Causes of Depression and the Bad Side of a Possible Good

Let there be no doubt that depression is a serious mental illness that sometimes requires months and years of treatment on the road to a cure. Hippocrates referred to depression as melancholia, which literally means black bile. Black bile, along with blood, phlegm, and yellow bile were the four humors (fluids) that described the basic medical physiology theory of that time. Depression, also referred to as clinical depression, has been portrayed in literature and the arts for hundreds of years, but what do we mean today when we refer to a depressive disorder? In the 19th century, depression was seen as an inherited weakness of temperament. In the first half of the 20th century, Freud linked the development of depression to guilt and conflict. John Cheever, the author and a modern sufferer of depressive disorder, wrote of conflict and experiences with his parents as influencing his development of depression.

Each year, millions of people come to the realization that they suffer from depression. To make things worse it is estimated that only a third of those who suffer the disease will ever seek treatment. Because depression is considered a mental affliction, many sufferers shy away from seeking help from a doctor. Instead of being considered mentally ill, people try to manage the problem themselves. Depression is more common- place than you might think and it will not go away on its own.

Depression has no single cause; often, it results from a combination of things. You may have no idea why depression has struck you.

Whatever its cause, depression is not just a state of mind. It is related to physical changes in the brain, and connected to an imbalance of a type of chemical that carries signals in your brain and nerves. These chemicals are called neurotransmitters.

Some of the more common factors involved in depression are:

* Family history. Genetics play an important part in depression. It can run in families for generations.

* Trauma and stress. Things like financial problems, the breakup of a relationship, or the death of a loved one can bring on depression. You can become depressed after changes in your life, like starting a new job, graduating from school, or getting married.

* Pessimistic personality. People who have low self-esteem and a negative outlook are at higher risk of becoming depressed. These traits may actually be caused by low-level depression (called dysthymia).

* Physical conditions. Serious medical conditions like heart disease, cancer, and HIV can contribute to depression, partly because of the physical weakness and stress they bring on. Depression can make medical conditions worse, since it weakens the immune system and can make pain harder to bear. In some cases, depression can be caused by medications used to treat medical conditions.

* Other psychological disorders. Anxiety disorders, eating disorders, schizophrenia, and (especially) substance abuse often appear along with depression.

Why do people get depression? The answer can get very complicated because you have to take many factors into consideration. The list is quite long. Let’s list a few of the contributing factors to depression. A chemical imbalance is widely considered to be the main cause for depression. Why does this chemical problem in the brain happen? Typically the causes stem from biological, genetic, physical, mental and environmental implications. In many cases the underlying cause is never identified. Depression often follows diagnosis of other medical conditions, particularly those that result in imminent death or are chronic.

Scientists do not know why the hippocampus is smaller in those with depression. Some researchers have found that the stress hormone cortisol is produced in excess in depressed people. These investigators believe that cortisol has a toxic or poisonous effect on the hippocampus. Some experts theorize that depressed people are simply born with a smaller hippocampus and are therefore inclined to suffer from depression.

Another cause of depression can be the emotional pain felt after losing a loved one. In many cases the loss can be very traumatic. Long periods of emotional, sexual or other physical abuses can result in depression. When people abuse drugs and/or alcohol the result is often depression. People’s mental states are fragile. If exposed to the wrong pressures, depression can result. There can also be a genetic element to depression. Those afflicted have a family history of the disease . Oddly, many drugs including those that regulate depression or anxiety can cause depression. High blood pressure medication can result in depression.

One of the major causes of depression is stress. Stress can derive from many different areas in our life. It’s not well known, but it’s true, that stress can result from the pressures associated with positive events such as a new, high paying job. The unknown is often the root cause of this stress, whether it be positive or negative. Arguments with family members, disputes with business clients can both cause stress.

The causes of clinical depression are likely to be different for different people. Sometimes a depressive episode can appear to come out of nowhere at a time when everything seems to be going fine. Other times, depression may be directly related to a significant event in our lives such as losing a loved one, experiencing trauma, or battling a chronic illness.

Research indicates that depressive illnesses are disorders of the brain. Brain-imaging technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), have shown that the brains of people who have depression look different than those of people without depression. The parts of the brain responsible for regulating mood, thinking, sleep, appetite and behavior appear to function abnormally. In addition, important neurotransmitters-chemicals that brain cells use to communicate-appear to be out of balance. But these images do not reveal why the depression has occurred.

Scientists believe genetic factors play a role in some depressions. Researchers are hopeful, for instance, that they are closing in on genetic markers for susceptibility to manic-depressive disorder.

Depression in adolescence comes at a time of great personal change-when boys and girls are forming an identity distinct from their parents, grappling with gender issues and emerging sexuality, and making decisions for the first time in their lives. Depression in adolescence frequently co-occurs with other disorders such as anxiety, disruptive behavior, eating disorders or substance abuse. It can also lead to increased risk for suicide.

Teen depression cannot always be prevented, but there are some things that can help reduce the chances of an episode of depression in a teen who is at risk.

Teen Depression is presented for troubled teens or parents of teens. We offer information on teenage depression, issues, and other teen problems. Our articles were written to educate parents and teens about adolescent depression, the warning signs, and various treatment options available.

Some of the causes of depression in teenagers seem to be genetic, and those cannot be changed, but other triggers of teen depression can be avoided. Some of the risk factors for teen depression include:

* A family or personal history of depression
* A long-term illness or disability, whether physical or mental
* Experiencing a trauma or loss, including abuse, divorce of parents, death of a loved one, or a break-up
* Difficulties at home, at school, or with friends

If you know a teen who suffers from or is at risk for depression, you can help the teen by:

* Talking and listening to him or her
* Encouraging him or her to be involved in positive activities and to take good care of him or herself
* Being fair when dealing with or disciplining the teen
* Setting a good example by taking good care of yourself and getting help if you feel depressed or overwhelmed.

The majority of older adults with depression improve when they receive treatment with an antidepressant, psychotherapy, or a combination of both.18 Research has shown that medication alone and combination treatment are both effective in reducing the rate of depressive recurrences in older adults. Psychotherapy alone also can be effective in prolonging periods free of depression, especially for older adults with minor depression, and it is particularly useful for those who are unable or unwilling to take antidepressant medication.

Additional research data indicate that people suffering from depression have imbalances of neurotransmitters, natural substances that allow brain cells to communicate with one another. Two transmitters implicated in depression are serotonin and norepinephrine. Scientists think a deficiency in serotonin may cause the sleep problems, irritability, and anxiety associated with depression. Likewise, a decreased amount of norepinephrine, which regulates alertness and arousal, may contribute to the fatigue and depressed mood of the illness. Other body chemicals also may be altered in depressed people. Among them is cortisol, a hormone that the body produces in response to stress, anger, or fear. In normal people the level of cortisol in the bloodstream peaks in the morning, then decreases as the day progresses. In depressed people, however, cortisol peaks earlier in the morning and does not level off or decrease in the afternoon or evening.

There is mounting evidence that depression takes a serious toll on physical health. The most recent studies exploring health and depression have looked at patients with stroke or coronary artery disease. Results have shown that people with depression who are recovering from strokes or heart attacks have a more difficult time making health care choices, following their doctor’s instructions, and coping with the challenges that their illness presents. Another study found that patients with depression also have a higher risk of death in the first few months after a heart attack.

Some people have a low threshold for stress. They’re affected by events and activities that to others seem to not be stressful. The good news is that very effective treatments are available to help those who are depressed. However, only about one-third of those who are depressed actually receive treatment. This is unfortunate since upwards of 80-90% of those who do seek treatment can feel better within just a few weeks. Many people do not seek treatment for depression for a variety of reasons. Some believe that depression is the result of a personal weakness or character flaw. This is simply not true. Like diabetes, heart disease, or any other medical condition, clinical depression is an illness that should be treated by a mental health professional or physician. Another reason why many people do not seek help for depression is that they simply do not recognize the signs or symptoms that something may be wrong.

Finding Free Or Low Cost Dental Care Doesn’t Have to Be Difficult

The need for low-cost or free dental care will increase. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), eight out of ten people believe that taking care of their teeth and gums is a necessity, but only one-third of them say they are doing an excellent job with it.

Because of the recession there are millions of people who are uninsured and can’t afford to see the dentist. Additionally, state funded facilities are finding out that they have to decrease their services or even close because the funding is not there. The needs of the people are placing a strain on the state’s budget.

The important thing is not to panic. When having to go without services that you’ve been accustomed to receiving it can render a feeling of helplessness. Fortunately, we live in a country where there are alternative resources available where you can receive assistance. The real issue becomes how you can afford what is being offered or how to find someone that will offer their services to you for free.

There are some nonprofit organizations and resources who have taken the initiative to fill the gap left by budget cuts and closings for those in need. Unfortunately, the number of people needing assistance far out numbers the available resources.

Many physicians and dentists volunteering around the country to provide dental care to the unemployed, college students and the uninsured as a way to give back to the community. Included in this article are organizations you can search online and contact them for state and nation wide information for volunteers in your area to service your dental needs for a low cost or for free.

Local dental schools: a dental school in your area will often provide dental services for a very low cost and possibly a payment plan option. A dental school is an excellent way to go if you are on a tight budget. Skilled instructors are on hand to oversee the work of the students. For a listing of dental schools around the country, visit the ADA.org website.

Dentistry from the Heart was started to address and publicize the growing number of the uninsured and under-insured people in this country. It became a national nonprofit organization in 2007, with free dental care events all over the country. Since 2001, more than $1 million in free dental care has been provided.

The Dental Health Magazine helps locate free and affordable dental care to those who need it. The site also discusses the latest information in dental products and services.

American Dental Association (ADA.org): search site for free dental care. It will provide several organizations that provide dental care nationwide, but appears to promote programs geared towards children. The ADA is committed to reducing these disparities by supporting initiatives that broaden access to dental care for people who otherwise cannot afford it and encourage more dentists to practice in designated under served areas.

Free Medical Camps.com: provides clients the most recent and up to date information about free Medical and Dental Clinics available in the United States.

Low cost dental plans: Provide discount dental care plans that are affordable with great discount rates for dental care for you and your family. Most plans do not penalize you if you have a preexisting condition. The plan can be activated within 48 hours without long waiting periods. Additional benefits that may be included in the plan are discounts on prescriptions, vision care and more.

It is imperative that you have Internet access because most of these resources are found online. Some of them do not make the evening paper or news. Rather, you may find out about the mobile dental services by networking at clinics or other places that provide assistance for those in need. What’s important is that you don’t give up if you are not able to accomplish obtaining the care you need. Stay positive, focused and proactive in getting the care you need.

Who Else Wants General Information on Arthritis?

Today there are about 70 million Americans with arthritis…that’s one person out of every four who suffer both pain and the expense of this crippling disease. In one year alone, arthritis will be responsible for over half a billion dollars in lost wages. The economic consequences of arthritis are important to review because each year, arthritis takes a devastating financial toll on our society.

Over the course of ten years, arthritis related work loss has been associated with a 37% drop in income for arthritics – all those without arthritis had a 90% rise in income over the same period of time!

If you…a friend…or a relative has arthritis, it’s important to know that early treatment can help sufferers continue with their normal daily lives and remain productive members of the community.

The term “arthritis” is derived from the Greek: “arthron” meaning “joint” and “itis” meaning inflammation. Arthritis is a word that describes over 100 different conditions, some involving inflammation and others not.

Arthritis is not a single disease. It encompasses about 100 different conditions, that affect joints and that pose unique problems for diagnosis and treatment.

Some common types of arthritis include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, pseudo-gout, ankylosing spondylitis, polymyalgia rheumatica, psoriatic arthritis, Reiter’s disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, and fibromyalgia.

Most types of arthritis involve joint inflammation. Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury or infection.

For an example of inflammation, take a simple scratch…your body automatically releases chemicals that cause fluids to accumulate and white blood cells to gather around the area of the scratch. As your body fights foreign substances and bacteria, inflammation…redness…heat…swelling…and pain occur at the sight of the injury.

In arthritis, unfortunately, this natural defense mechanism goes awry. Elements from the blood designed to fight infection and repair injury attack the body instead.

And, unless this inflammatory process is halted, it will continue to attack the body and cause joint destruction.

So you can begin to see how treatments that just relieve the pain associated with arthritis – but that do not reduce inflammation – may not adequately treat this disease.

Getting proper treatment early on is important…because proper care can help arthritis sufferers lead more active and comfortable lives.

Yet many people with arthritis delay going to a physician. Either they have fear about going to a doctor or they feel that nothing can be done for arthritis. Other reasons include the notion that all arthritis medicines are harmful or arthritis is just a normal part of aging.

Some people try unproven remedies which also delay proper diagnosis and treatment.

Since arthritis may evolve gradually, people often ignore its early warning symptoms or signs. These include persistent pain, tenderness, or swelling in one or more joints…symptoms that should not be dismissed as signs of age.

Other warning symptoms are joint pain and stiffness…especially when they appear in the morning.

Low back pain is one of the earliest symptoms of arthritis. For people over the age of 60, arthritis is the most frequent cause of low back pain.

The activity of arthritis varies unpredictably. Symptoms are cyclic in nature and seem to come and go.

Therefore, it is important to remember that any symptoms or signs of arthritis that last for more than six weeks – no matter how mild – should be checked by a physician. And, if symptoms are severe, then even waiting six weeks might be too long.

The two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Joint inflammation is involved in both.

But, these types of arthritis differ in terms of…age of patients who are affected…the joints involved…the pattern of stiffness…and the potential for disability.

Close to 16 million Americans have osteoarthritis – the most common type of arthritis. Although osteoarthritis can occur at any age, it most often begins in people in their 50’s and 60’s.

Osteoarthritis or degenerative disc disease is a disorder of cartilage – the gristle that covers the ends of long bones. Cartilage is made of cell called chondrocytes which sit inside a framework made up of collagen and proteoglyens. Under normal conditions, chondrocytes make collagen and proteoglycens – in other works – they make the framework they sit inside. With osteoarthritis, chondrocytes behave abnormally and begin to make destructive enzymes such as collagenasese, stromelysin and others. These enzymes degrade cartilage…these enzymes also attract inflammatory cells which secrete substances called cytokines which cause further inflammation and damage to cartilage, underlying bone, and the joint lining.

This process results in progressive pain, stiffness, and loss of function.

Joint pain and stiffness are the most noticeable symptoms of osteoarthritis. Morning stiffness is usually brief lasting less than 15 minutes. Osteoarthritis usually affects weight bearing areas particularly the neck, low back, hips and knees.

It may also affect the fingers and hands and bony knobs may appear at the finger joints. The base of the thumb may also be affected. The typical pattern of osteoarthritis in the hands involves the distal and proximal interphalangeal (DIP and PIP) joints of the fingers, and the carpometacarpal (CMC) joint of the thumb.

Osteoarthritis is considered to be a degenerative joint disease. Along with inflammation, there is wear and tear on the inside of the joint.

This causes damage to the cartilage (the substance that forms the surface of the joints and works as a shock absorber). As the cartilage wears thin, the underlying bone is damaged. This process results in progressive pain, stiffness, and loss of function.

Osteoarthritis does not need to be disabling and with the proper medical care can be managed easily.

Rheumatoid arthritis is the other most common type of arthritis. It is more common in women and affects 7 million Americans…or one out of every five arthritis patients. It may affect any age group, although onset is most common in middle age.

Rheumatoid arthritis is usually characterized by heat, swelling, and pain in multiple joints in both the right and left sides of the body, including the hands, wrists, elbows, hips, knees, ankles, and feet. Spinal involvement also occurs on occasion.

The typical pattern of rheumatoid arthritis in the hands involves the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joints, the metacarpal phalangeal (MCP) joints, the wrists, and the elbows.

Unlike osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis can affect the entire body. People with this disease may feel sick all over…tire easily…lose their appetite…and lose weight.

In rheumatoid arthritis, the tissue that surrounds and nourishes the joints is attacked by the body’s immune system. The body mistakenly perceives its own tissue as foreign, and it reacts by sending special white blood cells and toxic chemicals called cytokines to destroy the foreign material. (The cytokine abnormalities that cause the damage in rheumatoid arthritis are different from the abnormalities seen in osteoarthritis.) This process of white cell migration and cytokine release damages the joint.

Although we do not know the cause of rheumatoid arthritis, researchers are investigating several possibilities.

Another interesting point about rheumatoid arthritis is that this disease can affect the internal organs including the lungs, skin, blood vessels, spleen, heart, and muscles.

If rheumatoid arthritis is not well controlled it can damage the joints irreversibly and cause serious disability.

To diagnose rheumatoid arthritis, the rheumatologist establishes the presence of joint pain and inflammation lasting at least six weeks and then looks for signs of the course of the disease that are characteristic for rheumatoid arthritis.

There are also blood tests that aid in the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis.

Patients with rheumatoid arthritis have a series of flare-ups followed by a period where there are mild or no symptoms. Usually, the pain and disability of rheumatoid arthritis progresses gradually.

Morning stiffness generally lasts longer than half an hour and may last several hours depending on the severity of the condition.

Most forms of arthritis persist for the patient’s lifetime. Medication cannot usually reverse the bone and soft tissue damage caused by arthritis.

However, new methods of measuring inflammation and its response to medication and other treatments offer valuable information to physicians…and can help to evaluate the arthritis sufferer’s discomfort.

Magnetic resonance imaging is one such technique. This method using the effects that strong magnets have on water molecules to provide exquisite images of the interior of the body. MRI has been used to diagnose and also assess the degree of damage within joints of patients suffering from arthritis. It is also helpful for evaluating the effect of new drugs.

Although there is no cure for arthritis, proper treatment can help tremendously. The goal of arthritis treatment is to relieve the pain and stiffness due to the progressive destruction caused by inflammation, and to maintain or increase freedom of movement.

Among the advancements that have taken place in the medical treatment of arthritis are various disease-modifying medications that not only relieve symptoms but also help slow down the progression of disease.

Other advances include various cartilage sparing drugs, cartilage growing drugs, and also biologic remedies. These drugs act by blocking the destructive effects of enzymes such as metalloproteases in osteoarthritis and cytokines in rheumatoid arthritis. By targeting specific processes, relief of symptoms and healing of damage can take place with presumably fewer side effects.

What can you do if you think you have arthritis?

First, you can consult your doctor. This is important because medical issues are complicated and your doctor, who understands your health needs, can prescribe the best treatment for you.

The type of doctor who can best evaluate arthritis is called a rheumatologist. These are physicians who have completed four years of medical school, three years of internal medicine residency, and three years of rheumatology fellowship.

While arthritis can be a serious disease that can progress and cause disability, science has come up with some new answers for arthritis sufferers. It is now up to the arthritis sufferer to recognize early warning signs and symptoms and to see a rheumatologist. With proper medical care, the course of this crippling disease may change and people can help to be returned to fully active lives – without pain and crippling disability.

How Will You Prevent Asthma? What Is The Best Treatment For Asthma?

The typical symptoms being shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing and tightness of chest, when all of these appear, we know it is the distressing condition of asthma. Its here we realize the importance of normal breathing, a thing we all take for granted all the time. The asthma attacks are dreaded and a silent threat lurks all the time on the sufferer, with every breath he or she takes.

Asthma is a chronic disease that inflames and narrows your airways in the lungs and makes breathing an extremely difficult task for the sufferer. The airways remain inflamed in this condition and the muscles around the airways always remain tightened when a trigger flares up the asthma and you suffer from a full fledged asthma attack. Even to witness a severe attack makes your own breath alter; such is the excruciating situation for the sufferer.

Why is Asthma becoming more common in recent years?

Every year people being diagnosed with asthma are just growing leaps and bounds and it is now turning into an epidemic. Many studies have revealed that its frequency has increased with more and more people being affected by it and, most importantly it’s being reported in large numbers.
• A common answer to this problem could be the worsening of the air quality and the decline in the environmental conditions.

• The modern houses being very tight for the existence means that the circulation of fresh air in the house is far more less. The stimuli that promote the development of asthma, from dust and mites to molds and dander to second hand cigarette smoke, all are found in great concentrations in tightly sealed homes.

• While there is another theory behind the rising allergy and asthma diagnosis rates and a surprising one indeed, this also makes a lot of sense. The living conditions in much of the world might be too clean and the children are not being exposed to the kind of germs that the body is able to combat, in order to build up the immune system for tougher things. The immune system when suddenly exposed to the irritants reacts in a drastic way causing lungs to get inflamed and making breathing a difficult task. This leading theory being studied and researched is known as ‘Hygiene Hypothesis’.

• It is also indicated that the significantly increased use of certain medications contribute to the increase in asthma. The early or too much use of antibiotics bring about a change in the bacterial flora and hence impacts and develops allergic diseases like asthma.
• The alarming rate of Vitamin D deficiency being reported is also a reason for the rising cases of asthma. Vitamin D is extremely essential for lung and immune system development. Children, adults with the advent of modern gadgets spend more and more time indoor, subsequently there is very less exposure to sunlight and there is deficiency of Vitamin D production in the body.

So can asthma attacks be prevented?

While this excruciating condition is not curable, but it certainly can be prevented through self care in order to prevent this condition from getting worse. Self care is an integral part of our lives and it involves taking responsibility for your own health, what you eat everyday to stay fit, maintain good physical and mental health, prevent illnesses or accidents and care more for minor ailments as this is all that matters to avoid this painful condition of asthma.

• One of the most important step in keeping asthma at bay is your partnership with your doctor or health care provider and an approach with includes medications with simply smart lifestyle steps to follow.

• Taking regular medications according to your asthma action plan as directed by the doctor can really help in keeping the situation under control.

• Another important point to remember incase of asthma is, you must know and identify things that trigger your condition and to avoid them in order to prevent an asthma flare up.

• Wash the bedding weekly and dust it regularly if you fear dust mites.

• No matter how much of an animal lover or a pet lover you are, keep a safe distance from your dear pets. Sorry! Its hard but got to do it for your good health.

• Mold problems could be fixed by eliminating all kind of standing water in the planters and similar objects.

Prevent Asthma attacks at work, how?

• The cleaning substance may have triggered your last asthma flare up in the office, you never know, find out and keep away if so is the case.
• You must know the nearest hospital to your office in case there is a sudden asthma attack.
• Try to keep stress level in control; it is known to make your already distressing situation worse.
• Avoid smoking areas, smoke and the odor of tobacco can trigger these attacks, so avoid smoking and also visiting the smoking area to prevent an asthma trigger from flaring up.

Other times
• If you have exercises induced asthma then avoid too much activity in cold and hot conditions.
• If you have seasonal allergies that trigger asthma symptoms then stay indoors during the peak pollen days and keep your inhaler handy all the time.

Are there natural remedies that can prevent asthma too?

Yes, nature has a cure for almost anything it embraces and asthma is not left far behind when it comes to treating this painful condition of the airways.

Yoga, an age old practice can leave asthma extremely disempowering. It improves the free flow of air in lungs and encourages fresh air to enter the air sacs; by continuous practice of yoga you can even keep your medications at bay in some time.

The regular use of herb like ginger is well known to bring down airway inflammation and it also inhibits airway contraction. One inch of ginger when grated and boiled in water, steeped for about five minutes and consumed regularly can prove to be beneficial in asthma.

Garlic also is known for its decongestant qualities, especially during the early stages of asthma. Boil two to three cloves of garlic in milk and have it regularly. See the difference these natural remedies can bring about in improving your condition.

Yes, your coffee too can prove to be beneficial in controlling asthma attacks. A cup of hot coffee relaxes and clears the airways to help you breathe easily; the stronger the coffee the better is the results.

Eucalyptus oil is an effective treatment for asthma symptoms too because of its decongestant properties. Many studies have shown the important role played by the chemical eucalyptol which helps in breaking down the mucus. Just by sprinkling a few drops on a paper towel and keeping it on your head, will help your airways relax. You can also put a few drops of it in boiling water and take steam. Try to take deep breaths if possible.

Mustard oil does not only make your food healthy, but can prove to be very beneficial in case of an asthma attack. Massaging mustard oil on the chest can help clear the respiratory passages and restore normal breathing. Heat some mustard oil with camphor and gently rub it on the chest and upper back. Do this exercise several times a day until the symptoms subsides.

The nutritional properties of figs promote respiratory health and help in draining out the phlegm and helps in alleviating breathing difficulties. Soak the figs in water overnight, eat the fig and drink the water too. Home remedies affect your system gradually, slowly and the best part is that they are natural so please don’t get impatient for immediate results.

Turmeric, my favorite and tried and tested herb will assist you in providing quick relief from asthma along with its symptoms. This herb has been known for curing plethora of maladies including asthma and the best part is that it does all this without causing any side effects.

Turmeric with all its anti-inflammatory properties can help in clearing out the troubling mucus in the lungs and soothe the irritation and the blockage of the airways, therefore making breathing easy.

• It contains anti-bacterial and anti-septic properties that aid in killing the infection and reduce the spasms of asthma as well as the frequency of the attacks.

• This also enhances the functioning of the liver and prevent blockage of the airways.

• Curcumin, the bioactive enzyme found in turmeric is extremely effective in treating bronchial asthma and provides you relief from windpipe inflammation of the airway.

• Turmeric helps in dilating the blood vessels that allow better air flow, restores normal breathing pattern, thins the blood and soothes your body which might have gone through trauma.

• Rich in minerals and fiber, it gives a thumping boost to your immunity.

The more we speak about this magic herb the more we unfold its magic, so all I can suggest is to sprinkle its goodness in your food and have it in your milk to ensure you are using it to corner asthma.

Coping With Autism – Support For Families

According to the Center for Disease Control in 2001, autism affects an estimated 2 to 6 per 1,000 individuals and it is the most common of Pervasive Developmental Disorders (as cited by the Autism Society of America, n.d.). Based on these statistics, it is estimated that 1.5 million Americans are believed to have some form of autism (Autism Society of America, n.d.). Autism has been found to affect all races, cultures, socioeconomic statuses, and educational backgrounds (Autism Society of America, n.d.). This rate of growth in autism not only signifies a need for more professionals to be trained to teach individuals with autism, but the need for increased training and support for families of children with autism. Parents of children with autism are coping with a considerable amount of stress and an overwhelming amount of information about the disability. Families of children with autism can benefit from support from professionals, other family members, and society, in order to manage the stress effectively.

Parents of children with autism take on many roles in their child’s education. They must first recognize and pursue a diagnosis for their child. Once an accurate diagnosis is made, they must find a suitable program and services for their child. Parents need to also act as teachers in the home so that their children learn to generalize skills in the home that they are taught at school. In order for parents to be effective teachers, they need to have specialized knowledge, skills, and information about the efficacy of different treatment programs (Educating Children with Autism, 2001). Because parents are also advocates for their child, they need to have knowledge of special education law and the available services. Due to the stress level of raising a child with autism, parents need coping skills (National Academy Press, 2001). According to a study by Gallagher, (as cited by National Academy Press, 2001), the multiple roles of the parent as teacher, advocate, loving parent, and family member can be extremely demanding for parents.

In 2000 Nissenbaum, Tollefson, and Reese (as cited by The National Autistic Society, n.d.), studied the impact of an autism diagnosis on families. They found that parents actually felt relieved at having an explanation for their child’s unusual behaviors (National Autistic Society, n.d.). The diagnosis alleviated concerns that they were doing something wrong (National Autistic Society, 2000). As with other parents of children with disabilities, many parents or children with autism go through a grieving process after receiving the diagnosis of autism.

Based on research, the education of children with autism is a source of a great deal of stress for many families. Research conducted by Holroyd and McArthur in 1976 and by Donovan in 1988 (as cited by the Autism Society of America, n.d.) found that parents of children with autism experience greater stress than parents of children with mental retardation and Down Syndrome. This stress may be a result of the maladaptive and antisocial behaviors a child with autism may exhibit (Autism Society of America, n.d.). Because individuals with autism often have difficulty expressing even basic wants or needs, parents may feel frustrated when they are unable to determine the child’s needs (Autism Society of America, n.d.). The child with autism may exhibit frustration through self-injurious behaviors, aggression, or tantrums that threaten the safety of others (Autism Society of America, n.d.). Parents may feel that the stereotypic or self-stimulatory behaviors (ie: hand-flapping, tapping, lining things up, perseveration on an object), of their child with autism are strange and interfering with functioning (Autism Society of America, n.d.). Because children with autism usually have severe deficits in social skills, such as playing appropriately with peers, parents may find themselves stressed with finding appropriate leisure activities for the child at home (Autism Society of America, n.d.). Some children with autism have difficulties sleeping and may only eat limited food items, which causes another source of struggle for parents (Autism Society of America, n.d.). Family dinners may be disrupted or shortened and bedtimes may be interrupted. Sleep deprivation is common in both the child with autism and the parents of the child. Society reactions can also have a major impact on family stress and may cause the family to avoid community outings or family events (Autism Society of America, n.d.). Families may not go to family get-togethers because the child has difficulty interacting with others (Autism Society of America, n.d.). Families are sometimes embarrassed around extended family members and may have difficulty relating to other family members.

Another stress for parents is learning about all of the methods and strategies to teach children with autism. They must learn about these methods so that they can help to determine an appropriate educational placement for their child with autism and so that they can be active members in the IEP process. There are currently many treatment approaches and strategies to teach children with autism. Current methods include Applied Behavior Analysis, Discrete Trial instruction, Picture Exchange Communication System, TEACCH, Floortime, RDI, Social Stories, and Sensory Integration. Once strategies are determined, using some of these methods has potential to reduce family stress and enhance the family’s quality of life. Because many children with autism have difficulty generalizing skills, it is extremely important for parents to carry over the child’s skill training from school to the home. Parents can also be effective teachers.

Families that are taught effective behavioral intervention strategies to manage challenging behaviors, are taught and involved in the functional assessment process, are trained in facilitating functional communication (both verbal and non-verbal), have been found to have greater success at home with the child with autism (Moes & Frea, 2002). When determining behavior plans, professionals need to take into consideration family routines when analyzing challenging behaviors (Moes & Frea, 2002). Behavioral interventions are more successful and meaningful to families when their beliefs, values and goals are taken into consideration (Moes & Free, 2002).

A family centered educational approach may be the most beneficial to a child with autism and their families (National Academy Press, 2001). Formal support may come from teachers, IEP team members, doctors, the local education agency representative, and other professionals that treat the child. Informal support may come through parent networking, parent support groups, families, and neighbors. According to Bristol in 1987, “parents found a positive relationship between adequacy of social support, the use of active coping behaviors, and family adaptation for parents of children enrolled in the TEACCH program” (National Academy Press, 2001, p.34).

Coping with a child with autism is difficult and stressful for many families. As with the impact of socioeconomic status and ethnicity of the parents, there is not yet a lot of research on the stress levels of parents based on the child’s cognitive level and communication level. Based on current research, in order to cope with the stress of having a child with autism and to experience gains in their education at school and at home, parents need to learn specialized skills and teaching methods that can be implemented at home. Successful collaboration and training with professionals working with the child with autism has the capability of reducing family stress and an increase in the child with autism’s communication, socialization, cognitive, adaptive skills and a reduction in maladaptive behaviors in the home environment. Professionals working with students with autism must include the parents as advocates in the IEP process, functional behavior assessments, and behavior intervention plans.

Professionals must provide opportunities for parents to be trained in teaching methodologies used at the school. Professionals must also consider themselves a source of support for families of children with autism and be knowledgeable about special education law, treatment methods and scientific research. As a teacher of young children with autism, I have witnessed first hand the benefits of conducting parent trainings and support groups, whether they are on a group basis or an individual basis. Based on parent feedback, parent trainings and support groups are extremely beneficial to those that attend, and most parents express that there is never enough time to talk with the teachers and other parents–there is always a desire to learn more and for more opportunities to collaborate.