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9 Ways to Help Those Who Love Disorder Patients

9 Ways to Help Those Who Love Disorder Patients

It can be devastating to families and friends when someone is diagnosed with a major disorder, such as ADD, anxiety or depression. The number one priority is, of course, the person who is suffering. However, the people who love the patient also are suffering, and their needs are often overlooked.

Loved ones of disorder patients might not suffer from disorder symptoms. But they face many challenges as they support the person they love. As a disorder patient goes through diagnosis and treatment, loved ones will experience strong feelings, challenges and victories right along with the patient. In fact, supporting a person with a serious disorder can be as challenging as having the disorder itself.

When things get better, the patient often feels a sense of relief. Their loved ones don’t feel the same relief. But they do feel their own kind of relief.

To help loved ones of disorder patients, remember these important things:

1. The disorder disrupts the lives of family and friends, too.

Certainly, the primary focus should be on the patient. However, it’s not easy to incorporate doctors’ appointments, worry, routine changes and other challenges of dealing with a disorder in the family.

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As arrangements are made for treatment and routines change at home, be sensitive to everyone’s needs. Even the patient will feel better knowing the people he or she loves are being taken care of.

2. Friends and family of disorder patients experience strong feelings.

We tend to want to look to caregivers and loved ones for strength when someone has been diagnosed with a major disorder. It’s often the strength of a loved one that helps the patient cope.

However, because families and friends love the patient, they also will be dealing with many challenging feelings: fear, anger, worry, frustration. Counseling can help. At a minimum, be aware and be gentle.

3. Guilt is often the secret challenge of those who love disorder patients.

Even if it doesn’t make sense, friends and family of disorder patients often harbor a secret feeling they have either caused the disorder or have made it worse. They might also feel guilty that they can’t do more to help the person they love.

Help them by persuading them to see their innocence in the situation and see that there are many things they CAN do.

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4. Loved ones of disorder patients don’t have all the answers.

This is important for both loved ones themselves and patients to remember. Dealing with a major disorder is challenging, and even medical professionals struggle to understand and successfully treat those who suffer.

A patient doesn’t always know how to explain what’s wrong. Friends and family sometimes don’t have the strength to take control of the situation. To solve this problem, work together and be patient.

5. Loved ones of disorder patients experience grief.

Just as a patient can go through all the stages of grief in dealing with a disorder, so do family and friends go through similar stages. They may think, “Why me?” Although this sounds selfish, it is realistic and normal.

Depending on the state of the patient, some discussion of this may help bring things out into the open and actually improve the patient’s outlook. In other cases, loved ones should look elsewhere for support in resolving their grief, so they don’t add to the stress of the patient. Consult with medical professionals to determine what’s best.

6. Caregivers of disorder patients often need treatment too.

The stress of helping a friend or family member face a major health disorder can cause health problems on its own. Be sure loved ones of disorder patients are consulting with physicians and counselors to relieve the stress and learn techniques specifically designed for families and caregivers.

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Temporary medication and regular counseling sessions might be in order. In the end, helping the caregiver stay healthy and strong could directly influence positive progress of the patient.

7. Loved ones of disorder patients don’t always want to talk about the disorder.

There is more to life than the disorder. It might sound harsh, but even the patient feels this! If too much time is spent thinking about the disorder and working on helping the patient feel better, it adds to stress.

Spending too much time on the disorder also can cause confusion and make it difficult to see things clearly, just as when you get too close to anything. Take time to address the disorder, but also take time to do normal things in life.

8. Disorder patients and those who love them need to have fun.

There is a time to be serious and a time to let loose and have fun. Laughter and joy can be very healing, not only for disorder patients, but for those who love for them and care for them.

If someone you know is struggling in their care of a loved one with a disorder, you can help by taking them out of the house, finding something enjoyable to do, giving them someone to talk to, and helping them enjoy life, if even just for a few hours.

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9. Loved ones of disorder patients sometimes have their own disorders.

It’s not uncommon for members of the same family, or people who experienced the same triggering event (such as a death) to be dealing with the same disorder symptoms or others. In this case, the caregiver is also a patient who has unique symptoms and issues of his or her own.

Everyone involved must recognize the challenges each person faces and do their best to help within the situation. Professional consultation is often necessary to help a family or group of friends sort out the complexities of multiple disorders within the same group of people.

Support those who support the disorder patient

Friends and family of disorder patients, in a way, share the disorder with the patient, because it affects their lives too. They also share in the joy and sense of accomplishment when the patient gets better.

The key to sustaining the health and well-being of both a disorder patient and the people who love him or her is to be thoughtful, gentle, and aware of the challenges everyone is facing. Make allowances for mistakes and frustrations. Seek professional help when needed.

The primary focus always should be on getting the patient better, but supporting those who support the patient is often overlooked. Care for the caregiver is a vital element of any patient’s well-being and progress.

Featured photo credit: I’m Light Painting Again/Rob Boudon via farm2.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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