9 Testosterone Replacement Therapy Requirements To Keep In Check

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Have you ever wondered what differentiates a man from a woman in the family?

The difference mainly comes from the fact that there are specific hormones that you can only find in either human being’s body. A woman, for instance, has estrogen and progesterone, which allow them to menstruate and conceive a child. Meanwhile, a man’s body naturally generates a higher level of hormones called testosterone, which is responsible for the many changes that male species go through during the puberty stage.

The thing is, the testosterone levels of a man may progressively decrease over time due to every year that adds to your age. You will realize it when the masculinity that you have exuded in the past has a slight tinge of femininity that was not evident before.

Such news is admittedly hard to accept; that’s why the number of men who undergo testosterone therapy treatments grows annually. For what it is worth, though, you should check out nine testosterone replacement therapy requirements before subjecting yourself to this medical procedure.

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  1. A Blood Examination

A proper assessment of your blood is vital since even a small sample of it can tell a physician so many things about your health status. Doctors typically perform a series of blood tests before giving any treatment to know if someone is suffering from hypogonadism (low testosterone) or other issues. The examination allows them to ensure as well that the patient does not have diseases that might get affected or triggered by the therapy.

  1. Real Testosterone Level Decline

As mentioned above, it is unwise to rely on the appearance of symptoms – e.g., low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, or hair loss – to be able to say that you need rehabilitation. Getting diagnosed with hypogonadism is one of the ways to confirm that a person’s testosterone level is declining. At times, however, it is merely a side effect of another health condition that the individual has, such as obesity, substance abuse, multiple sclerosis, et cetera.

  1. Free From Heart-Related Diseases

Although researches regarding the effectivity of the therapy are far from complete, only a person who does not suffer from a cardiovascular illness can be given this treatment. One study revealed that the risk of getting a heart attack is two to three times higher for people with a cardiovascular history than for someone who does not have it. The likely reason is that the increase in hematocrit tends to thicken the blood, which is deadly for folks with heart problems.

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  1. Small To Zero Desire To Have Children

Older gentlemen who no longer have a desire to produce an offspring typically go through the procedure. You see, when you raise an individual’s testosterone level, it may result in the contraction of the testicles. It means that you will be able to generate a more reduced number of sperm cells, which can make it difficult for you to have babies later.

  1. Lack Of Prostate Issues

You have to make sure as well that you are not dealing with prostate enlargement. Another side effect of the treatment, after all, is the augmentation of that particular gland’s size. If you already have issues in the said area, the therapy might worsen your condition.

  1. Normal Red Blood Cell Count

One of the requirements for testosterone replacement therapy is to have an average count of red blood cells. In truth, this medical treatment can escalate the number of RBCs in your body. That might increase your risk of experiencing blood clots even when it’s unnecessary.

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  1. Normal Body Mass Index

Having an average BMI is essential to factor out the possibility that your testosterone level decline is due to weight problems. Like we’ve said earlier, it is among the symptoms of obesity, which a lot of men suffer from. If that is the case, then your hormones may return to the average level once you exercise or stick to a diet.

  1. No Sleep Apnea

Snoring is a disorder that can get worsened by testosterone replacement therapy. More studies are needed to make conclusions about it, but the idea is that the treatment raises someone’s risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea after some time. That is why individuals who struggle with this condition are not supposed to get testosterone supplementations.

  1. Your Physician’s Recommendation

Sudden upsurge of testosterone in the body can be detrimental for your health. Because of that, pharmacies do not sell pills or drugs that increase this specific hormone without seeing a recommendation from a doctor. If you feel like you need this treatment, you need to get tested and have the medication prescribed to you.

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Final Thoughts

Having low sex drive and dealing with fatigue or erectile dysfunction can undoubtedly make a man worry, especially if you are nowhere near your 50s or 60s. Despite that, you should remember that hypogonadism is not the only reason why you experience such symptoms. Other conditions cause these problems too more often than you realize.

You better check the things mentioned above before claiming that you need testosterone replacement therapy.

 

 

5 INTERESTING SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERIES ON SCHIZOPHRENIA

According to the American Psychiatric Association, schizophrenia, a mental health problem, is characterized by delusions and hallucinations as a result of the difficulty in thinking and focusing. Patients have trouble distinguishing between actual experiences and imagination. Thought it is just a common mental illness? Think again. Here are five interesting discoveries about schizophrenia in recent years:

More People Than You Think Has Schizophrenia

People have sidelined schizophrenia as a somewhat rare disease, affecting only 1% of the world’s population. However, 12% of all suicide cases are related to schizophrenia. “Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people between 14 and 25, and about 30,000 people in the United States commit suicide each year.” Torey C. Richards, LMHC said. What is more alarming is that those with schizophrenia who commit suicide are becoming younger and younger, at 25% of people aged 25 to 34. Statistics from mental health institutions reveal that more than half of schizophrenic patients actually seek medical intervention few weeks before they commit suicide.

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Schizophrenia May Have Something To Do With The Genes

“Schizophrenia is a thought disorder,” says Simon Rego, PsyD. For the longest time, scientists have not been able to pinpoint what causes schizophrenia as it appears to be a result of a myriad of factors, including a person’s environment. Years of research has led scientists to the discovery of C4, a schizophrenia risk gene that causes the “synaptic pruning,” or the decaying and dying off, of neural connections. Higher levels of C4 activity were found among schizophrenic patients compared to those who did not experience it.

Machines Can Now Predict The Incidence Of Schizophrenia

Early diagnosis of schizophrenia would be a great help for both patients and doctors alike, but it remains to be a continuous challenge. A machine-learning algorithm is now able to identify patients with schizophrenia at 78% accuracy. It does so by looking at neural connections in the superior temporal cortex to the other areas of the brain through magnetic resonance imaging or MRI images. Identification is the first step towards recovery and building the resilience in living with schizophrenia.

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Haphazard Treatment Of Schizophrenia Is A No-No

In one clinical trial in Europe, 446 patients with schizophrenia received treatment for four weeks with up to 800 mg per day dosage of amisulpride. Soon after, some of those who did not experience remission were given a different antipsychotic, the olanzapine, for six more weeks. After ten weeks, there was nothing that improved for these patients. The additional and differing medications proved ineffective to at least temper the effects of schizophrenia. It means treatment for schizophrenia cannot simply be mixed and matched, more so, done in a hasty aggressive manner.

A Food Preservative Can Help Alleviate Symptoms

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According to a new randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled test, the addition of sodium benzoate, a common food preservative, to clozapine has an effect of improving negative symptoms among patients who have not achieved remission using other medications. Sodium benzoate increases a person’s cognitive function and takes down schizophrenia’s adverse side effects. It is said to improve the patient’s mood, motivation, and overall outlook.

Aside from these, there have been a lot of recent studies about schizophrenia, its possible causes, and even hints about how we can finally cure it. The ultimate goal is that as the years pass by, scientists will eventually learn the ins and outs of the mental disease and work around to help more people overcome schizophrenia.

“Often psychotherapy is not considered to be effective with individuals dealing with schizophrenia spectrum disorders. But a cognitive-relational psychotherapy approach helps form a warm, trusting and detached relationship, conveys an understanding and concern for one’s client, and involves the therapist telling that individual their own empathic views about what that individual is dealing with.” Ann Reitan, PsyD

 

What Is Gender Dysphoria? Diagnosis, Treatment, Psychiatry, And Challenges

Gender Dysphoria is a condition where a person feels conflicted about his gender identity and his assigned gender. Because of this, he might feel uncomfortable with his own body. Those affected with this may have trouble or difficulty with their feelings and thoughts and their assigned gender.

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People may cross-dress, undergo sex-change surgery or hormone treatment, or change pronouns to affirm their gender identity. They may also change their names that would confirm their gender. Children with gender dysphoria may do the same too.

 

This is not sexuality or gender nonconformity. The latter is when their behavior doesn’t conform to the gender norms or stereotypes. An example of this would be how a boy would wear clothing that society would expect in girls.

 

Although there might be children who have gender dysphoria, a lot won’t feel this until they reach puberty. This makes it difficult to identify with their own body to the point that they feel uncomfortable in wearing swimwear or even do self-harming.

 

Diagnosis

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The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) set a criterion for diagnosing people with gender dysphoria.

 

Adults and adolescents are diagnosed with gender dysphoria if they show at least two of the following criteria:

 

  • A conflict between their expressed gender and their sex characteristics
  • Discomfort in their sex characteristics
  • Wanting another gender’s sex characteristics
  • Wanting to be of another gender
  • Wanting to be treated like another gender
  • A certainty that they feel like the other gender

 

If a child shows at least six of the following for at least six months, they are diagnosed with gender dysphoria.

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  • Want to be the opposite gender
  • Wearing clothes that the other gender usually wears
  • Play involving cross-gender roles
  • A desire for toys stereotyped for the other gender
  • Want their playmates to be of the other gender
  • Dislike of their sexual characteristics
  • Wanting the sex characteristics of their identified gender

 

Children may show these signs at 2 to 4 years old. If they are atypical to gender behavior, it’s normal. Those who are insistent of their gender by saying “I want to be a boy or girl” were more likely shown to be transgendered in their adulthood. 

 

Treatment – Psychiatry

 

Gender dysphoria can be treated by counseling, hormone treatment, puberty suppression, and gender surgery. Some adults may not want to go under the latter though. Others may undergo surgery or hormone treatment too.

 

Going to therapy can help the person express their feelings about their gender conflict better. It can also help build a supportive environment especially if the family joins the counseling. 

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Treating a child has to involve multiple professionals like mental health specialist, pediatrician, and many more. This would help give emotional and psychological support to the child. 

 

Challenges/Complications

 

A lot of people still discriminate and stigmatize others with gender dysphoria and those who identify with a gender dissimilar with their physical attributes. Transgender people are also targeted with hate crimes and discrimination by another, like difficulty in accessing health care services.

 

It can also affect relationships, especially with classmates as they might be bullied for not wearing clothes appropriate of their assigned gender. These children are also at risk of developing problems like depression.

Social Anxiety: How It Affects Intimacy

Do you fear being judged by others to the point that you avoid social gatherings and meeting new people? 

 

Social anxiety is when you feel that all eyes are on you and fearing that they are negatively judging you.  Such thinking leads to you feeling inadequate, inferior, self-conscious, embarrassed, and depressed.  

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“This is what it boils down to and it extrapolates to any social situation, It can be specific to certain social situations, it can be generalized to all social situations, but the anxiety is about judgement, and ultimately not being approved of and not being liked.” Alicia H. Clark, Psy.D., a licensed clinical psychologist explained. When you are frequently experiencing this irrational anxiousness when in a social situation, but better when alone, social anxiety could be your problem.  

 

Social Anxiety Is A Mental Health Issue

Many people around the world suffer from trauma brought by social anxiety or social phobia.  These feelings can become intense and persistent, making it hard for you to do your everyday tasks, like communicating with people at work or school.  

 

Social anxiety is a disorder that often begins in young people who are extremely shy.  “People with social anxiety disorder experience anxiety when faced with social situations. They do not believe their anxiety is related to an illness or disease, yet have little control over their fear of social interactions.” Charmaine J. Simmons, LPC said. Research suggests that about 7% of Americans are affected by social anxiety disorder (SAD). When social anxiety is not adequately addressed, it can prevent you from reaching your full potential and achieve the happiness you desire.  

 

Social Anxiety Can Get In The Way Of Your Meeting The Opposite Sex

Social anxiety could even interfere with your dating because you fear that others will think of you as stupid or boring, and you fear that you will just be humiliated and rejected.  

 

Just the idea of you going on a date will make you worry even weeks or days before it happens.  During the day of your meeting, you may feel your heart pounding,and you may also feel dizzy and sick.  The fear is so intensethat you cannot control it, not even drinking glasses of water can take away the tension you feel.  Lack of confidence might be too obvious which could lead to you eventually getting rejected. 

 

As a result, it could get in the way of you going on another date. 

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Signs And Symptoms That You Have Social Anxiety Disorder

When having to be on a date or be around other people, a person with a social anxiety disorder tends to: 

 

  • Blush, sweat, have a rapid heart rate, tremble, feel his mind is going blank
  • Feel sick in the stomach or nauseous
  • Make little eye contact, talk with an overly soft voice, and often find a hard time speaking although he wished he could
  • Feels very self-conscious, embarrassed, and awkward
  • Fear that he is being judged

 

Living with the very sooften nagging thoughts in your mind about how not good enough you areaffect the way you treat those people close to you and even those people you wanted to be in your life.  

 

How Social Anxiety Affects Your Intimacy

“Anxiety is the pit in your stomach that you feel the night before a big exam or it can be those shaky legs you experience just before giving a presentation.” As explained by Melissa Berschauer LMFT. The way you get along with people around you can be impacted by your anxious thoughts or phobias just like any other aspect of your life.  Becoming intimate with someone you like can be complicated by the voice inside you creating negative thoughts and worries.  

 

“Does she like me?”

 

“Does she like what I’m doing?”

 

“What if she rejects me?”

 

“What if she’s not satisfied?”

 

These are some thoughts that add to your anxiety and even makes you doubt yourself more.  

 

Your doubts and fears not only affect your first date, but even sexual satisfaction is also said to be affected by your negativity.  Being unable to communicate your feelings effectively and fears of being intimate with your partner aresupposed to have something to do with sexual gratification.  

 

A study has shown that social anxiety is associated with fear of intimacy and has lower satisfaction when it comes to sexual relations and relationship.  Therefore, people with social anxiety may have more difficulties in maintaining an intimate relationship.  

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Those people with SAD who are already in a romantic relationship should work on increasing their intimate communication with their partner.  

 

If you are someone with a loved one who has social anxiety, and you think his fears and doubts are interfering with your relationship, it will be useful to talk to your partner about this in an open manner. It is time you should be thinking of seeking help to assist your partner in overcoming his fears of getting close to you and enjoying an intimate moment together.   

3 Stages Of Love According To A Study

People can get their hearts shattered into a billion little pieces more than once, yet only a few become cynical when it comes to love. For the ones who still believe that a prince or princess is out there for them, the experience does nothing but make them feel stronger. Hence, they are often not weary of starting a relationship with someone new.

In reality, though, how does love flourish in one’s heart?

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Various sources can offer you at least five stages of falling in love. That makes sense since you can genuinely feel as if butterflies are fluttering in your stomach the first few times you meet an extraordinary man or woman. Nonetheless, it is easier to understandonce you reduce the number to three.

 

  1. Lust

Yes, sexual desire comes before love. Although it may seem debatable to a hopeless romantic fellow and believe the opposite, well, that is the truth. 

The logic is that a human brain naturally releases hormones – estrogen or testosterone – throughout the body. How these chemicals work is that they allow someone to feel more womanly or manly, respectively, than ever. Eventually, their longing to do the horizontal tango with another person in the room increases.

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  1. Attraction

Acting upon your primal instincts to pursue another human being opens doors for attraction. This second stage entails that you are one step closer to falling in love. Moreover, according to research, three compounds spike up when you feel attracted to someone.

Dopamine is unsurprisingly one of them. It is a mood-enhancing chemical and some folks who badly need it get their daily dose from drugs. When the attraction is present, though, dopamine becomes generated, especially when you are looking at your crush’s image.

Adrenaline rush takes place as well if there is magnetism between two people. The sensation tends to numb your other feelings, to the point that you turn into a better version of yourself. The meanie becomes a goodie; the fatigued becomes energetic. 

Serotonin completes the trio, of course. This compound is the reason why your mind often drifts towards the individual who fascinates you. One study even found that 65 percent of your day gets consumed by that thought.

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  1. Attachment

Once you give in to the two stages above, that is when you’ll be able to bond in more ways than one. You may talk until the morning comes. You may start matching your schedules so that you have much time for each other. Of course, sex is on the table too.

Relationships, in fact, rely on sexual intimacy because of a couple of chemicals that orgasm and post-sex experience bring forth. Those are oxytocin and vasopressin, respectively. Together, they let couples interpret one another’s non-verbal cues for a more harmonious union.

 

Love is undoubtedly among the many things that puzzle scientists. For sure, they can name some chemical compounds and reactions occurring in the brain that may lead up to it. However, the entire process remains a beautiful mystery up to this moment, with or without the stages of love being revealed to people.  

How To Make Somebody Fall In Love With You Without Magic

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Do you know that some people resort to voodoo to make their love interest fall for them in real life? If they cannot concoct a potion or perform the right prayers on their own, these individuals don’t mind getting the services of witches or other practitioners of the craft.

This action genuinely bothers many as it ideally breaks the natural progression of love, but you have to put yourself in those folks’ shoes to understand why they choose that path. Is it due to obsession, for instance? Are they so desperate to feel loved?

In truth, you do not need magic to make someone fall in love with you. Try the science-backed tips below, and the person you are dreaming of may soon be yours.

 

  1. Reveal One’s True Nature

One thing that both men and women pray for is not to embarrass themselves in front of their date. You might wish for the same too since people often say that first impression last. Despite that, you may want to relax a little and let your strengths and weaknesses shine, according to the researchers from the Harvard Business School.

Their investigation shows that a person feels drawn more to someone who is unafraid to reveal his or her real personality immediately. It will seem as if you are indeedopening up to your date, and they cannot help but admire your unabashed character.

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  1. Lock Gazes Often

No matter how shy you may be to look at your crush in the eyes, a study claims that doing so is necessary to make him or her fall for you.

It sounds too good to be true, but the windows to your soul can honestly convey what your lips cannot utter. Sometimes that works better than speaking much because not everyone knows how to put their feelings into words. 

The minutes you spend doing it undoubtedly matters as well. The longer you stare into each other’s eyes, the more you’ll feel drawn to one another, regardless of the setting.

 

  1. Say “Thank You”

Gratefulness does not just have an impact on the individual who receives it. There is a publication which reveals that the mere act of saying “thank you” for someone’s sweet gesture, irrespective of how big or small it is, boosts your emotional connection. Everything you do together afterward may seem extra fulfilling, and it is like nothing can stop your relationship from blossoming. 

 

Bonus: OptFor Hot Drinks

This pro tip may not be applicable in case yougo on dates in the middle of summer. Despite that, you should know that some studies indicate that your body temperature affects your behavior towards other people. For this reason, the person you are going out with may start feeling attraction to you once you offer him or her hot beverages.

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Falling in love with someone special can bring so much happiness in a person’s life. The thought of seeing that significant fellow again may energize you and allow you to think of a brighter future. What’s left to do now is ensuring that your feelings are mutual.

Good luck!

Ways To Attain A Long And Lasting Relationship Based On Research

Confessing love to someone is a piece of cake in comparison with proving that you can have a long and lasting relationship with that person. You might meet obstacles in the form of temptations and detractors, and their primary goal is to destroy whatever good thing you have going at the moment. In case an awful experience turned you into a cynic, your attitude may challenge your bond as well.

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Luckily, some scientists have gone out of their way to figure out the means to attain a forever kind of relationship. Such studies advise you to:

  1. Think Before You Speak

“Harsh words are just as damaging whether they come from someone else or whether they come from you,”  says licensed psychologist Cindy T. Graham, PhD. Talking to your better half without any consideration for their feelings is an ingredient for a disastrous union. It is already a rude behavior when you are only speaking with a stranger you may never see again. However, it is highly unacceptable once you attack the individual you ought to spend the rest of your life with verbally.

You are one blessed fellow in case the husband or wife forgives you for doing so. If you happen to be in a relationship with a strong-headed person, though, he or she will likely split with you the first time you talk smack in front of them. Thus, practice thinking before speaking.

 

  1. Take Notice Of The Things/People Your Partner Cares About

“Couples often feel that they know and understand their partner, and are compatible on most issues. However, this is a mistake.” Dr. Chantal Gagnon PhD LMHC explained. Based on a research published in the Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy in 2013, the happy couples are those who care for the things or folks that their significant other cherish. E.g., family, BFFs, pets, job, et cetera. 

That fact is undeniable since it is quite impossible to stay with someone who merely has interest in you and not the various aspects of your life. After all, before you even met, those matters were already a part of you. Their lack of attention to stuff you care about may be an indication that you are far from being meant to be. So to counter that thought, it is a must to exhibit awareness of your spouse’s existing relationships and vice versa.

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  1. Divide The Household Chores Equally

The relationship advice that women receive from their parents these days is diverse from what the ladies got in the past. Back then, they used to say, “Learn how to cook and clean well so that you will become a great wife.” Now, the females tend to hear, “Marry a guy who will not treat you as if you are a maid. We did not send you to school to end up in that situation.”

Perhaps the recent guidance stuck in plenty of women’s minds, which is why there’s more peace in a married couple’s home when the husband and wife split the chores between them. No one resents anyone for being lazy or not helping enough because each person has a set of responsibilities to tackle. The surveys directed by the Pew Research Center last 1990 and 2007 confirmed that idea.

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“Become aware of your emotions and allow yourself to feel them. Mindfulness is the main goal here, and bottling up emotions won’t do any good.” Heather Edwards LMHC, NCC, BCC said. So with that, you love your partner too much, and you want to be in a long and lasting relationship with him or her. Everyone gets it, of course. Nonetheless, your chances of beating the odds may only increase once you incorporate the said tips in your lives.

Good luck!

 

Relationship 101: Science-Backed Predictors Of Divorce

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Love, according to a hit song from the 70s, can keep you and your beloved together. 

For sure, there is no reason not to believe that since such an inexplicable feeling can do wonders for any relationship. It can heal wounds along with time; it can soften even a stone-hearted person’s heart. However, “Couples often feel that they know and understand their partner, and are compatible on most issues. However, this is a mistake.” Dr. Chantal Gagnon PhD LMHC also added.

Regardless of that, love is admittedly not enough basis for a couple to stay married to each other. To prove that point, here are some predictors of divorce.

  1. You Tied The Knot Too Young Or Quite Late

Marrying someone in your teens is not the most practical decision. Apart from not having the financial means to look after the family that you will create, you may still be subconsciously not ready for the life ahead of you. It can get worse once you work and start meeting other people.

Likewise, getting hitched past the age of 32 increases your risk of becoming a divorcee later. The idea is that if you waited that long, your primary reason for marrying is to have a child or a lifetime companion perhaps. Thus, you might enter the matrimony without thinking much whether that individual is the one for you or not. “Divorce is not something that should never be entered into lightly. It means an end to that relationship and the breakup of a family, which can be greatly traumatizing to the children of that marriage.” Jennifer Baxt, LMFT, LMHC explained.

  1. Your Roles Got Switched

Women fought against gender discrimination for years. They want to be able to work alongside men, get paid according to their competencies, and have an opportunity to rise through the ranks as their male counterparts. Despite that, gaining that kind of equality does not entail that husbands should stay at home and let the wives become the sole provider of the family.

Once the roles switch, though, and a woman sees that the man cannot even be helpful around the household, the former’s reverence for the latter may dissipate slowly. After a year or so of experiencing that scenario, one may eventually file for divorce.

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  1. The Criticisms Are Going Overboard

Attacking the love of your life in a verbal manner is another ground for separation. You can exchange silly jokes with your better half from time to time, yet it is an entirely different story if you genuinely believe that there is something wrong with your spouse and do not mind continually informing him or her about it.

On your partner’s end, they may try to appease you or change for you at first. However, in case the jabs at their character come too often, it is likely that they will call it quits soon enough rather than take further criticisms from you.

  1. Infidelity Took Place

“We all know that both sexes are guilty of infidelity and that blame for a broken relationship is not the fault of a gender, but there are several aspects of male infidelity that are more attributable to men then women.” Katrina Bilhimer, Ma, LMHC said. The marriage already hangs by a thread when you decide to have an extramarital affair. Although you may try to conceal it or claim that the third party came on strong at you, that cannot hide the fact that you cheated on your husband or wife.

Considering your spouse forgives you for doing so, it is not a guarantee that he or she will forget your infidelity. The better half may find your actions suspicious quite often, to the point that they want to know the passwords to your accounts, your daily agenda, and what-not. It is only a matter of time before you or your significant other gives up on that situation.

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Marriage cannot survive with love alone. Plenty of challenges will test you as a couple. If one of you does not participate or is too weak to do so, your relationship will indeed end in divorce.

 

How To Have A Peaceful Marriage According To Science

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When watching a live feed of someone accepting a marriage proposal, you may only see the joy that spreads on the couples’ faces. What may not be visible at that moment is their silent wish for this impending union to never end up in divorce.

In reality, you do not have to leave that to fate and hope for the best. It is possible to have the best relationship – the type that will make others envious of your marriage – if you stick to the science-backed tips below.

  1. Amp Up Your Good Memories Together

To avoid being anywhere near separation, you need to harbor more amazing memories as a couple than the dull ones. 

“Humans are complex and all of us experience emotions like anger and sadness, so it’s very normal that at some point in the relationship, you will disagree with your partner.”  Maryann W. Mathai, LPCC, LMHC, LPC, NCC once said. A perfect ratio to think of, based on research, is 5:1. In other words, for every single recollection of a fight or a botched date, you should have five great moments to remember. You cannot ever let the balance become 3:3 because that will bring you closer than ever to the divorce court. 

  1. Avoid Burning External Connections

When you had the wedding ceremony, the most important people in your lives before you met each other must have been there. E.g., your family, friends, and colleagues at work. Post-marriage, you should remain in touch with them to prevent exhausting your significant other mentally and emotionally, or vice versa. Take note that “Relationships in and of themselves do not create mental illness.” However, he adds, “When we suffer in our relationships, it can be difficult to move forward from past hurt and trauma.” Jor-El Caraballo, LMHC explained.

This advice may (obviously) not work for individuals who have control issues. It entails, after all, that you may get around 99% of your spouse’s attention, while the remaining 1% goes to their other relationships. However, in case you are willing to move past the possessiveness, there’s no way you cannot find peace in your marriage.

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  1. Try New Activities Together

Studies also suggest that you can protect your union better by planning and embarking on an exciting adventure with each other often. 

The logic behind it is that love will continue to spark in your hearts whenever you try new things together. It builds up the number of great memories you’ll be able to tap into during the critical periods in your relationship, not to mention the fresh experiences that may advertently cause you to look back to your many firsts together.

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  1. Do Not Depend On Your Spouse To Make You Happy

Research and TV shows can tell you that having a perfect husband or wife is not enough to guarantee that you will feel happy throughout your marriage. They may try their mightiest to improve your emotions, but their attempts will inevitably fail if you cannot find satisfaction within yourself. Andrea F. Polard, PsyD used to say, “Authentic happiness is relating to the entire universe. When someone relates and leaves nothing out, you can see it in the face and posture. There is a presence about a truly happy person, a look that says “Yes,” to oneself, to others, and to the world.”

The thing is that you have to know what happiness feels like before you even decide to get married. Or, at least, be open to changes. Otherwise, your negativity may affect your spouse, and there will always be chaos in your household.

 

  1. Have More Things In Common

Your union will turn out well once you share plenty of characteristics. For example, you may both be wise spenders or natural food lovers. You might also have a vast interest in expanding your family and making life comfortable for your future kids. 

In case your goals or attitudes do not match, then you have two things to ask yourself. 1) Am I okay with fine-tuning my objectives to make them more suitable for my partner’s goals? 2) Will I regret it if I do that?

Answering ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to the question respectively can undoubtedly lead to a happy marriage.

What You Eat May Be Damaging Your Brain

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Recent studies have been conducted on whether what you eat affects your mental health. Although specific details are still under research, the evidence points to diet as a major factor in the health of your brain. It makes sense. John M. Grohol, Psy.D. used to say, “A balanced diet that includes lots of fiber helps keep your gut system running efficiently by helping to support a more diverse gut microbiome.”

 

Although we tend to think of the mind and mental health as separate from the body and physical health, your brain is an organ, and it requires appropriate nutrition just like any other part of your body. New research suggests that the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) may be a treatment for a range of diet-related mental health issues. Find out how what you eat may be damaging your brain and how SCD may help.

Can diet be substituted for medicine?

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Mental health researchers like Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride are looking into ways to treat mental health disorders ranging from depression to OCD to schizophrenia with diet interventions instead of drugs. That being said, the research is not complete, and not all cases can be treated with diet alone. But changing the way you eat may be able to reduce your symptoms, make your medications work more effectively, and possibly reduce or eliminate your dependency upon medications. But Julia Hogan, LCPC emphasizes that “It’s important to underscore here the importance of monitoring your mental health and knowing how different medications and lifestyle changes can impact your mental health.”

 

Diet has already been researched as a factor or treatment in cases of autism and ADHD, and in many cases a healthy diet has a bigger impact on overall health than any prescribed drug. Aside from poor diet affecting your brain function, existing mental health issues can also lead you to eat a less healthy diet. 

 

Depression and anxiety are both linked to weight gain and unhealthy habits like smoking and excessive drinking. And that makes diet both a cause and an effect of your brain’s state of health. Because of this, conventional medicine may be able to help you overcome your poor eating habits and eventually wean off the medication.

What you eat affects how you feel

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You’ve probably heard of emotional eating. It’s a person’s tendency to eat more food and often eat less healthy food when they are in a bad mood or stressed out. But bad eating habits are not just a reaction to your mood. Food choices can actually make a difference in your mood and how you feel, and it’s not just energy levels that are affected. “Certain foods are linked to mental health issues such as increased symptoms of depression and decreased self-esteem.” Christina L. Gmyr, LMHC, NCC said.

 

Research shows that a diet high in sugar and processed foods can be a factor in the development of depression. People who have eaten a poor diet over the long-term are much more likely to develop depression than those who eat a healthy diet made up of whole, natural foods. Unfortunately, depression can make you feel lethargic and fatigued, and a natural response to that feeling is to seek out sugar for quick energy. Turning to more sugary, processed foods only exacerbates the situation.

 

Many people find sweet foods pleasurable. The problem is that some turn to sugar addiction as their primary form of pleasure instead of seeking to fix the other issues that are causing sadness, frustration, or depression. Instead of feeding the symptoms, a better option is to seek out a professional therapist who can help you form a plan for treating your mental health issues and building a happier life.

 

You can also help your depression symptoms with other natural treatments that combat the effects of stress. Exercise is a known mood booster because it releases endorphins in your body. Instead of turning to food, you can take an exercise break to feel better. With the right mindset, exercise is a pleasure that improves your day rather than a chore that you dread.

 

Here’s another interesting fact about how food intake affects how you feel. According to Eva Selhub, MD, 95% of the serotonin your body makes is produced in the digestive system. Serotonin regulates sleep and moods. 

 

Serotonin production is influenced by the good bacteria in your gut. Those bacteria thrive in an environment where they are fed by lots of natural foods like fruits and vegetables, as well as fermented foods. Eating a standard Western diet with processed grains, sugars, and oils, on the other hand, invites harmful bacteria to take up residence in your gut and override the good bacteria you need for a healthy mood.

Diet is a potential intervention for mental health problems

More mental health professionals are beginning to understand and question the role diet has for their patients. In fact, the field of nutritional psychiatry is growing, and more doctors are embracing the idea that they should be asking about their patient’s eating patterns, something that psychiatrists have not been trained for traditionally. But even those doctors specializing in mental health, who did not learn about the role of diet in medical school, are now seeing the truth of this new research.

 

The bottom line is that your brain requires a specific type of fuel and nutrients, just like your body does. And you don’t have to make it complicated. What is good for your heart, muscles, and digestive system is good for your brain too. When you eat foods that agree with your body and mind, you feel better overall and have more energy.

Foods that damage your brain

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So which foods should you be avoiding when it comes to brain health and balanced moods? Stay away from the items on this list of foods that can damage your brain:

 

 

  • Packaged snack cakes, pies, and cookies. Many of these foods are made with trans fats and other preservatives in order to prolong their shelf lives. Although this prevents the food from rotting or becoming moldy, it takes a toll on your health. Trans fats have been shown to increase inflammation and raise cholesterol levels, which decreases blood and oxygen flow to the brain.

 

 

Additionally, these foods come loaded with sugar. Just like other cells in your body, brain cells do not respond well to spikes in blood sugar levels and insulin overload, which can impair memory. If you want a baked treat or dessert, you’re better off going with something freshly made in order to avoid dangerous trans fats. And limit these to occasional indulgences to keep your blood sugar levels under control.

 

 

  • Shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and other high-mercury seafood. Mercury is known to cause damage to memory and other brain functions. Eating too much food that contains this toxin causes it to build up in your body over time, potentially leading to mental health disorders. Unfortunately, much seafood is contaminated. 

 

 

That being said, eating seafood that is lower in mercury is actually really good for your mental health. Many fish contain omega 3 fatty acids, which are known to boost brain health. Salmon and light tuna are good options. And mussels also contain omega 3, as well as high levels of b-vitamins, which promote good memory and brain health.

 

 

  • Salty snacks. Foods that are high sodium can lead to high blood pressure, which restricts blood flow to the brain. In fact, studies show that the best way to fight dementia is with regular exercise that increases blood flow to the brain. 

 

 

Healthy foods high in potassium will balance your sodium levels, helping to maintain optimal blood circulation as well. All vegetables and fruits are good sources of potassium. Eating whole, natural foods every day can help protect mental health.

 

Where the specific carbohydrate diet comes in

Now that you know how closely the gut influences your mind, you can understand where the specific carbohydrate diet comes into play with mental health. When the digestive system is not in order, the effects can disrupt your mental function as well. 

 

The SCD restricts a wide range of carbohydrates, similar to other low-carbohydrate diets. But the end goal of the SCD is not weight loss. It is a diet designed to improve gastrointestinal health for individuals with digestive issues. Among the foods that are eliminated are grains, dairy (with the exception of hard cheese and well-fermented plain yogurt), and added sugar. They are on the restricted list because they can potentially cause inflammation in the digestive system.

 

The reason these foods are suspected of causing inflammation is the way in which they break down into sugars that are easily digested by bacteria. If your gut does not contain enough of the appropriate enzymes to break down the food, bacteria production increases beyond a healthy level.

 

The SCD doesn’t necessarily have to be adhered to strictly forever in order to maintain a healthy gut, and thereby healthy mental state. Once your symptoms subside, you can try adding some restricted foods back into your diet slowly and waiting to see if you have any symptoms. There may be certain foods that are on the list to avoid that you tolerate well, and some foods on the allowed list may need to be eliminated if you have a specific intolerance or sensitivity.

 

The tie between gastrointestinal bacteria and mental health

So how exactly could the SCD or other dietary changes improve your mental health? The truth is that a healthy diet is the number one controllable variable in the health of your entire body, and that includes your brain. Moods and mental health are very much a function of the health of your physical brain. Of course, that doesn’t mean that diet is the only factor, but it is important.

 

A strong connection has been found between gastrointestinal bacteria (or your microbiome), mood, and mental function. According to David Perlmutter, MD, “your microbiome also affects your mood, your libido, and even your perceptions of the world and the clarity of your thoughts.” In fact, a large nerve runs from your brain stem to your gut, allowing the digestive system to send neurotransmitters, like serotonin, directly to your brain.

 

And that is exactly why diet matters. What you are producing in your gut is being sent to your brain. The gut-brain connection is why many anxiety and depression sufferers experience greater symptom relief from dietary changes than from anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications. Keep in mind that even if you choose to seek relief from anxiety or depression through dietary changes, it’s smart to also get counseling from a professional therapist while you are experiencing these symptoms.

Foods that promote a healthy gut

The type of food that is most easily used by harmful bacteria is sugar. That is why too many sugary or starchy foods can create an overabundance of bacteria that disrupts your digestive system rather than keeping it functioning smoothly. As already discussed, excessive sugar intake is also linked to worsening moods and depression symptoms. Sugar intake also has a strong link to increased anxiety.

 

To turn around the health of your gut, and find relief from unexpected mood shifts and other mental health issues in the process, try changing out cakes, cookies, muffins, candy, packaged snack bars, and bread for the following foods:

 

 

  • Almonds or almond butter. These foods are filled with healthy fats that keep you feeling full without spiking blood sugar. Limit your nut intake to one serving per day to prevent gas and diarrhea that can occur from eating too much of these foods.
  • Avocados. Another healthy fat food, avocados can help keep you from snacking on sugar and carbohydrates because you will remain full longer.
  • Non-starchy vegetables. Vegetables should be a major component of your diet. Because they are a low-calorie food, they probably won’t make up the majority of your calories, even if they make up the bulk of your diet. Broccoli and cauliflower are good options that are easier to digest when steamed. You should also eat some raw vegetables like celery and leafy greens.
  • Non-sugary fruits. Many foods that we consider vegetables are botanically fruits. These include cucumber, squash, and tomatoes. Non-sugary fruits can be used in meals, salads, and as snacks.
  • Occasionally starchy vegetables. Vegetables with a lot of carbohydrates or natural sugar are also healthy food choices. They just shouldn’t be eaten in quantities as large as non-starchy vegetables. Sweet potatoes and carrots are part of this group.
  • Occasionally sweet fruits. The natural sugar in fruit comes packaged with water, fiber, and lots of nutrients. That being said, even natural sugar can be a digestive disruptor and a cause of brain fog and mood shifts. It’s well-known that too much fruit can lead to diarrhea. But having one or two small servings of fruit each day should be fine for most people.

 

It turns out that the foods that are best for your body are also best for your brain. Sticking with whole, natural foods and striking a balance between carbohydrates, protein, and fat is the key to a healthy gut and mental state. Your brain is an important organ. Take care of it easily by following a healthy diet.