Month: September 2017

The Mysterious Mental Illness That Strikes in the Winter: An Insight into the Condition that is SAD

The Mysterious Mental Illness That Strikes in the Winter: An Insight into the Condition that is SAD

As summer draws to a close and the clocks go back, it can be a rather disheartening time for most of us, but for those suffering from SAD this time can be particularly frightening, as it can mean the unwanted return of a very real condition. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression, characterized by changes in mood and symptoms which are affected by changes in the season. It is thought to derive from a lack of sunlight, which may cause a part of the brain known as the hypothalamus from working as it should – meaning that the production of certain hormones is significantly reduced or increased, subsequently affecting mood.
Most people who suffer from SAD experience symptoms from about the start of October through to the end of February each year, but everyone’s experience is likely to be different – and can change on a yearly basis for a number of reasons. It is not unheard of for people to experience the symptoms of SAD only once in their lifetime, however it is far more common for the disorder to persist for several years, and quite often is left undiagnosed, for the most part due to a lack of awareness.
Andrew, aged 51, suffers from SAD, and shared his experiences of the disorder: “For me, I find that it is not the cold weather, but the lack of sunlight that affects my mood, and it seems to creep up on me slowly as the seasons change. One way I’ve found to cope with my disorder over the years is to ensure that I always have a winter holiday booked to somewhere sunny; which helps me to feel less anxious during this period.” As is common with Seasonal Affective Disorder, Andrew also suffers from mild depressive disorder and spouts of anxiety, which he finds are heightened as the seasons change and days become shorter and darker.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is particularly common among people who live in climes that are darker, or where there is less sunlight – such as the North Pole – hence it is more common in these countries, however differences in individual sensitivity to light mean that it is a widespread disorder. Despite this, knowledge and understanding of SAD is limited, and so it is likely that many people suffer from this disorder without necessarily being aware of it. And, because it is seasonally-dependent, it is likely that many people suffer on a yearly basis without seeking help, as depressive episodes will tend to go away naturally after a few months. However, while symptoms may seem to have faded, SAD often comes back, so it is always worth seeking help in order to help alleviate or prevent future episodes.
Treating Seasonal Affective Disorder can be tricky, as obviously the weather is something that is completely out of one’s control, and for most migrating to sunnier climes or going on holiday over the winter months is simply not an option. There are some treatments, however, which can be effective. In some cases, simple changes to one’s lifestyle can be enough to notice a difference, such as being exposed to more natural sunlight, exercising regularly and managing stress levels. For more severe cases however, traditional face-to-face or equivalent online therapies are usually advised, as these aim to treat the causes and symptoms of SAD simultaneously.
Another treatment which has recently shown promising results is something called a light box, which is used to simulate sunlight and can be useful in elevating mood in some cases, however this is not necessarily effective for everyone. Sarah, who also suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder, notes that in her experience “only natural sunlight will do”; so light boxes are not an option for her. Everyone is different, so everyone’s experience is different, but it is important to remember that no one should suffer alone, and that seeking help usually has long-term benefits.
(All names used in this article have been changed to protect the privacy of the individuals . If you think you may be suffering from symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder, private online therapy sessions are available to book through the Dr Julian App – with plenty of specialists trained to deal with this disorder.)

Source: Dr julian

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5 British Celebrities That Have Helped to Raise Mental Health Awareness

5 British Celebrities That Have Helped to Raise Mental Health Awareness

In recent years, mental health has been mentioned more and more in the press, with several celebrities coming forward and sharing their stories in the hope that this will help encourage others to speak out and get help. While mental health issues are now more widely accepted and understood, there is still a lot of stigma attached to these conditions, which mainly exists out of lack of understanding. We wanted to recognise and celebrate the work of some British celebrities who are using their platforms for good and leading the fight against mental health stigma.

Photo credit: By Carfax2 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
The Royals
“Once you start talking about it, you realise that actually you’re part of quite a big club”
– Prince Harry
Prince Harry, Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge – Kate Middleton – formed the foundation ‘Heads Together’ in 2016, with the aim of making speaking about mental health more acceptable and easy. Previously Harry has admitted to seeking counselling himself, after experiencing spouts of anxiety and depression after the death of his mother, Princess Diana, in 1997. He describes experiencing feelings of “total chaos” at times, and admitted to suffering with anxiety at royal engagements, but claims that talking about his feelings to those closest to him really helped.
Alongside several other celebrity ambassadors, such as Lady Gaga, these three royals have helped to reduce the stigma associated with seeking mental health advice, and have shown that anyone can suffer from overwhelming thoughts and feelings – even the royal family! They also started the hashtag #oktosay, which has had millions of hits on twitter, and has helped share the message that it is ok to talk about mental health.

Photo credit: By Freedom Fry — "Happy birthday to GNU" film crew, especially Matt Lee and Andrew Sampson [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons
Stephen Fry
"I want to speak out, to fight the public stigma and to give a clearer picture of a mental illness”
Comedian Stephen Fry has been open and frank about his struggles with depression, bipolar disorder and substance abuse, and is now a keen mental health advocate, as well as President of the mental health charity ‘Mind’. In his BBC2 documentary, The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive, he consults experts and fellow sufferers of bipolar disorder, in an attempt to shed light on the disorder that has haunted him his whole life. Fry admits to having tried to commit suicide in his younger years, but now, at the age of 60, he focuses on using his experiences to try and help others who are suffering.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore
Zoella (aka Zoe Sugg)
“I would cry, and think “I can’t go. I can’t go and see my boyfriend. I’m scared to get on a train. Why can’t I just be normal?”
Beauty blogger and Youtube sensation Zoella (real name Zoe Sugg), is a huge hit online with over 11million subscribers to her YouTube channel, as well as her own book, makeup and homeware range. While her channel is usually filled with makeup tutorials and shopping ‘hauls’, Zoe switched it up in 2012 when she opened up about her experiences with anxiety and panic attacks. Having struggled with her mental health since she was 14, Zoella wanted to open up to encourage others to speak out and seek help – and the reaction she got was incredible. The comments section of her video was filled with support from her fans, and others sharing their experiences, meanwhile Zoe received loads of emails from people who thanked her for making them feel less alone.
Zoe is now very much involved in the mental health movement, and does regular vlogs on her channel about how she copes with her anxiety, and how to seek help. She is also Mind’s first official Digital Ambassador, and regularly promotes their campaigns in a bid to educate and inform her young audience.

Photo credit: By Executive Office of the President [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
J.K. Rowling
“It’s so difficult to describe depression to someone who’s never been there, because it’s not sadness. I know sadness. Sadness is to cry and to feel. But it’s that cold absence of feeling — that really hollowed-out feeling.”
J.K. Rowling, best known for writing the world-famous Harry Potter series, is one of the best loved authors of this generation, with a huge fan base worldwide. Her huge fan base are not afraid to put her on a pedestal, however this has not stopped the writer from opening up on many occasions about her battle with depression and suicidal feelings. Rowling lets her fans know that she is not embarrassed to have suffered with her mental health, and claims that she has “Never been remotely ashamed of having been depressed. Never.” adding “What’s there to be ashamed of?”
Alongside letting her fans know that it’s okay to suffer with your mental health, she often takes to twitter to respond to trolls, such as most recently when former Big Brother contestant Andrew Tate started a thread which suggested that depression wasn’t real, and that people should just “move on”. J.K. Rowling is great at ripping into those who dispute mental illness as a fad, but is still kind and responsive to her fans, and often replies to cries for help with supportive messages and advice.

Photo credit: Eva Rinaldi [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Ed Sheeran
“I wasn’t exactly normal and I’ve come out of it on top. My view on it is God looked down one day and was like ‘f***ing hell, you need some help mate, here’s a guitar.”
Singer Ed Sheeran is renowned for his voice, and has sold over 5 million albums and 19.4 million singles combined, but that hasn’t stopped him opening up about his struggles with his mental health. Sheeran has revealed that when he was younger he used to struggle with his confidence, and often felt unhappy with his appearance, which would get him down. He has, on multiple occasions, described himself as an “outsider”, but notes how he believes this has strengthened his fan base. Sheeran believes that writing music has really helped him to come to grips with his own emotions, and told Radio 1 that song writing is “a form of therapy” for him.
Ed has also decided to use his own experiences and body image issues to help others, and raise awareness for mental health issues. He has teamed up with YoungMinds, alongside fellow stars including James Corden, to help young people who may be struggling with their mental health, and to end the stigma. He also backs the #IAMWHOLE campaign, which aims to encourage openness about mental health issues and shows people that their mental health does not define them.

Source: Dr julian

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A Six Step Guide for Meditation for Beginners

A Six Step Guide for Meditation for Beginners

1) Find a comfortable pace to sit. On the floor, on the sofa, on a cushion, a chair, back to back with a friend, just not lying down or on your side.
2) Set a timer for 11 minutes with a soft and subtle alarm that won’t shock you at the end.
3) Close your eyes and take five deep breaths. On the inhale, recite to yourself quietly in the mind ‘inhale’. On the exhale, recite to yourself quietly in the mind ‘exhale’. Now you’re off and into the meditation.
4) At times throughout, the mind will wander. That’s ok. Be effortless, let go of control. Don’t hold onto any thoughts and just allow the mind to go wherever it chooses. Time will pass before you know it.
5) When the alarm rings, take five deep breaths. Let the head drop so the eyes are facing into your lap and allow the eyes to open effortlessly as you let the world back in.
6) Sit in the stillness quietly for another few moments.
With our stressful modern lives it would benefit all of our mental wellbeing if we made some time each week for some quiet reflection and meditation.

Source: Dr julian

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How to Help Someone Suffering From Suicidal Thoughts

How to Help Someone Suffering From Suicidal Thoughts

Talk Openly
While it may seem like talking about suicide is a dangerous thing to do, the opposite is quite true. Discussing suicide and feelings of despair or depression with a loved one can be especially important as it lets them know that they are not alone, and also that you are comfortable discussing the subject with them. This opens up the opportunity for them to come to you, or somebody else, in future, and for many can make a great deal of difference as it brings hope to an otherwise bleak situation. If you personally have experienced similar feelings, do not be afraid to mention this, as it can help to know that others around you have felt the same, and that the feeling can be overcome with time and the right help.
Encourage them to seek help
While it is important to let your loved ones know that you are there for them, it is always advised for individuals to seek professional mental health advice if they are having suicidal thoughts, as this can help them to better understand the route of their feelings, and usually offers a longer-term solution. It is important to remember that you are not qualified to assess or treat a loved ones condition, no matter how well you know them, so encouraging or helping them to seek advice may be the best thing that you can do. Remind them that there is nothing shameful or embarrassing about seeking mental health advice, and that if they should need you, you will be there.
Be Patient and Understand your Role
Don’t expect miracles. Feelings do not just go away overnight, and it is important to remember that everyone’s journey looks different – so don’t expect somebody to look or act differently right away after seeking help. Also, it is important to remember that this is their journey, not yours, and so you are not entitled to know everything, even if you are close to the individual. Everything you do for them should be in their best interests, not your own, so do not try and force progress or information out of them.
Be a Friend
One of the greatest things you can do for somebody struggling with suicidal thoughts or feelings is to be their friend; whether this means going out for coffee, or offering to babysit every once in a while. Remember that we all feel down sometimes, but no matter what we are going through it is nice to know that our friends will never see or treat us differently because of it. See the person for who they usually are, and continue to do things together like you normally would. For someone suffering from suicidal thoughts, feeling normal, even if for a few hours, can mean the world.
Understand that you can’t help
As much as you may want to help someone feel better, you should try to understand that how somebody else feels is not always in your control. While you may be able to recommend therapy, or even accompany them to appointments or meetings, you are not responsible for anyone else’s mental health, and should never blame yourself for how you, or anyone else is feeling. Leave the analysing to a mental health professional, and just focus on being there.

Source: Dr julian

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How Online Therapy is Revolutionising Mental Health Treatment

How Online Therapy is Revolutionising Mental Health Treatment

Despite increasing awareness of mental health issues, many people struggle to access the appropriate treatment and therapies they need. Although the NHS does provide mental health services in the UK, patients may encounter lengthy wait times, and therefore worsening conditions, before they’re able to see a therapist.
How Does Online Therapy Work?
Much like a face-to-face session, online therapy enables you to connect with your therapist in a secure environment. You’ll have access to a network of qualified professionals and, once you’ve selected the therapist that you’d like to work with, you’ll be able to arrange an appointment time.
At your chosen time, you’ll be able to access therapy from the comfort of your own home (or office) via video link on your smartphone, tablet or computer. Although you’ll be able to conduct an online mental health session from anywhere, it is up to you to pick a time when you’ll be somewhere that you can talk privately and in confidence with your therapist. Secure video links, arranged via the Dr Julian app, ensure that your sessions remain completely confidential and inaccessible to third parties – meaning that you can sleep easy knowing that we don’t share your information with anyone else.
What are the Benefits of Online Therapy?
Whilst mental health treatment has traditionally been offered in a face-to-face setting, several studies have shown that remote healthcare can be just as effective in treating mental health complaints, especially if it means less time waiting to be seen. Several studies have found that both those receiving face-to-face therapy and those receiving online video therapy improved at around the same level, however those on a waiting list showed no improvement.
Research has also found that those receiving video therapy, compared with traditional face-to-face therapy, show higher levels of participation and trust; suggesting that clients feel more relaxed and therefore more ready to engage with treatment when using this method. Several meta-analyses also stress that video and/or online therapy is an up-and-coming way of making mental health treatment more accessible, and it is noted that over time it could replace face-to-face treatments altogether.
What can be treated via Online Therapy?
Almost any type of mental health problem can benefit from online therapy sessions. Depression, Anxiety, OCD, PTSD, Eating Disorders, Substance Abuse and Schizophrenia are all common mental health conditions, and can respond well to treatment via remote therapy.
If individuals are approaching a mental health crisis, online therapy may be particularly beneficial, as it enables quick access to treatment with the same one-to-one interaction with a professional offered by traditional methods. In many cases, online therapy appointments can be arranged the same day, ensuring that people can access mental health services as and when they need to.
Is Online Therapy right for me?
There’s only one way to find out if online therapy suits your individual needs, and that is to try it for yourself. The Dr Julian app is free to download, and from there you can browse professionals and their specialisms with no obligation or commitments. It is only when you book and receive a session that you’ll be charged, with prices starting at £45, and from there it is up to you to decide if the service is right for you.
Download on the app store today:

Source: Dr julian

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