Category: Blog

Is Your Contraception Affecting Your Mental Health?

Is Your Contraception Affecting Your Mental Health?

Contraception is of course a wonderful thing – allowing women to take control over their bodies. Not only can it prevent unwanted pregnancies, but it can also help women to improve their acne and their period symptoms.

Hormonal contraception in the UK has evolved from being only accessible for married women, to now being widely available to people of all ages and relationship statuses.

Choices have also now expanded beyond the pill, with the implant, the coil, and many more options which are all easily available on the NHS. This is of course how it should be – everyone deserves the right to contraception, and the fact that there are different options to suit different people is absolutely great.

However, I think much more attention needs to be drawn to the psychological effects of many of these contraceptive methods.

Control over your body and reproductive system is a right, and so too should nuanced information about it be.

Side effects of Hormonal Contraception:

In a survey created by Rosie Hilton and Laurie Presswood, 67.8 per cent of respondents said that they felt a change in their general mood whilst taking hormonal contraception.

56.9 per cent said they felt their hormonal contraception had impacted their mental health.

Many respondents frequently referred to experiencing anxiety, depression, and mood swings, and two respondents specifically identified suicidal thoughts.

The most commonly used form of contraception for those answering the survey was the combined pill, with 196 out of 396 respondents having only experienced this form of contraception. Of this group, 65 per cent said that they felt the pill had affected their general mood, and 51 per cent felt it had affected their mental health.

These statistics are alarming when compared to the statistics popularly published, or expressed to people taking the pill:

In the list of potential side effects that come with Rigevidon, a commonly used brand of the combined pill, “mood swings including depression” is listed as a ‘common side effect’ that “may affect up to 1 in 10 people”.

This listed statistic seems incorrect, and rather far off from the truth.

Astonishingly, 56.5 per cent of people who said they felt their hormonal contraception affected their mental health, said that they had continued to take it despite these concerns.

It seems that women often dismiss their side effects due to the importance of avoiding unwanted pregnancies.

This is clearly not right and a change needs to happen.

Of course, contraception is important and vital, but there are other options out there and women should be encouraged to try these options.

Women shouldn’t just accept their low moods, and mental health issues, as a sacrifice for birth control.

What to do if you think your contraception is affecting your mental health:

Try coming off your contraception for a little while (of course still use protection – i.e condoms), and you may see a drastic change in your moods.

If this is the case, try other methods of contraception, especially non- hormonal ones:

Non-Hormonal Contraception Options:

  • IUD
  • Barrier methods such as the traditional condom or the female condom.
  • Cycle/temperature measures (i.e www.naturalcycles.com)

Try different methods and see what works best for you. You could make your future-self much, much happier.

Your mental health and happiness should come first!

If you are experiencing mental health issues, whether due to contraception or not, the best idea is to seek help.

Talking to someone is the best cure.

Talk to us at Dr Julian; we have just updated our online system with which you can access professional online therapy in the comfort of your own home.

Visit our web app: http://app.dr-julian.com

Or visit our website for more information and more blogs like this one: www.dr-julian.com

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The Link Between Gut Health and Mental Health.

The Link Between Gut Health and Mental Health.

Your gut is a lot more integral to your overall health than you may think.

Microbiome – the fancy term for the variety of bacteria that live within your gut and body – helps your body digest and absorb essential nutrients. But not only that, more and more research is starting to find that your microbiome may also support your immune system, your weight and, even your mood.

Scientists are starting to find a link between your gut and serious mental health issues like depression and anxiety.

How can your gut health be affecting your mental health?

There is a connection between your gut and your brain. Scientists refer to it as the gut-brain axis: the neurotransmitters in your gut travel along your nerves and through your immune system, to your brain, creating a two-way street of communication.

This explains why some stressors or anxiety can make you feel sick – it is communicated directly through your gut-brain axis.

Your microbiome produces a wide range of neurotransmitters, like the feel-good hormones serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin.

These reach the brain via the bloodstream, and can reduce inflammation – which has been shown to be a contributory factor in certain mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety.

According to research published in JAMA Psychiatry, brain inflammation was 30 percent higher in people diagnosed with clinical depression.

An unhealthy gut, can mean a decreased production of antioxidant chemicals that reduce inflammation and sustain chemical stability in the brain. These changes can contribute to certain signs and symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.

Improving your diet might improve your headspace.

Recent studies show that loading up on fermented foods and drinks — like yogurt, kombucha, or sauerkraut — can lead to psychological improvements.

Other research suggests that taking a probiotic supplement with specific strains of bacteria may even reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Of course, you shouldn’t expect a carton of yogurt to cure your depression overnight. Slow and steady changes to your diet may help make a difference over time.

Don’t forget your fiber: eating enough will help the healthy bacteria in your gut thrive.

Happier gut, happier you.

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Social Media's Impact on Mental Health

Social Media's Impact on Mental Health

Social media undoubtedly has its benefits to us and our society. It is a tremendous way of communicating with like-minded people all over the world, and keeping in touch with friends and family.

There are also many excellent social media accounts out there created to inspire us, motivate us, and raise awareness of mental health.

Despite these points, we need to take a moment to think about how much time we are spending scrolling through our feeds, as studies have linked prolonged social media use with symptoms of depression, anxiety and low self- esteem.

Constantly comparing your life to others is not healthy. Social media is all a lie anyway – people portray their lives to be much better than they really are! Just focus on what you are lucky to have, and be grateful for it. We are all living different paths and that is absolutely fine! That is the beauty of life and we just need focus on our own.

TIPS:

  1. Of course, if you feel Facebook or Instagram is making you seriously depressed or low, the best solution would be to deactivate your account. You can always reactivate it again later if you regret it.
  2. De-friend or unfollow any accounts which cause you any upset, jealousy, anxiety, or low self-esteem. You do not need that negativity or toxicity in your life. Only follow accounts which make you feel happy and good about yourself.
  3. Limit yourself to a certain amount of time on your phone a day, perhaps an hour spread out throughout the day.
  4. Go outside and have some real-life interaction, it will make you feel 100 times better.
  5. Just remember, as mentioned before, social media is not real. People only capture the best parts of their lives, and edit the photographs too. The life you are desiring is not even being lived by the person you are envying!
  6. In the case of children or young adults/teenagers, please do ensure to raise your children with the awareness of this. It is especially hard for young girls constantly being surrounded by images of models and celebrities. To prevent the rising number of eating disorders, we all need to internalise the fact that these female bodies are not realistic.

The main thing we all need to learn to do is dramatically change our perspectives and attitudes.

We should all stop comparing and competing with one another, and instead celebrate each others’ successes as well as our own. We should all support each other.

If you are feeling really low, seek help from a friend or a professional.
The most important thing to do is TALK.

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Self-care coaching for your mind, body, heart and soul

Self-care coaching for your mind, body, heart and soul

I love that there’s so much more awareness about mental health now than when I was younger. And that we understand so much more about how we can help ourselves.

I have a trauma history and was prescribed beta blockers for anxiety when I was 22.

But I didn’t realise until much later (having trained as a complementary therapist and coach in my late twenties then going onto train as a therapist, supervisor and in other therapies including yoga for trauma, anxiety and stress) that everything I’d been feeling for as long as I could remember – from chronic insomnia in primary school to ‘self-medicating’ (ie drinking too much) from my early teens until I had to give it up and face my feelings sober in my early twenties (the alcohol made the endometriosis physical pain worse) was, if not normal then certainly more understandable.

I started yoga as a way of easing the endometriosis pain and trained as a complementary therapist in an effort to help myself feel better. This led to my training as a coach and then, after a house fire, as a counsellor – by that stage, I understood that my sense of ‘brokenness’ was a result of trauma and that it could possibly be eased.

Even so, I remember being scared that the therapist I chose as my training therapist during my psychosynthesis training would find my story (the little I actually disclosed to her) ‘too much’ and reject me as too broken. I dedicated my book to anyone who’s ever felt broken beyond repair because none of us are.

Looking back, if I’d had the money and the internet had been invented earlier, I think I’d have found the prospect of online therapy much less anxiety inducing than going to a stranger’s home or office.

In my online therapy sessions, self-care coaching sessions and yoga classes, I’m especially keen to encourage people to share only what feels good for them to share. To trust themselves and their body’s wisdom. To reconnect with that inner knowing and power as well as vulnerability (in their own time).

My interest in self-care coaching for mind, body, heart and soul – helping others take better care of themselves by better understanding a little more around what was happening with their bodies and brains with stress, anxiety, trauma and sleep issues – is because I never wanted anything to be done ‘to’ me – I wanted to know how to help myself.

It’s why I love teaching people to use their body and breath to improve how they feel, working in a way and at a pace that’s right for each individual. Secure online video conferencing for online therapy platforms like Zoom mean I can potentially work with people wherever they’re based.

As a supervisor, my self-care focus supports my supervisees as they are better equipped to hold that essential space for their clients when they’re able to hold it for themselves, too.

Self-care sounds simple but life can easily get in the way. With my book, 365 Ways to Feel Better: Self-care Ideas for Embodied Wellbeing (White Owl, 2017, £14.99) and my online video therapy, I’m keen to encourage people to become kinder to themselves, even around self-care. Just because we know what we ‘should’ do, whether that’s around asserting ourselves more, eating better, exercise, meditating or anything else, doesn’t mean we do it.

The last thing I want readers, clients, supervisees or students to do is to use self-care as yet another stick to bludgeon themselves with.

If you were to do a quick self-care audit now, and you were to think about your own mind, body, heart and soul, which is running the show?

Are you very much in your head or do you follow your heart? Do you tap into that soul part of yourself that can help you remember that you’re so much more than whatever you’ve survived or are struggling with? Do you neglect your body?

How might you do one tiny thing differently today to put yourself at least a little bit higher up on your agenda?

I’d love to hear how you’re getting on so feel free to tag me on twitter (@wellbeingeve) or Instagram (@evemenezescunningham) #selfcare

www.dr-julian.com

Eve Menezes Cunningham, Reg MBACP Accred., is a telephone and online supervisor, therapist and self-care coach (with psychosynthesis, yoga, NLP, EFT and crystals) for your mind, body, heart and soul. She is Chair of BACP Coaching and the author of 365 Ways to Feel Better: Self-care Ideas for Embodied Wellbeing (White Owl, 2017, £14.99)

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How can strength training benefit mental health

Working on your mental health can be an ongoing and never-ending battle.

The benefits of physical exercise on mental health are well-documented. And it’s an important tool sufferers can rely on to fight back against their struggles.

The choice of exercise is entirely up to personal preference. But, increasingly, strength training is becoming a more and more popular choice.

In this piece, we’re going to delve into the reasons why strength training can help you ward off depression, anxiety and stress.

Boost your mood

There are very few tailor made solutions for mental health struggles. Exercise, however, is proven to be one such solution: it’s a tried and tested salve for any struggles you may be experiencing.

When you exert yourself, your body produces feel-good chemicals like serotonin and dopamine. These chemicals provide a lift to your mood. Even if it’s only temporary respite for a couple of hours, this period of elevated mood can be a much needed refuge from your own mind.

Stress relief

Mental health issues can affect all aspects of your life. Even if your struggles stem from a problem with your career, those frustrations, anxieties and concerns can bleed over into your social circles and your personal relationships.

It can be extremely difficult to exercise your frustrations in a healthy manner.

You need to have some kind of release to get rid of all this pent-up emotion. For many people, strength training provides that opportunity.

Lifting weights can act as a form of stress relief. Weightlifting is all about continually testing your limits: gradually increasing the size of your muscles requires you to lift progressively heavier weights. And that can’t be achieved without steely determination and a certain level of aggression and effort.

It isn’t something you can do half-heartedly. Because of this, strength training gives you a healthy way to expel any frustrations you might have.

Improve your fitness and increase your energy levels

Mental health difficulties are often the result of a cycle of negative thinking and unhelpful behaviours that only reinforce that outlook.  Strength training can help you break that cycle.

As well as giving you a release valve for any excess anxiety or stress you might have, you’ll also get substantially fitter and stronger over time. This will give you the energy and confidence to go about your day and keep yourself busy without lapsing into torpor.

Finding a community of like-minded people

Easy to overlook but just as important is the social aspect of strength training. Having someone to support you has long been an ingrained and necessary part of weightlifting.

Carrying out certain lifts requires the assistance of a spotter. If you’re struggling to perform an exercise, they can step in, take the weight off you and protect you from serious injury.

Mental health issues can be exacerbated by a lack of social interaction. The social aspect of strength training can provide isolated people with a crucial support network.  Getting out there, talking to different people and working out will do wonders for your mental health.

It also gives you a like-minded community to share your successes and progress with.

 

 

 

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How you Could Be Damaging your Hearing without Even Knowing about It

How you Could Be Damaging your Hearing without Even Knowing about It

If you are worried about hearing loss, then you are not alone. So many people worry about losing their hearing every single day, but did you know that you could be damaging your hearing without even knowing about it?

 

Cotton Buds

If you use cotton buds or Q-tips then you risk damaging your hearing every time you use them. You may end up perforating your eardrum and this can lead to infections and hearing loss. If you want to avoid this then one thing that you can do is clean your ears gently with some damp, warm cotton wool. The heat will loosen up the wax, and you won’t risk damaging your eardrum by accidentally going too deep with a cotton bud.

 

Smoking

There are substances in cigarettes that can cause hearing problems. The main one is nicotine. It has proven to cause tinnitus in some individuals and it can also affect your balance as well. There have been so many statistics that show that smokers are far more likely to develop hearing loss when compared to non-smokers, so if there is ever an excuse to quit the habit then now is the time.  Sure, this may be mentally taxing, but it’s worth it for your health.

Medication

Certain medications can damage your hearing. Medications from the ototoxic category are notorious for this. These can include NSAIDS, certain antibiotics and even cancer medications. If you do take these medications then the side effects can include sudden hearing loss, tinnitus and even vertigo. If you stop the medication soon enough then there is a high chance that your hearing will return, but some medications can cause more permanent effects. Should this happen, you may need to look into hearing aid battery reviews to see if you can get something to help you.

 

Ear Wax

Ear wax build-up is one of the most common causes of hearing loss. Some of the symptoms include muffled hearing, earache, sensitivity and even a fever if it leads to an infection. There are medications that you can take to try and loosen up the earwax so that it can work its way out, but if you are not able to do this then it is more than possible for you to visit the doctor. They can then check your ear and they can even perform an ear irrigation.

 

Headphones

Loud music can easily damage your hearing and it can cause long-lasting damage. You should never have your music on so loud that you can’t hear anything around you, and you should also never listen to loud music for more than 60 minutes a day. If you have to turn up the music so that you can hear it on the bus or on the train, consider investing in some noise cancelling headphones instead. Little changes like this can really help you to protect your hearing, and if you are able to take the above into consideration then there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to maintain your level of hearing for years to come.

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Side Effect: Making Your Medicine More Manageable

Side Effect: Making Your Medicine More Manageable

Over the last few decades, a huge amount of progress has been made in the field of medicine. With loads of new discoveries, improved research methods, and more people than ever before working towards solutions to humanity’s problems, it’s easy to see how these steps are being taken. Of course, though, as one of the biggest issues with this field, very little can be done to make many existing medicines more manageable when you’re trying to live a normal life. To help you out with this, this post will be exploring some of the best ways to make modern medicine easier to live with.

 

Why Is It Hard?

Before you start looking at ways to improve this side of your life, it will be important to spend some time thinking about what makes it hard in the first place. For some people, time will be the biggest struggle they have, with a busy lifestyle getting in the way of complex and time-consuming treatments. Others, though, will have far biggest issues to face, with the side effects which medicine can often bring with it being unbearable, in some cases. There are other problems which can make this side of your life into a trial, but they can all be overcome when you follow the right steps.

 

Finding Your Solution

The first stage of this process will involve finding a solution to the issue you’re facing. Of course, though, before you can dive into this, you will need to pin down the parts of your life which the medicine you’re taking is negatively impacting. For example, if you’re taking pain medication, you may find yourself feeling sleepier than usual. While this isn’t a huge issue to contend with, it is something which most people will struggle to live with, and will be worth changing for something which has a smaller impact on you.

Once you have a good idea of the issue you’re struggling with, finding the solution shouldn’t take too much work. There are loads of resources around the web which are designed to help people to manage their medication. With loads of people having to go through the process of trying different treatments, you can easily find information which will push you in the right direction, and blogs are one of the best places to achieve this goal. When you’re approaching this, you should always try to look at content from both professionals in the field and those who have experienced the same issues as you first hand.

It might take some time before you land on something which will be a good tool for you to use. In the case of not having time for your treatments, for example, finding faster options might not be possible, making it worth looking for a different role which will be more flexible. It’s a same to have to change other parts of your life to make this work, but this can often be the only option people have, and the quality of your lifestyle is more important. This means that it can be well worth making changes like this when it means that you will see benefits from it.

 

Pushing It Into Place

The hardest part of this process will always be pushing the medical organisations you have access to to make changes on your behalf. Groups like this are often extremely busy and underfunded, making it hard for them to do things quickly, and leaving important issues to go unresolved. Of course, though, despite the challenges they face, it is essential that you’re able to get the help you need. Below, you can find some examples of the sorts of routes which can be taken when you’re going through this sort of process.

A Different Doctor: Some doctors are better at keeping on top of their work than others, and you will often find that they have different connections within their field. This means that changing to someone new can make a lot of sense. To achieve this, you need only talk to the practice which you see each time, requesting that you see someone else on your next visit. At the very least, this will show your old doctor that you’re unhappy with the service they’ve provided, and don’t trust them to give you the help they are offering.

A New Company: Along with there being plenty of doctors out there, there are also loads of different medical groups offering services in this field. If you are suffering with something like cancer, for example, a practice which specialises in CAR-T candidates could be a great place to go. When a company has been working with a condition for a long time, they will have the best resources available to fight it painlessly, and will even be able to offer advice to help you as time goes on. It’s always worth taking this step if you feel like you’re not being treated well enough.

Make Some Noise: Medical issues are very important to society on the whole, and many people feel very passionate about giving others the support they need. This makes it very easy to use modern tools like Facebook to get people rallying behind you. Not only does this sort of approach make it easier to get your voice heard, but it will also almost certainly be seen by someone important. This can often be enough to see the change you want put into place, while also helping others in the future.

With all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to take on the challenge of making your medicine more manageable. A lot of people struggle in this area, and have to live with things which will cause discomfort or pain. This is rarely the only option, though, with thousands of different treatments on offer, and loads of doctors around the world who want to make patient’s lives are pleasant as they possibly can. Of course, though, you will need to work hard to make these changes fall into place.

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Have You Hit Your Head? Here's What You Must Do Next

Head injuries can be life-changing and can result in fatalities. It’s quite common for people to take little to no action after they hit their head and there are a few reasons for this. First, it’s possible that you don’t actually know you have hit your head. This is quite common in cases of a slip or fall. Due to other aches and pains throughout the body a head injury is often missed. Alternatively, it’s possible that you underestimate how severe the bump was.

Unfortunately head injuries can lead to various problems including concussion, compression and brain hemorrhages. For this reason, it’s always important to take a few vital steps.

 

Check For Wounds

Do check for wounds and cuts if you have hit your head. This will typically occur if you have hit your head on a sharp surface or corner such as a door frame. Generally, the skull is firm so any cuts will only be skin deep however this is not always the case. It’s quite possible that the cut could be severe enough that this alone requires medical attention.

 

Clean Any Cuts And Put Light Pressure To Stop Bleeding

If you do find a cut, make sure that it is cleaned. This can be completed with warm water however it may also be beneficial to use a form of antiseptic. This will prevent the wound from being infected. It may be necessary to cut away some of the hair to make sure that the wound can be treated correctly. If you don’t do this, it’s quite possible that a doctor or nurse will take this action.

Once you have cleaned the cut make sure that you do apply light pressure on it to slow or stop the bleeding. Head injuries often bleed quite a lot to the point where blood can be trickling down your face. This can be worrying but it is quite common. When you speak to a doctor they will tell you there is no reason to be alarmed unless you have lost more than a volume of blood that would be enough to fill a typically sized cup.

Remember, it is crucial that you do not fall asleep for several hours after a head injury. If you are suffering from a concussion you might have difficulty waking up again.

 

Always Get Seen By A Doctor

Do make sure that you always contact or see a doctor immediately after a head injury. There are various reasons for this. First, you might be eager to recover personal injury compensation and this is far easier if you have the support of a doctor as well as a medical report on the incident. Second, head injuries can be deceptive. You might miss the signs of a serious issue that a doctor would have seen such as clear fluid leaking from your ear.

 

Monitor The Situation For Several Weeks

Last but not least, remember that a head injury must be monitored for several weeks. It’s not uncommon for symptoms and signs of something more serious to present themselves days or even weeks later. If you do notice any changes in your behavior or physical ability, it’s important to contact a doctor as soon as possible.

 

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