Major Depressive Disorder

8 Dec

I talked about Bipolar disorder in my last post. Another common mood disorder is MDD. Many people in today’s world misuse the true meaning of mood disorders. You will find someone with normal mood swings referred to as Bipolar, which is really offensive to people with the actual disorder. Another example would be a girl who feels she did terribly bad on her exam: “Ugh! I did so bad, I am so depressed!” Do you even know what depression is? Well, let me give you brief you through this major disorder.

Major depressive disorder, also known as unipolar disorder, is a mental disorder that is characterized by a full-blown low mood, accompanied with low self-esteem, loss of interest and pleasure in daily life activities. Major depressive is a disorder that largely affects a person’s family, work, school, social life, sleeping and eating habits – health in general. The disorder is common between the ages of 20-30 and is recurrent between the ages of 30-40. There is no specific tests for MDD, it is usually diagnosed based on a patient’s self-reported experiences and behaviors. patients are usually treated with anti-depressants, and could sometimes receive psychotherapy or counseling. Like Bip0lar, with severe cases, MDD patients might be hospitalized if the situation reached self-neglect or harm to self or others.

MDD Brain

Patients with MDD have shorter life expectancies than those without the disorder. No one knows for sure what the causal factors for MDD are, but they include psychological, psycho-social, hereditary, evolutionary and biological factors. The disorder is co-morbid with other disorders, which causes greater disability and increases suicide attempts.


Bipolar Disorder

8 Dec

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive disorder, is a mood disorder in which people experience unusual mood swings, which include the state known as mania (or hypomania) and another state of depression. The first stage a person must go through in order to be diagnosed with Bipolar disorder is the manic stage. A person must go through mania whether it is with or without one or more depressive episodes. This manic stage is what helps with diagnosis.


Hypomania is a lower level of mania, where an individual may be energetic and excited. However, in mania, people are usually very impulsive and make poor decisions due to unrealistic ideas about their future, and could have difficulty sleeping. When people with bipolar disorder are manic, they can show psychotic behavior that includes violence. And when they are experiencing a depressive episode, they are on quite a low and all they can think about is suicide and how dark life is, and it is very hard to be able to imagine a tomorrow. One might experience a “mixed state” which includes both mania and depression at the same time. For some people, these episodes are sometimes separated by period of “normal” mood, and for others these period may rapidly alternate, which is known as “rapid cycling”. Severe cycles could sometimes lead to delusions and hallucinations. Bipolar is common between men, women and across different cultures and ethnicity.

Causal factors of Bipolar disorder could be genetic, but are mainly environmental. The disorder is often treated with mood stabilizing meds and psychotherapy. But in serious cases where a person could be very violent and end up hurting himself or other people, hospitalization could exist. That usually happens when someone experiences suicide ideation in one of their depressive episodes. People with Bipolar could sometimes be misdiagnosed as having Schizophrenia because of the psychotic symptoms.

Bodily Imbalances

1 Nov

I am sure many of you heard of disorders such as Bipolar and Depression, but have you ever heard of Somatoform disorders? Many of you might recognize the disorders, but probably did not know what they were called.

Somatoform disorders involve the complaints of bodily symptoms or defects that suggest the presence of medical problems, where no organic basis can be found. The word soma means body. Here, a person is preoccupied with health conditions, meaning that he’s always overreacting to any health issues that might occur. For example, if this person suddenly finds a growing pimple on their body, they would assume it is a cancerous lump and freak out about and immediately go to a doctor to get it checked. So basically, that person would lack control over any kind of symptoms they have, and they would constantly visit primary physicians.

There are many other disorders that lie under Somatoform disorders; two of which are Facticious and Malingering disorders. Facticious is when a person makes up symptoms of pain just to get the attention of other people, and when they do, they would feel better. Malingering is when a person makes up symptoms on purpose, in order to skip a meeting or work. Just like when people call in sick, just because they don’t want to go to work.

Other disorders such as Somatization disorder includes four pain symptoms in different sites: two gastrointestinal symptoms, one sexual and one pseudoneurological symptom. There is also Pain disorder, where a person encounters pain in one or more sites as the focus clinical control. It causes significant distress and impairment in functioning, and symptoms are not significantly produced.

Another very interesting disorder is the Conversion disorder, where there is one or more symptoms affecting voluntary motor or sensory functions. There are no physical problems for this disorder, but a person could suddenly go blind or paralyzed, usually after a traumatic event. Freud described this disorder as hysteria, and believed the symptoms were a result of repressed sexual feelings.

The last disorder I will be talking about is the Body Dysmorphic disorder. This is also an interesting disorder that usually people with OCD develop. It is when a person is preoccupied with a slight or imagined defect in one’s appearance. For example, someone could feel that about their nose, and they would keep looking at their nose in the mirror and think of how big it is and how they would not be able to go out in public with such a big nose. When in reality, this person has a normal looking nose, and it’s all in their imagination.

All of these disorders are extreme and they stop people from leading a normal life, going to work and could very much lead to suicide.

Creative Techniques for Self-Expression

14 Oct

One of the most successful ways to allow people to express their thoughts and feelings is through therapy; even better, expressive therapy.

Unlike traditional therapy, expressive therapy is a form of therapy that uses creative arts to help analyze people’s thoughts and feelings through the process itself, rather than the final product. It is a form of creative healing. Usually, during a therapy session, therapists would sit and study their patients’ words and actions in order to find out what the problem is, and then they will tell them to be aware of their own behaviors in order to be able to analyze themselves as well. However, things change a little when it comes to creative therapy. In expressive therapy, therapists would act as inter-modals with their patients. Whether it’s storytelling, painting, dancing, music, drama, movement or visual arts, therapists will use a discipline that will allow them to join their clients during their healing process.

One of the components of expressive therapy is art therapy. This is a therapeutic process between the therapists and the clients who are making the art. The therapist interprets the clients’ symbolic structure as communicated through their art, and also adds their own interpretations according to the clients’ explanation.

Another form of expressive therapy is dance therapy. Movement therapy is also the psychotherapeutic use of both movement and dance to express emotional, cognitive, social, behavioral and physical feelings or conditions. The main purpose of expressing emotions through movement and emotion is to explore the self, find a healthy balance and sense of wholeness.

The last form of expressive therapy that I will talk about is music therapy. There are still other important forms as well, such as writing, but music is more interesting. Music therapy is one of the very few that could also be done by care professionals other than expressive therapists, like physicians, psychologists and physical therapists. Music therapy is a process in which a health care professional (whoever you choose) uses music to allow clients to express physical, emotional, mental or social dissent, through aesthetic and spirituality. Such processes are done by using music experiences, such as free improvisation, singing, songwriting, listening, discussing and moving to music.

These treatments help clients to improve and maintain their health. This developmental work affects both communication and motor skills in an individual, and some people see it as reminiscence, relaxation, entertainment and physical and mental rehabilitation.