Friday, January 27, 2012

Mental Health: depression

Depression and anxiety are examples of mood changes. A mood is a "persuasive and sustained emotion that, in the extreme, markedly colors the perception of the world". (APA 1994)
Rational thought is usually absent from the mind during a state of depression. A condition of helpless stupor replaces cognitive abilities. Most people experience a normal lowering of mood in response to stressful life events. They are able to work through the crisis and begin feeling "better" prior to the depressed state.

Those who cannot pull themselves out of the depressed state are effected in ways that rational behavior is replaced by explosive outbursts, impairment of social situations, anxiety, increased sleep or lack there of, etc. It is then that medical treatment must intervene either with or both, medication and counseling. Depression left untreated will cause other mental illness problems such as bi-polar disorder, personality disorders, chronic depression, etc., in addition to physical health care issues.

Emotional disturbance is a product of irrational or illogical thinking.  According to cognitive therapist, Dr. Aaron T. Beck of the Beck Institue of Cognitive Behavior Therapy, he found that "depressed persons process information in negative ways even in the midst of positive factors affecting the person's life". Dr. Beck believes 3 automatic negative thoughts are responsible for people becoming depressed. These 3 thoughts are called Beck's cognitive triad:
     1. a negative, self-depreciating view
     2. a pessimistic view of the world
     3. belief that negative reinforcement or no validation for the self will continue in the future

These automatic negative thoughts refer to thoughts that are repetitive and not readliy controllable. These thoughts continually validate the overall view of negativity towards self and others. A depressed person sees the world as gray. Facial expressions relfect sadness and dejection and often look older than acutal age. Therapy will help you reset your pattern of negative thinking into a more positive healthy one. 

To make matters worse, emotional abuse may be a factor to depression. Characteristics of an abuser are but not limited to:
     1. a sense of being valued and cared for never develops
     2. tremendous needs for love and security are left unfulfilled.
     3. others are sought to fill the void for love and acceptance
 When these unrealistic demands go unmet, feelings of rejection and anger are mobilized. Rage and poor impulse control are then projected in public or private view within the home. Conflict Intervention in Socail and Domestic Violence. Bowie, MD: Robert J. Brady Company, 1981.

Mental health issues are very real and very serious. The importance of getting the proper intervention to your specific illness is essential for overall general health. Mental health illness takes time to treat and may last over a lifetime. You may find yourself trying several types of different anti-depressants until you and your physician see a significant improvement in your disorder. The medication treatment regime can be taxing until you find the right prescription drug that benefits you. Discuss mood changes, eating alterations, behavior changes, bowel or bladder changes with your physician at each follow up visit.

Good health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN

Specialty life insurance with a specific need

Burial insurance, also known as final expense insurance is life insurance with a specific need: to cover funeral expenses. Policy face amounts typically start at $6,000.00 and can be written up to $25,000.00. Face amounts are customized to your needs. At the time of application, you can decide what is best for you and the face amount may be adjusted accordingly. Your policy will cover the extra incidental expenses associated with funerals. Typically, those incidental expenses are not considered until it is too late.

Final expense insurance is not just-in-case insurance as with health insurance, auto insurance, flood insurance, etc. Death is the final chapter in life. We don't know when it will call upon us. The likelihood of death happening is 100%. Preplanning alleviates loved ones of having to make difficult decisions or to face financial concerns during a very emotional time.

If you just don't want to think about death and have not come to terms about your own mortality, here is something to consider. Throughout your life you earn a modest wage to provide food, clothing, shelter and medicine for yourself and family. The cost of living has increased, you want to cut corners and consider not buying any more insurance. You might think it is burdensome. You might think it is worthless to you. Some day when your life ceases to exist, your policy will come alive and get to work. Through your policy, your final expenses will be paid. Your policy will take away financial concerns. Your preplanned policy will give your family financial peace of mind.

Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN

Friday, January 6, 2012

How a herniated disk develops

Also known as a slipped disk occurs when all or part of the inter vertebral disk's gel-like center extrudes through the disk's weakened or torn outer ring. The pressure on spinal nerve roots or on the spinal cord itself causes back pain and other symptoms of nerve root irritation. Most herniations  affect the lumbosacral spine. The most common site is the L4-L5 disk space.

Lumbar herniation usually develops mostly in men vs. women. They are the result from severe trauma or strain or may be related to joint degeneration. Signs and symptoms to watch out for are:
  1. Severe low back pain which may radiate to buttocks, legs, feet and typically is one-sided
  2. Sudden pain after trauma, subsiding in a few days and then recurring at shorter intervals w/ intensity
  3. Sensory and motor loss in the area where compression has taken place, leg weakness
The gel like center of the disk acts as a shock absorber distributing the mechanical stress applied to the spine when the body moves. Physical stress is usually a twisting motion which will cause the gel like center to tear or rupture allowing the tissue to push through into the spinal canal. This process allows the vertebrae to move closer together as the disk compresses. This, in turn, causes pressure on the nerve roots. This pressure is what the individual experiences as pain.

There are several treatment options:
  1. Bed rest w/ possibly pelvic traction, heat and ice application, passive exercise
  2. NSAIDS and muscle relaxants to reduce inflammation and edema at the injured site
  3. Surgical options
Which ever treatment plan your doctor prescribes for you, it is best to follow his/her advice and rest your low back as much as possible heeding caution to avoid additional external stress on your lumbar region. Give yourself adequate time to recover. Chances of re-injuring the site are great once your in the healing stages.

Good health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN