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2023-05-24 1 min

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2023-05-11 1 min

Right to privacy

Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

2022-11-24 1 min



2022-06-16 8 mins

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Symptoms, Risk Factors, and Treatment

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a psychological problem characterized by reoccurring unwanted thoughts and fear (obsessions) that urge a person to do something repeatedly (compulsions). This is a long-term disorder that is now becoming common among people of all ages.

Signs and Symptoms of OCD:

The symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorders include either obsessions or compulsions and sometimes both. These symptoms impair one’s life functioning and therefore almost all aspects of life such as school, work, social, and personal relationships.

 Obsessions in OCD mean recurrent and persistent unwanted thoughts, mental images, or impulses that produce distressing feelings such as stress and anxiety. Common obsessions include:

  • Persistent fear of germs or getting contaminated by touching objects
  • Unwanted and uncontrollable thoughts related to religion, sex, or harm
  • Horrific thoughts about harming others or oneself
  • Always need things arranged symmetrically or in a perfect order

Compulsions refer to the repeated purposeful behavior or mental acts that an individual with OCD feels compelled to perform to reduce anxiety related to obsessive thoughts. Examples of symptoms of compulsions include:

  • Excessive bathing, hand washing, and cleaning
  • Repeatedly arranging things in an orderly manner
  • Unconsciously checking on things such as checking to see if the switch is off or door is locked over and over again
  • Following a strict schedule

However, all these habits don’t count as compulsions as everyone double-checks the switches and locks. But Individuals suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder generally:

  • Can’t manage their thoughts and actions, even though they are recognized as recurrent and excessive
  • Spend at least 60 minutes every day on these mental actions
  • Don’t get happy when performing these thoughts but may experience only brief relief from anxiety and other distressing thoughts
  • Struggle to perform daily functions due to these behaviors and thoughts

Some patients with OCD also get diagnosed with a tic disorder. Motor tics are sudden, involuntary, and repetitious movements of the body caused by spasm-like contractions of muscles such as eye blinking, shoulder shrugging, nose twitching, facial grimacing, and head jerking. Whereas vocal tics involve the sounds uttered unintentionally, for example, coughing, sniffing, throat clearing, and grunting.

The symptoms of OCD may change over time. People experiencing OCD try to help themselves by either avoiding events that trigger their obsessions or using drugs to relieve themselves. Most people are well aware that their actions do not make any sense but some may not realize that their actions are abnormal.

The symptoms of OCD among students are typically recognized by the parents and their teachers. However, the adults that think they have OCD should talk to their doctor immediately because untreated OCD can badly affect your lifestyle.

Risk Factors of OCD:

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is now becoming a common disorder affecting children, teenagers, and adults all over the world. Most people are diagnosed at the age of 19 but some older than 35 years of age are also diagnosed with this mental health illness.

Although the actual causes of OCD are yet unknown, its risk factors include:


Family studies have shown that an individual whose first-degree relative, for example, a parent, child, or sibling has OCD is at higher risk of developing this mental illness. This risk is even higher if that first-degree relative developed OCD in childhood or adolescence. More research is required to explore the connection between OCD and genetics that may help improve the diagnosis and treatment strategies for OCD.

Brain Structure and Functioning:

According to imaging studies, there is a difference in the structure of the frontal cortex and subcortical structures of the brain of patients suffering from OCD. The symptoms of OCD and abnormalities in certain areas of the brain are also found correlated, however, the connection is yet not clear. Identifying and understanding the real causes of OCD can help determine specific methods to treat OCD.


The environment can also play a role in the development of OCD as studies have found an association between childhood trauma and symptoms of OCD. But still, more research is required in this area.

In some cases, children have been reported to develop symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder after getting a streptococcal infection. This condition is termed Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS).

Treatment and Therapies of OCD:

The typical treatment of OCD includes medications, psychotherapy (talk therapy), or sometimes both. Most OCD patients respond well to the treatment strategies but some patients continue to experience symptoms.

Some people with the obsessive-compulsive disorder also develop other mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, and body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), a mental health problem in which a person is upset about their body appearance. Keeping in view these mental health problems the treatment for OCD should be decided.


First-line treatment of symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder is serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs) which include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

Compared to depression, for the treatment of OCD higher doses of serotonin reuptake inhibitors are required. This may take 8 to 12 weeks until SRIs start working, however, some patients show rapid improvement.

If these medications fail to improve symptoms, some patients are treated with antipsychotic medications. According to research, antipsychotic medications can help manage symptoms of patients suffering from both OCD and tic disorder but more research is required regarding the effectiveness of these medicines to treat OCD.

Before starting the prescribed medication, make sure to:

  • Talk to the pharmacist or healthcare provider and understand the health benefits and risks of prescribed medication.
  • Don’t stop the medication suddenly and without consulting your doctor. This is because suddenly stopping the medication may cause rebound symptoms of OCD. Other life-threatening withdrawal effects may also occur.
  • Talk to a specialist in case of any side effects. Ask them to change your dose or prescribe a different medication.

Some other medicines are also used to improve the symptoms of OCD but more research is required before a conclusion.


This is the second treatment option for managing the symptoms of OCD among adults and children. Research suggests that psychotherapy such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and other therapies (habit reversal training) can be also used to treat OCD besides using medications. A new type of CBT called Exposure and Response Prevention (EX/RP) is also effective for treating compulsive symptoms in OCD, even in patients who don’t respond well to medications.

As with other mental health problems, OCD patients are also treated with medications, psychotherapy, or a combination of both. In some patients, Exposure and Response Prevention is considered a treatment option especially when medications do not prove effective.

Other Treatment Options:

Other treatment options include Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) approved by Food and Drug Administration, in 2018. TMS is now used as an adjunct in the treatment of symptoms of OCD in adults.

Finding help:

If you are experiencing symptoms of OCD for some time, it is time to seek professional help. Many mental health clinics offer online counseling sessions and virtual counseling that can help you manage the situation. In virtual counseling, your counselor monitors your activities regularly and helps you to be accountable through an online virtual system. This is an easily accessible service for everyone that ensures fast recovery.

The bottom line:

OCD is a long-term mental health condition that is becoming common in people of every age group. Symptoms of OCD include obsessions and compulsions caused due to some family history, environment, or structural changes in the brain. Anyone who experiences any symptoms of OCD should immediately talk to the doctor and get treatment. The best treatment strategy for OCD includes medications and counseling.

 All information in this article is written based on the publication of The National Institute of Mental Health, a U.S based federal agency that researches mental disorders. The experts of NIMH provide information on mental health problems and the latest mental health research.

2022-06-16 13 mins

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: Symptoms, Risk Factors, And Treatment

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious psychological health problem caused by experiencing or witnessing some dangerous or terrifying event. Getting shocked or feeling afraid is natural after experiencing some traumatic situation. Fear also stimulates many other changes in the body that can help deal with the situation or avoid danger. This parasympathetic “fight-or-flight” response is a typical reaction of the body that activates to protect the system from any harm. Almost everyone experiences different symptoms after trauma, however, most people recover naturally. Whereas some people who continue to experience the symptoms are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. People experiencing this situation often feel frightened and stressed due to past trauma.

Signs and Symptoms of PTSD:

Most people suffering from PTSD experience short-term symptoms and do not develop chronic PTSD. 

The underlying cause of PTSD is not always the same i.e. experiencing a dangerous situation. There are also some other causes such as the sudden death of a beloved family member or friend. In most cases, symptoms begin 3 months after the terrifying incident but in some instances, they develop years afterward. Symptoms of PTSD usually last more than 30 days and are severe enough to impair one’s daily functioning and relationship status. However, the course of the disease varies as some people recover within 24 weeks while others have symptoms that last longer. In some patients, the duration of illness gets longer and becomes chronic.

A psychologist or psychiatrist, a specialist who helps people with mental health problems can better diagnose PTSD.

For an accurate diagnosis of PTSD, an individual must have:

  • At least one intrusion symptom
  • One avoidance symptom
  • Negative alteration in thoughts and mood (2 symptoms)
  • Changes in arousal and reactivity (2 symptoms)

One should experience all these symptoms for at least one month.

Intrusion Symptoms include:

  • Flashback — feeling as if the event is happening again, also making physical changes such as increased heartbeat and sweating
  • Nightmares
  • Frightening and upsetting thoughts

Re-experiencing symptoms of PTSD can interfere with one’s daily routine. The symptoms can start with one’s thoughts, feelings, words of other people, objects, and situations leading to re-experiencing symptoms.

Symptoms of avoidance are:

  • Avoiding places, events, people, and objects that remind of the past terrifying experience
  • Avoiding memories, feelings, and conversations about the traumatic event

Objects that remind of past shocking experiences can trigger avoidance symptoms. These symptoms of avoidance can make a person change their personal and social routine. For instance, after a serious bike accident, a person who loves riding a bike may avoid it.

Changes in arousal and reactivity symptoms are:

  • Over conscious about protecting themselves from danger
  • Become scared or afraid easily
  • Trouble sleeping at night
  • Feeling tensed most of the times
  • Easily become aggressive or angry outbursts

These symptoms are constant and are not triggered by any other thing. Arousal and reactivity symptoms make a person disturbed, angry, and stressed. These symptoms also interfere with the daily activities of their life.

Symptoms of negative alteration in thoughts and mood include:

  • Negative thoughts and feelings about oneself or other people around the world
  • Memory problems such as trouble remembering important aspects of the traumatic event
  • Feeling guilt and detached from family members and friends
  • Loss of interest in all activities and feeling emotionally blunt

 Symptoms of negative alteration in thoughts and mood begin and worsen after the traumatic event but are not caused due to any injury or use of drugs. These symptoms make it difficult for a person to maintain close relationships.

Most people experience these symptoms only for a few weeks after the traumatic event. However, in some cases symptoms last more than a month and interfere with one’s ability to perform different life activities and are not due to drug abuse, medical disease, or anything except the terrifying event itself. Some people with PTSD do not report any symptoms. In many cases, PTSD is accompanied by drug abuse, depression, and other psychological disorders.

Does the reaction of children differ from adults?

Children and adolescents show extreme reactions to the traumatic event, but their responses may differ from adults. Symptoms that are seen in children of very young age i.e. 6 years of age can include:

  • Unconsciously wetting the bed after getting trained to use a toilet
  • Forgetting how to react normally or talk to others
  • Perform the scary part of the event while playing
  • Getting unusually attached to a parent, sibling, or any other adult

Children older than 6 years and teenagers show symptoms almost similar to adults. However, they also develop destructive and disrespectful behaviors. Teenagers have the guilt of not being able to prevent the condition so they develop feelings of revenge.

Risk Factors of PTSD:

There is no age and time limit for developing PTSD, so anyone can develop this problem at any age. Mostly children, war veterans, and people who experienced sexual, emotional, physical abuse, accident, or other serious events develop PTSD. According to the experts of the National Center for PTSD, 7 or 8 people out of 100 are likely to develop PTSD at some point in their lives. Genetics and gender make a person vulnerable to PTSD as women are more at risk of getting affected.

Not every patient with PTSD reports experiencing any traumatic event. Some people develop this problem after their friend or any family member faces danger. The unexpected death of a loved one can also be the cause of PTSD.

Why are some people more vulnerable to develop PTSD than others?

As mentioned earlier, it is not necessary that everyone who lives through a dangerous event eventually develops PTSD. In fact, most people do not report any signs and symptoms of PTSD. This is because many factors contribute to developing PTSD. Risk factors make a person vulnerable to developing post-traumatic stress disorder. On the other hand, resilience factors help reduce the risk of developing a disorder.

Some factors that play a part in developing PTSD are:

  • Living through intense events and traumas
  • Experiencing physical damage
  • Experiencing some childhood trauma
  • Feeling helplessness, horror, or intense fear
  • Having no social support after the traumatic event
  • Dealing with physical or emotional stress after the trauma, such as loss of a job, pain, and injury, or loss of a loved one
  • Having psychological illness or problems with substance abuse

Factors promoting recovery after a traumatic event are:

  • Joining a support group after the trauma
  • Seeking out emotional, financial, and social support from friends and family members
  • Learning how to feel good about your actions in the face of danger
  • Practicing ways to get out of the dangerous situations
  • Being able to respond actively despite feeling fear during the situation

Researchers are now studying the importance of the above-mentioned and other risk and resilience factors such as neurobiology and genetics. After more research, it may be possible to conclude which factors are responsible to develop PTSD and which play a part in prevention.

Treatments and Therapies of PTSD:

Just like other psychological disorders, the treatment options for PTSD are medications and psychotherapy (talk therapy) or a combination of both. Everyone in this world is different and the symptoms of PTSD developed in every person are also different. That’s why the treatment options for PTSD can vary from person to person.

A patient with PTSD needs to consult a mental health expert experienced in PTSD. Some people experiencing PTSD have to try different treatment options to find out the best one for themselves.

If a person with PTSD is also experiencing ongoing trauma, for example, an abusive relationship, then both problems should be treated together. Other health problems associated with PTSD include depression, feeling suicidal, anxiety, panic disorder, and substance misuse.


The most common and most studied medications for treating PTSD are antidepressants. These medications help control symptoms such as loneliness, worry, anger, numbness, and sadness. Some other medications can also be used for treating PTSD symptoms including nightmares and sleep problems.

Doctors and patients can work together to find out the most effective medication and its right dose.


Psychotherapy (also called talk therapy) is a collaborative treatment that involves talking to a mental health provider for treating a particular mental health problem. A session of psychotherapy can occur either one-on-one or in a group. It usually takes 6 to 12 weeks for treatment of PTSD through psychotherapy but sometimes it lasts longer. According to research, social support from friends and family members plays an important part in recovery.

Different types of talk therapy can help treat PTSD. Some types target the PTSD symptoms while others help treat family, social or job-related problems. Therapists combine different types of psychotherapy depending upon needs.

Some psychotherapies also focus on key components such as education about illness and its symptoms, teaching skills to manage symptoms, and identifying the triggers. One effective form of therapy for treating PTSD is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

CBT further can include:

Exposure Therapy: This form of therapy helps face and control the fear. In this therapy, a person is gradually exposed to trauma. It involves imagining, writing, or visiting the terrifying place. The therapist utilizes these tools to help people with PTSD deal with their fear.

Cognitive restructuring: In this technique, people are trained to change their way of thinking. This is because sometimes people remember the traumatic event differently from what actually happened. They may have feelings of guilt and shame about something they are not responsible for. In cognitive restructuring, therapists help people logistically look at things.

There are other treatment options for PTSD as well. These treatments should help people understand the skills to deal with symptoms and participate in the activities that they used to enjoy before developing PTSD.

Effectiveness of Talk Therapy For Overcoming PTSD Symptoms:

Talk therapies teach people some effective ways to respond to dangerous events that trigger symptoms of PTSD. Based on this common goal, different types of talk therapies may:

  • Help use anger controlling and relaxation skills
  • Educate about the traumatic event and their effects
  • Provide effective tips for improving sleep, diet, and exercise habits
  • Help people deal with feelings of guilt and shame about the event
  • Focus on changing the reaction of people to the event

Other techniques to deal with PTSD Symptoms:

No doubt it is hard to take the first step to help yourself in this emotional crisis. But it is very important to realize that self-help can accelerate the results of treatment. If you cannot decide where you should go first for help, talk to your family doctor. For initial help, you can talk to an emergency room doctor. They will further guide you.

To help yourself during the treatment:

  • Talk to a healthcare provider about treatment options
  • Engage in some physical activity daily to reduce stress
  • Set your priorities and perform easy tasks first
  • Try to be more social and share things that trigger your symptoms
  • Set realistic goals and expect your symptoms to improve slowly


Finding Professional Help:

If you are experiencing any symptoms of PTSD, it is time to seek professional help. Mental health clinics offer online counseling sessions and virtual counseling that can help you manage the situation. In virtual counseling, your counselor monitors your activities regularly and helps you through an online virtual system. This is an easily accessible service for everyone that ensures fast recovery.

The bottom line:

PTSD is a mental health problem developed after experiencing a traumatic event or after the death of a loved one. Symptoms of PTSD are nightmares, flashbacks, avoiding places that remind of trauma, and insomnia. Risk factors associated with PTSD are under research. Medications and psychotherapy are effective treatment options for improving the symptoms of PTSD. Fortunately, mental health clinics offer counseling sessions that can help improve the condition.

All information in this article is written based on the publication of The National Institute of Mental Health, a U.S based federal agency that researches mental disorders. The experts of NIMH provide information on mental health problems and the latest mental health research.

2022-06-06 3 mins

Mental health Problems Among Child and Adolescents

For children and adults, mental well-being is important to ensure their overall health. However, many adults who are suffering from some mental health problem have been left undiagnosed and untreated in their childhood and adolescence. Therefore it is suggested that a young person with symptoms of mental problems should be treated as early as possible to get effective results. Moreover, early treatment can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases as the child grows up.

Signs of Mental Health Problem:

Sometimes as the child grows up, the hormonal imbalance in his body can make him frustrated and irritable. So it becomes difficult to figure out the reason for his troubling behavior. But if this annoying behavior of your child lasts for weeks or even months, and it affects his daily functioning at home and school, it is the time to talk to a health professional.

Below are the signs of young children that signal they require evaluation and treatment:

  • Have annoying behavior and remain irritable for the most of the day
  • Often express fear and worries
  • Frequently complains about the headaches and stomachaches that are not supported by any medical cause
  • Keep moving and can’t sit peacefully except when playing games or watching their favorite TV show
  • Getting inadequate sleep or sleeping too much. Always feel tired
  • Face difficulty in social interaction and can’t make friends easily
  • Constantly struggling in the school or experiencing a continuous decline in their grades
  • Repeatedly perform similar actions or check the things many times out of fear that something bad may happen to them

The warning signs of older children and adolescents showing that they need evaluation are:

  • Have completely lost interest in their favorite hobbies that they used to enjoy
  • Always feel low and tired
  • Experience sleep disturbances, either sleep too much every night or too little
  • Hesitant in making new friends and completely avoid social interactions
  • Exercise regularly and becomes extremely conscious about their diet out of fear of gaining weight
  • Engage themselves in self-destructive habits. For example, hitting themselves or burning the skin
  • Use alcohol, cigarettes, and other drugs to get relief
  • Get involved in harmful activities with their friends
  • Have frequent thoughts of death and suicide
  • Becomes hyperactive sometimes and sleeps fewer hours than usual
  • Complain that they think someone is controlling their mind and body or they hear voices that a normal person can’t hear

Finding Help:

Mental health problems are treatable. So if you are the one affected by the mental illness, talk to your parents, counselor, or psychiatrist. Or if you are a parent and your child is experiencing the problem, talk to your child, his pediatrician, or your family doctor for help.

Many mental health clinics offer counseling for the parents and children to help them deal with the situation. Online counseling and virtual counseling sessions are offered to help you manage the situation as soon as possible.

The bottom line:

Mental disorders are becoming common in children and adolescents. If these problems are not addressed or treated on time, they can develop into chronic diseases. If your child shows any symptoms of mental problems, talk to a psychiatrist and seek professional help. Go for regular counseling sessions for quick results.

All information in this article is written based on the publication of The National Institute of Mental Health, a U.S based federal agency that researches mental disorders. The experts of NIMH provide information on mental health problems and the latest mental health research.

2022-06-06 4 mins

Eight Effective Tips to Take Care of Your Mental Health

The mental health of a person generally refers to their cognitive, psychological, emotional, and behavioral well-being. It largely influences one’s way of feeling, thinking, action, and relationship with others. The term mental well-being is more than just the absence of mental disorders—it is an essential component of a healthy body and a good-quality life. However, maintaining good mental health can be difficult. For this reason, you should practice self-care that supports and speeds up the treatment and recovery if you are suffering from some mental illness.

Self-care tips:

As the name suggests, self-care means taking care of oneself. It is defined as practicing actions that can help you promote and maintain your physical and emotional well-being along with preventing diseases. In the case of mental health, self-care reduces stress, elevates mood, and helps you become mentally stable. This indicates the importance of self-care in maintaining your mental health.

Following are some effective self-care practices that can help improve your mental health.

  1. Perform at least 30 minutes of exercise regularly. Exercising daily is one of the effective ways that can help boost your mood and reduce stress. Physical activities such as walking decrease stress hormones in the blood thus elevating your mood. If you can’t perform 30 minutes of exercise continuously, you may start with small amounts of exercise and then increase the duration.
  2. Eat healthy food and drink enough water. A healthy nutritious diet and plenty of water feed your body and increase your energy levels. This can help you stay focused all day and decrease your stress levels. Also, make sure to limit the use of caffeinated drinks such as coffee and soft drinks for more effective results.
  3. Get enough sleep every night. Getting adequate sleep of 8 to 9 hours is a significant self-care practice to maintain good mental health. Experts also suggest reducing blue light exposure from your computer screen or mobile before sleeping as blue light interrupts the natural sleep cycle and makes it harder to fall asleep.
  4. Practice some relaxation techniques. Relaxation techniques train the brain to deal with negative thoughts and emotions. Practicing meditation, muscle relaxation techniques, or breathing exercises can help improve your focus, decrease cortisol levels in the blood, and boost your mood.
  5. Make a list of your priorities. Dealing with many things at a time can be the cause of stress. So it is suggested to decide what tasks are more important for you that need to be done right now. Remove the tasks from the list that drain your energy and give you a tough time. In the end, what you should be mindful of are things you have achieved, not the things that are difficult for you.
  1. Try to stay positive.  A major reason for stress is the negative thoughts, emotions, and other challenges you face in your life. So try to stay positive and figure out effective ways to deal with the unhelpful thoughts.
  2. Become more sociable. Reach out to your loved ones, your friends, and your family who understand you and provide emotional support 24/7.

It is to be noted that the concept of self-care is different for every person. Therefore it is important to discover some effective self-care practices that can help you. This might be exhausting to figure out what works best for you but in the end, all your struggles will pay off.

Finding professional help:

In case of severe symptoms lasting more than 2 weeks, you should seek some professional help. The most common symptoms of mental disorders are difficulty performing daily tasks, loss of interest in daily activities, sleep, and appetite changes.

Thankfully, many mental health clinics offer online counseling sessions and virtual counseling to help manage your situation. Virtual counseling is an advanced treatment in which your counselor monitors your activities regularly and helps you to be accountable through an online virtual system.

This is an easily accessible service for everyone that ensures fast recovery.

The bottom line:

Mental health refers to the overall emotional, behavioral, and cognitive well-being of a person. For good mental health, self-care is most important. Exercising a few minutes daily, dealing with negative thoughts, eating a balanced diet, and getting adequate sleep every night are some effective self-care tips that can help you deal with mental health problems.

All information in this article is written based on the publication of The National Institute of Mental Health, a U.S based federal agency that researches mental disorders. The experts of NIMH provide information on mental health problems and the latest mental health research.

2022-06-06 8 mins

Eating Disorders | Everything You Need to Know

A big misconception about eating disorders is they are no health issues but lifestyle choices. In reality, eating disorders are complex, severe, and often fatal health problems that are associated with unhealthy eating habits and related emotions. This type of mental illness when left untreated can cause severe health consequences that may even result in death. The common eating disorders which we will be discussing in this article include:

  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Binge-eating disorder

Signs and Symptoms:

Anorexia Nervosa:

This is the most widely known eating disorder which involves the severe restriction of food. Some people suffering from this condition completely avoid the food while others eat certain foods but only in small quantities. All these struggles are to lose weight significantly. People with this psychological condition see themselves as overweight, even when they are dangerously underweight.

Anorexia nervosa is further subdivided into two types:

  • restrictive subtype
  • binge-purge subtype

Restrictive subtype:  People experiencing this subtype of anorexia nervosa strictly limit the amount and type of food they eat.

Binge-purge subtype:  In this subtype also people restrict the food they consume. However, these people may also purge the food, eating a large amount of food in one sitting followed by the use of diuretics or laxatives to excrete out all the extra consumption.

Anorexia nervosa has a high mortality rate. Compared to other mental health disorders, this eating disorder is more fatal. People suffering from anorexia nervosa can die due to many complications associated with starvation. Such people are also at greater risk of committing suicide, making it the second leading cause of death.

Symptoms associated with anorexia nervosa include:

  • Severely restricted diet
  • Muscle wasting, leading to extreme thinness
  • Persistently resist attaining normal weight or relentless desire to be skinny
  • Afraid of gaining weight (even normal weight)
  • A strong influence of body shape or body weight on self-esteem
  • Disfigured body shape along with a denial of dangerously being underweight

Symptoms that may develop over time are:

  • Thinning and weakening of bones (osteoporosis)
  • Low blood hemoglobin levels, fatigue, and muscle weakness
  • Brittle and dry hair and nails
  • Pale, yellow, and dry skin
  • Growth of fine and soft hair that covers the whole body (lanugo)
  • Difficulty in passing stools (constipation)
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Breathing problems and slow pulse rate
  • Damage to the heart, leading to its decreased functioning
  • Damage to the brain
  • Decrease in metabolic rate that causes a drop in the internal body temperature causing an individual to feel cold and lethargic
  • Multi-organ system failure
  • Fatigue, tiredness, or sluggishness all the time
  • Reduced sexual performance and infertility

Bulimia Nervosa:

Similar to anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa is also gaining attention these days. However, this eating disorder is completely opposite to anorexia because, in bulimia, people experience repeated episodes of eating a substantial amount of food at a certain time. Each episode continues until painfully full followed by behaviors that compensate for the overeating, for example, the use of diuretics and laxatives.

People suffering from bulimia nervosa are overweight or normal weight and sometimes slightly underweight.

Symptoms associated with bulimia nervosa include:

  • Sore throat along with swollen salivary glands especially in the neck region
  • Tooth enamel erosion followed by increased sensitivity and decaying of teeth due to frequent exposure to stomach acid
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and other stomach problems
  • Intestinal irritation due to excessive use of laxatives
  • Severe dehydration
  • Electrolyte imbalance can disturb the heart functions increasing the risk of stroke or heart attack

Binge-eating disorder:

In this condition, the individual loses control over their eating and eats unusually large amounts of food in a relatively short duration of time. The symptoms of binge-eating disorder are much similar to bulimia except that the periods of binge-eating are not followed by the behaviors to get rid of the extra food and excessive exercising.  This is the reason why individuals with this type of eating disorder are mostly obese.

Symptoms associated with binge-eating disorder are:

  • Eating a large amount of food despite being full in a very short duration of time such as a 1 to 2 hours period
  • Eating in secret and until painfully full
  • Eating fast
  • Eating alone out of fear of being caught or emabrassarment
  • Feelings of shame and guilt about eating such large quantities of food
  • Frequently struggle for weight loss but can’t achieve the goal

Avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID):

This eating disorder was previously known as a selective eating disorder. As the name suggests, in avoidant restrictive food intake disorder people restrict both the amount and type of food eaten due to a lack of interest in eating. People suffering from this eating disorder have no distorted body image or persistent fear of becoming overweight. Avoidant restrictive food intake disorder affects many individuals, particularly children. Children suffering from this problem can’t consume enough calories and therefore can’t develop properly. Similarly in adults ARFID interrupts the maintenance of basic body functions.

Symptoms associated with ARFID include:

  • Restriction of type or amount of food that can prevent the consumption of enough calories
  • Lack of interest in eating
  • Significant weight loss and poor body development
  • Abdominal pain and other stomach and intestinal issues
  • Nutritional deficiencies due to picky eating

Risk Factors:

Eating disorders are types of psychological illness that can affect any person irrespective of their age, gender, race, and body weight. An individual can develop an eating disorder in childhood, adolescence, adulthood, or later in life.

Researchers are now using the latest technology to understand these problems and find their root causes. They are working to find out the genetic variations that can cause eating disorder that runs in families.

Brain imaging studies are also being done to understand the concept. For instance, researchers have observed an obvious difference in patterns of brain activity in healthy women and women suffering from some eating disorder. This type of research can help make advancements in terms of the diagnosis and treatment of eating disorders.

Treatment and therapies for eating disorders:

Individuals experiencing an eating disorder are at risk of developing other medical complications and committing suicide.

These medical complications include mental health problems such as stress, anxiety, and depression.

Below are the steps that should be followed for successful treatment of eating disorders

  • Psychotherapy
  • Proper monitoring
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Medications


The goal of psychotherapy is for parents of affected adolescents to take responsibility for feeding their child and help him fulfill his nutritional requirements. People suffering from the disorder can also be treated with cognitive behavioral therapy to help them organize their distorted thoughts.

They should also be counseled through online counseling sessions or virtual counseling about how to deal with the situation.


Medications such as anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, or mood stabilizers can also be used to manage the situation and prevent other medical complications such as anxiety, stress, or depression. The best approach is to consult with the health care provider before taking any medications.


Eating disorders are the type of psychological disorders that disturb the normal eating pattern of a person. These include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, avoidant restrictive food intake disorder, and binge-eating disorder. Eating disorders if left untreated can develop other medical complications. Therefore it is inevitable to seek professional help, attend counseling sessions and take some medications for effective results.

All information in this article is written based on the publication of The National Institute of Mental Health, a U.S based federal agency that researches mental disorders. The experts of NIMH provide information on mental health problems and the latest mental health research.

2022-05-26 12 mins

Depression: A Complete Guide to Its Symptoms, Risk Factors, and Treatment

Depression is a common mental health problem marked by negative emotions or low moods that affect every aspect of one’s life. Depression causes severe symptoms that negatively influence one's way of feeling, thinking, and attitude towards managing day-to-day activities, such as working, sleeping, exercising, and eating.

Depression causes feelings of sadness, loneliness, or loss of interest in the activities you used to enjoy. Fortunately, depression is treatable.

People who are diagnosed with depression show symptoms for at least two weeks.

Types of depression:

Some of the unique forms of depression that may develop under unusual circumstances are:

Persistent depressive disorder (also called dysthymia) is a chronic form of depression whose symptoms may last for at least 2 years.

An individual diagnosed with dysthymia (PDD) may also experience alternating periods of major depression and less severe symptoms. However, to diagnose this condition, an adult must have a depressed mood with feelings of hopelessness, fatigue, and low self-esteem for at least 2 years.

Postpartum depression is a type of childbirth depression experienced by new moms. Postpartum depression can last for months compared to maternity blues which typically goes away two weeks after childbirth.

However, women with postpartum depression experience full-blown major depression symptoms such as mood swings, crying spells, and difficulty sleeping during pregnancy or after delivery.  The feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that accompany postpartum depression may make it difficult for these new mothers to take care of themselves and their newborns.

Psychotic depression is another serious form of depression that involves severe depression plus some form of psychosis, such as delusions, hallucinations, or some other break with reality.

This type of depression affects roughly one out of every four people admitted to the hospital with a history of depression.

The seasonal affective disorder is related to changes in the season. This health problem begins and ends at about the same time in the year. This depression generally begins during the onset of winter seasons due to less exposure to natural sunlight. The symptoms of seasonal affective disorder are loss of interest in activities, feeling hopeless, having low energy, and gaining weight. These symptoms however lift during the spring or summer seasons.

Bipolar disorder, sometimes called a manic disorder, is different from depression. However, it is considered a type of depression because of symptoms which include episodes of extreme mood swings that meet the criteria for depression. But the moods of a person with bipolar disorder often fluctuate between extreme high (euphoric or irritable) moods called “mania” or a less severe form called “hypomania.”

Other types of depressive disorders newly added to the diagnostic classification of DSM-5 include disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (in children and adolescents) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (in women able to get pregnant).

Signs and Symptoms:

Depression is now becoming a common problem. Therefore, a good knowledge of its signs and symptoms can help you get diagnosed earlier. If you are experiencing any of the following signs and symptoms constantly for at least 14 days, you may be suffering from major depressive disorder:

If you are experiencing any of the following signs and symptoms constantly for at least 14 days, you may be suffering from major depressive disorder:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or emptiness
  • Angry outbursts or irritability over small matters
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Complete loss of interest in all daily activities and hobbies
  • Tiredness and lack of energy or fatigue
  •  Weight loss due to a reduced desire for food or increased cravings for food causing weight gain
  • Trouble concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Slowed speaking or other body movements
  • Anxiety, agitation, exhaustion, or restlessness
  • Sleep disturbances such as insomnia and waking early in the morning or oversleeping
  • Uncontrolled thoughts of death, suicide, or suicidal attempts
  • Unexplained physical health issues such as headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment.

Not everyone suffering from depression experiences every symptom. Some people experience only a few symptoms of depression while others experience many symptoms.

 The severity and frequency of symptoms and how long they last will vary depending on the individual depending upon the stage of illness.

Risk Factors:

There is no single factor responsible for causing depression. Current research suggests that depression is caused by a combination of factors such as:

  • Genetic factors
  • Environmental factors
  • Biological factors
  • Psychological factors
  • No age group is resistant to experiencing depression.

However, the most vulnerable group to suffer from depression is the adult group.

In older adults, depression is related to some serious physical illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and Parkinson’s disease.

However, the medications used to treat these medical illnesses can cause depression as a side effect.

Common risk factors for depression include:

  • A strong family history of depression
  • Significant changes in life such as  loss of health, the death of a loved one, or stress
  • Conflict with friends or family members
  • History of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse

Treatment and Therapies:

Fortunately, every type of depression is treatable.

Standard treatment options for depression are:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Medications
  • Combination of the two

These treatments are effective in most cases. However, if these treatments do not reduce symptoms, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and other brain stimulation therapies may be the alternative options.

It should be noted here that no two people are affected the same way by depression and there is no single treatment that helps everyone. It may take some trial and error to find the best treatment for an individual.


You may have heard of “antidepressants”. These are the clinically approved medicines that treat depression. They help balance the levels of certain chemicals such as dopamine in your brain. This helps your brain control mood or stress.

First, you need to try several different antidepressant medicines to find out the one that improves your symptoms and has manageable side effects. Family history of using a particular medicine for treating depression can also be considered. Usually, antidepressants take 2 to 4 weeks to work, and often, symptoms such as sleep, appetite, and concentration problems improve before mood lifts. Therefore, the right approach is to try a medication before concluding its effectiveness.

Sometimes, people taking antidepressants feel improvement in their symptoms and then stop taking the medication on their own. This is not the right approach. According to experts, once you have begun taking antidepressants, don’t stop using them without consulting your doctor otherwise your depression might return.

After a course of approximately 6 to 12 months, when your symptoms have been improved to a great extent, you should consult your doctor about decreasing your dose slowly but safely.

This is because stopping the medicines abruptly can cause withdrawal symptoms that can worsen your condition.

Note: The Food and Drug Administration U.S. recommends watching closely the patients taking antidepressants, especially during the first few weeks of the treatment. This is because in some cases children, teens, and young adults under 25 taking antidepressants are at risk of experiencing an increase in suicidal thoughts, especially in the initial days of treatment.

Pregnant women or those breastfeeding should talk to their doctor about any increased health risks to them or their child.

An herbal medicine called St. John's wort is a top-selling botanical product. However, the FDA has not yet approved its use as a prescription medicine for depression because of some serious concerns about its safety and effectiveness.

People with depression should never use St. John’s wort before talking to their health care provider. Other dietary supplements such as S-adenosylmethionine and omega-3 fatty acids also have not yet been proven safe and effective for routine use.


Psychotherapy often called counseling or talk therapy is a popularly practiced treatment for depression. This treatment helps the patient find out some easy ways to deal with everyday stressors. Examples of evidence-based approaches specific to the treatment of depression include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy (IPT), Psychodynamic therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and problem-solving therapy.

Many online platforms now offer online and virtual counseling sessions for the treatment of depression. Various virtual tools have been introduced that help you determine your degree of depression and then consult with a psychologist for treatment. Virtual counseling can help you get quicker results due to any time access to your therapist and 24/7 monitoring of your daily activities.

Brain Stimulation Therapies:

If your medicines don’t help reduce the symptoms of depression, brain stimulation therapies such as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may be an option to explore.

According to the latest research:

  • Electroconvulsive therapy can help people with severe depression who have not been able to feel better with other treatments.
  • Electroconvulsive therapy can be an effective method for treating depression. In cases where a rapid response is necessary but medications can’t be used safely, this therapy can even be a first-line intervention.
  • Electroconvulsive therapy was once strictly an inpatient procedure, but today it is often performed on an outpatient basis. The treatment consists of a series of sessions typically three times a week, for a period of two to four weeks.
  • ECT may cause some potential side effects such as disorientation, fatigue, nausea, confusion, headache,  and slight memory loss. Usually, these side effects last from minutes to hours, but, sometimes memory problems can persist for months.

Advancements in ECT devices and methods have made modern electroconvulsive therapy safe and effective for mental health patients. Before giving your consent to undergo ECT, make sure to consult with your specialist and get all information regarding the potential benefits and risks of this treatment.

  • ECT is not painful as you cannot feel any electrical impulses. Before starting the treatment, a patient is put under brief anesthesia and given a muscle relaxant. Then the treatment session is started which usually takes only a few minutes, and after one hour the patient is conscious and alert.

Other recently introduced types of brain stimulation therapies that have been proven effective for the treatment of depression (medicine-resistant) include:

  • Repetitive transcranial
  • Magnetic stimulation (rTMS)
  • Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS)

Other things you can do:

Following are the some effective tips you or your loved can try to deal with the symptoms of depression:

  • Stay active or exercise regularly
  • Set some realistic goals for yourself
  • Try to spend more quality time with others and confide in a trusted friend or relative
  • Say no to loneliness and let others help you
  • Give yourself some time and expect your mood to improve gradually, not immediately.
  • Postpone major changes in your life such as getting married or divorced, or changing jobs until you feel better. Share your decisions with others who know you well.
  • Stay on track and continue to educate yourself about depression.

The bottom line:

Depression is a common mental health problem that affects your everyday life. There are many types of depression and not every type has the same treatment. Medications and counseling are effective treatments for reducing symptoms of depression. In some severe cases where medications don’t work, ECT can also be used.

All information in this article is written based on the publication of The National Institute of Mental Health, a U.S based federal agency that researches mental disorders. The experts of NIMH provide information on mental health problems and the latest mental health research.

2022-05-26 4 mins

Stress Vs Anxiety: Difference, Symptoms, and Management

Life is always stressful— sometimes you feel stressed about your performance in school, the workload at your job, traumatic events, or a significant change in life. Everyone, from younger to the elder, feels stress at some point in their life.

Stress is the physical as well as the mental response of the body to external factors that can be threatening or unexpected for a person. These external factors are called stressors that can be short-term occurrences or happen repeatedly for a long time.

The most common stressors of every age are loneliness, overly restrictive rules or regulations, illness, the death of a loved one, and poor time management.

Anxiety, simply put, is the reaction of your body to stress. It is a feeling of apprehension about the future that might make you feel restless and tense.

Anxiety if not treated can interfere with your daily life which can affect your physical and mental health.  This may increase the chance of getting some psychological disorders or experiencing some other health problems.

Difference between anxiety and stress:

Stress is a response of your body to some harmful situations such as losing a job or chronic illness while anxiety is internal. It is simply your body’s reaction to psychological stress.

Anxiety involves a persistent fear of the future that doesn’t quickly disappear and ultimately interferes with one’s lifestyle. Stress, however, quickly goes away once the problem is resolved.

Stress can either be positive or negative. It may either motivate you to achieve your goals or cause you to lose your sleep.

Similarities between stress and anxiety:

Both stress and anxiety negatively influence your mental and physical health. The common symptoms of stress and anxiety are:

  • Excessive worry and uneasiness
  • Muscle Tension
  • Hypertension
  • Disturbed sleep schedule
  • Body aches and pain

Managing stress is very important. If symptoms of stress impair your life and you can’t handle it, there is a chance that you might develop some anxiety disorder.

Coping strategies for anxiety and stress:

Complete information about stressors and coping techniques can help you reduce stress and improve your daily life. Not a single strategy can work for everyone so it may take repeated analysis to discover what works best for you. Both mild stress and mild anxiety can be managed with similar coping strategies.

Following are some strategies that can help you cope with stress and anxiety:

  • Keep a diary and write your worries.
  • Download a verified app that provides some relaxation exercises or tips for meditation
  • Exercise daily and follow a healthy diet plan
  • Get sufficient night's sleep
  • Avoid coffee and tea
  • Fight against your demotivating or self-obstructive thoughts.
  • Reach out to your loved ones who understand you and can help you deal with difficult situations.

When to seek professional help:

Coping with stress or anxiety may drain away all your energy, so it is suggested to immediately consult a mental health professional. Medication and psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy or counseling, are effective treatments for stress and anxiety.

Many mental health clinics offer online counseling that can help you deal with your mental condition. Through virtual counseling, psychotherapists track down all your daily activities and give some professional advice regarding changes you should make in life to become mentally fit.

One of the most effective and widely used types of psychotherapy is cognitive-behavioral therapy. It is a type of mental health treatment that helps people learn how to identify and change the disturbing thoughts that have a negative effect on their lives.

The bottom line:

Both stress and anxiety are two major mental health problems that everyone experiences at some point in their lives. If symptoms of these problems are left untreated, they can interfere with your lifestyle and make you physically ill. So one should try some coping strategies or talk to a psychotherapist for effective treatment.

All information in this article is written based on the publication of The National Institute of Mental Health, a U.S based federal agency that researches mental disorders. The experts of NIMH provide information on mental health problems and the latest mental health research.

2022-05-26 3 mins

Women and Mental Health: Signs and Treatment

World Health Organization statistics indicate that women are approximately two times more likely to experience mental health problems compared to men. However, all mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and personality disorders affect men and women differently. According to experts, there are some particular types of mental health disorders that are more common among women.

For instance, some women may experience symptoms of mental illness such as perimenopause-related depression, postpartum psychosis, and body dysphoric disorder at times of hormone change.

However, researchers are still working to clearly differentiate the percentage of men and women who experience some other mental health problems such as schizophrenia, eating disorders, and bipolar disorders.

The sex of an individual largely affects the course of the illness. Females experience these mental problems differently as certain symptoms in them are more common than in males.

Researchers are only now beginning to differentiate the various biological and psychosocial factors that may affect the mental health of both men and women and impair their lives.

Warning Signs:

Both men and women are vulnerable to developing the same type of psychological problems but they show different signs and symptoms. Here are some warning signs associated with some mental health disorders in women:

  • Persistent sadness, emptiness, and endless feeling of hopelessness
  • Alcohol or substance abuse
  • Dramatic changes in eating, sleeping, and personal care habits
  • Appetite changes that lead to significant weight changes
  • Low energy or tiredness
  • Extreme agitation, anxiety, guilt, fear, or worry
  • Unshakable beliefs in something unnatural
  • Extreme changes in mood
  • Physical problems such as aches, headaches, or digestive problems without a known cause
  • Social withdrawal
  • Irresistible suicidal thoughts
  • Reduced sexual performance
  • Decreased productivity at work or home

Finding Help:

Fortunately, mental health disorders are treatable. First, consult a specialist and get your problem diagnosed. After this, your doctor will advise you to go for medications and psychotherapies (counseling). Besides medications, online counseling is becoming trendy due to its countless benefits.

Various mental health clinics offer online counseling to treat mental health problems. Psychotherapists talk to their patients, understand their problems, and help them figure out the ways to deal with the situation. Not only this but with virtual counseling they track your all-day activities and help you become mentally fit.

The bottom line:

Mental health disorders are more common among women compared to men. Although both men and women can develop the same type of mental health problem, their symptoms can vary. Thankfully, mental health illness in women is treatable. With online counseling sessions, you can easily get back to your old life.

All information in this article is written based on the publication of The National Institute of Mental Health, a U.S based federal agency that researches mental disorders. The experts of NIMH provide information on mental health problems and the latest mental health research.

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