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Jan 18

Borderline Personality Disorder Symptoms



The main feature of borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a pervasive pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image and emotions. People with borderline personality disorder are also usually very impulsive.

This disorder occurs in most by early adulthood. The unstable pattern of interacting with others has persisted for years and is usually closely related to the person’s self-image and early social interactions. The pattern is present in a variety of settings (e.g., not just at work or home) and often is accompanied by a similar lability (fluctuating back and forth, sometimes in a quick manner) in a person’s emotions and feelings. Relationships and the person’s emotion may often be characterized as being shallow.

A person with this disorder will also often exhibit impulsive behaviors and have a majority of the following symptoms:

Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment
A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation
Identity disturbance, such as a significant and persistent unstable self-image or sense of self
Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating)
Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior
Emotional instability due to significant reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)
Chronic feelings of emptiness
Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)
Transient, stress-related paranoid thoughts or severe dissociative symptoms
As with all personality disorders, the person must be at least 18 years old before they can be diagnosed with it.

Borderline personality disorder is more prevalent in females (75 percent of diagnoses made are in females). It is thought that borderline personality disorder affects approximately 2 percent of the general population.

Like most personality disorders, borderline personality disorder typically will decrease in intensity with age, with many people experiencing few of the most extreme symptoms by the time they are in the 40s or 50s.

Details about Borderline Personality Disorder Symptoms
Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.

The perception of impending separation or rejection, or the loss of external structure, can lead to profound changes in self-image, emotion, thinking and behavior. Someone with borderline personality disorder will be very sensitive to things happening around them in their environment. They experience intense abandonment fears and inappropriate anger, even when faced with a realistic separation or when there are unavoidable changes in plans. For instance, becoming very angry with someone for being a few minutes late or having to cancel a lunch date. People with borderline personality disorder may believe that this abandonment implies that they are “bad.” These abandonment fears are related to an intolerance of being alone and a need to have other people with them. Their frantic efforts to avoid abandonment may include impulsive actions such as self-mutilating or suicidal behaviors.

Unstable and intense relationships.

People with borderline personality disorder may idealize potential caregivers or lovers at the first or second meeting, demand to spend a lot of time together, and share the most intimate details early in a relationship. However, they may switch quickly from idealizing other people to devaluing them, feeling that the other person does not care enough, does not give enough, is not “there” enough. These individuals can empathize with and nurture other people, but only with the expectation that the other person will “be there” in return to meet their own needs on demand. These individuals are prone to sudden and dramatic shifts in their view of others, who may alternately be seen as beneficient supports or as cruelly punitive. Such shifts other reflect disillusionment with a caregiver whose nurturing qualities had been idealized or whose rejection or abandonment is expected.

Identity disturbance.

There are sudden and dramatic shifts in self-image, characterized by shifting goals, values and vocational aspirations. There may be sudden changes in opinions and plans about career, sexual identity, values and types of friends. These individuals may suddenly change from the role of a needy supplicant for help to a righteous avenger of past mistreatment. Although they usually have a self-image that is based on being bad or evil, individuals with borderline personality disorder may at times have feelings that they do not exist at all. Such experiences usually occur in situations in which the individual feels a lack of a meaningful relationship, nurturing and support. These individuals may show worse performance in unstructured work or school situations.

You can also learn more about the detailed characteristics of borderline personality disorder.

How is Borderline Personality Disorder Diagnosed?
Personality disorders such as borderline personality disorder are typically diagnosed by a trained mental health professional, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist. Family physicians and general practitioners are generally not trained or well-equipped to make this type of psychological diagnosis. So while you can initially consult a family physician about this problem, they should refer you to a mental health professional for diagnosis and treatment. There are no laboratory, blood or genetic tests that are used to diagnose borderline personality disorder.

Many people with borderline personality disorder don’t seek out treatment. People with personality disorders, in general, do not often seek out treatment until the disorder starts to significantly interfere or otherwise impact a person’s life. This most often happens when a person’s coping resources are stretched too thin to deal with stress or other life events.

A diagnosis for borderline personality disorder is made by a mental health professional comparing your symptoms and life history with those listed here. They will make a determination whether your symptoms meet the criteria necessary for a personality disorder diagnosis.

Causes of Borderline Personality Disorder
Researchers today don’t know what causes borderline personality disorder. There are many theories, however, about the possible causes of borderline personality disorder. Most professionals subscribe to a biopsychosocial model of causation — that is, the causes of are likely due to biological and genetic factors, social factors (such as how a person interacts in their early development with their family and friends and other children), and psychological factors (the individual’s personality and temperament, shaped by their environment and learned coping skills to deal with stress). This suggests that no single factor is responsible — rather, it is the complex and likely intertwined nature of all three factors that are important. If a person has this personality disorder, research suggests that there is a slightly increased risk for this disorder to be “passed down” to their children.

Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder
Treatment of borderline personality disorder typically involves long-term psychotherapy with a therapist that has experience in treating this kind of personality disorder. Medications may also be prescribed to help with specific troubling and debilitating symptoms. For more information about treatment, please see borderline personality disorder treatment.

Jan 17

Being Bullied Can Lessen Physical Activity Later


By RICK NAUERT PHD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on January 17, 2014

Being Bullied Can Lessen Physical Activity LaterOverweight or obese children are often teased when they exercise, which can cause a child to be less likely to participate in physical activity one year later, according to new research.

The children who were teased experienced a lower perceived health-related quality of life. Health-related life quality is measured by an individual’s perception of their physical, social, academic and emotional functioning.

The bullying behavior during physical activity also influenced children with a healthy weight as they also tended to exercise less often one year later.

Many previous studies have already correlated bullying with decreased physical activity among kids who are obese or overweight, but researchers were surprised to find the correlation didn’t end there.

“Our finding that this applies to normal-weight kids also was novel,” said Dr. Chad Jensen, a psychology professor at BYU and lead author on the study published in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology.

This study looked at the relationship between bullying, physical activity and quality of life over time, following up with the same participants after a full year.

The participants in this study were 4th and 5th grade students from six different elementary schools in the Midwest. Participants completed three surveys at the beginning of the study and then completed the same three surveys again one year later.

The first survey asked questions about problems with health and activities, emotional well-being, getting along with classmates and academic abilities.

The second survey assessed teasing experiences during physical activity. The third survey asked specific situational questions to determine whether the student had been bullied during physical activity and the emotional effect it had.

The questions explored experiences such as:

Being made fun of when playing sports or exercising;
Not being chosen to be on a sports team or other children looking or acting upset when the child was placed on the team;
Being called insulting names when playing sports or exercising.
Study results showed a decrease in physical activity of healthy-weight students who are bullied, and a decrease in health-related quality of life for students who were overweight or obese who reported teasing in the first survey.

“Overweight kids who were teased reported poorer functional ability across domains (physical, social, academic and physical),” said Jensen.

“If we can help them to have a better perception of their physical and social skills, then physical activity may increase and health-related quality is likely to improve.”

While most schools participate in comprehensive anti-bullying programs, Jensen recommends implementing policies that discourage peer victimization based on physical abilities.

“We hope our study will raise awareness that educators should consider bullying prevention during physical education and free play (recess) when kids may be discouraged from being physically active because of teasing experiences,” Jensen said.

Source: Brigham Young University

Jan 16

Is Narcissism an Essential Leadership Trait?


By RICK NAUERT PHD Senior News Editor
While most of us bemoan individuals with narcissistic personalities, a new study suggests that when it comes to leadership, a moderate amount of narcissism may be a positive trait — up to a point.

University of Illinois psychology professor Dr. Emily Grijalva found that narcissists have an exaggerated sense of their own self-importance and an exaggerated need for others’ admiration.

And, in the study published in the journal Personnel Psychology, Grijalva discovered that most narcissists have a lack of empathy.

“They can be preoccupied with thoughts and fantasies of their enormous success, power, attractiveness and intelligence,” Grijalva said.

“They are addicted to others’ admiration. And in the long term, they’re not very good at maintaining positive, interpersonal relationships with others.”

Many previous studies have focused on narcissism’s relationship with leadership effectiveness, but Grijalva said these results were “relatively inconsistent,” with different studies showing “a significant relationship,” but, “just in opposite directions.”

Because the data were conflicting, Grijalva and her team set out to determine exactly how narcissism is tied to leadership, analyzing the results of previous studies that examined narcissism’s relationship with both leadership emergence and leadership effectiveness.

They found that although narcissists are more likely to emerge as group leaders, after a certain point, too much narcissism is likely to undermine a person’s effectiveness as a leader.

“Narcissists tend to be extraverted, and that is leading to the positive relationship between narcissism and leader emergence,” Grijalva said.

“But you have to keep in mind that although narcissists are likely to emerge as the group leader, over time, the more negative aspects of narcissism tend to emerge.”

She said that these negative characteristics include “being exploitative, arrogant and even tyrannical,” adding that these attributes “aren’t really prototypical of effective leadership.”

Study co-author Peter Harms, Ph.D., a professor of management at the University of Nebraska, said those with moderate levels of narcissism have achieved “a nice balance between having sufficient levels of self-confidence, but do not manifest the negative, antisocial aspects of narcissism that involve putting others down to feel good about themselves.”

These new findings could have interesting applications for the business world; according to Grijalva, in the future, personality tests that measure narcissism “need to be interpreted differently for leadership selection or development.”

“These results could really shift the focus of the discussion, because instead of asking whether or not narcissists make good leaders, we are asking how much narcissism it takes to be the ideal leader,” Grijalva said. “We confirmed that narcissism is neither fully beneficial nor harmful, but it’s really best in moderation.“

Grijalva said that her research will continue to focus on narcissism, but will break the complicated trait down even further to focus on its positive and negative subcategories, while looking at particular leader-employee interpersonal relationships.

“It would be interesting to try to determine what kinds of employees can work well with a narcissistic leader, because some employees seem to be able to maintain their levels of satisfaction even when they are working with someone who is difficult,” Grijalva said.

“There might be a trade-off between narcissistic leaders’ needing a subordinate who is confident enough to earn the leader’s respect, but also deferential enough to show the leader unwavering admiration.”

Source: University of Illinois

Jan 15

How Stress and Deprivation Lead to Bad Choices


Many of my clients come to therapy because they encounter a barrier in their lives that they can’t get past. Others encounter a loss or crisis that sends their whole life into a turmoil. Everybody experiences loss and deprivation at some point in life. Whether it’s the loss of a job that has been a source of pride, the unexpected ending of a relationship, the birth of a child, loss of a loved one, or diagnosis of a chronic illness, you experience a sense of deprivation and overwhelm. You may feel deprived of time, money, opportunities, or companionship. Life can no longer be as it was before. This can create a sense of panic and helplessness. Previous coping skills no longer work and it’s as if the ground has become shaky underneath your feet.

How Deprivation Affects Our Choices

This led me to think about the psychology of scarcity and deprivation. Whether the deprivation is physical, monetary, or emotional, effects on the mind are similar. When the things we need to fulfill our basic or deep-seated needs are scarce, we are not our best selves. Your minds may be distracted or constantly buzzing with new ideas and plans. It becomes difficult to focus on one thing at a time or complete a task before moving onto the next. You may become too risk-averse and guided by short-term thinking, without seeing the big picture. You may be plagued by negativity or wishful thinking, rather than being able to have a realistic view of your situation. Research with poor Indian farmers and mall shoppers shows the effects of a “scarcity mindset” that leads to tunnel vision. Operating out of fear, you seek immediate ways to remove discomfort. This leads to unhealthy choices, such as emotional eating, stress drinking, retail therapy, or zoning out and watching too much television.

Deprivation and Willpower

Feeling deprived and “less than” erodes our willpower because it’s uncomfortable to feel like a victim. We want to distract ourselves and not deal with the problems or overcompensate by indulging in food, alcohol, shopping, or sex. When we feel in a state of plenty, on the other hand we don’t feel that sense of urgency and can take time to find out information, try out things, and make more informed choices, rather than rushing into big changes or feeling frozen and unable to make a move.

What You Can Do To Help Yourself:

Below are some strategies you can use to ground yourself when you experience a scarcity mindset:

1. Practice Gratitude – Remind yourself of the good things in your life, such as your family, friends, pets, nature, food, or exercise. Take time to enjoy these things so you can go back to the problems with a broader, more rested perspective.

2. Breathe – Try breathing slowly, with an even rhythm. Try to breathe into your belly, rather than your chest. Let the length of the inhale match the exhale and pause between in and out-breaths. Breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which calms down your “fight, flight, or freeze” response.

3. Seek Support – Don’t try to handle everything on your own. Identify friends who can provide emotional support, practical advice, or with whom you can barter services to save time or money. Just talking to a loved one and feeling understood can help you calm down physiologically.

4. Learn Stress Tolerance – Difficult times are part of life. Remember that life is a journey, not a destination and that things could change for the better soon. Put in your best effort, but then work on letting go and learning to feel good about what you have done, even if results are slow. Remember that many outcomes are out of your control.

5. Don’t Dwell on Self-Blame – People who have been traumatized or had narcissistic parents often take too much responsibility when things go wrong. Take a step back and use your logical mind, not your emotions to see your own role. Realize that your thoughts may not be the truth, but rather automatically conditioned responses.

About The Author:
Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D. is a Clinical Psychologist, and expert on Mindfulness, Managing Anxiety, and Depression, Relationships, Succeeding at Work, and Health Psychology. Dr Greenberg provides psychotherapy for individuals and couples.

For more about her therapy practice, read here:

Written by Samantha Gluck

Ever wonder how adult ADD and relationships work? It’s easy to fall in love. The brain sends a rush of neurotransmitters responsible for the euphoric feeling associated with falling in love. Those with ADHD have less pleasure-producing chemicals available in their brains, causing them to focus on new love and romance with a laser-like acuity in an attempt to increase the levels of dopamine and other pleasure chemicals. But this initial rush does not last; nor, do they build the foundation required for lasting ADHD relationships.

Adult ADD and Relationships
Building a lasting, satisfying relationship is challenging for everyone, but especially for the adult with ADHD. Consider the difficulties facing adult ADHD relationships:

Learn about ADD and relationships and how adult ADHD affects relationships. Info detailing solutions to problems facing ADHD relationships.People without ADHD can experience a bond and connection with their partner at any time, day or night. For the adult with ADD/ADHD, sporadic connections are the norm. This disconnect in the eyes of the non-ADD adult can foment doubt and suspicion in ADHD relationships.
Frequently, the ADD adult’s irritation with touching and closeness can create a sharp disconnect in the relationship. Sometimes people with ADD experience heightened senses, causing physical contact to feel annoying. This rejection can create a significant wound in a relationship with a non-ADD person.
The poor memory skills exhibited by many suffering from ADHD can cause hurt feelings when they forget a birthday, anniversary, or important meeting.

All couples argue at times, even in the best of relationships. But adults with poorly managed ADHD are quick to anger, often over insignificant matters. This can create an environment of tension and friction in an otherwise good relationship.

Chronic boredom represents another issue that plagues adults with ADD and relationships. People with ADHD become bored more frequently than those without the disorder. This can cause relationship issues when the normal adult feels his or her partner is bored with their company and the activities they participate in together.

The impulsiveness associated with ADD can certainly cause a rift in the ADHD relationship. While some level of spontaneous activity is attractive, adults have responsibilities and goals that do not lend themselves well to the unhealthy levels of impulsive behavior shown by adults with poorly managed ADD.
continue story below

Managing Adult ADD and Relationships
Managing symptoms of adult ADHD by properly taking ADD drugs and by following advice given by a behavioral therapist, an ADHD coach, or adult ADHD support group is the first step toward healing many causes of breakdown in ADHD relationships.

Creating an environment in which an ADHD relationship can thrive requires diligence and commitment. Consider the following strategies:

Keep a notebook with a calendar handy to jot down daily and weekly “to do” lists for the home as well as grocery lists. Keep the calendar updated with important dates and occasions highlighted inside.
Mitigate the clutter in your mind by cleaning up the clutter in your home and personal spaces.
Create a routine for repeating tasks and duties and stick to it.
Ask your partner to request that you repeat back his or her requests and needs to ensure that you were ‘on board’ and listening to the conversation.
Share your feelings honestly. If you feel heightened sensitivity to touch and sound at the moment, tell your partner in advance so he or she will not feel hurt by a rejection.
Budget your money by sitting down with your partner at a designated day and time each week. Plan expenses, entertainment expenditures, and menus for the entire week ahead. This relieves you of dealing with this burden on a daily basis.
Finally, relationships are hard. They are hard for everyone. Do not allow ADD to adversely affect your relationships. Take steps now toward a fulfilling life.

Jan 12

Why Do We Keep Trying So Earnestly to Self-Improve?


Published on January 10, 2014 by Peggy Drexler, Ph.D. in Our Gender, Ourselves

Many of us see things looking up for the year ahead. The new AP Times Square New Year’s Eve poll found that Americans were happy to say goodbye to 2013, but almost half think their personal fortunes will improve in 2014. Only 14 percent see the coming year as a personal downer.

It appears that we are much less optimistic about what we see than we are about what we experience. A 2013 Gallup Politics poll, for example, found that Americans began the year fairly pessimistic about the prospects for the economy and international peace. But when it came to ourselves and our families, things looked much better. A solid 69 percent saw good things ahead.

We’re so optimistic about our personal futures, we’re willing to spend a lot of money to improve them.

Heading into the new year, there is a $10.3 billion industry dedicated to making us happier, skinnier, prettier, wealthier and better able to cope with the insults to the psyche dealt by mounting evidence that many certainties—the assumption that our government might have road-tested the system supporting its signature legislation comes to mind—are not that certain after all.

While critics might attack the self-help industry as peddlers of emotional trinkets, I see something else. It’s a belief that, despite all the evidence that the game is rigged, anybody can still win. Blind optimism? Maybe. But it’s optimism just the same. And where there is a belief that things can be different, there is always that faint and flickering possibility that just maybe they will.

The dark side of optimism is vulnerability.

Hearing a persistent squeal from the engine, we turn up the radio. Rather than finding our way to the source, we work around it with the hope that all will be well if we think positively, dream big, follow our heart and say no to negativity—the four horsemen of simple solutions. They have made many practitioners of improvement wealthy. It’s said: You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time. And that’s usually good enough. For those who have cracked that code, dreams really do come true.

The bright side of optimism is hope.

There could be no self-help industry unless there was a mass-market belief that somewhere within us there are the ingredients of the life we want. As noted philosopher Miley Cyrus recently said: “You can’t live a positive life with a negative mind.” Her proven ability to make a whole lot of money with less than a whole lot of talent says she might be on to something.

For the great mass of people who will never ride naked on a wrecking ball, where does the hopeful positivity come from? Why do we keep trying so earnestly to self-improve?

Maybe it’s the phenomenon of the “optimism bias.”

It’s the reason we over-estimate the possibilities of good things coming our way; and underestimate the possibility that things will come crashing down around our heads. Pin it on the rostral anterior cingulate cortex and the right amygdala. Neuroscientist Dr. Tali Sharot and colleagues from New York University combined an optimism questionnaire with MRI scans to show that subjects rated happy upcoming events more positively than actual past happy events. If the future events were first-hand, they were positive. Viewed as an outsider, they were negative.

Perhaps that is the reason we still get married when 50 percent of marriages fail, and why we buy lottery tickets, don’t get annual checkups or use sunscreen. It might be the reason that a third mortgage seemed smart because house prices never go down. It could be the reason we have a new list of resolutions, knowing we’ve failed to achieve the last 20.

Maybe to be less than optimistic is to admit defeat. We seem predisposed not to give in. As Churchill put it: “… I am an optimist—it does not seem to be much use to be anything else.”

The Dalai Lama has a simple take: optimism “feels better.”

Whatever the reason, I think 2014 is going to be a very good year.

Peggy Drexler, Ph.D. is a research psychologist, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Weill Medical College, Cornell University and author of two books about modern families and the children they produce. Follow Peggy on Twitter and Facebook and learn more about Peggy at

Jan 11

Why It’s Good If You’re Easily Embarrassed


By Mary Elizabeth Dallas, (HealthDay News) — People who are easily embarrassed are more trustworthy, more generous and more likely to be monogamous, according to a new study.

“Moderate levels of embarrassment are signs of virtue,” the study’s lead author, Matthew Feinberg, a doctoral student in psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, said in a university news release. “Our data suggests embarrassment is a good thing, not something you should fight.”

The findings apply to moderate levels of embarrassment — not feelings of shame or extreme social anxiety, the authors pointed out.

The study, published online Sept. 19 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, involved a series of experiments.

In one experiment, the researchers videotaped 60 college students as they told stories about an embarrassing moment, such as mistaking an overweight woman for a pregnant one. The speakers were rated on how embarrassed they felt.

Then the students played a game used in economics research to measure selflessness, and the researchers found the participants who were most embarrassed showed the most generosity.

In another experiment, the researchers also asked 38 people found on Craigslist how often they felt embarrassed and measured their cooperativeness and generosity after they played the same game the students played.

Each time, embarrassment suggested a tendency to be pro-social, Feinberg said. The findings may be helpful for people seeking reliable partners in business and romance, the researchers said.

“Embarrassment is one emotional signature of a person to whom you can entrust valuable resources. It’s part of the social glue that fosters trust and cooperation in everyday life,” said the study’s co-author, Robb Willer, UC Berkeley social psychologist, in the news release.

The authors noted more research is needed to explore whether or not overly confident people aren’t trustworthy.

Jan 10

By Chris Iliades
Medically reviewed by Lindsey Marcellin, MD, MPH
If you are one of the approximately five million Americans with fibromyalgia, you know that pain can be severe, unpredictable, and exhausting. It can be constant for a period of time and then get better for a while — but it tends to just keep coming back.

Additionally, a painkiller that worked before may stop working, and what works for some symptoms may not work for others. Pain management needs to be constantly adjusted and may require a team of specialists who are familiar with fibromyalgia.

Common pain symptoms of fibromyalgia include stabbing, burning, shooting, or throbbing pain in any area of the body. Pain is usually worse in the morning. People with fibromyalgia may have tender areas on their neck, shoulders, back, or legs that are painful when touched.

And fibromyalgia pain can become even worse with physical or emotional stress. Common stressors that may make your fibromyalgia pain worse include a traumatic event, such as a car accident, repetitive physical traumas, or a physical illness.

Getting this pain under control is not easy. But it is possible.

“Pain medications for fibromyalgia tend to wane and lose their effectiveness over time,” explains Micha Abeles, MD, a rheumatologist at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington. “It is often necessary to wean a patient off one medication and add new medications over time. If pain medication is not working, it is [also] necessary to evaluate the patient to identify any psychosocial events that could be acting as stressors and making their pain worse.”

Switching to a new fibromyalgia pain medication is easier if you taper one medicine gradually before starting a new one. Always follow your doctor’s directions carefully and never stop a medication on your own.

7 Treatment Options for Fibromyalgia

Important options for treating fibromyalgia include finding the right pain medication, getting the proper psychological support, trying complementary therapies, and finding the right treatment team. If your fibromyalgia treatment is not working, ask your doctor to help you explore these options:

Pain medications. There are a number of medications now approved for fibromyalgia pain, including pregabalin (Lyrica), duloxetine (Cymbalta), and milnacipran (Savella). The narcotic-like painkiller tramadol (Ultram) has also been effective for fibromyalgia. “Switching between medications may be necessary and can be made easier with samples or vouchers to decrease the financial cost for the patient,” advises Dr. Abeles.
Antidepressant medications. Tricyclic antidepressants and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants are frequently used for fibromyalgia and have been successful in controlling symptoms of pain, sleep disturbances, fatigue, and depression.
Sleep management. People with fibromyalgia often have trouble getting enough sleep — and lack of sleep can make fibromyalgia symptoms worse. Make sure you avoid caffeine and stick to a strict sleep schedule. Ask your doctor if a sleep aid medication might help.
Social and psychological support. The stress of living with a chronic painful disease like fibromyalgia can make your symptoms worse. Research shows that increasing social support reduces fibromyalgia symptoms, such as pain. You may benefit from a fibromyalgia support group. Professional counseling to help you develop coping skills and better manage your symptoms has also been shown to be helpful.
Exercise. Exercise is an important part of feeling better if you have fibromyalgia. Studies show that exercise can help you improve your fitness level, feel better about yourself, and reduce the number of painful pressure points in fibromyalgia.
Acupuncture. One survey found that about 20 percent of people diagnosed with fibromyalgia and treated at a university-based clinic tried acupuncture within a two-year period. Some studies have found that acupuncture can help relieve fibromyalgia pain, but other reports say the effects are not long-lasting and the treatment doesn’t help with the fatigue or sleep problems common with fibromyalgia.
Other alternative treatments. Although there’s no strong evidence for most alternative treatments for fibromyalgia, many people who have tried these alternative approaches report significant improvement in their symptoms. These treatments include therapeutic message, yoga, biofeedback, hypnosis, chiropractic manipulation, and nutritional supplements. Always let your medical team know about any alternative treatments you’re contemplating.
If you are being treated for fibromyalgia and your pain medications are not as effective as in the past, you have options. Remember that it is common for people with fibromyalgia to try different types of medications and other management strategies. It is also important to make sure you have a sympathetic, knowledgeable team of experts to help you manage your fibromyalgia symptoms.

Fibromyalgia is an unpredictable disease that requires a flexible treatment plan. One of the best things you can do is to educate yourself about fibromyalgia so that you can work closely with your treatment team and be a good advocate for yourself.

Jan 9

Alzheimer’s and Art Therapy


Art therapy, whether done in a community setting or at home, provides an enriched environment that can excite the imagination of individuals with dementia.
When Alzheimer’s disease strips individuals of verbal skills, this recreational activity provides an alternative means by which they can express themselves in a non-threatening and comfortable way. And it can also help individuals recover the use of motor skills in the same manner as physical rehabilitation.
alzheimer’s art therapy
Moreover, art therapists informally report the effectiveness of art making. Some individuals crawl out of their shells. Others, unable to communicate through words, express delight, appear more relaxed or exhibit less behavioral problems. Together in a group setting, participants often develop a newfound sense of camaraderie.
For families, art offers a viable activity that can bring family members together via a new channel of expression especially when words no longer work. It might be just the interaction for younger children who are frightened by the illness.
How to be most effective?
Keep it simple. Painting and sculpting are activities most individuals with dementia can accomplish.
Evoke memories. Suggest drawing the family farm, a snowman or other images that are familiar or can evoke childhood memories.
Play it safe. Only use materials that would be harmless if swallowed. Check all labels and only buy paints and other materials that are non-toxic. Homemade clay and paint are preferable to store-bought versions because they can be made with ingredients that are edible.
Select stimulating materials. Individuals in mid-to-late stage dementia often respond best to brightly colored paints and organic materials such as homemade clay. Other objects like cardboard candy boxes, balls of yarn, old photograph albums, papier-mache and pieces of material also go over well.
Create a comfortable setting. Play music in the background—soothing, but not distracting. Provide lighting that is adequate, but not too bright.
Be positive. Aim for no-failure activities. In addition to being positive reinforcements, compliments, such as “terrific” and “great job,” can help keep individuals focused.
Talk about the artwork. If your loved one is still verbal, ask about the artwork or a favorite color. Open-ended questions will tap into memories, spark conversations and encourage socialization. Use your knowledge about the individual, such as past hobbies, former professions and family life.
Start a gallery. Hanging up artwork, whether on the refrigerator of your home or the hallway of a long-term care facility, offers more opportunities for socialization and reminiscence. Plus, it goes a long way toward making the artist feel good.
Contributed by Elizabeth Cockey, a Baltimore-based art therapist and consultant to healthcare facilities about the utilization of art therapy
For more information, connect with the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s licensed social workers. Click here or call 866.AFA.8484. Real People. Real Care.

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