PCOS HAIR LOSS : YOUR HAIR WILL GROW AS CRAZY AND YOUR VISION WILL BE AS EAGLE: TAKE 3 TABLESPOONS DAILY AND A MIRACLE WILL OCCURS

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Many of us have a problem with hair, but also with low vision. Nature offers us solutions to these problems. All you need is to eat this mixture full of healthy foods and improve vision and health of your hair.

Several days after application, you will notice significant improvement and will feel much better. For preparation of this mixture you will not need many ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 200 grams of linseed oil
  • 4 lemons
  • 1kg of honey
  • 3 small cloves of garlic

Preparation:

Clean the garlic and place it in a blender with 4 lemons and make a good mixture. In the mixture add linseed oil, honey and continue to mix. Transfer the mixture in jar, tight it and place it in the refrigerator.

Usage:

Consume one tablespoon of the mixture half an hour before a meal, but consume it with a wooden spoon. You need to consume three times a day before meal, this mixture will improve overall health and also acts preventive for many diseases.

You will notice a big improvement, it is worth a try.
We hope you found this article useful and share it with your friends on your favorites social media. Thank you.

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Psychology: How Random Acts of Kindness and Lots of Practice Give Happiness

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I wasn’t trying to become happier. I was just trying to make a living.

It was 1992 and I was your average 30-something miserable person. I had gone to therapy in my twenties, so I knew all about how my unhappy childhood was affecting my adulthood, but not what to do about it. I had chronic back pain and couldn’t dance, swim, or stand for more than 30 minutes. At one point I even had to spend a year lying down, which, believe me, did nothing for my mood.

At the time, I was the co-owner of a book publishing company and we were trying to come up with a good idea to help fund the press. My partner read a column in the San Francisco Chronicle about Anne Herbert, the woman who coined the phrase “Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty.” Now there’s a great idea, we thought. How about a book about random acts of kindness? We gathered a group of people together and recorded stories of strangers changing tires, meals left on porches, a kind word at the right moment. At the back of the book, we put a notice to readers to send us their stories. Little did we know we had started a movement.

Suddenly we were inundated with letters — old people, young people, entire school districts. Every day, the mailman arrived like Santa lugging a huge sack. We were bombarded with requests for interviews — TV, radio, newspapers, magazines. I didn’t want to be a hypocrite so I decided that I better practice being kind if I was going to talk about it.

And that’s when everything changed. I found myself getting happier. This was amazing to me, particularly because at the same time I was going through a very painful divorce not of my choosing. Yes, I felt a lot of grief and sadness, but I noticed my spirits were uplifted every time I got out of my own self-involvement and helped someone else — even if it was only to smile at a stranger or feed an expired parking meter. Even my back felt better!

A Life-Changing Letter About a Life Saved

Then one day came a letter. It was from a recent high school graduate. He wrote to tell me that his mother had given him a copy of Random Acts of Kindness for his graduation, and that he had been planning to kill himself, but the stories in the book made him feel like life was worth living. I was stunned that a book I helped create could have such an effect. He was uplifted just by reading about other folks’ generosity. I knew then that I had to understand much more about the power of these seemingly small actions.

Now that I understood how powerfully actions could affect emotions, I decided to study happy people to find out what other things they did differently than me. The first thing I noticed was that they were more grateful. So I began to practice gratitude, as well as kindness, and lo and behold, I got happier. I went on to look at how to be more generous, patient, and optimistic. All of it helped, but what I found out for me was that counting my blessings on a daily basis was absolutely the best happiness booster. I think it was because I was inherently a worrier, which caused a lot of my anxiety and low feelings. Worry is always about the future, even if it’s just worrying about a test result you will hear about in the next 30 minutes. Gratitude brings us back into this present moment when the bad thing hasn’t happened yet and you’re still okay. I can’t tell you the number of times in a day I would have to practice while I was going through money and relationship struggles. It really helped with moment-to-moment peace of mind.

The Growing Science of Positive Psychology

When I began to write about these positive qualities we can grow in ourselves to feel more joyful, the scientific research was nonexistent. Since then, there has been an explosion of interest in these qualities by members of the positive psychology movement started by Martin Seligman. I’ve watched it all with great interest, particularly the gratitude research of David McCullough, Robert Emmons, and David Snowdon. What they and others have discovered confirms all of my amateur armchair philosophizing. One of the most powerful studies came from Seligman’s Reflective Happiness website. After counting their blessings for one week, Seligman’s team found, 92 percent of people felt happier and 94 percent who had said they were depressed felt less depressed. That means gratitude is as powerful as antidepressants and therapy. Now I’m not saying to throw away your medication — just be sure to add this easy upper to your routine.

But it isn’t just gratitude that’s been found to have such positive effects, it’s all positive emotions, including learned optimism, generosity, and hopefulness. Some of the most impressive research has been done by Barbara Friedrickson, Professor of Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who has demonstrated how a three-to-one ratio of positive to negative emotions can create a life of flourishing.

Being Happy Takes Practice

What’s going on here? All we have so far is a hypothesis, but I believe it is a powerful one. From research done on Buddhist monks’ brains, we are beginning to believe that when we think positive thoughts — about gratitude, kindness, optimism, and the like — we activate our left prefrontal cortex and flood our bodies with feel-good hormones, which give us an upswing in mood in the short run and strengthen our immune system in the long run. Conversely, when we think negative, angry, worried, hopeless, pessimistic thoughts, we activate our right pre-frontal cortex and flood our body with stress hormones, which send us into fight or flight mode, depresses our mood, and suppresses our immune system. In other words, we are bathing our body/minds/spirits in good or bad chemicals based on our thoughts.

This is no quick fix that you try it once and the effects last forever. I still have to consciously practice every single day — to be kind, grateful, hopeful. It still goes against my automatic hardwiring for gloom and doom. But the more I practice, the easier it gets — and the happier I am.

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Living Alone With Epilepsy

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I live a busy professional life as a consultant and live alone. I’ve been having grand-mal seizures for 2 years now (about 5-6 episodes). Living alone introduces some complications which I would like to bring up.

1. Sometimes it is extremely difficult for me to figure out whether or not I’ve had a seizure. This especially happens if I have been unwell, if I had more than 4 beers the night before, or if I am very tired with work. Often, some scattered stuff and a pounding headache is the only sign. At other times, some weird bruises are the only clues.

2. I also find it difficult to judge whether or not I suffer from absence seizures (staring episodes). If there was someone to see me, I could find out. Any alternative suggestions to investigate?

3. I have come to recognize the aura I tend to have. It starts with a feeling that “everything i’ve done is useless… pointless…”. I usually lie down in bed, but have learnt the hard way that too much sleep is a sure trigger for a seizure in my case. Does it work for other like this? What do you all find useful in preventing a seizure if an aura is experienced?

4. Does anyone experience an increase in fidgety behavior for a few days following a serizure? I find myself shaking my legs, jerking my arms…. or a flickering feeling in eyelashes. I am keen to corroborate my theory that this is linked to a seizure because if so, I can use it as a sign to take it easy till these symptoms reduce (implying return to normal state of affairs in my head)

Whew! thats a lots of questions. Please feel free to contact me for more information. I like to lve life to the fullest and am not going to let a disease like this stop me. Others interested in the same goal should connect!

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After Bariatric Surgery: Recipes & Tips

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Keeping on top of a bariatric diet during the six-week span of holiday celebrations may seem daunting, especially when the kickoff is an event designed solely around eating as much as possible – Thanksgiving. It’s a rough holiday for everyone, with the average American gaining.

As this time of year presents an even more unique meal-planning challenge if you’ve had weight loss surgery, we’ve put together some easy-to-follow ideas and recipes to help put your mind at ease about the meal. You can spend more time enjoying friends and family and less time worrying about everything else.

Things to Remember

Whether you relax your doctor’s rules or strictly adhere, after bariatric surgery one of the most important things to do is at least take the right approach to the big meal using these simple guidelines:

  1. Protein first! Be sure to focus on eating the protein-rich foods available and eat them before others, with vegetables being 2nd and starches coming last. Consider pre-gaming with a protein/nutrition shake before the meal to start out ahead.
  2. Pass on the booze. It is highly recommended to avoid consuming alcoholic beverages with your meal, but be sure to get plenty of water/liquids.
  3. Keep it moving. Add some type of movement or exercise as part of the day. Many gatherings include a flag football game or a walk. Or, start a new Thanksgiving tradition with others and have a walk before and after the big meal!
  4. Small plates, slowly. Try to make small plates and take a little time to slowly enjoy your meal. See our guide on creating balanced, portion-controlled plates here. Also, be careful with the leftovers and encourage other guests to take them home.

Bariatric-Friendly Thanksgiving Recipes

If you’re dedicated to preparing a strict, bariatric feast on Thanksgiving (and it’s not necessarily the most friendly holiday to your diet), we’ve put together some delicious recipes you can try.

Low-carb Cheesy Tuna Casserole: This recipe eliminates the noodles and adds green peas to offer a more fiber-rich, but lower carbohydrate option. View the recipe here.

Roasted Turkey Breast: This recipe is simple to put together and make, plus gives you all the Turkey Day feels (plus the protein) with less of the fats. View the recipe here.

Green Bean Casserole, Cranberry Dressing and Low-fat Gravy and more: This mega-list has some great, healthier recipes for some of the most traditional holiday meal sides, including Pumpkin Pie Ramekins! See the recipes here.

Faux Carb Cheesy Mashed Potatoes: Get the creamy experience of a baked potato with sour cream in an easy-to-digest puree version of the Turkey Day side favorite using cauliflower and yogurt. View the recipe here.

Pumpkin Mousse: Craving that devilish, after-meal Thanksgiving dessert, but didn’t think it was possible? Never fear, with this Pumpkin Pie replacement recipe, you can get your holiday fix for freshly baked pumpkin pie without the empty calories. Check out the recipe here.

Reboot Traditional Thanksgiving Foods

Sometimes, your holiday reality is that you may end up going a little against doctor’s orders and cheating some on Thanksgiving. It’s important to stick as close as possible to your prescribed diet on Thanksgiving, but if you end up cutting a few corners, you can get lighter healthier results if you are able to make some adjustments to your menu.

Turkey: Fortunately, this holiday staple is a great lean protein source. If you can enjoy it without the skin, it helps remove the saturated fat. You can further reduce calories by avoiding the excess butter, oil and sugar that is often added. Instead, use herbs and citrus fruit juice to liven it up.

Stuffing: Living up to its name, stuffing can often leave you stuffed in a bad way. Try using whole wheat breadcrumbs, brown rice or couscous-based stuffing to add filling fiber. Bring back the lost flavor with herbs, spices and vegetables.

Mashed Potatoes: It’s fairly easy to eliminate some of the worst offenders in this side dish by taking out the loads of butter, salt and cream. Even better, you can make replacements with a mixed potato or root mash, then roast/boil mashed vegetables and add yogurt or roasted garlic with some fat-free soft cheese.

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U.S. Health Officials Urge Lifestyle Changes to Cut Stroke Risk

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Million Hearts initiative aims to reduces strokes, heart attacks by 1 million in five years.

Americans need to take action to reduce their risk of stroke, U.S. health officials said Thursday.

Someone in the world dies of a stroke every six seconds and about 137,000 Americans die of stroke every year. That number is about equivalent to the population of Eugene, Ore. or Savannah, Ga., according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The agency’s message about stroke prevention comes ahead of World Stroke Day on Oct. 29.

A new U.S. government program, called Million Hearts, seeks to prevent 1 million strokes and heart attacks over the next five years. The program encourages people to learn and follow their ABCs: aspirin for people at risk; blood pressure control; cholesterol management; and smoking cessation.

“Someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds and while that is a statistic to some, it’s a life abruptly changed for the person who suffered the stroke and the person’s family,” CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said in a news release from the agency. “We can do so much more to prevent strokes and the new Million Hearts initiative offers opportunities for individuals, providers, communities and businesses to apply tools we have readily available today to reduce strokes and heart attacks.”

A stroke occurs when a clot blocks the blood supply to the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. Lifestyle changes and, in some cases, medications can greatly reduce the risk of stroke.

However, less than half of Americans who should be taking a low-dose aspirin a day to reduce their risk of stroke and heart attack are taking one, according to the CDC. Less than half of the 68 million American adults with high blood pressure have it under control, only one in three Americans with high cholesterol receive effective treatment, and less than a quarter of smokers get help to quit when they see their doctor.

Certain groups of people face a higher risk of stroke. Blacks are nearly twice as likely as whites to have a first stroke, and Hispanics also have a higher risk than whites. Blacks and Hispanics are more likely than whites to die after a stroke.

According to the CDC, there are more than 2 million strokes and heart attacks in the United States each year. Treatment for these and other vascular diseases account for about $1 of every $6 spent on health care.

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How Brain Begins Repairs After “Silent Strokes”

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UCLA researchers have shown that the brain can be repaired — and brain function can be recovered — after a stroke in animals. The discovery could have important implications for treating a mind-robbing condition known as a white matter stroke, a major cause of dementia.

White matter stroke is a type of ischemic stroke, in which a blood vessel carrying oxygen to the brain is blocked. Unlike large artery blockages or transient ischemic attacks, individual white matter strokes, which occur in tiny blood vessels deep within the brain, typically go unnoticed but accumulate over time. They accelerate Alzheimer’s disease due to damage done to areas of the brain involved in memory, planning, walking and problem-solving.

“Despite how common and devastating white matter stroke is there has been little understanding of how the brain responds and if it can recover,” said Dr. Thomas Carmichael, senior author of the study and a professor of neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “By studying the mechanisms and limitations of brain repair in this type of stroke, we will be able to identify new therapies to prevent disease progression and enhance recovery.”

In a five-year study, Carmichael’s team looked at white matter strokes in animals and found that the brain initiated repair by sending replacement cells to the site, but then the process stalled. The team had a short list of molecular suspects from previous research that they thought might be responsible. Researchers identified a molecular receptor as the likely culprit in stalling the repair; when they blocked the receptor, the animals began to recover from the stroke.

“White matter stroke is an important clinical target for the development of new therapies,” Carmichael said.

Annually in the United States, about 795,000 suffer a stroke, resulting in nearly 130,000 deaths. Multiply the number of strokes by six, and you’ll have an estimate of the number of strokes that are “silent,” in that they do not produce symptoms that lead to hospitalization. Most of these silent strokes are white matter strokes.

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Effective Personalized Strategies for Treating Bipolar Disorder

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Bipolar disorder causes havoc in patients’ lives. Even in the best of circumstances, successful treatment is challenging. Treatment targets constantly shift; patients are frequently nonadherent; and comorbidity is the rule, not the exception. Diagnosis of bipolar disorder is often difficult. Comorbidities need to be identified and addressed if treatment is to be effective.

The importance of an accurate diagnosis

With apologies to Charles Dickens, bipolar disorder is often experienced as the “best of times and the worst of times.” This polarity often causes bipolar disorder to be undiagnosed, overdiagnosed, or misdiagnosed. Bipolar disorder is associated with a significantly elevated risk of suicide. Moreover, bipolar patients often use highly lethal means for suicide.1Contributing factors include early age at disease onset, the high number of depressive episodes, comorbid alcohol abuse, a history of antidepressant-induced mania, and traits of hostility and impulsivity.

Bipolar I disorder, with episodes of full-blown mania, is usually easier to diagnose than bipolar II disorder, with episodes of subtler hypomania. Recognizing that the primary mood state may be irritability rather than euphoria increases the likelihood of diagnosis as does the recognition that symptoms often last fewer than the 4 days required for diagnosis by DSM-IV.2 Focusing more on overactivity than mood change further improves diagnostic accuracy, and the use of structured questionnaires is helpful.

Given the greater frequency of depression than manic episodes in bipolar disorder, what clues indicate bipolar disorder rather than unipolar depression? The Table lists factors that may help identify unipolar depression.

A moving target needs moving treatment

Effective personalized treatment recognizes bipolar disorder as a biopsychosocial disorder, but mood-stabilizing medications are the backbone of treatment. These medications fall into 3 categories: lithium, antikindling/antiepileptic agents, and second-generation antipsychotics. The mechanisms of actions by which these medications work are numer-ous and include increasing levels of serotonin, γ-aminobutyric acid, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and decreasing glutamate levels; modifying dopamine pathways; stabilizing neuronal membranes; decreasing sodium channels; decreasing depolarization; decreasing apoptosis; and increasing neural cell growth/arborization.

Double-blind placebo-controlled studies of the medications—lithium, divalproex, carbamazepine, and atypical antipsychotics—used to treat symptoms of acute mania have demonstrated a response rate of approximately 50% to these drugs. Response was defined as a 50% decrease in symptoms using the Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS) with onset of response within a few days.

An increasingly intriguing aspect of treatment with lithium and atypical antipsychotics involves their effect on BDNF. In a study of 10 manic patients treated with lithium for 28 days, most (87%) showed an increase in BDNF level (ie, from 406 pg/mL to 511 pg/mL).3

TABLE

Factors that suggest bipolar depression rather than unipolar depression

In a typical 3-week study of acute mania, approximately half of the benefit was seen by day 4. A 3-week, double-blind, inpatient study of olanzapine and risperidone in 274 patients with acute mania found that of 117 patients who had a less than 50% decrease in the YMRS score at 1 week, only 39% responded and 19% had symptom remission at end point. Of 40 patients with a less than 25% decrease in the YMRS score at 1 week, only 25% responded and only 5% had symptom remission at 3 weeks. Of 157 patients who had at least a 50% decrease in the YMRS score at week 1, 84% responded and 64% had symptom remission at 3 weeks.4 Clinically, a medication change should be considered for patients who do not demonstrate substantial benefit by week 1.

A meta-analysis comprising 16,000 patients who had acute mania found that the most effective agents were haloperidol, risperidone, and olanzapine. The least effective were gabapentin, lamotrigine, and topiramate.5

A combination of medications—typically lithium or an antiepileptic with an atypical antipsychotic—is often necessary to successfully treat acute mania. A meta-analysis found the response rate increased from 42% to 62% when an antipsychotic was added.6

Bipolar depression has proved to be more resistant to medication treatment than mania. The same medications are used, with lamotrigine for maintenance treatment. The FDA has approved Seroquel, Seroquel XR, and Symbyax (the combination of olanzapine and fluoxetine), for the acute treatment of bipolar depression. Studies of acute bipolar depression have typically lasted 8 weeks. Approximately half of the benefit oc-curs by week 2, with statistical separation from placebo between weeks 1 and 3.7-9

The best treatment is prevention

Patients who have bipolar disorder almost always require lifelong maintenance treatment, frequently with 2 medications: one to prevent the upside (ie, hypomania/mania), and another to prevent the downside (ie, depression).

Findings from a registration trial showed that lamotrigine more effectively prevented depressions than lithium but lithium prevented mania/hypomania more effectively than lamotrigine.10

Another study added placebo or lamotrigine to lithium treatment for 124 patients. The median time to relapse/recurrence was 3.5 months for those taking lithium monotherapy but 10 months for those who received combination treatment.11

The effectiveness of a combination maintenance regimen was also seen in a study of 628 patients with bipolar I disorder treated for 2 years: 65% of those taking lithium or divalproex alone experienced a recurrence compared with 21% who received quetiapine added to lithium or divalproex.12 However, combination treatment may result in more adverse effects and increased risk of drug-drug interactions.

The best mood stabilizer

The best mood stabilizer for a patient is the one he or she will take. No matter how effective a medication is, it will not relieve symptoms if it is not being taken. The key to effective personalized treatment of bipolar disorder is a good patient-physician connection in which the patient is part of the treatment decision-making process.

Psychotherapy is an integral part of the effective treatment of bipolar disorder, not just an augmentation strategy. Psychotherapies that are helpful include cognitive-behavioral therapy and social rhythm therapy.13 Psychotherapy can focus on several areas, such as education, comorbidities, medication adherence, and interpersonal relationships. In addition, therapy can challenge the automatic, distorted, and dysfunctional thoughts and help the patient maintain social rhythms (eg, consistent sleep). The involvement of family members in treatment enhances success.

Patients may stop taking their medications because the adverse effects become intolerable; they may miss what they perceive as their more satisfying and productive hypomania; and they might believe that a period without symptoms means that they are cured and no longer need medications. One study of 3640 patients with bipolar disorder who made 48,000 physician visits found that 24% of patients were nonadherent (defined as missing at least 25% of doses) 20% of the time. Factors associated with nonadherence included rapid cycling, suicide attempts, earlier onset of illness, anxiety, and alcohol abuse.14

Patients who have bipolar II disorder spend far more time depressed than hypomanic. Lithium appears to be less effective than antikindling agents for rapid cycling as well as for mixed bipolar disorder states.15

Maintenance treatment is necessary for patients with acute mania or acute depression; therefore, choose medications that are more tolerable to the patient to facilitate long-term adherence. Recognize that medications may need to be adjusted or changed—in the acute phase of illness, rapid efficacy is often the priority, while medication adherence is the priority during the maintenance phase.

Other factors to consider when choosing the best medication for a particular patient include:

• A history of treatment response

• A family history of response

• Adverse effects of a particular drug

• Drug interactions

• Pregnancy

• Breast-feeding

Antidepressants

The use of antidepressants in bipolar disorder is controversial because they may induce rapid cycling, especially in patients with episodes of rapid cycling.16 In a study by Altshuler and colleagues,17 patients who had breakthrough depression despite treatment with a mood stabilizer were treated with antidepressants for at least 60 days. Patients who had symptom remission for 6 weeks were followed up for 1 year: 36% of patients who continued antidepressants for longer than 6 months relapsed versus 70% who discontinued antidepressants before 6 months.

A randomized discontinuation study with antidepressants found no statistically significant symptomatic benefit in the long-term treatment of bipolar disorder.18 Trends toward mild benefits, however, were found in patients who continued antidepressants. This study also found, similar to studies of tricyclic antidepressants, that rapid-cycling patients had worsened outcomes with continuation of modern antidepressants, including SSRIs and SNRIs.

An NIMH study of 159 patients who had breakthrough depression despite receiving a mood stabilizer were treated with sertraline (mean dosage, 192 mg/d), bupropion (mean dosage, 286 mg/d), or venlafaxine (mean dosage, 195 mg/d) for 10 weeks with a 1-year follow-up.19 At the end of 1 year, only 16% of the patients had continued remission while more than 55% had switched to mania/hypomania. The worst results were seen with venlafaxine and the best with bupropion.

In a study by Sachs and colleagues,20 patients who had breakthrough depression despite being treated with mood stabilizers were randomized to paroxetine (mean dosage, 30 mg/d), bupropion (mean dosage, 300 mg/d), or placebo. No significant differences on any effectiveness or safety outcome, including remission rates or affective switch frequency, were found.

Overall, these studies indicate that the role of antidepressants is limited and that, in fact, a trial of a mood stabilizer cannot be considered to have failed unless the failure occurs in the absence of an antidepressant. A meta-analysis of 18 studies with 4105 patients found that combination treatment including a mood stabilizer and an antidepressant was not statistically superior to monotherapy.21

When symptoms persist

Establish the context of each appointment by focusing on changes in occupational, social, family, and health status. Evaluate medication regimens, with a focus on effectiveness for carefully chosen target symptoms and adherence to treatment, as well as medication tolerability and patient attitudes. Be alert to the emergence of early symptoms of mood change, and adjust medications if necessary. Remember that treatment modalities often need to change over time.

Mood stabilizers should be optimized with combination therapy for sustained remission. Antidepressants may worsen the disease course, and a true trial of a mood stabilizer can-not occur within the setting of antidepressants. If symptoms persist, ask: Is the patient taking anything that is making symptoms worse, eg, drugs, alcohol, or antidepressants? Is the patient taking the medications? Is treatment adequate? Is another condition (including subclinical hypothyroidism) interfering with treatment? Is psychotherapy being ignored?

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Treating Yourself Having Bipolar Disorder…

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Living better with bipolar

Bipolar disorder can be treated with medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes, but sticking with treatment can be a challenge.

Unfortunately, bipolar disorder tends to get worse if you don’t get the proper care, says Carrie Bearden, PhD, an associate professor in the departments of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences, and psychology at UCLA. “The episodes will only get more frequent and severe the longer their illness is untreated.”

The good news is that there are many things you can do that help. Here are 10 tips for keeping bipolar symptoms under control.

Don’t skip meds

“[Medications] can help you live a much more normal life if you choose to take them,” says Cara Hoepner, a nurse practitioner who also has bipolar disorder. But it isn’t necessarily easy. Lithium is a commonly used drug, but it requires monitoring with blood tests to make sure the dose is correct, as higher levels can be toxic. And skipping doses of lithium or any drug due to side effects or other reasons can precipitate a relapse. There are ways to deal with side effects; some are even transient, lasting for only a week or two, says Hoepner.

Get the right amount of sleep

People with bipolar disorder often have problems sleeping. Hoepner says about 25% of them sleep too much at night or take long naps, and about one-third have insomnia even when they aren’t having an episode.

Irregular sleep patterns can precipitate a manic or depressive episode.

Set an alarm and get up at the same time every day, Hoepner says. Even if you don’t have to get up for work, try to schedule regular morning activities such as walking or exercising with a friend (because exercise is important too).

Use therapy too

“Therapy is really, really important,” Bearden says. Some patients, if their mood is stabilized, see a psychiatrist only every month or two. But Bearden recommends more regular therapy, typically cognitive behavioral therapy, which can help people get on a good schedule and understand and interpret events and thoughts.

She also recommends interpersonal therapy, which can be helpful in maintaining stable friendships, relationships, and family interaction—often a problem with people who are bipolar.

Connect with others

Try to strike a balance in your social life. Overstimulation can be stressful and trigger problems, but so can isolation.

“People who are bipolar tend to have trouble maintaining relationships; they wear friendships out,” Hoepner says.

Aim for things that make you feel good: a hobby or sport, or volunteer for a cause that’s important to you. “You’re getting your mind off of yourself and focusing it on something else, which can be really therapeutic,” Hoepner explains.

Know the side effects

Depending on the type, bipolar medications can have side effects like pancreatitis or kidney problems, or more commonly metabolic syndrome (characterized by weight gain, high cholesterol, and insulin resistance).

The best way to combat side effects is to know as much as you can about the drug you are taking and watch for potential problems, Bearden says.

Some medications can’t be taken with certain foods, drugs, or alcohol. Ask your doctor about potential side effects and read about the medication to stay informed.

Be wary of triggers

Stress, social isolation, sleep deprivation, and deviation from your normal routine can trigger episodes of depression or mania. Be cautious during life changes like starting a new job, going to college, or getting a divorce.

Also be aware that you can encounter problems even when it’s not a major event. “It doesn’t have to be a fight or a major disruption in your day,” Hoepner says. “Anytime you are out of balance, it can be a trigger.”

Find support

Let your family and friends know what you are going through. They might be able to understand your triggers and help you avoid them, or may be able to realize before you do that you’re entering a manic or depressive episode.

On the other hand, family stress is also one of the biggest factors for relapse, Bearden says.

Don’t give up

Doctors will often have you try different doses and combinations of bipolar meds to find the right cocktail, Bearden says.

If your side effects are intolerable or a drug isn’t working, discuss your options; don’t just stop taking it.

“People often think that the doctor knows best and they shouldn’t question their treatment,” Bearden says. “But be a good consumer and take charge of your health.” Ask questions and know what symptoms a drug is supposed to be helping so you will know if it’s working.

Steer clear of drugs and alcohol

About 50% of bipolar patients have a problem with substance abuse, Bearden says. This is one of the biggest challenges to getting good treatment outcomes.

Although you might feel alcohol helps you cope with depression, it may actually be contributing to sleep disturbances and mood changes.

Bearden says patients who abuse drugs and alcohol have poor cognitive functioning and a lower chance for a full recovery of mood symptoms.

Combat weight gain

Many of the medications used to treat bipolar disorder, including lithium and antipsychotics, can trigger metabolic syndrome or weight gain in some patients.

Bearden recommends keeping track of your weight and talking with your doctor if you notice a problem after starting a new drug.

The impact is very individualized; some people don’t have this problem while others do. Eating right and getting regular exercise can help control your weight.

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Having Menopause Increased Sensitivity To Seasons and Weather Patterns…

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Many research studies have concluded that there is a definite link between the onset of menopausal symptoms and the seasons. Numerous theories exist on what exactly drives this phenomenon.  Some studies have looked at melatonin’s involvement. Melatonin is naturally secreted by the pituitary gland and can influence ovarian steroid hormone production.  Melatonin is one of the best markers of the circadian systems in humans.  Decreased sensitivity to estrogen in the hypothalamus at menopause thereby may culminate in circadian rhythm disturbances.

Studies have shown that menopause tends to blossom in the springtime for many women, just as the typical rebirth of blooming flowers and trees.  This is paralleled in wild animals with their springtime breeding and reproductive function, but has been tested very little in human subjects.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is very common during the winter months for many people, not just menopausal women.  Seasonal Affective Disorder produces depression like symptoms merely due to lowered levels of sunlight in sensitive people.  Many women never have issues with SAD until they enter menopause when it all of the sudden appears.

Other studies have pointed not just to seasons but actual weather conditions to bring on certain symptoms.  For example, hot weather definitely affects the vasomotor symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats and heat exhaustion, when nothing else in the body has changed.  Cold, windy, rainy weather can aggravate menopausal depression as well as aching muscle and joint pain that often appears for the first time during menopause.  It is during the menopause years that many women start falling into the “old wives tale” trap of being able to predict changes in weather patterns because certain body parts or joints start aching.

Treatments and coping skills follow along with those for other menopausal symptoms.  Exercise, vitamins and herbs are quite helpful as are lifestyle changes to boost the energy level and immunity.  In extreme cases antidepressants or hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may be necessary.  For Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) that is severe enough, the standard light box therapy may need to be administered.  Fortunately, sensitivity to weather patterns and seasons is quite manageable and not one of the worst problems that pre menopausal and menopausal women have to deal with during their transition time.

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Managing Menopause in Cold Weather

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Can you imagine checking the forecast so you can be prepared for how your menopause symptoms might change? After reading this you might be doing just that!

Though menopause is basically a result of changing hormone levels, one of the biggest menopause-related symptoms exacerbated by cold weather is hot flashes. You would think that cold weather would help cut down on the frequency of these hormone-related surges of heat and/or sweat, which can leave women feeling stressed and uncomfortable — but that is not the case.

The problem often arises when moving between extremes of temperature. For example: you’ve been out for a walk, working in the garden, or taking your children to school on a crisp autumn morning, then head indoors to a warmed room. Suddenly, a dreaded hot flash strikes and you find yourself red-faced and drenched.

Conversely, you might be out shopping for the winter holidays and a combination of popping in and out of overheated shops and the cold street could send your menopausal body into a spiral of confusion, all the while you’re adding and removing layers of clothing in a bid to keep your body temperature stable.

Why Does This Happen?

Why does the body lose the ability to accurately maintain temperature during menopause anyway?

The root cause of hot flashes is not entirely clear, but scientists believe they are caused by the part of the brain that senses and controls body temperature (and other body functions) — the hypothalamus. This is a tiny but crucial area responsible for the production of many of the body’s essential hormones. The hormones from the hypothalamus govern physiologic functions like temperature regulation, thirst, hunger, sleep, mood, sex drive and the release of other hormones within the body.

During menopause, estrogen levels fall. Scientists believe this fall in estrogen causes a glitch in the way the hypothalamus senses body temperature, making it think that you are too hot (or cold). When the hypothalamus thinks the body needs cooling it sends more blood to the skin (one of the causes of hot flushes and that attractive bright red face) and sweat glands start working overtime.

Not all women suffer with hot flashes. Some women entering perimenopause and menopause find their faulty internal thermostat simply causes them to feel cold. Not just “put on another sweater” cold, but a deep-seated chill that isn’t relieved much by diving under a duvet or snuggling  with a hot water bottle.

Why Does This Happen?

This can be especially difficult when the weather is actually cold — normal layers of clothing are just not enough. Some unfortunate women find that some areas of their body stay freezing cold while the rest of them feels volcanically hot. This might mean having a hot torso and face but icy cold hands and/or feet, or vice versa.

Do you find you have to stick your hot feet out of the duvet at night while the rest of your body is covered in goosebumps and you feel shivery? Or do you wear socks and lie on top of the duvet acting as a human hot water bottle? You are not alone.

One chat room thread online was between a large group of women whose bodies maintained appropriate temperatures according to the weather apart from their noses, which apparently always feel so cold they are painful. Many of them believed the menopause was to blame for this odd symptom — it certainly sounds like the pesky hypothalamus might be to blame.

Spicy food might be another trigger for hot or cold flashes and it could be that some people find this to be more of an issue in cold weather because they often choose to ditch the salads and eat more hot and spicy food on cooler days.

If you find there’s a link for you between spicy treats and difficulty controlling your body temperature, the answer is simple (if a little sad if you love this type of cuisine): cut down on the spice or give up the spicy food altogether until your hormones have settled down!

Other advice is valid all year round. If you suffer from body temperature regulation issues leaving you too hot, too cold or too sweaty, dress in easily adjustable layers, drink plenty and eat a healthy diet.

If you have already worked out that overheated shops, theaters, underground travel networks or your workplace set off symptoms, carry an emergency bag with a wrap, scarf or cardigan and carry an insulated bottle containing a hot or cold drink.

Walking around during a hot flash might help shorten the attack, and of course if you feel cold, exercise can often warm you up.

Keep your home or workplace (if possible) at a reasonable temperature — don’t crank the heating or air conditioning up too high — so you can avoid that extreme change when you go outside.

Chat to your doctor about the possibility of hormone replacement therapy. Or, if you would prefer to avoid medication, remember that this too will pass once your hormones settle down post-menopause.

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