Minority stress: A key stressor behind increased mental disorders among LGBT people

Minority stress: A key stressor behind increased mental disorders among LGBT people

“I can’t let anyone find out that I’m not straight. It would be so humiliating. My friends would hate me; I just know it. They might even want to beat me up. … I guess I’m no good to anyone . . . not even God. Life is so cruel and unfair. Sometimes I feel like disappearing from the face of this earth.” – Excerpts from the diary of 16-year-old Bobby Griffith scribbled by him two weeks before committing suicide. Read more

How unfavorable environment spikes stress of LGBT people

How unfavorable environment spikes stress of LGBT people

“I can’t let anyone find out that I’m not straight. It would be so humiliating. My friends would hate me; I just know it. They might even want to beat me up. I guess I’m no good to anyone . . . not even God. Life is so cruel and unfair. Sometimes I feel like disappearing from the face of this earth.”

The above heart-rending lines scribbled by 16-year-old Bobby Griffith in his diary bring forth the less-discussed aspects of homosexuality. It not only pushes a person into an abyss, but also steadily isolates him or her from loved ones. Upon realizing his sexual preference, Bobby Griffith attempted to acknowledge himself and discover some solace amidst his family and community in California. But to his horror, his family, fraternity, religion and friends found his sexual preferences abhorrent and bizarre. Read more

Early exposure to stress triggers mental disorders

Early exposure to stress triggers mental disorders

Besides the early establishment of a connection between stress and ulcers, blood pressure, etc., it has become evident lately that the neurological impact of stress is greater on the developing brains of children. Read more

Coming to America: Mental perils of Afghan refugees

Coming to America: Mental perils of Afghan refugees

Life in the United States has proved to be a constant struggle for Afghan refugees after being awarded Special Immigrant Visa (SIV). The SIV is awarded to people for services rendered to the coalition forces in the war. But when these refugees discover that their credentials do not count in the U.S. and they must start over, these well-qualified people often feel lost.

With many of these people being doctors, engineers and translators in their homelands, starting a new life in an unfamiliar territory in bug-infested apartments with minimum-wage jobs and lack of understanding of U.S. culture is taking a toll on their mental health. They are now dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, panic attacks and other health problems.

Sacramento, California has emerged as a prominent destination for Afghan refugees as they continue to arrive in the city. More than 2000 SIV holders with their families have settled in the city since October 2000. Many of these migrants, however, have suffered PTSD from their experiences in Afghanistan and are still battling with symptoms of anxiety and depression in trying to keep up with the perils of adjusting to a new place altogether. Even refugees with no prior mental illnesses may be suffering from Ulysses syndrome, a kind of PTSD that affects a healthy person living in adverse circumstances with little or no help, says Dr. Patrick Marius Koga, a UC Davis Medical Center psychiatrist.

One such case is of Faisal Razmal (28), a former interpreter for the U.S. soldiers battling the Taliban in Afghanistan. In August 2015, Razmal was shot in the face by a neighborhood teenager in front of his apartment in Sacramento. In the attack, Razmal lost sight of one of his eyes and feels like he has lost a piece of his soul. Prior to being shot, Razmal worked as a security guard at a shopping center. However, since the attack, his limited vision and PTSD has compromised his ability to keep a job of a taxi driver or a gas station attendant. The process of resettlement has turned out to be a nightmare for his family. As per his therapist, Homeyra Ghaffari, an Iranian marriage and family therapist, prior to coming to the U.S., Razmal was already afflicted with PTSD and was re-traumatized by the shooting in the U.S.

Refugee care in US

Since 2000, over 600,000 refugees have settled throughout the U.S. and the number is still increasing. So how can the authorities make sure that the people and their families do not suffer from sense of hopelessness and abandonment? Dr. Koga suggests screening them at the county refugee clinic, maintaining their records, and having regular follow ups to check if they have clinical PTSD will help the refugees to get on with their lives in a better manner. However, no such system is in place as yet.

As per Dr. Caroline Giroux, medical director of Adult Psychiatric Support Services, U.S. war veterans get good care for PTSD at VA hospitals. However, Afghan refugees do not qualify for these benefits as the list of refugee resettlement services of the State Department does not include any provision for mental health services.

Recovery roadmap

People come to America thinking it to be a dreamland but their dreams get shattered when they try to find their way around. They feel isolated and have no clear direction. Lack of support systems adds to their emotional trauma. The children of such families find it even harder to adapt to foreign culture and are more vulnerable to poor mental health.

If you know someone who is suffering from any kind of mental illness such as anxiety or depression, it is recommended to seek immediate medical help. The California Mental Health Helpline specialists can help you find the best mental health treatment centers in California. You can call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-559-3923 or chat online with our experts to know about the various mental health facilities in California.

6 new mental addictions which may seem normal but aren’t

6 new mental addictions which may seem normal but aren’t

Addiction to drugs, prescription medications or alcohol is the most common embodiment of mental addiction that all of us are familiar with. However, modern life is giving birth to some lesser known new age addictions under the garb of routine activities. This is why impact of such unhealthy lifestyle practices are going unnoticed.

With the growing desire to look good, acquire a status quo and prove one’s mettle, the modern addictions may seem perfectly okay until they begin to meddle with our behavior, actions and emotions. The person suffering from such addictions may not know at all and the symptoms may not be recognized by the family but they hit harder in the long run.

Here are 6 modern day addictions that are turning into mental health problems.

1. Workaholism: With increasing competitiveness and the zeal to outdo others and acquire more comforts, most of us are spending major chunk of our day at work. This leaves no room for personal life to relax, play a sport or spend time with family. Although workaholism is revered in the professional world, too much of involvement in work can harm one’s personal life and can cause immense stress.

2. Texting / WhatsApp messaging: The intervention of smartphones has changed the way we communicate today and texting or WhatsApp messaging has become an inseparable part of our daily lives. The fingertip access fuels the desire to write and respond and keep checking our phones in between meals and work or while driving, shopping, sitting with a friend or even exercising. This not just hampers the core activity we are engaged in by focusing our mind somewhere else but also affects our memory and concentration. Such an addiction can even lead to road accidents.

3. Watching TV:

It is impossible to think about modern life without an idiot box. On an average, people watch three to four hours of TV every day under the false impression that it soothes their mind and helps them escape from life problems. However, constant channel surfing and incessant watching can get addictive. People suffering from such a disorder tend to ignore or delay other important activities and want to sit in front of the TV all the time. They may feel irritable on being asked to shut it and there is a likelihood of eventually becoming a victim of depression.

4. Oniomania: Shopping mania is not just common to celebrities but also to many women and fashion conscious people who have an uncontrollable urge to buy despite the need. For some, it is a great stress buster. It is believed that more than one person out of 20 is a shopping addict. Compulsive shoppers end up burning a hole in their pockets and can even go bankrupt. Their obsession can be immensely stressful if controlled by their families and friends.

5. Working out: Crossing the limits of daily exercise can be detrimental to both physical and mental health. Often people do not realize this until they begin to experience the side effects. Over-exercising is usually accompanied by eating disorders and anorexia and can prove fatal too.

6. Internet addiction: Internet addiction is a gift from modern technology that can cause neurological complications, psychological disturbances, and social problems. It can be as impulsive as obsessive and can lead to other addictions such as dependence on video games, messaging, dating and so on. Studies have shown that heavy internet users, especially teenagers and young adults, suffer from poor decision making and memory loss due to shrinking of gray matter in the brain.

Dealing with addictions

Addiction is no longer limited to substance abuse. It is important to be aware of modern-day addictions as anyone can fall a prey to it. There is a good possibility to avoid them and get treatment at the right time.

If you or your loved one is suffering from any mental problems, get in touch with the California Mental Health Helpline to find the best mental health centers in California. You may call our 24/7 helpline number at (855) 559-3923 or chat online with our experts to get details about the best options for mental health facilities in California.