Tags Posts tagged with "mental health"

mental health

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No less than 45 million Nigerians, approximately 20 percent of the population, are likely to suffer adverse mental health-related problems in their life time.

Disclosing this in Lagos recently, Medical Director, Tranquil & Quest, Dr Otefe Edebi, said 1 in 5 persons in society is at risk of mental health issues.

Edebi who made this assertion during a tour of the new facility based in Lekki-Ajah to offer psychiatric and psychological evaluations to cater for people in need of mental health care in Nigeria said substance abuse and mental health cases were on the rise across the country.

General statistics indicate that about 20 percent of people in any given society in the world, including here in Nigeria, are likely to suffer from one mental ailment or the other,” he said.

We have put together a team of highly-skilled, well-experienced professionals from various fields in mental health care, ranging from consultants, psychiatric nurses, psychologists and supportive professionals on the business side.

Our goal is to address the challenge of rising cases of substance abuse and mental health in Nigeria.” With headquarters in New Jersey, the facility is the brainchild of the Chairman/CEO, Dr Henry Bandele Odunlami, an experienced psychiatrist with over 20 years of experience in mental health.

Mental health problems, like depression and anxiety, are experienced by more people worldwide than any other physical disorder. According to predictions from the World Health Organization, by 2020 depression will cause greater disability than any other mental or physical disorder.

This is a severe problem and it is common sense that we find effective solutions for these problems. To-day most mental health problems are treated with psychological and pharmacological interventions. The most common psychological treatments are known as cognitive-behavioural therapies (CBT), while antidepressants are the most common class of medication used to treat both depression and anxiety.

Other interventions are also effective, although not promoted as much as the previous mentioned treatments, including exercise, relaxation/ meditation, and sleep-based interventions. Herbs and nutrients are also often used to treat mental health problems, but there is doubt whether they actually work.

The following more commonly used natural supplements will be reviewed to see if there is actually any evidence to support their efficacy.

1. Omega-3 fish oils. There has been a substantial amount of research on the effects of fish oil, mostly in the area of depression, anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD ). The overall evidence suggests that fish oil is moderately effective for these conditions. In several meta-analyses, it had been confirmed that fish oil can improve depressive symptoms that occur in major depressive disorders and bipolar disorder. The most effective fish oils for mental health are those ones that contain greater concentration of EPA ( a type of omega-3 fat)

2. St John’s wort. This herb has always been very popular for the treatment of depression and there have been many good quality studies in several meta-analyses. St John’s wort has been shown to be effective for the treatment of depression. However, research on stress, ADHD and other mental health problems have not been so convincing. The major problem with St John’s wort is that it interacts with many medications.

3. Saffron. Positive studies on its effect on depression have increased over the last decade. Follow up studies have all confirmed that saffron is effective for the treatment of depression. In comparison with antidepressants such as Prozac and Trofanil, Saffron has proven to be as effective, but with less side effects. Although it is the most expensive spice in the world, only a small amount is needed, which makes the cost quite affordable (approx $30 – $40 a month). Another advantage is that in combination with pharmaceutical antidepressants, it was more effective than the antidepressant alone.

4. Rhodiola Rosea. This herb was originally used in Russia to enhance athletic performance. It was later discovered to be effective for stress, feelings of burnout, and depression. A few good quality European studies have indicated that Rhodiola is helpful for improving mood and seems to be particularly helpful for people with stress related fatigue. People who feel run-down, find it hard getting out of bed in the morning, lack motivation/drive, experience energy slumps in the afternoon, and feel quite flat, may also benefit from Rhodiola Natural practitioners often refer to this condition as ‘adrenal fatigue’.

5. Theanine. This is an amino acid derived from green tea and is claimed to help people experience a relaxed and calm state. Some good studies indicate that it can reduce levels of stress hormones in the body (e.g. cortisol) and can move people’s brain waves into ‘alpha’ states. Alpha brain waves are associated with relaxation and meditation. People with a mind that is constantly racing report positive effects from theanine. It has also shown to improve sleep in children with ADHD, and was even helpful for people with schizophrenia.

This is just a selection of herbs and nutrients with good research-based support for their mental health benefits. There are other options available, including s-adenosyl-methionine (SAME) for depression. Kava for anxiety, B-vitamins for stress, and glycine/magnesium for sleep.

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My alarm is set to the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. It’s impossible to not smile when this song plays. This, combined with the other habits below, set the tone for a productive, happy and healthy day.

1. Drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up.

This rehydrates your body, revs up your digestive system, and gets things flowing. You may notice positive changes like clearer skin and better digestion. Bonus points if you add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar.

2. Do not check your email or phone for at least an hour.

Do you sleep with your cell phone next to you and grab for it first thing when you wake? This is not a good habit. If you choose to resist the temptation to check your email and Facebook feed until at least an hour after waking up, you’ll find that your mind is more clear, focused and happy.

3. Think of one thing for which you have gratitude.

This sets the stage for positivity throughout the day. If you come up with three or five things, even better.

4. Step outside and take a deep breath.

Fill your lungs with fresh air. Even if it’s cold outside. This only takes 10 seconds! It reminds you that you are alive and breathing.

5. Move your body.

You don’t necessarily have to do an intense workout before breakfast, but moving your body even a little is a great way to get the blood flowing and shake the body into wake-up mode. Simply doing a few stretches is a great option. Or turn on your favorite song and dance like no one is watching.

6. Take time to eat a healthy breakfast.

Rather than reaching for a box of cereal, focus on getting real foods in your body. Eggs, soaked oats, and smoothies are all great options. (And they really don’t take that much time to prepare.) Try it out.

7. Say your affirmations.

Look into the mirror and say something positive to yourself. Some ideas:

  • I radiate beauty, confidence and grace.
  • Every cell in my body is healthy and vibrant.
  • I feel great when I take care of myself.

So are you up for the challenge of incorporating these healthy habits? What about you? What helps you start the day off right?

Your choice of partner can affect your health in many ways, both positively and negatively. Anything from their exercise habits and working hours to their personality can have an impact on your well-being. We investigate the surprising ways that your significant other can affect your health.

Whether you are in a new relationship or a long-term one, newlyweds or celebrating your golden wedding anniversary, a same-sex couple or of the opposite sex, the time spent with your partner can influence your health outcomes.

Having a healthy relationship is not only rewarding, but it also significantly shapes our long-term health in a similar way to getting a good night’s sleep, eating healthfully, and not smoking. Studies have shown, time and time again, that people who are in satisfying relationships feel happier, have fewer problems with health, and live longer.

On the flip side, having unhealthy connections or a lack of social ties is linked to depression, cognitive decline, and an increased risk of premature death.

Here are some of the beneficial and detrimental effects that your relationship could have on your well-being.

Positive effects of a partner on health

Pain relief

woman in labor holding partner's hand
A partner’s touch has been found to relieve pain in women.

It is well known that people subconsciously synchronize their footsteps when they walk together or mirror a friend’s posture during a conversation.

Investigators from the University of Colorado, Boulder and the University of Haifa in Israel have now discovered that when heterosexual lovers touch when the woman is in pain, couples’ heart rates and respiratory patterns synchronize and the woman’s pain dissipates.

These findings add to a growing body of evidence on “interpersonal synchronization,” a phenomenon in which people begin to physiologically mirror those that they spend time with. “The more empathic the partner and the stronger the analgesic effect, the higher the synchronization between the two when they are touching,” explains lead author Pavel Goldstein, a postdoctoral pain researcher at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Help achieve healthy goals

Two heads are better than one when it comes to taking up healthy habits. Funded by Cancer Research UK, the British Heart Foundation, and the National Institute on Aging, scientists at University College London (UCL) in the United Kingdom revealed that if you want to swap bad habits for good, then you would be more successful if your partner also makes those changes.

Among women who smoked, the researchers found that 50 percent succeeded in quitting smokingif their partner gave up at the same time, compared with 17 percent whose partners were non-smokers already, and just 8 percent whose partners smoked regularly.

“Unhealthy lifestyles are a leading cause of death from chronic disease worldwide,” says study author Prof. Jane Wardle, director of Cancer Research UK’s Health Behaviour Research Centre at UCL. “The key lifestyle risks are smoking, excess weight, physical inactivity, poor diet, and alcohol consumption. Swapping bad habits for good ones can reduce the risk of disease, including cancer.”

Improve fitness

Echoing these findings, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, MD, conducted research finding that improving your fitness could also improve the fitness of your spouse.

Couples were asked about their physical activity levels at two medical visits conducted around 6 years apart. On the first visit, if a wife met the recommended guidelines for physical activity, her husband was 70 percent more likely to also reach those targets at subsequent visits than those whose wives were less active.

Conversely, when a husband met recommended activity levels, his wife was 40 percent more likely to also achieve these levels at follow-up visits.

When it comes to physical fitness, the best peer pressure to get moving could be coming from the person who sits across from you at the breakfast table,” says co-author Laura Cobb, a doctoral student at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “There’s an epidemic of people in this country who don’t get enough exercise, and we should harness the power of the couple to ensure people are getting a healthy amount of physical activity.”

Alter microbiome

man standing in the shower
Microbial exchange with your partner can occur simply from walking on the same bathroom floor.

Researchers from the University of Waterloo in Canada found that couples who live together influence the microbiome – that is, the community of bacteria and other microbes – on each other’s skin.

Commonalities between couples’ skin microbiome were strong enough that computer algorithms could detect couples that cohabit with an accuracy of 86 percent.

Skin regions that were the most similar between partners were on the couples’ feet. “In hindsight, it makes sense,” says Prof. Josh Neufeld, of the Faculty of Science in the Department of Biology at the University of Waterloo. “You shower and walk on the same floor barefoot. This process likely serves as a form of microbial exchange with your partner, and also with your home itself.”

Improve physical and mental health

While analyzing whether or not relationships are good for your health, David and John Gallacher, from Cardiff University in the U.K., confirmed that long-term, committed relationships are good for physical and psychological health, and that these benefits increase over time.

On average, individuals who are married live longer; women have better mental health when they are in committed relationships, while men have better physical health when in a committed relationship. The study authors say, “On balance it probably is worth making the effort.”

Decrease risk of health conditions

Studies have shown that partners can also affect each other’s risk and development of disease.

woman and man arguing
Persistent nagging from your partner could slow down diabetes progression.

For example, a study by Michigan State University (MSU) in East Lansing deduced that for men who are in an unhappy marriage, the development of diabetes is slower and treatment is more successful once they are diagnosed.

The researchers said that wives who continuously regulate their husband’s health behaviors and who are seen as annoying and provoking hostility and emotional distress in the husbands could explain this finding.

The study challenges the traditional assumption that negative marital quality is always detrimental to health,” says lead investigator Hui Liu, an associate professor of sociology at MSU. “It also encourages family scholars to distinguish different sources and types of marital quality. Sometimes, nagging is caring.”

Researchers from the University of Michigan have also determined that having an optimistic spouse predicted fewer chronic illnesses and better mobility over time.

A growing body of research shows that the people in our social networks can have a profound influence on our health and well-being,” says lead study author Eric Kim, a doctoral student in the University of Michigan’s Department of Psychology. “This is the first study to show that someone else’s optimism could be impacting your own health.”

In other research, people who are happily wed are more than three times as likely to be alive 15 years after coronary bypass surgery as their unmarried counterparts. Married people also are less likely to have cardiovascular problems than individuals who are single, divorced, or widowed.

Adverse effects of a partner on health

Intensify pain

In contrast to the research that showed a partner’s touch decreases pain, a study by King’s College London in the U.K. found that being in the company of your partner could make pain worse.

The researchers found that the more avoidant of closeness women were in their relationships, the more pain they experienced when given a laser pulse on their finger.

Research led by the University of Edinburgh in the U.K. also found a connection between partners and pain. The team found that partners of individuals with depression have an increased risk of experiencing chronic pain.

The researchers’ analysis showed that depression and chronic pain share common causes. Some of these causes are genetic while others stem from the environment shared by the partners.

Derail your diet

healthy eating plan
Dieting with your partner could end up derailing your weight loss plans.

Dieting with your partner may seem to be a good idea, but research has indicated that among romantic couples, the more successful one partner is at restricting their diet and eating more healthfully, the less confident the other partner becomes at controlling their food portions.

When people strive to reach a goal, being close (in this case, romantically) with someone who is successfully reaching the same goal can make the other partner less confident in their own efforts to reach the goal,” explains Jennifer Jill Harman, an associate professor at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

Facilitate weight gain

Marriage has been positively correlated with weight gain among couples. For example, lead researcher Andrea L. Meltzer – an assistant professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX – and collaborators unveiled that newlyweds who are satisfied with their marriage are more likely to gain weight in the early years of marriage than those who are unsatisfied.

“On average, spouses who were more satisfied with their marriage were less likely to consider leaving their marriage, and they gained more weight over time,” states Prof. Meltzer. “In contrast, couples who were less satisfied in their relationship tended to gain less weight over time.

Other research by the University of Bath’s School of Management in the U.K. showed that marriage makes men gain weight and that fatherhood exacerbates the problem further.

Increase risk of health conditions

In contrast with research signalling that your significant other can decrease your risk of certain health conditions, other studies show the reverse.

For example, the McGill University Health Centre in Canada has suggested that if someone has type 2 diabetes, their partner has a 26 percent increased risk of also developing the condition.

While spouses are not related biologically, they share the same environment, social habits, and eating and exercising patterns – all of which are factors that alter the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

“When we talk about family history of type 2 diabetes, we generally assume that the risk increase that clusters in families results from genetic factors. What our analyses demonstrate is that risk is shared by spouses,” says senior study author Kaberi Dasgupta, of the Research Institute at McGill University.

a couple sitting on the bed ignoring each other
Giving your spouse the silent treatment increases your risk of back pain and stiff muscles.

Furthermore, the way that you react to disagreements and argue with your partner could predict health problems later in life. The University of California, Berkeley, and Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, revealed that fits of rage during marital spats can predict cardiovascular problems, and shutting down and giving the silent treatment raises the risk of a bad back or stiff muscles.

“Conflict happens in every marriage, but people deal with it in different ways. Some of us explode with anger; some of us shut down,” says lead study author Claudia Haase, an assistant professor of human development and social policy at Northwestern University. “Our study shows that these different emotional behaviours can predict the development of different health problems in the long run.”

Research has also indicated that individuals may unintentionally worsen their partner’s insomnia. Moreover, other research found that inflammation markers rise in tired partners who argue.

Additionally, in older adults, researchers learned that the frailer an individual – a condition that affects around 10 percent of those aged 65 and over – the more likely it is that they will become depressed. Equally, the more depressed an older person is, the frailer they will become.

What is more, people married to frail spouses had an increased risk of becoming frail themselves, and those married to a depressed partner were also more likely to become depressed.

And interestingly, health changes influenced by a romantic partner do not necessarily end when they pass away.

Kyle Bourassa, a psychology doctoral student at the University of Arizona in Tucson, and colleagues found that couples’ qualities of life are linked even when one partner dies.

The people we care about continue to influence our quality of life even when they are gone. We found that a person’s quality of life is as interwoven with and dependent on their deceased spouse’s earlier quality of life as it is with a person they may see every day.

Kyle Bourassa

Bourassa says that even though we have lost the people we love, they remain with us. The research highlights how important relationships are for our health and well-being. However, he does say that the findings are cut both ways. “If a participant’s quality of life was low prior to his or her death, then this could take a negative toll on the partner’s later quality of life as well.”

We all worry from time to time. But if you can’t shake it after a few weeks or it starts to get in the way of your normal work or home life, talk to your doctor. It can take a toll on your health and might be linked to an anxiety disorder. Therapy, drugs, and other strategies can help.

Nervous system

This messaging network is made up of your brain, spinal cord, nerves, and special cells called neurons. Worrying too much can trigger it to release “stress hormones” that speed up your heart rate and breathing, raise your blood sugar, and send more blood to your arms and legs. Over time, this can affect your heart, blood vessels, muscles, and other systems.

Muscles

When you’re troubled about something, the muscles in your shoulder and neck can tense up. This can lead to migraines or tension headaches. A body massage or relaxation techniques, like deep breathing and yoga, may help.

Breathing

If you’re worried a lot, you might breathe more deeply or more often without realising it. While this usually isn’t a big deal, it can be serious if you already have breathing problems linked to asthma, lung disease, or other conditions.

Heart

If it sticks around long enough, but something as small as a nagging concern in the back of your mind can affect your heart. It can make you more likely to have high blood pressure, a heart attack or a stroke. Higher levels of anxiety can trigger those stress hormones that make your heart beat faster and harder. If that happens over and over, your blood vessels may get inflamed, which can lead to hardened artery walls, unhealthy cholesterol levels, and other problems.

Blood sugar

When you’re worried about something, stress hormones also give you a burst of fuel (in the form of blood sugar). This can be a good thing if you need to run from danger, but what happens if you don’t use that fuel? Your body normally stores it to use later. But, sometimes, if you’re overweight or afflicted with diabetes, for example, your blood sugar can stay too high for too long. This can lead to heart disease, strokes or kidney disease.

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Contrary to research that suggests marijuana may act as a gateway drug, encouraging the use of other harmful substances, a new study indicates it may have the opposite effect.

The new review suggests marijuana may help treat substance use disorders and some mental health conditions.

In the journal Clinical Psychology Review, researchers suggest marijuana use has the potential to help treat some individuals with substance use disorders, such as opioid addiction.

What is more, the review – led by Zach Walsh, an associate professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia in Canada – suggests using marijuana could help alleviate symptoms of some mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

While marijuana, or cannabis, remains the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States, with around 22.2 million users in the past month, it is becoming increasingly legalized for medical and/or recreational purposes.

In relation to the drug’s therapeutic potential, some studies have suggested marijuana can help treat pain, inflammation, epileptic seizures, and even Alzheimer’s disease.

Additionally, many patients and advocates of medical marijuana claim the drug has the potential to treat mental health issues and substance use disorders, and the new study by Walsh and team suggests that, in some cases, these individuals may be right.

Marijuana may be an effective ‘exit drug’

The researchers came to their conclusion after conducting a systematic review of 60 studies assessing the effects of either medical or non-medical marijuana on mental health and substance abuse.

The analysis revealed that medical marijuana shows potential for treating symptoms of PTSD, depression, and social anxiety.

However, for patients with psychotic disorders – such as bipolar disorder – the team found non-medical marijuana use may be problematic.

Additionally, the review indicates that medical marijuana use may help some individuals with substance use disorders by acting as a substitute.

“Research suggests that people may be using cannabis as an exit drug to reduce the use of substances that are potentially more harmful, such as opioid pain medication,” Walsh explains.

The evidence to date suggests that medical marijuana does not raise the risk of self-harm or harm to others, the researchers note, although they caution that acute marijuana intoxication and recent use of medical marijuana may affect short-term memory and other cognitive functions.

The team concludes that more research is required to further assess the effects of marijuana use on mental health and substance abuse. This is particularly important given the increase in marijuana legalization in the U.S., and in Canada, marijuana may be legalized as early as 2017.

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The Royal Niger Company was a British chartered company, active from 1886 through 1899. It transformed its administrative powers into a successful commercial monopoly in Nigeria.

Such foreign-owned chartered companies played a significant role in the history of economic imperialism in sub-Saharan Africa during the colonial era.

Scholars felt that such chartered companies were exploitative and only profitable for foreign investors and viewed them as economic failures for native Africans. This provides the background for understanding corporate social responsibility in Africa and Nigeria especially.

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The genesis of the debate on the concept of corporate social responsibility can be traced to the wave of crisis in social values that engulfed America in the post-World War II period when it was observed that society had lost confidence in its institutions – the government, press, church, business as well as in the military.

Businesses in America have had enormous positive impact on social life of the continent since the World War II, hence, the peculiar spotlight on corporate social responsibility then.

The crisis of confidence in the social role of business has been made explicit in debates on corporate social responsibility that seeks to re-orientate its directions from the taunted profit maximisation dogma and pays attention to the human lives and the environment.

The concept of corporate social responsibility is a crude blend of long-run profit-making and social values with profit maximisation goals.

In the early years of the American Republic and especially in the post civil war reconstruction era, businesses in America played indispensable roles as the powerful social tool for harnessing resources and ensuring material progress.

But as the years rolled on and business began to concentrate and centralise on capital, its role in the economy became expansive and pervasive.

At the height of prosperity, the captains of industry were heralded as heroes of the society as they took responsibility for the companies’ effects on environment and social wellbeing.

CSR may also be referred to as “corporate citizenship” and can involve incurring short-term costs that do not provide an immediate financial benefit to the company, but instead promote positive social and environmental change. Corporations can have enormously detrimental effects on the environment.

Oil spills are some of the most conspicuous examples, but industries as varied as chemical manufacturing, mining, agriculture and fishing can do permanent damage to local ecosystems. Climate change can also be attributed in large part to corporations.

While their responsibility is hard to untangle from that of the consumers who demand social responsibility, it is difficult to deny that many corporations have profited from the deterioration of the global environment.

Companies can invest in local communities in order to offset the negative impact their operations might have. A natural resources firm that begins to operate in a poor community might build a school, offer medical services or improve irrigation and sanitation equipment.

Similarly, a company might invest in research even though the project might not immediately lead to increased profitability. Companies might make extraordinary efforts to hire, foster and empower a diverse workforce. They might offer generous paid maternity and paternity leave.

They might sponsor after-school programmes in crime-affected neighbourhoods, fund the clean up of local river systems and put pressure on elected officials to consider the needs of all citizens rather than simply seeking political expediency.

The Nigerian situation is precarious because there is no effective regulation for the corporate business where labour is cheap, abused and the workforce is vulnerable to mental health issues. None of our major corporate organisations has invested in any mental health intervention despite enormous burden that exist.

Most of our corporate settings have no vigorous programme for proactively engaging the mental health needs of their employees. We have serious social issues and our corporate organisations should intervene in those that may invariably have mental health consequences.

The immediate challenges we face as a nation are enormous, especially as they touch on the welfare of internally displaced persons in the northeast who benefit much from corporate responsibility and philanthropy. The public-private partnership model has many benefits but serves only the interest of the privileged political class rather than the vulnerable masses.

The corporate social responsibility is a better model that can midwife a versatile futuristic public-private partnership after these institutions have helped to jumpstart programmes of intervention for the vulnerable. The contemporary Nigerian corporate organisations need to convince us that they are different from the Royal Niger Company, which was purely a colonial instrument of economic exploitation of the natives.

PUNCH.

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Ordinary life may constantly present to us many hardships, challenges, problems, and undesirable issues (as well as joys and positive experiences).   The comforts of good food, a good home, and a good family life are the ordinary means of retirement from each day’s work and social experiences.

If you could invent or find a moodometer to measure your mood, you may find a depression in mood when hungry and tired and an elevation in mood after eating a meal that is good, nice, and delicious.

The human mind of a person in a civil society requires an ability to keep its balance or to keep balancing itself throughout a life of mental bombardments.  Many factors make up a fit mind and the chief amongst these factors may be good nutrition of the brain, regular use of the brain in thinking, and regular use of the mind in prayer.  Nutrition of the brain may be ultimate as the living brain is what makes thinking and prayer possible.However, a biologically alive brain does not always make a good mind without regular and effective exercise of thought and prayer.

Food that yields good nutrition is important.  What a person eats or doesn’t eat can help him or her remain mentally balanced or can make him mentally unbalanced.“A hungry man is an angry man” says an English proverb. Can food and eating habits run us psychotic, depressive, or manic? Bloody uprisings and revolutions arise from hungry people exploding against real or perceived oppressors. Women know that one of the easiest ways to a man’s heart or wallet is his stomach.  A man will think positively towards you if you feed him well.

The Mental Health Foundation (http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/help-information/mental-health-a-z/d/diet/) indicates that someresearch show that:  “Nearly two thirds of those who do not report daily mental health problems eat fresh fruit or fruit juice every day, compared with less than half of those who do report daily mental health problems. This pattern is similar for fresh vegetables and salad. Those who report some level of mental health problem also eat fewer healthy foods (fresh fruit and vegetables, organic foods and meals made from scratch) and more unhealthy foods (chips and crisps, chocolate, ready meals and takeaways).”  Now all these foods are good to some extent but the proportion or frequency in which they are consumed is what matters for good brain function.