Thursday, August 31, 2017

Memory Problems - "I lost my glasses," "they are on your head!"

Image result for parking lot, which car is it.

I heard of a father who was visiting one of his adult children. He was asked by the child to go out and get something out of his son's  car.  The father went to a similar car of the same color and make. The son later asked his  Mother, "Does Dad have Alzheimer's? "

The above problems does not mean that the  Dad had Alzheimer's disease. Everyone is afraid of that disease because it is one of the worse kind of mental illnesses (known to man. (Please note that I believe it is a mental illness because it  affects mind, mood and behavior. ).   But it does mean that if a person is over fifty, they will start to have some memory problems.  Here sre some ways to improve your memory. Many of you that belong to the Millennial Population, and those of the EZ generation should find this article helpful.

Improving Memory Articles
We all have  our.moments of forgetfulness about where we put the keys, why we walked into a room, or what an object is called. Most likely, this reflects age-related changes in thinking skills. "In terms of brain function, everyone has a decline over time in all areas, with the exception of vocabulary," says Dr. Joel Salinas, a neurologist specializing in behavioral neurology and neuro-psychiatry at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

Image result for person trying to remember

 Brain changes from aging affects memory
Forgetting things from time to time is probably related to either brain changes that come from aging or from underlying conditions. Treating underlying conditions can help boost memory. Other strategies can help, too.
   How memory works  
Memory involves three processes: encoding, recording, and retrieval. The brain receives and encodes (takes in) new information; the brain then records (stores) the information; finally, the brain retrieves information when you need it.
Many brain regions are involved in this process. For example, the cerebral cortex — the large outer layer of the brain — acquires new information as input from our senses. The amygdala tags information as being worthy of storage. Nearby, the hippocampus stores memories. And the frontal lobes help us consciously retrieve information.

The aging memory

Many people notice a difference in memory starting in their 50s. That's when age-related chemical and structural changes can begin in brain regions involved with memory processing, such as the hippocampus or the frontal lobes. These changes may slow processing speed, making it hard to recall familiar names or words.
Working memory

Other factors may be at play as well. "Working memory — a mental scratch pad that allows us to use important information throughout the day — is susceptible to depression, anxiety, and stress," explains Dr. Salinas, "and a lack of sleep can affect the brain's retention and use of information."
A medication side effect may also affect memory. For example, if you use an anti-anxiety drug like clonazepam (Klonopin), its sedating side effects can make your brain less alert and more sluggish. This in turn makes it more challenging for your brain to carry out the essential encoding, recording, and retrieval steps of memory.

Dr. Salinas says addressing these problems first often helps improve memory.






Memory tricks

Another way to boost memory is to make the most of the way it works. The following strategies may help.

1. Repeat what you hear out loud, such as someone's name, or an address, or a new idea. Repetition increases the likelihood you'll record the information and be able to retrieve it later. "With each repetition, your brain has another opportunity to encode the information," explains Dr. Salinas. "The connections between brain cells are reinforced, much like blazing a trail in the woods. The more you walk the same trail, the easier it is to walk it the next time."

2. Make a note of people you need to call, errands to run, and appointments. "We are much better at recognition than recall," Dr. Salinas explains. "With recognition, such as reading a list, you have additional hooks or hints that help you find the information you're looking for."

3. Make associations between old and new information. Connect a person's first name to something familiar. For example, if the person's name is Sandy, imagine that person on a beach. Or create a story around a shopping list. "Our brain is good at sequences, and putting things into a story helps. The more ridiculous, the more memorable it is. For example, if your list is milk, eggs, and bread, the story could be that you are having milk with Elvis over an egg sandwich," Dr. Salinas suggests.

4. Divide information into chunks, such as taking a long number and remembering it more like a phone number. "It's hard to store a long number," says Dr. Salinas, "but easier to store little bits through working memory." If you're trying to memorize a speech for a wedding toast, focus on getting only one sentence or idea down at a time, not the whole speech in one take. 

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Saturday, August 26, 2017

Electroconvuslive Therapy and it's use today!

Image result for ECT

Please note, it is recommended that you consult with a psychiatrist and he or she will tell you what medications to take and when you should try a new one.

Our next topic in our series is the biological treatment of depression/mental illness. This is a blog about  Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT).  I can especially speak on this subject because I have had over forty  treatments of ECT, both inpatient and outpatient.

The first time I had ECT was 1988.  I had gone off an antidepressant with my psychiatrist's permission and,within two weeks, the depression was  back with a vengeance.  My family and I were at the beach and I was parking the car.  As I walked toward Robyn and the kids it was clear to them that I was having trouble with depression.

My psychiatrist was contacted and she put me back on the medication that had been However that medication no longer was effective. Getting the right antidepressant was not happening and the days turned to months. So after months of severe depression. I was asked whether I wanted to get ECT; the answer was, "yes."

The second time I was depressed and was treated by ECT was in 1998This time, I requested it!
As I have mentioned,  some antidepressants  medications are not always effective. If you try one and have been taking it at least a month., you may have to go through another period of "gutting it out,"while you wait  for the antidepressant to kick-in.

Why did I ask to have the treatments? It was because I could not eat or sleep Depression was ravaging my body and brain. Some of you may react in horror at my decision to get ECT. Are you sure your reaction is not because you have let the media's presentation of ECT scare you into not wanting this scientifically effective treatment? Depression is a neuro-degenerative disease and you must try to, "check the first symptoms."

ECT rescued  me out of severe depression a number of times. I don't see anything in the Bible that says that a treatment like this is wrong. For some reason, people are all right with treatments for illnesses that start from the neck down. "To shock a brain" is not as acceptable as it is to "shock a heart."

 Believe me if your brain was in a severe depressive episode and nothing was working  you  would be open to treatment options! I recommend ECT for someone who has tried medications and they do not work or they do not work fast enough.

 When I worked as a clinical case manger, I would talk to my patients, the ones who  had tried to commit suicide. When I asked them why they did not get ECT, the usual response was; "I was afraid to get  ECT. I thought it would destroy my brain." This is not good logic; why would a  person  rather go through the horrible trauma of suicide rather than try another proven answer to  correct faulty brain chemistry? Actually, not getting effective treatment by medicine or ECT can in some ways diminish  your brain power.

Image result for nimh

First developed in 1938, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) for years had a poor reputation with many negative depictions in popular culture. However, the procedure has improved significantly since its initial use and is safe and effective. People who undergo ECT do not feel any pain or discomfort during the procedure.

 It is most often used to treat severe, treatment-resistant depression, but occasionally it is used to treat other mental disorders, such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. It also may be used in life-threatening circumstances, such as when a patient is unable to move or respond to the outside world (e.g., catatonia), is suicidal, or is malnourished as a result of severe depression.

Before ECT begins, a patient is put under brief anesthesia and given a muscle relaxant. He or she sleeps through the treatment and does not consciously feel the electrical impulses. Within one hour after the treatment session, which takes only a few minutes, the patient is awake and alert.

A person typically will undergo ECT several times a week, and often will need to take an antidepressant or other medication along with the ECT treatments. Although some people will need only a few courses of ECT, others may need maintenance ECT—usually once a week at first, then gradually decreasing to monthly treatments. On-going NIMH-supported ECT research is aimed at developing personalized maintenance ECT schedules.

ECT may cause some side effects, including confusion, disorientation, and memory loss. Usually these side effects are short-term, but sometimes they can linger. Newer methods of administering the treatment have reduced the memory loss and other cognitive difficulties associated with ECT. Research has found that one year after completing ECT treatments, most patients showed no adverse cognitive effects.

In their book, Broken Minds, (Kregel Publications), Steve and Robyn Bloem not only give a technical look at depression but, also share what has happened to them, personally. In the Glossary of Terms of this book, you will find a good definition of ECT (page 246). You will also find chapter 12 ; The Frightening ECT Response to Mental Ilnness to be helpful. Please take advantage of the special right can buy this book from the authors at our cost plus shipping

Steve has counseled people who were hesitant about getting ECT,  but found out it was a depression stopper.   He meets people face to face from Jupiter to Fort Lauderdale, FL. He also counsels by Skype, and by phone, reaching people throughout the world. If you wish to know more about his counseling ministry, go 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Have you ever been mocked because you love the Lord and hold fast His word?

 Image result for jeremiah the weeping prophet

Have ever read in the Bible about Jeremiah the prophet? Did you know that he experienced
deep depression and one day cursed the day that he was born? His description of his emotions are very helpful.  He knew what is was like to be in a war zone and being considered a traitor. He was the object of persecution and was put in jail a number of times.  As many who have been depressed, he was sensitive to being derided and mocked.  You should read his books, Jeremiah and Lamentations.  Here is a quote that gives a good description of him and his writings that are found in God's word, the Bible.

Jeremiah was a man of Sorrow
One old sage summarizes Jeremiah’s ministry, “Jeremiah, distinguished as poet, prophet and patriot, acquired immortal distinction in the annals of the Hebrew nations as the Man of Sorrow.  In him was the unparalleled sufferings of Judea seemed concentrated and individualized.  His mournful dirge, sung in the minor key, (speaking of Lamentations, ed. …gave voice, with lavish variety imagery and felicity of phrase, to the overwhelming anguish of a distracted and ruined people. In this sublime elegy the poet-prophet, touches the deepest woe of the sufferer in all ages, and provides it with adequate expression.” 
(Barlow, Rev. George. The Preacher’s Complete Homiletic Commentary on the Lamentations of Jeremiah, (2001), Grand Rapids: Baker Books, p. 71).

Monday, August 21, 2017

Do you understand the devastation of Panic Disorder?

Fear is the controlling emotion in a panic disorder. It comes on quickly and powerfully. Sometimes the panic is a reaction to environmental “cues.” In some people, though, the panic comes for no identifiable reason.

Impending Doom for Millions

Image result for fear

An estimated 6.5 million persons in the United States experience panic attacks. It is common to have both classic depression and panic attacks, and many who experience panic disorder also suffer from other mental illnesses. Attacks can cause almost unbelievable distress. This is not the “panicky” feeling one gets when a real threat is perceived. Panic is a normal stress reaction when there is threat of danger. Panic attacks relate to no discernible threat, but the person feels paralyzing terror. The person feels a sense of impending danger or dread, sometimes called “angst.” The heart pounds and races, as the body goes into its “fight-or-flight” physical response. The person may feel chest pain, light-headness , and have difficulty breathing.

The Hurricane Tornado Analogy

Image result for hurricane and tornadoes

Episodes can come in clusters of perhaps two or three a day. A set of attacks can continue day after day, or they can stop for months and suddenly reappear at any time of day or night.

A panic attack that occurs in the middle of a depressive episode is a particularly serious event. It might be compared to one type of storm. Living in Florida, Robyn and I endured the ninety-mile-an-hour winds of Hurricane David (1979). David was a “category 5” monster storm in the Caribbean, but it was losing its punch by the time it reached Florida. Still, like depression, the wind was constant, severe, and seemed to go on and on.

Then there was Hurricane Andrew (1992), the most destructive U.S. storm on record. What made Andrew so devastating was that embedded within its massive cell was a meteorological phenomenon that caused winds to swirl into tornadoes. In addition to the straight winds, tornadoes unexpectedly swept through south Florida, destroying entire communities. A tornado hidden inside a hurricane describes a panic attack that comes along in the midst of an episode of depression. Panic attacks come and go, while the episode of depression remains to debilitate the person.

My Personal Panic Attack.

In the midst of my initial depression, I suddenly felt the pounding heart and feared I was having a heart attack. My hands tingled and I hyperventilated, to the point that for a time I carried around a brown bag to breathe into. It reinforced my fears that I was “going insane,” since the experience of panic also included some feelings of derealization and depersonalization. Those who work in trauma centers of hospital emergency rooms commonly see persons who are certain that they are having a heart problem, when actually they are experiencing a panic attack. EMTs on emergency calls must ascertain whether heart attack symptoms presented are coming from the heart

Do you need help? If you are in South Florida, we can come to you and counsel you where you live.Here is a link to learn how we can also use Skype or by phone.  Please click on our first link then scroll down.

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

A Spiritual Battlefield,The Persecuted Church

 One of the purposes of Heartfelt Counseling Ministries is to make known to Christians the persecution and killing of other true believers in the world around them. We seek to  to stimulate the evangelical community in every place to pray for the persecuted church and to help them in anyway possible.

The number of countries where persecution is widespread is hard to comprehend. In our own United States, persecution occurs often but seldom results in death. Students, who hold to a biblical world and life view and attend American universities are ridiculed
and scorned by many of their professors.

America is just about ready to declare by word and by practice that the right to die will become the duty to die. Babies are being killed for nothing that they have done but because it is convenient for one or both of their parents. Other murderers (those who kill people who have actually been born)  seem to receive very "light sentences."

 Our daughter, who knew Christ and loved him, was hit by a car on September 11, 2001 at about 7:40 pm. The young delinquent who slammed into her, cared nothing about our troubled nation on that day of terrorism and certainly nothing of Christ. This is another case of home-grown terrorism.. The terrorist that killed her was on enough heroin, cocaine and marijuana to "put down six men" (according to the Michigan State Police Forensics Lab). It is likely that this addict, probably unknown to him, was connected to the Taliban, who  had been making and selling opioids from the poppy fields of Afghanistan.. The heroin that he and his friends were injecting, while in the car on 9-11-2001, must have come illegally into the United States.

 He was given three consecutive sentences of fifteen years. How can a person be given such a light sentence?  How can the  three sentences run concurrently? It is the language of lawyers and judges, a concept that the common man does not understand.  In fact, he served thirteen years and a number of his possible paroles were extended  because of his poor behavior in prison.

The Bible tells us in 1 Peter 3:15,16 
But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame."
“You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good.”
Joseph’s words in Genesis 50 may reflect the sentiment of many front-line gospel workers in the persecuted world. These workers have seen an increased openness to the gospel among Muslims as a result of increased persecution. We have heard them request prayer, not for release, but that they will persevere in their faith as they continue to suffer for Christ. These men and women are the real heroes of today. They live out what we preach and we must remember to pray for them.

One thing I have heard people say about broad prayers for the persecuted is, "How can I pray in such general terms?" One person shared with me, that he prays for someone his own age who may be struggling in strength and grace and who may be also worried about a grown child who needs grace or grand children who miss their parents and grandparents because they are imprisoned. He just tries to be a little more specific in his prayers and to personalize his requests. You can also go to Voice of the Martyrs and get specific people whose names you can then take to the Lord. HE knows how to answer your prayers for them.