Seniority Health Week: Psychiatrist
World Health Day was on the 7th of April and we at Seniority celebrated last week as Seniority Health Week. Each day we had a specialist-doctor who did live chat with our Seniority community members on various health issues and topics. On 5th April 2019, we had Dr. Sonia Malhotra- Psychiatrist. She resolved all the queries of the community members. Below are the queries asked by our various members, along with the solution.
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Queries and Solution:
1. My 82-year-old mother-in-law is depressed as she is diabetic with a compromised kidney. How do I get her to follow her diet, be engaged and willing to get up and be independent in her daily life?
Ans: These might be the symptoms or warning signs of dementia, which is a neurocognitive disorder that happens in old age. Unfortunately, it is due to a degeneration process of the brain and cannot be stopped but only mildly slowed down with medicines. There are some behavioural things that you can do which may help. Have a look at the following points:
1. Keep her room well lit with a big calendar and wall clock and whenever someone goes to her, she should be reminded of the date, time, place and person.
2. Fix up rails around her room/ bathroom for her to hold when she is about to fall/is getting agitated.
3. Put big bright stickers marking the toilet, the cupboard, the bedroom, the kitchen so that she can at least read them and make out where she is.
2. Dr. Sonia, I have the habit of checking whether I have locked my car or not and also if I flushed in the bathroom. Is it a normal practice or something to bother about?
Ans: Because of this habit your day-to-day life is getting affected, you need to seek professional help as this may be a symptom of OCD. It is a controllable disorder with medications and behaviour therapy. Please try out if needed.
3. My son has been diagnosed with ADHD. He's 10 and has been under treatment for one and a half year now. Will he get better or will he have to continue medicine forever?
Ans: ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder which needs long term treatment to ensure proper growth and development of your child. It is advised that at least until his academic career, please keep his medicines on. It will not only treat his ADHD, but they will also protect him from other mental illness that he can get if left untreated also. For good childhood experiences, it is important that he gets himself into sports coaching and also in some activities like painting, dancing or singing etc. These will later help him manage his psychological health and future life stressors.
4. I am 44 years old single parent. Off late depression and negativity has taken a toll over me. I start crying and get very emotional on even small issues. I want to get out of all this. Please help.
Ans: Hey, I can understand the troubles you are facing. My advice would be to take comprehensive treatment for your depression. Begin with medicines for your symptoms and then start counselling to improve your mental capacity and resilience to stress. The medicines can be gradually then tapered off. You will need to see a psychiatrist who will assess your severity, prescribe medications, identify your psychological areas that need work up and then refer you to psychologist to work on them for long term relief.
5. What should we do when we feel depressed and there is nobody around you.
Ans: Depression is a strong word to use. It is a clinical disorder that needs medicines and counselling. Yes, you may be feeling sad, lonely, and upset or off. Try restructuring your life in a healthy manner and every day at night before going to bed, make a schedule of next day where apart from work you also give time to one hobby, some physical exercise, some spiritual or physical activity and once a week some social activity. It always helps when we are busy. If you are in stressful times and don’t have anybody to share your feeling with, start writing a diary at the end of the day in which you vent out your thoughts and feelings. If u feel worked up, just put some music in your ears and go for a walk or a run or do yoga. Exercise helps in releasing happiness hormones in the head (endorphins) that lifts our mood. Professional help is a must.
6. I’m 24years old. I have completed my Masters degree and I am having heavy stress levels, uneven sleep, and regular headache. Can you suggest me remedies?
Ans: Sorry to hear you are in trouble. There are no quick fixes that I can suggest at present other than usual good diet, good exercise, yoga, meditation advice that everyone gives.
7. How to overcome anxiety?
Ans: Anxiety is a normal reaction of the body and mind to any worry or fear. Until it doesn’t interfere with your day to day working, it isn’t a disorder per se, but still subclinical is extremely debilitating.
Some usual advice for handling anxiety are:
1. Create a stress busting activity like pursuing a hobby or any activity that you enjoy every day. It should be an activity that you can do whenever you have had a rough day and unwind. Dance, music, painting, gardening, cooking etc. are some examples
2. Yoga, meditation and cardio exercise also improve our mental resilience and coolness quotient.
3. In case nothing is helping, don’t keep stressing, see a professional soon and get help.
Anxiety disorders are treatable.
8. I’ve a problem with procrastination and laziness. I go late for work. I purposely skip the appointment. I keep many things pending. This has caused me unsuccessful in life. What should I do for this?
Ans: Procrastination is a habit of the mind that is hard to break. Here are some tips:
1. Start by making one small goal each day. When you complete that goal, reward yourself with small things like a cup of your favourite coffee, a small nick of chocolate or a scoop of ice cream. Once u get the hang of it, start increasing the number of goals to achieve each day. A sense of accomplishment shall keep you going.
2. Every day morning make a "to-do" list of things that you compulsorily have to do it. Keep a loud reminder in your phone.
3. Write your life goals on huge chart papers or colourful sheets and put it up on your bedroom wall, and small stick-ons on your desk. Also, mention the time in which they should be achieved. Your dreams will push you to work for them.
Remember, there is no instant solution for fighting procrastination.
9. My son is 23 years old. I find him confused and not coming forward to his further study, job, and business. Please advise good councillor in Ahmedabad.
Ans: Unfortunately, I do not have contacts to share in Ahmedabad as I practice in Pune
However, my advice for you would be to seek help of a psychologist/ psychiatrist to first get him assessed and diagnosed, if there is any mental health issue that needs treatment. If all is well, it will be great if he can go through some personality and aptitude assessment, followed by psychological guidance about how to pursue the various areas of his life. Always reach out to an M.A. or M.Phil psychology counsellor or and M.D. / D.P.M. psychiatrist to get the best professional advice.
10. All members of my family are settled. I am a house maker. Now I feel lonely as I have nothing to do. Without taking medicine I cannot sleep. Though I know it is not right but I feel unsecured. My husband, son and daughter are very much caring. Please suggest some remedy.
Ans: Yes, I can very much understand the situation you are in. There is a phase in family life when everything gets settled and the homemaker does feel lonely. But one must make the best of this opportunity for herself as this is the time to do all those things and achieve all those dreams that you had neglected until now for the sake of your family
1. Learn a new skill. It’s never too late. You can pick up learning a new language or a new hobby or join any fitness class. It also helps meet new people and make some friends.
2. Take some short solo trips for a day or a night to nearby places where you get pampered and have an off time from usual household work.
3. Engage in learning some exercises, yoga, meditation or spiritual practices. It will help in your menopausal phase too and keep you cool and calm.