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Nothing is more likely to precipitate a family crisis than suicidal thinking or behavior, which isn’t uncommon. When this occurs, you may be able to help.
The most important thing you can do is to get psychiatric treatment. Contact the treating psychiatrist or therapist, a local psychiatric hospital, a community mental health center, or a hospital emergency room. You shouldn’t deal with suicidal thinking or behavior on your own. Suicidal thinking and behavior are serious warning signs that the person is suffering greatly; furthermore, they may culminate in actual suicide.
A common response is to deny or minimize suicidal thinking in a loved one. It’s a very difficult situation to face, and you may be tempted to ignore it in the hope that it will simply go away. But it’s a serious mistake to ignore these warning signs or assume they will pass. They may not, and they may worsen if untreated. If a person with BDD appears severely depressed, it’s/advisable for you to ask if they’ve had thoughts that life isn’t worth living, thoughts of harming themselves, or a plan to end their life. Asking such questions won’t put the thought of suicide in their head and may even be life saving.
Usually, suicidal thinking is associated with an underlying psychiatric disorder, such as BDD or depression, which is amenable to psychiatric treatment. Insist that your loved one obtain psychiatric treatment, including medication, which often effectively treats BDD symptoms as well as associated depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.
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Lorazepam
Brand Name
Ativan
Also available in generic form.
Be Aware That:
* Long-term use of lorazepam at unusually high dosages, or even at recommended-dosage levels, can cause physical addiction. Anyone who has a history of drug addiction or alcoholism may be at a greater risk of becoming physically addicted to lorazepam.
* Taking lorazepam with alcohol or other sedatives can cause extreme, even fatal, side effects. Because lorazepam by itself may cause drowsiness, you should be careful when driving, operating machinery, or doing tasks that require concentration.
*You should not suddenly stop taking lorazepam, since this may cause withdrawal symptoms, such as convulsions, vomiting, muscle cramps, and sweating. Withdrawal from this drug should occur only under your doctor’s supervision.
Tell The Doctor If:
*You have any reason to suspect you are allergic to lorazepam.
*You have a history of drug or alcohol addiction.
*You are pregnant (or think you possibly might be). Because lorazepam may affect your unborn baby, your doctor should not prescribe this drug unless the benefits clearly surpass any potential danger to your baby. Lorazepam is not recommended for nursing mothers.
*You are taking any prescription or over-the-counter drugs.
*You have kidney or liver disease.
*You have acute narrow-angle glaucoma.
Watch Out For:
Drowsiness, fatigue, and loss of coordination. Make sure you notify your physician if any of these side effects occurs. In addition, there have been reports of vivid dreams associated with the benzodiazepine class of drugs.
The Drug May Interact With:
*Alcohol, narcotics, other antidepressants, barbiturates, MAO inhibitors and antihistamines, causing potentially dangerous side effects.
The Drug’s Usual Dosage:
Initially, for insomnia in ADULTS: a single dose of 2 to 4 mg, given at bedtime. Initially, for the ELDERLY patient: One-half the usual adult dosage. All dosages to be established by your doctor.
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The reader will be aware by now, if you are suffering from second stage stress breakdown symptoms, that you got this way by using your will-power to ignore the anxiety signals of nervous system overload.
However, if you are experiencing stage one symptoms only, and if you followed all my suggestions so far, you should not develop stage two symptoms. But if you do, you will not be afraid of them, because you know that the second stage symptoms of losing control of your emotions and being unable to ‘psych’ yourself or motivate yourself into doing something you don’t want to do, are just a sign that you must now rest, get help to relieve the stress, and that you must now get some more sleep.
Second stage symptoms are your marching orders, your instructions that this is the end of your ability to stay in the stressful situation without behaving abnormally.
In stage three breakdown you will not be aware, usually, that your abnormal behaviour is due to stress and you will not be able to do anything meaningful to help yourself. When you develop stage three stress symptoms, you will need a ‘rescuer’ to take over and help you.
Therefore, you should regard the symptoms of stage two breakdown, the loss of emotional control and the inability to motivate yourself as easily as before, as a potentially serious threshold not to step over.
If, however, you either choose or are forced to ignore these symptoms and try to continue on under the stress as before, then you will experience serious stress breakdown. If you are to be helped out of your stage three breakdown, the person helping you will have to take into consideration those factors which caused you to ignore the stage two stress breakdown symptoms. You may, in fact, be too strong to stop yourself from breaking down further. You may not be weak enough to prevent breaking down. I know these statements seem paradoxical, but they indicate a basic truth about stress breakdown – strong people are more likely to break down than weaker people.

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ANTI-DEPRESSANTS

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The plethora of possible therapies can be quite confusing to the new patient. In addition, most individual therapies are taught at a number of different training schools, which often vary in their emphasis and approach. What is important is to find both a therapy and a practitioner that suit you personally. Often the qualities of the practitioner as a person are at least as important as the techniques he or she uses.
The therapies described in the following pages can all be helpful for emotional stress, physical tension and pain, as well as insomnia. If touch is lacking in your life, you might receive particular benefit from a hands-on treatment like osteopathy, chiropractic, aromatherapy, or massage. If you feel taking medication is important or necessary, try homoeopathy or medical herbalism.
Before embarking on a course of treatment it’s worth checking out what the practitioner has to offer in addition to any specialization. Some train in more than one discipline, and can advise you on diet or nutritional supplements, or combine treatments like osteopathy and acupuncture.
You may find your practitioner using unusual means of diagnosis: some are trained in iridology, diagnosis through the iris of the eye, which reflects the state of the body: variations in the colour, dark or light spots and so on can indicate organic or functional weaknesses and nutritional deficiencies. Some use kinesiology techniques (see page 150) to test imbalances and nutritional needs; some use dowsing with a pendulum. Some are highly intuitive and can tell a lot about a patient simply by looking at them or touching them.
Assuming your GP is open minded, it’s as well to let him or her know that you are seeking additional treatment. Doctors today are conscious of the possible side-effects of tranquillizers and sleeping pills; they don’t want patients to become addicted, and many of them recognize the value of alternative forms of reducing anxiety.
However, if you are already taking medication you should discuss this with both your doctor and the natural practitioner you have chosen. Some forms of natural medicine really are alternative rather than complementary to conventional medicine; some herbal medicines, for example, may not be compatible with medical drugs, and the effect of some homoeopathic remedies can be counteracted by drugs like steroids. So you should talk to your doctor before making any changes in or adding to what he or she has already prescribed.
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Anti-Depressants/Sleeping Aid

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Jan

The wedding of Jan’s daughter was six months away and the planning for it was gaining momentum. Instead of feeling excited, Jan was feeling desperate. What if she had a panic attack on the day of the wedding? What if she had to leave the church or the reception? What would everyone think? She didn’t want to make a fool of herself or disrupt the wedding in any way. What if she couldn’t even make it to the wedding at all? She was feeling anxious about it already, yet it was still six months away. Jan wanted to prevent her anxiety from increasing, but she didn’t know how.

Marilyn

Marilyn’s counsellor had told her that clinging to the memory of her first panic attack was not helping her as she worked on her recovery. Marilyn felt quite angry with the counsellor. What did the counsellor know anyway? That first panic attack was dreadful. Marilyn had been in the local shopping mall when it happened. She had no idea what it was and had thought she was dying. She had asked a few people to help her, but they didn’t respond. They must have thought she was either drunk or crazy. Marilyn had.to get back to her car and drive herself home, where she stayed for the next four years. Although she had made it home safely every time she tried to go out since then, Marilyn would think of her first attack and naturally she would become anxious. She didn’t want to go through that again. How could she not think about that attack? It was that attack which caused all the ongoing problems. Marilyn thought the counsellor, like all the rest she had seen, didn’t really understand and wouldn’t be able to help her.

*77\94\8*

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The bags under your eyes, the weight you have been losing or gaining, the grumpiness and sheer exhaustion—these are the obvious reasons to make some changes. Your child’s physical and emotional well-being are also reasons.

Dr. Burton White, author of The First Three Years of Life, feels that sleep problems understandably occur in families where children are loved and whose needs have been met. So, in some ways, the emergence of sleep problems is not necessarily a bad sign. He notes that it is the continuance of sleep disturbances that can cause deeper problems.

Dr. Marc Weissbluth, author of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, states that the development of healthy sleep habits is not automatic. If your child has not learned them, then his functioning during wakefulness is not “optimal.”2 Put simply, a sleep-deprived child (waking several times a night or missing out on even an hour) is not at his best. His cognitive processes will be fuzzy and his social functioning will be marked by grumpy unpredictability.

A child can “adjust” to whatever sleep patterns he has fallen into. (Look at how you have “adjusted.” Do you say “I didn’t know it was possible to exist with so little sleep”?) However, there are signs—some subtle, some blatant—that he is not at his best.

It is the parents’ job to insist on healthy sleep, just as they insist on healthy nutrition, to give the child the strongest base from which to grow. Good sleep habits do not necessarily happen spontaneously. This is a skill that can be learned by children and facilitated by parents.

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One of the commonest symptoms of anxiety is the abnormal awareness of the action of our heart. Palpitation is a normal accompaniment of a response to danger. In this case the increased action of our heart serves to prepare us to meet the threat. However, as soon as the danger passes the action of our heart returns to normal and we cease to be aware of it. But when we suffer from anxiety, the unpleasant awareness of the action of our heart is often constantly with us.

Besides the persistence of the palpitation there is another factor. In our normal response to real danger our heart does in fact beat more strongly. But in the palpitation of anxiety there may be little actual overactivity of the heart, and the unpleasant awareness is due to our hypersensitivity to the normal beating of our heart rather than to overactivity of the organ.

The feeling of palpitation focuses our attention on our heart. We are all familiar with the dangers of heart attacks from coronary thrombosis. We soon come to feel that something is wrong with our heart. To reassure us our doctor takes an electrocardiogram and tells us that it shows our heart to be quite normal and that the palpitation is only due to our nervous condition. But we are not reassured. A lurking feeling remains that there is something wrong. In fact, it is hard to be reassured so long as our anxiety is still with. us.

A few years ago I saw an industrial tycoon, a man of strikingly pleasant personality and such exceptional ability that in a matter of a decade he had amassed a great fortune. But over the previous two and a half years he had suffered from pain over his heart and quite violent palpitation; and as a result was unable to enjoy the material success he had achieved.

In the manner of the real tycoon he was determined at all costs to get himself fixed up. He was not sure whether it was ten or twelve cardiologists that he had consulted in the various capital cities of Australia. He had gone to America to the most famous cardiological clinic in that country. He had been treated by a psychiatrist in America and by three psychiatrists in Australia.

“You can tell when there is something wrong with your heart, you can feel it,” he asserted.

There was obviously no point in having a head-on collision with such a man, so I merely said, “Anyway, you would be more comfortable if you were more relaxed.” And we went on from there.

One day about eighteenth months later I was driving home, when I caught sight of him in his car. In typical style he shouted, “Never better in my life.”

I must also tell you something of the other side. Last week I saw a healthy, athletic student who was becoming crippled by pain over his heart. Two leading cardiologists had assured him that his heart was perfectly normal. He was really brought to me against his wishes, by his father. He is convinced there is something wrong with his heart. He will not listen to me. He refuses to come back. Yet I am sure that if he would only do what I suggest he would soon be free of the pain.

Rejection by the patient like this does not happen often, but it is the most common cause of failure.

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