Blog

Depression and Anxiety Occurring Together

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Feelings of depression and anxiety can be normal for a person to experience during difficult times in life such as during a divorce or after losing a loved one. However, if the feelings persist for extended periods of time, treatment may be necessary to regain normal day to day functioning. Symptoms of comorbid depression and anxiety include sadness, fear, sleep issues, appetite changes, and more. Learn more about anxiety and depression.

Depression and anxiety are two different psychological disorders that are both capable of affecting a person’s ability to function independently and/or efficiently. However, depression and anxiety are commonly comorbid, meaning they occur simultaneously in the same person. In fact, in a 12 month period, 50% of adults who have psychological disorders have two or more simultaneously. Depression and anxiety occur due to imbalances in the brain that ultimately affect how the brain functions. When the brain is not functioning at an optimal level, daily functioning becomes more difficult and symptoms begin to appear.

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Neurofeedback works to correct the imbalances in the brain naturally to eliminate symptoms of anxiety and depression. The process of neurofeedback begins with an initial brain map, or quantitative EEG, that pinpoints where the brain is having trouble functioning. Protocol is then developed to correct the areas in the brain that are not functioning at an optimal level.

Neurofeedback helps people live the life they deserve by improving and normalizing daily functioning. Those suffering with anxiety and depression understand how difficult doing even the most simple tasks can be. Accomplishing bigger goals seems nearly impossible. Calm the struggle. Schedule a free consultation with our director Dr. Jolene Ross.

 

Sunlight and the Brain

Photo courtesy of Stoonn at www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Photo courtesy of Stoonn at www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Summer is finally here again, bringing great weather, perfect for outdoor activities! Did you know that sunlight also benefits the brain? Yes, indeed! Naturally, staring directly into the sun is not good for the brain (or eyes for that matter), however the brain actually functions better when a person’s eyes are exposed to sunlight. Additionally, the brain is capable of actually detecting sunlight, whether or not a person can see as studies have shown light can stimulate the brains of blind people as well.

Sunlight has the ability to stimulate brain activity an enhance:

  • Mood
  • Alertness
  • Performance
  • Productivity

Sunlight increases the release of a hormone in the brain called serotonin, which is associated with improved mood, which contributes to wellbeing and happiness. When a person is not exposed to the sun for long periods, serotonin levels are known to decrease. During the winter months when sunlight exposure is much lower, people are more likely to develop mood issues such as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Get out there and enjoy the sunshine!

Are You Depressed? Five Signs of Depression

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Depression affects an estimated 350 million people in the world today. Caused by chemical imbalances in the brain, depression can majorly affect someone’s day to day life. Identifying depression in one’s own life can be challenging. People who know the affected person may recognize symptoms first, noticing changes in a person’s mood, behavior, activities, and more.

Do you suspect you may be ? If any of the following symptoms look familiar, you may be struggling with depression. If you answer yes to any of the following, please call Dr. Ross to set up an appointment for a free consultation.

1. Has your daily mood changed? Are you experiencing feelings of sadness, anxiety, numbness, apathy, or hopelessness? Do you feel extreme lows followed by extreme highs and vice versa? Are you finding yourself becoming increasingly agitated? If you are noticing decreases in your day to day happiness, you may be exhibiting signs of depression.

2. Has your behavior been changing? Do the things you used to find fulfilling still bring you joy and happiness? Have you stopped engaging in activities you once loved? Have you noticed yourself breaking down into tears? Have you lost interest in hanging out with the people you used to love to spend time with? Changes in behavior and social isolation are very common with people experiencing depression.

3. Have you had trouble concentrating on tasks? Have you noticed that completely tasks can be extremely difficult, even the easiest day to day tasks? Have you noticed your work pace has become much slower? Do you have a tendency to return to negative and/or sad thoughts about your life? Have you had thoughts of suicide? If you have had suicidal thoughts, please contact a medical professional immediately.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

4. Have you noticed changes in your sleep patterns? Have you suddenly starting waking up at much earlier times than you have in the past? On the other hand, have you suddenly started feeling sleepy throughout the entire day? Are you sleeping more or less than usual? Have you been experiencing insomnia? Believe it or not, changes in sleep, whether you are getting more sleep than usual or less indicates possible depression.

5. Have you noticed changes in your appetite? Have you been noticing you are not as hungry or interested in food as you used to be? On the contrary, have you been eating far more than usual, always feeling hungry? Both unexpected weight gain and weight loss can be indicators of depression.

Thankfully, depression can be corrected by neurofeedback! Neurofeedback sessions pinpoint the areas in the brain causing depression and work to train the brain to function more calmly and efficiently, reducing and/or eliminating symptoms of depression. Neurofeedback improves day to day functioning so a person who has been struggling with depression can go about their day without so much of a struggle. For more information, contact us to schedule an appointment with our director Dr. Jolene Ross to learn about how neurofeedback can benefit your individual case.

10 Brain Engaging Summer Activities for Kids

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

As summer begins, a huge concern for parents is the learning loss that occurs across the board, affecting learning in all subjects. Students most often test poorly at the beginning of the school year by comparison to testing at the end of the school year. After several years of recurrent learning loss, by high school or college, a student is at risk for performing below their grade level. Luckily there are many activities in which kids can engage to combat summer “brain drain”! Read this list of 10 ways to keep your child’s brain active this summer!

1. Keeping a Journal

A great way for a child to maintain their writing skills is having them keep a journal. Have them set aside at least twenty minutes a day to write. If a child has trouble finding a topic, encourage them to begin writing even so. They will be surprised to find they have more to write about than they may have initially thought. Additionally, children often have trouble initiating a writing assignment, and the simple step of beginning can help them develop initiation skills. Allow them to write about whatever topic they choose, as writing is also a helpful tool for mental health, allowing the child a space for personal expression.

2. Learning an Instrument

Learning to play an instrument is a great way to exercise brain functions. Various studies have indicated the strong correlation between music training and brain development. Playing an instrument requires engagement in various parts of the brain including the auditory system, motor skills, and executive functions. Ask your child what instrument they would be interested in playing to ensure their interest in learning the instrument. To read more about how music impacts brain development, read our previous blog Music and Brain Development.

3. Online Math Games

Kids today love to play games on digital devices and computers. To satify their interests but also keep their brains active and learning, set time aside in the day for them to play math games on the internet. There are various websites that have math problems and worksheets prepared for children of all ages and grade levels, including www.coolmath-games.com. Additionally, there are several apps for mobile devices specifically for math practice.

4. Book Club

Organize a book club including other children in the same grade or in the neighborhood. Host the children weekly to choose a book to read and discuss the books the following week. This way the children pick the books they are interested in reading and are able to engage in conversations about topics that interest them. Reading regularly is an important practice for all children and the discussion that follows is great for developing analytical skills and conversational skills with a group, which will benefit them in the school years to come.

5. Lemonade Stand

Helping a child set up a lemonade stand teaches them many valuable lessons. Lemonade stands are a great way to develop early business skills, including learning to develop a good product and customer service. It’s a great way to develop social skills as a child. Plus, it requires some simple math skills and organization as well. Be sure to always supervise your children.

6. Playing Board Games 

Playing board games with your child or having them play board games with other children is a great way to engage a child’s brain. There are a variety of games that are also educational, so your child has fun while learning and keeping the brain active. You can get educational board games that are specific to certain age ranges and learning levels.

7. Gardening 

Gardening is a great way for children to learn new skills but also enjoy being outside in the summertime. In addition to teaching your child how to make plants grow, starting a garden with your child can help you teach them valuable lessons about nutrition. Furthermore, growing vegetables takes time, commitment, and care. At the end of the process, getting to enjoy eating the vegetables they have grown will give them a sense of accomplishment and reward.

8. Summer School

Enrolling your child is summer school will keep your child learning all year round. For parents who may not be able to spend time with their child during the day due to work, this ensures the child is getting social time with other kids their age while also getting a head start on the next year by keeping their brain active. If your child is struggling in one particular subject, you can choose to focus on this subject, or you can enroll a child in a class of their interest.

9. Sports

In addition to keeping your child’s brain active in school subjects, another great way to exercise the mind is to involve your child in summer sports. Studies have proven sports to be beneficial in exercising a person’s executive functions, which can benefit your child in various aspects of their life. Team sports also help teach children invaluable lessons about how to function in a group efficiently. There are various sports camps available in the summer time.

10. Neurotherapy

Neurotherapy is a great way to combat summer learning loss because it exercises brainwaves to keep them functioning at their best possible ability while also improving memory, organizational skills, and other executive functions. Neurotherapy helps the brain work at the most optimal performance level. By the end of the summer, your child will excel at the beginning of their year! If your child is an athlete, neurotherapy will also improve their sports performance. For more information about how neurotherapy can benefit your child, call our office at 781-444-9115.

Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance

For those who may not know, Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disorder that virtually destroys the digestive tract and is only reversed by a gluten-free diet.  The main challenge with being diagnosed with Celiac is that it requires an intestinal biopsy.  Needless to say, this is an invasive and not appealing option for those who think they only feel discomfort from gluten-containing grains and do not see the bigger picture. This is one reason people choose to go gluten free – they don’t feel right and their doctor suggests trying a gluten-free diet to see if they feel better rather than doing a biopsy.
The other challenge in Celiac diagnosis is that many of the symptoms of Celiac and of gluten intolerance can overlap with other allergies and medical issues, which is why trying a gluten-free diet can help in sorting out the puzzle pieces.
Here are some of the lesser-known symptoms of gluten intolerance:

Image courtesy of Vlado at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Vlado at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
- Brain fog
- Fatigue/Lethargy
- Depression
- Anxiety
- Anger/Quick Temper
- Low Immunity
- Unexplained Weight Loss or Gain
- Migraines
- Nasal Congestion
- Skin Problems such as Eczema and Acne
- Joint and Muscle Aches
- Seizures
- Increased Ticks for Tourette Syndrome
- Nausea/Vomiting
- Digestive Pain
- Constipation or Diarrhea
Is the gluten-free diet right for you? Need help adjusting to a new diet plan? Schedule a free consult to discuss a plan with our director Dr. Jolene Ross and our resident health coach Shayna Strickland!