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”

Living with Lyme Retreat – By Dr. Jolene Ross

Dr. Jolene Ross - Director of Advanced Neurotherapy

Dr. Jolene Ross – Director of Advanced Neurotherapy

The weekend of June 17th to 19th, 2016, I had the pleasure of attending the “Living with Lyme Retreat” held at the lovely Glastonbury Abbey in Hingham, Massachusetts. This retreat was sponsored by Lyme Awareness of Cape Cod. Jim and I arrived on Friday late afternoon and received a warm welcome followed by a barrage of questions. The majority of attendees have been challenged with Lyme and associated diseases or Post Lyme Treatment Syndrome for many years with significant functional impairments. Some were newly diagnosed after months and often years of suffering with no answers as to why. These stories are not new to me, but to be in a warm, supportive, understanding environment was a very special experience. On Saturday morning, I gave the first of two keynote addresses.

My talk focused on the overlap between symptoms of Lyme disease and traumatic brain injury. I reviewed the symptoms of Lyme disease and brain injury, where they overlap, and where they do not. Interestingly, the only symptoms constellation that can be caused by Lyme disease and not by brain injury is autistic spectrum behaviors.

Next came the disruption of white matter, which is when disruption can slow processing, reduce the ability to make cognitive connections, disrupt executive functions including emotional control, memory, attention, drawing inferences and dementia.

I then focused on Lyme’s effect on executive functions, their importance, and how they are disrupted by Lyme’s effect on the all-important frontal lobes. Frontal lobes control and coordinate the brain. When they are disrupted, the entire brain is disrupted. With frontal lobes impaired, the controls they exert on the limbic system are also impaired. This results in problems with emotional control and the often severely debilitating symptoms of anxiety.

Image courtesy of MR LIGHTMAN at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of MR LIGHTMAN at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The connection between impaired cognitive/emotional functioning and central nervous system inflammation was explained as was the effect of antibodies crossing the blood brain barrier and disrupting brain function.

I then introduced neurofeedback, how it works, and read a story by a Lyme patient who recovered cognitive/emotional functioning through neurofeedback including memory and word finding.

Since neurofeedback must begin with assessment, I explained how that is done using an electronic EEG called a QEEG or a brain map. I showed pictures of some typical findings in people with Lyme disease. This included the inability to suppress Alpha, which is the brain’s idling state. When Alpha waves are too big, they impair focus, attention and controls, in other words, “Lyme Brain”.

I also showed pictures of EEG discharges known as spike and wave activity and it’s disruptive effects. Next came coordination maps, before and after neurofeedback as well as comparing Lyme disruption to brain injury disruption. Coordination maps show the degree to which locations on the brain are working together.

The next topic was research. Since there is not yet any research available on the efficacy of neurofeedback on Lyme and associated diseases, I presented research on ADD/ADHD, epilepsy (remember the discharges I mentioned), fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, insomnia, dementia, and brain injury. I showed research that demonstrates neurofeedback actually the brain and that these changes have been shown to be durable in ten year follow up studies.

There were, of course, a lot of questions, many asking, can it help this, can it help that? There was

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

also clarification about how neurofeedback works and questions related to people’s particular situations. Does the Lyme have to have been treated right away, how does neurofeedback work in the presence of active Lyme, and so forth.

We then adjourned to a small conference room where Jim did a demonstration of neurofeedback. Dr. Tom LaCava volunteered to be the subject. This offered a wonderful opportunity for people to see a neurofeedback session live, in action, and to hear about Dr. LaCava’s own experience. He is an enthusiastic supporter of neurofeedback and its efficacy.

Thank you Dr. LaCava for introducing us to Ron Gangemi, the founder of Lyme Awareness of Cape Cod who kindly invited us to take part in this most important conference. It provided a safe opportunity for people to tell their stories, ask questions and learn from one another. I hope those of you who struggle with Lyme and related diseases will want to attend this wonderful conference next year.

 

For further information about Lyme Awareness of Cape Cod, please visit www.lymeticks.org.

 

Mood Disorders and Neurofeedback

Photo courtesy of stockimages at www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of stockimages at www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Mood disorders are a category of mental illness that cause a significant change in a person’s mood. Depression is a common feature of mental illness with 20% of the US population reports at least one symptom of depression a month. Various types of mood disorders identify depression as the main issue, can hinder a person’s normal function in day to day life. Read our blog “10 Types of Depression” where we discuss different types of depression and how neurofeedback can be used to calm symptoms to improve quality of life.

Emotional symptoms of mood disorders include:

  • Feelings of sadness, worthlessness, guilt, or hopelessness
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts

Physical symptoms of mood disorders include:

  • Excessive sleeping or insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite or overeating
  • Body aches and pains
  • Digestive problems

There are many factors that may contribute to the development of mood disorders. Genetics and biological factors have been connected to a person’s predisposition to developing mood disorders in addition to other factors including environmental factors and nutrition. Combinations of these factors affect how neurotransmitters, or chemicals in the brain, interact, causing a brain imbalance responsible for the mood disorder.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Physical illness is greatly associated with mood disorders, with 25% of hospitalized medical patients exhibiting signs of depression. Chronic medical conditions often involve a level of stress that can change brain chemistry, resulting in mood disorders. Coexisting mental health conditions have a high likelihood of developing with mood disorders. For example, anxiety is a common occurrence with depressive disorders. Studies show 15%-30% of people suffering from major depression also experience panic attacks.

The relationship between substance abuse and mood disorders is a very serious psychiatric concern. Substance abuse can be partly responsible for someone developing a mood disorder. In fact, sometimes the symptoms of major depression in an addiction case will disappear when the substance abuse has stopped. On the other hand, mood disorders can also be responsible for a person developing dependence on a substance, such as alcohol or drugs, in an effort to cope with the mood disorder.

Neurofeedback aims to retrain the brain to function healthily and normally so a person is able to live life without the heavy burden of suffering from a mood disorder. As mentioned, mood disorders are related to brain chemistry. If parts of the brain are not functioning optimally, symptoms will appear. An EEG brain map identifies exactly where the brain is struggling, and neurofeedback sessions target these areas to teach the brain how to function better. The brain is then able to function calmly and the symptoms of mood disorders are eliminated.

For more information about neurofeedback, please contact us or call our office at 781-444-9115

Menopause: How to Combat Mood Changes

Photo courtesty of stockimages at www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesty of stockimages at www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Menopause, a time where a woman’s ovary function ceases, is defined by the absence of menstrual period for twelve months. The average age for menopause to begin is 51 years old. Changes in the body quickly become apparent as some undesirable symptoms such mood changes. Women going through menopause often find their frustration tolerance drops substantially, and subsequently, mood swings become a regular endurance. Due to these changes, women often feel a lack of motivation, great fatigue, and difficulty concentrating, all caused by feelings of sadness and anxiety. How do women combat these symptoms of mood change?

 

Exercise and Eat Healthy – When dealing with mood changes, exercise and healthy eating is often the last idea on a person’s mind. However, exercise boosts hormones in the brain responsible for elevating mood. Eating the right types of foods instead of eating foods high in fat, carbs, and sugar will benefit mood in the long run instead of creating a temporary fix for negative feelings.

 

Neurofeedback – By teaching the brain to function calmly, neurofeedback enhances brain function to allow the brain to return to normal (or better) functioning. Neurofeedback sessions aim to eliminate mood-related symptoms of menopause, including feelings of depression and anxiety. With all of the hormonal changes occurring in the body, the brain just needs a little extra help learning how to adjust, which neurofeedback can provide!

 

Avoid Alcohol – During menopause, the body is going through substantial changes, and adding alcohol to the mix will only exacerbate negative emotional symptoms and other physiological symptoms, like hot flashes. Additionally, if a woman is experiencing feeings of anxiety or sadness, the potential for alcohol abuse heightens as well. Self-medicating with alcohol proves to be a poor solution, particularly because alcohol is a depressant and can make emotional distress worse in the long run, and can lead to abuse, causing menopausal symptoms to increase in severity.

 

Find Social and Emotional Support – Make sure to spend time with family, friends, and loved ones during this time of transition. Find social communities that have shared interests with which to get involved, such as a book club or knitting group. Creative outlets are a great way to stay in healthy emotional shape. If additional emotional support is needed, consider visiting a therapist weekly.

 

Practice Self-Calming Skills – Learning how to become calm in moments of intense emotional reaction is key! Rhythmic breathing, yoga, and meditation are all great examples of practices that engage the connectedness of the mind and body to create an overall sense of calm and peace. For a simple rhythmic breathing exercise to do at home, check out this rhythmic breathing gif available on HighExistence.com!

Photo courtesy of Flare at www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of Flare at www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sports Concussion and Neurofeedback

Photo courtesy of Naypong at www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of Naypong at www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A sports concussion is a traumatic brain injury caused by impact to the head while participating in sports, particularly contact sports. If left untreated, concussions can result in long-term negative affects on brain function and can even result in fatality. This has become a growing problem for young athletes. The American Academy of Pediatrics has reported that emergency room visits due to concussions for children between the ages of 8 and 13 has doubled in the last ten years. Additionally, concussions have risen a whopping 200% among teens between the ages of 14 and 19 as well. Startling statistics show 47% of all sports-related concussions are attributed to high school football, 33% occurring during practices. Neurofeedback can be used to correct the damage done by the impact in order to help the brain learn to function normally once again.

Concussions can go undiagnosed, since 90% of concussions do not result in lack of consciousness. If a visible bump is not present or there is no bleeding, this does not mean the head injury is not dangerous. In fact, head trauma can cause internal swelling and bleeding. For this reason, if a head trauma occurs, concussion tests should be performed immediately to determine if there is injury.

Concussions can cause a wide array of symptoms. Physical symptoms include dizziness, nausea/vomiting, noise and light sensitivity, blurred vision, headache, fatigue, and unequal pupils. Mentally, concussions can cause mental fogginess, problems with balance, emotional sensitivity, and executive function struggles, affecting memory, concentration, and focus. Sleep patterns may also be disrupted. The first concussion a person experiences does not necessarily come with as many problems. However, if a concussion occurs for a second or third time, permanent brain damage becomes more likely.

In the past, brain damage caused by concussions were seen to be completely irreversible. However, neurofeedback can be used to help correct the damage. Using quantitative EEG technology, neurofeedback specialists are able to pinpoint how the brain has been injured by the concussion. From there, protocol is developed and used to restore healthy brain function. After completing neurofeedback sessions, those who have suffered a concussion can go back to living life normally. Neurofeedback is corrective care that is durable and permanent.