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Grief and Neurofeedback: Coping with Loss

ID-10055137One of the most difficult life experiences every person will encounter is coping with the death of a loved one. Death triggers emotional grief that may be so intense and consuming that even the thought of living life normally seems absolutely impossible. There is no right way to grieve, and everyone grieves in their own unique ways. While it is perfectly natural to be sad after losing a loved one, many times grief can lead to depression or make already existing anxiety and/or depression substantially worse.

Not everyone who grieves will become depressed as a result, however grief can be a major trigger, particularly for those who are more prone to depression or have a history of depression. Everyone experiences varied symptoms of grief, however many of these symptoms are similar to those of depression, including debilitating sadness, changes in sleep habits, appetite loss or gain, and losing interest in activities once enjoyed. Grief typically affects people in waves with symptoms fluctuating through time and eventually lessening. However, when grief becomes so intense that is starts interfering with a person’s ability to live their life normally for an extended period following a death, treatment may be necessary.

Symptoms of grief should improve over time, and not worsen. If a person experiences any of the following symptoms after a loved one passes away and these symptoms only worsen over time, this person may be suffering from grief-induced depression:

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
  • Constantly thinking/longing for the loved one who passed
  • Difficulty focusing on anything other than sad thoughts
  • Difficulty accepting loss
  • Difficulty remembering good times/positive memories of loved one
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Feeling as though life has no meaning
  • Difficulty completing normal, every day tasks
  • Becoming unable to take care of oneself physically
  • Difficulty trusting others, even those once trusted

Neurofeedback works to calm the brain to help improve functioning. When the brain is functioning more calmly, the person feels less overwhelmed and more capable of functioning normally in their every day lives.

In addition to neurofeedback, therapy is also recommended for people struggling to accept the loss of a loved one. Click here to set up a free consultation with our director Dr. Jolene Ross to develop a plan unique to your situation.

7 Signs Your Partner Has Depression

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In the United States today, depression is considered a common mental health issue affecting more than 15 million people. Although a person might think depression is easy to spot with obvious symptoms, identifying the signs as they are presented can be difficult considering how subtle the nature of depression symptoms can be. This is especially true when it comes to identifying symptoms of a life partner. Do any of the below symptoms of depression sound familiar regarding your life partner?

1. Changes in physical care – Have you been noticing that your partner has not been showering as frequently as they have in the past? Has your partner either gained or lost weight without intentionally trying? Symptoms can also be different depending on gender. For example, men have a tendency to start shaving less frequently and women have a tendency to wear less make up than usual. People struggling with depression will often put less effort into their daily getting ready routine.

2. Lack of motivation – In addition to your partner putting less effort into getting up and dressed, has it become difficult to get your partner out of the house, even if doing activities that they used to enjoy? Has your partner suddenly begun a pattern of lateness? Would your partner rather hang around the house all day? People suffering from depression lose normal motivation, do not see value in doing things they once loved, and would prefer to be within the comfort of their own home, leading us to the next few points.

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

3. Fatigue – Your partner does not seem to have the same zest for life as shown by the lack of motivation. Does your partner seem more tired all the time? Have you noticed changes in their sleeping patterns, whether it be sleeping much more than usual or much less? If a person is struggling with depression, exhaustion can be expected because being depressed utilizes much more energy than people realize on a day to day basis. If a person is depressed, doing normal, every day activities takes much more effort. The person needs to fight through fatigue and lack of motivation to even perform the simplest tasks.

4. Isolation – Has your partner stopped spending time with their friends or family? Does your partner flake when it comes to social engagements? People struggling with depression often find socializing to be extremely draining because of the fatigue an lack of motivation. Instead, those who are depressed are known to retreat to a place of solitude and isolation to avoid these situations that they once enjoyed.

5. Escapist behavior – Has your partner started exhibiting escapist behavior? This can be observed in many different ways. Has your partner started drinking more than they had in the past? Does your partner sit for hours in front of the tv or seem completely consumed by video games? This is considered escapist behavior because a person can use these behaviors to avoid facing their problems.

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Image courtesy of nuttakit at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

6. Emotional reaction changes – Have you noticed changes in your partner’s patience? Is it difficult to speak to them because you are afraid of their overreaction? On the other hand, does your partner’s reactions seem emotionally devoid? Does your partner not seem to react with any emotionality to any of the things you say to them? Changes in emotional reactivity indicate depression as a distinct possibility.

7. Changes in intimacy – Have the levels of intimacy changed in your relationship? Does your partner seem disinterested in sex or are they physically incapable of having sex presently? Depression initiates in the brain, which is where sexual stimulation initiates. If the brain is not functioning properly, a person may feel physically and emotionally disconnected, making intimacy challenging for both partners.

If your partner has been exhibiting signs of depression, speak with them in an understanding, compassionate way. Many sufferers might feel shame that they are experiencing depression, so remind them there is no shame in needing help dealing with depression.

To develop a wellness plan specific to the needs of your partner, our director Dr. Jolene Ross offers free consultations. Click here to contact Dr. Ross.

Click here to read “10 Types of Depression” 

Click here to read “8 Natural Solutions for Depression”

Natural Ways to Ease Seasonal Allergies

Image courtesy of Stoonn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stoonn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

With spring comes allergies. Here are some natural ways to ease your allergic reactions. 

1. Avoid Mucous Producing Foods: Ideally starting a couple months before your allergy season, eliminate mucus producing foods from your diet. These foods include wheat, gluten, and dairy containing foods such as milk, cheese, bread, pastries, cereals, etc. This will help lessen the burden on your body as well as decrease the amount of mucous your body produces.  Our health coach Shayna has had clients who used to go through a box of tissues a day due to their allergies. By cutting dairy, they have gone down to just a few tissues a day! 

2.  Bromelain & Quercitin:  Bromelain is a compound found in pineapples, especially the crunchy center, and quercitin is a compound found in various fruits, vegetables, and also turmeric. These antioxidant compounds combat congestion in the nasal cavities and chest by stabilizing immune cells and reducing inflammation. You can get both of these in capsule form.

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

3. Increase Your Fiber: The average American eats only 15 grams of fiber per day where our predecessors were getting upwards of 120 grams of fiber per day. Fiber assists in regular bowel movements and also binds to toxins for excretion. Increasing your daily intake of vegetables, seeds, and whole grains improves detoxification, lowering the burden on the body so that it can better handle the allergens that it is exposed to.

Image courtesy of khumthong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of khumthong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

4. Hydrate: When drinking plenty of caffeine-free fluids, your body is better able to flush toxins from your system. The general rule is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water per day. Herbal teas can count towards your daily water goal.  For every cup of caffeinated beverage you consume, it’s best to add an extra cup of water to compensate for dehydration.

5. Sweat: Our skin is our largest organ and sweat is a great way to excrete toxins. Aside from exercise, dry saunas are another wonderful detoxification option if you have the access.

Panic Attacks and Neurofeedback

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

While it is normal to feel anxiety during certain stressful life situations, anxiety disorders affect a person on a daily basis, causing anxiety and fear when there may not be an obvious cause or reason. Panic disorder refers to someone who’s fear response is not functioning the way it normally should, causing physiological symptoms accompanied by intense anxiety.

One of the most notable symptoms of panic disorder is the panic attack, a sudden, overwhelming rush of panic and fear that causes physical responses as well as uncontrolled emotional distress leaving the sufferer confused, fearful, and powerless. While panic attacks vary in symptoms and length, panic attacks usually come on quickly and last an average of ten minutes. Sometimes, panic attacks have a direct, obvious cause while other panic attacks seem to be triggered out of the blue, leaving the sufferer confused in addition to fearful as they occur. Panic attacks can have an extremely negative impact on a person’s daily functioning as the person does not know when the next attack will strike, leaving them feeling powerless to their own mind and body.

 

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

Symptoms of panic attacks may include:

– Difficulty breathing/shortness of breath

– Increased heart rate

– Dizziness

– Shaking/trembling

– Hypersensitivity to being touched

– Hypersensitivity to noise

– Sweating

– Crying

– Immense fear/dread

 

Panic disorder is often caused by abnormalities in brain function, which triggers the body’s “fight or flight” response at unnecessary moments. This can be caused by traumatic life events that have changed the brain’s strategy of coping or simply due to a genetic predisposition. Stressful life events, such as sudden death of a loved one, can also trigger panic attacks, which have the potential to recur and evolve into panic disorder. Additionally, substance abuse can interfere with the brain’s ability to process stress and anxiety.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Neurofeedback targets the parts of the brain at the cause of this reaction in an effort to retrain the brain to function more efficiently so the “fight or flight” response is not triggered. The brain learns how to cope with anxiety and fear appropriately during neurofeedback sessions resulting in an overall decrease in anxiety, mood improvement, and increase in daily function.

Neurofeedback can help you calm the struggle so you can live with reduced emotional distress caused by panic disorder. Click here to set up a free consultation with our director Dr. Jolene Ross.

Symptoms of Dyslexia and Neurofeedback

Image courtesy of Phaitoon at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Phaitoon at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Diagnosing a child with a learning disability can be difficult considering all children learn at their own pace. However, all parents should be keeping a close eye on their children’s studies and grades to examine if they are exhibiting symptoms indicative of a learning disability. In fact, fifteen to twenty percent of the population has a reading disability. Dyslexia is a learning disability affecting both oral and written language abilities, affecting both males and females equally. Children inherit genetic links, so if you have a learning disability, it is not unlikely your child may as well.

Children who struggle with dyslexia are often diagnosed by the symptoms they have displayed both at home and/or in the classroom. Though symptoms displayed from young ages persist throughout life, dyslexia is symptomatic in different ways at different ages throughout the child’s life.

Signs of Dyslexia

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Preschool – Difficulties with:

  • Learning the ability to talk
  • Adding vocabulary
  • Pronunciation
  • Recalling the right words
  • Learning the alphabet
  • Spelling
  • Identifying colors, shapes, days of the week by name
  • Following directions with steps
  • Telling stories correctly
  • Separating sounds in words

Kindergarten-Fifth Grade – Difficulties with:

  • Consistent reading and spelling mistakes
  • Letter reversals, such as confusing d for b
  • Word reversals, such as top for pot
  • Inversions, such as u and n
  • Transpositions, such as felt and left
  • Substitutions, such as house and home
  • Reading isolated single words
  • Connecting letters to sounds
  • Learning to tell time
  • Planning

    Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
    Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
  • Confusing small words like at/to or does/goes
  • Remembering facts
  • Learning new skills
  • Relying too much on memorization without comprehension
  • Impulsivity

Middle School – Difficulties with:

  • Finishing homework that requires reading in a timely manner
  • Reading in front of class
  • Stammering
  • Replacing similar sounding words despite different meanings, such as distinct and extinct
  • Spelling, grammar, and punctuation
  • Expressing ideas in an organized fashion

High School – Difficulties with:

  • Not understanding puns or hidden meanings
  • Not understanding punch lines to jokes
  • Arguing a point, not being able to support an argument
  • Getting to the point of a story or argument
  • Trouble reading charts and graphs
  • Confusing left and right

 

Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If children who have dyslexia are not treated within the first few years of development (up until Kindergarten or first grade), they will see significantly more problems in learning to read grade level appropriate material throughout their life. In fact, 74% of children who read poorly in the third grade remain poor readers until ninth grade.

Neurofeedback trains the brain to work efficiently, improving executive functions and other necessary skills needed to read and comprehend material. If you suspect your child may have a reading disability such as dyslexia, call the office to schedule a free consultation with director Dr. Jolene Ross (781-444-9115). The sooner a person is able to overcome a learning disability, the more success a person will see throughout their lives!