Category Archives: Psychiatry

Alcoholism and the Effects on the Family

depressed-manI am familiar with alcoholism and the effects on the family. I grew up in a family where there was much alcohol abuse. My family had alcohol abuse issues on both sides. Both my parents and grandfathers abused alcohol. Now, the problem has also effected my siblings. I, by the grace of God, left my alcohol abuse years behind. That was in my teens and early 20′s.

It’s not easy to forget the family memories however: The many ruined holidays, weekends and trips to camp. I remember hoping Christmas after Christmas this would be the one when Mum and Dad would not end up drinking and fighting.

The fear of my Dad becoming so drunk that it would kill him was also very intense. Due to his drinking, Dad would go into a type of asthma attack where he could not catch his breath. It was terribly frightening for a child. Then there was the fear of my friends seeing my parents in a drunken, arguing state. This was a source of shame and embarrassment to me as a teen. Because of their unavailability, I also began to turn to alcohol and other illicit activities to get my needs met.

On top of my parent’s drinking problems, my grandfather’s drinking also impacted our family. I loved that man. But when he drank, it was scary. Once he holed himself up in his house with a shot gun. Another time he fell down and nearly broke his nose. When he walked into our house all bloodied, I was terrified. My mother has told me stories which I shall not repeat.

So just from these few stories you can clearly see that alcoholism and the effects on the family can include: trauma to children, creating a fearful and unstable home environment, encouraging parentified children, and encouraging children to find solace in other people and things.

Another clear effect of alcoholism on the family is the tendency for the pattern to be repeated. The pattern may not only be repeated in alcohol abuse. The pattern can be repeated in other substance abuse issues as well as codependency which involves many dysfunctional family dynamics. Research shows a well defined tendency for alcoholism to run in families.

Continue to second page of effects of alcoholism…

 

Christian Help for Depression is Available

Help for Depression

Help for Depression

The good news is there is tons of Christian help for depression available for those that struggle with not only with depression but other emotional and mental issues as well. Unfortunately, the stigma of having emotional, mental and even relationship struggles is still very prevalent in much of the church.

It is not unusual for me to hear something like this from people I meet: “I can’t let anyone know about my problem, Christians aren’t suppose to struggle like this.” Sadly, many Christians continue to languish like the cripple at the pool of Bethesda, only thinking about getting help for their struggles. Instead of getting help, they allow themselves to be deceived by the evil one who taunts, “If your faith was strong enough, you would be able to work out your problems on your own.”

Where do we get the idea that Christians who struggle with mental and emotional issues are weak or lacking in faith? Where do we get the idea that we are to be self sufficient? Where do we get the idea that when we become Christians we instantaneously arrive at nirvana – total mental, emotional and physical well being? Where do we get the idea that there is something wrong with asking for help when we are struggling emotionally, spiritually or relationally?

Could we be getting the idea from one another? In my experience, it is a rare sight for someone to stand up in a prayer meeting, Sunday school or small group to ask for prayer because they are struggling with obsessive thoughts, depression, thoughts of suicide, jealously, anger, or fear. Could it be that we feel ashamed about the deep struggles of our hearts…so much so that we are reluctant to share them even with our closest friends?

Yet the truth is there are many examples of Christian men and women who suffered from emotional and mental problems. Charles Spurgeon, one of the most prolific and well loved preachers of history, is known for suffering from deep depression…In a sermon he preached after being out of the pulpit for 3 Sundays he shared this…

I was lying upon my couch during this last week, and my spirits were sunken so low that I could weep by the hour like a child, and yet I knew not what I wept for — but a very slight thing will move me to tears just now — and a kind friend was telling me of some poor old soul living near, who was suffering very great pain, and yet she was full of joy and rejoicing. I was so distressed by the hearing of that story, and felt so ashamed of myself, that I did not know what to do; wondering why I should be in such a state as this; while this poor woman, who had a terrible cancer, and was in the most frightful agony, could nevertheless “rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory.”

Sounds like Spurgeon had his share of well meaning friends, who also sent him the not so subtle message of , “what’s wrong with you? You, of all people, should be living the victorious Christian life.” Another prominent Christian man, William Cowper, poet and hymn writer, suffered multiple mental breakdowns as well as suicidal attempts. After one such attempt, convicted by the Holy Spirit that his intentions were evil, he threw down his vial of laudanum and soon after was inspired to write one of his most moving and well known hymns: “There is a Fountain Filled with blood.”

Ruth Bell Graham, a Christian contemporary wrote, “I know what its like to sit in a pew with a broken heart. For years I sat in church with my fears, doubts and disappointments, thinking I was alone in my condition. Those around me seemed to have it all together.”

As each of these men and women of God learned first hand, God anointed His Son Jesus to bind up the broken hearted, remove our shame, and lovingly accept us with open arms no matter what our condition. God has a special love for the oppressed, the hurting, and the sick.

There is so much Christian help for depression as well as for those suffering from other emotional and mental struggles. Even the scientific research is clearly showing that there are many remedies for the treatment of depression: healthy and supportive relationships, exercise, cognitive therapy, as well as medications are all very effective means of treating depression. But, at the same time, most of these solutions require the individual struggling to reach out and ask for help.

There is Christian help for depression and other issues you may be struggling with. So please, if you find yourself, where Ruth Bell Graham did, sitting in a church pew week after week, feeling alone in your condition please take a step of faith. First pray, admitting your need before God and then ask Him to direct your steps to those who can help. Then, be willing to reach out to a pastor, a counselor or a friend today. Your help is as close as your asking.

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Recognizing the Symptoms of Depression

Symptom of Depression

Counseling Resources

Depression, like most mental illness runs the continuum of severity. It can be mild or major. It can last from weeks to months and it can involve anxiety symptoms as well. Some of the symptoms of depression are…

  • Sadness and/or loss of pleasure in nearly all activities.
  • Pervasive feelings of hopelessness
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Changes in psychomotor activity (includes both mental and physical responsiveness and/or activity).
  • Struggles with feelings of low self worth
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions.

In children and adolescents a symptom of depression is often irritability rather than sadness. Also, some people may deny having feelings of sadness and rather report that they have no feelings at all. Another symptom of depression is feeling numb…Knowing the symptoms however is not enough…

How do you get depression help?

First of all, never try to diagnose yourself or someone else...if you recognize that you or a loved one has symptoms of an emotional or mental problem get a professional diagnosis from someone who can help you.

Next, to determine what kind of depression help you or your loved one needs, it’s important to look at how severely the person’s functioning has been affected. If the level of functioning has been significantly impaired, i.e. they are having difficulty performing their daily routine, seek professional help immediately. If you need depression help and you’re not sure who to contact, click here for a Christian Counselor in your area….

A trip to the family doctor to confirm the symptoms of depression and to rule out any medical conditions contributing to the depression is a good place to start. Also, since stress can bring on depression and other emotional problems, take inventory of any significant life changes that have occurred over the last 6 months. Look at changes in circumstances, relationships, health, finances etc. Stressors can be exacerbate a symptom of depression…

What if the person is suicidal?

Since a primary symptom of depression is feelings of hopelessness, thoughts of wanting to die are not uncommon. However, a plan or intent to harm oneself is very different than fleeting thoughts of wanting to be dead. If you or your loved one indicates they have a plan or strong intentions to harm themselves, take action immediately!

Call a mental health professional that you have been referred to by a reliable source, check your phone book for community mental health services, or call a suicide prevention hotline. In Brevard County, Florida that number is 211 or 321-632-6688. Also, Circles of Care in Melbourne provides emergency services and evaluations. Their number is 722-5257. If the threat is imminent, call 911.

If talking to someone right now would be helpful and you live in the United States phone 1-800-suicide (1-800-784-2433).

If you live in another country, click here for help.

Get Depression Help

If you or a loved one is experiencing the symptoms of depression mentioned above please seek help. Don’t wait until your level of functioning is severely impaired. Get depression treatment now! One of the biggest reasons people do not seek help is because of the shame they feel concerning the idea of having a mental illness. The reality is that our minds are vulnerable to illness just like our bodies. There is no shame in developing the flu or some other medical condition, so why is there with the mind?

Those who avoid seeking help because of the shame they feel only languish longer like the cripple at the pool of Bethesda. He needed help, but he was unwilling to accept any personal responsibility for helping himself.

How Counseling Can Help

A counselor can help a person gain perspective about their illness, resolve problems that may be contributing to the depression and assist the person in developing coping skills to manage the symptoms of depression.

However, in addition to counseling, medication may also be a treatment option. You can discuss this with your counselor, who can then refer you to a psychiatrist to prescribe and manage the necessary medication. Medication can have a significant effect on lessening the symptoms of depression.

Relief is available for difficulties that plague our minds. It is truly the wise that seek out the help, wisdom and counsel of those whom God has equipped to facilitate the healing of the mind. For help in locating a counselor near you click here.

 

Overcoming Depression

Identifying Depression

Biblical Counseling Resources

Before overcoming depression, it must be identified. Depression, like most mental illness, runs the gamut of severity. It can be mild or major. It can last from weeks to months. It can involve anxiety symptoms as well. Depression is primarily characterized by sadness and/or loss of pleasure in nearly all activities. Additionally, there may be symptoms such as changes in appetite, sleep patterns, and psychomotor activity (changes in both mental and physical responsiveness and/or activity).

A depressed person may struggle with feelings of low self worth, recurrent thoughts of dying, as well as difficulty concentrating or making decisions.  In children and adolescents the mood is often manifested as irritability rather than sadness. Some people may deny having feelings of sadness; instead they may report feeling numb or having no feelings at all.

Taking Action

First, it is important to look at how severely one’s functioning may be impaired. If the person’s level of functioning has been significantly impaired, i.e. they are having difficulty performing their daily routine, seek professional help immediately. A trip to the family doctor to rule out any medical conditions that might be causing the mood disorder is a good place to start.

Second, assess whether there have been any significant changes in circumstances, relationships etc. that may be contributing to the depression.

Third, if your loved one indicates they have a plan or intentions to harm themselves, take action immediately to get help. Call a mental health professional that you have been referred to by a reliable source or check your phone book for community mental health services. You can also call 1-800-784-2433 a suicide prevention hotline. If the threat is imminent, call 911.

Don’t Wait – Get Help

One of the biggest reasons people do not seek help is the shame they feel about having a mental illness. The reality is that our minds are vulnerable to illness just like our bodies. There is no shame in developing the flu or some other medical condition, so why is there with the mind? Those who avoid seeking help because of the shame they feel only languish longer than necessary. Click here To Find a Therapist.

How Counseling Can Help

A counselor can help a person gain perspective about their illness; resolve problems that may be contributing to the depression and assist the person in developing coping skills.

However, in addition to counseling, depending on the severity of the depression, medication may also be a treatment option. You can discuss this with your counselor, who could then refer you to a psychiatrist to prescribe and manage the necessary medication.

Relief is available for difficulties that plague our minds. It is truly the wise that seek out the help, wisdom and counsel of those whom God has equipped to facilitate the healing of the mind. For biblical counseling tools click here.

 

Depression Help is Available

depression

Depression help from the book of Ruth

Depression is a state of despair in which people feel they have no hope. Along with feelings of hopelessness people who are depressed may also experience a host of other symptoms…

As we examine the book of Ruth you will learn several principles that can help you manage your depression. If you are unfamiliar with the book of Ruth you can find it by clicking here.

We need to associate with emotionally healthy people

We need people. God created us as social creatures. And although some of us are introverts and some of us are extroverts…we all need to associate with emotionally healthy people. For depression help, associating with emotionally healthy people will help you maintain your own emotional health.

However, if you are depressed, you may feel like withdrawing from people. That’s what Naomi did. She began pulling away from her loved ones. After the death of her husband and 2 sons, she urged her daughters-in-law to remain in Moab while she went back to Bethlehem alone. Naomi fixed her eyes on her circumstances which were pretty grim…After all she had lost her husband, her sons, and most likely her dreams…

Depression will distort your perception of truth

Naomi mistakenly put her faith in her feelings. She had forgotten the promises of God. Her despair was so great it clouded her mind and her ability to see truth. You must remember depression is a powerful mood…it can and will distort your perception of truth…that’s why you need healthy people around you for depression help…

Naomi tried to push Ruth her daughter-in-law away. But praise the Lord, Ruth would not take “No” for an answer. She knew what God was calling her to do…among other things, she was providing depression help for Naomi. Ruth was an expression of God’s faithfulness to Naomi…Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

If you are depressed, remember it is likely you won’t feel like socializing…but spending time with people who care is one of the best depression help things you can do for yourself. Don’t miss God’s faithful provision to you through His people.

Don’t be deceived

If you are depressed, you are in emotional pain. You may feel you have no more energy to perform for others. The effort to put on the happy face for appearances is just too much. Additionally, there may be feelings of shame…You may even contemplate, “what would people think if they knew I was depressed?”

Getting depression help means we must not let the depression trap us in a web of denial and secrecy. Depression lies to us…don’t let it keep you in chains.

Acknowledge your feelings

Naomi and Ruth were both vocal about their feelings. They not only spoke their feelings to one another, they gave full expression to their feelings by weeping together. Acknowledging our deepest feelings of hurt, resentment, bitterness and despair is to allow the light of God’s truth to shine on these previously hidden parts of ourselves.

When you allow the light to shine in those dark and secret places of your soul…you will begin to find freedom. Often people have a sense of feeling weak and ashamed about their private thoughts and feelings. However, when these things are exposed to the light through confession to a trustworthy friend, spiritual leader or professional counselor several things can occur…

  • If there is a lie embedded in that feeling it can be exposed and dealt with
  • You can be affirmed and validated in your feelings
  • Friends will know better how to respond or minister to you
  • You can begin to deal with your depression in a fruitful way

When we suppress or deny our feelings it is like garbage sitting at the bottom of our trash can that begins to stink. Leaving our feelings to rot in our soul only causes us to feel worse…and everybody around us.

Click here to glean more valuable lessons on depression self help from the book of Ruth.

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