Archives for February 2012

Determining Your Needs: A Health Spa or a Hospital?

Sick WomanIn today’s society, women find themselves operating in various capacities: heads of households, business owners, wives, mothers, single mothers, etc.  Often times, operating in these capacities can be overwhelming and can lead to health problems.  These problems can manifest themselves in various ways, such as stress, exhaustion or fatigue, eating disorders, joint pains, and others.  Do you find yourself experiencing one or all of these health-related problems?  If you do, determine your need.  Do you need to go to a health spa or a hospital?

If you have determined that your health problem(s) is not a matter of life and death, women’s health spas, sometimes called medical spas, can be a great choice for you.  These spas offer various treatments in their facilities that help to improve your health and lifestyle.

Treatments

Remember, not all spas offer the same treatment.  Please do your research before-hand in order to determine which spa will be beneficial to you.  The following will list a few of the numerous treatments that health or medical spas offer:

1.  Balneotherapy and Hydrotherapy – These are water or bath treatments for various diseases.  These therapies are generally for relieving pain: back and joint pain, arthritis, etc.

2.  Message – In a credible facility this is performed by a registered massage therapist.  Done properly this treatment relieves stress and fatigue in the body.

3.  Detox – This treatment cleanse the body from different toxins.  When treated, people usually experience some weight loss, a gain in energy, and less stressful.

4.  Skin Care – This treatment includes facials, laser, BOTOX, or any other method to produce healthy skin or to avoid aging of the skin (anti-aging).

5.  Cancer – This treatment focus on nutrition.

6.  Wellness – Health screenings are performed.

Treatment Price

The cost of the treatment depends on the treatment package that you require and the region that the facility is located (Abroad or US).  Treatment abroad is usually cheaper than in the United States.  Get a quote!  If you have health insurance, check to see if your required treatment is covered under your plan.

Finally, if your condition is a matter of life and death, go to a hospital to seek treatment.  And after you have had your treatment from a health spa and your condition has not improved or has gotten worse, seek help elsewhere.  Don’t keep doing the same thing expecting a different result.  You are important, to you and others in your life, so take care of yourself by maintaining good health.

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What Is Mental Health?

What Is Mental HealthMental illness and mental health are often considered to be interchangeable.  However, factually, they are not.  Simply put, mental illness refers to the sickness or disorder of your mind or brain and mental health refers to the well-being or condition of your mind or brain.  In fact, the World Health Organization, (WHO, 2010), defines mental health as “a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community. In this positive sense, mental health is the foundation for individual well-being and the effective functioning of a community.”

Since mental health is the basis of one’s well-being, researchers have pin-pointed three indicators that, when measured, can help determine the overall health of your mind.  These indicators are social well-being, emotional well-being, and psychological well-being.

Social Well-Being

Your social well-being determines how well you positively interact with society.  There are five dimensions of social well-being:  social integration, social acceptance, social contribution, social actualization, and social coherence.

Emotional Well-Being

Your emotional or hedonic well-being determines how you feel about your life.  These feelings include your satisfaction with life, your happiness, your cheerfulness, and your peace of mind (peacefulness).

Psychological Well-Being

Your psychological well-being, i.e. self-realization or self-awareness, encompasses various dimensions.  Some of these are personal growth (development of one’s self), self-acceptance, autonomy, positive relations with others, spirituality, environmental mastery (control of the environment according to one’s own needs), and purpose in life (Westerhof, Gerben J., Keyes, Corey L. M, 2009) and (WHO, 2010).

Positive functioning of the above indicators leads to optimal mental health.  Therefore, it is important that we take our mental health seriously, because, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, n.d.), optimum mental health was associated with only 17% of adults in America.

Therefore, it is advantageous for us to promote mental health.  This can be done in a variety of ways.  The World Health Organization suggests several ways, such as 1) mental health interventions at work, 2) mental health promotional activities in schools, 3) community development programs, 4) violence prevention programs, 5) housing policies, 6) programs targeted at vulnerable groups of people, 7) early childhood interventions, 8) support to children, 9) socio-economic empowerment of women, and 10) social support for elderly populations (WHO, 2010).

References:

CDC (n.d.).  Mental Health Basics.  Retrieved October 16, 2011, from CDC Web Site:  http://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/basics.htm

Westerhof, Gerben J., Keyes, Corey L. M. (2009).  Mental illness and mental health: the two continua model across the lifespan.  Journal of Adult Development, 17(2): 110–119.

WHO (2010). Mental health: strengthening our response.  (Fact sheet no. 220).  Retrieved October 16, 2011, from WHO Web Site:  http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs220/en/

Mental Health Disorders

Mental Health DisorderWomen and men suffer equally from mental health disorders.  However, there are some disorders that are more prevalent in women than there are in men.  The ones that are more common in women are anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders, postpartum depression, depression, borderline personality disorder, bipolar disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD, ADD) ([3], n.d.).  In fact, out of all the disorders, anxiety disorders are the most common.  These disorders affect women two to three times more than men ([1], 2009).

Anxiety Disorders

Just what are anxiety disorders?  They are excessive or extreme “exaggerations” of one’s natural response to situations of fear and stress.  With this disorder, people tend to dread or “worry too much about” events or tasks that occur normally every day.  Everyone at some point in time experience the signs (i.e. fast heartbeat, sweating, stress, nervousness (trembling), worry, etc.) of fear and stress, and normally, your body is able to adapt to these psychological and physical changes within your body.  However, when you can’t adapt, you may have an anxiety disorder (Kelly, 2009).

Types of Anxiety Disorders

There are various types of anxiety disorders.  However, this article addresses the most common types and provides a basic description of each.  The major types of anxiety disorders are as follows:

  1. Panic Disorder – frequent or repeated panic attacks.  These attacks are “sudden and intense feelings of terror, fear or apprehension, without the presence of actual danger” (Ankrom, 2009).
  2. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) – unprovoked exaggerated anxiety, tension, or worry that is difficult for the individual to control (Meek, 2008; [2], n.d.).
  3. Social Phobia (Social Anxiety Disorder) – an unreasonable or illogical fear of demeaning or embarrassing oneself or of being judged or watched in daily social situations (Cuncic, 2010).
  4. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – persistent impulses, images, or unwanted (inappropriate) thoughts and/ or repeated rituals or behaviors ([5], 1999).
  5.  Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – stress that occurs after experiencing a traumatic event that involved “physical harm or the threat of physical harm” ([2], n.d.).

Treatment of Anxiety Disorders

Effective treatment of anxiety disorders begins with a thorough diagnostic evaluation from your doctor, normally a psychiatrist.  After the completion of the evaluation, your doctor can determine the exact medications and psychotherapy that you require.  Medications alone are not an effective cure for anxiety disorders.  This must be accompanied with psychotherapy.

Medications that are normally prescribed for anxiety disorders are antidepressants (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors -SSRIs, Tricyclics, and Monoamine oxidase inhibitors -MAOIs), anti-anxiety drugs (benzodiazepines), and beta-blockers (propranolol) which are used to control some of the physical symptoms.  Beware of all of the facts or side effects of the medications you are taking.  Get this information from your doctor.

In addition to the medications, psychotherapy must be prescribed to treat anxiety disorders.  During psychotherapy, the psychiatrist or other mental health professionals helps the patient discover the root cause of the disorder and helps him or her learn to manage the symptoms.  The therapy that is most effective in the treatment of anxiety disorders is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).  In CBT, “the cognitive part helps people change the thinking patterns that support their fears, and the behavioral part helps people change the way they react to anxiety-provoking situations” ([2], n.d.).

Finally, if, after reading this article, you feel as though you may have an anxiety disorder, seek help from an experienced mental health professional so that you can be properly diagnosed.  They can determine if your feelings are normal or not normal.  And if not normal, they can prescribe the medication(s) and therapy that is right for you.  Seek help and don’t be embarrassed or afraid.  For more information Click Here!.

 

References

Ankrom, Sheryl (2009).  What is Panic Disorder?  Learn the Basics of Panic Disorder.  Retrieved November 02, 2011, from About.com Web Site:  http://panicdisorder.about.com/od/understandingpanic/a/PanicBasics.htm

Cuncic, Arlin (2010).  Overview of Social Anxiety Disorder.  Retrieved November 02, 2011, from About.com Web Site:  http://socialanxietydisorder.about.com/od/overviewofsad/a/overview.htm

Kelly, Owen (2009).  Anxiety Disorder.  Retrieved October 31, 2011, from About.com Web Site:  http://ocd.about.com/od/glossary/g/anxiety_glos.htm

NIMH [2] (n.d.).  Anxiety Disorders.  Retrieved November 02, 2011, from National Institute of Mental Health Web Site:  http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/anxiety-disorders/nimhanxiety.pdf

NIMH [3] (n.d.).  Women and Mental Health.  Retrieved October 19, 2011, from National Institute of Mental Health Web Site:  http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/women-and-mental-health/index.shtml

NIMH [4] (n.d.).  Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, OCD.  Retrieved November 05, 2011, from National Institute of Mental Health Web Site:  http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/index.shtml

Meek, William (2008).  Introduction to Generalized Anxiety Disorder.  What is GAD?  Retrieved November 02, 2011, from About.com Web Site:  http://gad.about.com/od/symptoms/a/overview.htm

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [1] (2009).  Action Steps for Improving Women’s Mental Health.  Retrieved October 16, 2011, from womenshealth.gov Web Site:  http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/mental-health-action-steps/ and http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content//OWH09-PROFESSIONAL/OWH09-PROFESSIONAL.pdf

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [5] (1999).  Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General.  Retrieved November 05, 2011, from surgeongeneral.gov Web Site:  http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/mentalhealth/chapter4/sec2.html

The Importance of Good Mental Health

Good Mental HealthWomen’s mental health issues affect the overall health of the woman, physically and spiritually.  Therefore, it is very important to have good mental health, because approximately 46% of Americans have experienced some type of mental illness at one point in their lives.  Even though men and women are both included in this statistic, some mental illnesses affect women more frequently.  These include, but not limited to, major depression, anxiety disorders, phobias, eating disorders, etc.  It should be noted that trauma, violence, and abuse cause some of these mental illnesses.  Since research indicates that half of all mental illness happens during childhood, around the age of 14, it is imperative that women, especially, promote good mental health throughout their lives ([1], 2009).

Women can maintain a balance in their mental health in a variety of ways:

  1. Relax – by relaxing, one can keep the stress level down.
  2. Exercise – exercising is good for the body and mind.  It can ease the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  3. Sleep – getting the proper rest can heal your body and make you feel a whole lot better.
  4. Family and Friends – a healthy relationship with family and friends is very beneficial.  They are your support system.  They are the ones who support you, encourage you, counsel you, and listen to you.
  5. Pets – getting a pet, especially if you are alone, can provide you with companionship and comfort.
  6. Enjoy Life – include things you really enjoy doing in your life, especially the fun stuff.
  7. Nutrition – eating healthy is good for your physical and mental health ([2], 2009).

Find time in your busy schedule to incorporate some of these ideas or others in your life.  There is only one you, and you only get a chance to live your life once.  So, due to the importance of good mental health, take the time to focus on it.

Pay attention to your mind, body, and spirit so that you can know when something is wrong.  Some of the indicators, according to the publication of Women’s Mental Health:  What it means to you, are as follows:  a gain or loss of weight, a gain or loss of appetite, crying or sadness that never leaves you, a feeling of guilt when there is no reason to feel guilty, life has no meaning, morbid thoughts and feelings about death and dying, audible voices are heard, suicidal thoughts, frequent feelings of being tired and restless, problems with sleeping, react excessively to little things that make you angry, hard to concentrate and make up your mind about things, risky or unsafe behavior, and unproductive at school or at work ([2], 2009).

Finally, some of these indicators occur occasionally, but if they occur frequently seek help.  Remember, good mental health is very important.  Therefore, don’t be ashamed and seek treatment from a local clinic, a doctor, a counselor, or a trusted pastor.  Additionally, help can be found at SAMHSA’s National Mental Health Information Center or http://www.mentalhealth.samhsa.gov.  More help and information can be found in publications of Action Steps for Improving Women’s Mental Health and Women’s Mental Health:  What it means to you.

References

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [1] (2009).  Action Steps for Improving Women’s Mental Health.  Retrieved October 16, 2011, from womenshealth.gov Web Site:  http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/mental-health-action-steps/ and http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content//OWH09-PROFESSIONAL/OWH09-PROFESSIONAL.pdf

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [2] (2009).  Women’s Mental Health: What It Means to You.  Retrieved October 16, 2011, from womenshealth.gov Web Site:  http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/womens-mental-health/ and http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content//OWH09-CONSUMER/OWH09-CONSUMER.pdf