Archive for 'Anti Depressants-Sleeping Aid'
ANXIETY IN THE BODY: NERVOUS HEADACHES AND MIGRAINE AND PAINFUL MONTHLY PERIODS
These two different conditions are both associated with anxiety—nervous headache directly so, and migraine less directly.
The pain of nervous headache is felt on both sides of the head, and mainly in the front part of the head and behind the eyes or at the back of the head. There is often an accompanying feeling of something pressing on top of the head or of a tight band around the head. Nervous headache is the direct result of nervous tension, and if the tension is relieved by appropriate measures the tendency to headache soon vanishes.
Migraine is a different kind of headache. It is usually preceded by some strange feeling which acts as a warning that an attack of migraine is about to develop. There are often disturbances of vision, so that sight is impaired and further disturbed by flashes of light or bright wavy lines. Then the headache itself comes on. Unlike nervous headache, migraine is usually felt only on one side of the head, quite often behind the eye. As the headache develops there is a feeling of nausea and frequently actual vomiting. The attack may last for some hours or even days before passing off.
The migraine attack is due to a temporary constriction of some of the arteries of the brain which is soon followed by a dilatation of the same vessels. It seems that a number of factors combine to produce this effect, and that emotional stress is one of the most important of these factors. Of the patients with migraine treated by myself with relaxing methods to relieve tension approximately one third have practically ceased to have any attacks at all, one third have been markedly helped but still have some attacks, and one third were not helped at all. So it would seem well worthwhile for anyone who suffers with migraine to give the relaxing mental exercises a fair trial in order to reduce nervous tension as a means of relieving the attacks.
Painful Monthly Periods-A great number of women and girls suffer from this distressing condition, which is technically known as dysmenorrhoea. There are different physical conditions which predispose toward this complaint, but in almost all cases there is an important emotional factor. If this can be remedied by reducing the patient’s general level of anxiety so that she ceases to overreact to stress, the condition is usually cured or at least greatly relieved.
ST JOHN’S WORT IN EVERYDAY LIFE: ST JOHN’S WORT AND SOCIAL PHOBIA
Social phobia, one of the most common hidden causes of distress and anxiety in everyday life, is estimated to affect approximately one in eight adults. People with this problem have a persistent and powerful fear of being scrutinized, evaluated or being judged by others. As you can imagine, this condition results in considerable impairment of functioning as it prevents people from asserting themselves in work or social situations. Although people with this difficulty may simply appear shy to outsiders, actually they spend a great deal of time worrying about being embarrassed, and engaging in painful fantasies of being ridiculed or humiliated.
According to Dr Michael Liebowitz of Columbia University in New York, a pioneering researcher in the field of social phobia, there are several lines of evidence suggesting that brain pathways involving the neurotransmitter dopamine are disturbed in social phobia. To a somewhat lesser extent, pathways involving serotonin also seem to be involved in this condition. Studies indicate that anti-depressants may be of some value in the treatment of social phobia. As St John’s Wort has been shown to influence both dopamine and serotonin pathways, there is reason to consider that the herbal remedy might be of some benefit in social phobia. As several of the stories in this book have indicated, after starting the herbal remedy a number of people report becoming more outgoing and less shy, and more willing to take the initiative in a social or work situation.
Currently social phobia is a greatly undertreated problem, in part because it is not recognized by clinicians but perhaps also because the very symptoms of the condition – fear of being judged and humiliated – may prevent people from bringing their problem to the attention of a professional. For these people, an herbal remedy that can be purchased over the counter may be enormously appealing. Although formal studies of this use of the herb are needed, early evidence suggests that if you are painfully shy or afraid of making a social overture or asserting yourself, St John’s Wort may really be worth a try.
As we can see, there are many possible roles for St John’s Wort in everyday life – for stress, low energy, down feelings, insomnia, premenstrual symptoms and painful shyness. Small wonder that the ancients thought this herb capable of miracles, and attributed magical powers to it.
ÑHILDREN’S SLEEP PROBLEMS: MOVING THROUGH DISTINCTLY DIFFERENT SLEEP STATES
All people—children and adults—move through distinctly different sleep states which progress from drowsiness to very deep sleep. In the waking state we are rational and functional. In non-REM sleep the body rests and restores itself. In REM sleep the mind is active again and dreaming occurs (REM stands for “rapid eye movement”—a stage of sleep that is characterized by such eye movement.)
The night begins as the child moves quickly through drowsiness and into deep sleep within ten minutes. Waking a child in deep sleep might be almost impossible—this is the time your child can be moved from the car or your arms into bed without waking.
Deep sleep makes up the next two or so hours of sleep. After about an hour (and again after the next hour), it is interrupted by a brief arousal when the child seems to be sleeping and waking at the same time. Behaviors range from crying out or opening eyes to the more extreme thrashing about. It is during this arousal that confused thrashing, sleep terrors, sleep walking, or bedwetting might occur. Although we tend to think that these behaviors are a result î dreaming, that is not the case since dreaming does not occur until REM sleep
The bulk of the remaining night is spent moving between light sleep and the REM episodes in which dreaming occurs. drugswatcher.com There is a tendency to wake briefly while changing states—the child checks to be sure all is well, goes back to sleep, and generally doesn’t remember this waking in the morning. Sometime when he wakes during these “arousals” he has difficulty returning to sleep. This is a common cause of frequent waking. If he needs your help to get back u sleep, he will wake you.
It is during this block of time (in the REM episodes) that nightmares occur. If he comes to a full waking while moving in and out of the dreaming states, he might be afraid to fall asleep again.
Near morning he returns to another period of deep, non-REM sleep. Following another arousal comes another, more intense, REM dream episode. After more light sleep and dreaming transitions, he wakes for the day. If the child wakes fully during any of these transitions, he might decide that night is over; he then becomes an early waker. If you decide to wake him (to fit your schedule or in an attempt to alter his) during his period of deep sleep, you will both be left out of sorts.
ANXIETY IN THE MIND: IRRITABILITY
Anxiety commonly shows itself in irritability. We react too quickly and too much to all manner of minor frustrations. We become upset by things which would not normally disturb us. We are more sensitive to noise, and are easily irritated by it. The noises at work which we had not previously noticed become a source of irritation; and at home the noise of the children brings us to distraction. We tolerate it as long as we can, then suddenly let go. We punish the child too severely, and then immediately regret it.
If someone finds fault with what we have done, we normally take the criticism in stride. But when we are anxious, we overreact to the situation; we flare up, we say what we should not say, and then regret it. The girl in the restaurant attends to us in the usual way, but because we are tensed up we feel that she is unbearably slow. The mannerisms and quirks of our friends and relatives, which we once enjoyed, now irritate us. There soon develops an atmosphere of tension in the home. Members of the family become cautious; they are restrained, and no longer laugh arid joke openly for fear of triggering off this unnatural irritability. The anxious one senses that the others are acting differently toward him, he becomes still more on edge, and the cloud of misunderstanding deepens.
A young woman in her early thirties, extremely tense and aggressive, came to consultation on account of her intense irritability with her two young children. These were her exact words: “With her like she is how could I be relaxed?” “It is not as if I am completely ignorant. I have had experience with doctors and that makes me a bit doubtful.”
For some years her husband had been under treatment for a peptic ulcer which I thought might easily be related to his wife’s irritability.
Her state was so severe that I arranged for her admission to a hospital, but she was so irritable and aggressive that she promptly left against advice. However, she returned to me some months later, just as irritable as ever, but determined to seek help. It took her several sessions to learn to do the relaxing mental exercises. She then underwent an extraordinary change in personality; she could smile and be pleasant in a way that had not seemed possible before. She learned to cope with the children and tolerate frustration without undue irritability.
THE NATURE OF ANXIETY: THE PHYSICAL BASIS OF ANXIETY
If we are to learn to master our anxiety in an enlightened fashion, we must first know something of its nature. What is anxiety? Unfortunately there is no complete agreement among psychiatrists on this subject, but it is possible to make a number of general statements that help to define anxiety. The ideas which I offer you now are a summary of a theme which I have developed elsewhere.
The Physical Basis of Anxiety-Our brain is continually receiving a great number of nervous impulses. Some of these are conscious, but the great majority are unconscious. These impulses arise from three different areas—from our external environment, from our body itself, and from our mind.
Information concerning external environment comes to our brain through our sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. We are aware of some of these sensations, but a great deal of information of which we are not consciously aware also comes to our brain from all parts of the body. Thus the position of our limbs is being continually reported so that we can maintain our balance. The fullness of our stomach, the mobility of our bowels, and the functioning of all our other organs are likewise continually reported.
There is an even more complex stream of impulses which arise within the brain itself. At this level are our conscious thoughts, doubts and misgivings, loves and hates. Impulses come also from the unconscious activity of the mind. This includes all those problems and conflicts, worries and desires, which we can readily call to consciousness if we so desire. But beyond this mass of material which we can recall at will, there lies the unconscious itself with its memories of past experiences and all the hopes and fears which were associated with them. Although these unconscious memories are quite beyond our recall except under certain special circumstances, they have a continual effect on our mental functioning by virtue of impulses arising from them.
All these impulses—from the environment, from the body, and from the mind—have to be dealt with and integrated to allow the smooth working of the brain. If the number of impulses becomes too great the brain is unable to cope with the situation. There is in fact a level for all of us at which integration of the impulses becomes incomplete, and we experience this incomplete integration of the impulses as anxiety. The feeling of nervous tension or anxiety thus serves to warn us that all is not well in our mind.