In 2009, after the movie, Avatar by James Cameron, a lot of people experienced de-realization, they wished to leave earth to Pandora after seeing the movie. It was referred to as the “Post- Avatar Depression” and it was serious in many cases that some people expressed the desire to commit suicide with the hope that they’ll eventually wake up in their dream land, Pandora. This goes to show the strong influence of the media on the behavior and attitudes of people. Not just Avatar, people immerse themselves in movies, TV shows, games, etc. all in attempt to forget their reality and fill the emptiness in their souls. So on this national suicide prevention week, I want to shed more light on depression and offer helpful tips for those with suicidal thoughts.
Causes of depression vary and maybe difficult to identify. But the fact is that only those who have faced or now face a depressive state are able to understand what it means to experience a lot of the symptoms.
In my previous post “Help for People with Depression” I discussed depression in details. Here are a few symptoms of depression.
SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION
- Excessive sleep (>12 hours at a time) without any desire to wake up.
- Crying excessively with no apparent reason.
- Being unable to enjoy what they like the most (anhedonia)
- Feeling incapable and inept
- Having unpleasant thoughts
- Feelings of hopelessness and lack of willingness to live.
- Feeling guilty about unimportant things
- Feelings of failure, etc.
All of these feelings can result in thoughts of suicide, they eventually feel they’re not living but just merely existing.
Depression is a public health concern. It is prevalent, predominantly in psychiatric and psychology clinics. The incidence is also increasing. It is estimated to be the 2nd most common cause of morbidity in world by 2020 with cardiovascular diseases being the 1st. It can affect anyone, across all age groups, gender and social group/ class. According to the WHO, more than 100 million people are depressed in the world.
Sometimes, it is hard to not feel jealous, to not compare your life to that of others. You feel things are not where they should be, that you could do better. You worry about the next minutes, afraid of what is to come – the future.
But you should remember this: we are all on different paths, running different races just in the same world. Do not forget that you’re where you should be: the present, this moment – NOW. It is all you’ve got and you have to make the most of it.
– Angela Azinta
×Suffering a great disappointment, being excessively worried or stressed does not mean one is depressed. However, these emotional alterations can be seen at the early stages and it is necessary to be attentive and avoid continuity of these feelings. Symptoms of depression vary and diagnosis is not confirmed until symptoms appear in a regular manner during a period of 2 weeks and at least one of the symptoms being: Persistent sadness or anhedonia.
HELP FOR DEPRESSION
national suicide prevention week
Seek sufficient social support
- Being surrounded by good relationships (family, friends, colleagues etc.) and good environments is necessary to maintain a healthy mental status
Keep up an active life
- Take up tasks, find something/an activity you enjoy doing. Occupy yourself with tasks that bring you satisfaction and are productive and uplifting. Exercising regularly can keep you active. Read on the benefits of exercise
Avoid negative thoughts
- Try to see the positive sides of things, avoid fixating on the negative. Positive thinking is a habit that should be cultivated to avoid a negative outlook on life.
Do not dwell on the past
- Avoid spending time lamenting on the past, instead cheer yourself up with thoughts of good times and joyful events. If you experienced a trauma (abuse, disasters etc.), try to seek help from a psychologist or psychiatrist to help you better deal with these issues and overcome what has happened.
READ more on depression……..
According to WHO, suicide takes more than 800,000 lives per year. Every 3 seconds, a person attempts to take their own life, resulting in the death of 1 person every 40 seconds. In the US, it is estimated that 121 people take their lives every single day. The most common reason of these cases of suicide is untreated depression
• Gender Differences
– Males are more successful at committing suicide than females
– Females attempt suicide more often than males
national suicide prevention week 2018
Causes of suicide
There are several risk factors of suicide ranging from: Suicide in the Family, Alcohol Use and Abuse, Past Suicidal Behavior, Experience of a Shameful/Humiliating Stressor, Publicity about Suicide and Media Coverage. The table below summarizes the causes of suicide
national suicide prevention week 2018
MYTHS and FACTS about suicide
In order to clarify these topics, the WHO has published a list of myths and facts about suicide some of which will be listed below.
• People who talk about suicide have no intention of committing suicide
• Majority of suicides take place without warning.
• Only those with mental problems commit suicide
• Talking about suicide encourages it
• People who threaten to kill themselves just want attention and those who survive suicide attempts are out of danger
• The media should not deal with the topic of suicide as it encourages it
• People who talk about suicide are likely seeking help since they frequently suffer from depression and lack of hope
• Majority of the individuals give warnings or signs, therefore it is important to pay attention to the behaviors of those around us.
• Many people who have mental problems do not commit suicide and not all people who take their own life have mental problems.
• Talking about suicide can help the person with suicidal thoughts or tendencies analyze other options and give them time to rethink their decision and possibly change their minds
• The days following a suicide attempt require careful attention since the survivor will be especially fragile
• According to the WHO, the media should deal with this as a public health issue and approach it appropriately. Everyone should be informed regarding suicide and know where to seek help.
PREVENTION OF SUICIDE
In addition to the previously listed facts,
- It is essential to critically analyze the contents of the media. There are so many songs, movies, TV programs, even games that may incite suicide. Preteens and teenagers should receive special attention and education about suicide.
- According to WHO, suicide is preventable in 90% of cases. There organizations for example, in the US, there is a National Suicide Prevention lifeline – 800-273-TALK or 800-273-8255 which offers 24hours toll-free suicide prevention services.
It is very important to communicate with our friends or loved ones. Check on your friends including those who are always happy. Always maintain a positive outlook and most especially, never forget to take care of yourself.
Success isn’t one size fits all, it is what you define it to be, from getting to work or school on a difficult day to getting a promotion.
There is a lot of pressure to rate ourselves on scales that society has created for us. We shouldn’t give into this.
First isn’t always best and Failure isn’t always bad, it is all part of the process.
Fear is only an illusion, feel the fear and face it regardless.
What is important is that we strive to do our best, to be better versions of ourselves. That to me – is success.
– Angela Azinta
Share your story about mental health and suicide by leaving your comments below…
National suicide prevention day 2018
Smoking is usually started very early in life. So many people pick up smoking for many reasons. It could be due to peer pressure from friends, some claim it’s due to the weather conditions during the winter season. Others may admit that smoking made them more mature and helped them with stress. Over time you become so dependent on cigarette smoking. Despite claims of cigarette smoking as a mechanism of coping with stress or making you feel more mature; you smoke at the expense of your health. This article addresses the impact of cigarette smoking on our health and offers tips on how to quit smoking.
It’s nothing new as I’m sure we’ve heard several times the harmful effect of smoking. The warning is written on several cigarette packs ‘smokers are liable to die young’. You may have tried several times to quit, several failed promises to yourself that this is my last cigarette. Smoking has become your master and you can’t help but have regrets of having started smoking in the first place.
This is the relationship that many smokers have with the cigarette. After 20 to 30 years of smoking, you often tell yourself that cigarette could help more than having another person around. It’s one of your oldest and favorite friends, sometimes it’s your only friend.” But you’ve come to realize, that cigarette is, in fact, a very toxic friend Indeed.
Why tobacco has such a strong grip on you
Nicotine in tobacco smoke reaches the human brain about 10 seconds after the smoker inhales a puff. The nicotine releases several chemicals in our brain. And this produces the perception of pleasure and happiness, increased energy and motivation, increased alertness and vigor and increased cognitive arousal similar to that produced by heroine or cocaine.
It activates several areas of the brain leading to generalized brain activation, arousal, increased concentration and intellectual skills. Nicotine also causes enhanced memory and improved problem-solving behavior. It suppresses appetite contributing to smokers’ lower weight compared to nonsmokers.
Despite these attributes, tobacco smoke contains more than 7000 chemicals. 70 of them are known to cause cancer e.g. lung cancer which number one cause is Cigarette smoking. More so, smoking affects our autoimmune system, blood, heart, vision, bones, lungs and reproductive system.
The risk factors associated with the cigarette are indeed very broad and it’s due to this many broad reasons that you’ve probably considered quitting smoking.
Health effects of smoking on your body
Cigarette smoking has several harmful effects on the body. It has been associated with several untimely deaths in the United States. It is the single most common cause of cancer. Smoking causes cancer of the:
• Bone marrow and blood
It also affects your-
• Blood: causes increased blood pressure, thickened blood vessels
• Vision: nerve damage leading to blindness
• Reproductive system: preterm birth, still birth, ectopic pregnancy, erectile dysfunction.
• Heart: stroke, heart attack, coronary artery disease.
• Bones: low bone density, osteoporosis.
• Lungs: asthma, tuberculosis, pneumonia chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Nicotine in cigarette is about 8-10 mg and when you smoke, a total of 1-3 mg is absorbed by the body. This level can increase depending on the technique of the smoker. This eventually leads to nicotine addiction.
It is one of the most toxic dependence producing psychoactive compound overall. It acts by stimulating the reward center in your brain causing mood altering changes in your brain which are temporarily pleasing making you crave for more of it.
When you’re addicted to nicotine, you usually cannot stop using the substance despite several attempts to stop smoking.
Signs and symptoms of nicotine addiction
• You smoke and cannot stop
• Experience withdrawal symptoms during periods where cigarette is not available
• Continue smoking even in the presence of a disease
Depression- Over thinking
Withdrawal symptoms of Nicotine –
It usually begins within 24 hours of smoking cessation. The peak symptoms can last for days to weeks and cigarette cravings can last for years. Symptoms include:
• Lethargy, decreased arousal
• Disrupted sleep cycle
• Excessive hunger ( low blood sugar)
• Poor concentration
Nicotine replacement therapy
It is a treatment method to help people stop smoking. It uses products that supplies very low doses of nicotine to the body. These products do not usually contain the carcinogenic toxins which predisposes to the harmful effects of cigarette smoking. This therapy comes in several forms
• Nasal spray
• Skin patch
The main goal of nicotine replacement therapy is to cut down on cravings for nicotine and ease the symptom of nicotine withdrawal.
Best Quit-Smoking Tips
If you want to quit smoking, you need to be very motivated at the very least, how can you become motivated? You can do this by thinking about how much better you’d feel after quitting.
You will save a lot of money. A pack of cigarette a day is a lot of money spent cumulatively at the end of the year. You spend so much money on buying cigarettes and the worst part is you don’t even realize this.
You should get more joy out of life: quitting tobacco makes you feel better. You’re able to taste food better and exercise well, your sense of smell improves and you have more energy reserves for your daily activities.
Your health may improve after quitting tobacco: quitting smoking has major and immediate health benefits for men and women of all ages as it decreases the many risk factors of diseases associated with smoking.
You will look healthier and younger when you are not exposed to the harmful effects of smoking.
Your family and friends will benefit: smoking hurts those around you. Passive smoke causes thousands of deaths each year from lung cancer and heart disease.
The brain is the power house of the body, it controls all our body functions. It contains nerve cells that must work together for the body to function normally. We’ve all been stressed at one point in our lives. Read More
Cigarette Quitting Tips and Techniques
If you want to conquer the bad habit of smoking, you may need the support of family, friends or anyone who will be genuinely supportive and patient.
Consider joining support groups and seek out those who have quit the smoking habit themselves. They will properly guide you on effective strategies that worked for them as sometimes the support of family and friends may not be enough.
Before you overcome the habit is smoking, you need to prepare your mind for the challenges that comes with it. Read on to find out how to quit smoking.
Medications as a strategy to quit smoking
Medications can be helpful if you want to quit smoking. But before you decide to take any medications, you need to discuss with a healthcare personnel. This will enable you to discuss the different medication options, associated side effects and how to manage them.
Many drug therapies work by increasing your chances of quitting smoking by reducing withdrawal symptoms.
Some of the medications for quitting tobacco have some potential side effects e.g. nausea, suicidal thoughts, depression. Nicotine replacement therapy is often used and also has its health risks.
One of the best strategies is to attempt quitting tobacco without the use of drugs as this reduces the chances of any potential side effects of drugs.
Prepare for the difficulties of quitting smoking.
Cigarette cravings usually peak within 3 days after your last cigarette and usually decrease after 2 weeks. During these trying times, you’ll feel a very strong urge to just light up one cigarette which can lead to even smoking the whole packet as a compensation for the days missed. When these cravings come up, do not do anything rash. Wait at least five to ten minutes and remind yourself why you decided to quit in the first place. Before you know it, the desire should pass.
There’ll always be withdrawal symptoms. You may find it very hard to stay awake or concentrate on a task. You may experience sweating, mood changes, anger, weight gain and even depression. Most of these symptoms often disappear after five to six weeks of avoiding tobacco. During the period of experiencing withdrawal symptoms, you can: Read to Overcome depression
• Allow more time to sleep. When you’re asleep, you’ll not have the urge to smoke.
• Resort to drinking water and fruit drinks.
• Engage in physical activities
• You can practice deep breathing techniques
• Join a support group
• Eat a healthy and balanced diet
Avoid the triggers that make you want to smoke. E.g. if you’re more inclined to smoking while drinking, then it’s best to avoid drinking all together. If you smoke during the coffee break, you can always talk to a friend so as to distract you from smoking.
Remember your reasons for quitting smoking
The temptation will always come and when it does, you should always remember your reasons for quitting smoking. Visiting pubs and clubs might trigger a feeling of wanting to smoke. Visiting these places while trying to quit smoking will make it difficult to actually quit. Always remember that:
• Small amount of alcohol consumption can increase the pleasure derived from nicotine.
• Social drinking is often related to increased cigarette consumption.
• High levels of alcohol impair your judgment which might lead you to smoke.
Be selective in the company you keep. Avoid places where people smoke and stay away from people who may encourage you to smoke. It’s often easy to be a victim of peer pressure so always avoid peers who may tease you about the efforts you’re putting to quit smoking.
If you feel the urge to smoke, create a distraction for yourself perhaps by going for a walk with a friend, chewing gum, drinking water. Also fill your mind with positive and refreshing thoughts.
According to national alliance on mental health, 350 million people suffer from depression worldwide, that’s 5% of the world’s population. It is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. from ages 15 to 44.3. Read More
Different forms of Tobacco
All forms of tobacco are lethal as stated by the world health organization. Tobacco is used in many different ways. Death may result from any tobacco products and is linked to heart diseases and cancers.
Bidis: These are small, hand-rolled cigarettes. They deliver several times more tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide than do regular cigarettes.
Smokeless tobacco: This includes chewing tobacco, snuff, and flavored gutkha used in Southeast Asia. Nicotine is absorbed into the bloodstream through the mouth. Smokeless tobacco use is every bit as dangerous as other tobacco use.
Kreteks, or clove cigarettes: These contain about 60 percent tobacco and 40 percent cloves. They usually deliver more tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide than do regular cigarettes.
Pipes: Smoking a pipe is not a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes, for both habits can cause many of the same cancers and other diseases.
Water pipes (bongs, hookahs, narghiles, and shishas): With these devices, tobacco smoke passes through water before being inhaled. Nevertheless, the process may not reduce the amount of toxins, including cancer-causing agents, which get into the lungs.
Cigars: These are made of filler tobacco tightly wrapped in tobacco leaf or in paper made from tobacco. This allows nicotine to be absorbed through the mouth even if the cigar is unlit.
E cigarette is not been used as a replacement for other forms of tobacco products. “Click to read about the health risks of E-cigarette’
How to quit smoking
The first step is to decide to quit smoking. And then ensure to set an appropriate date to quit. Do whatever it takes to make sure your decision is final. Talk to friends and family about your decision to quit smoking and ask for their support.
Make a quit card. This card may contain your favorite quote that’s motivates you and your reason for quitting. Always ensure to carry this card around and refer to it several times a day.
When approaching your quit date, you can start by making some changes. These may include disrupting habits linked to your smoking e.g. if you smoke as soon as you get up each morning, go for a walk as soon as you wake up and then smoke afterwards. If you smoke during a meal or immediately after, try to chew gum instead and constantly work on breaking your smoking routine. Try to avoid places where people smoke and if you’re offered some cigarette, you can say out loud “No thanks. I’ve quit smoking.”
As your quit date draws closer, go to your local store and buy gum, nuts, and so on. Remind your friends and family of your quit date and how they can support you. Just before that day, do a major clean up by disposing your ashtrays, lighters, and cigarettes lying around your home, in your car or pockets.
A lot of people have succeeded in their quest to quit smoking and you can to. You can win the battle against smoking and as you do this, your health and happiness will surely return.
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Until next time. Görüşürüz.