• 13 Oct
    Shiva Raman Pandey

    Do I have an eating disorder?

    One of the most important indicators of today’s times is the continuous talk around weight and health.

    On the one hand, obesity is becoming an epidemic, leading to lifestyle diseases like diabetes and hypertension in the process. On the other hand, body image concerns and eating disorders are also on the rise, for both men and women. There are scores of weight-loss products and professionals, not to mention the entire horde of specialized dieting programs, which can lead to immense confusion.

    In such a situation, how does one know whether one’s approach towards weight loss is healthy or pathological?
    Eating has always been a behaviour that is highly associated with emotions. Some foods make us happy, some not. The consumption of particular food can produce comfort or discomfort and also particular mood states.

    Therefore, we will always have certain emotions attached to food and eating behaviour. Therefore, tracking one’s emotions are a good way of knowing where we stand on the spectrum.

    Do you hate how you look or are you just trying to become healthy but you love your body in the process and would not punish or harm it? The former is more indicative of pathology.

    The DSM diagnosis for:

    #Anorexia Nervosa, one of the more common disorders, is as follows:

    A. Restriction of energy intake relative to requirements, leading to a significantly low body weight in the context of age, sex, developmental trajectory, and physical health. Significantly low weight is defined as a weight that is less than minimally normal or, for children and adolescents, less than that minimally expected.

    B. Intense fear of gaining weight or of becoming fat, or persistent behaviour that interferes with weight gain, even though at a significantly low weight.

    C. Disturbance in the way in which one’s body weight or shape is experienced, undue influence of body weight or shape on self-evaluation, or persistent lack of recognition of the seriousness of the current low body weight.

    #Bulimia nervosa, on the other hand, has a binge-purge pattern. A person with BN is likely to eat much more than they need or can digest well, and then vomit the food out by inducing puking, because they feel guilty for this eating. Repeated use of laxatives and induced puking tends to really harm their esophagus and digestive track.

    eating disorder

    There are other eating disorders as well, like Pica where a person eats non-nutritive substances like mud or human faeces. Other disorders are Restrictive Eating Disorder and Rumination Disorder. If you know someone who has had drastic weight loss accompanied with cutting or other self-harm behaviour, it is probably an eating disorder or related psychopathology.

    Eating disorders are treatable, and the rate of getting better depends on how soon the treatment is sought. A qualified mental health professional will be able to help you understand this in detail. If you are unsure about the need to go to a MH professional, try talking about it to a counselor or a general physician.


    Responses 1

  • 06 Oct
    Shiva Raman Pandey

    Understanding Anxiety Disorder


    Anxiety-related disorders are some of the common disorders that people suffer from. In fact, pathological anxiety is just an expression of normal fear or anxiety when multiplied many times. It is important to understand that some amount of fear or worry motivates us to take the steps needed to deal with a threatening situation. However, when thoughts of worry are constant and prevalent, to the extent that they do not let us function, that is when it becomes a problem.


    Anxiety disorders are characterized by consistent irrational beliefs that overestimate threat, danger or likelihood of something going wrong. Anxiety disorders are often referred to as a modern-day epidemic. In fact, ‘neurosis is the common cold of psychotherapy’ was said by Dr. Albert Ellis, one of the most influential psychologists of all time. Neurosis is an earlier term for anxiety related conditions.

    Anxiety has an almost 30 % of life prevalence. It is also comorbid with a lot of other disorders, depression being one of them. Depression and anxiety share 80% comorbidity. Anxiety spectrum disorder includes Generalized Anxiety Disorder or GAD, Agoraphobia – fear of open spaces, and panic disorder. On the continuum but further away lie OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and PTSD or Post-Traumatic Disorder. Further away on the spectrum are Somatization disorders and so on. This new spectrum system of the DSM 5 allows for a greater flexibility in understanding the expression of clinical disorders.

    Primary physicians are most likely to see these symptoms – chest pains, palpitations, dizziness, irritable bowel syndrome in their patients. Persistent expressions of these can actually indicate anxiety disorders expressed through bodily symptoms.€

    ‘Anxiety = subjective distress + physiological responses + escape behavior’. This is a good formula to understand what happens in all anxiety disorders. Subjective distress means the discomfort a person experiences. Along with this, to are all the physiological syndromes for which patients go to general physicians and this leads to escape behaviour, which makes the person slowly shrink away from more and more instances of daily life.

    Generalized Anxiety Disorder is the most common anxiety disorder. Given below are its  symptoms:

    €Excessive anxiety and worry occurring more days than not for at least 6 months about a number of activities is a common complaint. Patients can’t control the worry – interferes with functioning, but the thinking is not obsessional – generally they don’t have themes around dirt, contamination, aggression, impulses

    3 of the following for present for 6 months indicate GAD –


    Easily fatigued

    Mind going blank


    Muscle tension

    Sleep disturbance

    CBT or cognitive behavioural therapy can help to control the repetitive thoughts that a person feels, while the behaviour exercises help to stimulate and relax the person. Together they can channelize their anxiety and control it well and remove escape behaviour. In severe cases, anti-anxiety medication can be used to bring the person down to a level of control of anxiety where he or she can participate in therapy. There is a risk of overuse of such pills and should be used with caution.

  • 05 Oct
    Shiva Raman Pandey

    How To Efficiently Remember What You Read

    How To Efficiently Remember What You Read

    Regardless of field or profession, all of us in formal or organized work sectors and schools have to read quite a bit. Multiple documents, books, PowerPoint presentations and field notes make their way to us. Some of us may also enjoy fiction and non-fiction books outside of regular work and school related reading. Although we do pretty well in remembering the gist of a text, or a striking point or two or the overall effect it had on us, we generally do not fare very well when it comes to remember the important details of long or complex texts.

    Cognitive psychology as a field has done a lot of research into memory, and what is a paramount finding of this is that material is best remembered if it is encoded in our memory using deep processing as opposed to shallow processing. Shallow processing would mean just reciting or mugging up. Deep processing means engaging with the material, so that it’s meaning stays with us.

    There are many ways to engage with the material for deep processing. Some of them are mentioned below:

    Writing: Writing is an age-old technique but it still absolutely works. Note down important bits of information as you read it. An important tip – after this and after the reading is done, write it down again in a flowchart or some other organized manner. This is a full-proof way of remembering what you read.

    Talking: When we talk to our friends and family about the read material, we process the information more and enrich what is stored. They may ask us questions or we ourselves might question ourselves while talking about it, and then filling the gaps in our knowledge makes the information more deeply entrenched in our memory.

    Mnemonics: Mnemonics are clumping of detailed information in a way that is easier to remember. Making an acronym is a mnemonic technique. For example, there four steps to creative problem solving are preparation, incubation, illumination and verification. I would remember these as abbreviated to PIIV and imagine a ghost dog along with it (pet peeve connection). Method of Loci is another method. Imagine a very familiar place and as you take a mental walk through the place, put each aspect of what you want to remember at locations in the place. So I would put the ‘P’ from PIIV on the gate of my building, ‘I’ at the lift, the second ‘I’ at my door and the ‘V’ at my room. So when I imagine going up to my house I will think of PIIV. Remember to note down the mnemonics near the text you are revising.

    Apart from these, skimming through the text for difficult words and concepts and then reading it slowly helps when it’s a long detailed text. Lastly, even these methods will not work if you just do them once. You need to revisit the text once every now and then, and revisit the written notes or mnemonics. Revisit meaning, ‘revise’.

    Please feel free to ask questions and post comments.

    -eWellness Expert

    Responses 1

    • Rashmi R Gupta
      Rashmi R Gupta   Oct 05, 2015 12:42 PM
      That a great article on very important subject for students. Hearing a psychologist's view on this topic is very informative. Can there be some medical reasons also behind poor memory?
  • 05 Oct
    Shiva Raman Pandey

    Social Anxiety and How To Deal With It

    Social Anxiety and How To Deal With It

    Anxiety of all kinds is one of the most common mental health concerns reported by people. Of these, social anxiety seems to be the most prevalent and intrusive. There are many different forms of it, or rather, in a given individual, some components of social anxiety maybe more prevalent than others.


    Commonly, there is a fear of public speaking that involves going up on a stage, giving presentations or talks, heading meetings and so on. Another component is general sociability – the person is not able to connect with a lot of people in his life – friends, family and so on. This is different from introversion because there the person willingly chooses to stay away from people. The third kind has to do with attractiveness and romantic partners: the person flusters when approaching someone for a date, alliance or proposal.

    There are many different reasons identified by these, both by social convention and by research: some put genetics to blame, some say that one bad incident has conditioned the fear, while some attribute it to faulty parenting methods. Regardless of what the cause may be, the fact remains that there is a problem and it needs to be countered. There are some ways of thinking and behaving and need to be changed to behaviour and thoughts that are helpful.

    The following techniques and methods are effective for more or less all components of social anxiety:

    • Relaxation: A major component of anxiety which people find stressful is the physical effect of it. There might be fast heartbeat, palpitations, heavy breathing, sweating, shaking, trembling, flushing and so on. Relaxation helps to counter this. Outside of the anxiety provoking situation, the person should think of the situation and try to relax at the same time. This will reduce anxiety in the actual situation. Use progressive muscle relaxation and breathing techniques.


    • Rethinking: Our thoughts also add to the problem. If you think that one bad speech or talk means you are a total loser, such thinking adds to the pressure you feel and makes you more anxious. Instead, replace such thoughts with helpful thoughts like ‘I would like to perform the speech well, but it is not the end of the world if I don’t’. By reducing the drastic consequence from your thoughts, you will inspire more confidence in yourself.


    • Rehearsal: Since you have to acquire these new skills, it is important to rehearse them. Prepare the speech well in advance, mark out the pauses and breaks. Speak in front of the mirror and then in front of family members. You can also rehearse by yourself, the strategies required to talk to friends and family.

    Apart from these three methods, it is also important to remember that if anxiety has a medical cause then you would have to seek the help of a professional. Sometimes, mild antianxiolytics can help if the techniques are useful or sufficient by themselves. Be sure to go to a qualified mental health professional.

    Responses 1

    • ritesh chaudhary
      ritesh chaudhary   Dec 28, 2015 11:53 AM

      Since social phobia is "the problem to deal with other people", it cannot be solved by oneself alone. There must be someone that can help, be it taking me to a gathering, picking at my behavior, confronting me, or coaching me what to do as a start. Those people are necessary compass, to show me what social relationship is really like.

  • 05 Oct
    Shiva Raman Pandey

    4 Things About Interaction Your Home Boss Wants To Know

    4 Things About Interaction Your Home Boss Wants To Know

    With smaller families and both parents’ working, there is an increasing need to address conflicts at home in a brief and specific way. Teachers tend to call parents to school and lecture them about the lack of involvement, whereas they don’t acknowledge how stressed and stretched the parents are with the upkeep of the child and other responsibilities. So are there any steps parents and children can together take for lovable and happy interactions at home?

    Most definitely there are. Psychological research shows that what children value more than materials like toys and games is the parents’ time. Although in a mall or a shop they stubbornly ask you for an expensive toy, they are just falling prey to a marketing gimmick, just like we adults are often duped into buying things we have little use of.

    The first step in the right direction is

    1.Acceptance of the problem:

    Acknowledge there is a problem and make the child a part of the plan to solve it. Of course, this has to be done in age appropriate ways or else it may back fire. So, to a child of 3, you may say “You and I are having lots of katti, how can we turn this into batti?” Children are intuitive and ingenious and the solutions they suggest can usually be applied easily and be highly useful as well.

    2.Fix family time :

    Once a form has been planned, like having some ‘family time’ everyday during dinner – no TV (again, explain to the child in an empathic way why this step was taken and don’t just dictate it), then everyone needs to make the commitment to follow it. The child and parents can make a chart with boxes, where the child can tick each day ‘family’ time was observed. Doing such activities together increases bonding and makes the child feel he is an important part in decision making.

    3. Listen your child:

    When getting a complaint from the teacher about the child, don’t start with an assumption. Say “the teacher was saying there was a fight between you and the other boy. What happened?” instead of “Why did you hit the other boy?” By doing so, you give the child a chance to explain the whole story, after you which you can talk to him about his role in it, and gently explain correct ways of addressing a difference of opinion with a classmate.

    4.Do what you say:

    Lastly, demonstrate. Children may not listen to a lot we say, but they never miss a thing we do. If you advise something to them and you do not follow it in real life, then they get confused. They are less likely to follow it. If you tell them “do not lie”, but you ask them to tell a colleague you are avoiding that you aren’t home, when you are home, is hypocrisy. Children stop taking their parents seriously if they see repeated instances of parents not following their own advice.

    Armed with all these tips, putting them into practice, your interaction with your child are bound to improve a lot!

    Please feel free to ask questions and post comments.

    -eWellness Expert

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