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Category Archives: Mental Health

Increasing the participation of women in sport

Due to the fact that many women did not enjoy sport when they were younger, it is not really surprising that many still do not enjoy sport very much or have any real desire to take part. However, thanks to some new initiatives, women are being encouraged to step up and have a go at some sort of sporting activity. So whether you fancy reliving your youth by doing field hockey drills with a hockey team or netball drills with a netball team, or whether you want to take up a new sport altogether, here are some ideas on how you can get involved and what you can do.


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In 2013, the NHS published some statistics which showed that obesity in the UK is increasing at an alarming rate. One of the main reasons for this, among both men and women is the increase in sedentary lifestyle combined with a lack of exercise.

Encouraging women to take part in sport

Sport England recently launched a drive to encourage women to participate in sport. The main idea behind this was to encourage both women and girls to take part in some form of exercise, regardless of their body shape or physical fitness.

If you decide to take up any form of exercise or have any sort of sport plan then it is advisable that you firstly speak to your GP to get some advice about the sort of exercise that would be suitable.

What exercise?

If you are deciding to take up exercise or get fit, this could take many forms. It may simply involve visiting the gym or the swimming pool once a week or it could be something a bit more involved. Quite a lot of women are participating as adults in competitive sports they used to do at school such as netball and hockey. There are even competitive leagues throughout the country for both of these sports. However some women prefer one to one sports such as tennis or even solo sports such as cycling. Others simply prefer relaxing exercise such as Pilates and Yoga.

Whatever sport you choose to do, it does not need to be competitive. Any sort of exercise will make a difference and have a huge impact on your life, health and general wellbeing.

What to Do If You Have Trouble Falling Asleep

If you are having troubles falling asleep, the chances are good that other aspects of your life are suffering from your inability to get to sleep. If you are among the millions of people who want to know how to go to sleep faster, there are some tips and tricks to help you start getting a better nights rest.

Understand Your Circadian Rhythms

One of the best ways to getting on the path to a better night’s rest is understanding your Circadian Rhythms. Circadian Rhythms are commonly known as an Internal Sleep System. Humans and most other living beings are ruled and influenced by these natural rhythms that dictate our sleep patterns. There are many factors that come into play when you are trying to fall asleep. One of the most influential factors is your body temperature. While you may not give much thought to the how your body temperature can play into your sleep patterns, it is a major deal. Think about the last night it was hot and humid outdoors. Can you recall how difficult it was to get comfortable? This is an example of how your Internal Sleep System is being disrupted by uncomfortable and less than optimal sleeping conditions. On nights like this, it is probably a good idea to run your air conditioner and get the interior of your home cooler to help facilitate faster, sounder and more refreshing sleep. You do not have to crank the temperatures to extremely cold temperatures, but by taking some of the humidity and lowering your temperatures to something more reasonable, you will fall asleep faster.

A Better Night’s Sleep Can Be Yours

By understanding your Internal Sleep System and taking steps to maximize your sleeping environment. Using this information you can take steps to start getting your system back on track. To prepare your mind to slow down and relax, it is suggested that you avoid watching TV or using electronic devices such as your mobile phone, laptop or tablet computer for about an hour before you are planning on going to sleep. Other things you should not do right before your expected bedtime is exercise or drinking highly caffeinated beverages that act as stimulants and prevent you from falling asleep. It is also recommended that your bedroom is a little cooler, as this is a better temperature for sleeping. The more you are able to relax your mind, the easier it will be to fall asleep. You might consider taking a warm bath with a few drops of essential oils that promote relaxation in them. This will help your body temperature adjust to the optimal temperature for sleep. If possible, you should try to set up a regular sleep schedule by going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time in the morning, The more you are able to establish a pattern of sleep, the better your chances of getting a better night’s rest.


Help a Friend by Knowing the Signs of Alcohol Addiction

Even though an alcoholic may be reluctant to admit their problem, there are several indications of alcohol addiction. It is important for friends, family and spouses to know the signs of alcohol addiction so they can help convince their loved one to get help with overcoming it. The quicker an alcoholic gets help, the better their chances are for saving their relationships and improving their overall health.

Signs of Addiction

The signs of alcoholism are not always obvious like seeing someone drunk and stumbling around. Many people do a good job of hiding their alcohol consumption, and they seem to function normally on a daily basis. Even though they may be hiding their alcohol addiction, there are indications of a problem if friends and family look closely enough.

Feeling Shame

People who drink may hide it because they are ashamed of their drinking habit. When they do drink, they will hide it by drinking at home by themselves. They don’t want people to know they drink because of their shame and their inability to control it.

Drinking to Relax

When they’ve had a bad day at work, they often feel the need to drink in order to relax. Even a long day at home with the family can lead to their need to have a glass of wine or a beer to unwind and help them sleep.

Unable to Control Drinking

Alcoholics will often drink more than they intended to when they go out with friends or even when they drink at home by themselves. While they may have intended only to have one drink in a social situation, they usually won’t stop at one and continue to drink. They may even lose count of how much they’ve had and end up becoming drunk.

Hiding their Drinking

Functioning alcoholics are usually well versed in knowing how to hide their drinking so their acquaintances and co-workers may not even realize that they do drink. They will often drink at home alone, or they may disguise their drinking by carrying around a bottle of water that is really vodka.

Making Bad Decisions

People who drink heavily will often make other bad decisions that could lead to serious consequences. They may get behind the wheel of their car when drinking and end up going to jail for driving while intoxicated or they may pick a fight without someone over something inconsequential. They may often find themselves in legal trouble because of their addiction.

By knowing the signs of alcoholism, friends and family can help their loved one get help. They can help them get into an alcohol rehab programme so they can learn how to deal with the stresses in their lives that lead them to drink. They will learn alternative ways to handle stress, such as exercising or meditating.

Many alcohol programmes will also help patients learn new skills, so when they overcome their addiction, they can lead a better life. These skills may include cooking healthy foods, managing money or learning proper grooming to look their best.


What Is Manipulation Under Anesthesia?

Manipulation under anesthesia, or MUA, is a treatment method for different types of pain and syndromes that result from fibrous adhesions and scar tissue in various joints throughout the body. Whereas many of the procedures used to treat these conditions are invasive and require recovery time, manipulation under anesthesia is safe and non-invasive.

Which Conditions does MUA Treat?

Dr. Tafler and his team treat a variety of conditions, including pain in the back, neck, and joints, muscle spasms, shortened muscles, fibrous adhesions, and other long-term pain syndromes. While you are under sedation, performed by a licensed anesthesiologist, he manipulates the affected area to break up scar tissue and adhesions using a variety of stretches and kinesthetic maneuvers. These manipulations and stretches will help you regain your mobility and free yourself from the pain.

Why Manipulation Is Better than Surgery

If you have fibrous adhesions or scar tissue in a joint, whether due to a condition or some sort of injury, there are several options available for treatment. The first involves invasive surgery during which the surgeon makes and incision and then cuts away the fibrous tissue or growth. Another option involves laser surgery, which requires a much smaller incision but is still invasive. With either of these options, you must recover for a period before you will have normal use of the treated area. Manipulation under anesthesia is completely non-invasive, and there is no recovery time. In fact, many patients regain range of motion and experience pain relief in a single treatment.

Does It Require After-Care?

Although post-anesthesia care is not always necessary, many patients benefit from additional procedures after their manipulation under anesthesia. Some of these include the application of moist hot packs to the area, which reduces swelling, increases blood flow, and stimulates healing. Another popular after-care therapy is massage, which improves circulation in the affected area and promotes healing, as well. Any patient could benefit from active rehabilitation for a period of four to six weeks, as this helps to teach patients exercises and routines that may discourage the formation of more scar tissue or adhesions.

When to Consider MUA

For the most part, manipulation under anesthesia is a safe procedure. Thus, if you have conditions like fibromyalgia, mild sciatica, failed back surgery, and even nerve entrapment, then you are a prime candidate. MUA is best for patients who have undergone conservative care for six to eight weeks without any relief. Bear in mind that sedation does carry risks for some patients, so Dr. Tafler will ask you about your medical history, including any adverse reactions to anesthesia and surgeries that you have had in the past, before your treatment.

If you want to know whether you are a candidate for manipulation under anesthesia, please feel free to contact Dr. Tafler or learn more at There, you will find descriptions regarding the use of MUA to treat many painful and frustrating conditions. He and his team are licensed professionals who understand your need to reduce pain and regain mobility.


The Role of Family & Friends in Treating Drug Addiction

When you are addicted to drugs, one of the first things you lose is your family. That’s because your need to get high becomes more important than anything else in your life. You lose sight of the other things that used to be important to you, such as your career, your finances, and your health. While all of these things are bad to lose, destroying your relationship with your family is by far the worst.


Drug addiction usually isn’t an instant process. You don’t automatically become addicted to meth or cocaine the first time you try it. Despite the way it is portrayed in popular culture, even heroin isn’t usually instantly addictive. Most people use heroin and other drugs recreationally, at least at first. They don’t need to use these drugs, they choose to take them because they are fun, euphoric, and they make other people and life more interesting.

Eventually, however, taking dangerous drugs becomes less of a fun pastime and more of a physical need. Over time, the body builds a physical dependency on the chemicals contained in controlled substances, as well as a psychological dependency. Some drugs that aren’t physically addictive – such as marijuana – can cause a mental addiction that can feel just as strong and binding.

What Happens to the Family

When you get to the point where you are addicted to drugs physically or psychologically – or both – your prime objective is to get more drugs. Most people who reach this stage of addiction will do anything at all as long as it results in getting what they need.

That means they will lie, deceive and even steal from family members in order to feed their addiction. Bank accounts will be cleared out. Property will be sold, even if it doesn’t belong to you. Savings will be stolen. Stories will be concocted to justify the money you need to buy more drugs.

The End of Trust

Eventually, however, you will be discovered. You can’t keep this type of deception up forever, or even for very long. And when your wife, your parents, your siblings and other family and friends find out that you have been lying to them in order to support your drug addiction, they are no longer going to trust you.

That means they won’t believe your lies any longer. They won’t be willing to lend or give you money, even if you genuinely need it for other things such as rent, bail money, or food. In time, they may even cut off their contact with you altogether. It is a painful thing to do, but in their minds it is better not to know you at all than to see you struggle with your addiction and lose every time.

Your Support System

You may not realize it until it is too late, but nobody can make it on their own. You need other people to survive, especially the people you love. So when they turn your back on you and leave you all alone to face the problems caused by your addiction, the results can be devastating.

Homelessness, mental illness, violence, crime and other issues you may have thought you would never have to face suddenly become real possibilities for you. Even if it’s not you who is getting into trouble, just being around other people who are abusing drugs is a dangerous place to be. And worst of all, without the support of your family and friends, it may seem as if there is no way out.

This downward spiral doesn’t have to end in your death or imprisonment, however. There’s always still time to pull out of it. All you need to do is stop, ask for help, and put yourself at the mercy of others.

Families Forgive

Regardless of how bad you treated them in the throes of your addiction, if you genuinely ask them for help and show that you are sincere in your intentions, anything is possible. It’s your family, after all. Blood is thicker than water. Love can build a bridge.

Just don’t expect them to greet you with open arms right away. It probably took you a long time to sabotage their trust in you. So it’s going to take even longer to build it back up. But you can do it if you take it one step at a time.

Next Steps

The best way to show you are sincere about kicking your drug addiction is to get professional help kicking your drug addiction is to get professional help. This is probably the only way you will be able to get clean and begin your rehabilitative process. If you try to stop taking drugs on your own, you are almost certainly likely to fail. And then you are right back where you started in the eyes of your family and friends.

Getting straight is possible. You just have to be fully committed to it and not expect miracles.


Author Bio – This article is written by Paul Smith on behalf of The Cabin Sydney, a sought after and affordable drug rehab centre in Sydney.

Mood Stabilizers

People are often moody for a number of reasons. This is typically healthy in normal people, but if the moodiness turns severe, then it may be necessary to seek professional help. The key to getting the moods under control is to first realize that you have an issue.

Most people are in denial that they have them, but if your family and friends start commenting on your behavior, then they probably aren’t lying to you. Once you come to a self-realization, only then can you begin to correct the problem. If your problem is mild, then there are many natural mood stabilizers that you can try without paying a dime. If the problem is more complex, then prescribed medication can be taken to get your moods under control.

Most people do not realize that even everyday activities can have an effect on a person’s mood. Natural mood stabilizers include being out in the fresh air, sunlight, exercise, St. Johns Wort, passion flowers, chamomile tea and winter cherries.

Research has suggested that the hormone serotonin plays a vital role in keeping people balanced. If this and other hormones are out of whack, then the emotional thought process is disrupted, and this is what causes people to have moodiness. If the hormone levels are low, sleep patterns can be disturbed, energy levels can be reduced and sexual appetite can be affected.

St John’s Wort works to balance moods, by causing a balance of neurotransmitters that control the hormone serotonin. Passion flowers can help mild mood swings if they are caused by mild depression or anxiety.

Winter cherry has an affect because it supports a person’s body during sporadic periods of physical or mental stress. The Chamomile tea works as a balancer, to keep the mood where it should be at an even keel.

If natural remedies do not work, then a person will have to take more drastic measures. If the mood swings are bad enough, this will usually involve seeing a physician to get a mental health evaluation, and to get chemical medication to control he moods.

Some of these medications include lithium, tegretol, and depakene. A person’s blood will be drawn periodically if they are on these medications, to check the levels. The person may also have to undergo counseling. Bio-feedback sessions can also be helpful.

They get a person to talk in-depth just as a therapist would coax the person to do. Once they get to the root of the problem, they formulate a plan of action to help you fix your problem.

The good thing is that the person is getting help, regardless of how they obtain it. Natural remedies are always better for the body than chemical medications, but sometimes they just don’t produce results to the level that is required.

Everyone in the world has mood swings, and life events cause stress for everyone. It is important to learn how to handle that stress to alleviate the mood problems. People may also find that deep breathing exercises, long walks, yoga or other mind stimulating exercise may help with mood issues, as well.

In my opinion (not a doctor, although I play one on TV), I would always try the basics first. Getting out of the house and going for walks in the park are great for the mind. In fact, if you can start waking up and going for a quick walk in the park first thing in the morning, I can promise you that, more often than not, you will see a big difference in your mood.

Working out, eating a healthier diet, staying away from stressful people, going for walks in the park, etc. are all great ways to stabilize your mood. If you find that these aren’t helping, then seek advice from a medical professional. Pills are not a long-term solution, so it’s always best to figure out what’s causing the moods first.

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Mental & Physical Health

Most people today would agree that health is not a one-dimensional experience. Commonly accepted definitions of health, such as that put forward by the World Health Organisation, incorporate physical, mental and social aspects of health. It follows that being healthy does not just mean being physically fit. Being of sound mind is also important, as is social wellness or the ability to form and maintain a network of friends and associates. Some would add spiritual health as another aspect of wellbeing. But what is the relationship between these components of health, and what is the implication of being strong in one area and/or lacking in another. In particular, what is the connection between mental and physical health and what does “healthy body, healthy mind” really mean ?

It is common to consider aspects of health as interdependent; that is, each element influences the other. Practitioners using this type of health model would look at the balance between aspects of health when assessing wellbeing. They may suggest activity in one realm to offset an over-emphasis in another. For example, someone who is working long hours in an office expending much mental energy and heading toward “burnout” may be advised to incorporate more physical exercise into his/her lifestyle in order to bring the wellness system into balance. This may seem like a simple remedy, but the implications can be quite profound. Making even a small effort in a (previously) neglected realm often results in a much more balanced perspective. By taking some time out to work on the physical aspect of health the mind gets a well-earned break and would most likely return to work refreshed and invigorated. Within this framework a balance of the health components is advocated and over-attention to one component of health is not.

It is generally accepted that there is a relationship between physical and mental health. Many athletes would agree that it takes a great deal of mental effort to sustain physical performance. You need only think of a momentary lapse in concentration, say in a game of tennis; to see how closely related the mental and physical aspects of sporting performance are. Although the impact of the mind on physical performance is generally accepted the influence of physical activity on mental health is not as widely acknowledged or understood. There has, however, been research supporting the notion that physical activity has the capacity to enhance mental health. Physical activity had been linked to a host of outcomes including positive mood, lower levels of depression and elevated alertness and concentration. Many would attribute these associations to chemical changes occurring within the body when physical exercise is performed. Other explanations are less direct and implicate factors such as the social aspects of exercise or the sense of mastery achieved in participating in sport. Although there is definitely some relationship between physical health and mental health, the pathways between the two are not yet fully understood.

It is important to keep in mind that the positive impact of physical exercise on mental health or wellbeing is relevant for mental health but not necessary mental ill-health. It would be unlikely that someone suffering from a mental illness, such as schizophrenia, would be prescribed exercise as a remedy. If it was as simple as physical health = mental health, there would be little need for psychologists. However, most health practitioners would agree that physical exercise is often a useful adjunct to therapy for mild mental conditions where physical exercise has been linked to positive treatment outcomes.

Protect your Mental Health

Protect your Mental Health

Mental and emotional health is a vital part of wellbeing. ‘There is no health without mental health”, says Professor Jane Fisher, the Jean Hailes Professor of Women’s Health at Monash University. ‘Take the time to focus on the positive and the things you can do to boost your mental health and sense of wellbeing.”

Close relationships are one of the most important protective factors for mental health, says Prof Fisher. “Nourish good relationships, be committed to them, and get professional help to address destructive or negative relationships if necessary.”

To build new connections with people who share your interests, you could contribute to activities and projects in your local community or join a voluntary organisation, choir, mother’s group, etc.

Poor physical health or ongoing health conditions can limit your ability to do things, and can affect your mental health. Have regular health checks, and try to be as physically active as you can – There are many free or low cost activities that can keep you active, such as walking groups and community gardens, and these can also give you a break from everyday worries.

Every day, try to find something that gives you a sense of reward or achievement. It might be a simple thing like preparing an evening meal, putting a new plant in the garden, or contributing to a project at work.

If you have any concerns about your mood, mental health or physical wellbeing, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Share with a friend, or seek professional help.

Prof Fisher will talk about the importance of mental health at midlife in the free webcast event -Fifty Shades of Midlife – menopause, mood & more’ on 31 October. Book now at

Published with the permission of the Jean Hailes Foundation for Women’s Health

Tollfree number 1800 151 441 for women seeking further health information

Exercise Effective Remedy For Depression

Exercise Effective Remedy For Depression

With approximately one million Australians currently suffering from depression and this figure expected to grow even further in future years, it’s no surprise medical practitioners, researchers and people with depression are looking to natural remedies like exercise to treat the illness.

A recent systematic review published in the Journal of Science in Medicine and Sport has affirmed regular exercise is likely to be effective in the treatment of depression symptoms.

Central Queensland University Researcher and Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) Spokesperson Robert Stanton said with the prevalence of antidepressant medication dispensed within Australia having increased by more than 95 per cent within the last decade, it had been critical to pinpoint the appropriate dose of exercise for treating depression symptoms most effectively.

‘Understanding the appropriate exercise dosage for people with depression will provide accredited exercise physiologists with a framework that may be adopted in clinical practice to improve quality of life, possibly without the use of medication,” Mr Stanton said.

‘My research partner, Associate Professor Peter Reaburn, and I found exercise programs that comprise moderate-intensity, supervised aerobic sessions that last for 30-40 minutes and are undertaken three to four times weekly over a period of at least nine weeks are likely to be most effective in the treatment of depression symptoms.”

‘In fact, some studies show exercise to be equally as effective as medication or psychological interventions in reducing symptoms of depression.”

Mr Stanton said the research also suggested an affect-regulated approach to exercise – that is, where the intensity of an exercise session is determined by how the patient feels during the bout of exercise – may have the potential to increase short and long term adherence to exercise programs for people with depression.

‘For some participants, exercising at a physiologically determined -moderate’ intensity may not always be perceived as pleasant,” Mr Stanton said.

‘Where motivation to commence and maintain exercise is low, it may be valuable to change the session’s intensity to a level that the participant feels is more acceptable.”

Depression research and information body The Black Dog Institute points out regular exercise can be used to alleviate a number of symptoms of depression by increasing energy levels, improving sleep, distracting the sufferer from worries and inspiring a sense of control and self-esteem.

Mr Stanton said exercising in a group also had the potential to provide people with depression with social support and reduce loneliness.

‘We’ve really just scratched the tip of the iceberg with this research, and it would be interesting to delve even deeper into the best exercise modes for people with depression, whether solo or group exercise sessions are more beneficial and what the best model for exercise progression may be,” Mr Stanton said.

‘People with depression carry a significantly greater risk of chronic disease and premature mortality risk compared to those without depression, so it’s crucial that appropriate steps are taken to treat the illness,” Mr Stanton said.

Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) is the peak professional body for exercise and sports science in Australia and provides national leadership and advocacy on key issues.  It supports its 3,500+ members and the community through fostering excellence in professional practice, education, training and research.

When Your Friends Do Not Understand Your Mental Health Condition

You are just diagnosed with a mental health condition such as depression, bipolar disorder, panic disorder, addiction, OCD, or some other mental health disorder. You go see a counselor to get help. Eventually your relatives and closest friends find out your condition. The problem is that some of them get on your case and do not understand what you are going through. Here are four ways to deal with this situation.

1. Listen To The Professionals And Not Your Friend: Your friends may mean well, but when it comes down to it, the professionals know your situation more than anyone. They know what you are going through and are trained to deal with your situation. Your friends do not have the answers to your medical condition. When you have questions about your mental health situation consult with your counselor or other mental health professional. Listen to them and follow their advice and not your friends.

2. Your Goal Is To Get Better: Your goal is to get better, period. Don’t waste your time arguing with your friends or relatives who are giving you a difficult time. This isn’t a public relations event where you need to get everyone’s approval. This is your life and you’re the one suffering. Your main focus is for you to get better. This is the number one thing.

3. Tell Your Friends To Learn About Your Condition: Tell your friends and relatives that the best way for them to help you is to learn about your condition. They could talk to a counselor, they could do family therapy, they could read some good books or join you at a support group to learn about your condition. They won’t know exactly the pain your suffering but they will have some idea of what you are going through. If some of your friends won’t do this, then stay away from them. They will only make things worse.

4. Distance Yourself From People Who Give You A Hard Time: This may seem cruel but if some of your friends or relatives are hindering your progress in getting better, then kindly tell them to follow step Three or else tell them to stay away and go bother someone else. Distance yourself from those people who won’t make an effort to help understand what you are going through. You need to surround yourself with positive and supportive people. Again, if you have problems or issues with a particular person, you can always ask your counselor for advice on how to deal with them.

Take advantage of the help that is available around you. If possible, talk to a professional who can help you manage your depression and anxieties. They will be able to provide you with additional advice and insights on how to deal with your current problem. By talking to a professional, a person will be helping themselves in the long run because they will become better able to deal with their problems in the future.

Remember your goal is to get better. Treat your mental health issues as a medical condition. If you have a medical condition, you go see a doctor to help treat it. Same thing applies to your mental health issues. Go see a professional and focus on getting better. Don’t try to get everyone’s approval.

Stan Popovich is the author of “A Layman’s Guide to Managing Fear Using Psychology, Christianity and Non Resistant Methods” – an easy to read book that presents a general overview of techniques that are effective in managing persistent fears and anxieties. For additional information go to: