Month: December 2015

Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)

Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)

Social anxiety disorder (SAD), also known as social phobia, is the most common anxiety disorder and one of the most common psychiatric disorders. It is characterized by an intense fear of being judged by others and humiliated in social situations thereby causing considerable distress and impaired ability to function in daily life. These fears can be triggered by perceived or actual scrutiny from others.

Physical symptoms often accompanying social anxiety disorder include excessive blushing, excess sweating, trembling, palpitations and nausea. Stammering may be present, along with rapid speech. This fear can be so strong that it interferes with daily life activities like going to work or school. If left untreated, some sufferers use alcohol, food, or drugs to reduce the fear at social events, which often leads to other disorders such as alcoholism, eating disorders, and depression. Panic attacks can also occur under intense fear and discomfort.

Standardized rating scales such as the Social Phobia Inventory, the SPAI-B and Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale can be used to screen for social anxiety disorder and measure the severity of anxiety.


The first line in Anxiety Disorder Therapy is cognitive behavioral therapy with medications recommended only in those who are not interested in therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy is effective in treating social phobia, whether delivered individually or in a group setting. The cognitive and behavioral components seek to change thought patterns and physical reactions to anxiety-inducing situations.

Prescribed medications include severalclassesof antidepressants: selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Other commonly used medications include beta blockers and benzodiazepines.


Brain Imaging Predicts Psychotherapy Success in Patients with Social Anxiety Disorder

Treatment for social anxiety disorder or social phobia has entered the personalized medicine arena—brain imaging can provide neuromarkers to predict whether traditional options such as cognitive behavioral therapy will work for a particular patient, reported a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)-funded study that was published in the January 2013 issue of JAMA Psychiatry




Social anxiety disorder (SAD)— the fear— is the third most prevalent psychiatric disorder in Americans, after depression and alcohol dependence, according to the National Comorbidity Survey, a U.S. poll on mental health.The NIMH claims that 6.8 percent of U.S. adults and 5.5 percent of 13- to 15-year-olds, the age of onset for this chronic disorder, are annually afflicted.

Although psychotherapy and drugs, such as antidepressants and benzodiazepines, exist as treatments for SAD, current behavioral measures poorly predict which would work better for individual patients. “Half of social anxiety disorder patients have satisfactory response to treatment. There is little evidence about which patient would benefit from a particular form of treatment,” said John D. Gabrieli, Ph.D., lead author of the study. “Currently, there is no rational basis for prescribing one treatment over the other. Which treatment a patient gets depends on whom they see.”

Enter personalized medicine, the use of genetic or other biological markers to tailor treatments to those who would actually benefit from them, thus sparing the expense and side effects for those who would not. Brain imaging could identify neuromarkers or targeted areas of the brain that could one day optimize treatment for individual patients. Neuromarkers are being used in other areas of mental illness, for instance, to predict the onset of psychosis in schizophrenia and the likelihood of relapse in drug addiction.

In this study, Gabrieli, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, and his colleagues, used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in 39 SAD patients before a 12-week course of cognitive behavioral therapy. The patients viewed angry versus neutral faces and scenes while undergoing fMRI examination (see first slide). Compared to neutral faces, angry faces convey disapproval and are likely to prompt excessive fear responses and negative connotations in SAD patients; cognitive behavioral therapy teaches these patients ways to downregulate their responses. The patients’ brain images were then compared to their scores on a conventional clinical measure, the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS), a questionnaire which they took before and after therapy completion.

Results of the Study

SAD patients responded more to the images of faces and not scenes, which is characteristic for the social basis of this disorder. Patients whose brains reacted strongly to the facial images before treatment benefitted more from the therapy than those who reacted to these the least (see second slide). Specifically, changes in two occipitotemporal brain regions—areas involved in early processing of visual cues such as faces—correlated with positive cognitive behavioral therapy outcome. These neuromarkers predicted treatment outcome better than the currently used LSAS.


This study is the first of its kind to use neuroimaging to predict treatment response in SAD patients. Neuromarkers may become a practical clinical tool to guide the selection of optimal treatments for individual patients. Integration of neuromarkers with genetic, behavioral, and other biomarkers is likely to further refine the prediction


A larger study comparing people with SAD with normal participants is needed to verify the results. fMRI studies using other facial expressions (disgust or fear) might be better predictors. Studies that look at other Other Therapies like Dr S V Prasad’s Phobias Treatment in Hyderabad and drugs are also needed to confirm which treatment is optimal.




Introduction to Psychology, Science of the Human Mind, Behavior and Its Functions

What is psychology? What are the branches of psychology?

Psychology is the science of the mind and behavior. The word “psychology” comes from the Greek word psyche meaning “breath, spirit, soul”, and the Greek word loggia meaning the study of something.

According to Medilexicon’s medical dictionary, psychology is “The profession (clinical psychology), scholarly discipline (academic psychology), and science (research psychology) concerned with the behavior of humans and animals, and related mental and physiologic processes.” Although psychology may also include the study of the mind and behavior of animals, in this article psychology refers to humans.

Certain situations that an individual faces are challenging and they lead to change of behavior patterns and emotions because of Psychology problems. This is a common problem in the current world and we can be the culprits or our friends and family members can be affected.

Fast facts on psychology

Here are some key points about psychology:

  • Psychology is the study of behavior and the mind.
  • We are unable to physically see mental processes such as thoughts, memories, dreams and perceptions.
  • Clinical psychology is an integration science, theory, and practice.
  • Cognitive psychology investigates internal mental processes such as how people think, perceive and communicate.
  • Developmental psychology is the study of how a person develops psychologically over the course of their life.
  • Evolutionary psychology examines how psychological adjustments during evolution have affected human behavior.
  • Forensic psychology is the application of psychology to the process of criminal investigation and the law.
  • Health psychology observes how health can be influenced by behavior, biology and social context.
  • Neuropsychology examines the how the brain functions in relation to different behaviors and psychological processes.
  • Occupational psychology investigates how people perform at work in order to develop an understanding of how organizations function.
  • Social psychology is a study of how the behavior and thoughts of people are influenced by the actual or implied presence of others.

 The different branches of psychology

  1. Clinical psychology
  2. Cognitive psychology
  3. Developmental psychology
  4. Evolutionary psychology
  5. Forensic psychology
  6. Health psychology
  7. Neuropsychology
  8. Social psychology

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Live-in relationships as good as marriage for your emotional health problems

Taking the leap from courting to living together reduces emotional distress

When it comes to emotional problems, young couples — especially women — do just as well moving in together as they do getting married, says a study.

The findings suggest an evolving role of marriage among young people today, said co-author of the study Sara Mernitz from The Ohio State University in the US.

As recently as the early 1990s, young people still received emotional health benefits when they went from living together to getting married, Mernitz said.

“Now it appears that young people, especially women, get the same emotional boost from moving in together as they do from going directly to marriage,” she said.

“There is no additional boost from getting married,” Mernitz explained.

Another significant finding was that the emotional benefits of cohabitation or marriage aren’t limited to first relationships. The study found that young adults experienced a drop in emotional distress when they moved from a first relationship into cohabitation or marriage with a second partner. It is worth remembering that no matter what marital issue you might have there is always a way out. If you cannot figure it out, maybe you should try weekend marriage retreat.

“The young people in our study may be selecting better partners for themselves the second time around, which is why they are seeing a drop in emotional distress,” study co-author Claire Kamp Dush, professor at Ohio State University said.

The researchers used data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997. This study included 8,700 people who were born between 1980 and 1984 and were interviewed every other year from 2000 to 2010.

The study did find some gender differences, at least for first unions of marriage or cohabitation.

For those entering a first union, men experienced a decrease in emotional distress only if they went directly into marriage. There was no change in distress for men who cohabited with a female partner.

That may be because men are more likely than women to report cohabiting as a way to test a relationship, which has been linked in other research to subsequent relationship problems, the study said.

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A well-known technology solution to Psychologist & Psychiatrist Services, improving safety and quality of care

For one, we need to make technology our friend. Doctors and patients may be averse to the introduction of technology, but that is generally when it distances providers from their patients or seems to produce more work. Examples of advances that have been met with concern include burdensome electronic medical records and other online paperwork that require typing instead of talking during visits. In addition, privacy concerns are ever-present, with too many instances of security breaches, often from human error, not hacking. But these are solvable problems that must be overcome since the alternative is delayed or no care.

A well-known technology solution to improving safety and quality of care is telemedicine, or telepsychiatry for mental health. A psychiatrist, say in Minneapolis, Washington or New York City connects via a secure channel to a remote clinic, hospital or prison and, in live-time, consults on or actually delivers care to a patient (sometimes family as well), thereby assisting local clinicians. While this bridges misdistribution gaps, it does not increase the actual total supply of doctors. It is invaluable, nevertheless, in helping to remedy geographic disparities.

In addition, many patients can be served by brief email, text or Skype interactions. This communication is not only convenient but also a way for patients to receive immediate and interactive medical attention and avoid treatment, rather than wait weeks to spend half a day in the waiting room of a doctor’s office for an eight-minute visit. Financial support for these forms of care has yet to catch up with its needed provision, which calls for prompt policy changes. Today this kind of change is happening in long distance Psychologist & Psychiatrist Services

What is emerging, and it can’t come soon enough, are a set of capabilities delivered by smart phones and wearable devices. Of course, these are no substitute for the human touch. But once a treatment plan is in place these can provide prompts to follow medical and wellness care as well as monitor a variety of information, including vital signs, sleep and physical activity patterns and phone and purchasing behaviors – all of which can signal the risk of relapse and alert clients and caregivers if an intervention is needed. The predictive analytic precision that is being developed is remarkable and beyond any form of monitoring we have had to date. Medical visits may thus be driven by data, not just rote scheduling, thereby also maximizing limited resources.

Psychiatrists, as well, will need to be redistributed from their high concentrations in large urban to more rural and underserved areas. Some actual, literal movement away from cities may happen with more training programs located in cities centered in rural areas as well as by financial incentives (described above) that are tied to where doctors work, not where they reside.

Complex, enduring problems such as these outlined here call for innovative solutions, and often more than one employed at a time to have impact. Tinkering doesn’t cut it. More of the same old meets (what I prefer to consider) Einstein’s definition of foolhardiness. The variety of very plausible solutions offered here will require significant policy and practice changes as well as investment of capital and people. If solving the psychiatrist workforce shortage was easy or inexpensive. we would have fixed the problem long ago.

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Depression Counseling, Depression Relief and Psychological signs and symptoms

I’ve enjoyed writing this Write out of Depression blog. It introduced me to many of you fascinating readers. It saw me through the writing and publishing of my book, writing through the Darkness: Easing Your Depression with Paper and Pen. And I hope it has provided some information, encouragement and intriguing writing ideas.

Depression is rampant in today’s society, almost everyone is on, or knows someone who is on antidepressants, but these medications only treat the symptoms of depression – not necessarily the causes.

Depression Counseling, Depression Relief Centers are playing major role for patients to get treatment and Alternative Therapy

How to overcome depression forever

When you want to know how to deal with depression you’ll find that there are lots of alternative treatments. They are things you can do, and remedies you can take. You can overcome depression – beating it forever – with or without the help of a therapist or doctor.

I’m so glad you’re searching for information on how to Overcome Depression – a sure sign that you will recover sooner rather than later! And you know what? You’re much less likely to suffer a relapse further down the line if you take control!

Psychological signs and symptoms:

  • Persistent sadness or low mood
  • Thoughts and feelings of worthlessness
  • Feelings of self hatred
  • A feeling of hopelessness
  • A feeling of helplessness
  • Feeling like crying
  • A feeling of guilt
  • Irritability – even trivial things become annoying
  • Angry outbursts
  • Intolerance towards others
  • Persistent doubting – finding it very hard to decide on things
  • Finding it impossible to enjoy life
  • Thoughts of self harm
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Persistent worry

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Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)

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