Can Isolation Affect Your Mental Health?

It has been proven that social distancing is effective in slowing down the spread of viruses. It can also lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation, especially in older adults. With the pandemic that is going on, people are practicing social distancing and isolating themselves to contribute to their part of keeping people safe and healthy. However, isolation can have a significant impact on your mental health, contributing to conditions like anxiety, depression, and dementia. For this reason, The World Health Organization (WHO) encourages others to keep socializing, but at a distance by phone or online platforms. 

Effects of Isolation
Social support networks have a positive effect on mental health. Many countries are treating loneliness as a health priority at this time. Social connection is important for both physical and psychological health. Research has even shown that relationships are a biological need and vital to our well-being and survival. Some of the risks associated with loneliness and isolation can include:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • schizophrenia
  • suicide
  • dementia
  • Alzheimer’s disease

Some researchers have identified links between loneliness and some physical conditions such as heart disease and breast cancer.

Who is at risk?

With the world currently dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, health organizations (like WHO) around the globe are urging people to continue to practice social distancing. Older adults are the leading age group to likely to the effects of isolation. Before the pandemic, researchers estimated that more than 8 million older adults were affected by isolation. One of the reasonings that older adults are more at risk of loneliness is that they experience the most life changes that can break social ties and make it more difficult to socialize, such as:

  • Retirement
  • Widowhood
  • Children leaving home
  • Age-related health problems

People with health conditions or disabilities that limit physical activity may find it challenging to socialize outside the home. Age and underlying health conditions are both risk factors as well for developing severe COVID-19 symptoms. Other nations — including Germany, Australia, and the United Kingdom — say that they are also facing a loneliness epidemic. Societal trends may also cause social disconnection. For instance, the average household size has decreased, more couples are deciding not to have children, lower attendance in social groups, lower participation in religious groups, and a decline in the average size of social groups in the U.S.. Some other factors that may make it more likely that someone would experience loneliness include:

  • divorce
  • living alone
  • being single

Some signs and symptoms to look for

Signs and symptoms that suggest isolation is affecting a person’s mental health can include:

  • feelings of depression and anxiety
  • aggressive behavior
  • passive attitude
  • poor sleep quality
  • cognitive decline
  • altered memory
  • poor self-care or self-neglect

Researchers believe that loneliness and isolation can have different consequences depending on a person’s age. For example, someone aged 18-49 years old may struggle to focus or eat more frequently, while children and young adolescents may experience more cognitive, behavioral, and emotional difficulties.

Finding ways to stay connected

There are many different ways to reach out to loved ones, friends, and those in need in today’s world. We have many different platforms you can choose from to connect with others, such as:

  • mail
  • phone and text
  • email
  • social media
  • video chat platforms

With the pandemic going on worldwide, it is a good idea to keep in contact with others in the community that may be at risk of isolation, loneliness, and health complications. Some good ways to remind them that there is always nearby support are:

  • Calling them on the phone
  • Knocking on their door and staying a safe distance away
  • Setting up regular phone calls or video chats
  • Sending care packages (groceries or medication drop offs)

When to seek help

People who are experiencing loneliness should seek help from their doctor or a therapist if they have noticed any of these signs of anxiety or depression:

  • restlessness or irritability
  • persistent worry
  • sleeping too much or too little
  • an inability to concentrate
  • suicidal thoughts

Suicide Prevention
If you or someone you know is at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:

  • Ask the tough question “Are you considering suicide?”
  • Listen to the person without judgement
  • Call 911 or your local emergency number, or you can text TALK to 741741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor.
  • Stay with the person until professional help arrives
  • Try to remove any weapons, medications, or any other potentially harmful objects.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours per day at 1-800-273-8255, people who are hard of hearing can call 1-800-799-4889.

Here is another helpful suicide prevention link: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/327007#hotlines

Articles used in this post:

What To Know About Telehealth Appointments

With the recent closing down of public buildings and institutions, restaurants, gyms, museums, and more to slow down the spread of COVID-19 it has increased some people to feel isolated and anxiety stemming from the situation we are currently in. Telehealth can offer several benefits like convenience and better accessibility. Telemedicine uses technology during your appointment times instead of an in-person appointment to provide a range of healthcare services, including:

  • Psychiatric evaluations and diagnoses
  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Client education
  • Medication Management

Psychiatrists can interact directly with clients via telephone or video conferencing by using telepsychiatry. It can be a good option for many people who do not necessarily like being in public, people in rural and isolated areas, unable to travel, or have the time for traditional in-person psychiatric services. It can also be a useful method of treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, eating disorders, substance abuse, and schizophrenia.

Who can provide teletherapy?
Therapists that hold a license in the state where they treat the client can provide teletherapy. For instance:

  • Licensed professional counselors
  • Licensed marriage and family therapist
  • Licensed clinical social workers
  • Licensed psychologists
  • Licensed psychiatrists

The recent COVID-19 health crisis showed that being able to have access to medical care at home can slow the spread of illness and protect others that are more vulnerable. Telehealth allows people to get mental health treatment at home and not have to risk the spread of infection during epidemics and pandemics. In-person therapy sessions do not require physical contact and make it possible to replicate most therapies virtually with video chat and telephone. Video sessions would require you to log on from a private network, keep your computer locked to prevent others from viewing the session, and to access the session on an encrypted therapy platform to protect your privacy.

Articles:

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How To Cope With OCD During The COVID-19 Pandemic

Those with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) experience constant or recurring thoughts that can cause anxiety and may try to cope with those thoughts through compulsions. Compulsions are repetitive behaviors or mental acts that a person feels that they must perform. With what is going on right now in the world with COVID-19, some aspects of the virus can trigger anxiety and OCD behaviors like frequent handwashing and constantly checking the news. Here are some ways to take precautions and other coping techniques for OCD tendencies during the pandemic.

Contamination
Contamination is one of the most common fears among those with OCD. It can be difficult for someone to cope with under normal circumstances, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, it can become even more of a challenge.

The real possibility of illness for people with OCD can cause them to take extreme measures to keep themselves and their families safe, like repetitive handwashing, cleaning, or being afraid to even leave their homes.

Harming Others
The worry of possibly harming others, either by accident or on purpose, is a common fear of OCD. During the pandemic, people with OCD may worry that they will transmit the virus to another person, and may go to extremes to try avoid doing so.

Hoarding
Researchers consider hoarding as a separate disorder from OCD, but many people with OCD also struggle with hoarding. People who hoarder usually collect things that are not useful, however during a pandemic, they may hoard things like medications, alcohol-based hand sanitizers, and toilet paper.

OCD Triggers During A Pandemic
There are many aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic that may trigger OCD-related fears and behaviors like:

  • The advice to wash hands more often
  • The emphasis on proper handwashing techniques
  • The need to clean hands every time a person returns home
  • The advice to only leave the home for food and necessities

Those triggers can contribute to behaviors like:

  • Widespread panic-shopping that can trigger hoarding (which we have seen with the toilet paper and cleaning supplies shortage)
  • Frequent reminding family members to wash their hands
  • Searching for information on how long the virus stays active on certain surfaces
  • Normalizing frequent washing and/or bathing

Sensible Precautions to Take
Most people with anxiety feel pressure to follow rules to the T, and as a result of this, someone with OCD may find it difficult to tell the difference between sensible precautions against COVID-19 and excessive or perfectionistic behavior. Many therapists suggest that those with OCD have a safety plan in place for themselves based on official public health guidelines. By following that plan, people with OCD will know if they are taking reasonable steps.

Therapists also encourage people to think about their cleaning and hygiene habits. If they did not go outside and no one came into their home, then they do not need to disinfect anything. However, disinfecting commonly used surfaces once a day is a reasonable plan.

When washing your hands try limiting your handwashing to 20 seconds each time and only wash them:

  • After going outside
  • Before eating
  • After going to the bathroom
  • After coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose

If you have OCD and find yourself adding extra steps to your plan and find it difficult to stop, you may consider seeking support.

Limit News and Social Media
Many news outlets offer free live streaming during the COVID-19 pandemic and publish news updated frequently. The American Psychological Association (APA) advise that people that notice they are checking the news more than usual set a limit on how many time a day you check the news updates or watch the live streams.

Seek Online Support and Teletherapy
To limit the virus from spreading, many therapists have stopped offering in-person sessions and allow access for people to have teletherapy online or over the phone. Online support groups, such as the International OCD Foundation’s My OCD Community, may also help others cope with OCD during a pandemic.

When To Seek Help
Pandemics do not have biological or medical implications. They also impact many people psychologically and socially, including people with mental health conditions. During a pandemic, those with preexisting mental health conditions are at higher risk of experiencing a relapse, stopping their medication, not engaging in self-care, or having suicidal thoughts. If you or a person you know with OCD is struggling with their symptoms during this pandemic encourage them to call us or:

  • Their doctor or therapist
  • A mental health helpline (Suicide Prevention Lifeline has talk and text options)
  • Their local public health center

Suicide Prevention
If you or someone you know is at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:

  • Ask the tough question “Are you considering suicide?”
  • Listen to the person without judgement
  • Call 911 or your local emergency number, or you can text TALK to 741741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor.
  • Stay with the person until professional help arrives
  • Try to remove any weapons, medications, or any other potentially harmful objects.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours per day at 1-800-273-8255, people who are hard of hearing can call 1-800-799-4889.

Here is another helpful suicide prevention link: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/327007#hotlines

Featured Image: PONOMARIOVA_MARIA/GETTY

Articles / Research:

Pica And Other Types Of Eating Disorders

Pica is when a person craves or eats nonfood items like sand, ice chips, dirt, clay, hair, burnt matches, chalk, soap, coins, or paint chips. Most medical guides consider pica as an eating disorder. Some pregnant women will develop pica during pregnancy. We will discuss what pica is and other types of eating disorders and what you can do to treat them.

Pica will usually develop in people with mental health conditions, but not all people who suffer from pica have a mental health condition. Pica is more common to show in children and pregnant women. Children will often hide the behavior from their parents or caregivers. Other groups that are a high risk for developing pica include autistic people, people with other developmental conditions, pregnant women, people from nations where dirt-eating is common. Pica is different from healthy behaviors of babies and young children who put objects in their mouths, and they will persistently try to eat nonfood items. They will also develop other symptoms, including broken or damaged teeth, stomach pains, bloody stool, nutrient deficits (low iron, hematocrit, or hemoglobin), and/or lead poisoning.

There are also other types of eating disorders such as:
Bulimia Nervosa
Bulimia nervosa is a condition that typically develops during adolescence or early adulthood. Studies show it is more common in women than men. They tend to devour large quantities of food very quickly, and then takes steps to purge their body of the extra calories. Standard purging methods include self-induced vomiting, taking diuretics, taking laxatives, or excessive amounts of exercise. Signs and symptoms of bulimia can include:

  • obsession with body weight and size
  • repeat binging episodes that accompany a sense of loss of control
  • purging episodes to prevent weight gain
  • a general fear of gaining weight
  • acid reflux
  • a sore or inflamed throat
  • tooth decay
  • severe dehydration
  • electrolyte imbalance that can lead to stroke or heart attack

Anorexia Nervosa
Anorexia is one of the more well-known eating disorders that tend to develop in adolescence or early adulthood and is more common in women than men. There are two subtypes of anorexia:

  • Binge Eating and Purging Type: An individual with this type usually purges after eating. They will consume large amounts of food and might try to excessively exercise to burn off the calories they consumed.
  • Restricting Type: People with this type do not binge eat. They will turn to dieting, fasting, or overexercising in an effort to lose weight.
    Signs and Symptoms of Anorexia:
  • Abnormal restricted eating habits
  • being underweight compared with others of similar height and age
  • a fear of gaining weight, even if they are already underweight
  • obsession with being thinner
  • distorted view of their body
  • basing their self-esteem on body weight or shap
  • avoid eating in public or around others
  • obsessive-compulsive tendencies (in some people)

Rumination Disorder
A condition in which a person regurgitates partially digested food, chews it again, and will either swallow it or spit it out. Unlike self-induced purging, rumination is involuntary. The first episode usually is in response to illness, physical injury, or psychological distress, and regurgitation may provide some relief. This disorder can develop as early as infancy and will get better without treatment. However, persistent rumination could lead to fatal malnourishment. Rumination in older children and adults usually requires psychological treatment.

Signs and symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • A need to burp
  • Feeling of pressure or discomfort
  • Bloating
  • Heartburn
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Electrolyte Imbalance
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Sleeping Difficulties
  • Weight Loss
  • Malnourishment

Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)
ARFID used to be called selective eating disorder and is similar to anorexia in that it is restricting calorie consumption. However, a person with ARFIT does not obsess about their body size or weight gain and can occur due to a lack of interest in eating, or they may avoid eating because of the sensory characteristics of feed. This disorder can occur at any age and could be more challenging to detect in children who are fussy eaters.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Significant weight loss
  • Stunted Growth (in children)
  • Severe nutrient deficiencies
  • A dependence on oral nutritional supplements
  • Considerable interference with social functioning

Other Eating Disorders:
Orthorexia: This eating disturbance is an obsession with eating healthful foods. Healthcare professionals do not recognize it as an official condition.
Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED): A person with OSFED may show signs and symptoms of bulimia or anorexia but does not meet the diagnostic criteria for either condition.
Unspecified Feeding or Eating Disorder (UFED): When a person does not meet the criteria for any particular eating disorder but will present with similar symptoms and psychological distress.
Laxative Abuse: This is not technically an eating disorder, but laxative abuse involves excessive use of laxatives in order to lose weight and become thinner.
Excessive Exercise: When someone does an excessive amount of exercising in order to burn calories and achieve unhealthy weight loss.

Treatment options for all of these could include:

  • Psychotherapy (Family Counseling or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)
  • Medications (Antidepressants, Antipsychotics, Mood Stabilizers)
  • Nutritional Counseling
  • Medical Care and Monitoring

If you suspect that a loved one has a eating disorder you should encourage them to speak to their doctor. Doctors may refer the person for psychotherapy, psychiatric treatment, or for care at a specialist center for eating disorders.

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326266.php#anorexia
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326751.php

How To Cope With Social Anxiety

There are millions of people around the world that experience symptoms of social anxiety each year. In this blog, we are going to give you some tips on how to cope with your social anxiety. Around 15 million people have social anxiety, which is a fear of being judged or rejected by others in a social context. People dealing with this issue may avoid a variety of social events, including ones that would usually be a source of fun and joy like parties or graduation ceremonies and can be very isolating.

  1. Avoid negative coping strategies
    There are negative emotional and mental states that are associated with social anxiety and can lead to physiological symptoms that can worsen someone’s concern. Some people have expressed that it feels like a fogginess in their brain, keeping them from thinking straight, upset stomach, loss of appetite, sweaty hands, and muscle stiffness. In unavoidable situations such as office events, people may try to use negative coping strategies like drinking alcohol, but drinking too much will most likely end up making your anxiety worse. The ADAA states that approximately 20% of people with social anxiety have an alcohol use disorder. So a tip that is often given is to avoid potentially worsening your symptoms is to avoid drinking too much.
  2. Face your fears, don’t hide from them
    Some people may try to avoid engaging in social situations because of their social anxiety by checking social media or doing other activities on their smartphones. Studies have also shown that constant social media use can cause low self-esteem. One tip that may sound weird is to expose yourself to social mishaps purposely. In other words, intentionally and repeatedly being awkward in social situations will help you realize that a few social slips will not lead to rejection from social groups. Everyone is awkward and makes mistakes on occasions.
  3. Reframe your thoughts
    A top coping strategy that is suggested is to try and reframe your understanding of the stress you have been experiencing. There is a study that shows that when people with or without social anxiety try to understand how their bodies respond to stressors like public speaking, it will help them experience less stress in uncomfortable social situations. Another way to help reframe your thoughts would try using the “yes, but” technique. This requires you to challenge the negative thoughts and counterbalance them with up to three positive affirmations such as, “yes, I will indeed be attending a party packed with people that I don’t know. But I am a funny, interesting individual with many hobbies, so I will find something to talk about with others.”
  4. Do something nice for someone
    Try to distract yourself from all your worries and negative thoughts by doing something nice for someone else. Good deeds have been proven to have a positive impact on mood.

The Different Types of Mental Health Professionals

It can be hard to admit that you need help from a professional for your mental health. It can also be challenging to find the right mental health professional, but we are here to help you with that. Keep reading to find out the difference between different types of mental health professionals.

  • Psychologist

It can be hard to admit that you need help from a professional for your mental health. It can also be difficult to find the right mental health professional, but we are here to help you with that. Keep reading to find out the difference between different types of mental health professionals.

  • Psychiatrist

Psychiatrists typically diagnose, treat, and help prevent mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders using psychiatric medicine, physical exams, and lab tests. They are a doctor with either a doctor of medicine (MD) degree or a doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) degree. General practice doctors can prescribe medication to help with mental and emotional issues, but most people prefer to go to a psychiatrist for complicated disorders. Psychiatrists’ specialties can include children, adolescents, forensic psychiatry, and learning disabilities.

  • Psychoanalyst

A psychoanalyst follows the theories and practice of Sigmund Freud by helping others explore their repressed and unconscious impulses, anxieties, and internal conflicts. They use techniques such as free association, dream interpretation, and analysis of resistance and transference. The title and credentials are not protected by federal or state law, meaning that anyone can call themselves a psychoanalyst and advertise their services.

  • Psychiatric Nurse

Psychiatric nurses specialize in mental health. They’re also known for their therapeutic relationships with the people who seek their help. They perform psychological therapy, usually administer psychiatric medication, and will often deal with challenging behavior related to mental health conditions under the supervision of a medical doctor.

  • Psychotherapist

A psychotherapist can be a lot of different types of mental health professionals who provide psychotherapy, including psychologists and therapists. Psychotherapy is a type of “talk therapy” used to improve mental health. It can involve therapeutic conversations, group therapy, expressive therapy, and more. One of the more popular types is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) which is used to help learn how to change bad behaviors, thought patterns, or emotions.

  • Mental Health Counselor

This is a broad term used to describe someone who provides counseling, and their titles can include “licensed” or “professional.” Counselors can specialize in different fields like job stress, addiction, marriages, families, and general stress.

  • Family and Marriage Counselor

Family and marriage counselors specialize in issues that can arise in families and married couples. The sessions are usually focused on specific topics and reaching quick solutions. They are generally a one-on-one basis, so group sessions may be used at some points if one person’s problem affects others that are close to them, such as eating disorders or addictions.

  • Addiction Counselors

This type of counselor specializes in people with addiction. Usually, it does involve substance abuse or gambling issues, but can also include sexual addictions or hoarding. It is often done in a group setting, but can also be private or with loved ones affected by the addiction.

  • Religious Counselor

Religious counselors are also known as pastoral counselors and are trained to help others with a variety of issues, usually within a spiritual context. They are primarily focused on faith, marriage, family counseling, and emotional and mental problems. They are often leaders in area churches and may have extensive religion and mental health training, usually in a one-on-one or group setting.

  • Art Therapist

Art therapists use methods involving creative ways like painting, sculpture, and writing to explore and help with depression, medical illnesses, past traumatic events, and addiction. Most people think it can help you express underlying thoughts and feelings that talk therapy may not expose.

  • Social Worker

Social workers are public employees dedicated to helping people cope with and solve issues in their lives, including personal problems and disabilities. They may address social issues like substance abuse, housing, and unemployment, and are often involved in family disputes that involve child abuse or domestic violence. There are subtypes of social work, including child, family, school, medical and public health, mental health, and substance abuse.

Original Post: https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health-professionals-types

Signs Of Emotional Abuse And How To Help

WARNING: THIS BLOG WILL DISCUSS SIGNS OF EMOTIONAL ABUSE. IF TOPICS LIKE ABUSE IS A TRIGGER FOR YOU THEN PLEASE DO NOT READ ON.

Emotional and mental abuse are serious issues that can be noticed by some signs, whereas other forms of abuse can be more challenging to see or understand. From the outside looking in, they can be obvious, but to a person that is in the situation may miss or be unaware of the abuse. Let’s break down what emotional and mental abuse is. Emotional and psychological abuse is when a person controls, isolates, or scares someone else to control the relationship/situation. The form of abuse can be in statements, threats, or actions that are a pattern or regularity to the behavior. Learning these signs can help people identify if they are in an abusive situation/relationship and seek out the help that they may need. Some people may feel like they can deal with the abuse or try to justify it by saying that it is “not as bad” as physical abuse. Still, emotional abuse has its long term effects on mental abuse and could be a sign that physical abuse will follow.

Where can it happen
Abusive people usually abuse those who are close to them. For example, a partner, a business partner or close team member, a parent, a caretaker, or even a close friend they rely on. The National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse states that emotional and mental abuse can be subtle. The victim may not even notice that they are being manipulated. Emotional abuse can be in many different forms, depending on what the abusive person is attempting to do. 

Control
Controlling behavior can be a red flag in any relationship and can include:

  • Making demands or orders and expecting them to be done
  • Making all decisions, even canceling another’s plans without asking
  • Continually monitoring another person’s whereabouts
  • Insisting on regular calls, text, or pictures detailing where the person is, and even showing up to those places to make sure they are not lying
  • Requiring immediate responses from calls or texts
  • Exerting financial control over the other person, such as keeping all accounts in their name or only giving the other person a allowance
  • Spying by going through the other person’s phone, checking their internet search history, or looking through their messages with others
  • Having a rule in place demanding the person’s passwords for access to their social medias, phone, and email at any time
  • Treating the other person like a child by telling them what to eat, what to wear, or where they can go
  • Yelling, frequently using it as a scare tactic and can be a way for an abusive person to let the other person who is in control
  • Using the other persons fears and manipulate their fears to control them
  • Withholding affection as a punishment. Abusers may withhold affection or make the other person feel they are undeserving of love
  • Giving excessive gifts with the implication that the gifts may disappear at any time or to remind the victim of what they could lose if they leave the relationship

Shame
Abusive people might try to make the other person feel shame for their shortcomings or feel like they are much worse for the shortcomings. There are multiple forms this may show including:

  • Lectures: The abusive person may give lectures about the other person’s behavior in such a way that it makes them feel inferior.
  • Outbursts: This involves aspects of control as well. Not doing what the abusive person wants can result in an outburst of angry behavior from them in order to both take control and make the other person feel shame for “not listening”.
  • Lies: Abusive people may blatantly lie, giving them false opinions from their friends about their “bad” behavior.
  • Walkouts: Abusive people may leave a situation rather than resolve it in the middle of a disagreement at home. For example, making remarks on how the other person is “crazy” and put all the blame on the other person to make them feel ashamed.
  • Trivializing: If the other person wishes to talk about their issues, the abusive person may criticize them for even having issues or telling them that they are making a big deal for no reason.

Blame
Blame usually stems from the abusive person’s sense of insecurity by blaming others, and they do not have to recognize their shortcomings. This can be shown in many ways, such as:

  • Jealousy: Jealousy can be an abusive tactic. The abusive person may regularly confront the others for talking to or “flirting with” other people. The abuser may accuse the other person of cheating on them regularly.
  • Playing the victim: The abusive person may try to turn the tables on the other person by blaming them for the issues that the abuser has not yet dealt with and even accuse them of being the abusive one in the relationship.
  • Egging the person on: The abusive person typically knows how to get under the other person’s skin to make them angry. They may irritate them until the other person becomes upset, blaming them for even getting upset.

Humiliation
Most of the time the abuser’s actions or words serve no purpose other than to humiliate the other person. This behavior can look like:

  • Blatant name calling: The abuser may blatantly call the other stupid or “an idiot”, or other hurtful names and if confronted they may try to pass it off as sarcasm.
  • Joking or Sarcasm: Sometimes abusive people disguise their derogatory remarks as sarcasm. If the other person gets offended, the abuser may make fun of them for “lacking a sense of humor”.
  • Harmful Nicknames: Nicknames or pet names may be normal in relationships, but a name that is hurtful is unacceptable.
  • Public Displays: Abusive people may openly pick fights and make fun of the other person in public and blame the other person for becoming angry.
  • Patronizing: This can include talking down to another person for trying to learn something new or make the other person feel like they are not “on their level”.
  • Insults on Appearance: An abusive person may insult the other’s appearance around other people.
  • Cheating: The abuser may cheat on their partners in order to hurt or humiliate them or to show that they are “highly desirable”.

Unpredictability
Abusive people seem to make situations chaotic for no good reasons than to keep the other person in check. This kind of behavior can look like:

  • Drastic mood swings like being very affectionate to full of rage and breaking things
  • Emotional Outbursts
  • Starting arguments for no reason
  • Self-contradiction such as kaming statements that contradicts the one they just said
  • Gaslighting such as denying facts or making the other feel like they do not remember the situation correctly
  • Acting two faced such as being charming in public but the complete opposite the minute they get home

Isolation
Abusive people act in many ways in order to make the other person feel isolated from others including:

  • Telling another person they cannot spend time with friends or family
  • Hiding the person’s car keys
  • Stealing, hiding, or even destroying the other person’s cell phone or computer
  • Making fun or belittling the person’s friends or family resulting the other person to feel bad for spending time with them
  • Taking up all of the person’s free time
  • Locking the person in a room or the house

What can you do to help?
It would help if you encouraged anyone you know that feels they are in immediate danger of physical harm to call 911. If anyone is seeing signs of emotional abuse but is not in immediate danger, encourage them to seek out help. The National Domestic Violence Hotline offers anonymous support by phone, text, or even online chat. The hotline is available 24/7 and can help people find shelter as well as other services. If a person is feeling uncomfortable reaching out to get assistance, they can reach out to a family member or a trusted friend that could help them feel supported and less isolated. Taking steps away from an emotionally abusive situation is essential for the other person to take back control over their own life. This can include:

  • Setting boundaries with the abusive person and standing up to them in any degree necessary in order to get the abuse to stop. In some cases it could include ending the relationship or cutting ties with a partner and never speaking to them again.
  • Changing priorities: abusive people manipulate the other person’s sense of sympathy to the point they are neglecting themselves while taking care of the abuser and putting an end to this habit is important in order to put their own priorities first.
  • Get professional help: Seeking professional help like therapy and support groups can help strengthen the person’s resolve and believe that they are not alone in recovering from the abuse.
  • Exit plan: Anyone who feels that they are in an emotionally abusive situation should have a plan for getting out of the situation when the time comes and working with those that love and support them can help their plan feel stronger and get the person to take action when the time is right.

Therapy On A Budget

Mental health is different from having a cold or the flu, which means it can take some time to heal. Some studies have shown that it can take 5-10 sessions, and people will see their counselors weekly. Therapy is a commitment, and depending on your insurance coverage, it can be expensive. Unfortunately, having health insurance does not guarantee that you will not have to pay upfront for therapy. Plans with high deductibles will not cover the medical costs until deductibles have been met. Until then, you will have to pay out-of-pocket for your appointments. 

Most therapists charge between $75-$150 per session, depending on the area you live in. In expensive cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York, it can cost up to $200 per session. Here are a couple of cost-effective services available to help you get started.

  • Sliding Scale Therapists

Sliding Scale Therapists can include psychotherapists, psychologists, and social workers who will adjust their hourly fee to help make therapy more affordable for the client. These types of therapists are a good option if you have to pay out-of-pocket for counseling or if your insurance provider does not offer referrals to specialists. All mental health providers are trained to help treat anxiety, depression, and adjustment disorders, but not all of them specialize in addressing issues like postpartum depression, complicated grief, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). You could use Psychology Today and GoodTherapy.org to search for sliding scale therapists who practice in your area. Most of these therapists’ rates are determined by the provider and can range from $75-$160 per session. You can look for mental health professionals on a searchable database that is a more affordable option. Most of them charge between $30-$80 per session on Open Path Psychotherapy Collective

  • Free Or Low-Income Mental Health Services

For those that do not have health insurance and can not afford to pay out-of-pocket for mental healthcare, low-fee, or free community mental health clinics can be a good option. They are staffed by psychotherapists and psychologists but are often able to expand their services by the use of student psychologists, student mental health counselors, and student social workers that are supervised by licensed professionals. Their services are typically at no cost or at a highly reduced rate, and they offer services like individual and family counseling, medication management, and drug addiction counseling. You can find a clinic in your local area by contacting the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine or visit MentalHealth.gov

  • Therapy Apps

Apps like Talkspace and Betterhelp let you connect with therapists online or by text. Busy business and healthcare professionals, new moms, and students usually find teletherapy appealing because they can talk to a therapist from anywhere. Before signing up for online therapy, you will complete a mental health questionnaire, and based on the results, you get matched with a psychotherapist. Similar to in-person treatment, fees for online therapy will vary. Talkspace fees can be as low as $49 per week, while Betterhelp charges between $35-$80 per week. The American Psychological Association (APA) states that online therapy may be as helpful as in-person sessions, but this type of care isn’t for everyone. They caution those with more serious mental health concerns like schizophrenia, PTSD, and substance use disorder often need more care and attention then remote treatments. There are also mental health apps like Calm, Headspace, and Expectful that can help teach you daily habits of meditation, relaxation, and breathing exercises, which can help reduce stress. 

  • Local Support Groups

Those who are experiencing eating disorders, postpartum depression, alcohol and substance use disorders, and coping with grief or loss can benefit from attending a local support group. Support groups can connect you with others who are going through similar experiences and allows you to ask others for their opinions. It can also be healing to hear others share their stories to show you that you are not alone. This can be especially useful for those coping with illnesses like cancer or supporting loved ones with chronic health conditions or mental illness. Open-ended groups like new mom support circles can allow you to share at any time during the session. Structured groups, especially those that teach people a set of life skills like mindfulness, may follow a curriculum each week. Mental Health America has a list of different types of specialized support groups on their webpage. You can also get a list from hospital social workers for support groups in your community. Costs for support groups will vary, but groups like Alcoholics Anonymous are free of charge.

  • Crisis And Suicide Prevention Hotlines

Mental Health emergencies include suicidal thoughts, sexual assault, and domestic violence and require immediate psychiatric care and attention. There are hotlines are staffed by trained volunteers and professionals who provide emotional support and can connect you with resources that you need. If you think someone is in immediate risk of self-harm or hurting someone else please call 911 or your local emergency number, stay with the person until help arrives, remove any weapons, medication, or other things that may cause harm, and listen but do not judge, argue, threaten, or yell. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 800-273-8255. 

The Best Mental Health Podcasts

Here is a list of the best podcasts to listen to this upcoming year according to healthline.com.

“The Nod”
5.0 star rating on Apple Podcast and is available on Stitcher and Soundcloud.
First aired in 2017 – present

“The Nod” is a podcast that shares stories and experiences of African Americans that “do not get told anywhere else.” It is hosted by Brittany Luse and Eric Eddings and regularly has emotional, vulnerable conversations to show that is it okay to struggle with conflicts of being who you want to be versus who society expects you to be. The topics range from histories of hip-hop trends to emotional impacts of famous writers on generations of young writers and professionals.

“Throwing Shade”
5.0 star rating on Apple Podcast and is also available on Stitcher and Google Play.
First aired in 2019 – present

The podcast tackles political and cultural issues that women, minorities, and the LGBT communities face in general. It is hosted by Erin Gibson and Bryan Safi and aims to make you feel okay to think of yourself as part of a bigger movement and affirming that your thought and feelings matter while making you laugh along the way.

“Cafeteria Christian”
5.0 star rating on Apple Podcast and is also available on Stitcher
First aired in 2018 – present

This podcast is useful if you want to educate yourself in the bible or if you want to live your life based on your values. It is hosted by Nora and Natalie which they started the podcast to let people know that it is okay not to be a “perfect” Christian and for you to be able to opening talk about your struggles in balancing what you need with what your Christian faith asks of you.

“Therapy for Black Girls”
5.0 star rating on Apple Podcast and is also available on Stitcher and Soundcloud.
First aired in 2017 – present

This podcast was founded by a clinical psychologist by the name of Joy Harden Bradford and offers mental health resources and advice for personal and professional development for African American women and beyond. It is a great podcast if you are looking for advice from a professional or are interested in the science of the mind. She also helps demystify therapy and the stigma around it with her doctorate-level background in counseling psychology from the University of Georgia.

“Mental Illness Happy Hour”
5.0 star rating on Apple Podcast and is also available on Stitcher and Soundcloud.
First aired in 2017 – present

Paul Gilmartin hosts it in hopes of helping people feel more comfortable to talk about mental or emotional traumatic events that happen in their lives. He interviews a wide range of noted figures and celebrities about their experiences with mental illness or trauma. A couple of examples are “tackling the link between sexual assault and PTSD with attorneys, to uncovering how being raised by a parent with an alcohol addiction can affect you in unnoticeable ways,” according to healthline.com.

“WTF with Marc Maron”
4.5 star rating on Apple Podcast and is also available on Stitcher.
First aired in 2015 – present

It is hosted by Comedian Marc Maron who is well known for his interviews with some of the world’s most famous people like former U.S. President Barack Obama and Kristen Bell. He is very open about his anxiety and trauma experiences during his upbringing and the emotional turmoil that many of his guests have experienced.

“Code Switch”
4.5 star rating on Apple Podcast and is also available on Stitcher
First aired in 2016 – present

There is still a large variety of common topics that can be scary or exhausting to talk about, like race, gender, ethnicity, identity, and more. It is hosted by quite a few of different journalists from diverse backgrounds and can help you better understand how society can be your mental health’s worst enemy, and that understanding it can help you feel stronger in resisting it.

“The Happiness Lab”
5.0 star rating on Apple Podcast and is also available on Stitcher.
First aired in 2019 – present

Happiness can seem impossible sometimes and can be especially true when things you work hard for don’t bring you the satisfaction you expected. Hosted by Dr. Laurie Santos of Yale University, she wants to show you that your happiness is in your control according to a link between human behavior and emotions from scientific research. Her main goal is to make you a little happier by teaching you to take ownership of your mind and how it works.

“2 Dope Queens”
5.0 star rating on Apple Podcast and is also available on Stitcher and Google Play.
First aired in 2016 – present

It is hosted by Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams, two comedians who have turned their life-long friendship in witty banter and a popular comedy show. There is no such thing as an off-limits topic to them or their variety of celebrity guests. Sometimes a good laugh can make you feel better.

“The Hilarious World of Depression”
5.0 star rating on Apple Podcast and is also available on Stitcher.
First aired in 2016 – present

Depression is one of the most stigmatized and common mental health conditions. Hosted by John Moe, who hopes you will find peace or help in one of his many interviews with public figures like Darryl Mccdaniels from Run-DMC and Peter Sagal. It can help those who are currently struggling with depression or knows someone with depression. It has a variety of real stories about people’s ups and downs with clinical depression and makes you think about how it can look different on everyone as well as give you some useful tips and tools to use for coping.

Original Post: https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health-podcast