Tag: Retreat

WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY – October 10, 2023

WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY – October 10, 2023

World Mental Health Day is on October 10 and as our understanding of mental health grows, we grow along with it. Mental health has come a long way since the early nineties when the World Federation of Mental Health (WFMH) officially established the day. Our self-awareness and sensitivity towards it have changed things for the better. Our language surrounding mental health has improved as words like “crazy” and “lunatic” are used less flippantly and we come to better understand that they can be unintentionally hurtful and stigmatizing. While we’ve learned a lot in this website https://miramarretreat.org/, there’s still so much more we can do to evolve as a society.

HISTORY OF WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY

In 1992, the World Federation of Mental Health led by the deputy secretary-general at the time, Richard Hunter, created World Mental Health Day. They didn’t have a precise objective other than to advocate for mental health as a whole. To say the least, it was an uphill climb to change a plethora of bad and dangerous habits that were making a difficult situation worse for people.

The world had a host of mental health issues that weren’t properly being treated. There were struggles to gain public funding for treatment in France, inhumane treatment in New Zealand, and an overall ignorance in regards to what mental health actually is. The WFMH knew that they needed to act on a global scale to solve a global crisis.

For the first three years, there was a two-hour telecast broadcast across the globe through the U.S. information agency satellite. The studio was located in Tallahassee, Florida and it became a useful way to get their message of advocacy out to the world. They had participation from Chile, England, Australia, and Zambia, while Geneva, Atlanta, and Mexico City pre-taped segments for the broadcast.

The first World Mental Health Day theme was  ‘Improving the Quality of Mental Health Services throughout the World’ in 1994. 27 countries sent feedback reports after the campaign and there were national campaigns in Australia and England. Continuing this momentum, WFMH board members across the globe arranged events in accordance with the day and its growing popularity among government departments, organizations, and civilians alike.

Starting in 1995 and continuing on, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) arranged the translation of the planning kit material into Spanish, French, Russian, Hindi, Japanese, Chinese, and Arabic. As the years passed, more countries got involved and, consequently, so did civilians as the perception of mental health became more synonymous with human rights.

The themes for World Mental Health Day expanded along with the times. Women, children, health, work, trauma, suicide, and so much more became a part of the conversation, and today, the average citizen is more knowledgeable in regards to mental health.

WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY - October 10, 2023

HOW TO OBSERVE WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY

  1. Do group therapy in the workplace

    Register for a group therapy workshop at your place of work. This can allow you and your coworkers to express themselves in a safe environment. We tend to hold onto the idea that pushing through and carrying on is the best way, but issues can arise unexpectedly if they aren’t properly dealt with.

  2. Practice self-care

    There are many changes you can make to your life that can continue beyond World Mental Health Day. Developing a regular sleep routine, adjusting your diet to healthier options, taking lunch breaks, and going on long walks are just some of the options. The point of self-care is to understand your specific needs. Find time to ask yourself what you want and go for it.

  3. Follow the theme

    Each year, there’s a new theme and even if it doesn’t directly involve your struggles, you can still learn from it. Spend some time and research the subject. Awareness extends beyond yourself and it could provide you with the proper tools to better understand others.

    5 SURPRISING FACTS ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH

    1. Unholy spirit

      It’s believed in certain cultures that mental health problems are caused by spirit possession.

    2. Global numbers

      Globally, one in four people will need mental health care in their lives.

    3. National numbers

      More than 43 million Americans battle with mental health.

    4. Youth depression

      Depression among youth has risen from 5.9% to 8.2% since 2012.

    5. Limitations

      Most Americans lack access to proper healthcare treatment.

      WHY WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY IS IMPORTANT

      1. Identify the problem

        The idea of the mind is an abstract concept and this day allows us to think about our thoughts. We’re evolving beyond outdated perceptions and releasing the stigma of mental health so that we can properly diagnose it and take care of ourselves. With the burden and fear removed from mental health issues, the battle becomes considerably easier.

      2. Share your pain

        This day reminds you that whatever you’re going through, you’re not alone. Too often we think that we’re the only ones facing a hard time. It’s uplifting to know that other people have gone through it and made it out to the other end. It reminds you that you can overcome your own pain.

      3. Proper treatment

        As our understanding of mental health grows, so does our ability to seek proper treatment. With the right therapist and necessary medication, you can operate on a more efficient level. The more accepting we are and the more funding that’s put into research and mental healthcare, the greater the global impact.

Dark Psychology & Manipulation: Are You Unknowingly Using Them?

Dark Psychology & Manipulation: Are You Unknowingly Using Them?

Dark Psychology is the art and science of manipulation and mind control. While Psychology is the study of human behavior and is central to our thoughts, actions, and interactions, the term Dark Psychology is the phenomenon by which people use tactics of motivation, persuasion, manipulation, and coercion to get what they want.

While working on my doctorate and studying abnormal psychology, I came across a term called “The Dark Triad” that refers to what many criminologist and psychologist pinpoint as an easy predictor of criminal behavior, as well as problematic, broken relationships. The Dark Triad includes the traits of …

Dark Psychology & Manipulation: Are You Unknowingly Using Them?

Dark Psychology Triad

Narcissism – Egotism, grandiosity, and lack of empathy.

Machiavellianism – Uses manipulation to deceive and exploit people and has no sense of morality.

Psychopathy – Often charming and friendly yet is characterized by impulsivity, selfishness, lack of empathy, and remorselessness.

None of us want to be a victim of manipulation, but it happens quite often. We may not be subject to someone specifically in the Dark Triad, but normal, everyday people like you and I face dark psychology tactics on a daily basis.

These tactics are often found in commercials, internet ads, sales techniques, and even our manager’s behaviors. If you have kids (especially teenagers) you will most definitely experience these tactics as your children experiment with behaviors to get what they want and seek autonomy. In fact, covert manipulation and dark persuasion are often used by people you trust and love. Here https://miramarretreat.org/ are some of the tactics used most often by normal, everyday people.

Love Flooding – Compliments, affection or buttering someone up to make a request

Lying – Exaggeration, untruths, partial truths, untrue stories

Love Denial – Withhold attention and affection

Withdrawal – Avoiding the person or silent treatment

Choice restriction – Giving certain choice options that distract from the choice you don’t want someone to make

Reverse Psychology – Tell a person one thing or to do something with an intention to motivate them to do the opposite which is really what you desire.

Semantic Manipulation – Using words that are assumed to have a common or mutual definition, yet the manipulator later tells you he or she has a different definition and understanding of the conversation. Words are powerful and import.

The purpose of this article is NOT to tell you how to avoid being manipulated and exploited (I’ll write about this in my next post). Rather, it’s to remind us all of how easy it is to fall into using these tactics in order to get what we want. I want to challenge you to assess your tactics in all areas of life, including your work, leadership, romantic relationships, parenting, and friendships.

While some people who use theses dark tactics know exactly what they are doing and they are intentional about manipulating you to getting what they want, others use dark and unethical tactics without being fully aware of it. Many of these people learned the tactics during childhood from their parents. Others learned the tactics in their teenage years or adulthood by happenstance. They used a manipulation tactic unintentionally and it worked. They got what they wanted. Therefore, they continue to use tactics that help them get their way.

In some cases, people are trained to use these tactics. Training programs that teach dark, unethical psychological and persuasion tactics are typically sales or marketing programs. Many of these programs use dark tactics to create a brand or sell a product with the sole purpose of serving themselves or their company, not the customer. Many of these training programs convince people that using such tactics are okay and is for the benefit of the buyer. Because, of course, their lives will be much better when they purchase the product or service.

Who uses Dark Psychology and manipulation tactics? Here’s a list of people who seem to use these tactics the most.

Narcissists – People who are truly narcissistic (meeting clinical diagnosis) have an inflated sense of self-worth. They need others to validate their belief of being superior. They have dreams of being worshipped and adored. They use dark psychology tactics, manipulation, and unethical persuasion to maintain.

Sociopaths – People who are truly sociopathic (meeting clinical diagnosis), are often charming, intelligent, yet impulsive. Due to a lack of emotionality and ability to feel remorse they use dark tactics to build a superficial relationship and then take advantage of people.

Attorneys – Some attorneys focus so intently on winning their case that they resort to using dark persuasion tactics to get the outcome they want.

Politicians – Some politicians use dark psychological tactics and dark persuasion tactics to convince people they are right and to get votes.

Sales People – Many salespeople become so focused on achieving a sale that they use dark tactics to motivate and persuade someone to buy their product.

Leaders – Some leaders use dark tactics to get compliance, greater effort, or higher performance from their subordinates.

Public Speakers – Some speakers use dark tactics to heighten the emotional state of the audience knowing it leads to selling more products at the back of the room.

Selfish People – This can be anyone who has an agenda of self before others. They will use tactics to meet their own needs first, even at someone else’s expense. They don’t mind win-lose outcomes.

Yes, I know. I probably stepped on some toes. As a speaker and a person who is involved in selling services, I fall into this category as well. This is why I must remind myself that working, writing, speaking, and selling with character requires that I avoid manipulative and coercive tactics.

When I’m facilitating training programs on motivation to business leaders, I am often asked about where the line resides between dark psychological tactics and ethical influence and persuasion tactics? Some of these people fully admit that they use these practices often or that their organizations require them to use dark practices as a part of the company’s processes to get and maintain customers.

This is truly unfortunate, and although leading to short-term sales and revenue, will ultimately lead to distrust, poor business practices, poor employee loyalty, and over the long-term less successful business outcomes.

To differentiate between those motivation and persuasion tactics that are dark and those that are ethical, it’s important to assess your intent. We must ask ourselves if the tactics that we are using have an intention to help the other person? It is okay for the intention to be to help you as well, but if it’s solely for your benefit, you can easily fall into dark and unethical practices.

Having a mutually beneficial or a “win-win” outcome should be the goal. However, you must be honest with yourself and your belief that the other person will truly benefit. An example of this is a salesperson who believes everyone will benefit from his product and life will be much better for the customer because of the purchase. A salesperson with this mentality can easily fall into using dark tactics to move the person to buy and use an “ends justifies the means” mentality. This opens the person up to any and all tactics to get the sale.

We can ask ourselves the following questions to assess our intention along with our motivation and persuasion tactics:

  1. What is my goal for this interaction? Who benefits and how?
  2. Do I feel good about how I am approaching the interaction?
  3. Am I being totally open and honest?
  4. Will the result of this interaction lead to a long-term benefit for the other person?
  5. Will the tactics I use lead to a more trusting relationship with the other person?

Do you want to be truly successful in your leadership, relationships, parenting, work, and other areas of life? Then assess yourself to determine your current tactics for motivation and persuasion. Doing it right leads to long-term credibility and influence. Doing it wrong (going dark) leads to poor character, broken relationships, and long-term failure because people eventually see through the darkness and realize your intent.

In my next post I will review the different types of dark psychology and manipulation tactics used most commonly. This will help you be aware of them and avoid being manipulated. Here are some of the tactics I will review…

  • Love Flooding
  • Love Denial
  • Coercive Reinforcement
  • Fatigue Inducement
  • Subliminal Influence
  • Choice Restriction
  • Reverse Psychology
  • Mind Games
  • Brainwashing
  • And a few more tactics you’ll want to know about.
The 10 Best Spiritual Retreats in the World

The 10 Best Spiritual Retreats in the World

Modern life can grind even the best of us down and so it is little surprise that we seek to escape it whenever vacation time comes around. Outside of the usual sun-bed and Piña Colada destination retreats, however, there is rising popularity for an alternative which aims at resetting both body and mind through mindfulness and meditation in nature. While some may travel to distant lands for a silent meditation retreat, other more flexible offerings can be found closer to home across North America, offering transformation based on Eastern principles. So, put down your phone, pull up your widest harem pants and follow https://miramarretreat.org/ to any one of the best spiritual retreats in the world.

The 10 Best Spiritual Retreats in the World

1. Vana – Uttarakhand, India

To honour the cultural influence of India within the wellness community, we start our list of top meditation retreats in Uttarakhand where the 21-acre wellness centre Vana lies. Combining Ayurveda, Tibetan healing, yoga and other holistic therapies, Vana is the definitive retreat aimed at re-centring the self, amidst sleek, modern lodges enclosed by tranquil mango and lychee orchards. While away the days in the centre’s meditation cave, shrine room or spiritual study library before coming together with other ‘Vanavasis’ (forest dwellers) at sundown for musical performances and locally-sourced, vegan-friendly (if you wish) meals.

2. Isha – McMinnville, Tennessee

From the birthplace of yoga to the certifiable birthplace of country music, we head to Tennessee. Rural McMinnville is where you’ll find Isha (the Institute of Inner Sciences) a place designed for ultimate wellness, blending organised yoga and meditation programs in serene surroundings. Isha is centred on a giant golden dome where its founder, Indian yogi and author Jaggi Vasudev, runs ‘Inner Engineering’ programs, dedicated to raising human consciousness and promoting global harmony through the ancient science of yoga. On the peripheries meanwhile, guests can enjoy waterfall walking trails and mountain biking to further enhance their chi.

3. Song Saa – Cambodia

Based on a private island in Cambodia, our next Vipassana retreat, Song Saa offers barefoot luxury to a ‘T’. Down to earth yet with all your creature comforts, Song Saa promotes bespoke spa and wellbeing retreats focused on either detoxifying, blessing or healing over three to five days. Hemmed in by jungle, Song Saa brings together meditation, massage, bio-rhythm sessions and bath rituals, all blessed by their resident Buddhist monks.

4. Sunrise Springs Integrative Wellness Resort – Santa Fe, New Mexico

Fusing both Eastern and Western lifestyles in the sun-soaked US city of Santa Fe, New Mexico, is the Sunrise Springs Integrative Wellness Resort. Professionally led with an emphasis on medicinal healing thanks to its staff of doctors, nurses and psychiatrists, Sunrise Springs is a solid choice for those wanting a mental health plan backed by science. As well as access to medical facilities, guests’ time is balanced with softer healing activities, such as animal interaction and free relaxation in a tranquil setting. With benefits lasting long after you have departed, Sunrise Springs aims to improve health, relationships and greater self-awareness through concepts of mindfulness and compassion for others.

5. Kalani – Hawaii

Stay in the States for Hawaii-based Kalani, the largest retreat centre on Hilo with an added emphasis on adventure. While there are endless opportunities for guests to immerse themselves in yoga, meditation and Jacuzzi sessions, what’s great about Kalani is its added facilities including a pool, gym and life skills studios for learning the likes of Lauhala weaving, hula, tai chi and dance. You won’t find a phone or television in your room but the centre’s selection of art, preserved heritage and fine 120-acre jungle backdrop will ensure there’s more than enough to feast your eyes on.

6. Esalen Institute – Big Sur, California

Renowned for its epic natural landscapes and mouth-watering Pinot noir, California provides travellers with the perfect setting for wellness. The Big Sur’s Esalen Institute is one worthwhile resting spot, located on 120 acres with ocean and mountain views on all sides. The main lodge at Esalen houses a number of facilities including a dining room, deck, sunroom and kitchen, with premium private suites and shared rooms available. Guests can opt to attend various workshops such as tai chi, mindfulness, yoga, meditation, spiritual awareness and more. The popular all-inclusive weekend package covers both lodging and activities, with starting rates at $405USD for its basic accommodation.

7. Monastère des Augustines – Quebec, Canada

For a feeling of travelling back in time, get yourself to Quebec, Canada, where Monastère des Augustines awaits. A 17th-century monastery turned spiritual healing retreat in the old walled city centre, Monastère des Augustines, retains its original features and antique furniture while now catering to holistic health. Choose between a self-guided meditation retreat, yoga or sleep rejuvenation program or even come as a pilgrim to seek spiritual guidance from the few remaining nuns in residence. Both friendly and authentic, this ex-monastery offers a twist on the usual wellness offerings, blending culture and history together with ultimate zen.

8. Temenos Retreat Center – McGregor, South Africa

A fusion of ancient Greek healing and South African hospitality is the McGregor-based Temenos Retreat Center which offers a hefty choice of wellness weeks, in addition to silent retreat and Vipassana meditation retreat options. Besides the requisite yoga, Temenos brings its guests aromatherapy, South African flower essence readings and a vegetarian menu to die for (the lemon meringue pie especially so!). The forever-in-bloom grounds at Temenos allow guests to embrace silent reflection in nature with morning walks through the entire reserve before healing sessions with the centre’s trained therapists.

9. Ghost Ranch – Abiquiu, New Mexico

Our second New Mexican offering is the mysteriously named Ghost Ranch, based within the dusty sunburnt landscape of Abiquiu overlooking cliffs and canyons. Formally attended by artist Georgia O’Keefe, Ghost Ranch is a getaway to remember, where guests can join any number of unique retreat programs, including classes dedicated to sacred Tibetan art, women’s leadership and soulful marriage. Presbyterian-run, Ghost Ranch has its own worship centre but ultimately the retreat is about letting go of the daily routine and healing the self through relaxation, surrounded by some of the world’s most spectacular desert views.

10. Shakti 360° Leti – India

Returning to India for the zenith of spiritual vacations, we take an overnight train journey from the capital of Delhi to Kathgodam. Aside from a hub for Himalayan lumberjacks, Kathgodam is also the meeting point for guests seeking Shakti 360° Leti, a perfectly remote spiritual retreat way up in the Himalayas. From Kathgodam, resort staff travel with guests on an eight-hour car journey followed by a short mountain hike to reach the famed Himalayan lodge elevated at 8,000 feet. Overlooking the peaks that come between north-west India and Nepal, Shakti 360° Leti is a sustainable sanctuary crafted from stone, wood and glass offering various wellness package. Try the Shakti Kumaon Village Walk Experience, a cultural hiking experience through remote Himalayan villages, past Hindu temples and local schools, before recuperating in tip-top luxury at the base. Fill the rest of your days with yoga and guided meditation while filling your belly with fair-trade, locally-grown produce. Namaste indeed.

Spiritual Psychosis: A Sane Awakening or Mental Illness?

Spiritual Psychosis: A Sane Awakening or Mental Illness?

If you’ve ever experienced a spiritual awakening, then you know powerfully transformative an experience it can be. However, for some individuals, what starts as a spiritual quest can in fact lead to a mental health crisis. The term “spiritual psychosis” has been used to describe this phenomenon, but what exactly does it mean? Is it a mental illness or a sign of a deeper, more meaningful awakening?

In this https://miramarretreat.org/‘s article, I’ll call upon my first-hand experience as a mental health nurse and call upon my psychiatrist colleague to delve into the world of spiritual psychosis and explore the debate around its definition, symptoms, and treatment. If you’re new to Behaveo, read The Spirituality Guide For Open-Minded Beginners first.

Understanding spiritual psychosis

Spiritual psychosis is a complex and often misunderstood phenomenon. It is important to understand the nature of this condition in order to provide effective treatment and support to those who are experiencing it. Psychosis is a condition related to the detachment of mind to reality and, although it is serious, can be recovered from.

Spiritual Psychosis: A Sane Awakening or Mental Illness?

The definition of spiritual psychosis

When we talk about spiritual psychosis, we’re referring to a state of mental distress that emerges as a result of experiences that are typically associated with spiritual growth and development. These experiences may involve altered states of consciousness, visions, voices, or other psychic phenomena. The key difference between a spiritual experience and spiritual psychosis lies in the level of distress and dysfunction experienced by the individual.

Worried you, or a close one, may be experiencing psychosis? Take our free online Psychosis Test today.

It is important to note that not all spiritual experiences lead to psychosis. In fact, many people have profound spiritual experiences that are positive and transformative. However, for some individuals, these experiences can be overwhelming and lead to significant distress.

Spiritual psychosis is often characterized by a loss of touch with reality as we know it. Individuals experiencing a spiritual psychosis may have difficulty distinguishing between what is real and what is imaginary. They may also have difficulty functioning in everyday life, experiencing disruptions in work, school, relationships, or other areas of life. In some cases, spiritual psychosis can be accompanied by paranoia, delusions, or other symptoms typically associated with severe mental illness.

Common symptoms and experiences

The symptoms of spiritual psychosis can vary widely from person to person, but some common experiences that may be associated with this condition include:

  • Intense religious or spiritual experiences
  • Altered states of consciousness
  • Visions or other perceptual experiences
  • Hearing voices or other psychic phenomena
  • Feeling that one has special powers or abilities
  • Paranoia or fear of persecution
  • Delusions or false beliefs about reality
  • Social withdrawal or isolation
  • Difficulty functioning in everyday life
  • Emotional distress or mood swings

It is important to note that not all individuals who experience these symptoms are experiencing spiritual psychosis. In some cases, these experiences may be a part of a normal spiritual development process. However, if these experiences are causing significant distress or dysfunction, it may be a sign that professional help is needed.

The spiritual emergence vs. psychosis debate

There is ongoing debate among mental health professionals and spiritual practitioners about the nature of spiritual psychosis. Some argue that the experiences associated with spiritual psychosis are not necessarily indicative of a problem. Instead, they contend that there is a continuum between what is considered “normal” spiritual development and what is labeled as psychosis. This viewpoint is known as the “spiritual emergence” perspective. Those who support this perspective suggest that spiritual experiences can be intense and transformative, but they do not necessarily lead to mental illness or distress.

On the other hand, those who view spiritual psychosis as a mental illness argue that the distress and dysfunction associated with this condition is a clear indication that something is wrong. They may argue that the experiences associated with spiritual psychosis are not indicative of a “higher truth” but rather are a symptom of an underlying mental health condition.

Regardless of one’s perspective on spiritual psychosis, it is important to approach this condition with compassion and understanding. Individuals who are experiencing spiritual psychosis are often in a great deal of distress and may feel isolated and alone. Providing support and guidance can be an important step in helping these individuals to find a path towards healing and recovery.

Intersection of spirituality and mental health

The role of beliefs and practices

One of the key factors in the development of spiritual psychosis is the role of beliefs and practices. For some individuals, their spiritual practices and beliefs may lead to an overemphasis on certain aspects of spiritual experience, such as visions or other psychic phenomena. This can lead to an overidentification with these experiences, making it difficult for the individual to distinguish between what is real and what is not.

It is important to note that not all spiritual experiences are indicative of spiritual psychosis. In fact, many individuals report positive and transformative experiences through their spiritual practices, which can lead to improved mental health outcomes. However, for some individuals, the line between healthy spiritual experiences and spiritual psychosis can become blurred.

Similarly, cultural and societal beliefs around spiritual experiences can play a role in the development of spiritual psychosis. For example, in some cultures, hearing voices or seeing visions is considered a sign of spiritual giftedness. However, in other cultures, these same experiences may be viewed as a sign of mental illness. This highlights the importance of cultural competence in mental health care, as perceptions of spirituality and mental health can vary greatly across different communities.

The impact of trauma and stress

While beliefs and practices can contribute to the development of spiritual psychosis, trauma and stress can also play a significant role. For those who have experienced trauma or stress, spiritual experiences may represent a way of coping with these difficulties. However, if the individual becomes too identified with these experiences, this can lead to a loss of touch with reality and the development of spiritual psychosis.

It is important for mental health professionals to consider the role of trauma and stress in the development of spiritual psychosis, as well as to provide appropriate support and resources for individuals who have experienced these challenges. This may include trauma-focused therapy, mindfulness practices, and other evidence-based treatments that can help individuals to manage their symptoms and improve their overall mental health.

Overall, the intersection of spirituality and mental health is complex and multifaceted. While spiritual experiences can be a source of comfort and meaning for many individuals, it is important to be aware of the potential risks associated with overidentification with these experiences. By taking a holistic approach to mental health care that considers the role of spirituality, trauma, and other factors, mental health professionals can help to promote positive outcomes for their clients.

Diagnosing and treating spiritual psychosis

Spiritual psychosis is a condition that can be challenging to diagnose and treat. It is a mental health condition that is characterized by a range of symptoms, including hallucinations, delusions, and other experiences that are often associated with spiritual or religious beliefs.

Challenges in diagnosis

One of the major challenges in diagnosing spiritual psychosis is the fact that many of the experiences associated with this condition are not necessarily indicative of mental illness. For example, hearing voices may be a normal part of certain spiritual experiences. Additionally, some individuals who are experiencing a spiritual psychosis may not necessarily view their experiences as problematic.

Diagnosing spiritual psychosis requires a careful evaluation of the individual’s symptoms, as well as their beliefs and experiences. Mental health professionals may need to work closely with spiritual leaders or other individuals who have expertise in spiritual experiences to accurately diagnose this condition.

Conventional mental health treatments

When spiritual psychosis is identified as a mental health condition, conventional treatment approaches may include medications, therapy, or other forms of psychiatric intervention. These treatments may be effective in reducing the distress and dysfunction associated with the condition.

Medications may be used to alleviate symptoms such as hallucinations or delusions. Therapy can help individuals to better understand and manage their experiences, and may involve cognitive-behavioral therapy, talk therapy, or other forms of psychotherapy.

Alternative and holistic approaches

Alternatively, some individuals may choose to pursue alternative or holistic approaches to treatment. These may include mindfulness practices, meditation, yoga, or other techniques designed to promote spiritual grounding and connection. While these practices may not necessarily treat the underlying mental health condition, they may help the individual to manage their symptoms and improve their overall well-being.

For example, mindfulness practices can help individuals to become more aware of their thoughts and feelings, and to develop greater self-awareness. Meditation can help to calm the mind and reduce stress, while yoga can help to improve physical health and promote relaxation.

It is important to note that alternative and holistic approaches should not be used as a substitute for conventional mental health treatments. Rather, these practices can be used in conjunction with conventional treatments to provide a more comprehensive approach to care.

In conclusion, diagnosing and treating spiritual psychosis can be a complex process, requiring a careful evaluation of the individual’s symptoms, beliefs, and experiences. Conventional treatments such as medications and therapy can be effective in reducing distress and dysfunction, while alternative and holistic approaches can help individuals to manage their symptoms and improve their overall well-being.

Personal stories of spiritual psychosis

Sane Awakenings: Transformative Experiences

While spiritual psychosis is often associated with distress and dysfunction, some individuals have reported positive, transformative experiences associated with this condition. These experiences, often referred to as “sane awakenings,” involve a complete restructuring of the individual’s sense of self and reality.

For some, this awakening can be incredibly positive and life-changing. However, for others, it can lead to confusion, distress, and dysfunction. The important thing to remember is that each individual’s experience is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another.

Navigating the Dark Night of the Soul

If you or someone you know is struggling with spiritual psychosis, it’s important to remember that there is help available. While it can be difficult to navigate the “dark night of the soul,” there are resources and support systems in place to help individuals manage their symptoms and find a path to recovery.

Recovery and Integration

Ultimately, the goal of treatment for spiritual psychosis is not simply to manage symptoms, but to help individuals integrate their experiences in a way that promotes overall well-being and growth. This may involve finding ways to connect with others who have had similar experiences, or developing a new sense of spirituality that feels authentic and grounded.

No matter where you are in your journey, know that you are not alone. By working together and supporting one another, we can help to break down the barriers between mental health and spirituality, and create a more compassionate and understanding world.

What Is Spirituality?

What Is Spirituality?

Spirituality is a broad concept with room for many perspectives. In general, it includes a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves, and it typically involves a search for meaning in life. As such, it is a universal human experience—something that touches us all. People may describe a spiritual experience as sacred or transcendent or simply a deep sense of aliveness and interconnectedness.

Some may find that their spiritual life is intricately linked to their association with a church, temple, mosque, or synagogue. Others may pray or find comfort in a personal relationship with God or a higher power. Still others seek meaning through their connections to nature or art. Like your sense of purpose, your personal definition of spirituality may change throughout your life, adapting to your own experiences and relationships. Learn more about sprituality in this website https://miramarretreat.org/

Spiritual questions

Explore life purposeFor many, spirituality is connected to large questions about life and identity, such as:

  1. Am I a good person?
  2. What is the meaning of my suffering?
  3. What is my connection to the world around me?
  4. Do things happen for a reason?
  5. How can I live my life in the best way possible?

What Is Spirituality?

Experts’ definitions of spirituality

    • Christina Puchalski, MD, Director of the George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health, contends that “spirituality is the aspect of humanity that refers to the way individuals seek and express meaning and purpose and the way they experience their connectedness to the moment, to self, to others, to nature, and to the significant or sacred.”
    • According to Mario Beauregard and Denyse O’Leary, researchers and authors of The Spiritual Brain, “spirituality means any experience that is thought to bring the experiencer into contact with the divine (in other words, not just any experience that feels meaningful).”
  • Nurses Ruth Beckmann Murray and Judith Proctor Zenter write that “the spiritual dimension tries to be in harmony with the universe, and strives for answers about the infinite, and comes into focus when the person faces emotional stress, physical illness, or death.”

Relationship between religion and spirituality

While spirituality may incorporate elements of religion, it is generally a broader concept. Religion and spirituality are not the same thing, nor are they entirely distinct from one another. The best way to understand this is to think of two overlapping circles like this:

  • In spirituality, the questions are: where do I personally find meaning, connection, and value?
  • In religion, the questions are: what is true and right?

Where the circles overlap is the individual experience, which affects the way you think, feel, and behave.

Spirituality versus emotional health

You will notice as you read on that many practices recommended for cultivating spirituality are similar to those recommended for improving emotional wellbeing. This is because there is a connection between the two—emotional and spiritual wellbeing influence one another and overlap, as do all aspects of wellbeing.

  1. Spirituality is about seeking a meaningful connection with something bigger than yourself, which can result in positive emotions, such as peace, awe, contentment, gratitude, and acceptance.
  2. Emotional health is about cultivating a positive state of mind, which can broaden your outlook to recognize and incorporate a connection to something larger than yourself.

Thus, emotions and spirituality are distinct but linked, deeply integrated with one another.

“You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.”

Thomas Merton
How Spirituality Can Benefit Your Health and Well-Being

How Spirituality Can Benefit Your Health and Well-Being

What Is Spirituality?

Spirituality is the broad concept of a belief in something beyond the self. It strives to answer questions about the meaning of life, how people are connected to each other, truths about the universe, and other mysteries of human existence.

Spirituality offers a worldview that suggests there is more to life than just what people experience on a sensory and physical level. Instead, it suggests that there is something greater that connects all beings to each other and to the universe itself.

It may involve religious traditions centering on the belief in a higher power. It can also involve a holistic belief in an individual connection to others and the world as a whole.

Spirituality has been a source of comfort and relief from stress for multitudes of people. While people use many different paths to find God or a higher power, ​research has shown that those who are more religious or spiritual and use their spirituality to cope with challenges in life experience many benefits to their health and well-being.

Signs of Spirituality

Spirituality is not a single path or belief system. There are many ways to experience spirituality and the benefits of a spiritual experience. How you define spirituality will vary. For some people, it’s the belief in a higher power or a specific religious practice.

For others, it may involve experiencing a sense of connection to a higher state or a sense of inter-connectedness with the rest of humanity and nature. Some signs of spirituality can include:

  • Asking deep questions about topics such as suffering or what happens after death
  • Deepening connections with other people
  • Experiencing compassion and empathy for others
  • Experiencing feelings of interconnectedness
  • Feelings of awe and wonder
  • Seeking happiness beyond material possessions or other external rewards
  • Seeking meaning and purpose
  • Wanting to make the world a better place

Not everyone experiences or expresses spirituality in the same way. Some people may seek spiritual experiences in every aspect of their lives, while others may be more likely to have these feelings under specific conditions or in certain locations.

For example, some people may be more likely to have spiritual experiences in churches or other religious temples, while others might have these feelings when they’re out enjoying nature.

How Spirituality Can Benefit Your Health and Well-Being

Types of Spirituality

There are many different types of spirituality. Some examples of how people get in touch with their own spirituality include:

  • Breathwork
  • Meditation or quiet time
  • New age spirituality
  • Prayer
  • Service to their community
  • Spending time in nature
  • Spiritual retreats
  • Yoga

Other people express their spirituality through religious traditions such as:

  • Buddhism
  • Christianity
  • Hinduism
  • Humanism
  • Islam
  • Judaism
  • Sikhism

Spirituality vs. Religion

Though there can be a lot of overlap between people who are spiritual and people who are religious, https://miramarretreat.org/‘s giving below are some key points to help differentiate spirituality vs. religion.

Spirituality

  • Can be practiced individually

  • Doesn’t have to adhere to a specific set of rules

  • Often focuses on a personal journey of discovering what is meaningful in life

Religion

  • Often practiced in a community

  • Usually based on a specific set of rules and customs

  • Often focuses on the belief in deities or gods, religious texts, and tradition

Uses for Spirituality

There are a number of different reasons why people may turn to spirituality, including but not limited to:

  • To find purpose and meaning: Exploring spirituality can help people find answers to philosophical questions they have such as “What is the meaning of life?” and “What purpose does my life serve?”
  • To cope with feelings of stress, depression, and anxiety: Spiritual experiences can be helpful when coping with the stresses of life. 
  • To restore hope and optimism: Spirituality can help people develop a more hopeful outlook on life.
  • To find a sense of community and support: Because spiritual traditions often involve organized religions or groups, becoming a part of such a group can serve as an important source of social support.

Impact of Spirituality

While specific spiritual views are a matter of faith, research has demonstrated some of the benefits of spirituality and spiritual activity. The results may surprise no one who has found comfort in their religious or spiritual views, but they are definitely noteworthy in that they demonstrate in a scientific way that these activities do have benefits for many people.

The following are a few more of the many positive findings related to spirituality and health:

  • Research has shown that religion and spirituality can help people cope with the effects of everyday stress. One study found that everyday spiritual experiences helped older adults better cope with negative feelings, and enhanced positive feelings.
  • Research shows that older women are more grateful to God than older men, and they receive greater ​stress-buffering health effects due to this gratitude.
  • According to research, those with an intrinsic religious orientation, regardless of gender, exhibited less physiological reactivity toward stress than those with an extrinsic religious orientation. Those who were intrinsically oriented dedicated their lives to God or a “higher power,” while the extrinsically oriented ones used religion for external ends like making friends or increasing community social standing.

This, along with other research, demonstrates that there may be tangible and lasting benefits to maintaining involvement with a spiritual community. This involvement, along with the gratitude that can accompany spirituality, can be a buffer against stress and is linked to greater levels of physical health.

People who feel comfortable and comforted using spirituality as a coping mechanism for stress can rest assured that there’s even more evidence that this is a good idea for them. Prayer works for young and old alike. Prayer and spirituality have been linked to:

  • Better health
  • Greater psychological well-being
  • Less depression
  • Less hypertension
  • Less stress, even during difficult times
  • More positive feelings
  • Superior ability to handle stress

How to Practice Spirituality

Whether you are rediscovering a forgotten spiritual path, reinforcing your commitment to an already well-established one, or wanting to learn more about spirituality for beginners, there are countless ways to start exploring your spiritual side and help improve your well-being.

Spirituality is a very personal experience, and everyone’s spiritual path may be unique. Research shows, however, that some spiritual stress relief strategies have been helpful to many, regardless of faith.7 Some things you can do to start exploring spirituality include:

  • Pay attention to how you are feeling: Part of embracing spirituality means also embracing what it means to be human, both the good and the bad. 
  • Focus on others: Opening your heart, feeling empathy, and helping others are important aspects of spirituality.
  • Meditate: Try spending 10 to 15 minutes each morning engaged in some form of meditation.
  • Practice gratitude: Start a gratitude journal and record what you are grateful for each day. This can be a great reminder of what is most important to you and what brings you the greatest happiness.
  • Try mindfulness: By becoming more mindful, you can become more aware and appreciative of the present. Mindfulness encourages you to be less judgmental (both of yourself and others) and focus more on the present moment rather than dwelling on the past or future.

Potential Pitfalls

One potential pitfall of spirituality is a phenomenon known as spiritual bypassing. This involves a tendency to use spirituality as a way to avoid or sidestep problems, emotions, or conflicts.

For example, rather than apologizing for some type of emotional wound you have caused someone else, you might bypass the problem by simply excusing it and saying that “everything happens for a reason” or suggesting that the other person just needs to “focus on the positive.”

Paranoid Personality Disorder (PPD): Symptoms & Treatment

Paranoid Personality Disorder (PPD): Symptoms & Treatment

What is paranoid personality disorder (PPD)?

Paranoid personality disorder (PPD) is a mental health condition marked by a long-term pattern of distrust and suspicion of others without adequate reason to be suspicious (paranoia). People with PPD often believe that others are trying to demean, harm or threaten them.

People with paranoid personality disorder often don’t think their behavior and way of thinking are problematic.

PPD is one of a group of conditions called Cluster A, or eccentric personality disorders. People with these disorders have unusual and eccentric thinking or behavior.

It’s important to note that people with paranoid personality disorder don’t experience delusions or hallucinations with paranoia, as commonly seen in schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder and severe manic episodes in bipolar disorder.

What age does paranoid personality disorder begin?

People with paranoid personality disorder typically start experiencing symptoms and showing signs of the condition by their late teens or early adult years. Keep reading in this website https://miramarretreat.org/ to know more about this mental disorders.

Who does paranoid personality disorder affect?

Overall, research reveals higher rates of paranoid personality disorder (PPD) in people assigned female at birth (AFAB), while samples from hospital records reveal higher rates of PPD in people assigned male at birth (AMAB).

People with PPD are more likely to:

  • Live in low-income households.
  • Be Black, Native American or Hispanic.
  • Be widowed, divorced or separated or never married.

More research is needed to learn more about why these risk factors are associated with PPD and how stress and trauma play a role in its development.

How common is paranoid personality disorder?

Paranoid personality disorder is relatively rare. Researchers estimate that it affects 0.5% to 4.5% of the general U.S. population.

Paranoid Personality Disorder

SYMPTOMS AND CAUSES

What are the signs and symptoms of paranoid personality disorder?

People with paranoid personality disorder (PPD) are always on guard, believing that others are constantly trying to demean, harm or threaten them. These generally unfounded beliefs, as well as their habits of blame and distrust, interfere with their ability to form close or even workable relationships. People with PPD severely limit their social lives.

People with PPD may:

  • Doubt the commitment, loyalty or trustworthiness of others, believing others are exploiting or deceiving them.
  • Be reluctant to confide in others or reveal personal information because they’re afraid the information will be used against them.
  • Be unforgiving and hold grudges.
  • Be hypersensitive and take criticism poorly.
  • Read hidden meanings in the innocent remarks or casual looks of others.
  • Perceive attacks on their character that aren’t apparent to others.
  • Have persistent suspicions, without justified reason, that their spouses or romantic partners are being unfaithful.
  • Be cold and distant in their relationships with others and might become controlling and jealous to avoid being betrayed.
  • Not see their role in problems or conflicts, believing they’re always right.
  • Have difficulty relaxing.
  • Be hostile, stubborn and argumentative.

What causes paranoid personality disorder?

Scientists don’t know the exact cause of paranoid personality disorder (PPD), but it likely involves a combination of environmental and biological factors.

Researchers have found that childhood emotional neglect, physical neglect and supervision neglect play a significant role in the development of PPD in adolescence and early adulthood.

Researchers used to think there was likely a genetic link among schizophrenia, schizotypal personality disorder and PPD, but more studies have revealed that this connection isn’t as strong as they once thought.

DIAGNOSIS AND TESTS

How is paranoid personality disorder diagnosed?

Personality continues to evolve throughout child and adolescent development. Because of this, healthcare providers don’t typically diagnose someone with paranoid personality disorder (PPD) until after the age of 18.

Personality disorders, including PPD, can be difficult to diagnose, as most people with a personality disorder don’t think there’s a problem with their behavior or way of thinking.

When they do seek help, it’s often related to conditions such as anxiety or depression due to the problems created by their personality disorder, such as divorce or lost relationships, not the disorder itself.

When a mental health professional, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist, suspects someone might have paranoid personality disorder, they often ask broad, general questions that won’t create a defensive response or hostile environment. They ask questions that will shed light on:

  • Past history.
  • Relationships.
  • Previous work history.
  • Reality testing.
  • Impulse control.

Mental health providers base a diagnosis of paranoid personality disorder on the criteria for the condition in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Are other medical conditions associated with paranoid personality disorder?

Yes, approximately 75% of people with paranoid personality disorder (PPD) have another personality disorder. The most common personality disorders to co-occur with PPD include:

  • Avoidant personality disorder.
  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD).
  • Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD).

People with PPD are also more likely to have substance use disorder and panic disorder than the general U.S. population.

MANAGEMENT AND TREATMENT

How is paranoid personality disorder treated?

People with paranoid personality disorder (PPD) rarely seek treatment on their own. Family members, coworkers or employers usually refer them.

When someone with PPD does seek treatment, psychotherapy (talk therapy), such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), is the treatment of choice. Therapy focuses on increasing general coping skills, especially trust and empathy, as well as on improving social interaction, communication and self-esteem.

As people with PPD often distrust others, it poses a challenge for healthcare professionals because trust and rapport-building are important factors of psychotherapy. As a result, many people with PPD may not follow their treatment plan and may even question the motives of the therapist.

Healthcare providers generally don’t prescribe medication to treat PPD. However, medications — such as anti-anxiety, antidepressant or antipsychotic drugs — might be prescribed if the person’s symptoms are extreme or if they have an associated psychological condition, such as anxiety or depression.

PREVENTION

Can paranoid personality disorder be prevented?

While paranoid personality disorder generally can’t be prevented, treatment can allow someone with PPD to learn more productive ways of dealing with triggering thoughts and situations.

OUTLOOK / PROGNOSIS

What is the prognosis (outlook) for paranoid personality disorder?

The prognosis (outlook) for paranoid personality disorder (PPD) typically depends on whether someone with PPD is willing to accept and commit to treatment. Talk therapy can sometimes reduce paranoia and limit its impact on daily functioning.

Left untreated, PPD can interfere with a person’s ability to form and maintain relationships, as well as their ability to function socially and in work situations. People with PPD are more likely to stop working earlier in their lives than people without personality disorders.

In addition, PPD is one of the strongest predictors of aggressive behavior in a hospital setting. PPD is also associated with stalking and excessive litigation (lawsuits).

Adult ADHD and Burnout

Adult ADHD and Burnout

When you have ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) you may feel like a juggler. You may be pretty good at keeping two or three balls in the air. But when the world tosses a few more at you, they can all fall to the floor.

Trying to keep up with work, school, and other responsibilities overwhelms you and can cause burnout – especially if your ADHD isn’t treated.

Burnout can affect your home, work, and social life, says David Goodman, MD, assistant professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, director of the Adult Attention Deficit Disorder Center of Maryland, and an expert with CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder).

Goodman describes burnout this way:

  • You no longer take interest or pleasure in your normal activities.
  • You see allies (like co-workers) as enemies who are burdening you with more and more work.
  • You withdraw because you believe it’s impossible to get things done.

Adult ADHD and Burnout

The symptoms of ADHD – like not being organized, trouble paying attention, and poor time management – add to burnout.

ADHD burnout is a specific kind of burnout, says Amber Meeks, who has ADHD and is a mental health advocate from Murfreesboro, TN. Part of the problem is that “people with ADHD work harder to do the things most people do with little effort.”

Imagine yourself on an interactive exercise bicycle, Goodman says. You pedal faster and faster to try to keep up with others, your heart rate hits its peak and you can’t pedal any harder. But, even your best isn’t good enough and you fall behind the standard of others.

Certain life changes can ignite burnout – especially if you’re untreated, Goodman says. In college, for example, “academic demands are increasing but so are social distractions. Plus your time management skills are already poor.”

Other problems specific to people with ADHD also add fuel to burnout.

“ADHDers experience something called ‘hyperfocus,’ periods of time in which we are transfixed and fully focused on a subject or project. These periods can last from hours to days and we often neglect taking care of ourselves when we are hyperfocused. We don’t eat right, sleep well, etc. This often leads us to burnout more quickly,” Meeks says.

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Lack of motivation. “If you like working out 5 days a week, you’re probably not going to be doing that. Or, if you enjoy playing with your kids you’ll do less of that,” Goodman says.

Exhaustion. “You feel tired all the time no matter how much rest you get,” Meeks says.

Poor Performance. You may not be able to focus on the work at hand. “It may feel impossible to do anything, even when it’s really important,” Meeks says.

Pain.Stress also can trigger things like stomachaches and headaches.

Irritability. You snap at people. You yell at the kids because they spilled milk on the floor. Or you get mad at your spouse because they forgot something at the grocery store.

Troubled Emotions. You withdraw or can’t smile at people, Goodman says. “I tend to get weepy and sad when I’m burned out,” Meeks says.

Negativity or Pessimism. It can feel almost impossible to be positive about anything, Meeks says. This is especially true in the areas that are causing your burnout – whether it’s school, work, or home life.

When your kids, co-workers, or clients start looking like the enemy, that’s a concrete sign that you are burned out, Goodman stresses.

He adds that at least 70% of adults with ADHD have another mental health problem like anxiety or depression. These problems interfere with your ability to cope and fight burnout.

If you have a medical condition too, it can make you sicker. Perhaps you have diabetes. Your burnout and stress can affect your ability to control your blood sugar.

“So you can see how this is a spiral downward,” Goodman says.

The first step is recognizing and accepting that you are burned out. “If your friends and loved ones say you aren’t doing well, don’t take it as a criticism,” Goodman says. Educate yourself about burnout and then get some help from a mental health professional.

Here’s what else you can do:

Know your limits. Some people think they can pile it all on their plate and carry it even though it’s dripping off the plate, Goodman says. You need to face the fact that your expectations sometimes go beyond what you can actually do. This is where therapy can help you see that you need to balance expectations with reality.

Learn to prioritize. “You won’t be able to juggle 12 balls at once,” Goodman says. You need to pick six that you can juggle well and the other six need to be put to the side until you have more time for them. Setting priorities is difficult for people with ADHD. “It’s either I need to do it now or if it’s not due yesterday it doesn’t need to be done until tomorrow. The problem is something comes up tomorrow that’s urgent and that’s how things mount up.”

Just say “no.” People with ADHD often are people pleasers, have a hard time saying no, and overcommit themselves, Meeks says. “Practice saying no and not feeling guilty about it. The people in our lives should be understanding of the need to keep ourselves safe and healthy,” she adds.

Get some rest. Don’t feel guilty about taking a breather. People with ADHD spend their whole lives being told that they aren’t trying hard enough. As a result, they often push themselves as hard as possible, Meeks says. “Resting feels ‘lazy,’ a word that has been used against us like a weapon for most of our lives.”

If it’s broken, fix it. If your ADHD symptoms seem out of control, talk to your doctor. You may need to add or change medication or learn better organization and time-management skills. This can help you get through your days with fewer stumbling blocks and more confidence.

Meeks says: “Make sure that you ask for help when you need it, whether that be by asking someone to help you with chores or going to therapy. Be kind to yourself. Give yourself the same grace you would give a loved one who was in the same situation.”

Depression (major depressive disorder) – Symptoms and causes

Depression (major depressive disorder) – Symptoms and causes

Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn’t worth living.

More than just a bout of the blues, depression isn’t a weakness and you can’t simply “snap out” of it. Depression may require long-term treatment. But don’t get discouraged. Most people with depression feel better with medication, psychotherapy or both. To know further information about it keep reading in this website https://miramarretreat.org/

Symptoms

Although depression may occur only once during your life, people typically have multiple episodes. During these episodes, symptoms occur most of the day, nearly every day and may include:

  • Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness
  • Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies or sports
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Tiredness and lack of energy, so even small tasks take extra effort
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain
  • Anxiety, agitation or restlessness
  • Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-blame
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
  • Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide
  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches

For many people with depression, symptoms usually are severe enough to cause noticeable problems in day-to-day activities, such as work, school, social activities or relationships with others. Some people may feel generally miserable or unhappy without really knowing why.

Depression (major depressive disorder) - Symptoms and causes

Depression symptoms in children and teens

Common signs and symptoms of depression in children and teenagers are similar to those of adults, but there can be some differences.

  • In younger children, symptoms of depression may include sadness, irritability, clinginess, worry, aches and pains, refusing to go to school, or being underweight.
  • In teens, symptoms may include sadness, irritability, feeling negative and worthless, anger, poor performance or poor attendance at school, feeling misunderstood and extremely sensitive, using recreational drugs or alcohol, eating or sleeping too much, self-harm, loss of interest in normal activities, and avoidance of social interaction.

Depression symptoms in older adults

Depression is not a normal part of growing older, and it should never be taken lightly. Unfortunately, depression often goes undiagnosed and untreated in older adults, and they may feel reluctant to seek help. Symptoms of depression may be different or less obvious in older adults, such as:

  • Memory difficulties or personality changes
  • Physical aches or pain
  • Fatigue, loss of appetite, sleep problems or loss of interest in sex — not caused by a medical condition or medication
  • Often wanting to stay at home, rather than going out to socialize or doing new things
  • Suicidal thinking or feelings, especially in older men

When to see a doctor

If you feel depressed, make an appointment to see your doctor or mental health professional as soon as you can. If you’re reluctant to seek treatment, talk to a friend or loved one, any health care professional, a faith leader, or someone else you trust.

When to get emergency help

If you think you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide, call 911 in the U.S. or your local emergency number immediately.

Also consider these options if you’re having suicidal thoughts:

  • Call your doctor or mental health professional.
  • Contact a suicide hotline.
    • In the U.S., call or text 988 to reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Or use the Lifeline Chat. Services are free and confidential.
    • U.S. veterans or service members who are in crisis can call 988 and then press “1” for the Veterans Crisis Line. Or text 838255. Or chat online.
    • The Suicide & Crisis Lifeline in the U.S. has a Spanish language phone line at 1-888-628-9454 (toll-free).
  • Reach out to a close friend or loved one.
  • Contact a minister, spiritual leader or someone else in your faith community.

If you have a loved one who is in danger of suicide or has made a suicide attempt, make sure someone stays with that person. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. Or, if you think you can do so safely, take the person to the nearest hospital emergency room.

Causes

It’s not known exactly what causes depression. As with many mental disorders, a variety of factors may be involved, such as:

  • Biological differences. People with depression appear to have physical changes in their brains. The significance of these changes is still uncertain, but may eventually help pinpoint causes.
  • Brain chemistry. Neurotransmitters are naturally occurring brain chemicals that likely play a role in depression. Recent research indicates that changes in the function and effect of these neurotransmitters and how they interact with neurocircuits involved in maintaining mood stability may play a significant role in depression and its treatment.
  • Hormones. Changes in the body’s balance of hormones may be involved in causing or triggering depression. Hormone changes can result with pregnancy and during the weeks or months after delivery (postpartum) and from thyroid problems, menopause or a number of other conditions.
  • Inherited traits. Depression is more common in people whose blood relatives also have this condition. Researchers are trying to find genes that may be involved in causing depression.

Risk factors

Depression often begins in the teens, 20s or 30s, but it can happen at any age. More women than men are diagnosed with depression, but this may be due in part because women are more likely to seek treatment.

Factors that seem to increase the risk of developing or triggering depression include:

  • Certain personality traits, such as low self-esteem and being too dependent, self-critical or pessimistic
  • Traumatic or stressful events, such as physical or sexual abuse, the death or loss of a loved one, a difficult relationship, or financial problems
  • Blood relatives with a history of depression, bipolar disorder, alcoholism or suicide
  • Being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, or having variations in the development of genital organs that aren’t clearly male or female (intersex) in an unsupportive situation
  • History of other mental health disorders, such as anxiety disorder, eating disorders or post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Abuse of alcohol or recreational drugs
  • Serious or chronic illness, including cancer, stroke, chronic pain or heart disease
  • Certain medications, such as some high blood pressure medications or sleeping pills (talk to your doctor before stopping any medication)

Complications

Depression is a serious disorder that can take a terrible toll on you and your family. Depression often gets worse if it isn’t treated, resulting in emotional, behavioral and health problems that affect every area of your life.

Examples of complications associated with depression include:

  • Excess weight or obesity, which can lead to heart disease and diabetes
  • Pain or physical illness
  • Alcohol or drug misuse
  • Anxiety, panic disorder or social phobia
  • Family conflicts, relationship difficulties, and work or school problems
  • Social isolation
  • Suicidal feelings, suicide attempts or suicide
  • Self-mutilation, such as cutting
  • Premature death from medical conditions

Prevention

There’s no sure way to prevent depression. However, these strategies may help.

  • Take steps to control stress, to increase your resilience and boost your self-esteem.
  • Reach out to family and friends, especially in times of crisis, to help you weather rough spells.
  • Get treatment at the earliest sign of a problem to help prevent depression from worsening.
  • Consider getting long-term maintenance treatment to help prevent a relapse of symptoms.