Hyperhidrosis is linked to anxiety and depression

Hyperhidrosis is linked to anxiety and depression

Sweating is a typical reaction of the body to reduce its temperature due to physical exertion or warm environment, or to help adapt to emotional circumstances. But in some cases, people with overactive glands tend to sweat excessively, causing significant distress to their personal and occupational life. Read more

Bizarre obsession of plastic surgery among bullies and victims raise concerns

Bizarre obsession of plastic surgery among bullies and victims raise concerns

Bullying is a real threat in school, where the stronger try browbeat the meek with a slew of tactics, including cyber bullying. Whether it is in the school or the virtual world, bullying involves assertion of real or perceived power upon the victim.

The girl sitting alone on the playground might have been abandoned by her friends and might have faced their intimidating behaviors in the form of teasing, spilling of her lunch box or taunting on her disabilities. Such discouraging behaviors are responsible for pushing a person in the pit of isolation, depression, anxiety and a host of other psychiatric disorders. Read more

Writing: A teenage girl’s way of dealing with mental illness

Writing: A teenage girl’s way of dealing with mental illness

Jennifer Yu was like any other 17-year old teenage girl. She performed consistently well in her studies and was quite active in school extracurricular activities, but at some point in life, a part of her felt that something was not right. With all the achievements and good times with her friends, she remained unhappy. She was anxious about doing a new task and didn’t expect any support or appreciation. She feared her classmates and other people would find out what she was experiencing. As a teen, she suffered from depression and anxiety and never had the courage to disclose to anyone. Read more

OCD in children: How and why it manifests

OCD in children: How and why it manifests

The comic portrayal of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in television shows and movies to entertain the audience fails to bring out the intensity and severity of the problem. However, for people living with such a disorder day in and day out, it is something definitely not close to funny due to the unimaginable struggles witnessed every day.

Children suffering from OCD tend to have uncontrollable and recurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions), such as extreme fear of germs or contamination, ensuring things are in a perfect order or symmetry, etc.

In children, this disorder can disrupt him or her from experiencing the pleasures of childhood, interfere with their family life and friendships, and cause problems at school. Once considered a rare disorder, doctors have learned that OCD affects millions of people around the world. According to the report “How to help your child – A parent’s guide to OCD,” approximately five million to six million Americans have OCD, which represents between 2 percent and 3 percent of the population.

OCD occurs in about one in 50 adults and approximately one in 100 school-aged children. It is the fourth most common psychiatric disorder after phobias, substance abuse and major depression and ranks among the 10 leading causes of disability worldwide.

Some worrying signs that can spot OCD in children

Those with OCD tend to process information in a different way that results in uncontrollable worries and doubts called “obsessions.” Such obsessions, including disturbing thoughts, exaggerated imaginations and irrational fears, compel a child to perform certain things repetitively in an effort to decrease anxiety caused by the obsessions. But acting on this compulsion instead reinforces and strengthens the obsessions, thereby creating a debilitating cycle of OCD behavior. Unfortunately, treatment results in only a temporary decrease in one’s anxiety level.

Children tend to hide their symptoms out of confusion and embarrassment. Moreover, many parents and teachers often do not recognize signs of the disorder. These factors can cause delay in treatment or worsening of the condition.  However, one can spot the symptoms when a child’s obsessions and compulsions become time-consuming, cause significant distress, and interfere with daily functioning in school, etc.

If the following signs are observed in a child, then it is most likely that he or she has OCD:

  • Persistent, disturbing worries, doubts or fears
  • Unreasonable, repetitive religious rituals
  • Uncontrollable, inappropriate thoughts or images
  • Habits that interfere with daily life
  • Repeatedly seeking reassurance
  • Doing things “just right”
  • Problems with frequent lateness or slowness
  • Repetitive urges to wash, organize or check
  • Hoarding useless objects
  • Avoiding certain places or activities

Causes of OCD in children

OCD is a neurobiological illness that is caused by the abnormalities in certain areas of the brain. Although the precise cause is not fully understood, the disorder appears to be at least partly genetic and, in some cases, activated by a strep infection. Besides genetics and biological reasons, children exposed to physical or sexual abuse stand an increased risk of developing OCD.

It should be noted that OCD is not a parenting problem or a sign of misbehavior or lack of self-control. Moreover, it is not caused by stress despite being a stressful and life-altering disease that can worsen lower a child’s ability to cope with most illnesses. With a pronounced family history of OCD, the age of onset for the disorder among children can be as young as three years. However, symptoms generally begin at around 10 years of age.

On the one hand, boys tend to develop OCD between the ages of seven and 12. On the other hand, girls more frequently develop symptoms in adolescence. Usually, the area of the brain responsible for filtering information tends to malfunction due to OCD, which causes unnecessary thinking.

Another root cause of OCD is abnormalities in a brain chemical called serotonin. For this reason, medications that affect the serotonin level have proven most effective in treating OCD. Scientists believe some children are genetically predisposed to developing OCD. According to the above report, approximately 20 percent of all kids with OCD have a family member with the disorder.

Recovery road map

For long, OCD has been considered a rare and untreatable disorder. Research has however revealed that OCD is a common illness that can be treated by cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). If you or your loved one is suffering from any mental disorder, contact the Texas Mental Health Recovery Helpline to access the best mental health disorders treatment in Texas. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-596-4708 or chat online to know more about the mental health treatment centers in Texas.

Researchers decipher new risk factors for anxiety

Researchers decipher new risk factors for anxiety

Living with anxiety is like a roller-coaster ride, as it can be thrilling and terrifying at the same time. Anxiety disorders have emerged as a serious health issue over the last few years. Although the exact cause of the disorder is yet to be deciphered, researchers claim that anomalies in the brain circuit can be one of the reasons for the occurrence of an anxiety disorder.

A study conducted by a research team from the University of Würzburg, Germany and published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry in February 2017, provides the details about a hitherto unknown genetic pathway for developing such diseases. The researchers illustrated about four different variants of the GLRB gene (glycine receptor B) that are responsible for triggering anxiety and panic disorders.  This study will enable better tailoring of the treatment for the patients.

Anxiety disorders, being one of the common mental disorders, have plagued about 40 million adults in the United States, in the age group 18 and above, highlights the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). While some people reported suffering from extreme fear from specific situations or objects, some addressed the detrimental impact they face every day.

How does anxiety surface and evolve?

Anxiety disorders, a common mental health issue often marked by excessive fear and ruminations about certain situations and objects, apparently disturbs one’s daily activities. It is also associated with a range of problems, such as poor performance, cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, high economic costs, etc.

The study highlighted that the root cause of anxiety disorders lies in the fear circuits of the brain. Amygdala (and its subnuclei), nucleus accumbens, hippocampus, ventromedial hypothalamus, periaqueductal gray, a number of brain stem nuclei, thalamic nuclei, insular cortex and some prefrontal regions (mainly infralimbic cortex) have been included as the chief constituents of the fear circuitry. These regions play a crucial role in processing fear among people.

As such, fear and agony are some of the common features witnessed among people suffering from anxiety disorders. These factors tend to stand as the possible predictors of threat that guide the amygdala to act hyper in some anxiety situations. Several studies of extinction have reported that the stimuli that used to predict threat, i.e., the vmPFC and hippocampus, which also help in the process of learning and remembering, has evolved with time and is no longer performing its job. In fact, another reason for exaggerated fear, anxiety and distress is probably due to impaired extinction that no longer predicts threat.

Hyperekplexia is a paroxysmal neuromotor disorder that exhibits both dominant and recessive inheritance of mutations in pre- and postsynaptic glycinergic genes. The disorder can typically be figured soon after birth or within the first week of birth.

According to Professor Jürgen Deckert, member of the Collaborative Research Center (CRC) and director of the department of psychiatry at the JMU University Hospital, “The patients are permanently hypertonic and show pronounced startle responses, which may even cause sufferers to fall involuntarily. Similar to persons suffering from anxiety disorders, these patients develop behavior to avoid potentially frightening situations.”

Road to recovery

The above findings have the potential to increase the scope for improving treatment for anxiety disorders. Though the GLRB gene variants related to anxiety and panic disorders occur frequently and involve fewer consequences, they too have the potential to activate the brain’s fear network. Besides the above study, more number of studies are required to leverage the above findings for developing innovative therapies.

If you or a loved one is suffering from any form of mental disorders, it is imperative to seek help. Contact the Texas Mental Health Recovery Helpline to access the best evidence-based treatment plans. Call our 24/7 helpline number 866-596-4708 to avail the best mental health disorders treatment in Texas. You can also chat online with our medical advisers for any information pertaining to mental health treatment centers in Texas.