynn has adopted, as he says he’s learned that professional rejection likely means he wasn’t right for a role. “I could go on a casting call today and my head’s saying, ‘This might not work out, but that’s OK,’” he said.

Use rejection as a way to grow

In order to grow, it’s important to objectively think about if you played a role in your rejection, and how you can learn from it. In other words, if you lost a job and your boss constantly reprimanded you for coming in late, take that feedback and try to adjust your behaviour in your next role.

READ MORE: Want to reboot your life? You need to ditch emotional baggage

“Assess the situation to determine where you may have contributed to the loss, and be aware of the circumstances fully so you can identify where you are [at blame] or not to be blamed,” Brown explained.

If you have made some errors, don’t beat yourself up for them. Instead, use your rejection as a launching point for personal development.

McGlynn now sees rejection as a good thing and something that helps build reliance.

“If I just got a ‘yes’ from the first agency who accepted me, I would think, ‘Got it, done!’” he said. “But… fighting for my place makes me want [success] more.”

[email protected]

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.




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14Apr

Ketamine for depression divides experts: ‘I’ve seen these drugs come and go’ – National

by BBG Hub

Depression can be completely debilitating, making it difficult to do even the simplest tasks — like getting out of bed or brushing one’s teeth.

Unfortunately, it’s very common. According to the World Health Organization, more than 300 million people around the world are currently suffering from depression.

Now, there may be a new way to treat the illness: ketamine.

READ MORE: ‘Emotionally draining’: The effect depression has on tasks like brushing hair, showering

Ketamine is commonly used as an anesthetic and painkiller in animal and human surgery. It also rose to popularity as a party drug in the 1990s. Now, it’s being lauded as a possible cure for treatment-resistant depression.

“We have a large sub population in our country with depression who can’t work… they just can’t break this vicious cycle,” said Dr. Roger McIntyre, president of the Canadian Rapid Treatment Centre of Excellence (CRTCE).

McIntyre hopes ketamine can break that cycle.

The CRTCE, which administers rapid onset treatments for depression in the form of ketamine injections, is the first of its kind in Canada.

How does the treatment work?

At the CRTCE, ketamine is delivered through intravenous infusion. According to the clinic’s website, “the protocol for administering ketamine is still being refined. Nonetheless… most individuals will receive four infusions (i.e. two infusions per week for two weeks).”

The cost of this treatment at the CRTCE is $3,000, and it is not paid for by the public health plan of Ontario (OHIP).

The process is overseen by a physician trained in anesthesia, as well as a nurse.

“The dose of ketamine by someone on the street… is about 10 times higher than the dose [you would be given] if you went to the hospital this afternoon for a procedure that required anesthesia,” said McIntyre. “The dose that we use to treat depression is about one-10th… of the dose used in anesthesia. So we’re using ‘sub-anesthetic doses.”

According to McIntyre, this does not mean the process is without safety concerns.

WATCH BELOW: ‘He likes to give hugs’: Man says emotional support alligator helps his depression





“[We] know it’s generally well received by patients, but it would be inaccurate to say that you don’t get any side effects,” said McIntyre. 

According to Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), ketamine can produce “vivid dreams and a feeling that the mind is separated from the body.” This effect is known as “dissociation.”

The intensity of the effects depend on several factors, including: your age, your body weight, how much you take, how often you take it, how you take the drug and more.

“Some people do become addicted, and continue to use ketamine even when they plan not to or despite its negative effects,” as stated on the CAMH website.

Ketamine works faster than other treatments

If a patient presents with intense suicidal thoughts, ketamine may be a more effective short-term treatment than other antidepressant medication.

“Most antidepressants take approximately four, six or even eight weeks to work. That’s a long time,” said McIntyre. “If you’re suffering, ketamine can work within one day.”

Dr. David Gratzer, a psychiatrist at CAMH, is hopeful about the effects of ketamine on depression for this reason.

READ MORE: 8 signs your child may be going through depression

“We are looking for a way of providing more rapid relief of depression than one might ordinarily see with Prozac and [similar] drugs,” said Gratzer.

“The evidence is there but we have to take it with a grain of salt because it’s early days. That being said, we do seem to find evidence that it helps people very quickly, particularly people who have many thoughts of suicide.”

Ketamine is a last-ditch effort for those who have tried everything else

Depression is difficult to understand — even for medical professionals.

“As with most diseases in physical medicine and mental health, we have a sense of what’s involved but we don’t exactly know,” said Gratzer.

According to Gratzer, doctors do know that family history and certain traumatic life events are connected with a higher risk of depression.

“However, two people can be raised in the same household and eat the same foods and have a relatively similar childhood and one can get heart disease while the other doesn’t,” said Gratzer.

WATCH BELOW: Study links exposure to infection in the womb to increased risk of autism, depression





“Likewise, you can get [depression] and your sibling may not. So, while we do recognize there’s a strong genetic component… it’s not 100 per cent. There’s more going on.”

Because of the evasive nature of depression, finding a treatment that works can be difficult.

Once someone is diagnosed, they are usually prescribed one of or a combination of three kinds of treatment: exercise, talk therapy and medication. According to Gratzer, patients “do the best” when they do all three.

READ MORE: Is ASMR an effective way to treat anxiety and depression?

But, for some patients, none of these treatments work. And that’s where ketamine can be an exciting option.

“Ketamine is one of a handful of medications that is out of the box,” said Gratzer. 

To be eligible for treatment at the CRTCE, there are three criteria: you are over the age of 18, you are medically stable and you have had a minimum of two other treatments for your depression.

‘Early reports are good, but now we need to take it to the next step’

McIntyre admits that the full effects (positive and negative) of the drug are unknown.

An issue McIntyre and his team are paying close attention to is the impact ketamine can have on other organs, like the kidney or the bladder.

Another is whether ketamine can act as a gateway to other, more severe drug abuse, said McIntyre. 

The CRTCE website states that, “it is critical to understand that ketamine researchers are still exploring a multitude of ways that ketamine infusions impact the human brain. They are working towards understanding why this form of treatment works so quickly and effectively.”

Despite its positive impact thus far, Gratzer isn’t ready to call ketamine a “wonder drug” yet.

WATCH BELOW: 5 ways to help a friend with postpartum depression





“I’m optimistic, but I’ve got a few gray hairs, so I’ve seen these wonder drugs come and go,” he said.

“We need to take it to the next step… can we use it on more people safely? What sort of side effects do they get? Are the effects [on depression] we see with ketamine lasting?”

Gratzer is interested to see whether the effects of ketamine can remain beyond the days after it’s injected.

“It’s great that some people might see relief… if you’ve got a pain on your left hand, it’s great that you feel better with a Tylenol. But that tends to fade and maybe what you really have is a little infection of the skin and what you should really take is antibiotics,” said Gratzer. 

“I hope this is working out because it will be helpful, but I don’t really know and I don’t want to be too optimistic. Like a lot of private healthcare, the sales pitch may not be as good as the reality.”

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.

The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, Depression Hurts and Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868 all offer ways of getting help if you, or someone you know, may be suffering from mental health issues.

[email protected]

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.




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29Jan

Super Awesome Science Show recap: Sharing stress – National

by BBG Hub


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Have you ever had a great day in which nothing can go wrong, and then out of nowhere, a stressed person enters the room and your good feelings are replaced with feelings of anxiety and nervousness? You’re not alone. We may not realize it but stress is contagious and on this week’s episode of The Super Awesome Science Show, we find out how this happens.

We first start with Dr. Stephanie Preston at the University of Michigan. She has studied how our compassion, known as empathy, can be a trigger for sharing someone else’s stress. She’ll help us to appreciate how our ability to care for someone else can work against us.


READ MORE:
Working moms 40% more stressed than women without kids: study

Our next guest explains that stress can also be shared through our noses. Dr. Jaideep Bains at the University of Calgary has uncovered how the odours we make when stressed may have an influence on other people. While his studies are in mice, his proposal of an “alert pheromone” may offer some perspective as to why some people just smell stressed.

In our SASS class, we examine how we can help to avoid sharing stress by being around friends. Dr. Loren Martin from the University of Toronto Mississauga explains that stress can be buffered by having people around us and dividing up the effect.


READ MORE:
Kelowna RCMP test pilot project using animals to reduce work stress

If you enjoy The Super Awesome Science Show, please take a minute to rate it on Apple Podcasts and be sure to tell a friend about the show. Thanks to you, we’ve been nominated for a Canadian Podcast Award as Outstanding Science and Medicine Series. Let’s keep the awesome momentum going together!

Twitter: @JATetro

Email: [email protected]

Guests:
Dr. Stephanie Preston
https://lsa.umich.edu/psych/people/faculty/prestos.html
Twitter: @prestostwit

Dr. Jaideep Bains
University of Calgary
https://hbi.ucalgary.ca/profiles/dr-jaideep-bains
Twitter: @stressynomics

Dr. Loren Martin
University of Toronto Mississauga
https://www.utm.utoronto.ca/psychology/faculty-staff/martin-loren
Twitter: @_ljmartin

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Subscribing’s easy! Here’s how…

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© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.




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17Oct

Dialectical behavior therapy: Selena Gomez is an advocate, but what is it? – National

by BBG Hub

Pop singer Selena Gomez recently entered a treatment facility to address her ongoing issues related to anxiety and depression, and is reportedly receiving dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), a complex type of therapy that was first developed to treat borderline personality disorder but is now used to treat a host of mental health conditions.

The 26-year-old was hospitalized twice in late September and early October, and has suffered from “an emotional breakdown.” Gomez is now reportedly at an east coast psychiatric facility and is receiving DBT — something she has talked about in the past.

WATCH BELOW: Selena Gomez suffers emotional ‘breakdown,’ enters psychiatric facility






“DBT has completely changed my life,” she told Vogue in March 2017. “I wish more people would talk about therapy.”

But what exactly is DBT, and how does it differ from other forms of therapy? According to Dr. Shelley McMain, an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto and the head of the Borderline Personality Disorder Clinic at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), DBT is “a broad-based cognitive behaviour therapy” that has a “strong focus on acceptance.”

What is DBT?

DBT was originally developed by American psychologist Dr. Marsha Linehan in the 80s to treat patients with borderline personality disorder and chronic suicidal ideation. McMain said the first treatment study of DBT was published in 1991, which showed it was an effective treatment for people with borderline personality disorder — something people thought was previously untreatable.

DBT treatment, according to McMain, integrates two seemingly opposite strategies: acceptance of experiences and behaviours, and the skills to make change and better manage emotion.

“In practice, DBT therapists tend to move very rapidly between very opposite ways of engaging,” McMain told Global News. “On the one hand [they’re] conveying a very strong message of acceptance, and coupling that with a very strong emphasis or message to the individual that they need to make changes.”

READ MORE: Are you suffering from mental fatigue? Here’s what to look for

How does DBT work?

DBT is based on cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), a popular form of psychotherapy used to treat many mental health issues, including anxiety and depression, CAMH says. With CBT, people are taught to challenge and change their thoughts and behaviours. But with DBT, people are instead taught to accept their thoughts and feelings, while also learning techniques to deal with them.

DBT programs often require a one-year commitment, according to CAMH. There are shorter programs, however, which can help people manage their emotions.

READ MORE: Falling out of love can happen, but some still make marriage work

When someone is undergoing DBT, they typically have both one-on-one counselling and group therapy. This is also what differs it from many other types of therapy, which are typically done in a patient/therapist-only environment.

“As it was originally designed, standard DBT is a comprehensive multimodal treatment, and there are four core modules,” McMain said.

“There’s individual therapy, there’s skills training — which is done in the often in groups — there’s also after-hour coaching so clients have the ability to contact therapists outside of regular hours, and there’s also a consultation meeting for clinicians which is held once a week, and that’s designed to treat the therapist.”

What is DBT used for?

DBT is now more widely used to treat other mental health issues including self-harm, depression, PTSD, eating disorders and substance abuse issues.

“Often, DBT is really geared towards people who have multiple, often complex, disorders,” McMain said. “Many individuals being treated with DBT may have comorbid personality disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, and meet criteria for a mood disorder or anxiety disorder.”

[email protected]

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.




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